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Featured - page 44

Conley receives Excellence in Caring award

in Elburn/Featured/Kaneville/Regional by

First-ever award named in his honor
AURORA—Bruce Conley received the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22 at Provena Mercy Center in Aurora.

Nancy Schmitz, a member of the Alliance, said the award was named in Conley’s honor because he embodies the spirit of caring and compassion that they would like to see in all who care for families experiencing this difficult type of loss.

“Conley was recognized for the great appreciation, and respectful, caring way he cares for babies and how parents can have the time that they want to be with their child, no matter his or her size,” Schmitz said at the ceremony. “The life stories (obituaries) that Conley writes come from the hearts of the parents as they talk to Conley about how much this little one meant to them. He has the gift of being able to put into words the heartfelt emotions of this baby’s family, and the result is a beautiful narrative that affirms the life and value of this child.”

Schmitz said when other children and siblings are present and parents are struggling to know how to help them understand this sadness, Conley and his son, Ben, always take the time to explain in a way that the child can understand what has happened, what this thing called death means, and what grief can feel like. Their questions are answered and they have a beginning at understanding this hard life lesson.

Schmitz said Conley’s caring also extends to families, in that he would meet with them in their homes as arrangements need to be made. He built on the legacy of his parents’ work as funeral directors, and developed the aftercare program at Conley Funeral Home and the Conley Outreach program to be a resource for families after their loss.

“It is truly evident that being a funeral director is not just a job for Conley, it is a calling to which he has faithfully and humbly given his best,” said Schmitz.

Conley accepted his award on behalf of his brother, Wayne, who passed away as an infant.

Conley described his brother’s short time with his family when accepting the award.

“Wayne’s brief life in this world has now changed and touched four generations of the Conley family, and the way we choose to care for infants and their families. Wayne was born in 1948 with spina bifida. My mother was kept from him so she would not ‘bond’ with Wayne, and it was believed her grief would thus be lessened. Of course, nothing could have been further from the truth. Both my parents suffered greatly at Wayne’s death a few months after he was born. That suffering wrought a deep conviction that no other infant, no other parents entrusted to our care would ever face the profoundly compounded grief that cultural and religious norms of the day had caused,” he said.

“In order that women like my mother could see and hold their children days after death when they left the hospital (remember this is 1948), my father literally invented ways of embalming and caring for newborns that were unheard of at the time. My mother hand sewed countless tiny infant outfits, complete with lace for the girls and trousers for the boys. The setting for parents’ viewing was, and still is, in a cozy room with a rocking chair and a fireplace and anything else that could make a parent feel ‘at home’ at the very hardest time in their lives,” Conley said. “My parents taught me all of these things, and I endeavored to improve upon them as I was called to meet the challenges of newborn death in my own career.”

Conley concluded by saying, “So as I receive this award in my infant brother’s honor, I say to all of you: for every family with whom you ‘endure weeping for the night,’ may these families and you, yourself find that ‘Joy cometh in the morning,’ for I believe with all of my heart, that there will come a day when you will see them again; and they shall be whole, and healthy and anxious to tell you how grateful they are for the care you gave when they passed through your hands and left footprints on your heart. God bless you all and thank you.”

In the future, The “Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award” will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss.

Founded in 1987, The Alliance is an interdisciplinary professional organization of individuals from organizations including hospitals, social service organizations, churches, funeral homes and hospices in the Chicago area who provide education, support and resources for individuals who care for grieving families and their babies. The members are nurses, social workers, chaplains, therapists, funeral directors, photographers and physicians who have a leadership role in their organization’s support program. They work with families who have experienced a perinatal loss—miscarriage, fetal death, stillborn or newborn/infant death.

Photo: (From left) Judy Friedrichs, RN, and Nancy Schmitz, RN, award Bruce Conley the first-ever Bruce Conley Excellence in Caring Award from The Alliance of Perinatal Bereavement Support Facilitators—Chicago Region on July 22. In the future, the award will continue to be presented by The Alliance to funeral homes in the Chicago region which embody a spirit of caring and compassion as they work with families who experience perinatal loss. Photo courtesy of Todd Hochberg

Friends show ‘neighborly love’ for Seals family

in Elburn/Featured by

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—When Meagan Seals of Elburn was born nearly seven months ago, her parents and doctors did not expect her to live more than two weeks. Her mother Luellen said Meagan has been a miracle baby, not just surviving but thriving to a degree no one imagined was possible. However, she still faces significant challenges.

Meagan was born with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in which an infant’s head is significantly smaller than the heads of other children of the same age. Children with microcephaly often have developmental issues. She also has encephalocele, another rare disorder that prevents a baby’s skull from closing completely before birth. After Meagan was born, she had surgery to reinsert brain tissue and close the gap.

When Meagan was born, doctors also said the top part of her brain was missing. However, when Meagan had an MRI when she was 6 months old, the test showed that her upper brain was there.

“Her doctor believes she is a living miracle,” Luellen said.

Based on the conditions she does have, Meagan was not expected to be able to hold up her head or even drink from a bottle. But she surprised everyone when she could do both soon after her parents took her home.

Despite these miraculous milestones, Meagan is not able to sit up and faces many other developmental challenges in the future, her mother said.

“The doctors say she might get to a 2-year-old level,” Seals said. “They don’t think she will ever talk or walk.”

Earlier this summer, Meagan began experiencing up to five full seizures and 30 to 50 smaller spasms daily and had to be hospitalized. This month, she is receiving injections of a serum that costs $30,000 per vial. She still has the seizures but not every day.

Meagan’s parents’ goal is to provide her with whatever medication, medical equipment or therapy that will help her to develop as much as she possibly can.

Although their health insurance covered many of the hospital expenses for Meagan, the Seals still owe thousands of dollars in medical bills. In addition, they are concerned that insurance will not pay for equipment that will help Meagan in the future, such as a feeding chair that would support her in a sitting position, and water therapy.

Since Seals must care for Meagan full-time and the family has only her husband’s income, she is grateful that several of her friends are hosting a fundraiser Friday, Aug. 6, at Old Towne Pub and Eatery, to help with those expenses.

“It just shows that there are people in the world with good hearts,” she said. “It’s neighborly love.”

One of the fundraiser organizers is the Seals’ neighbor, Kim Cole. She wants to help raise awareness of Meagan’s condition and to raise money to help the Seals family.

“Meagan will have a life time of medical needs and expenses,” Cole said. “It’s more than the family is able to cover on their own. I am hoping the community will pull together and help them to help her.”

Fundraiser for Baby Meagan

Friday, Aug. 6 • 6 to 8 pm
Old Towne Pub & Eatery
201 W. State St., Geneva

Raffles and silent auctions
Tickets cost $25 per person

For reservations,
call Ali at (630) 605-1007 or
Jen at (630) 437-1985

Send donations to
“Praying for Baby Meagan”
Old Second Bank, P.O. Box 8018,
Elburn IL 60119-8018

Hughes is 2010 SG Citizen of the Year

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Selection committee cites her contribution to community culture
by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—What should any candidate for Sugar Grove’s Citizen of the Year award embody? “Someone who loves Sugar Grove,” Sugar Grove Library Friends President and former Citizen of the Year Pat Graceffa said.

This year’s winner, Beverly Holmes Hughes, fit that criterion.

“She’s an asset to the community; she knows everyone,” Graceffa said.

The annual Citizen of the Year award ceremony took place on Saturday during the Corn Boil and highlighted Hughes’ service to the community for the past 20 years.

“I’m quite honored by this,” Hughes said on Tuesday at the Sugar Grove Public Library, where she is the director.

“And truly, like the rest of my life, this wasn’t conventional,” Hughes said. “To do what I do, in a place that I love, has been just a wonderful adventure.”

Nearly 40 Sugar Grove residents nominated Hughes for the award.

Aside from being the library director, Hughes has given many hours of her time to the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Sugar Grove Library Friends, \Sugar Grove Corn Boil, Sugar Grove Historical Society and Sugar Grove Park District Garden Club, among other organizations.

“Being involved for the last 20 years and to be recognized is just amazing,” Hughes said. “To think all those times people said, ‘You should be that person (Citizen of the Year),’ and I’ve always discounted that and said ‘I’m just doing my job.’”

The Citizen of the Year Committee, which selected Hughes from among the nominees, issued a statement about their choice: “Beverly has enriched life in our village with her selfless and creative involvement in many areas that truly enhance Sugar Grove’s cultural opportunities.”

A prominent example of Hughes’ time and effort for the community was her role in the library’s move a year ago to a brand-new building on Municipal Drive in Sugar Grove.

“It’s about always moving forward and as a community and seeing what the next step is in order to help people in the community,” Hughes said. “It’s like the reference desk; people come to us with a question and we help them find the answer.”

Hughes, of North Aurora, follows previous winners Jim Wilhelm in 2009, Karen McCannon in 2008 and Joe Wolf in 2007.

Photo by Ben Draper

Wildlife Center hosts fundraiser at Zanies

in Elburn/Featured/Regional by

Center also puts out urgent call for volunteers
Elburn—The Fox Valley Wildlife Center will host a fundraising night at Zanies Comedy Club at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. The event will be held on Thursday, Aug. 5, with a show time of 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.

The night will feature Butch Bradley, who has appeared numerous times on Comedy Central. Tickets are $25 per person, and the Fox Valley Wildlife Center will receive 100 percent of the ticket sales, which will benefit the animals in their care. A two-drink minimum is required, and all attendees must be 21 and older. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling (630) 377-2847.

The Wildlife Center is in urgent need of monetary donations and volunteers age 18 and older. Animal handling volunteers help with all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, from hand feeding baby mammals and birds to doing laundry and washing food dishes, and need to commit to at least one four-hour shift each week, April through September. Morning shifts are also available October through March. Support volunteers are also needed to help keep the center running. There is no specific time commitment for support volunteers.

Call the Wildlife Center at (630) 365-3800 or visit for more information.

The Fox Valley Wildlife Center is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit volunteer organization. The center is state and federally licensed to care for orphaned and injured wild birds and mammals and is privately funded, supported entirely by membership fees, donations, grants and fundraisers.

LillyCakes: No silverware needed

in Featured/Maple Park by

Idea leads to specialty business in four months
by Paula Coughlan
MAPLE PARK—In the spring of 2010, Kelly Sieben’s sister was teaching a class on homemade baked goods in Wisconsin when one of her students brought in small cakes on a stick to share with the ladies in class. She immediately called Kelly.

“My sister knows I’m creative and like to bake and felt I could make these,” said Siebens, of Maple Park.

The next four days she worked around the clock on sizing and shaping the cakes and suddenly it all came together.

Siebens brought the cakes to her vacation Bible school, and after that, it snowballed–or perhaps a better word is cakeballed—into a home business that sometimes consumes 14 hours a day. Mothers who taste the cakes ask her if she would be willing to make some for birthday parties and other events.

“It’s an easy dessert that immediately impresses your guests,” Siebens said. “And men seem to like them the most. No slicing, no falling off a plate—just pick up the cake and eat it.”

News about Seiben’s creations soon spread by word-of-mouth and through Facebook. When she decided to have a contest on her Facebook page to create the most interesting advertisement for her cakes, one of her Facebook friends linked her to Fox News. The next thing she knew she was on the show, which aired July 12 in Chicago.

Lilly Siebens, 5, of Maple Park, enjoys a pink-bear specialty LillyCake that her mother, Kelly, made for a client’s baby shower. Kelly Siebens named her new business after her daughter. Courtesy Photo
Then, the word of her LillyCakes was out to all of Chicagoland. Seibens’ mother drove from Indianapolis last week to help her bake and fill orders for 50 dozen cakes. Her mother regularly makes the drive when she or her sister needs help with their businesses.

Seibens said the secret to the cakes’ taste is mixing the frosting in with the batter and then dipping the cakes in chocolate. They are super-moist, but learning to shape them and make sure they’d stay on the stick took a great deal of practice. She will do any design people request, such as children’s characters and apples for teachers. One of the most popular requests is baseballs.

Seibens will ship or deliver the cakes, or you can pick them up at her home. When shipping LillyCakes, she insulates them with two ice packs and Styrofoam peanuts. One of her regular customers lives in West Virginia, and Seibens overnight-ships the cakes at 4 p.m. so they arrive by noon the next day.

Since Seibens’ kitchen has been turned upside down, she dreams of one day having her own shop. Her husband and stepdaughter both volunteered their time to assist; and her 5-year-old daughter Lilly, the namesake of the business, is her constant helper.

Siebens still cannot believe what has happened.

“Before April I had never heard of these cakes, and I had no idea that by July I’d have a thriving business,” she said.

Cupcakes on a stick
Visit www.facebook/lillycakes1
For pricing, flavors and styles, click ‘Info’ and then click ‘Photos’to view various cakes.

Contact information for LillyCakes
Kelly Seibens, owner
or call (815) 405-8342

Maple Park Lions milestone

in Featured/Maple Park by

Public invited to celebrate club’s 50 years of fun, charitable fundraising
by Paula Coughlan
MAPLE PARK—In 1960, the DeKalb Lions Club sponsored the chartering of the Maple Park Lions Club. Meeting at the Blue Moon Restaurant in Elgin, Ill., that April, the new chapter elected its officers including a Tail Twister and Lion Tamer.

For those unfamiliar with Lions lingo, current Maple Park Lions President Larry Stachura explained the purpose of these two official club positions.

“The Tail Twister promotes harmony, good fellowship and enthusiasm at meetings through the judicious imposition of fines on members,” Stachura said. “He himself may not be fined unless by unanimous vote. The Lion Tamer is the custodian of club property such as flags, banners and gavels and is the sergeant at arms during meetings.”

Ken Hinchy has been part of the Maple Park Lions Club longer than any of its other members—more than 40 years. He said what he likes most about the club is the camaraderie with his fellow Lions. Hinchy has participated in many of the club’s fundraisers over the years.

“One of my favorites is when we raise money by selling roses for Mother’s Day.”

The price for a dozen roses from the Maple Park Lions is $15. Stachura said that all funds that the Maple Park Lions Club raises at its events go back into the community for numerous charitable purposes.

“Although fighting blindness is the Lions main focus, the Lions contributions are far reaching,” he said.

Through the annual rose sale and dozens of other fundraisers each year, the Maple Park Lions have been able to pay for eye exams for the needy and vision testing for diabetes, paint the Legion Hall, and buy a computer for the Fire Department ambulance.

Every year, the club also gives scholarships to students from the Fox Valley Career Center in Maple Park. This year’s scholarship recipient was Stuart Hopkins, who will attend Waubonsee Community College.

The club also joined with the Rockford Lions, hosting events for the blind such as skiing, bowling and dances, and this fall, the club will offer a screening for retinal diabetes.

About the club
Source: Lions International
Maple Park Lions Club has a membership of 26 men and three women. To become a member, a person must be invited to join by someone currently in the club.

The Maple Park Lions Club is one of 45,000 charters in 190 countries that are part of the International Lions organization. In 1925, when Helen Keller challenged the Lions to become “Knights of the Blind,” she could not have possibly imagined the impact of Lions commitment to blindness prevention, a club brochure states.

Lions International has established eye banks worldwide, funded ground-breaking research on leading causes of blindness, organized eyeglass recycling and helped hundreds of thousands of visually impaired people develop productive skills. Through SightFirst, launched in 1990, the Lions have approved more than $280 million in grants for humanitarian services, disaster relief, immunizations, and vocational assistance.

Lions International was founded by Chicago businessman Melvin Jones in 1917.

Track Roundtable: Claypool talks with Markuson

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 from years past, and an athlete who is a recent graduate. Their comparing of stories and memories will be a regular feature this summer. Mark Claypool is Chairman and COO of Optima Worldwide Limited. He was a member of the class of 1977 and is the all-time leader in points garnered for the Kaneland Boys Track team. Claypool went on to compete for the University of Illinois track team and was a Big Ten champion and All-American. Multi-event athlete Logan Markuson is second all-time for points gathered in Kaneland boys track and is joining the University of Minnesota track team in the 2010-2011 school year.

ELBURN HERALD (EH): Mark, you came along and gave this year’s team whatever experience and wisdom that you could give them. How did your arrival to the team this year come about?

Mark Claypool (MC): I’ve been watching the teams over the years. Coach Drendel and Coach Baron have asked me to come in and speak to the team at different parts of the year, and I used to run against Logan’s dad,
Jay, and he ran for Batavia. So we got to know each other pretty well back then, and I’ve watched Logan since he was a freshman and seen how well he was doing at scoring varsity points. I was interested in Logan’s progress and saw how well the team was doing as a whole, and saw that this team could really do something down at county and State.

I wanted to be there somehow and support them and show them that Kaneland history lives on and that somebody from the past cares about it. So, I went to a couple of the meets, and initially nobody even knew I was going to be there except for Mickey Marin, a sophomore who actually found me on Facebook and asked how to run a 400, and so I gave him some pointers and went out to see how he and the team would do, and went to the Peterson Prep first. I had a chance to see some of the other guys run, and saw Logan come out of the starting blocks and thought he might need some pointers. So a couple of the guys and I struck up a friendship and to know I was there to support them.

I went to the County meet as well and thought they had a real shot to be the first team since ’75 to win. It’s real hard to compete against big schools like that and to have the kind of showing Kaneland had. They gave it their best.

Anyway, I was interested in the team as a whole and then in the individuals as I got to know them, just because they’re quality young men and they worked hard and the coaches all said it was a special group. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of team.

EH: Talking with Baron for the Preview article in March, he mentioned the team had a very high ceiling. He didn’t know how far they’d go, but that they were capable of great things.

Logan Markuson (LM): Definitely. Back in seventh or eighth grade we had like eight kids in track, I think it was 12 actually. But our coach called us “The Dirty Dozen.” I knew that as our group moved through high school, as a group like that moves through high school, you become friends. We hung out throughout the years and that was nice. It was nice to see how we worked out and how we progressed during those four or five years. I think just having that friendship and training, it just went hand in hand.

EH: Did your team have a senior core that you came up with, similar to Logan’s?

MC: Yeah, we had a pretty good cross-section. Back then we seemed to have sophomores, juniors and seniors all participting, but we had a pretty good core group of seniors, in the 4×880 relay and the 4×440. We had a good group of seniors for sure in ‘77. In ‘75, we had the Ackermans, the Bishops and Larry Will. A big thing for Bruce Pederson was senior leadership. He always talked about that as a key.

EH: With both of you being relay guys, you hear people often say the 4×400 is the biggest event of the meet. Describe what you go through in a very competitive event like that.

MC: Often times, it can decide who finishes first or second or third.

LM: We came down to a few of those this year.

MC: There’s always a lot riding on it. There’s a lot of pressure on those four guys to go out and perform and not drop the baton. It’s something where the teams all know that this is it. It’s often the last race, and you’re performing as a group. As you get to the end, you see your team colors and the team is jumping up and down. I never heard a whole lot. I never paid too much attention to the buzz but I could tell there was excitement. At State championships there was always the roar of the crowd, but you’re in such a zone you don’t even pay any attention. For us, that’s what it was like, and I saw it was like that downstate for you guys.

LM: Yeah, it was like that for us. In the 4×4, it’s definitely lots of pressure. I like to think of it as a “who’s got the most guts” kind of thing. It’s at the end of the meet, and some of these bigger schools like to run a fresh team. For a smaller school like us, we’re coming back after two or three races. It’s like “this is my last event of the night and I don’t have to run any more,” and lay it all down on the field.

EH: Can the finish dictate your mood for the week, or how you practice leading to the next meet?

LM: Yeah, it can a little. In indoor conference, I was supposed to run the 4×4, and was having some injuries, and ran on a different team. It was a two-point difference headed into that race, and our alternate team won it. That whole week, going into our first outdoor meet, we were stoked. We were like “that was amazing.” Training ahead, it just sets the mood for the whole week.

We just came off of that and see what we could do next week.

EH: Coaching has to be quite strong in a season like this. What did your coaches stress and what kind of personality did they show while coaching?

MC: Track and field is so diverse. You’ve got weight events and pole vault, hurdles, sprinting. Every one of these events has it’s own set of techniques. It’s a very difficult thing for a finite group of coaches to be real good jacks-of-all-trades. But Kaneland’s been very fortunate over the years. Back when I was there, Bruce Pederson was an icon, and everybody looked up to him. He’s still my greatest mentor, and I still talk to him a couple of times a year and he’s in St. Augustine, Fla. He would set the tone mentally.

LM: I’ve loved the coaching. It’s not just “go to practice and do your workout.” It’s “go to practice, and if you’re feeling bad, give them a call.” They’re not just your coaches, we really got to develop a friendship. Just the time and effort they put into it, you can tell they’re really dedicated. I would think it’s hard to do with a family and everything. I was fortunate to have such great coaches. I really don’t think I’m going to find something like this anywhere else.

EH: Mark, you competed in Big Ten track, what was the time like for you and what can Logan expect?

Claypool and Markuson
Knights track great Mark Claypool shares some mementos from his athletic career with KHS standout Logan Markuson at the Elburn Herald office. Photo by Ryan Wells
MC: Well, I went down to the University of Illinois on a full ride. It is a whole different ballgame. You’re suddenly living on your own, you’re away from family, and your freshman year is a whole different scenario. It becomes almost a profession that you’re doing, because you’re expected to be there at such and such a time and you arrange your class schedule around that. You get tutors to help you because you’re spending so much time in the afternoon and early evening, and you’re really working hard. With what Logan’s going to be doing, decathlon and heptathlon indoors along with everything else he’ll do, he’s going to be working on an awful lot of stuff. It is entirely a different ballgame. You’re going from a team with some real standouts like Logan with some success at State, and you’re amongst others who also are at the top of their game. All of the sudden, you’re not just a standout on your team. You’re one of many, many fine athletes on a team of fine athletes. So, it’s an eye-opener the first time you run and you’re wondering “why is everyone right here with me?” Leave your letter jacket at home, don’t take it to school there. That was high school, now you have to perform at an entirely different level. Minnesota’s a powerhourse and returning Big Ten champions.

LM: I’m looking forward to it. I know, with the different ballgame, how busy it’s going to get. I’ve already kind of scheduled my classes, and I’ll probably have to work out in the mornings. Then class and then practice and maybe another class. They expect you to study two hours for every hour you’re in class.

EH: It’s only for four years, though.

LM: I’ll catch up on sleep when I’m older.

MC: Time management’s going to be key. It’s not just going to school, it’s school and athletics in there.

EH: In college sports, you’re not looking at a three-month season, especially nowadays. It’s almost a year-round profession.

MC: Absolutely, even in high school, you had to find something to keep yourself in shape. We were typically running three-lappers around the school. We would get heavy sweats and wrap towels underneath in the wintertime. We were outside in January and Feburary, below zero. I played basketball my freshman and sophomore years and that kept me in shape in the offseason. After sophomore year, I went to Purdue basketball camp and got hurt.

EH: Was Gene Keady not happy?

MC: Well, Bruce Pederson wasn’t happy. He said, “okay, that’s it. No more basketball for you.” I got my cast off in August and couldn’t run on it just yet, so I went out for the golf team.

EH: Mark, it obviously meant a lot to come back and be involved. Logan, can you see yourself coming back in 30 years if asked?

LM: If I was asked to come back and coach or do something else, I’d be happy to. My mom told me that she sat next to Mark Claypool at the Kane County Meet, and said he’d be willing to work with me on starts and I was just like, “Mark Claypool? That’s awesome.” I’d love to come back and help any way I could. Just because it’s really cool when others come back to share their memories.

International exchange students need local homes

in Featured/Kaneland by

Kaneland—A local nonprofit exchange program is inviting local families to host international exchange students for the 2010-11 school year.

The teenage students come from more than 30 countries and attend local high schools. The students have their own spending money and insurance.

Host families are responsible for meals, a place to sleep and a nurturing environment. STS Foundation has a local coordinator that will supervise the student and support the family throughout the school year.

For information, call or e-mail David Keating at 1-800-522-4678 or

We have a winner—SG Corn Boil Medallion found

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

The winner of this year’s Sugar Grove Corn Boil Medallion Hunt in Sugar Grove was Renee Koch, who will receive a prize of $50. She said she didn’t participate in the hunt for the prize money. ‘I didn’t even realize there was a prize. I just like to figure out puzzles,’ said Koch, of Sugar Grove. Koch tracked down the medallion using six clues from the Medallion Committee. She found it under a bush outside the observatory at Waubonsee Community College. Courtesy Photo

Citizen Police Academy gives glimpse into police work

in Featured/Kaneville/Regional by

by Tammy Swanson
KANEVILLE—After Pat Hill’s business, Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville, was burglarized more than a year ago, she wondered why it took the police so long to take fingerprints. She had many other questions about the policing process, too, and found the answers by participating in the Citizens Police Academy that the Kane County Sheriff’s Department offers.

“(Sheriff) Pat Perez told me about it. He said it would be really cool,” Hill said.

And she found that to be true.

She liked the Citizen Police Academy so much, she was disappointed when the 10-week, weekly program ended this spring.

“I looked forward to it (class),” Hill said. “I hoped it was going longer.”

She learned a lot, including the reason for the fingerprint results delay.

“Now, I know,” Hill said. “It’s backlogged. The state is so backlogged with handling everything unless it is a violent crime. Mine was just vandalism.”

The academy gave Hill look into the life of a police officer. She learned how police officers train, as well as what constitutes their daily job duties. The academy also teaches about the different divisions in the Sheriff’s Department, including K-9, SWAT, 911, crime scene investigation, evidence, corrections, patrol and criminal.

“You get to see all the aspects of everything,” Hill said.

One of the highlights of the class for Hill was to ride along with a patrol deputy and see how the officer would handle different situations.

“When we went on patrol and had to pretend to stop people, I had to stop a guy who had a gun tucked away in the front seat and he flipped me off,” she said. “I had to pretend when he was pulling the gun and say, ‘Put your hands on the wheel’ and pretend to pull my fake gun out on him.”

Participants even had an opportunity to fire real guns.

“I had never touched a gun before in my life; I had never shot a gun before in my life, and I got to in the simulator,” Hill said. “I got to do the assault rifle, the pistol and the tazer. They were so heavy. You would not believe how heavy a gun is.”

She also enjoyed the the K-9 unit class.

“They (the Sheriff’s Department) have these dogs from Hungary or Germany,” Hill said. “You have to speak to them in that language. They are trained that way.”

Participants also had a chance to drive a patrol car and wear a bulletproof vest.

In addition to all she learned by participating in the academy, the classes made Hill respect police officers more.

“I totally gained so much from it,” said Hill.

Through the academy, Hill gained insight into how risky a police officer’s role can be.

“I have a deeper appreciation for how dangerous their job is,” Hill said.

To participate in the Citizens Police Academy, a person must live or work in unincorporated Kane County, be 18 years or older, have no felony convictions or any misdemeanor arrests within a year of application.

“You have to, of course, be fingerprinted and your name is put through the database to make sure you are not wanted as a felon or anything like that,” said Hill.

The Citizens Police Academy is free and allows 20 students per session. All of the police officers who teach the classes donate their time for the program.

After graduating from the academy program, Hill decided to establish a Neighborhood Watch in Kaneville focusing on communication and education.

“We want to start (one) in the area because we had a rash of break-ins a couple months ago where locks were cut off garages and stuff stolen from sheds,” Hill said.

Next session starts Sept. 1

Wednesday nights
Sept. 1 through Nov. 3
6 to 9 p.m.

Kane County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. John Grimes, Pat Hill, and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez pose for a picture after Hill completed the Kane County Citizens Police Academy—A 10-week course offered by the Sheriff’s Department. Courtesy Photo

July 15 edition of the Elburn Herald delayed

in Featured by

Due to a delay at our printer this morning, we have yet to get today’s Elburn Herald out to the local post offices or newsstands. This will likely mean you will not get our paper today.

We were informed at 8:30 a.m. that the delivery van broke down on its way to the Elburn Post office at 3:30 a.m., and is at a repair shop in Sugar Grove. We are working on getting the papers to the local post offices and newstands, but it looks like we will miss today’s mail.

Those that should get it tomorrow at the latest are Elburn, Sugar Grove, Maple Park, Kaneville, Geneva, Batavia, St.
Charles, North Aurora, Aurora, Sycamore, Dekalb, Wasco and LaFox. Others may take a little longer to be delivered.

-Elburn Herald staff

KHS student Howland wins ITU Junior Triathalon

in Featured/Triathlon by

Incoming junior headed to Budapest for World Championship in Sept.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—Standout junior triathletes Jennifer Howland and Lukas Verzbicas took top honors Saturday at the USA Triathlon Flatland Junior Elite Cup, and became eligible to represent the United States on Sept. 12 at the 2010 ITU Junior Triathlon World Championship in Budapest, Hungary.

Howland, of Elburn, and the junior elite women led off the first of five races at the Flatland Kids Triathlon Festival. Howland and Tanelle Berard (Clive, Iowa) raced side-by-side through the 750-meter swim and six-lap, 20-kilometer bike. Howland managed to open up a 15-second lead on the run to claim first in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 7 seconds.

On the junior elite men’s side, Ben Kanute of Geneva made a solo swim-bike breakaway attempt over a chase pack of six. However, it was Verzbicas of Orland Hill, Ill., the reigning junior duathlon world champion, who took control of the race on first of two laps of the run and crossed the finish line in 55:14. Chris Wiatr, of Long Grove, Ill. enjoyed a breakthrough performance to edge Kanute for second place.

The day also featured competition in the 13-to-15-year-old Youth Elite Division. Tamara Gorman, of Rapid City, S.D., was the girls’ champion, besting Rachel Mann, of Homer Glen, Ill. Spencer Clark, of Clive, Iowa., took top honors in the Youth Elite boys’ race over Carter Dickson of Aurora.

Following the draft-legal elite races, approximately 175 youth triathletes between the ages of 6 to 15 took to the course.

Bank Iowa sponsored travel scholarships for being first out of the water in the youth and junior elite races in honor of Chandy Barr Clanton, a standout swimmer, triathlete and famed air show pilot from Iowa who lost her life in an accident one year prior to the day of the Flatland Kids Tri Festival. Winners of the “Spirit of Chandy” prize were Kanute, Berard, Gorman and Clark.

The event, originally slated to take place at Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines, Iowa, was relocated to West Des Moines on Wednesday because of severe flooding around Gray’s Lake.

Visit for complete results.

USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon—one of the fastest growing sports in the world—as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 3,100 races and connects with more than 133,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games and the Summer Olympic Games.

Photo courtesy of

KHS summer baseball includes no-hitter by Van Bogaert

in Baseball/Featured by

KANELAND—On the surface, Kaneland High School’s summer league baseball squad is moving right along at 16-11, with postseason action in the area ready to heat up.

Look deeper, and you’ll see a young team working on its craft and even a great thing or two.

Case in point: a no-hitter thrown by KHS pitcher Bryan Van Bogaert on Tuesday in Maple Park against the Class 3A runner-ups DeKalb.

Van Bogaert threw a six-inning no-hitter against the visiting Barbs, winning 7-0, and would have a perfect game under his belt if not for two hit batsmen.

In game two of the doubleheader, Drew French went four innings in a 5-1 win.

On Monday in Yorkville, Kaneland tamed the Foxes and held off a late-inning rally in an 8-7 win in game one. The Knights were up 6-0 in the second inning of game two before the rains came.

Eric Eichelberger, Jordan Jones and Brian Maras pitched against the Foxes.

So far, it’s been a valuable chance for KHS coach Brian Aversa to see what lies ahead in the spring of 2011.

“We’ve played decent ball,” Aversa said. “We’re seeing which guys are on the radar and seeing how our pitching and defense is working out, and it’s going alright so far.”

On Monday, July 19, at Kaneland, the Knights will host West Aurora in the second round of the IHSBCA St. Charles East Regional. The winner will play either St. Charles East, Marengo or Woodstock North at a later date.

“We’ve got a lot of youth right now, and we’ll see how it unfolds,” Aversa said.

Photo: Kaneland pitcher Eric Eichelberger deals toward the plate during an 8-7 win at Yorkville during Summer League play on Monday evening. Photo by Ben Draper

11U Elburn Express

in Community Sports/Featured by

The 11U Elburn Express team won the 11U Wheaton Red, White and Blue Classic Fourth of July Weekend. (Front, left to right) Jake Hed, Jeffrey Van Gemert, Richie Lappa, Preston Havis and Jake Hummel. (Middle) Jack Marshall, Josh Pollastrini, Brett Glennon, Clark Hendricks and Jordan Gurke. (Back) Coach Ross Davidson, Coach Tony Mitchell, Coach Scott Glennon, Coach Mike Pollastrini and Coach John Marshall. (Not pictured) Jack Weigand and Coach Kyle Davidson. Courtesy Photo

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