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Featured - page 43

Knights get 4-0 kick in opening win over Marengo

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
MARENGO—It was a tale of two halves for Kaneland High School soccer in its opening match.

At the home of the Marengo Indians, the ending couldn’t have been written any better by a famous British author.

After a scoreless first 40 minutes of action, Kaneland erupted for four goals in the final section for a 4-0 win on Tuesday, beginning the season at 1-0.

“They dominated play in the second half,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “We lucked out actually, (Marengo) hit the post a couple of times in the first half. In the second half, we started playing the way we’ve trained to play, which is a few touches, pass the ball, switch the fields, communicate and get the passing lanes open.”

The scoring column opened with midfielder Alex Gil scoring a goal just two minutes, 22 seconds into the second half for a 1-0 lead. Parillo’s son Anthony scored with 23:33 left on a rebound try after Gil’s shot hit the top of the goal.

The third goal came three minutes and one second later, with Chad Swieca scoring on a breakaway. The final deficit was cemented with a goal by Tyler Siebert coming with 16:22 to play.

All the while, goalkeeper J.P. Minogue kept his cool and kept shots away, even in a hotly contested first half.

“I just try and forget about those, forget what happened,” Minogue said. “Just try to keep playing on with the game and hopefully good things will happen now and later.”

The next challenge for soccer is not until Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the annual Burlington Central Invite. The Knights face Yorkville at 4:30 p.m.

Photo: Knight defender Sam Rymarz sends the ball on its way during Monday’s 4-0 shutout in Marengo. The Knights (1-0) used four goals in 21:16. Photo by Mike Slodki

‘Hogwild’ about a cure

in Elburn/Featured/Health & Wellness/Regional by

Hogfan Party
Saturday, Sept. 11, 4-10 p.m.
St. Charles Moose
Adults $25,
Children age 6-15 $10
($5 more at the door);
younger than 6 free
www.friendsofjasongould.com
visit the Hogfan booth at Elburn Days Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22
To donate a dessert, contact Arlene Gould at (630) 552-7765 or e-mail her

Pig roast and auction will raise money for leukemia, and lymphoma research
by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—“Live for today, life is a gift” is a saying that Jason Gould lived by and one that his mother, Sandy Gould of Elburn, will take to heart as she hosts the 2010 Hogfan Party in his honor.

Jason, formerly of Elburn, died in January 2006 at age 36 after a successful bone marrow-stem cell transplant for leukemia left his system immune suppressed, and he contracted viral related lymphoma.

“Organizing this event and knowing that the proceeds will promote research that may end this complication is one of the things that has saved me since I’ve lost my son,” Gould said.

She added that the support she has received from the community, friends and family has been instrumental in helping her cope with the loss of her son, who was a husband and father.

After Jason married and had a family of his own, Gould spent less time with her son, but as his illness progressed she spent many hours at his side, watching his favorite TV programs with him and playing board games that he enjoyed.

“It was a very intense time, and the family valued every minute that we were given,” she said.

Having won his battle with leukemia, Jason was taken with lymphoma just when he felt he had found his calling as a fifth-grade teacher in Oswego. His mother commented that his personality won students over, and those with problems benefited from his attention and concern.

After his death, she received several letters from his former students, telling her how he had affected their lives. She said the letters were heartwarming and difficult to read at the same time.

Fifth-grade student Mike Morrell and his parents, Mitch and Jeanne Morrell of Yorkville, were so impressed by Jason that they offered to handle the pig roast for the Hogfan event, through their business, Upper Crust Catering.

Also helping out with Hogfan is the Moose Lodge in St. Charles, which is supplying its facility at no charge for the second time.

The Hogfan dinner will include the pig roast, lots of of side dishes and a huge array of donated desserts.

“Last year, people must have been afraid that there wouldn’t be enough, as instead of bringing two dishes apiece, they brought four and we had a wonderful assortment,” Gould said.

Several people and businesses already have offered desserts for Hogfan, one of those being LillyCakes of Maple Park.

Aside from the pig roast, the evening will feature returning speaker Dr. Rob Baiocchi of Ohio State University’s Cancer Research Center. Baiocchi has been involved in research on how viruses affect immune-suppressed transplant patients. His research team is attempting to develop a vaccine to prevent this complication.

Hogfan donations help to support his team’s research, clinical trials, FDA approval and finally getting the vaccine into transplant centers. Last year’s Hogfan event raised just under $24,000, which Gould delivered in person to Baiocchi in Ohio.

“There are no middlemen, no one else that needs to make a salary as with other charitable groups,” Gould said. “All proceeds go directly to Dr. Baiocchi’s innovative research lab at the university.”

The reason the event is called Hogfan was because Jason loved the Arkansas Razorbacks, which also led to his mother’s motto for the fundraiser, “Going hogwild about a cure.”

Gould said volunteers and sponsors still are needed for Hogfan, along with donations for the silent auctions. So far, the auction items include sports memorabilia, team jerseys and game tickets. Due to the economy, some previous sponsors have withdrawn this year, she said.

To be listed in the Hogfan event book, sponsors must sign up within the next week, as the book’s scheduled for printing Aug. 25.

Grid-Iron Men, too: KHS begins life as NIB-12 school

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Leading up to the first ever Northern Illinois Big XII campaign, the Knights partake in drills in Maple Park. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a core of three-year starters and the beginning of a new conference, Kaneland High School football looks to be poised for big things in 2010.

It begins with a select group of players that put the “skill” in skill positions.

“We’re excited about having so many guys back with experience,” fourth-year head coach Tom Fedderly said on Monday. “They paid their dues and we want to see what they can do this year.”

Joe Camaliere returns at quarterback, now in his third-year of playing within the spread offense with a flourish.

The senior comes into the Friday, Aug. 27, opener at Burlington Central having tossed just three interceptions in 2009.

“That all comes down to preparation,” Fedderly said. “Making decisions in the game, and Joe takes a lot of pride in taking care of the ball.”

Camaliere will have a void this year, with two-way player Ryley Bailey off to Wisconsin-Platteville.

“Obviously, Ryley was a huge part of what we did last year. But we have guys working hard this year. We look at all of our skills kids back,” Fedderly said.

Running back Blake Serpa, soon to be a Mid-American Conference weapon at Central Michigan University, returns and figures to shoulder a load of the carries.

At the wideout positions are seniors Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, providing production, height and talent.

“Cally’s about six-foot-five, Taylor’s about six-foot-three and so is Serpa. It’s nice to see those guys out there. They can block, too. They can do it all,” Fedderly said.

The Knights like their height advantage, and plan to use it to their, well, advantage.

“It really helps,” Fedderly said. “It helps when you have a big target to throw to in a space. It helps Joe a lot.”

Junior Quinn Buschbacher also found productive playing time last year, as well as the end zone, and will be counted on in 2010.

“Curtis Secrest is another kid that’s been working hard. We have a number of guys that can catch the ball,” Fedderly said.

Serpa and Secrest figure to be carrying the ball, but Fedderly and staff are looking at more options on that end.

Fedderly also mentioned the offensive and defensive lines could have a younger slant and will be open to competition.

Callaghan and Andrews will get time in at linebacker, and Secrest will get a look at secondary.

Serpa will handle punting, while Chad Swieca will handle extra points.

The Knights’ roster looks to make a big splash in the new Northern Illinois Big XII conference, and will add East Division-mate Morris, and West Division cousins Dixon and LaSalle-Peru to its slate.

“What we’re really excited about is that all these are all similar programs,” Fedderly said. “So our younger kids are going to be playing against similar situations with programs that play sophomores, whereas other schools we played had upperclassmen. I think it’s going to really even out.”

The last time Kaneland invaded a new conference, in 2006, the Knights won the Western Sun Conference title in a one-loss regular season.

Now, coming back onto the field after a three-loss regular season and an 40-13 opening round playoff loss to Sycamore, the Knights look to improve their end result.

“If we want to be a good team, we need to watch turnovers and cut down on the mental errors. When we won, it was when we took care of the ball,” Fedderly said.

After the opener, the first East Division matchup is at Rochelle on Friday, Sept. 24. The regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 22 against visiting Morris.

A pirate’s life for she (with photo gallery)

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Alyssa Huber directs a scene from her movie “Cursed Waters” at her home in Sugar Grove on Aug. 11. Alyssa began writing the screenplay for the movie a couple of years ago and is doing it for the experience and her love of film. Photo by John DiDonna

Sugar Grove teen parlays interests into filmmaking
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Childhood adventures and fantasies often evolve into laughable, semi-cherished memories that fade well before adulthood. But for Sugar Grove resident Alyssa Huber, her memories of dressing up in costumes and pretending that her front porch was a pirate ship became the inspiration for a film she both wrote and directed.

“I started becoming interested in pirates (as a child), when I met my friend Kate,” Huber said. “Since then, I’ve wanted to make our random adventures into a movie.”
Huber has spent the past three years writing, filming and editing her movie, “Cursed Water,” which is a more comedic take on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, she said. The film tells the story of Eli Larkin, a wannabe pirate accompanying other pirates on a quest to find a valuable stone.

Huber has always been interested in plays, said her mother, Linda Huber.

“She and her younger brother would dress up and act out skits for me and my husband,” Linda said.

Huber, who is now 18, was home-schooled, but also took a few classes at Waubonsee Community College during her junior and senior years of high school. One of those was summer class that further sparked her interest in screenwriting. She began writing the “Cursed Water” screenplay in that class.

Huber said the film-editing for “Cursed Water” should be finished by the end of the year. That task, along with writing and filming, involved more work than the costume design, which was rather simple, she said.

“I figured out that normal clothing can look pirate-y, depending on what you use or how you arrange it,” she said. “For example, the costume for Eli was just a white T-shirt, a necktie, bandana and tan pants with a belt and sash.”

Eli is played by Huber’s brother’s friend, Harrison, whom she chose to play the role early in the film’s development.

“I came up with Eli while taking a screenwriting class, and I immediately thought of Harrison and decided he was perfect for the part,” she said. “Only a few of my friends got to come up with their own characters (for the film). The rest are characters that I made up.”

Now that she is close to having her first film finshed, what is the next step for the young writer and director? She plans to go to college and possibly become an author or screenplay writer, her mother said. Huber said that she would be willing to work in just about any position in the film industry.

“I was hoping to be a director, but I’d like any job that has to do with making movies, such as screenwriting, editing, camera or prop (and) costume design,” she said. “When I was younger, I always liked dressing up and having cool things to say, so basically I wanted to be an actress. Now I am more interested in directing.”

Parillo high on soccer prospects for 2010

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Junior Anders Winquist-Bailey’sfootwork will be key to improving Kaneland’s seven-win total from 2009. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—While Kaneland soccer fell to a highly talented Antioch team in the 2009 Class 2A regionals, the Knights’ road to progress didn’t end there.

For those that went through the gauntlet of an injury-filled season have another year of experience under their jersey.

Kaneland’s mark of 7-14-1 (2-5 Western Sun Conference) will hopefully be a thing of the past, said coach Scott Parillo.

“We were so young and we’re just as young this year,” Parillo said. “We’ve had more kids come out this year than any other year with 68 kids trying out, which is awesome. We’ve got huge numbers.”

The Knights lost seven seniors to graduation, but the new core looks to serve as a stabilizing force in Maple Park.

Personnel includes Trevor Wolf, Derek White and starting goalkeeper J.P. Minogue. Patrick Bratschun and Alex Weiss make the varsity ranks as seniors for the first time.

While the seniors will be cornerstones, there’s a hidden treasure trove in the junior class.

“As far as juniors, we’ve got Pedro Perez, three-year varsity player; Thanasi Pesamajlou, another three-year varsity player; Alex Dorado and Anders Winquist-Bailey, and we’ve got Jordan Escobedo. It’s a nice group.”

Chad Swieca comes back and highlights the sophomore crew. He’s joined by Alex Gil, who found the net eight times. Alex Koczka, Jason Biddle, Kushtrim Ismaili, Fernando Ramos and Sam Rymarz also lend a foot to the proceedings from the sophomore class.

Meanwhile, Tyler Siebert, Ignacio Toscano and the coach’s son, Anthony Parillo enter the varsity ranks as freshmen.

The Knights invade the pitch on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at the Burlington Central Rocket Invite against Yorkville.

“It does look like it’s going to be a pretty exciting time for us. With this much youth, we’ll see what happens,” Parillo said.

The initial NIB-12 action, now featuring ten conference matches, kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 14 against DeKalb.

The regular season is set to end on Thursday, Oct. 14 at Sycamore.

Boys XC wish to re-run great ending

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Photo: Trent Holm (left) will serve in a senior leadership role for the Kaneland boys cross-country squad. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How does a team that finished fifth in the Class 2A boys cross country race a year ago repeat the appealing end?

With the same preparation and attack, and new personnel to replace the graduates.

“For the most part, everyone is healthy, but we are resting and repairing some pieces to our team,” coach Chad Clarey said.

Out of the 14 to go to State, nine return.

Clarey has some holes to fill, but the senior leadership of Grant Alef, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker provide stability to a team that lost five of its top seven places.

“We return three seniors and each one of them is an All-State athlete in cross-country, track or swimming in 2009.

Holm finished 23rd in State and Clarey likes his trajectory.

“He has had a good summer. He’ll see where the best runners in the state are and compare himself to that,” Clarey said.

Alef was often the fifth runner for the Knights a year ago and was second and fourth in two events for swimming Junior Nationals recently.

“He’s finally on dry land now and ready to run. I think I’ll be a quicker transition for him. He worked his way up through the lineup last year,” Clarey said.

Whittaker, a sprinter by nature, “has groomed himself to be a nice distance runner and had an excellent offseason,” Clarey said.

The junior circuit includes Austin Paulson, Jake Ginther, Kelvin Peterson, Frankie Furco, Clayton Brundige, Stelios Lekkas, John Michek and Nate Rehkopf.

“We’ve got solid juniors and eventually we look for the frosh/soph runners to make their push during the season. Kids that might be in that mix are (sophs) Conor Johnson, Billy Hart, John Meisinger,” Clarey said.

Other sophomores include Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Brad Kigyos, Nicholas Albano, Chris Wido, Brandon Huber and Justin Pollastrini.

Freshmen are Luis Acosta, Ryan Bower, Garrett Patterson, Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger and Kyle Carter.

A new opportunity for getting back to the postseason promised land also brings a new opportunity for fresh conference foes in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

“When we ran in the old Western Sun Conference, we only finished in the top four one time. It was that talented and Sycamore who was a State champ didn’t even win the conference. Geneseo has a nice nucleus, DeKalb is getting better. I think Yorkville would be the team to beat going into all this,” Clarey said.

The regular season begins on Tuesday, Aug. 31 against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy, while the Eddington Invite takes place on Saturday, Sept. 18. Conference is on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Healthy lineup key for Lady Knight runners

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: Senior Andie Strang looks to get back to State for the Lady Knights in 2010. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a roster that returns several that missed State a year ago, motivation is available aplenty for Lady Knights cross-country in 2010.

The season of 2009 ended at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional, but with a captain triumvirate of seniors Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Andie Strang returning, helped out by a talented group, the finish line of courses could come up faster this season.

That’s providing that the overall collective health of the girls is better than a year ago.

“We’re fine this year, so far,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Obviously, the biggest problem the last two years was not work ethic. Kids were getting hurt and sick, but so far.”

Strang, who ran a 19 minute, 16 second course at last year’s regionals, comes off a State trip for girls track, making a winter stress fracture a distant memory.

“She’s run well for us, three-time all-conference and a very good leader. Her and Kris Bowen have been in the top seven since they were freshmen,” Ecker said.

Shaela Collins, Arianna Espino and Kaitlin Munyon round out the senior corps with Ecker hoping for slots in the Lady Knights top ten.

Sophomore assets Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis return after dealing with various injuries and illness a year ago that hampered the bottom line. Fellow sophomore Ashley Castellanos (19:17 in regionals) also returns to help the sophomore group.

“If nothing happens, we should be in pretty good shape. Our main goal is to stay healthy,” Ecker said.

Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the squad comes in the form of a familiar face from 2008, junior Jen Howland.

Howland skipped last year for injuries and to compete in the triathalon circuit. Howland is now eligible to star in the 2010 ITU Junior Triathlon World Championship in Budapest, Hungary in September.

“She hasn’t had an opportunity to run for her high school in a while. I think she likes the opportunity to run with the kids she goes to school with,” Ecker said.

Howland joins Carolina Tovar and Alexis Villarreal on the junior side.

Freshmen are Brooke Howland, Anna Piazza and Sydney Strang.

Strang impressed in the middle school ranks.

“Sydney was among the top, if not the top middle school runner in the area last year. She’s got talent and she’s worked hard and if she runs consistently she’ll do well for us.,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights aren’t going for any drastic leaps and bounds, just taking care what’s in front of them.

“We just stress doing what you’re supposed to do and practicing and the times will come,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights host West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 31 and host the Eddington Invite on Saturday, Sept. 18. The regular season ends with the Northern Illinois Big XII meet on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Young tennis group vying for spots

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Third-year coach Tim Larson leads the initial days of Lady Knights tennis practices that include freshman Abby Meyer. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—While eight seniors are gone from last year’s Kaneland tennis crew, the three varsity returnees all bring a game that’s been battle tested.

2010 begins with senior and three-year player Lindsay Jurcenko.

Jurcenko comes back with the most success from past rosters and finished strong, placing fourth in the No. 1 singles bracket at the final Western Sun Conference tournament.

“She’s got big goals for herself,” third-year coach Tim Larsen said last Thursday. “Our plan is to get as good a record as we can going into the Sectional tournament, get a nice high seed. She’s really dedicated and has played all year.”

Jurcenko serves in the model of upperclassmen well-versed in the Kaneland tennis system, making that part of Larsen’s job worry-free.

“She’s very competitive. It helps to keep her centered in the middle of the match, but she has the shots and she’s confident.”

Joining Jurcenko are juniors Maddie Limbrick and Amelia Napiorkowski.

“I took a big risk last year with Maddie and Amelia playing varsity singles as sophomores. They were playing a little ahead of their time. They would get frustrated sometimes, but that experience will pay off,” Larsen said.

In the early stages of KHS Lady Knights tennis practice, the lineup Larsen plans to take to court is still in flux with many slots open.

“We’re still early into practice. I’ve talked with a lot of girls that will play varsity for us, and we’re going to try out a lot of doubles team members. I’m going to try and see who’s playing the best and who’s playing the best together,” Larsen said.

Whomever plays No. 1 doubles this season will have quite the amount to live up to, with last year’s top combo Olivia Emmanouil and Liz Webb graduated.

“The No. 1 doubles team will be a team that didn’t play varsity last year. It’s going to be quick learning, while the No. 3 and No. 4 doubles might be more comfortable,” Larsen said.

The Lady Knights will look to improve on a 4-7 dual meet record from 2009, even though only three members return and the team now has some new opponents thanks to the new Northern Illinois Big 12 conference.

“I’ll tell you right now, I plan on winning them all,” Larsen said. “I feel very good about the ability these girls have. I think we have a shot to win every one of those dual matches in conference.”

With the new conference volleying for the first time, the East Division includes DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore, Yorkville and NCIC-school Morris.

“I know the coaches and they know the shots I’m planning to hit, and I know the shot they’re planning to hit, and it’s turned into a fun little conference between us,” Larsen said.

Serving against opponents in the varsity ranks will also be seniors Caiti Ellefsen, Megan Hanlon and Sierra Cruz, juniors Jordyn Withey, Maria Rossi, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Sam Williams and Nikki LeBlanc and sophomore Maddy McMullen.

The Lady Knights begin 2010 against Wheaton Academy in Maple Park on Tuesday, Aug. 24, with the first conference action at Sycamore a week later.

The first ever NIB-12 conference gathering is the weekend of Friday-Saturday, Oct. 8-9 in Yorkville.

Volleyball looks for spike in good fortune

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Lady Knights participate in blocking drills last week in Kaneland’s East Gym. Photo by Mike Slodki


by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Sixth-year Lady Knights volleyball coach Todd Weimer is counting on his girls tasting victory plenty in 2010, despite the sour end to the 2009 campaign.

On Oct. 29, 2009, the Lady Knights were upset by DeKalb in two games to end the season in Burlington.

KHS looks to springboard from last year’s 16-18 (6-8 Western Sun Conference) and a 13-21 (5-9 WSC) record in 2008. They’ve already improved by leaps and bounds from Weimer’s first three years in the program, which produced just seven wins combined.

It begins with four-year starter and setter Jessica Lubic, who has committed to Northern Illinois University. Lubic produces assists and the occasional ace, among other intangibles.

“(Junior) Kylie Siebert, (senior) Taylor Bradbury, (junior) Katy Dudzinski and Lubic are returning. They definitely remember the end last year,” Weimer said about the season-ender which featured Lubic going down in the first game with an ankle injury. “The motivation and desire are extremely high.”

Bradbury handles setting, while Dudzinski performs at outside hitter and Siebert at libero. “They aren’t only looking at the first match or first tournament of the season, they’re looking at the last match and going into regionals,” Weimer said.

Weimer mentioned Siebert as one who could impress the KHS faithful.

“Siebert is digging like you wouldn’t believe and it’s like ‘whoa, where did that come from?”

So far, the initial stretches of practice are what Weimer wants to see.

“So far, we’re excited. From the freshmen to sophomores to the varsity team, they are just very talented. Last time I saw them was November and just to see them come around is awesome,” Weimer said.

Kaneland will need the returnees to lend their considerable talent in order to get wins, and to influence the new varsity additions. “They all bring young and new energy, they bring court awareness and volleyball I.Q,” Weimer said.

The Lady Knights will also welcome back MacKenzie Curran to the sidelines, who flourished as a junior middle hitter but is recovering from brain surgery this spring.

“With what happened to MacKenzie, I think our motivation and desire quadrupled. We want to do really special things for our program and for her. We know she’d be playing on the court busting her butt,” Weimer said.

With a new year, comes a new 12-team conference in the Northern Illinois Big XII and an East division that includes DeKalb, Morris, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.

“I definitely like it. I think the competition and with what we’re facing I think we’ll be right at the top of our division. DeKalb’s looking pretty good and Sycamore’s looking good,” Weimer said.

The Lady Knights serve first at the Wheaton North tournament next week.

The first NIB-12 matchup comes on Saturday, Sept. 4 against Geneseo, while the regular season ends with Spikefest on Saturday, Oct. 23

Island getaway, Michigan-style

in Featured/Regional by

Mackinac a destination that delights the senses
by Lynn Meredith
MACKINAC, Mich.—If the thought of slowing down this summer sounds appealing, a visit to Mackinac Island may be just the getaway you need.

My trip to Mackinac (pronounced mack-i-naw) began as I stepped off the ferry onto the island. I was greeted by the sound of horses’ hooves clopping on the pavement. I felt as though I had gone back in time to where horses drew carriages along streets lined with white picket fences, ornately trimmed “wedding cake” houses and turreted Victorian homes.

Mackinac Island rests in the waters of Lake Huron between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan in view of the “Mighty Mac,” as the Mackinac Bridge is known. No motorized vehicles are allowed, so residents and visitors alike walk, bike or ride in horse-drawn carriages. The exceptions are an ambulance, police car and snowmobiles in December when the lake freezes and locals travel to the mainland for shopping.

The ferry brings day-trippers, overnight guests, and summer residents in a quick and bouncy 15-minute trip from the mainland every half an hour. When I arrived, the town was bustling with visitors.

Tourists, called “fudgies” by locals, flock to the several fudge shops in the downtown and stroll the quaint streets amid novelty shops, bicyclists and horses.

Visitors stay in bed-and-breakfasts, small hotels and larger resorts. The best known of the resorts is the Grand Hotel. The gleaming white structure, which can be seen from the mainland on a clear day, is included on Travel & Leisure magazine’s list of “Best Hotels in the World.” It was the setting of the 1980 Christopher Reeve-Jane Seymour film, “Somewhere in Time.” You may enter the hotel through its often-photographed front porch lined with white rocking chairs but will pay an admission of $10 if you’re not a guest. After 6 p.m., women must wear dresses and men suits on the hotel grounds.

I stayed on the east side of the island at Mission Point Resort, a casual hotel away from the fudge shops and crowds. I relaxed on the expanse of lawn that fronts the shores of Lake Huron and putted a few rounds on the nine-hole putting green. Families and couples dotted the lawn as they flew kites, lounged on chairs and blankets, and walked the waterfront paths with their pets, which also are welcome guests at the resort.

Meanwhile, at the outdoor Bistro on the Green, I listened to live beach music and sampled ahi tuna, grilled asparagus, and shrimp and crab martini appetizers. I also tried the fine dining of the Chop House in the resort, where chefs prepare locally-raised meats and locally-grown produce. The restaurant’s specialties such as the 36-ounce Cowboy Filet, braised Thimbleberry Farm lamb shanks or tasty butternut squash raviloi with hazelnuts and Michigan apples. The resort’s two other restaurants offer a more casual atmosphere, serving pulled pork, barbecued ribs, fried chicken and sandwiches.

Among the many spectacular views, maybe the best is the from the mess hall-turned-Tea Room high atop the bluff where Fort Mackinac once protected trade routes in the Straits of Mackinac. You can enjoy a casual lunch on the terrace under bright yellow umbrellas and afterward stroll around the fort furnished in the style of the day when officers and their families lived there.

Another great view is from the bow of a sailboat. As I rocked on the deck of a catamaran, a freighter made its way through the straits in front of us, proving that trading is still an integral part of the Great Lakes and that freighters still have the right of way over sailboats.

Exploring the island by bike is the best way to see more of the island up close. The eight-mile trail around the perimeter follows the rocky shoreline. Bikers make frequent stops to dangle their feet in the refreshing water or picnic in the state-park property along the way. They also can stop to climb the steep wooded path to Arch Rock where the curved rock formation offers a frame of the straits seen below.

So, if good food, outdoor fun and interesting history are your pleasure, this fantasy of an island will not disappoint. For more information on Mackinac Island, visit mackinac.com.

‘Troubled bridge’ over Welch Creek

in Elburn/Featured by

This summer at Good Grief Day Camp, children bereaved by the death of a parent or sibling learned a lot about crossing bridges on their own unique grief journey. Temporary repairs to the rustic bridge were completed just in time for camp, but much more needs to be done.

If it sounds like a project you might enjoy, Conley Outreach is seeking volunteers and donations to finish improvements by fall. Volunteers and donors will have the opportunity throw their own ‘creek rocks’ or carve a name in a bridge board as part of the re-opening ceremonies. In the new year, Conley plans an innovative Grief Walk for adults and families who will utilize the newly repaired bridge.

For more information, call Carol Alfrey, executive director, Conley Outreach Community Services, at (630) 365-2880 or send an e-mail to calfrey@att.net.

Courtesy Photo

Photo gallery: 2010 Summer Bash Dance

in Elburn/Featured by

Chassidy Mangers (right) gives a corsage to Amber Spaetzel during the Summer Bash formal dance for children with disabilities and their siblings at the Blackberry Township Municipal Building on July 30. Chassidy, a Kaneland High School graduate who is studying speech and language at Augustana College, organized the event. She had hep from her sister, McKinzie, her father, Bill, and several volunteers. Photos by John DiDonna

St. Mary’s group helps local people in need

in Featured/Maple Park by

Photo: Marie Siebens hangs clothes on a rack at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul store in the Maple Park Civic Center. For confidential assistance or to donate items or funds, call (815) 301-2634 or e-mail svdp@stmarymaplepark.com. Photo by Mary Herra

by Tammy Swanson
MAPLE PARK—With the high rate of unemployment, it is no surprise to see many people struggling to pay bills. For some, even feeding their families is a challenge. In Maple Park, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of St. Mary Catholic Church is committed to providing relief.

The Society is a Roman Catholic lay organization which offers assistance to people from throughout Kane County.

“It is an advocate in the church to reach out to those who are poor and needy,” said Father Godwin Asuquo, St. Mary’s parochial administrator of St. Mary’s.

The Society gives food to people who are hungry and also things like furniture to those who may lack them, Asuquo said. The organization also assists people with utility bills if its funds allow.

With about 10 active members in Maple Park, the Society has helped hundreds of local people just this year. Marie Siebens, a Society volunteer since the group became active in the village in 1996, said more people have volunteered to lend a hand lately.

“We’ve had 27 people just tonight,” Siebens said during the organization’s recent meeting. “It (the number of people seeking help) has increased substantially. We’ve seen at least a 75-percent increase since last year.”

In 2002, the group opened a store in the basement of the Civic Center. People in need can stop by the store on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. and pay whatever amount they can afford for items including clothes for adults and children, toys, dishes, furniture, canned goods, bread, books, paper products and many other household items.

To keep the shelves filled, the Society relies on donations of household items and nonperishable food, as well as paper towels, toilet paper, tissues and laundry detergent, which are in high demand.

“Paper products and soap products are needed. Even if people have food stamps, they can’t get that,” said Siebens.

The organization also welcomes monetary donations, which are especially helpful to assist people with utility bills.

For confidential assistance or to donate store items or funds, call (815) 301-2634 or e-mail svdp@stmarymaplepark.com.

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul

The Society of St. Vincent DePaul
began in France in 1833 and came
to the United States in 1845.

This Roman Catholic organization
currently assists approximately
12 million people in the U.S. every year.
The members grow in faith by
serving the poor and needy.

“It is a worthwhile cause given that
one of the missions of the church,
like Jesus said, is anything we do
to the least of his brothers and sisters,
we do it for Him,”
said Father Godwin Asuquo,
parochial administrator
of St. Mary’s Parish in Maple Park.

Track Roundtable: Baron & Valle reflect

in Boys Track/Featured by

Editor’s note—To further commemorate the noteworthy accomplishments of the recently completed track season, in which Kaneland’s team finished second in the state, the Elburn Herald is pairing a Knights track personality with a storied history, and a recent graduate. Their comparison of stories and memories will be a regular feature this summer. Eric Baron is the current head coach of Kaneland High School boys track, after succeeding Ralph Drendel, and a teacher at Kaneland Harter Middle School. Distance runner Edgar Valle is a State champion and will compete in Rock Island, Ill., for the Augustana Vikings in the 2010-2011 school year.

ELBURN HERALD (EH): Getting involved with cross-country and track, with this monster year, now that you’ve had four years to look back on it, was it a burning ambition to compete and succeed and stand up on the podium at the end of the year, or was it something that just fell into your lap where it’s “oh, i know a bunch of people and I’m friendly with them, let’s see how this goes?”

EDGAR VALLE (EV): Track and field is something I’ve always loved doing. It’s a sport I think I have the most passion for. Being able to compete with my teammates and fight for what we really wanted and to succeed, and at the end of the year, being able to stand on that podium, it was an amazing feeling. That’s what I was fighting for.
EH: Eric, what about you as an athlete?

ERIC BARON (EB): My beginnings were here at Kaneland in Cheryl McCoy’s P.E. class. Track was a way of life here at Kaneland. There was no baseball at the time. You ran track in the spring. I was lucky enough to stand on that podium, and unlucky enough to miss being on that podium. It was a great learning experience, and every day I’m glad I made choices to lead me into the sport.

EH: People have said on occasion that this past season cemented the fact that Kaneland was a track school, and people can remember that again.

EB: Our numbers keep going up. We’ve fought for the three-class system. We thought we were a great track school, and going against the Neuqua Valleys and Yorks was really hard for our school. It deterred the big goal at the end of the season. Now that we’re competitive again, people are saying “hey, there’s some great track athletes at our school and great coaches with abilities that really lend themselves to big things.”

EH: Being involved in track with the 800m and the 1600m, it seemed like you might have been one of these kids who had a stamp of versatility. You could take an event, and maybe not be totally experienced, but take an event and make it yours. To be an asset in three or four events and just sort of plug yourself in. You didn’t know what your ceiling would be, but you knew what your floor was.

EV: Yeah, that’s how I kind of figured things out my first couple of years. The first time I did the 1600, I was competing and doing really well and actually won once and I was like “wow, I surprised myself.” With Coach putting me in different events, I realized I could do a lot of these different things. I knew what I had to do and tried not to let the team down.

EH: When you finally had your roster that qualified for State, did you feel that versatility was a big key, or did you think that kids specializing in one or two events was more important?

EB: I really coach the guys to be versatile. As someone who pays attention to the sport, I look for ways we can do best as a team. If we run guys in the 400, then we run guys in the 400. If I see there’s a weaker event that we can capitalize on, then that’s the direction we try to go if they’re versatile.

This year, I trained the entire team to basically be 400 and 800 guys. I thought if we did that, then we could be very competitive, and it turned out real well. The guys that we had this year, I knew they had a lot of leg speed, which you need for the 400 and 800. But, versatility is a huge thing. You look at Edgar and Logan (Markuson) and Nick Sinon. I mean, these guys will do any event I put them in.

EH: Going against other athletes from the CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) next spring, have you heard or figured that college track is almost a different sport or even a profession?

EV: I’ve heard that college track is like a whole new start. You have to rebuild everything. It’s a lot more competitive. Run twice a day, multiple practices, schedule your time; and there’s school and everything. It’s a lot more difficult and very time-consuming, but I know the coaches at Augustana are really good guys.

EH: Plus, there’s going to be a familiar Kaneland touch with some former teammates on there. So, it won’t be too foreign of a setting.

EV: Yeah, that’ll be nice to go into.

EH: In what ways was this senior core of 2010 really special and uniquely qualified to get the team to State?

EV: We’ve noticed ever since our freshman year that our class was a really good class. One of our freshman invites, we had nine guys on the team, and were going with Geneva and Batavia and we thought we had a really good team. It was a really good group of guys.

EH: Eric had coached this 2010 group since they were freshmen.

EV: He kneeled down to us after that meet and said “You guys are real good.” He was really excited for us and for what we could do over the next couple of years.

Us being seniors this past year, we demonstrated leadership qualities. We showed the younger kids what we’d been through. We tried to teach them how to run well.

Us as seniors, we tried to do everything we could succeed, and we wanted it. We were all so competitive as well. Competing with each other at practices and everything pushed us farther and farther.

EB: I think one of the things with this group—I had a great group of friends in high school track—they left the competitiveness on the track and at practice. It never carried over to their personal lives. Edgar could run with Logan or Derek (Bus) or Matt (Reusche), and I’d kick them out at the end and they’d go out and have hamburgers or whatever. Their competitiveness as a team was channeled correctly. As much as I’d like to take a lot of credit for it, I think a lot of it was just their personality.

EH: There’s still the coach-student dynamic, but in a way, was having that senior core of guys almost like having another set of coaches on the track?

EB: It was like having a set of coaches. These are guys that I’ll probably know for the rest of my life. You know, I look back at my coaches that I’ve had. I’ll be talking to my former coach later; he’s up from Florida. We’ll go for a run; he’s 65 years old. I think these guys are going to be like that and talk to me whenver they need to.

EH: (Mark) Claypool mentioned that he talks to his coach down in Florida on a regular basis. Regarding this past year’s team, what was it about this year, specifically, that made them unique compared to any other year?

EB: The end result was big. Before sectionals, I told them that no matter what we do, we’ve already been a great success. I look at this group of people and tried to help them become great leaders out there. I look at Logan (Markuson), and what he did this season took great pressure off of me. We set standards, but we remembered it’s still a sport, still a game. It’s supposed to be fun, and if we’re not having fun, then I’m not doing a good job. We had a lot of fun as a team. Things fall into place when you’re having fun.

EH: Asking Logan a couple weeks ago about trying to give a sense of what running the 1600m relay is like—toward the end of the meet, can mean a big difference in team placement. Can you take us through what your experience is like running that event?

EV: The 1600m relay is one of my all-time favorites. It’s like, to have three other guys that are so talented and work together so well and like to run together is amazing.

Everyone knows a lot of the time it comes down to that one race to make or break the meet. That’s happened to us a few times. I know with the great group of guys that we have, we can pull it off. This happened a lot this year, where the race would be over by the second guy. A lot of pressure gets taken off. I’d say we really got our streak of competitiveness about mid-season. But, just thinking about running that 400, the adrenaline starts going. When you see those first guys go around and you know it’s close. You just want to go after it and fight for that first place.

EH: Is it that big of an event where it can influence how the next week of practice goes or how the next meet goes? Or is it pretty much self-contained?

EV: Not really in the first half of the season, because we usually won. But the way the coaches set the practices up, they usually try to have us peak at a certain moment. If we feel we did really well, we feel awesome going into practice. We’re excited to talk about the next meet. Days and meets that we don’t do so well, we feel a little sluggish but we come back and practice hard.

EH: It seems we have a winner for favorite event here, but Eric, what was your favorite event as a younger athlete, and do you feel your tastes evolving as a coach?

EB: Well, for me personally, it was always the 1600. Edgar reminds me of the way I ran in high school and college, in that I liked being with my teammates and liked to run with them. I loved running the 4×4. If I had to step in and run that relay, I would. It’s a very unique event, because anyone on your team can run it. You just have to go as hard as you can. It’s almost whoever has the most guts ends up winning it. You want to run that 4×4. What people might not understand about this team was that we ran three teams that could have qualified for State. They were that talented and that deep. Taylor Andrews didn’t make our varsity 4×4, but (he was) probably a 51-second quarter-miler. It was fun. Running with your team is a different thing than running by yourself. Running the mile was always the highlight of the meet.

EH: Edgar, what aspect of your track talents improved the most over the four years?

EV: I think physical endurance. Pacing was up there, as well. I did the 800 a lot and 4×8, and you used to hate that race, but I’d still do it anyway. Then came my junior year, once I finally broke two minutes, and I kicked down one of the best runners Sycamore’s ever had. I was thinking, “Oh my God, I could actually be good at this.”

From the sunset, comes new NIB12 in 2010

in Featured/Sports by

Add five parts WSC, add seven parts NCIC…
Joining KHS, DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville are former NCIC schools:

• Morris Redskins—AD: George Dergo • Ottawa Pirates—AD: Michael Cooper
• Dixon Dukes—AD: Jon Empen • Sterling Golden Warriors—AD: Greg King
• Geneseo Maple Leafs—AD: Travis Mackey • Streator Bulldogs—AD: Kevin Wargo
• LaSalle-Peru Cavaliers—AD: Greg Sarver

2010-2011 Enrollments (2005-2006 Enrollments)

DeKalb 1,772 (1,589) Dixon 891 (1,059)
Kaneland 1,293 (994) Geneseo 891 (955)
Morris 953 (1,010) LaSalle-Peru 1211 (1,241)
Rochelle 1,176 (1,146) Ottawa 1,479 (1,632)
Sycamore 1,184 (1,109) Sterling 1,122 (1,093)
Yorkville 1,470 (950) Streator 971 (1,028)

Northern Illinois Big XII East Division italicized

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