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Bring on the bacon: Ream’s

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: Randy Ream, (right) owner of Ream’s Meat Market, with his son, Joel, was one of the 50 vendors at the 2nd annual BaconFest in Chicago on April 9. Courtesy Photo

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Ream’s Meat Market keeps on bringing home the bacon when it comes to making Elburn a destination for Chicagoland carnivores in search of the best in meats and sausages. Ream’s recently made the list of “Best Chicagoland Places to Eat,” by the LTH Forum, a Chicago-based culinary chat site whose 9,000 members make it their business to identify small, out-of-the-way eateries and resources for all things food.

The forum is an off-shoot of the Chow Hound site. It announces 21 “Great Neighborhood Restaurants and Resources” annually. For Ream’s in Elburn to make the Chicago list brings new meaning to “out of the way.”

“We’re chipping away at the iceberg,” said Randy Ream, owner of Ream’s Meat Market. “We have 12 million people 40 miles away. We wanted to see what we could do. If we make one person happy, then they’ll tell someone, and they’ll tell someone.”

In addition to accolades from Chicago foodies, Ream’s took its bacon on the road to the second annual BaconFest, held at UIC in April. This day-long love fest for all things bacon attracted 2,000 people, who reportedly snatched up the $65 tickets in less than five minutes. That’s how serious bacon is to some people.

“It was restaurants and eating and drinking. It was a party,” Ream said. “It’s people who love food and love bacon and are out having a good time.”
[quote] As one of the 50-plus vendors and restaurants, Ream’s passed creations such as cinnamon bacon, Hungarian bacon with garlic and paprika, pepper bacon and smoked pancetta bacon with fennel, pepper and garlic.

“That makes a great BLT,” Ream said.

What else can you do with bacon? Ream said there were bacon dumplings, bacon kabobs, bacon sushi and even bacon vodka. One vendor made a turtle out of bacon, its body was shaped from hamburger patties, its legs were hot dogs, its back was covered in bacon and then the whole thing was roasted. The “Bacon Explosion” was Italian sausage covered with a lattice of bacon, slathered in BBQ seasonings and sauce and then roasted.

Ream’s Meat Market has won over 200 awards in state and local competitions. They were also named to a spot in the Cured Meat Hall of Fame in 2000 for long-standing excellence in the production of cured meats.

For Ream, the growing business still appreciates its customers. The BaconFest was just one more way to reach out.

“I think we made more friends than money, but what the heck,” Ream said of being a vendor at the event. And of continuing to grow, he said, “We still have more avenues to follow.”

Ream’s Elburn Market
128 North Main Street
Elburn, IL, 60119
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

2nd place at Peterson Prep shows Kaneland’s talent

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Taylor Andrews looks like he could hurdle all the way to West Point during action on Tuesday.The senior also made sure the 110m high hurdles honor stayed in Maple Park with a first-place showing of 14.66 seconds. Andrews was also part of the winning 4x100m relay foursome with Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier and Tommy Whittaker. Photo by
Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Out of 14 teams, Kaneland boys track was second to one.

The Knights’ 98 points were filled with great performances during Saturday’s annual Peterson Prep boys track outing, but West Aurora, with 133 points, was even better.

Mount Carmel finished third at 93 points. Fellow NIB-12 schools included Yorkville in sixth at 44 points, DeKalb in eighth at 16 points and Sycamore in ninth at 15 points.

Tommy Whittaker got things started with a second-place finish in the 200m dash with a time of 22.50 seconds, and also took second in the 400m dash with a time of 51.33.

Teammate Trevor Holm took third in the 800m run at 2:01.38, and a second in the 1600m run at 4:39.71.

Taylor Andrews was champion of the 110m high hurdles at 14.66.

At this point of the season, Andrews is far from done working on his craft.

“It’s going pretty good, I’m just trying to work every day with the coaches,” Andrews said. “We’ve got a good team, and the young guys are really stepping up.”

Despite the productive season, Andrews feels a couple of events can get even better.

“The 300m, definitely. That’s always a race I kind of struggle with,” Andrews said during Tuesday’s 103-21 dual win in Maple Park over DeKalb.

In the 4x100m relay, Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier, Andrews and Whittaker were tops at 44.57 seconds, while Andrew Essex, Cottier, Balluf and Curtis Secrest took the 4x200m event at 1:34.51.

Pole vault activity included Kory Harner’s third-pace finish at 11-06.

Matt Spitzzeri continued his positive trajectory this year in the triple jump, taking the crown at 41-05.

The Knights face varied competition at the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 29, at 5 p.m.

3rd place a charm for Lady Knights at Dixon

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Kaneland’s Sydney Luse does her best to deal with windy conditions on her way to third place during Tuesday’s 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Lady Knights girls track had themselves a productive Thursday to lead into their Good Friday weekend.

With 68 points amassed as a team, Kaneland finished third in the annual Dixon Relays Invite in Dixon, Ill. Geneseo (79) and Sterling (77) made sure the top three teams were Northern Illinois Big XII-bred. Other NIB-12 schools included Rochelle in a fifth-place tie with the host Duchesses at 53 points, and Ottawa in ninth place with 17 points.

Kaneland followed that up with a 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb High School on Tuesday.

Accolades came often for the Lady Knights in the former NCIC territory, just in time with the girls track regular season near its homestretch.

Kaneland’s Brianna Stark had a top-tier Thursday, earning first place in the long jump finals at 46-10.75, and first in the triple jump final at 100-01.75.

KHS also earned a winning nod in the frosh-soph 4x400m relay. Ashley Castellanos, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick’s effort of 4:20.07 beat Sterling’s foursome by 8.4 seconds.

Kaneland’s varsity unit of Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer, Andie and Sydney Strang took second in the 4x800m relay with a clip of 9:53.92 minutes.

Bowen also produced in the 1600m run, earning second with a time of 5:53.

Another second-place finish for the Lady Knights came from Sydney Billotta, Castellanos, Rachel Steinmiller and Zick in the 4x200m relay, finishing in 1:49.82.

Kaneland’s 4x100m weights relay event foursome was second thanks to a 58.35 seconds finish from Kelsey Gould, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza and Keara Palpant.

At Peterson Field under threatening skies, first places abounded. Brooke Patterson’s triple jump was tops at 34-5.5, as well as her pole vault try (10-06). Gabby Aguirre’s five-foot high jump was enough to win. Zick took the 800m run event at 2:28.44, as well as the long jump at 17-02.75, not to mention the 200m event in 26.29 seconds. Nicole Ketza won the shot put with an effort of 29-03.

Amanda Lesak helped the Kaneland cause with a winning 300m low hurdles output of 54.66 seconds.

This Friday, April 29, brings the annual Kane County Meet, taking place this year at Streamwood’s Millenium Field.

Inspiration from ‘Biggest Loser’ leads to ‘Real’ success

in Featured/Maple Park by

Photo: Debbie Pitstick of Maple Park lost an inspring 80 pounds over 5 years. While not only conquoring her weight, she was also able to gain confidence, leave an unhealthy relationship, graduate from college and run a 5k. Courtesy Photos

by Lynn Meredith
Maple Park—Back in 2005, you might find Debbie Pitstick sitting on the couch. Today you’ll most likely find the Maple Park resident at the gym.

From “before” to “after,” Pitstick lost 80 pounds over the course of five years. She was recently named a National Weight Loss Success Story for RealAge and is featured on the website as part of the launch of its updated RealAge test.

RealAge is best known for its connection with Dr. Oz and the “You: The Owner’s Manual” series of health books. Participants on the website can take the RealAge test to determine how old their body thinks they are. The test has been recently updated to include more current factors that determine the body’s real age. Pitstick, at age 32, had a RealAge of 41.9. Today at 38, her real age is 37.6.

“I was a couch potato, a big couch potato,” Pitstick said. “I couldn’t walk a half a mile down my driveway without dying. I gained 100 pounds in four years just from being very unhappy.”

Debbie before losing 80 lbs.
She had tried all sorts of diet plans in an effort to lose weight, but she would get discouraged and quit. She joined Delnor Health and Wellness in the past but wasn’t motivated to stick with it.

All that was about to change when she started watching “The Biggest Loser” on TV and saw all that the participants had accomplished.

“I saw their transformations, and I said to myself, ‘Hey, if they can do it, why can’t I?’” Pitstick said. “I decided to finally to go for it after many, many tries (in the past), and I stuck with it.”

Pitstick started reading the “You on a Diet” books and educating herself on how to eat healthy. She changed her diet first by cutting out soda pop, fried and processed foods, avoiding partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.

Within six months, she had lost 20 pounds. That progress spurred her to take on a new challenge: exercise.

She joined Delnor and started on the treadmill at a slow pace, 2.5 to 3 miles per hour for 20 minutes. She gradually increased the pace and the time. And then a funny thing happened.

Debbie halfway through her weight loss process.
“I gained confidence. I left an unhealthy relationship. I went back to college and finished a bachelor’s degree. I started running 5k’s,” she said. “I realized that I had always been quitting everything I had ever tried. I started to think what else I hadn’t finished, what other goals do I want to accomplish.”

When she crossed her first 5K finish line in October 2008, she was overcome with emotion seeing how far she had come. She knew that a few years earlier she never would have imagined herself doing that.

Pitstick submitted her story to RealAge in November 2010. She was immediately identified as a top candidate due to her weight loss success but also for her desire to motivate others who are struggling with health issues.

“The biggest thing is that everybody tries to do it all at once. They want to do everything at the same time, and you can’t do it,” she said. “My whole goal on the website is to encourage others. Everyone needs to hear, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ That’s how ‘The Biggest Loser’ spoke to me. You have to be in the right mindset and know when you’re ready.”

Pitstick’s confidence extends to knowing that she will keep the weight off. She remembers how she felt when she was heavier and likes where she is now.

“I’m finally in a happy place in my life,” she said. “I’m in a healthy place.”

You can find Debbie’s story featured at www.realage.com/check-your-health/blood-pressure/weight-loss-success-stories-debbie-pitstick.

Knights of honor

in Featured/Kaneland by

Kaneland National Honor Society inductee Anna Novotny gives a speech during the Knights of Honor ceremony on Monday evening at the KHS auditorium. 56 students were inducted into the NHS. Photo by John DiDonna

National Honor Society inductees applaud for their fellow students during the "Knights of Honor" induction ceremony on Monday evening. Each member gave a short speech after being introduced by one of their friends. 56 students were inducted into the National Honor Society this year. Photo by John DiDonna

Church news for April 21

in Faith/Featured by

St. Peter Parish to present Living Stations of the Cross
GENEVA—Members of St. Peter Parish, Geneva, will present the Living Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m. The tableaux-style dramatization will take place at the Church, 1891 Kaneville Road.
Each station will highlight a particular character who, in monologue fashion, responds to the penetrating question, “Were you there?” The production is based on the meditation entitled “Journey of Decision: A Way of the Cross,” by Sarah A. O’Malley, OSB; and Robert D. Eimer, OMI. Characters move during music, but freeze during the monologues and narrations. Costuming is minimal, and a prayerful, meditative spirit sets the tone of the presentation.
There is no charge for the one-hour presentation. For more information about the Living Stations of the Cross, please call the Church at (630) 232-0124.

Sugar Grove UMC
announces schedule

Sugar Grove—Sugar Grove United Methodist Church offers a variety of Holy Week services and events. The church is located at 176 Main St., Sugar Grove, and can be contacted at (630) 466-4501.
To recall the Last Supper of Jesus, and to find meaning in the Passover celebration that he observed in his life, the church will gather in its Upper Room for a traditional Seder Meal at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21. There is no cost and no reservation required.
Grace UMC in Maple Park will hold this year’s ecumenical Kaneland Area Good Friday service on April 22 at 7 p.m. Sugar Grove UMC will join with churches from throguhout the area for this remembrance service. The church is located at 506 Willow St., Maple Park.
Easter services will be held at 8 and 10:30 a.m. on April 24. Special service and a youth-served breakfast will be provided from 9 to 10 a.m. In addition, the children are invited to bring a basket for an egg hunt at 10 a.m. at the church’s front lawn.

Holy Week schedule
set for KUMC

KANEVILLE—The following Holy Week events will take place at Kaneville United Methodist Church, 46W742 Main Street Road:
• April 21—Holy Thursday at 7 p.m. “Living Last Supper” and Communion. “Living Last Supper” is a dramatic presentation of Jesus’ last evening with his disciples.
• April 22—Good Friday will be hosted by Maple Park UMC at 7 p.m.
• April 23—Holy Saturday, Easter Vigil at 10 p.m. in the outdoor garden worship area. An Easter Vigil entails community prayer, scripture and singing with an anticipatory look toward Easter.
• April 24—Easter Sunday, 8 and 10:30 a.m.

St. Charles Episcopal Church services
St. Charles—The St. Charles Episcopal Church invites the community to observe the following Holy Week services.
Maundy Thursday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist will be followed by the Watch at the Altar of Repose until 9 a.m.
Good Friday, April 22, at 9 a.m. There is a service to end the Watch. At 11 a.m. there will be an Intergenerational Stations of the Cross, and at 7:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist will be distributed from the Reserved Sacrament
Easter Vigil, Saturday, April 23, 7:30 p.m., will begin with the Lighting of the Paschal Fire in the Memorial Garden. Following the vigil there will be a reception in Ludtke Hall.
Easter Festival Eucharist services, Sunday April 24, will be held at 7:30, 9 and 10:45 a.m.

Holy Week services
at Calvary Episcopal

Batavia—Calvary Episcopal Church announces the following schedule of special services that continue through Easter Sunday, April 24. The public is invited to all services and special events.
Maundy Thursday, April 21, 9:30 a.m. a Morning Prayer and Reflection Service will be held. At 6 p.m., there will be a Simple Agape Dinner. At 7 p.m., the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, including ceremonial foot washing, procession and garden watch, will be presented. From 8:30 p.m. to midnight, there will be a Garden Watch at the Altar of Repose. At midnight , there will be a Night Prayer at the Altar of Repose.
Good Friday, April 22, 9:30 a.m. there will be a Morning Prayer and Reflection. At noon, there will be a Community Ecumenical Service of the Seven Last Words. At 3 p.m. there will be a Traditional Stations of the Cross. At 7 p.m. the Solemn Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion and Death (incense will be used)will be held.
Holy Saturday, April 23, 9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer, Reflection and Preparation of the Pascal Candle; 7:30 p.m. Great Vigil of Easter, including Service of Light, Liturgy of the Word of God and Renewal of Baptismal Vows. First Eucharist of Easter—with Bethany Lutheran Church (incense will be used).
Easter Sunday, April 24, 6 a.m. Community Sunrise Service at Logan Street Baptist Church—clergy from Batavia Covenant, Batavia United Methodist, Calvary Episcopal and Logan Street Baptist churches will participate at 8 and 10:15 a.m. Festival Holy Communion Service, followed by Festive Coffee Hour after each service (incense will be used at 8:00 a.m.).
Calvary is located at 222 South Batavia Ave., at the corner of Route 31 and Main Street. The Rev. Michael Rasicci, rector of Calvary, will officiate and preach at each worship service. For further information, call (630) 879-3378 or visit www.calvary-episcopal.org.

St. Gall Church
announces Easter
Mass schedule

Elburn—St. Gall church announced the following services to observe the Lord’s Passion and His Rising on Easter Sunday:
On Holy Thursday, April 21, there will be the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 p.m., followed by adoration.
On Good Friday, April 22, the church will be open from noon to 3 p.m. for personal prayer and private reflection time. Stations of the Cross will be held at 1 p.m., and at 7:30 p.m. there will be a Service in Remembrance of the Lord’s Passion.
On Holy Saturday, April 23, at 11 a.m., there will be Blessing of Easter Food and Children’s Candy Baskets. Mass of the Easter Vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Holy Saturday.
On Easter Sunday, Masses are at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. In order to accommodate the large number of parishioners and attendees, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Mass will be held in both the church and St. Gall Parish hall. Please note there will not be a 5 p.m. Easter Mass.
St. Gall is located at the corner of Shannon Street and Route 47 in downtown Elburn.

Elburn Hill Church
Easter Sunrise Service

ELBURN—Elburn Hill Church will have its annual Easter Sunrise Service, which includes the dramatic reading of the Easter story outside on the lawn, at 7:30 a.m. Buffet breakfast will follow in the Victorian Mansion at 8:30 a.m., and the Easter worship service will be at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary.

VBS kick-off
Maple Park—Grace UMC and St. Mary’s announce Vacation Bible School for Summer 2011.
Join the churches on Friday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Novak Center for their VBS Kickoff. You will get a glimpse of what to expect this year at VBS and a music CD so you can start practicing all the songs. After a short presentation and craft, there will be a dessert bar. Registration for VBS will also be open that night.
The churches will also launch a special mission project called Build Up Our Backpacks. If you need more information about Kickoff, VBS week, or Build Up Our Backpacks, visit www.groupvbspro.com/vbs/ez/maplepark or call (815) 739-4168

KUMC to host Mother-Daughter banquet
KANEVILLE—All women of the community are invited to the Kaneville United Methodist Church (KUMC) annual Mother-Daughter Banquet on Sunday, May 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. The program, “Reflections on My Mother,” will feature the KUMC not-ready-for-prime-time players in two humorous skits: “An Essay on My Mother” and “All Mom Wants.”
Awards, prizes and special music will complete the evening’s program. Please bring a dish to pass and your own table service. For more information, call the church at (630) 557-2353.

Dudzinski commits to Wichita State volleyball

in Featured/Volleyball by

Sports: Katy Dudzinski has her college choice out of the way, making a verbal commitment to Wichita State University Shockers volleyball last week. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland volleyball fans won’t be shocked that outside hitter Katy Dudzinski will be competing at the next level after graduating from high school in the spring of 2012.

As for Dudzinski, she’ll be joining a program full of them.

Last week, the 6-foot-2 junior made a verbal commitment to play Division I volleyball for the Wichita State University Shockers program in Wichita, Kan.

The Shockers, coached by Chris Lamb, get a premier player in the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference and the area, while Dudzinski gets piece of mind after making her college choice.

“Basically, I’ve been playing competitive volleyball since freshman year and I had always liked University of Arizona, but I wondered if I would click there. Once we visited (Wichita State), I fit in with the program and it clicked,” Dudzinski said.

Dudzinski, who also competes with the Kane County Juniors club volleyball outfit, is doing her best to tear up the softball diamond this spring.

The junior had also considered University of Northern Iowa, Missouri Valley Conference-mates with the Shockers, during the recruiting questionnaire stage.

“They had already signed outside hitters, so I checked Wichita State out, and it’s such a great program and I get a full-ride scholarship,” Dudzinski said.

Dudzinski’s older brother Dave just completed his freshman basketball season for the Division I Holy Cross Crusaders.

Now Katy will get a chance to experience differences in the volleyball game.

“It’s tremendously fast and you can feel a little over your head right now. The girls are all in good shape, and it’s a fast sport at the college level,” Dudzinski said.

Dudzinski’s junior volleyball season featured many kills for the Lady Knights in a 19-14 season.

Soccer deadlocks with E. Aurora, falls to Marengo

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Kaneland’s Brittany Olson battles at the midfield position during the 3-1 loss to Marengo on Monday. The Lady Knights try to right the ship against visiting Streator on Thursday, April 21. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There would be no West Aurora Blackhawk Tournament championship like in 2010, but there would be no tournament-ending loss for Lady Knights soccer.

Because on April 13, Kaneland rallied to tie the Tomcats of East Aurora in the second half en route to a 2-2 tie.

The Lady Knights also dropped a 3-1 matchup with visiting Marengo on Monday.

Kaneland’s record is now 4-6-1 with a 1-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.

East Aurora began with a 1-0 lead until 4:52 left in the first half. That’s when Brittany Olson beat the Tomcat goalie after a pass from Jessica Coia, knotting matters at 1.

Emily Heimerdinger’s shot attempt with 1:39 to go in the half just went over the goalpost, and the teams went into halftime tied.

East Aurora consistently cut the field in half, making life difficult for any Lady Knight offensive momentum.

Kaneland did get their chances, but with 21 minutes remaining, East Aurora scored and went up 2-1.

However, KHS rallied to tie on a pass from Katie Taylor to Heimerdinger in the box. Heimerdinger blasted the ball in with 15:40 to go, tying the game, after which there were no scoring opportunities close or capitalized upon.

Coach Scott Parillo is looking for his group to kick into another gear.

“I think both teams escaped with a tie. Certainly not the prettiest soccer to look at. We’ll play a good game and then we’ll play a lousy game again. It’s hard to figure out; there really is talent here,” Parillo said.

Kaneland’s lone goal against the Lady Indians came on a penalty kick from Heimerdinger with 3:49 left in the match.

Kaneland faces NIB-12 crossover opponent Streator on Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m. and fellow crossover school, the visiting Dixon Duchesses on Saturday, April 23.

Triple your fun—Peterson Prep this Saturday

in Boys Track/Featured by

Triple jumper Matt Spitzzeri will be among the Knights carving out a niche in the field events at Saturday’s 42nd annual Peterson Prep at Kaneland High School. Spitzerri is also riding a wave of long jump momentum, having jumped 18 feet, nine inches at Sycamore two weeks ago. The Knights took their second consecutive Prep crown a year ago, with 100 points, over Geneva and West Aurora. Photo by John DiDonna

Continuing impact

in Featured/Kaneville by

Photo: Cathy Reinert of Elburn, with Calee Lukoshus of Elburn (left) and Kyle Russell of Maple Park, enjoy a wheel barrow ride from Mike Stoffa

of Elburn. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

Conley Farm Work Day draws largest group ever in first year since founder’s death

by Sandy Kaczmarski

Kaneville—About 60 people with shovels, garden gloves, rakes and brooms showed up on a misty morning for a little spring cleaning at the Conley Farm in Kaneville to get the gardens ready for community outreach programs in the coming months.

This was the first work day since the death of its founder, Bruce Conley, who succumbed to cancer last fall following a year-long battle.

“It’s a huge loss for us,” Conley Outreach Board President Al Miller said of Conley’s passing.

“If you were going to pick a model, Bruce would be your model,” he said. “What a life and what a person, right up to the last day.”

And while there was an occasional somberness in the air as those who were lost were remembered, there was too much work to do, picking up debris left over from the harsh winter and cleaning the walkways in the prayer garden, to stay sullen too long.

In addition to the cleanup, four crabapple trees were planted in memory of those who were lost in the last year, including Dave Compton, Catherine Konen, Shirley Stoffa, and, of course, Bruce Conley. Family members with spades in hand shoveled the earth over the root balls as a lasting tribute in their memory just as the sun burned off the morning mist.

“Our goal is for everybody to stop by and sit and rest and find some peace,” Farm Manager Tigger Kainz said.

Farm Manager and Director of Programming Tigger Kainz chats with Board President Al Miller. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

That’s just what 84-year old Willie M. King Sr., of Sugar Grove, said he does on occasion. He’s been volunteering at the farm for about six years. He lost his wife, daughter and a grandson in a 10-month period. He said Bruce “took care of everything.”


“I drive through here a lot, and I hope they don’t mind,” he said. “It gives you a different feeling. I can go home then and rest for a few hours.”

Some of the community programs include creating stepping stones made of cement that can be left in the prayer garden or be taken home. Visitors can include mementos in the stones such as key rings, coins or toys.

The Good Grief Day Camp from June 27 to July 1 is designed for children ages 6 to 12 who have lost a parent or sibling. Through music, theater, art and nature, children can learn to accept their loss.

Bruce is described as a pioneer in grief and bereavement programs and was intimately involved with families after the funerals ended. He took a special interest in children and teens, and the programs he created will continue on.


“Bruce Conley was a man who could sit down with 50 little kids and he would hold their attention for an hour,” King said. “I learned more from Bruce Conley than anyone I know.”

The Grieving Fire is held each September and allows those who have lost a loved one to write a letter to them saying things they didn’t get a chance to say.

“The ashes go up so you think, well, maybe my loved one got the message,” King said.

Kainz explained that after the bonfire, lit candles are put in plastic bowls and set afloat in the creek that runs alongside the prayer garden. She said sometimes they bunch up, and then another candle bumps into them and frees them up to continue floating away. She compared it to life’s tribulations, when sometimes it takes a nudge to move on.

“It’s the most amazing thing,” she said.

For more information on the outreach programs available, go to the Conley Outreach Community Services website at www.conleyoutreach.org, or call (630) 365.2880. Conley Farm is located at Daubermann Road and Main Street in Kaneville and is always open.

Conley Farm expands what it offers

Kaneville—The Conley Farm in Kaneville is available for weddings and special events. This is the second year the 10-acre farm has been open for receptions. Seating is about 150 and tents are available.

“We had one, and now we have four bookings,” Farm Manager Tigger Kainz said. “We’re putting in a pergola to extend seating and in the back will be a dance floor.”

Kainz said they’ll also add a second bathroom. The first one used to be a horse stall and is made entirely of raw barnboard. Photographs adorn the walls, including one of Bruce Conley.

“Sometimes the brides go into the bathroom and are surprised at how beautiful it is,” Kainz said.

For more information on booking a reception, call (630) 768-1679.

Thousands turn out for fine arts fest

in Featured/Kaneland by

Photo: Visitors to the 2011 Kaneland Fine Arts Fest Sunday were treated to hundreds of pieces of art, and were even invited to add their own. A gallery will load below the story. Photo by Ben Draper

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Another year, another successful display of visual and performing arts by the Kaneland community.

The 12th annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival (KCFAF) was held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and offered glass, dance and painting workshops, various artists and performance ensembles to an audience that ranged from first-time viewers to highly experienced art spectators. Approximately 3,000 people attended the Fine Arts Festival this year.

The great weather this weekend probably didn’t hurt the crowd turnout, either.

“I was so pleased with this year’s festival. The weather held up, and many people came (to the event) for the very first time,” KCFAF Executive Director Maria Dripps-Paulson said. “I think that having great publicity pre-event led to many people coming to check us out. The festival was also a success because it’s free, which fits perfectly into many families’ budget these days. I simply love seeing people of every age group immersing themselves in the fine arts.”

Performance art on display during the festival included a hands-on workshop featuring the AMEBA Acrobatic and Aerial Dance Company. Visual forms of art, including pencil art, watercolors and calligraphy, were also demonstrated during the event, which was held at Kaneland High School.

The Fine Arts Festival is just a part of the artistically driven month of April in the Kaneland community. The KCFAF Juried Art Show, in its third year, is on display at the Sugar Grove Library all month long. The Juried Art Show features 18 artists and over 50 works of art.

Despite the success of this year’s Fine Arts Festival, Dripps-Paulson said she’d like to improve a few aspects of the event.

“I feel like we need to re-evaluate the performing artist part of the festival,” she said. “I heard a lot of comments like, ‘I didn’t even get to see the performers,’ which doesn’t make me happy for the performers. Some festival-goers are also torn between seeing pavilion performers and auditorium performers. Maybe we simply need to work on tweaking the schedule more.”

Dripps-Paulson also said performing artists are at more of a disadvantage than visual artists during the festival.

“Audiences kind of dabble and walk around all the artists, and you can walk up to an artist and in five or 10 minutes, be happy with your interaction and then walk out. But if you do that for a performing artist, well, it’s kind of insulting,” she said. “And you’re not really seeing their performance.”

The performing arts do not stop when the Fine Arts Festival ends, however, as there is a festival performance series that is featured year-round at the high school. The next performing event is “Bye Bye Birdie,” which will be a summer theatre production. Auditions will begin in May, with two weekend performances in July.

“We’ve pulled out a whole festival series that goes year-round to honor the performers so that there aren’t people walking in and out of their performance,” Dripps-Paulson said.

Jill Holmes Invite ‘11 yields third-place finish for Lady Knights

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Kaneland’s Brianna Stark tries to catch up as a 100 meter dash finalist during the Jill Holmes invitational at KHS on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—The usual mid-April Jill Holmes Invite saw Kaneland girls track in mid-to-late season stride on Saturday.

Kaneland, with 88 team points, finished third, behind only invite champ West Aurora (148) and Burlington Central (102.5).

Hononegah (80), Sterling (55) and Rosary (53) rounded out the top six.

Northern Illinois Big XII Conference-mates Sycamore (26.5) and DeKalb (13) finished ninth and 12th, respectively.

Top finalists abounded for Kaneland, starting with the 200-meter dash finalist Lauren Zick, who continued her hot start to the season with a third-place, 26.4-seconds finish.

Zick also took second in in the 400m dash at 58.4.

The 1600m run proved quite productive with Andie Strang finished second at 5:26.2, while younger sister Sydney took fourth at 5:27.5.

In relay action, the 4x200m relay foursome of Sydney Bilotta, Ashley Castellanos, Arianna Espino and Brooke Patterson finished fourth with a time of 1:52.8.

Lady Knight Patterson continued her exceptional morning by becoming invite pole vault champ with a 10-feet, six-inch finals effort.

Zick also did well in the field, taking second overall in the long jump with a 16-02 mark.

The triple jump was especially good to Kaneland track with Patterson finishing first at 35 feet, and Castellanos taking fourth at 33-0.5.

Three records were cemented at the 2011 Holmes meet, as Oswego East’s Ariel Michalek set the 1600m run mark at 5:05.4. Additionally, West Aurora’s 4x200m squad ran a record-breaking 1:45.8, and Burlington Central’s 4x800m unit broke the event mark at 9:53.6.

1. West Aurora 148 points
2. Burlington Central 102.5
4. Hononegah 80
5. Sterling 55
6. Rosary 53
7. Oswego East 41
8. Belvidere 35
9. Sycamore 26.5
10. Dundee-Crown 24
11. Hyde Park 16
12. DeKalb 13
12. Rockford East 13
14. Rockford Auburn 5
15. Rockford Jefferson 2

Jenni’s ABC meet
Saturday, April 16
10 a.m.
Peterson Field

Knights see strong mound performances, now 6-4

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland pitcher Bobby Thorson throws a strike in the first inning of their recent home game against Harlem. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Knights baseball is on a bit of a roll.

Thursday, Kaneland (6-4, 2-0 NIB-12) used two runs in the top of the second and two more in the top of the fifth to nail down a 4-1 win at Rockton, Ill., mainstay Hononegah High School.

Oddly present in the winning development, the four KHS runs were scored on just two hits, on Kyle Davidson’s double and triple.

Drew French earned his first win of the year, chewing up 5.1 innings and allowing just one run on six hits. Teammate Sam Komel amassed the final four outs for his first save of the 2011 campaign.

On Saturday against the visiting Dixon Dukes, Komel came back and pitched a complete-game five hitter for the 8-2 win. Komel fanned five NIB-12 crossover rivals in the win.

Davidson went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Komel went 2-for-3 with a double and two driven in.

Facing East Division foe Rochelle on Monday in Ogle County, the good times on the mound continued with a complete-game one-hitter from Bobby Thorson, who also K’d nine Hubs.

Cory Landers went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Thorson also hit a three-run shot in the top of the first inning.

For KHS, the runs came threefold in the first, followed by a run in the third, two in the ffith and one in the sixth.

On Tuesday, KHS stopped RHS in six innings, 11-1. French picked up win No. 2 and Komel drove in four runs.

Ahead for the Knights is a return trip to Rochelle on Thursday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m. and a home outing against DeKalb on Monday, April 18.

Lady Knights compete at West Aurora

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Emily Heimerdinger wins the battle for possession in recent action. Heimerdinger scored four goals for the 4-5 Lady Knights this week. File Photo

KANELAND—A three-match skid left the Lady Knights scraping on the soccer pitch, but a Tuesday win over Streamwood sees Kaneland at 4-5 (1-2 Northern Illinois Big XII) through nine matches.

A year ago at this time, KHS was an astounding 8-0-1 on its way to a tournament championship in Aurora.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kaneland used a goal by Melissa Bohorquez and a second-half goal by Emily Heimerdinger for a 2-0 win over Streamood High School. On Saturday morning, the West Aurora Blackhawk Tournament featured Plainfeld East besting Kaneland by a 6-4 final.

With a goal by Sophie Blank 10 minutes into the contest, and an Heimerdinger goal six minutes later, Kaneland nursed a 2-1 lead into halftime over the Bengals.

Despite goals by Blank and Heimerdinger in the second half, Kaneland gave up five second-half goals in the loss. Jessica Coia contributed an assist on Heimerdinger’s second half goal.

Kicking off the tournament was a 3-0 loss to the host Blackhawks on Thursday.

Beginning the latest week of competition, Kaneland fell to visiting Sycamore on April 6 by a final of 4-1. The lone Kaneland goal came from Heimerdinger with 29 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the match.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a matchup with visiting Marengo on Monday, April 18, followed by a NIB-12 bout with the visiting Lady Redskins of Morris on Tuesday, April 19.

Kaneland alum Rose among Waubonsee post-season honorees

in Featured/Waubonsee Sports by

Courtesy Photo: Sara Rose

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College’s Maxzine Rossler heads up a quartet of women’s basketball players that were recognized by the NJCAA Region IV and Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) basketball committees. Rossler was chosen to the prestigious All-Region IV Division II District K Second Team. Along with Alyssa Harbin, she was also named All-ISCC First Team, while the Lady Chiefs’ Colleen Purcell and Sara Rose were both tabbed All-ISCC Honorable Mention.

Rose, a 5-foot-8 guard from Kaneland High School, was named to the All-ISCC Second Team for the second straight year. She averaged 4.2 assists per contest to lead the team, tallying 129 assists overall for a two-year total of 226 assists. The sophomore also averaged 6.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 steals as the Lady Chiefs’ point guard.

Rossler, a 5-foot-6 guard from Hinckley-Big Rock High School, averaged 12.9 points-per-game to lead Waubonsee in scoring. The freshman also nailed 66 three-pointers, averaged 2.7 assists and 2.5 steals per contest, and made 70 percent of her foul shots.

Harbin, a 5-foot-7 forward from Yorkville High School, contributed in numerous ways every game in helping lead Waubonsee to a 17-14 record. The sophomore averaged 8.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game.

Purcell, a 6-foot-1 center from Oswego High School, averaged 10.0 points-per-game while connecting on 49 percent of her shots from the floor. The freshman grabbed a team-leading 235 rebounds, averaging 7.8 boards per contest.

Customer-focused salon opens under new management

in Elburn/Featured by

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Island Tan and Nails reopened its doors three weeks ago after being out of business for over a year. While the location is the same—on Route 38, one block east of Route 47—the name is the same, and even the friendly face of Kris Gray at the front desk is the same, it has a new owner.

Todd Mencias, formerly of St. Charles with family in Elburn, currently owns a tanning salon in Milwaukee, where he relocated while his wife attends medical school. He saw an opportunity to purchase Island Tan and its equipment in Elburn, and he went with it.

“I’m very familiar with the people and the area,” Mencias said. “I want to keep the atmosphere where everybody knows everybody. That’s why I didn’t change the name—because people are familiar with it.”

Former clients are also familiar with Gray, who worked at Island Tan for three years under the previous owners. She lives nearby and had seen the business stay closed for a year. When it reopened, she decided to return and has been contacting former clients.

“She knows just about everybody,” Mencias said. “She’s running the show for me.”

With a nail salon still in the planning stage, the business offers some features unique to any tanning salons.

For one thing, it will offer a membership for $10 a month. That fee entitles members to choose from three levels of tanning services and discounts on lotions and nails.

“Active members have access to their own set of pricing. If they come 10 times in one month and none the next, they don’t lose. They are in control of their pricing. It gives them more options and puts them in the driver’s seat,” Mencias said.

With a membership, clients pay $1 for regular bed tanning, $2 for super bed, and $3 for the Cyclone stand-up tan. Without the membership, three months of regular tanning is $61 and must be used within that time frame.

Mencias said that while he is not an expert in tanning, he is able to listen to what clients want and take a customer-focused approach to accommodate individual needs.

He also sees the salon as a more upscale business, using high-quality lotions. The equipment is in such good condition that the only updating he will do when business slows in the summer is more decorating. For now, he’s opened the doors to new and returning clients.

“People seem to like (the membership idea) once they understand it. It makes them feel part of the family, or part of the club,” he said.

T&C Library prepares for Dewey Dash

in Elburn/Featured by

by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—Who’d have ever thought the Dewey Decimal System and cardiovascular activity could be involved in the same event?

Yet, that’s exactly the case with the Elburn Town and Country Public Library’s seventh-annual Dewey Dash 5k and one-mile run/walk, which will be held Sunday, April 10. The one-mile race will take place at 8:30 a.m., with the 5k race to begin at 9 a.m.

Proceeds from the Dewey Dash typically go toward one of the Town and Country Library’s technical needs, and this year is no different, as proceeds from this year’s race will help fund a book self-checkout system for library patrons to use.

Raffle prizes and concessions donated by local businesses and individuals will be available during the event. Registration is currently available at the library or through the library’s website, www.elburn.lib.il.us. Race-day registration will also be available from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

The first 300 registered entrants will receive a T-shirt, snacks and goodie bag.

“This is our major fundraiser of the year, and it really does help us with our technology needs,” Library Director Lynn Alms said. “It’s a nice, healthy way to support the library and get everyone out in the, hopefully, sunshine. It’s a really fun day.”

Alms said the races will include a “ghost runner,” which means various signs held up during the race will feature quotes from a deceased author. This year, the quotes will be taken from the work of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.

“We have a different ghost runner every year,” Alms said. “The first year, I think we had Shakespeare. Whoever the ghost runner is, hopefully people will be interested enough in the quotes to maybe read some of their works. Sometimes it’s a forgotten author.”

Alms pointed out that William Shakespeare was an excellent ghost runner to begin with.

“Shakespeare wasn’t exactly forgotten, so we figured we’d start with him,” she said. “You couldn’t go wrong with Shakespeare.”

Legion Auxiliary stirs the pot on its spaghetti supper

in Elburn/Featured by

Photos: Ceclia Lund made homemade decorations with a spring theme for the supper. (Below) Jim Swift stirs the spaghetti sauce in preparation for tonight’s spaghetti supper. Photos by Mary Herra

Annual dinner
All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Supper
Thursday, April 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.
American Legion Hall, 112 N. Main St. Elburn.

Eat in or carry out, homemade meat sauce,
green salad, garlic bread, desserts,
coffee and punch.

Cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 years
and free for children 5 and younger.

by Lynn Meredith
Elburn—Twice a year, the community is treated to a homemade spaghetti supper put on by the Elburn Legion Auxiliary. In October and April, you will find a band of volunteers stirring the pot to make its well-known sauce. But don’t ask for the recipe.

“It’s never the same,” said Carrie Petrie, charter member of the Auxiliary and acknowledged head of the supper. “I get a different idea. Somebody will say, ‘You’re not putting in enough of something.’ We make it Wednesday morning because it needs to wait to get better.”

A group of a half a dozen Auxiliary members will be there to stir the pot.

“We’re there hours to stand and stir, and stir, and stir. We say we need people with strong backs and weak minds,” Petrie said.

The spaghetti supper fundraiser has taken place on the third Thursday of April for the past 20 years. This year’s supper is being held on the first Thursday due to conflicts with Easter, the blood drive and the Legion raffle.

The Legion Auxiliary began in 1948, when Legion Hall was being constructed after World War II. Petrie tells how she and Jean Rowe, whose husbands had served overseas, were making sandwiches for the men working on the foundation. They got roped into helping with the construction.

“There was a pile of concrete blocks, and they needed our help. We moved the blocks, so we thought we might as well belong. We were doing the work and getting no credit. This way we have a say,” Petrie said.

More than 60 years later, the Daniel Simpson Legion Auxilary 630 has 136 members and meets the third Monday of every month, except July and August. It is one of the most active auxiliaries in Kane County.

Besides the spaghetti supper, the group puts together 30-plus treat bags for patients at the state mental hospital in Elgin and delivers them every Tuesday morning.

“I’ve been going every week for 40 years,” Petrie said. “At first we only gave to the vets, but now everybody gets a present.”

The auxiliary also donates cash to a long list of charities: Special Olympics, Mutual Ground, Make-a-Wish, Conley Outreach, Elburn Food Pantry, Fox Valley Hospice, Elderday Center of Batavia and others. It awards a $1,000 scholarship to a members’ son or daughter or grandchild who is a high school senior.

Petrie said that the spaghetti supper is a time for the community to gather.

“It’s a community gathering. People haven’t seen each other all winter. They come and sit and visit. We think this is great,” she said.

Give the gift of life Blood Drive
sponsored by Elburn Legion Auxilary
Thursday, April 14,
2 to 6:30 p.m.
American Legion Hall
112 N. Main St., Elburn

Softball off to 6-1 start as Northern Illinois Big XII slate begins

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: Taylor Velazquez deals toward the dish in a 9-5 game-one victory over host Oswego on Saturday. The Lady Knights also took the second game, 14-8. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—It appears that Kaneland High School softball was happy to get acquainted with Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action.

On Tuesday afternoon down Route 47 in Morris, Kaneland began new conference play with a 20-9 victory over the host Morris Lady Redskins, making good on its first conference action of 2011.

Kaneland had previously played four seasons in the former Western Sun Conference.

Now, the Lady Knights, with some holdover veterans but skewing young, sits at 6-1 after the win over Morris and a Saturday doubleheader sweep of the host Oswego Lady Panthers on Saturday morning, 9-5 and 14-8.

KHS also disposed of host Sandwich, 8-0 on Monday.

While Taylor Velazquez started the game, Katy Dudzinski earned the win in the pitcher’s circle after 2.2 innings of relief, allowing just one run on four hits.

Dudzinski also walloped two home runs and a double in a 3-for-4, six RBI afternoon.

Teammate Brittney Miller went 3-for-5 with two doubles and 3 RBI.

Slugger Andrea Potts went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs driven in.

After taking a 4-3 lead after three innings, Kaneland plated one in the fifth for a 5-3 advantage before Morris scored five in the bottom of the frame to lead 8-5.

Kaneland then took to the bases and scored seven runs each in the sixth and seventh to put the game away.

Taylor Velazquez was the game-one winner against Oswego, while Alexis Villarreal was the game-two beneficiary.

Velazquez also took the win against the Lady Indians.

KHS was set to travel to Hoffman Estates on Wednesday before hosting conference rival DeKalb on Thursday, April 7.

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