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Negative charge: ACC ousts Kaneland boys

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland’s Zach Ringhouse drives toward the basket for two of his nine points in the 63-53 season-ending loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2. Ringhouse is among six seniors departing due to graduation. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Turns out, the 26th contest of the year for Knights boys hoops for 2010-11 was its last.

A season that had area faithful wondering how second-year coach Brian Johnson’s roster could adjust with losses like Dave Dudzinski and Ryley Bailey, ended with a 17-9 record after a 63-53 loss to third-seeded Aurora Central Catholic on March 2.

The Sycamore Regional loss meant the end of a wild season for the second-seeded Knights.

Aurora Central Catholic (15-13) would go on to defeat the top-seeded Rochelle Hubs in the Sycamore Regional final on Friday, 56-51, and was scheduled to face Marian Central Catholic on Wednesday in the Woodstock North Sectional.

“They’re a good team,” Johnson said. “They played some really strong programs, and got that nice lead in the second quarter.”

For Kaneland, Chaon Denlinger had a team-high 17 points, followed by 12 from Daniel Helm. Ryan Harreld had a game-high 22 points which included four three-pointers.

Using proficiency down low and with an outside touch, ACC went out to a 20-12 lead in the first quarter. Trever Heinle’s bucket closed within 20-14 with 53.0 second left. After a basket put the Chargers up 22-14, Heinle’s two foul shots with 25.2 left made it 22-16 before a trifecta at the buzzer gave ACC a 25-16 lead after the first eight minutes.

Two long-range threes by the Chargers gave ACC a chance to see its lead bloom to 36-25 with 3:05 to go, but a Denlinger trifecta with 1:17 to go cut the lead to eight. The Knights trailed 36-28 going into halftime.

A Tyler Callaghan bucket 32 seconds into the second half brought KHS to its closest margin of the quarter at 36-30. A late flurry by the Chargers, which included three baskets and a foul shot, extended the lead to 50-38 by the end of the third frame.

The fourth quarter started in an encouraging fashion for Kaneland as Denlinger’s offensive putback and a three-point play by Zach Ringhouse brought the deficit to 50-43 with 5:39 to go. However, ACC had its own three-point play and an additional free throw got the lead back up to 11. Kaneland would close it to 54-46 with 3:28 to go but could get no closer.

With the season-ending loss, the Knights say goodbye to Ringhouse, Andrew O’Herron, Callaghan, Matt Spitzzeri, Matt Cowans and Denlinger.

“Yeah, it was the first game of the regional and we lost, but the kids in there did some amazing things. People were telling me ‘you’re going to win eight games, it’s a rebuilding year, you’re going to have some hard times.’ They go out and win 17 games and go out as conference champions,” Johnson said.

Lady Knights take third in Rockton

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Ashley Castellanos, shown here in recent indoor action, took home a sixth place in the triple jump at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic. File Photo

ROCKTON, Ill.—Here’s a way to measure your early-season progress in girls’ track: Compete at a 24-team Track Classic.

Here’s a way to be happy about your early-season progress: Finish third in said 24-team Track Classic.

The Lady Knights continued on their indoor track slate on Friday in Rockton, Ill., at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic.

West Aurora won the meet with 102 points, followed by Downers Grove North at 74.5. Kaneland had 59 points, edging Lake Park with 56, and Vernon Hills rounded out the top five at 52.5.

For Kaneland, Brooke Patterson enjoyed a monopoly on first place in her solo events, the pole vault and triple jump.

The senior vaulted a 10 foot, six inch distance and won the triple jump by two inches with a mark of 33-7.25.

Second-places were gathered by Lauren Zick in the 400 meter dash (1:02.40) and by the 4x800m relay squad of Kris Bowen, Ashley Castellanos, Andie Strang and Sydney Strang, with a time of 10:23.91.

Third-places went to the freshman Zick in the 200m dash with an effort of 27.55 seconds.

In the distance medley, fourth place went to the unit of Bowen, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis and Jessica Stouffer, running in 14:15.59.

Fifth place for Kaneland was secured in the 4x400m relay, thanks to a 4:30.76 finish by Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Ariana Espino and Patterson.

The Lady Knights also added a couple of sixth places to their early indoor season coffers, in the form of a 55m dash time of 7.76 seconds by Zick.

In a solo effort, Castellanos took sixth in the triple jump at 31-11.25.

Finally, Andie Strang wrangled seventh place in the 1600m run with a time of 5:38.58.

Saturday, March 12, brings the Byron Indoor Invitational on the KHS docket, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

National Sleep Awareness Week

in Featured/Health & Wellness by

GENEVA—It’s a consensus: the majority of American adults don’t get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. And at least 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder, including insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy.

Join Delnor’s Sleep Disorders Center at its informational booth from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, March 11, at Delnor Health and Wellness Center, 296 Randall Road in Geneva, to learn more information about common sleep disorders.

Delnor’s Sleep Disorders Center and The National Sleep Foundation are waking up the public with an annual public education and awareness campaign during National Sleep Awareness Week to promote the benefits—both to our mental and physical health—of a good night’s sleep.

Tips to improve your sleep
• Maintain a regular schedule for sleep and wake times.
• Establish a regular bedtime routine
• Create a dark, comfortable and quiet sleeping environment
• Use your bedroom only for sleep
• Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillow
• Finish eating at least two to three hours before bedtime
• Exercise regularly
• Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime

National Sleep Awareness Week, which takes place March 7-13, is an annual public education and awareness campaign to promote the importance of sleep. While most people do not give sleep much thought, it is very important that one get enough quality, restorative sleep. Besides affecting things like mood and productivity, a lack of quality sleep is associated with major health concerns. More and more studies have shown the relationship between the quantity and quality of sleep and health problems such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression.

Krier places 1st at NSPA

in Featured/Kaneland by

Photos: The Krier editorial board. Executive editors Jessica Corbett (front row), Sarah Arnold, Maria Kernychny, and Megan Nauert. Photos: Editors Diana Nuno (center row), Elaine Cannell, and Amanda Schiff. Editors Rachael Clinton (back row), Maggie Brundige, Jordan Jones, Julia Angelotti and Kylie Siebert. Courtesy Photo

by Alex Vickery and Taylor Phillips
Krier reporters

KANELAND—The Kaneland Krier, the student newspaper of Kaneland High School, won a first-place award from the National Scholastic Press Association, which gave the publication two marks of distinction for exemplary work: one in coverage and content and the other in leadership.

Erika Berg, who judged the Krier on behalf of the NSPA, wrote that the Krier’s “voice is creative, intelligent and interesting.”

The paper was judged in five areas, and Berg awarded the staff 950 of 1,000 possible points in content, giving the paper a mark of distinction because of what she described as “superb” topic choices.

“I really got a feel for Kaneland as a community through each feature piece, and I was especially impressed with the depth of feature coverage of some of the stories. The juxtaposition between more serious features and light-hearted, human interest ones give the publication as a whole a great variety,” Berg said.

The paper earned 900 out of 1,000 points in writing and editing, an “excellent” rating; 750 out of 800 points in photos, art, and graphics, an “excellent” rating; and 650 out of 800 points in layout and design, a “very good” rating. The paper also earned a perfect score of 500 points in leadership, for which Berg gave the staff a second mark of distinction.

“The news staff is very invested in the well-being of the school and community,” Berg said. “They are respectful to the student body and the staff and offer constructive information, research and opinion throughout the publication … the staff exhibits school pride while still pursuing journalistic excellence. On the whole, this group seems to take chances and get to the heart of whatever topic is being discussed.”

She commended the staff for adhering to standards of professional journalism, press law and ethics.

“This is a group with integrity and a clear sense of honesty and truth,” Berg wrote in the evaluation.

The NSPA award is the third major award the Krier staff has received for the 2009-10 publication. Last April, the Krier staff won the Golden Eagle from the Northern Illinois Scholastic Press Association, which is awarded to the best student newspaper in the division, and in September, Quill and Scroll gave the Krier an International First Place ranking.

It’s also the first time in three years the Krier has competed in the NSPA competition, and journalism teacher Cheryl Borrowdale said she was pleased with the results.

“For a judge to give us a first-place ranking indicates that the Krier staff is producing an exemplary paper and is doing a really excellent job of covering the Kaneland area, ” she said. “I was particularly pleased the judge pointed how ethical and responsible the Krier’s editorial board is in their coverage, because this is a staff that holds itself to high standards and really tries to make good decisions.”

Executive Editor Sarah Arnold said she was proud of the staff’s accomplishments.

“We’ve worked really hard as a staff to put out the best paper we can, and it’s not easy. Producing an issue takes more work than most people realize, so it’s exciting when someone else recognizes everything we put into it,” she said. “I really feel proud of the work that I’ve done and the work the rest of the staff has done.”

Although the judge’s comments were mostly positive, Berg did suggest some areas for future improvement in the categories of writing and editing and in page layout and design.

“A few of the news stories were cluttered with too many quotes or different voices, and they didn’t always bring relevance to the story,” she said.

Berg suggested the staff delete interviews that did not add interest to a story, even if the story contained fewer than three sources, and that the staff be more careful with bleeding elements off the edge of the page and with layering type.

“Using more creative elements would help break up the page layouts,” she suggested.

Arnold said that this year’s Krier staff has been working to improve in these areas.

“Design has been one of our pushes this year, and while we’re still developing in terms of our graphic design and look, we have definitely made some strides this year,” she said. “We’ve been studying the feedback we’ve gotten back from the judges, both here and in our other competitions, and we’re trying to include more visual elements and a wider variety of layouts in the Krier, among other things.”

The first round of competitions for the 2010-11 Krier staff begins in late April. This year’s NISPA competition will be held on April 29 at the College of DuPage, where more than 20 Krier editors and reporters will compete in individual categories. It will be quickly followed by the Illinois Woman’s Press Association’s High School Communications Contest in May.

Candidates see commercial growth as key to Sugar Grove’s future

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Sugar Grove Village Board candidate David Paluch addresses the crowd during last week’s candidate forum held at the Sugar Grove Public Library, while fellow candidates Mark Buschbacher, Kevin Geary and Mari Johnson listen. About 50 residents turned out to hear candidates for a variety of local offices, including village trustee, as well as the fire protection, park, library and school districts. Photo by Mary Herra

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Sugar Grove—A balanced budget and attracting new businesses to Sugar Grove were issues agreed upon by candidates running for village trustee at a candidate forum last week. Four candidates are vying for three four-year terms and all concurred that the village faces a tough road ahead.

About 50 residents turned out for the forum on a chilly night held at the village’s new library and hosted by the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce. Candidates for other local races, including Sugar Grove Fire Protection District, Park District, Library and Kaneland District #302 boards, also were allowed to speak.

Kane County Forest Preserve District President John Hoscheit explained the district’s upcoming $30 million referendum to buy additional open space now that land prices have dropped.

But it was a panel discussion of candidates for village trustee, moderated by Bo Smith of the Elburn Herald, that kept the crowd waiting. Kevin Geary and Mari Johnson, both incumbents, as well as challengers Mark Buschbacher and David Paluch, answered several questions beginning with the ongoing issue of impact fees.

When asked about cutting or eliminating impact fees to attract developers without hurting the School District, which announced a $1 million budget shortfall, the candidates agreed that new business could be the answer.

“We’ve just recently negotiated a deal with McDonald’s, a flagship type of commercial business that other businesses want to follow,” Geary said. “That’s great for us.”

Geary also suggested property taxes were another option since commercial properties pay taxes as well without putting a single child into the school system.

Johnson said the best way to encourage development without hurting the schools is to work hard to bring in commercial, retail and industrial businesses.

“Those are things that help grow our tax base and diversify the community,” she said.

Buschbacher said an interchange at Route 47 and Interstate 88 would “change the dynamics” and create a trickle down effect in drawing traffic to the area and attract more retail development. Paluch agreed that the new McDonald’s opens the door to attracting other businesses, but cautioned the village not to move too fast.

“Slow but steady growth is a good thing,” he said.

All agreed that the biggest issue facing the Village Board is finances. Johnson acknowledged that there would be difficult decisions ahead, but that the board would need to look ahead to see what needs to be done.

Paluch was optimistic despite the financial challenges ahead.

“The plus side is we are at a surplus for 2011 and project a surplus for 2012,” he said. “That’s fantastic news in this economy.”

Early voting begins Monday, March 14, and continues through Thursday, March 31, before the consolidated election on Tuesday, April 5.

Rocking the Reading Cafe

in Elburn/Featured/Kaneland/Kaneville by

by Lynn Meredith
Kaneland—Enter the Reading Cafe at Blackberry Creek Elementary School on the second floor overlooking the library, and you won’t see a typical classroom, or library for that matter. You’ll see a place where kids can kick back and get excited about reading.

Lime green shag rugs cover the floor, flanked by bright yellow cabinets and turquoise and lime green curtains. Paper lanterns hang from the ceiling, and artwork adorns the walls, along with posters of the Jonas Brothers and Tony Hawk. Bean bag chairs, a futon, pillows, stuffed animals, and, yes, books, contribute to the dorm-like atmosphere. And then there’s the bright orange leather couch.

“That orange couch was the piece de resistance,” Literacy Specialist Linda Zulkowski said.

Zulkowski, along with fellow teacher Terri Konen, brought the idea to the school after attending an inspiring professional development workshop.

The purpose of the reading cafe is to motivate kids to read inside and outside of school. By having an energizing and fun place to come for reading activities, kids associate reading with fun.

“The ultimate goal is to promote reading outside of school, to choose to do it out. We hope they will be engaging more here in school and getting hooked on books,” Zulkowski said.

The cafe opened in October. Each teacher has a designated time if they choose to use the room. They can also sign up for open times. They use the room to read aloud to the students, to give students independent reading time, or even to reward the kids.

“They love this room. It’s being used often by teachers as a reward. The reward is getting to read,” Zulkowski said. “ It’s so different. You don’t expect to see something like this in a school.”

After attending a workshop presentation by Steven Layne, a professor at Judson Univeristy who has written a book on motivating students to read, Konen and Zulkowski first thought of it as a professional development goal. It soon became a whole building and school improvement goal. They went to the PTO to see if it could help, perhaps by donating a couch or small items. Instead, the PTO gave them $2,000 to fund the entire room.

After a shopping trip to IKEA for the bright furnishings and cool outfitting, the plan was to keep the room a secret from the kids and give hints that something was coming.

“We had a huge kick-off,” said PTO President Kathy Webster. “We blacked out the windows of the room and had a countdown from 20 to zero of what is in the mystery room. We really pumped it.”

The unveiling was a ribbon-cutting, whole-school assembly. Music teacher Brandon Fox even wrote a song about it. Webster then had the idea to involve the community by having a month of community leaders come in to read to the students and talk about how they use reading on their jobs.

The month of February began with a Ronald McDonald assembly. Elburn Mayor Dave Anderson, Ben Conley of Conley Funeral Home, Dr. Wayne Larsen, a veterinarian from Kaneville, Pat Hill, owner of Hill’s Country Store, Pastor Lou Quetel from Geneva, Dwayne Nelson from the Town and Country Library and Bryan Janito all participated.

“It was a big deal for us,” Zulkowski said. “We had fun shopping for it, we had fun watching the kids when they first saw it, and we have fun seeing the kids actually reading.”

First conference crown since ‘82 highlights huge boys hoops win

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—There have been plenty of things that have gone out of style since 1982, like Intellivision, Pac-Man and Valley Girl-speak.

One thing that never seems to go out of style is winning. Just ask Kaneland boys hoops.

With a trip into a vocal, home-happy environment at Rochelle High School, the Knights subdued a feisty Hubs unit 74-67 to take the Northern Illinois Big XII East Division championship on Friday night, their first conference crown since 1982.

Coach Brian Johnson was 2 years old at the time, when the Bob Pederson-led Knights went 26-6.

“For our guys to come here after winning on the road at Yorkville last week and to win on the road here; for them to handle that pressure, that’s all them. ” Johnson said .”They had toughness and got it done, I’m so proud of them.”

With the season sweep of Rochelle, Kaneland finished the regular season at 17-8, with an 8-2 mark in NIB-12 play. In 2009-10, KHS finished 16-9 in regular season play.

Chaon Denlinger had a game-high 26 points and four three-pointers, followed by 19 points from freshman Daniel Helm.

“This is helping us a lot,” Helm said. “We know we can persevere and we can battle. We had to eliminate (Alex Prusator) and (Joe Torres), and they still got their points, but we held them.”

Tyler Heinle, seeing his most crucial time of the regular season, hit three treys enroute to nine points.

Drew David’s three-pointer with 2:07 left in the first quarter gave Kaneland a 22-13 lead in a run-and-gun frame. Denlinger folllowed up with a bucket to make it 24-13 with 1:02 remaining, and Rochelle countered with a three to close within 24-16 with 42.3 to go, closing out the scoring.

Trever Heinle’s basket with 1:11 to go in the half gave Kaneland its biggest lead of the game at 41-28 before the Hubs came back with two baskets before the halftime buzzer sounded with the score 41-32.

Helm and Denlinger combined on four straight baskets in the third quarter to maintain a 49-40 lead with 4:41 remaining but Rochelle powered ahead and cut the lead to 51-50 with 2:36 to go. A Hubs foul shot with 21.6 seconds to close within 58-54.

A Heinle three-pointer with 5:21 in the fourth quarter gave KHS a 66-56 lead, but Rochelle scored nine unanswered points to close within 66-65 with 1:34 remaining.

Rochelle had a chance to take a lead with two free throw attempts but whiffed on both. After two Helm foul shots made it 68-65 with 1:05 to go, the Hubs sunk a shot to close within one with 51.0 seconds left.

Kaneland persevered with the help of free throws by Zach Ringhouse and David, increasing the final margin to seven.

Kaneland’s scheduled Sycamore Regional opponent, Aurora Central Catholic (13-13), finished its regular season with a 60-58 loss to St. Francis of Wheaton on Thursday. The winner of that contest was set to face either Rochelle or Sycamore in the final on Friday, March 4, at 7:30 p.m.

Former Knight Dudzinski All-Rookie selection for Holy Cross Crusaders

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Holy Cross’s Dave Dudzinski was chosen for the Patriot League’s All-Rookie Team this week. Peter Cooke, Holy Cross Sports Information

WORCESTER, Mass.—Holy Cross freshman forward Dave Dudzinski (Elburn, Ill.) was chosen to the All-Rookie team this week, while junior guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) and senior center Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) have both been selected to the 2010-2011 All-Patriot League second team in men’s basketball, as voted by the conference’s head coaches.

Dudzinski has averaged 4.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game this season, while hitting 52.3 percent (46 of 88) of his field goal attempts. His top performance so far this year came at Sacred Heart, when he scored a career-high 15 points on six-of-six shooting from the field. Dudzinski also pulled down a career-high six rebounds against St. Joseph’s, and added nine points and five rebounds in the win over Lafayette, including a pair of free throws with 1:37 remaining to give Holy Cross the lead for good.

Brown has averaged a team-best 15.6 points per game this year, while hitting 36.6 percent (59 of 161) of his three-point attempts and 81.1 percent (103 of 127) of his free throws. He finished the regular season ranked fifth in the league in three-point field goals made, sixth in scoring, seventh in free throw percentage and 12th in three-point percentage. Brown has led the team in scoring 15 times this year and scored in double-figures 21 times, including 10 straight double-digit scoring games entering the postseason. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Brown has now totaled 998 points, 176 rebounds and 110 assists, while hitting 38.2 percent (135 of 353) of his three-point field goal attempts and 81.6 percent (261 of 320) of his free throws.

Keister has averaged 12.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 0.6 blocked shots per game this season, while making 50.8 percent (120 of 236) of his field goal attempts.

He was even more impressive against Patriot League opponents, averaging 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds in conference action. On the season, Keister ranks first in the Patriot League in rebounding, fifth in field goal percentage, 11th in scoring and 11th in blocked shots. He has also posted a team-best 10 double-doubles on the year, including seven straight double-doubles to end the regular season. Over the course of his collegiate career, Keister has now totaled 927 points and 737 rebounds, while making 51.8 percent (369 of 713) of his field goal attempts and posting 29 double-doubles. Keister becomes only the 15th player in Patriot League history to earn all-conference honors three times, after being named to the first team in 2008-2009 and the second team in 2009-2010.

Holy Cross (8-20 overall, 7-7 Patriot League) was set to return to action on Wednesday, when it would host Lafayette in a quarterfinal round game of the Patriot League Tournament.

KHS group honors Civil War history with trip to Virginia

in Featured/Kaneland by

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by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Few activities can hammer home the importance of a school subject matter like a field trip. And when that trip is to a state on the East Coast, then you’re talking about a one-of-a-kind learning experience.

And that’s exactly what Javier Martinez, a Kaneland High School social studies teacher, will have in mind when he, 18 of his students, a fellow teacher and a parent embark on a spring break trip to Northern Virginia in late March.

The trip is made up of students who are taking the new high school course, Armed Conflict and International Relations. The class teaches a mix of military history and political science.

“In conjunction with (the class), I made an offer to all the kids who were taking the class this year to put together a service trip to Northern Virginia to work with the National Park Service and do some battlefield restoration,” Martinez said. “The fact that (it’s the 150th anniversary of the Civil War) is almost just a coincidence.”

The group will stay in 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps cabins in Prince William National Forest during the trip and will cook for themselves to keep costs down. After arriving in Virginia on Sunday, March 27, the group will spend the week taking a trip to the Gettysburg battlefield; working to clear brush, rebuild soil barricades and, weather permitting, paint cannons and other battlefield artifacts in Spotsylvania; and sight-seeing at The National Museum of the Marine Corps, Arlington National Cemetery, the FBI Academy, the National Air and Space Museum, and some monuments located in the Nation’s capital.

Martinez said the Kaneland Social Studies Department had tried more of a sight-seeing trip in the past, but couldn’t drum up much interest from students. This year, they focused on kids taking the Armed Conflict and International Relations course with the assumption that those students had a strong interest in the D.C. area and the military’s legacy in the United States.

“A lot of the kids didn’t get the opportunity to go on the (eighth grade) trip to Washington D.C., so we thought we’d offer (this trip) while they are in high school,” he said. “And it just seemed to be a natural dovetail for this class to do some service work so the kids (could get) an appreciation for the history they learn in school, and at the same time help preserve it.”

The cost of the all-inclusive trip is currently $942, but Martinez hopes to dial down those costs a bit with a fundraiser that will take place on Friday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. in the KHS auditorium. There will be a screening of the award-winning documentary “Chosin,” during the fundraiser. The film, released last year to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, is named for the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea and features Korean War footage and interviews regarding the battle between the 1st Marine Division and Chinese troops at the reservoir in November and December 1950.

Martinez said there is no cost to see the film, but students will be set up in the lobby to collect any donations during the fundraiser.

“We’re going to show the movie, and we’ve got a bunch of veterans coming out,” Martinez said. “My understanding, although I haven’t met him yet, is we actually have a survivor of the Chosin Reservoir War campaign coming out to the movie, and he lives in the area. It’ll be kind of neat to meet him.”

Pieces together

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Cortland resident Alma Counihan stands behind a display case full of her hand-crafted jewelry items. Counihan launched a new line of her jewelry, the Hummingbird Collection, in support of Austin Cole, a 5-year-old child with autism whose family is seeking financial support to help defray continuing medical costs of treatment. Courtesy Photo

Cortland jeweler creates line to help family in need
by David Maas
Cortland—Alma Counihan, a local jeweler of the Hummingbird Collection, has been selling custom bridal jewelry for years. After meeting a child in need, she decided to expand her business to offer her help.

“After years of collecting precious gemstones, and just staring at them,” the Cortland resident said. “I had the idea that maybe it’s time to do something with them.”

Counihan was then hired on by a jewelry company to learn the basics, and then worked along side Master Jewelers.

“I learned a lot,” Counihan said, “When my son, Terry, and his fiance called me and asked if I’d make their bridal jewelry, I decided to make a business out of it.”

For three years, Counihan continued to make and sell bridal jewelry, but that all changed when she met Austin Cole.

“I met Austin, an adorable little 5-year-old boy with Autism,” Counihan said.

Counihan met Austin and his father, Dave Campos, through her neighbors. Later, she found out that Campos had received a letter stating that his company’s insurance would no longer be paying for Austin’s therapy, just six months into the benefit year.

“The little guy just melted my heart,” said Counihan, “I thought there had to be something I could do to help. I’ve made donations in the past to other causes, but I never really knew what became of it.”

Counihan decided to use her talents of making jewelry to help raise money for Austin.

“After doing some research, I found that the symbols for Autism Awareness are puzzle pieces,” said Counihan, “It was at that second I decided, we can put the pieces together one child at a time, one friend at a time.”

She then designed a series of bracelets that feature a puzzle piece to help raise awareness.

“My goal is to add more children in time,” said Counihan, “But for now, we have to keep Austin in school. Without the proper schooling, he will suffer a major setback.”

The bracelets are being sold for $15 to $30, with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to the Austin Cole Fund.

Counihan is also giving a bride-to-be the chance to win four pairs of custom bridal earrings for bridesmaids at the upcoming Bandaroke: Singing for Austin Charity Event at America’s Historic Roundhouse in Aurora on March 9.

“It’s karaoke with a live band,” said Counihan, “There will be many more items raffled off as well, including a dinner cruise and spa package.”

The bracelets are available for purchase at www.AustinCole.org, along with information about Austin and upcoming fundraisers.

KHS Knights win lucky 7th in a row

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—Judging from the score by quarters, you could argue Yorkville outplayed the Knights boys basketball squad on Friday night.

However, the Knights outplayed the host Foxes with a vengeance for the first eight minutes, and showed grit in the final quarter, holding on to the lead.

When the final buzzer bellowed, the Knights emerged with a 53-52 win, offsetting the damage from last month’s win by the Foxes in Maple Park.

“They want you to play fast and make you turn the ball over,” KHS coach Brian Johnson, “Early on, we were on fire and we caught them off-guard a little. They put on the pressure and we started turning the ball over.”

With the win, Kaneland improved to 16-8 with a 7-2 record in Northern Illinois Big XII play. KHS has just one regular season game to go before the playoffs arrive.

Remarkably, since three losses from Jan. 11-18, Kaneland has now won seven contests in a row.

A relatively balanced scoring column had Chaon Denlinger with 13 points (three three-pointers) and Daniel Helm with 10 points, most from close range.

A potential saving grace for the Knights was an 11-for-16 night from the foul line.

The sophomore boys continued their campaign with a 51-46 takedown of Yorkville on Friday. The team has now won 23 of 24 games and 11 of 12 NIB-12 games, which wraps up the NIB-12 title.

The varsity contest got off to a blazing start as baskets by Denlinger, Helm and Drew David helped Kaneland get out to a 25-5 lead with 1:31 remaining in the first.

Kaneland had a 25-7 lead heading into the second quarter when points were a tad harder to come by.

The only field goal by the Knights in the second frame was a basket by Trever Heinle with 3:12 left to give Kaneland a 27-17 lead. Yorkville had closed the deficit before halftime to 29-21.

With a Denlinger bucket, the Knights’ lead grew to 34-25 with 3:31 to go, but Yorkville’s basket with five seconds left in the third cut the lead to 39-35.

With under two minutes to go and the Knights clinging to a 49-46 lead, a Heinle basket increased the lead to 51-46 with 1:34 to go in regulation.

A Yorkville bucket with 59.5 ticks left closed the margin to three, and another shot closed to within 51-50 with 27.2 remaining.

Zach Ringhouse was fouled and hit two foul shots with 13.1 to go.

“Coach was telling us not to turn the ball over,” Ringhouse said. “When we did do that, he told us to calm down and stay focused. I just wanted to stay as calm as possible and hit a few free throws.”

With a 53-50 lead and time running out, Yorkville’s flurry yielded a putback with 1.1 seconds to go, but the game ended at 53-52.

“We were just able to execute down the stretch. We turned the ball over some, but that’ll happen against a team like Yorkville,” Johnson said.

The lone game for Kaneland is for Northern Illinois Big XII East supremacy, scheduled for Friday, Feb. 25, in Rochelle at 7 p.m.

HIGH-OCTANE
Out of the highest point totals for individual quarters this season, the now red-hot Knights have put up two high marks in the last two games.

Jan. 28 (4th Q) 27 points
Feb. 15 (4th Q) 26 points
Feb. 18 (1st Q) 25 points

Evers heads NIB-12 hoops first team

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

KANELAND—Even though the Kaneland girls basketball season came to an end 10 days ago, the good news was still able to pour in on Tuesday.

With the Northern Illinois Big XII girls basketball All-Conference team voted on by coaches and released, Lady Knights Kelly Evers was a unanimous selection to the first team, and teammate Emily Heimerdinger was named to the honorable mention group in the East Division.

Evers, a six-foot junior, was recognized for her everyday starting contributions, and for helping the 13-16 Lady Knights to their best mark in five years.

DeKalb had three players on the first team, including co-MVP Kelli Gerace, Emily Remis and Taylor White. Rochelle added Katie Swartz and Cassidy Ziech. Morris supplied co-MVP Layney Miller.

Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza rounded out the first team.

For the honorable mention, Heimerdinger closed her senior season with the nod to the NIB-12 core best. DeKalb’s Courtney Patrick represented the Lady Barbs, while Rochelle’s Shanna Metzger joins her.

Morris added Alex Granger and Leslie Claire to the honorable mention list. Yorkville supplied Jenny Taptich and Jordann Dhuse. Sycamore’s Ashley Berlinski rounded out the list.

Lessons of the past create the future

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Helen Bauer, an experienced amateur archaeologist, coordinates the 5-year archaeology investigation at Garfield Farm Museum. Here she shows a large animal bone that was discovered. They are finding new items all the time including shell casings, glass, dinnerware and pipe stems. The excavations will help map out how the farm area was originally laid out. Photo by John DiDonna

by Lynn Meredith
Campton Twp.—Jerry Johnson has had a vision 30 years into the realizing: to create a living history farm from the 1840s on the Garfield farm in Campton Township. The germ of the idea began when Johnson’s mother, Evelyn Johnson, wrote the last surviving Garfield a letter with ideas about things that could be done with the property. She heard back from Elva Garfield—18 years later.

The Garfield house had been an inn and tavern for farmers hauling grain to Chicago for shipment out the Great Lakes, through the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Atlantic. Johnson saw the value of keeping the house, barns and surrounding land for the future generations as a representation of that global expansion.

“Things had been relatively left in tact, a lot less had been done than you’d expect,” Johnson said. “It has the historic integrity (needed for a museum). Not many farms have so much still standing, especially from people who weren’t famous.”

Johnson also realized that the family had kept much of the documentation connected with farm over its history since it was purchased in the 1840s.

“We have good documentation as well as family history that the family wrote down. A sense of history and heritage was important to them,” Johnson said. “Even in the 1890s, Elva’s mother had the idea that someday the house would be a museum to honor settlers, so they were saving things even back then.”

When no governmental body expressed interest in taking on the project of preserving the farm, Johnson decided to take it on.

“We’ve had wonderful support to be able to do it. It’s not something you do lightly, but you don’t know how much you’ve really undertaken,” he said.

Johnson’s vision is to preserve the farm as close to its 1840s formation as possible, so that it may be interpreted, as all history is.

“We’re not just looking at the past because it’s different, but what are the lessons of the past, what are the relevancies of the past in parts of life today?” Johnson said. “We have examples to look at and perhaps see that not everything is new under the sun.”

Garfield Farm focuses on its strengths: history, farming and the environment. With development wiping out most of the farms in Campton Township and surrounding areas, preserving and protecting farms in their original state helps educate those who have lost connection with the land. Johnson explains that when you live on a farm you can’t separate the land and the weather or climate change. You deal with it every day.

The educational experience-for youth and adults alike—that the living farm provides is hand-on. People actually participate in events such as plowing the field with oxen or making butter. Currently, these are special events throughout the season from June to December, but the goal is to have a full educational program on a working 1840s farm.

The first phase of reaching this goal has been 23 years in the making, that of acquiring adjacent property to protect it from development.

“We wanted to make sure it still looked like a farm,” Johnson said.

The phase the museum is in now is restoring all the buildings to their original state. That requires conducting the proper research through archaeological excavation.

“We need the archaeological research to determine what things were actually like here. We have a lot of good clues that are just more information to build a case as to what it was really like. It’s not just the artifacts themselves. It’s what the whole story can add to our findings,” Johnson said.

Excavations have been underway for the past five years and have uncovered many artifacts and even the cellar of the original log home built on this land.

“We will complete the systematic opening up of the whole area,” Board Member Helen Bauer said. “The people living here had trash piles, probably pretty close to the log house. Then plowing scattered the trash. We explore what is the extent of the 19th century dispersal of that trash.”

The project has used over 1,400 hours of volunteer help, along with AmeriCorps workers, for two seasons. Money is raised by the museum without assistance from any taxing body. So far $8 million has been put into the museum over the 30 years since its inception. Restoration of the buildings will require $3 million more.

Johnson sees the farm museum as a way to educate people about the connection of land and our democratic form of government.

“The desire to have land—which is basically so you can farm—is not simply where our food comes from, but where our democratic freedoms come from. They evolved out of the tradition of wanting to own your own land,” Johnson said. “It was a nation of farmers in 1776. It was something so significant, yet today we make no connection to it. This farm represents all those prairie farms that were established here.”

To become a friend of Garfield Farm Museum, visit www.garfieldfarm.org for more information.

Upcoming events

Feb. 19: Natural Area
Management Seminar
March 6: Antique Apple
Tree Grafting Seminar
March 12 and 13: Fox Valley
54th Annual Antique Show
April10: “Hands-on”
Dulcimer Workshop
April 30: Woodland
Wildflower Walk
May 7: Museum Awards Banquet
May TBA: 19th Century
Photography Lecture
May 22: Rare Breeds Show
June 8-12, 15-19:
Archaeological Excavation

For complete descriptionsand listings, visit www.garfieldfarm.org

Boyle breaks out at wrestling Sectional

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland’s Jimmy Boyle (285 lbs) is no stranger to Champaign, Ill., having gone to 2010 State. File Photo

KANELAND—It’s familiar territory for Knights heavyweight Jimmy Boyle.

Familiar but exceptional territory for the senior, who now goes to the IHSA Class 2A State tournament at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., this weekend.

Boyle goes down for the second consecutive year after a second-place showing at the Rochelle Sectional on Friday and Saturday.

Boyle, now with a 36-6 mark on the season, began the gathering with a 3-1 win in overtime over Ottawa’s Robby Marotta. He then beat Marian Central Catholic’s Scott Taylor by 3-0 count in another overtime before losing to LaSalle-Peru’s Jason Huebbe, 3-1, in the championship final.

The only other finalist for Kaneland was Nick Michels at 171 pounds, who lost in the third-place matchup to Freeport’s Armond Hollins by a 7-2 count. Michels began the sectional with an 8-2 win over Washington’s Dan Massengill, and then lost to Marengo’s Mark Hendricks in a 4-2 decision.

Michels then beat Sterling’s Jeremy Galvan, 14-8, to go into the third-place final.

For Boyle, his first test this weekend is Riverside-Brookfield’s John Schraidt, with the winner facing Vernon Hills’ Jeremy Brazil.

Andrews, Callaghan and Serpa partake in busy signing month

in Featured/Football by

Top photo: Flanked by family members, Blake Serpa (left) and Tyler Callaghan (right) sign their commitments at Central Michigan and St. Joseph’s College on Feb. 9. Taylor Andrews (below) signed with West Point on Tuesday. Photos by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How good was the Class of 2011 group that kept finding the endzone for Kaneland football?

Ask three very lucky institutions of higher learning.

On Feb. 9, Kaneland High School was host to signings by Blake Serpa to Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., and Tyler Callaghan to Division II St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. Tuesday featured Taylor Andrews commiting to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Family, various teachers, Kaneland High School Athletics Director Leigh Jaffke and KHS varsity football coach Tom Fedderly were present for both occasions.

For Serpa, whose interest in the Mid-American Conference school dated back to last year, feels that a productive senior year helped his cause and prospects for the next level.

“There’s not the extra (weight) on my shoulders about where I’m going to go, so it’s nice that the pressure was off,” Serpa said. “Defensive end is where they really want me. There could be some packages where I play tight end, but I’m not too worried about it.”

Teammate Callaghan hits the institution that housed the Bears training camp home from 1944-1974.

“I went there and I liked it right away,” Callaghan said. “It’s a small school right off the interstate, and it’s nice to have that close atmosphere.”

Callaghan is expected to contribute at tight end and major in biology.

“I hope to be a big part of the offense, and this system helped a lot. The offense we run is so dynamic,” Callaghan said.

Flanked in Army gear and accompanied by family and Sgt. Jason Hardman, Andrews is glad to see the next phase of his life come into focus.

“I was really looking toward ROTC in college, and I was really set on Wheaton College for awhile. Then West Point wanted me to come out for a visit two weeks ago,” Andrews said. “The first night, I knew I wanted to be there; the whole legacy of everything.”

Andrews’ eventual position is to be determined.

Coach Heiss wins No. 500

in Featured/Waubonsee Sports by

DES PLAINES, Ill.—Waubonsee Community College’s Dave Heiss joined a select group on Thursday in Des Plaines, Ill.

The Chiefs bounced Oakton Community College 71-59 to give Waubonsee’s long-time men’s basketball head coach his 500th career victory. Coach Heiss becomes the 21st active coach at the NJCAA level to reach that milestone, and is the 51st coach with 500 or more wins in the history of NJCAA men’s basketball.

“I’ve been very blessed, very fortunate all around with a good administration at Waubonsee, a good boss in (Waubonsee Athletic Manager) Dave Randall, good assistant coaches and obviously good players. You don’t get to this plateau unless you have a mixture of those things,” Heiss said.

The Chiefs (17-8, 8-2) knocked off the Raiders (6-20, 1-9) for the second time this season, shooting 61 percent from the floor in the second half and owning a 44-29 rebounding advantage over their Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I had not thought about it (500 wins), but at the same time our focus has been more on getting this team ready to go and prepared,” Heiss said.

Under Heiss’ leadership the last 25 years, the Chiefs have become a perennial NJCAA top-20 program, ranking as high as #2 in the NJCAA’s Division II poll two different seasons. Heiss has guided the Chiefs to the NJCAA Region IV crown and a berth into the NJCAA Division II National Tournament four times. He has been inducted into the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame (2006), the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame (2009), the Aurora West High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2010) and the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) Hall of Fame (2010).

In 2008, he became the ISCC’s all-time leader for career wins and currently has 224 league victories, winning more than 68 percent (224-104) of the Chiefs’ conference battles. His squads have won nine ISCC titles with 57 of his players being named All-ISCC First Team, including eight league MVP Awards.

Heiss is a full-time faculty member in Waubonsee’s physical education department and was an instrumental player in the establishment of the school’s S.T.A.R. program, the student/athlete academic monitoring system.

Girls basketball ride stopped by group of Warriors

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Kaneland’s Emma Bradford shows maximum effort toward the hoop during the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy on Monday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights saw their regular season end on Thursday in Rochelle by a final of 61-52, and then with a 30-27 loss on Monday at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill., saw their playoff quest come to an end.

With the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy in the St. Francis Regional, Kaneland’s season ended at 13-16, its best end mark since 2007. Wheaton Academy was set to face Montini Catholic on Wednesday at St. Francis High School as of press time.

But the opportunities seemed to be there for the taking. The problem was finishing those opportunities.

The Lady Knights, who also were eliminated by the Warriors four years ago, were just 10-for-50 from the field, and six-for-25 from the charity stripe.

Notwithstanding, the Lady Knights were still leading the hotly contested game in the fourth quarter, and led as late as two minutes, one second left in regulation.

“We were right there,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ve been shooting like 63 percent on the season for free throws, and we come in and go (six-for-25), it just seemed like the whole team was tense on their shots today. First half, I just thought it’s the jitters and we’ll get over it.”

The Lady Knights’ largest lead in the game was just four points, but took the lead late on an Evers foul shot, 26-25, with 121 ticks left to play.

Wheaton Academy then proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to take a 29-26 lead with 1:27 left. Two attempts at three-pointers went unsuccessful, but Emma Bradford eventually hit the back end of two foul shot attempts with 16.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two.

When Allyson Witt (15 points) hit the first of two shots with 13.1 ticks left to make it 30-27, KHS set the final possession in motion with a chance to tie to no avail.

In the early outset of the contest, Andie Strang’s three-pointer and an Alderman bucket gave Kaneland an early 8-4 lead before Wheaton Academy tied it at 8 before the end of the quarter. Bradford’s offensive putback with 2:49 left in the half gave KHS a 14-13 lead. However, Bradford’s shot would be the only one made out of 21 attempts from the second to third frames. Alderman’s basket with 2:30 left in the third broke the drought and brought KHS to within 17-16. A Strang foul shot tied the score before the end of the third at 19-all. The largest lead for the Lady Knights was 25-21 with 4:43 left, thanks to an Evers free throw.

Against Rochelle, KHS was paced by Kelly Evers’ 15 points and 10 from Emily Heimerdinger.

The sophomores concluded a remarkable campaign with a 48-43 win at Rochelle to finish at 25-1 and 10-0 in NIB-12 play. A balanced attack was led by Sarah Grams’ 10 points.

With the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the best for KHS girls basketball in five years, the Kaneland program bids adieu to seniors Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Trinae Coachman.

“They were outstanding. A lot of kids wouldn’t have put the time in after winning five games a year ago. They not only put time in but they got better and made sure our younger kids did, as well,” Colombe said.

Merger keeps people reading

in Elburn/Featured by

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Every day, three to five large canvas bags arrive at the Elburn Town and Country Library. They are filled with books that patrons have ordered through interlibrary loan. As part of the DuPage Library System, Elburn has access to many more books, videos and other materials than it could possible afford to stock on its own shelves.

As of July 1, 2011, the DuPage system will merge with four other northern and central Illinois library systems to form a single library system. The new system will provide services to more than 1,500 public, private, university and school library members. The consolidation of the five systems is hoped to reduce administrative costs, streamline operations and improve the coordination of resource sharing services.

“We don’t know right now what will happen,” said Mary Lynn Alms, Elburn Town and Country Library director. “We’re not sure how it will work.”

At this time, the DuPage system coordinates van delivery of books five days a week. According to a survey of member libraries, the number-one priority for the system is to coordinate the statewide delivery service. Since July 1 in Elburn, 8,838 books and materials have gone in and out of the library.

“The volume is huge,” said Circulation Manager Kathy Semrick. “We’ve had 6,300 requests (to borrow from other libraries) and 2,500 (requests to lend books to other libraries) that we have filled.”

The library system also provides consulting services for questions that come up regarding policy and procedures. They offered continuing education for the staff on topics such as interlibrary loan, customer service and reference.

“We’ve already seen some effect (of the impending merger). They have let a lot of staff go that provided us with consulting services,” Alms said. “They used to host a lot of free and low-cost classes, but now there are none at all.”

On June 30 the switch-over will take place. Everyone is counting on it being smooth.

“They say there will be no lag time; that it will be seamless. We’ll see,” Semrick said.

“Fit Kids 2020” outlines strategies to reduce childhood obesity

in Featured/Health & Wellness by

KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department announced the release of “Fit Kids 2020 Plan,” a 51-page document that outlines the strategies required to reverse childhood obesity in Kane County over the next decade.

This document is the result of the work of more than 80 community members who worked over a period of six months, contributing more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time in nine sector-specific workgroups to develop the plan.

In Kane County, one in five kids is overweight, and in some communities that number is an alarming one in three kids. As these kids get older, they are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, suffer bone and joint problems, and suffer other serious health problems.

“We are recommending that all agencies and groups throughout Kane County adopt the relevant strategies outlined in this plan and adjust them to fit their needs so that we can work together to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Health Executive Director Paul Kuehnert.

“Fit Kids 2020” was developed by parents, physicians, engineers, educators, planners, public health professionals, transportation ex-perts, faith leaders, local policy makers and many more. “Fit Kids 2020” provides the framework to make the systems, environmental and policy changes needed to accomplish the goal by 2020.

“Fit Kids 2020” is made possible by the Making Kane County Fit For Kids Funders Consortium: The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, United Way of Elgin, the Kane Forest Preserve District, the Kane County Office of Regional Education and Kane County.

The “Fit Kids 2020” plan is available for download on the Making Kane County Fit For Kids Web site at www.makingkanefitforkids.org.

The plan
According to the plan, the Make Kane County For Kids strategies can be boiled down to 18 key points:

Local government can:
• Preserve green space and land for farming
• Develop community plans to
promote walking and biking
• Build infrastructure, such as sidewalks and
streets, that make it easier to walk and bike
• Set aside space for community gardens

Employers can:

• Offer programs and health benefits to
promote physical activity and better eating
• Adopt healthy food policies for
food served at meetings
• Provide Opportunities to be physically
active during the work day
Schools can:
• Achieve Gold Award Distinction for
Healthier U.S. School Challenge
• Promote walking and biking
• Build more physical activity
into each student’s day

Faith-based organizations can:
• Offer healthy foods at all community events
• Plant or sponsor a garden
• Take steps to make healthy food available
to those in need
• Create a health and wellness committee

Families can:
• Plant a garden
• Walk your child to school
• Play outside with your children
and grandchildren
• Take action in your community
to promote health

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