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Softball finished by Sycamore

in Featured/Softball by

SYCAMORE—Maybe the scales were tipping to Sycamore all long.

After slaughtering the Lady Spartans in their first meeting, Kaneland Lady Knights softball dealt with 16 innings of action in a tight 2-1 win three weeks ago. It all led up to the Class 2A Sycamore Regional final on Saturday morning, where the third-seeded hosts beat the top-seeded KHS roster 6-3 to claim the regional.

Kaneland finishes the first year of the Brian Willis era at 20-11.

“It was kind of the same game, but they had a few more extra walks. You have to put runs on the board. The difference with the last game is that we were able to get out of that jam,” Willis said.

Sycamore, coached by Jill Carpenter, improved to 20-15, was set to face St. Viator on Wednesday in the DeKalb Sectional.

Ending her sophomore season, Delani Vest was tagged with the loss (13-7) and gave up six runs (four earned) on 10 hits while fanning three.

At the plate, third baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts went 2-for-3, while second baseman Brittany Davis went 2-for-3.

The scoring gates opened in the top of the second, when Anna Buzzard of Sycamore knocked home two runs with a single to increase Sycamore’s lead to 3-0.

Sycamore put up two in the fourth for a 5-0 lead and added one more with an RBI single to go up 6-0 headed to the bottom of the fifth.

Katy Dudzinski led the fifth off with a double and was sacrificed to third by Jordan Hester. Kristen Stralka singled Dudzinski home for the first run. After a fielders choice, Vest doubled and made it third on an error in the outfield and Sam Hansen scored.

The final run of the season scored when Davis came home after a three-base error on a fielders choice hit by Dudzinski.

Stralka, Sarah Kitz and Vest were retired in order to end the affair.

Davis, Stralka and Hester now say goodbye due to graduation.

“They meant a lot to our team. Leadership-wise, offense, defense, they’ll be missed, “Willis said.

Cinto among WCC honorees

in Featured/Waubonsee Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College recently honored its’ top student/athletes for 2009-2010 at the school’s annual Athletic Awards Banquet. Individual achievements as well as team accomplishments were recognized during the festive evening in the college’s Academic and Professional Center, which also included the induction of former athletes Steve Smerz, Sharon Metzger and Sally (Toma) Kempton, along with former coaches Don Watson and Dave Hejtmanek to Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Student/athletes from throughout the Fox Valley area and beyond were among those honored during the evening.

Wrestler Omi Acosta was named the Male Athlete of the Year after becoming the college’s second National Champion when he won the 133-pound title. The graduate of South Dade High School in Homestead, Fla., helped lead the Chiefs’ wrestling team to a fourth-place finish among non-scholarship programs at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships. Acosta defeated four returning All-Americans en route to winning the title, including a 4-2 victory in the championship match over Rend Lake’s Eric Ellington who had beaten Acosta once last year and twice this season. Acosta also earned All-Region IV Second Team honors this season. He achieved NJCAA All-American status as a freshman finishing fifth in his weight class. Acosta has accepted a wrestling scholarship to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he will also be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Sarah O’Leary was chosen the Female Athlete of the Year, after leading the Lady Chiefs’ basketball team the last two seasons. A 5’8 guard was named to the All-Region IV First Team and the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team for the second consecutive year after averaging 16.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest. The sophomore led Waubonsee in points (505), offensive rebounds (118), total rebounds (267), assists (102) and made free throws (155).

The left-hander also averaged 2.4 steals and 3.3 assists a game, while pacing the Lady Chiefs in scoring 18 out of their last 19 games, including 17 consecutively and all 14 ISCC contests. For the season the Yorkville High School graduate booked 9 double-doubles in points and rebounds. A physical education major, O’Leary will be attending Aurora University this fall.

Men’s basketball player Alex Cannon was named Waubonsee’s Most Improved Male Athlete. A 6’1” forward from Bolingbrook High School, he saw very limited action as a freshman before earning All-ISCC Second Team honors this past season. Cannon was the Chiefs’ defensive specialist, often giving up several inches in height as he typically guarded the opponent’s top scorer. On occasion the sophomore was an offensive threat as well, as he managed to average 6.1 points, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 rebounds per contest. Cannon also tallied a season-high 21 points and grabbed eight boards in Waubonsee’s 58-55 conference win over Prairie State College late in the season.

Kaneland High School graduate Erin Cinto was chosen as the Most Improved Female Athlete. A Cross Country runner, Cinto was often the Lady Chiefs’ third and sometimes fourth runner as a freshman before emerging as the leader this past season. She placed fourth at the ISCC Meet to earn All-ISCC status, and then came in eighth at the Region IV Meet to qualify for the NJCAA Division I Nationals. Cinto also finished 12th at the Waubonsee Invitational and 14th at the Harper Invitational to earn individual medallions during the fall.

Bridget Kennedy, an education major from Aurora Christian High School, was the recipient of both the Vermilion and Gold Award and the S.T.A.R. Award. The Vermilion and Gold Award is given annually to the Waubonsee student/athlete who best exemplifies the true ‘heart and soul’ of Chiefs’ athletics. “Essentially someone who helps others and gets involved on campus,” describes Athletic Manager Dave Randall. The S.T.A.R. award is given to the student/athlete that displayed a good work ethic, a dedication to academics and achieved perfect attendance in Waubonsee’s athletic monitoring program. Kennedy demonstrated these attributes and more while batting leadoff and playing outfield for the Lady Chiefs’ Softball team, and also performing as a member of the Waubonsee cheerleading squad. The left-handed hitter finished with a .318 batting average and 30 stolen bases in 32 attempts on the diamond.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the ISCC All-Sports Award trophy which Waubonsee won for the first time since 1990. Several team accomplishments were also recognized including the Men’s Cross Country team for capturing the ISCC title and the Region IV crown to advance to the NJCAA Division I National Meet for the third consecutive year. The women’s soccer team was also recognized for advancing to the Region IV Division II title game for the second straight year.

Individuals achieving All-Conference, All-Region, All-American and Academic honors during the school year were recognized throughout the evening. Long-time head baseball coach Dave Randall was also recognized for being named the ISCC Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Chiefs to the league title for the first time since 1998. John Bell, head Cross Country and Men’s Tennis coach, was recognized as the ISCC and Region IV Coach of the Year after guiding both programs to dual titles. In addition, men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was recognized for his recent induction into the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame, for being named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Division II Junior College Coach of the Year, and for his upcoming induction into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame. The festivities were capped off with a standing ovation for long-time athletic secretary Jan Zahnzinger, who is retiring at the end of June.
file photo

Photo gallery: 2010 KHS graduation

in Featured/Kaneland by

Kaneland High School student Olivia Fabrizius (left—shown with her mom and KHS teacher Judy) and her classmates graduated as the Kaneland High School class of 2010 this past Sunday. The class motto was “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” The class flower was a white rose, and the class colors were emerald green and silver. A full gallery will load below.
Photos by Mary Herra

Photo gallery: 2010 Elburn Memorial Day Service

in Elburn/Featured by

Elburn Mayor David Anderson (left) and U.S. Congressman Bill Foster listen to speeches during the Memorial Day ceremony at Blackberry Cemetery on Monday, May 31. A full slideshow will load below.
Photo by John DiDonna

Elburn Chamber optimistic about fireworks’ return

in Elburn/Featured by

by Paula Coughlan
ELBURN—Elburn Chamber of Commerce may be able to host its popular Day in the Park and fireworks again this summer, an event that was cancelled last year.

Leslie Flint, the chamber’s vice president of committees, said it looks like the chamber could meet its goal of raising the $10,000 needed to present the fireworks.

“So far we’ve raised $5,500,” she said. “If donations continue at the current rate, we should have enough to hold the event.”

Last year, due to a shortage of funds, the chamber cancelled the sidewalk-vibrating event known as one of the finest fireworks shows in the area. A recent pork-chop dinner that the chamber held helped to bring in some of the needed funds for the event this year and another pork chop fundraiser will take place on Wednesday, June 23.

“We’re also looking at what other towns are doing to raise money,” said Flint. “Proceeds from a town-wide garage sale in Batavia helps them pay for their fireworks each year as does an event called 5-5-5—take five minutes to donate $5 and tell five friends.”

With Elburn having a population of more than 4,700, a donation of $2 per resident would just about cover the cost of the event. Donations can be mailed or dropped off at the Elburn Chamber of Commerce, 525 N. Main St., (in the Elburn Community Center) or the Elburn Herald at 123 N. Main St., in downtown Elburn.

More than 800 graduates receive degrees from WCC

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College awarded degrees to 806 graduates at the college’s 2010 commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20. The oldest member of the graduating class was 76-year-old Maybelle Harshey of Sugar Grove, while the youngest graduate was 18 years old.

Since its first graduating class in 1968, Waubonsee has conferred 15,858 degrees to local students.

Photo: Waubonsee Community College graduate Maybelle Harshey of Sugar Grove has her diploma in hand as she exits the college’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 20. At 76, Harshey is the oldest member of Waubonsee’s 2010 graduating class. She earned an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Criminal Justice.
Courtesy Photo

KHS trackster Patterson vaults to 10th place finish at State finals

in Featured/Girls Track by

CHARLESTON—Brooke Patterson wasn’t a perfect 10 this weekend, but that number put her in a pretty nice place.

With a 10-foot vault in the pole vault event on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, the first-year track participant finished 10th overall in the Class 2A State girls track finals in Charleston, Ill.

Patterson, who came on the scene from a gymnastics background for coach Doug Ecker’s Lady Knights roster, finished with 10 feet, three inches in the prelims to launch herself into the finals.

Pontiac’s Emily Grove was crowned champion with a 12-06 final effort. Normal University High’s Emily Clay was second with 12 feet. Belvidere North’s Baily Murphy took third with 11-09 and fellow Western Sun Conference competitor Sam Elliott took fourth at 11-09.

Springfield Southeast won the team standings with 57 points.

Patterson turned out to be the only Lady Knight in six events to make it to Saturday’s final.

Patterson’s teammate Sara Wallace, in her final KHS event, made it to nine feet in the prelims of pole vault.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos finished tenth in her long jump flight with a mark of 15-6.25.

Patterson also competed in the triple jump and finished tenth in her flight at 34-11.25.

The 4×800 meter relay foursome of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished eighth in their prelims with a time of 10 minutes, 6.18 seconds.

Strang also finished just .08 off the final qualifying mark in the 800m run with a time of 2:23.36.

With the 2010 campaign now complete, the Lady Knights track program says goodbye to a couple of State qualifiers in Roberson and Wallace, and additional seniors Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Hillary Luse, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

Photo: Junior Brooke Patterson vaults over the nine-foot mark in the preliminaries at the Class 2A State Girls Track Finals in Charleston, Ill. Patterson, who also competed in the triple jump, was the only Kaneland finalist in six events.
Photo by Ben Draper

KHS falls to Hampshire in season-ender

in Baseball/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In Monday’s regional opener play-in game against fifth-seeded Hampshire, the fourth-seeded Knights were bombarded by opposing offense and failed fundamentals.

The Whip-purs put up four runs in the first inning and four runs in the seventh to clinch a 10-6 win, ending the Knights season at 23-13 (14-7 Western Sun Conference) in hot late-spring conditions. KHS committed five errors in the loss. Hampshire improved to 16-17.

The final win total did tie last year’s all-time mark for season wins, however.

Meanwhile, Hampshire was set to take on top-seeded Burlington Central on Wednesday, with the winner facing either Prairie Ridge or Crystal Lake Central in the Hampshire Regional title game on Saturday, May 29, at 1 p.m.

The Whip-purs jumped on starting pitcher Ty Hamer for four runs in the top of the first, but the Knights came back with two in the bottom of the inning, thanks to RBI singles by Dave Dudzinski and Jake Tickle.

Hampshire put up one in the top of the second for a 5-2 lead and chased Hamer after 1.1 innings (7 H, 5 R).

Dudzinski launched a longball to right field in the bottom of the third to close within 5-3, but Hampshire added one in the sixth and four in the seventh off of Tickle to go up 10-3.

In a last-ditch effort, KHS had runners at first and third with three runs already in. Catcher Aaron Hayman, who subbed for an injured Tyler Callaghan, grounded to short to end the game.

“I think these guys had our number today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “Hat’s off to them, and it’s too bad we can’t play two out of three.”

In the final regular season contest of the year, the Knights tied the school record for wins with their 23rd in a 4-3 win at Bartlett High School.

Sam Komel earned the win on the mound against his Upstate Eight Conference opponents with a solid 5.2-inning outing. Komel gave up three runs on three hits, while Dudzinski earned the save with 1.1 innings. Dudzinski struck out three of the five batters he faced in relief.

Komel also helped his cause at the plate with an RBI double.

Under consistently rainy skies and trying for a share of the last-ever Western Sun Conference, the Knights, who trailed DeKalb by one win, got a clutch three-run triple in the top of the seventh to buoy an 8-2 win.

Winning pitcher Steve Colombe went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits in a winning effort, while Jake Tickle struck out three in 1.2 innings of work for his first save of the year.

Dudzinski singled home Joe Camaliere for the first run of the game, while a pitcher’s throwing error allowed Callaghan to reach base and score Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson for a 3-0 edge.

Camaliere doubled home Jake Fiedler to go up 4-1 in the top of the second. The score remained that way until the bottom of the sixth, when the host Barbs scored once.

After the bases were loaded in the top of the seventh on two walks and a hit batsmen, Landers laced a triple that cleared the bases and gave KHS breathing room.

On May 19, at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, Kaneland surrendered four runs to the Barbs in a less-than-stellar fifth inning enroute to a 5-2 loss under the lights. Colombe went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, while Hamer was tagged with the loss.

With the conclusion of the season, Kaneland varsity baseball says goodbye to seniors Hamer, Hayman, Tickle, Dudzinski, Colombe and Fiedler.

“Dudzinski came in from basketball again, and we loved his contributions all year. Tickle had the 19-game hit streak; all the seniors had a really good season stepping up,” Aversa said.

Photo: Jake Tickle fires toward the plate in the fourth inning of Kaneland’s 10-6 regional opener loss to Hampshire on Monday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Guest editorial: Do not forget

in Featured/From the Editor's Desk by

It is embarrassingly easy for many of us to forget that our nation is currently fighting two wars. We may “know” it, but it is all too easy to forget about the loss of life and limb that occurs virtually every day in defense of our nation.

It is embarrassingly easy to forget about the countless drops of blood, sweat and tears that have been shed through the generations by the very best of us, on behalf of the rest of us.

It is embarrassingly easy to look at Memorial Day as simply a day off work; a time to have a picnic or barbecue with family and friends; a day to spend relaxing.

A day of remembrance was first officially proclaimed in May 1868 by General John Logan, commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. It was first observed on May 30, 1868.

“The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit,” the beginning of the order states.

After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to remember Americans who had fought and died in any war. When Congress passed the National Holiday Act of 1971, Memorial Day was officially set as the last Monday in May.
We urge all local residents to take part in their local Memorial Day observance, and furthermore, to never take for granted what has been bought and paid for with the ultimate sacrifice.

“All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

—General John Logan,
National Commander
Grand Army of the Republic
General Order No. 11

In Elburn, Memorial Day observances Monday, May 31, will begin with a parade at 9:15 a.m. It will start at Elburn Lions Park and end at the Blackberry Cemetery.
There, members of the Elburn American Legion, local Boy and Girl Scouts, and members of the community will take part in a ceremony, including guest speaker Bill Foster, congressman representing the 14th Congressional District.
Following the ceremony, the Legion will offer coffee and refreshments at the Legion Hall.

Sugar Grove
Sugar Grove’s Memorial Day services will begin at 9:15 a.m. at Jericho Cemetery on Mighell Road. Participants will then proceed to the Sugar Grove cemetery on Merrill Road at 10 a.m., where a ceremony will take place.

Maple Park
The village of Maple Park’s Memorial Day program will begin with a parade that will be at the following locations at the following times:
• 9:10 a.m. Pierce Cemetery—Owen Road and Pritchard Road, Troxel
• 9:30 a.m. St Mary’s Cemetery—County Line Road South of Route 38
• 9:45 a.m. Gardner Cemetery—Route 38 East of County Line Road
• 10 a.m. Van Vlack Cemetery—Thatcher Road east of Maple Park
• 10:15 a.m. Sts. Peter & Paul Cemetery—Meredith Road South of Virgil
• 10:30 am South Burlington Cemetery—Ramm and Snyder roads, west of Peplow Road
• 11:15 am Ceremony at Post Home—Main Street, Maple Park

The Kaneville Township 115th Annual Memorial Day Program will be held at 10 a.m. in Kaneville at the Dave Werdin Community Center.
Guest speaker will be former resident Evan Mahan, a veteran from the Iraq War. Guest musician will be local folk singer, Lee Murdock. There will be a special seating section for veterans, who will be recognized during the program.
Following the program, there will be a parade to the cemetery for a rifle salute and decoration of the graves. Refreshments will be served at the Community Center upon return from the cemetery. Old flags, to be retired, will be collected for disposal by the American Legion.

MP man arrested in connection with Kaneville burglary

in Featured/Kaneville/Maple Park by

KANEVILLE—A Maple Park man was arrested after police found him in possession of a vehicle stolen in a burglary, one of 13 burglaries that took place April 30 in Kaneville.

Kane County Sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant on May 7 at 49W972 Peterson Road, Maple Park, where Dennis P. Walsh resided. They arrested Walsh on May 21 at his home, and he was charged with the following offenses:

• 3 counts of unlawful possession of a stolen motor vehicle a class 2 felony

• 3 counts of unlawful defacement of a vehicle ID number, a class 2 felony

• 4 counts of theft, a class 3 felony

• 3 counts of theft, a class A misdemeanor

• 1 count of criminal damage to property, a class A misdemeanor

Walsh is being held at the Kane County Adult Justice Center with a $75,000 bond.

The Sheriff’s Department is continuing its investigation into the rash of burglaries in Kaneville. Sheriff’s detectives have been assisted in the investigation by all areas of the agency including patrol, special operation unit, community policing, school resource officers and a county crime analyst. Members of the Sheriff’s Citizens police academy also assisted with providing information in this case.

The charges against Walsh are not a proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Kane County Sheriff’s Detectives along with Detectives from the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Kane County Auto Theft Task Force are continuing the investigation. Anyone with information relating to this incident is encouraged to call Kane County Sheriff’s Detective Ken Johnson at (630) 208-2028.

McCormick looks back, ahead

in Featured/Kaneland by

After 16 years planning Kaneland’s future, superintendent prepares for his own
by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—If one word could be used to describe Kaneland School District during Superintendent Charlie McCormick’s 16 years with it, that word would be “growing.” One word best describes how McCormick dealt with that issue, “planning.”

“I have tried to think ahead, always anticipating several years in advance what things could be so that we don’t paint ourselves into a corner and so that we give ourselves some flexibility for the future,” McCormick said.

McCormick, who is retiring in June, came to the district in 1994, and since then the number of students and staff has more than doubled. Sixteen years ago, the district had 147 teachers and administrators, and now has 382.

At the beginning of 1994 school year, the district had 2,149 students, compared to the estimated 2010-11 enrollment of 4,674.

Intergovernmental agreement
One of the first tasks he tackled to prepare for additional expected growth was pursuing intergovernmental agreements with district municipalities to ensure developer impact fees for the schools.

“When I became superintendent (in 1998) I sort of took that on and really, what I thought what had to happen was that it’s not just the municipalities talking to us—they need to be talking to one another.”

Now, when a municipality wants to attract a developer, everything is open to negotiation except school fees.

“Those are not negotiable,’ McCormick said. “They can’t be traded off.”

Establishing the intergovernmental agreement was not easy, he said.

“It took a lot of meetings with municipalities,” McCormick said.

At two or three of those meetings, all of the trustees from all the villages were all in one room, the high school library.

Citizen advisory committees
Trying to get the word out about district issues over 142 square miles and nine communities was among McCormick’s challenges over the years, especially when referendums were at stake, he said. The district made great strides in that communication effort by establishing the citizen advisory committees, he said.

McCormick proposed the citizen advisory committees to the School Board about 10 years ago.

“I said, as long as we’re going to keep growing here, you really are going to need to have ongoing communications with the community in some form, some way,” he said.

The district created a citizens advisory committee, a facilities planning committee and finance advisory committee, all composed mostly of citizens appointed by the School Board.

“I think that structure has served the board well, because it has provided for them an ongoing entity that when we start seeing a need in a change for a facility, or a new facility, we start right there with the citizens, early,” McCormick said.

Some CAC members have served for nearly 10 years, bringing district information to the community and bringing residents’ feedback to district officials.

The advisory committees have helped inform district residents about the need for several school referendums for new buildings, McCormick said.

District growth
McCormick, of Sycamore, started as Kaneland’s assistant superintendent for business 16 years ago and became superintendent four years later in place of Dennis Dunton.

Kaneland Assistant Superintendent Jeff Schuler will take the superintendent seat this summer.

When McCormick came to Kaneland, the district had just two schools, at Meredith and Keslinger roads in Maple Park. Others throughout the district had been closed over the years as enrollment tapered off and old buildings needed costly asbestos removal.

However, by 1994, enrollment had increased at the seventh through 12 grades, housed in what is now the high school, and K-sixth at the other building.

“That’s what I walked into … growth was now happening,” McCormick said. “The district was getting bigger and bigger, swelling up against the walls.

“Part of what happens with growth, is that everything has to grow. You have to have more buildings, more lights, more teachers, more administrators, more buses-the whole thing just grows.”

School Board member Cheryl Krauspe said McCormick was a deft leader who was invaluable in a time of great change in the district.

“Charlie provided important direction in our times of managing rapid growth and due diligence in our times of economic distress,” Krauspe said. “He led with respectfulness, thoughtfulness, finesse, and the wisdom that comes from valuable experience. Kaneland is a better, much improved, more solid place because of his dedication and his distinguished career of service and leadership with us.”

Nashville country star coming to MP

in Featured/Maple Park by

Lindsay Lawler will play May 28 at H.D. Rockers
by Martha Quetsch
MAPLE PARK—Country-music recording artist and Nashville headliner Lindsay Lawler will perform at H.D. Rockers in Maple Park on Friday, May 28.

The 5-foot 3-inch singer is known for her strong voice and energetic stage presence.

“She’s a real performer,” H.D. Rockers owner Wally Elliott said.

Elliott met Lawler through friends, and while they visited with her in December in Nashville, she promised to perform at H.D. Rockers, which opened recently in the American Legion Hall in Maple Park.

Lawler is making the Maple Park stop during a trip north to Minnesota for another engagement on Saturday.

Admission to Lawler’s H.D. Rockers event is free, Elliott said. A local band, Field Day, will open the concert at 6:30 p.m., and Lawler will take the stage at 8:30.

She will perform several sets until 1:30 a.m., mingling with the crowd before the show and during breaks, Elliott said.

Elliott expects a large crowd at H.D. Rockers on Friday night, but said that all in attendance would be able to enjoy Lawler’s show.

“We’ll keep rolling people through so everyone has a chance to see her,” he said.

Lawler has musical roots in country, gospel and Broadway styles. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Dallas, she attended University of Oklahoma, where she was music chairman in her sorority and lead singer for a rock band.

After college she moved to Los Angeles and fronted another rock band, performing at the Viper Room, Whisky A Go-Go and The Roxy. Lawler was then discovered in LA by producers Marshall and London Jones, for whom she recorded several songs that received airplay across the country.

Lawler decided to return to her country roots, and moved to Nashville, where she performs regularly at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in downtown Nashville. Among her most popular songs are “Truckers and Rodeo Crowds,” “Cowgirl Fairytale” and ”High-Tech Redneck.”

PeepGov.com offers close look at lawmakers

in Elburn/Featured by

KHS grads’ website a forum for discussion
by Keith Beebe
ELBURN—A new website makes it easier for people to keep track of the business their local lawmaker is conducting in the U.S. Capitol.

Think of it as Facebook for politics.

“We want PeepGov to be in the forefront of the political discussion by merely presenting what people are saying so everyone can see it,” PeepGov President and Elburn resident Nick Secrest said. “We want to help facilitate the discussion.”

PeepGov is a political database that provides streaming Congress-related information in real time, essentially bundling up the data available on any Congressperson, and providing that information in an easy-to-understand format. The website is so user-friendly that people can access the PeepGov database without even knowing who represents them in Washington D.C.

“Just (enter) your zip code and you can be brought up to speed on what your voice in Washington is saying,” Secrest said. “Everyone has busy lives, and with the technology in this day and age, it shouldn’t be hard to keep track of what is going on, but it is. PeepGov makes it simple.”

Secrest, a 2004 Kaneland High School graduate, first became interested in building a political website during the 2008 presidential election. He then enlisted the help of his two long-time friends, Brian Signorella and Nic Borg, to start building the site in March 2009. Both Signorella and Borg, who also are 2004 Kaneland graduates, have computer science degrees from Northern Illinois University.

PeepGov’s creation required more than a few personal sacrifices, as the three creators spent an entire year balancing the design of the website with their day jobs, Secrest said.

“Juggling work and my schedule has been the hardest part for me,” he said.

So far, the hard work and sacrifices have been more than worth it, as PeepGov has accumulated thousands of hits during the last two months and continues to garner attention from bloggers looking to post their material on the site. Secrest even plans to soon have candidates be an actual part of the PeepGov community.

The new website has offered Secrest, himself, a chance to keep tabs on his Congressional leaders’ activities.

“I think the main thing (PeepGov) has done for me is allow me to just keep up with what (they) are doing and saying, as well as what people are saying about them,” Secrest said. “Now I get to see what they are doing from all angles, which, up until this point, has never really been done before.”

Secrest believes streaming information is the wave of the future and was inspired by the community interaction featured on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Most political websites present too much information, which makes the information hard to find within the site,” Secrest said. “Our site brings you information in a simple and real-time way. PeepGov also rates congressional leaders and shows you who the most talked about person is and why they are important.”

Through the filters, PeepGov.com visitors can even search by state, gender, party or most-active, and the site shows who is being talked about the most at that very moment.

Every Congressperson’s page on the PeepGov website also has a peepscore, which shows the amount of activity each page is receiving from website visitors.

“No (other) site does that,” Secrest said.

What’s next for the website looking to revolutionize the way people view and interact with their local government? Secrest believes the sky’s the limit.

“We want PeepGov to be a household name for real-time information about the people who represent you—from the federal level to the state and local level,” he said.

Students say moms are best in town

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

SG contest sponsors select three winners
by Paula Coughlan
SUGAR GROVE—Three local mothers received a special honor just before Mother’s Day, winning the Best Moms in Town contest.

They were among 28 moms who were nominated for the award, through essays their Kaneland middle- and high-school students wrote. The contest was sponsored by Audrey Ritchey of Tastefully Simple home parties, the Sugar Grove Public Library and the Elburn Herald.

Winner Veronica Price was nominated by her daughter Kailah. Kailah wrote that her mother is very involved with home-schooling and church activities, as well as Kailah’s soccer games and violin lessons.

“My mom gives a hug even when the person has done something bad. She gives up so many things for me,” she said.

Veronica said she felt humbled when she heard she had won.

“You never really feel you’re the best mother,” she said. “You always feel you could do better.”

The second winning mom, Pattie Pattermann, a Kaneland teacher for eighth-grade language arts, was nominated by her daughter Kylen. Kylen wrote that her mom always finds time to listen to her problems and said, “My mother’s wisdom always shines through. When I don’t want to ‘hear about it’ because I think I’m smarter than her, I get hugs. I know my mom loves me. What more can I ask for?”

Pattie said she was pleased and surprised when she won, especially since she didn’t know her daughter had submitted an essay. Besides Kylen, she has two sons, one a junior in college and one graduating this month. She said she appreciates the sponsors and their gifts and the middle school for announcing the contest every morning.

“I’m hoping that more students will participate in next year’s contest,” Pattie said.

The third winning mom, Sherri Gura of Montgomery, was nominated by her daughter Starla. Starla expressed admiration for her mother’s strength during a divorce, and the loss of her own mother, brother and her five-year-old son from cancer. Starla said that when so many other people would have fallen apart, her mother was a source of strength that kept everyone else going.

In addition to Starla, she has two college-age sons.

“I knew that they were feeling what I was feeling,” Sherri said.

The day Sherri found out she’d won a Best Mom award, she was feeling down and then got the phone call.

“I don’t feel strong, but I’m glad my daughter sees me that way,” she said.

Each winner received a beach bag worth $350 with prizes that included oil change coupons, massages, olive oil, movie tickets, chocolate, coffee, automatic toothbrushes and other gifts from local businesses, the Elburn Herald, Tastefully Simple, Longaburger Baskets and Mary Kay cosmetics. The Friends of the Sugar Grove Library chose the winners.

“It was so difficult for them to choose,” Ritchey said. “Each one of the essays brought tears to our eyes for how thoughtful and heart-warming they were. They showed that these students really appreciated their mothers.”

Beverly Holmes Hughes, library director, said, “All three of the students (of the winning moms) said they wanted to be like their mothers—that they knew being a mom was a sacrifice.”

Other nominees

In addition to winners Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sherri Gura, the other mothers whose children nominated them for the Best Mom in Town were Lisa Albrechs-Legorreoa, Julie Crabb, Margarette Darst, Laura Long, Annmarie Martons, Laura McPhee, Mrs. Packard, Marybridget Prince, Laura Remes, Jenny Reuland, Juanita Singh, Becky Staley, Kim Emmanouil, Tina Goodacre, Michelle Jurcenko, Cindy Prost, Judy Van Bogaert, Kim Wendling, Sally Alef, Kelly Rosenwinke, Cindi Strobel, Terry Lamb, Lynn McHenry and Angela Orr.

Photo: Veronica Price, Pattie Patermann and Sheri Gura. Courtesy photos

KHS baseball keeps hitting at 21 wins

in Baseball/Featured by

KANELAND—Kaneland baseball hit the 20-win mark once again and found itself with a chance at Western Sun Conference-glory if things tumble in the right direction.

At 21-11 (13-6 WSC), the Knights split a doubleheader with Sycamore on Saturday afternoon in Maple Park and beat Sycamore on Friday by a 5-2 final.

They followed the weekend’s action with a convincing 9-1 win in DeKalb on Tuesday afternoon.

Kaneland is now in a first-place tie with Geneva in conference play.

In game one of the doubleheader, an 8-7 win, Jake Tickle improved to 8-0, pitching 2.2 innings of relief, and Bobby Thorson nabbed the save.

Thorson also produced at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Jake Fiedler doubled and drove in three runs for the Knights.

Up 4-2 after three innings, Sycamore took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, before KHS scord two in the bottom of the inning. Kaneland led 7-5 in the sixth when the Spartans scored twice to tie matters, before the Knights put up one in the bottom of the sixth.

In the 6-4 game two loss, Sam Komel, in 5.1 innings, gave up six runs and struck out seven.

Joe Camaliere went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI while Thorson went 3-for-4 with a double and run driven in.

On Friday, Kaneland scored two in the first, two in the second and one in the third, before allowing two Spartan runs in the bottom of the third. Illini-bound Ty Hamer went the distance and improved to 5-2.

Fiedler went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

Against the Barbs, Thorson improved to 4-2 with a complete game two-hitter, while Thorson, Tickle and Tyler Callaghan all went 3-for-4.

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Soccer takes regional opener with 2-0 knockout

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Better the second half than not at all.

A scoreless first half for Kaneland soccer in the semifinal of the Class 2A Rosary Regional had the 15-2-5 Lady Knights flummoxed against the fourth-seeded Aurora Central Catholic Lady Chargers.

But a Sophie Blank goal just 13 seconds into the second half gave Kaneland a lead, and an Emily Heimerdinger goal with 32:19 left provided the final 2-0 margin.

Kaneland now increases its season record for wins and also a team goal with 15 wins.

The Lady Knights will now await the winner of (2) Rosary and (3) IMSA, which were set to battle on Wednesday, in the regional title game on Saturday, May 22, at noon.

This now marks the second consecutive season that Kaneland finds itself in the regional championship.

Coach Scott Parillo feels that Kaneland will need to pick up the performance.

“It wasn’t a good display at times. We didn’t pass well and we didn’t shoot well. The good thing is we won and we’re in the regional championship,” he said.

Blank’s goal got the team off to as good a start as possible for the final 40 minutes of action.

“We just needed to be aggressive, and Andie (Bruce) had a good pass,” Blank said.

Heimerdinger’s goal occurred after weaving through waves of ACC defenders and hitting the left corner.

With the Lady Knights surrendering just 15 goals thus far, and goalkeeper Jordan Ginther pitching another shutout, captain and defender Megan Gil knows the defense’s task is magnified in this “second season.”

“You just have to keep your head in the game,” Gil said. “The defense has to be strong and help the offense. We work together as a team. We’ve played a long time and we’ve come from winning only three games our freshman year. We like playing with each other.”

Photo: Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther makes a stop against Aurora Central Catholic during Tuesday’s 2-0 regional-opening shutout. Photo by Mike Slodki

Skip Mennerick Memorial Concert set for May 27

in Elburn/Featured by

Elburn—Friends of Skip Mennerick, an Elburn resident who died in October, are holding a memorial concert in his honor on Thursday, May 27, at 7 p.m., at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles. Proceeds from the concert will benefit his wife and young children.

The Skip Mennerick Memorial Concert will be headlined by August, a local band known for its horn-driven rock, soul and R&B music and which includes many personal friends of the Mennerick family. August will be joined by very special guest Greg Boerner, a guitarist/singer/songwriter who performs a Southern-style mix of blues, folk, country and roots rock and roll.

General admission tickets cost $25 and may be purchased in advance on the Arcada website, www.thearcada.com, or at Rejoice Lutheran Church, 0N377 N. Mill Creek Drive, Geneva, (630) 262-0596. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. concert.

Rich Harvest Farms recognized for environmental excellence

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Junior Golf Foundation benefits from certification process
SUGAR GROVE—The Rich Harvest Farms golf course recently achieved designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” through the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, an Audubon International program.

Jeff VerCautren, course superintendent, led the effort to obtain sanctuary status on this course and is being recognized for Environmental Stewardship by Audubon International. Rich Harvest Farms is the 47th course in Illinois and the 753rd in the world to receive the honor.

“Rich Harvest Farms has shown a strong commitment to its environmental program. They are to be commended for their efforts to provide a sanctuary for wildlife on the golf course property,” said Jim Sluiter, Staff Ecologist for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary programs.

To reach certification, a course must demonstrate that they are maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas, Sluiter said.

These categories include: Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, and Water Quality Management.

VerCautren and his staff dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to these areas.

“The knowledge gained by obtaining certification was a great experience,” VerCautren said. “It opened my eyes on how to properly manage a golf course and to meet high expectations to be environmentally sound. I would advocate every course go through this process to educate themselves on how to manage their golf course while being environmentally sound.”

Part of the certification process includes outreach and education. Fortunately for Rich Harvest Farms, housed on their property is one of the largest junior golf organizations in the state. The Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, established in 1998 by course owner and architect Jerry Rich, makes its administrative home at the course.

“Our foundation is fortunate to have benefitted from some of the outreach and education efforts that are part of this certification process,” said Holly Alcala, Foundation Director. “Jeff and his staff have helped to facilitate a number of events and provided resources that have been beneficial to our junior golfers and program sites.”

That outreach effort included a group of local Girl Scouts who received a tour and educational session from VerCautren, which focused on the importance that nature plays and the environmental stewardship involved in golf. VerCautren also served as a guest speaker at a caddie training session held by the foundation, where he addressed the importance of recycling, taking care of the course and more.

Awards and accolades continue to pile up for Rich Harvest Farms and Jerry Rich. In 2009, the course was thrust into the limelight while hosting the LPGA’s 2009 Solheim Cup. After hosting a major event, one might think to take a step back or slow down. Not for Rich Harvest Farms, the facility and staff are continually moving forward.

“Our commitment to the environment and community are a priority at Rich Harvest Farms,” said Jerry Rich. “Through the golf course and the Kids Golf Foundation, we are playing our part to ensure the future.”

Teacher spearheaded Young Authors

in Featured/Kaneland by

by Martha Quetsch
KANELAND—The longstanding Young Authors program for K-8 Kaneland students owed its start to teacher Barb Romack, who is retiring after 37 years with the district.

Romack has been a fourth-grade teacher at John Stewart Elementary School in Elburn for more than 10 years, and is one of 12 district teachers who are retiring in June.

Through the Young Authors program, Romack encouraged hundreds of Kaneland students to write their own books.

“At one time, she had all of the sixth grade writing,” said Barb Landis, who teaches sixth grade at Harter Middle School.

Romack read every one of the books students wrote, choosing the winning works each year and awarding ribbons to all participants.

“I look for original, quality work,” said Romack.

Romack said she was pleased that one student actually wrote a book each year from kindergarten through eighth grade. She added another past participant now is a published author, and many others have continued to write.

Reading is Romack’s passion, and she plans to spend more time doing it after retiring from teaching.

“I have a lot to catch up on,” Romack said.

She also will spend some time visiting her grandsons in Utah, and will continue working for the Education Department at Fermilab, where she co-teaches a class in particle physics for middle school teachers each summer.

Romack began work in Kaneland in 1973, teaching third grade at Kaneville Elementary School. About 10 years later she became gifted-program teacher and coordinator for K-12. Seven years later, she returned to the regular classroom, teaching fourth grade for the next two decades.

What she expects to miss most about her teaching years with Kaneland are the “Oh, I get it now” or “Oh, yeah” moments from students, as well as the time with her former colleagues.

“I’m sure there will be a period of adjustment since I won’t be planning everything else in my life around teaching,” Romack said. “I think I’m ready to begin a new phase in my life-who knows where it will lead.”

More than 30 years at Kaneland
Following are the employees who have been with the Kaneland the longest from among this year’s 12 retiring district teachers:
Barb Romack 4th grade John Stewart 37 yrs.
Patrick Sheetz 7th grade science 35 yrs.
Suzanne Girsch 4th grade John Stewart 34 yrs.
Rick Dalton middle school P.E. 33 yrs.

Photo: Retiring John Stewart Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Barb Romack has served in many roles during her more than three decades with the Kaneland School District. Those included coordinating the Young Authors program, after-school science programs and Starlab presentations. Photo by Martha Quetsch

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