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Top 10 of 2012: The most-viewed stories on in the past year

in Featured/From the Editor's Desk by

As web editor, I get the unique opportunity to see just how folks like you view We use Google Analytics to anonymously track how our visitors use our site, and in turn, we get to see what stories and articles were the most popular. It’s been immensely helpful as I tackle the project of redesigning going into 2013.

Our top 10 most-viewed stories from 2012 touched it all: local hot-button issues, police-related articles, community groups linking to articles about them, and what I can only call the “power of Google.”

10: ‘Miracle’ Meagan turns 3 (Nov. 15, 2012)

The 1,696-member Meagan Seals Miracle Baby Facebook Group linked to our article in November, leading to this story cracking the top 10.

9: Church moves forward with lot closure (April 13, 2012)

An early-year local issue that caused a stir in Downtown Elburn. The lot remains closed.

8: Comcast Sportsnet Chicago to air ‘IHSA Playoff Pairing Release Show’ Oct. 20 (Oct. 20, 2012)

Google search traffic helped boost this press release into our Top 10. People were looking for information—specifically what channel to to tune into if they had Comcast, DirecTV, etc.

7: Aurora woman gets prison term for fatal crash on Route 47, Smith Road (Feb. 17, 2012)

Alia Bernard was sentenced to 7 years for causing a crash that killed Wade and Denise Thomas. Bernard filed a motion to reduce her sentence in March, and the Chicago Tribune reported in August her sentence was in fact reduced to 6 years. A cautionary tale that distracted driving is extraordinarily dangerous.

6: Obituary: Brett Richard Brubaker (June 14, 2012)

Overall, obituaries are our most-viewed content on Brubaker was a 1980 Kaneland graduate was very well-connected in the community.

5: Elburn Station project Chugs along (April 13, 2012)

To call this issue hot button would be an understatement. In fact, even after the issue was tabled in October, a trustee recently proposed opening up discussions in early 2013.

4: Body found on side of Meredith Road identified (July 19, 2012)

Learn more about Joyce David here.

3: Darden Restaurants grants $1,000 to Lazarus House (Aug. 12, 2012)

Turns out there are two organizations called “Lazarus House” in Jersey City, NJ., and San Francisco. People from those two locations viewed this story a lot.

2: Barefoot collgians (April 28, 2012)

It looks like the keywords “barefoot” and “library” have brought users from all over the world to what was a press release from Aurora University we published since it featured a Sugar Grove resident.

1: 2 Elburn Residents charged with cannabis trafficking (Nov. 21, 2012)

It was interesting that our top story is also the most recently-posted of the 10. A lot of search traffic led to many visitors for this regional story.

Christmas and Creative Beginnings

in Elburn/Featured by

Students from Creative Beginnings Preschool (right) at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center sang Christmas songs for their parents and other guests on Dec. 19 in the gymnasium. The kids had a good time performing and receiving gifts from their teachers on the last day before holiday break. Photos by John DiDonna

The preschool teachers hand out presents to the students after the holiday program.

Jack, 4, was born on Christmas Eve. After the program, he posed with one of the large decorations.

Creative Beginnings Student Annika, 4, examines her presents with her mom after the holiday program.

15 month old Bryan couldn’t sing with the big kids, but had fun walking around the gym and looking at the decorations.

Hot start

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Follow the Plano Tournament at

Kaneland’s Tyler Carlson (10) steals the ball from the Sandwich players during the 50th annual Plano Classic on Saturday. Kaneland handled Sandwich easily in this game, winning 52-31. Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS boys trounce Sandwich in Plano Classic’s first round
KANELAND—It’s a tall order for an 11th seed to find glory in the Plano Christmas Classic, so Kaneland had to take it one step at a time at the tournament setting.

They did so on Saturday against Sandwich with a 52-31 victory during the first afternoon of the 50th edition of the tournament.

Winners of the entire tournament in 2009, KHS played No. 6 seed Lisle at 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time.

Kaneland (4-4) went 17-for-42 from the field and was paced by Tyler Carlson’s 19 points, John Pruett’s 12 and Matt Limbrunner’s 11.

Liam Crotty had eight for Sandwich.

Key in the winning effort was the Knights going 18-for-21 from the foul line, compared to 5-for-5 for the Indians.

KHS went 10-for-22 from the field in the second half.

Kaneland was up 10-8 after the first quarter, and 18-13 at the half before upping the lead to 30-22 after three. The Knights’ 22-9 run spanning the entire fourth quarter iced the first-round contest.

Girls leave Ottawa with split

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

The Kaneland girl’s varsity basketball team ventured to Ottawa for the Holiday Tournament. They beat Morris 38-29 and lost to Pontiac on Saturday, 43-39. File Photo

Colombe contingent nbeats Morris, takes loss vs. Pontiac
by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—It’s hard to get accustomed to new digs for the holiday season.

Kaneland girls basketball had spent the previous six seasons hooping it up at Oswego East’s tournament in late December, and made its way to Ottawa’s Holiday tournament in 2013.

After splitting the first two contests a week ago in downtown Ottawa, the Lady Knights once again beat conference rival Morris on Friday afternoon by a final of 38-29, before losing to Pontiac, 43-38, in the seventh-place game on Saturday afternoon.

Kaneland’s eighth-place mark out of 12 teams brings the mark to 9-5 as the 2012 part of the season closes out. The Lady Knights have lost five of seven contests after a solid 7-0 beginning to the season.

Joliet Catholic won the tournament after a 49-26 handling of the host Lady Pirates, while Yorkville beat Geneseo, 39-29, in the third-place encounter.

Ashley Prost had 11 points to lead the Lady Knight attack in the win over the Morris, while Amber Winquist-Bailey had eight points off the bench in key minutes.

“It’s nice to stop the slide,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We knew it was going to be a different game, and they moved up a freshman to varsity and she’s one of Morris’ best players.They did a real nice job of defense on us, just getting in there battling.”

Kaneland emerged with a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but fell behind quickly until Prost’s basket put the lead back to 14-13 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Sarah Grams’ jumper with 4:35 to go made it 16-13, while Winquist-Bailey’s basket 27 seconds later made it 18-15 and marked the final score of the quarter until a Morris foul shot with 38.3 seconds remaining.

Morris tried its best to push through to the lead, but junior center Kelly Wallner’s free throw, Prost’s bucket and Emma Bradford’s shot had KHS at a 23-20 advantage with 4:56 to go in the third. Later, Morris sliced the lead to two, but another Winquist-Bailey basket made it 27-23 with 17.9 remaining, closing out the third frame’s scoring.

Yet another key Winquist-Bailey conversion gave KHS a 29-23 lead with 6:24 to go, and the Lady Knights never looked back. Grams’ shot with 4:48 to go gave KHS a 10-point lead with 4:48 left, and her two foul shots with 52.2 left gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of the night at 37-26. Kaneland was 4-for-5 from the field and hit six of eight from the charity stripe to seal it.

“Amber had a nice spark in the game, and we all just cleared our heads and we focused on what we needed to do,” Prost said.

The Lady Knights’ break continues until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, when they host rival Yorkville.

New equestrian center to open in Elburn

in Elburn/Featured by

Promise Equestrian Center, located at 45W050 Beith Road in Maple Park, is a newly renovated facility featuring two large indoor arenas, over 100 stalls and a covered 3/4-mile race track. The center will open in March 2013. Courtesy Photo

by Mary Parrilli
ELBURN—Promise Equestrian Center, a new horse breeding, training, and boarding center in Elburn, is slated to be up and running by the end of March 2013.

The facility is a transformation of the old Hondo Ranch racehorse training facility, located on Beith Road between Meredith Road and Route 47.

According to barn manager Jennifer Velichkoff, the newly renovated center sits on 360 acres, with two large indoor arenas, over 100 stalls and a covered 3/4-mile racetrack. Velichkoff said a third indoor arena is currently under construction and will debut in the upcoming spring.

The center will offer horse training of all disciplines, as well as breeding and affordable, high-quality boarding.

“We wanted Promise to be a one-stop equestrian center and the largest in the area,” Velichkoff said.

Velichkoff was hired on as the barn manager for Promise Equestrian after boasting some impressive credentials. She has been riding, training, and caring for horses for the past 20 years, and carries degrees in animal/equine science and barn management. Velichkoff spent 15 of those 20 years as the owner and barn manager at Lowes Den Stables boarding, training and lesson stable in Sycamore.

In addition to her barn manager experience, Velichkoff is also the founder and president of the American Trail Horse Association, the owner of Northern Illinois Equine Breeding Service since 2002, and a certified equine AI technician.

She said she has been at Promise Equestrian every day for the past month working on restoring the property. She has invested a large portion of her time in the center, spending most of her time cleaning, painting and rebuilding, and trying to mold the vision held by her and the owners.

Ten years ago, the old Hondo Ranch racehorse training facility was foreclosed upon, and was bought up by investors with a vision for the future. The investors wanted a place with shows, clinics, trail rides and special events. They wanted to restore the property to its former glory. Now, they are able to move forward with their dream, and for the past month have been working non-stop to update and restore all the existing elements of the property.

“All of the buildings, including the barns and the race track, were there when the investors bought the property,” Velichkoff said. “Everything was built very strong and sturdy; it’s just a matter of updating and renovating everything to make it look modern and new.”

Although the center is currently open for boarding and trailering, the official grand opening is scheduled for the last weekend in March. Velichkoff plans on hosting some shows, including hunter jumper and western shows. Anyone interested in attending the center and receiving notification of future events is welcome to join the mailing list on the Promise Equestrian website, A coupon for December and January is also available on the website.

When asked about her expectations for Promise’s first year in business, Velichkoff offered a simple response.

“Busy,” she said.

Velichkoff said that affordable, high-quality boarding is hard to find, and that is what Promise is offering its customers. Personal service is Velichkoff’s goal, and she said that she offers one-on-one service for customers to interact with her.

For more information about Promise Equestrian Center, visit

Geary kicks off 2013 campaign with fundraiser

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Sugar Grove Village Trustee Kevin Geary speaks to the audience during his campaign kickoff fundraiser on Dec. 13 at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove. Geary will run for Village President against incumbent Sean Michels in the election on Tuesday, April 9. Courtesy Photo

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove village trustee Kevin Geary on Dec. 13 kicked off his bid for village president with a fundraiser held in the Pine Room at Bliss Creek Golf Club in Sugar Grove.

The fundraiser drew in 40 people, including Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt, Sugar Grove Village Board trustee David Paluch and Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor. Retired Kane County auditor William Keck emceed the event and also introduced Geary to the public in attendance.

“I was very happy with the turnout. You always want a couple more people to show up, but I was pleased overall,” Geary said. “Some people stopped in, chatted and then moved on to other parties.”

Kane County Board Chair Chris Lauzen was slated to attend the event, but had a scheduling conflict.

Geary, a 14-year presence on the Sugar Grove Village Board, will oppose incumbent Village President Sean Michels in the election on Tuesday, April 9, with early voting to begin in mid-March.

Geary’s campaign on Monday filed for the election, and now await the drawing to determine the order of candidate placement on the ballot, which will take place Friday, Jan. 4.

There will also be a town hall meeting to give candidates what Geary referred to as a “true temperature of what residents want their village to be.” The event will include an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and share their ideas.

“We’re shooting for a date near the middle or end of January,” Geary said.

Geary last week said that his campaign will run on the platform of offering “open and honest government in order to be accountable to the people served by that body,” and creating a business-friendly climate within the village.

“I believe the village has been onerous in some of its requirements toward local busnesses and new business,” he said. “Let’s say a business needs a variance or two. Older buildings can apply for a variance that takes the business from non-compliant to compliant, but Sugar Grove isn’t very liberal with variances. They aren’t given out often enough.”

Geary is also campaigning for government that he believes is more effective and efficient. He proposed the idea of looking at the village roster and finding opportunities to trim the budget. An example of this would be the decision to not backfill positions vacated because of reasons tied to retirement or other employment opportunities.

“That’s a decision that would need to be discussed by the village president and the board,” Geary said.

Geary believes the election race will affect his relationship with Michels on the Village Board.

“We have a difference of opinions, and I am vocal about my opinions when the board is in session,” he said.

According to Geary, one of the differences in opinion concerns the fate of money in the Prairie Parkway fund. He said discussions have suggested that the money should go toward the Route 47/I-88 interchange project. Geary would like to see the money instead go toward the improvement of the cloverleaf at the intersection of Routes 47 and 56. That improvement would include installation of a slip ramp near the cloverleaf, as well as widening the stretch of Route 47 between the cloverleaf and Kendall County to two lanes each way.

“I feel this is a better project because it’s a Route 30 project, and the funds were earmarked for a federal highway, which was supposed to be Prairie Parkway,” Geary said. “This way, it’s federal funds for federal roads, and we benefit from its widening. It could open up development for us, as well.”

The road toward realizing that vision kicked off last week with a campaign fundraiser that Jon Zahm, Geary’s campaign manager, deemed successful.

“The fundraiser, for me, fortified and strengthened the conviction that Sugar Grove wants to move in a different direction,” Geary said.

Music of the season

in Elburn/Featured by

Nate Biery plays guitar with instructor/owner Ben Westfall. The two performed “The First Noel,” “Simple Gifts” and “The Big Corral” during the Holiday Recital at Da Capo Music.

Justin Lesseberg plays “Let it Snow” during recital on Sunday at Da Capo Music Studio.

Lauren Koffenberger of Elburn plays “Home on the Range” and “Silent Night” with instructor/owner Kristin Paxinos.

Photos by Kimberly Anderson

Madrigal magic

in Featured/Kaneland by

The Kaneland High School Madrigals presented their annual Madrigal Feaste on Dec. 14, 15 and 16, in the high school cafeteria. This is the 35th year of the Kaneland Music Department‘s Renaissance Dinner. Bryan Kunstman and his Madrigals provided great costumes, pageantry, and comedy that delighted the dinner guests. Photos by Patti Wilk

Gigantic week for P.J. Fleck

in Featured/Football/Kaneland/Sugar Grove by

Kaneland alum has daughter day before officially becoming WMU head coach
Kalamazoo, Mich.—Kaneland School District Hall of Fame member and Sugar Grove native P.J. Fleck had a whirlwind start to his week.

Preliminary, unconfirmed reporting from various sports media outlets began Monday, stating that Fleck would be officially named the head football coach at Western Michigan University (WMU).

The WMU Athletics Department confirmed the reports during the day Monday, stating that a press conference to officially name Fleck as their football program’s head coach had been set for Tuesday afternoon.

“When talking with people about Coach Fleck, the words used to describe his approach were ‘limitless energy,’ ‘limitless possibility,’ ‘limitless passion,’ ‘limitless enthusiasm,’ ‘limitless drive,’ ‘limitless achievement’ and ‘limitless opportunity,’” posted Mat Kanan, director of athletic media, when announcing the press conference online.

That press conference was put in jeopardy when Fleck’s wife, Tracie, went into labor Monday evening. The couple later welcomed their second child, Paisley, who will now look up to big brother, Carter Joseph (C.J.).

Fleck then made the trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., in time for the press conference.

“It’s great to be back in the MAC,” Fleck said as he reached the podium after being officially announced as the Broncos’ head coach. “I feel like I’ve come home.”

He presented the packed Varsity W Club Room in the Seeyle Center on the WMU campus with his plan as the university’s 15th head coach.

“We will do everything we can to bring success on the field and in the classroom,” he said.

Fleck described his approach to building a collegiate football program, as well as giving some insight into himself as a person.

“I’m an ordinary guy and I’ve surrounded myself with extraordinary people,” he said.

Fleck was a standout wide receiver on the back-to-back undefeated KHS state championship teams in 1998 and 1999. He set state records during his time as a Knight, with 95 catches for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior season. In his KHS career, Fleck caught 199 passes for 3,121 yards and 34 touchdowns, including a string of 40 straight games in which he caught at least one pass.

He then went on to play wide receiver for Northern Illinois University, where he earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors in 2003. As a senior, he led NIU with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns.

Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.

Fleck began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State University in 2006, working with the Buckeyes’ tight ends and assisting with the special teams units.

Northern Illinois University hired Fleck in 2007 as a wide receivers coach, and he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator. He then took wide receivers coaching position for Rutgers University in 2010. In early 2012, Fleck was hired as NIU offensive coordinator, but resigned the following day, instead taking a wide receivers coaching position with the Tampa Bay Buccanears in the National Football League.

Now, with his head coaching position at WMU, Fleck is the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Fleck and his wife annually host the P.J. Fleck “Live Your Dream” Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill’s Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.

Drew drops in on DeKalb

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Kaneland point guard Drew David returned to the lineup after his injury that kept him out of the first six games. He helped the Knights come back against DeKalb, winning 50-45 on Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Key 3 fuels comeback win at Barbs
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Perhaps the only group unhappy to see the return of Kaneland point guard Drew David was the group hosting the boys basketball game on Friday night.

It was David’s first game back from a wrist injury suffered during football season, and he lofted a successful three-pointer to give KHS a 46-45 lead with 43.6 seconds remaining.

The shot gave the Knights the lead for the rest of the contest and resulted in a 50-45 win over the host Barbs.

Kaneland is now 3-4 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

The game featured Kaneland playing catch-up since the first quarter, facing as much as an eight-point deficit in the game.

The fourth frame saw KHS go 7-for-10 from the field and a string of six made shots in a row.

Matt Limbrunner paced the Knights with 16 points, followed by Tyler Carlson’s 11, John Pruett’s 10 and David’s eight.

“We were down the whole game, but the boys fought really hard,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said. “Drew came up big toward the end, and it was a team effort. It was obviously nice having Drew back.”

DeKalb entered the fourth up 34-29, and Kaneland’s run began when Pruett’s putback off of a Dan Miller miss made it 39-35 with 4:05 remaining.

DeKalb made the first of two foul shots to make it a five-point game. Pruett’s shot made it 40-37 with 2:50 to go, and David hit his first trifecta with 1:58 remaining to neutralize a previous Barb three and make it 43-40.

Tyler Carlson’s basket 20 seconds later made it 43-42.

Miller’s foul shot tied it with 1:27 left before a Barb conversion tilted the lead back to the home team with 1:05 left.

David then hit the crucial three from the wing, and a similar attempt by DeKalb was for naught, allowing Pruett and David to hit four foul shots to cap the win.

“I don’t know, I’m pretty out of shape, but I was just trying to help the team win,” David said. “I just got cleared the other day and it’s (my hand is) pretty weak, so it’s kind of foreign for me, shooting right now.”

DeKalb had a 10-7 lead after one frame, and was up 20-16 after two quarters.

Kaneland sets off against Sandwich at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Dec. 22, in the first round of the Plano Christmas Classic. The winner faces Lisle on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 3:30 p.m., while the loser faces either Newark or Burlington Central at 6:30 p.m.

Wrestlers tussle with Yorkville in losing effort

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland’s Dan Goress was one of four Knights who earned a win against visiting Yorkville last Thursday night, winning by major decision 18-5. The Knights lost to the Foxes 45-19. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights also face 3 foes in home weekend quad
KANELAND—You can have a plan to be aggressive on the wrestling mat, but unless it manifests during mat time, no win is automatic.

Kaneland’s meet against visiting Yorkville had some nice moments for the Knights, but the Foxes’ strong attack took hold in a 45-19 win.

Saturday turned a little better, with a home quad resulting in wins over Geneva and Belvidere North before a loss to Rock Island.

Kaneland’s dual record is now 6-7.

Wins over the rival Foxes took the form in bouts like a Connor Williams 9-6 win in the 120-pound match and Esai Ponce’s 1:55 pin in the 132-pound match.

“You try to score as much as you can for your team, because you know you’re giving up weights,” Ponce said of the fact that Kaneland forfeits at several weight classes during dual meets. “I feel we can do a lot better than last year.”

Dan Goress, at 145, won a 16-5 major decision, and Nick Sharp took the 220-pound match in 1:41.

“We’re just going to pound basic drill after basic drill,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “We’re not attacking enough on our feet. We need to be offensive wrestlers.”

Kaneland went pin happy against rival Geneva in a 42-38 win.

Adam Mish (106 pounds), Stephen Gust (113), Dane Goodenough (126), Ponce, Sonny Horn (138) and Goress all came away with pins.

Ponce’s 12-second fall was the quickest in the head-to-head encounter.

Kaneland also beat Belvidere North 51-21.

Zach Theis took heavyweight glory in a 42-second pinfall, while Mish earned a pin in 2:20.

Teammate Gust won a fall in 1:10, and Williams went the distance in an 8-6 win. In addition to a forfeit, Ponce (:58), Horn (1:48) and Goress (1:17) all took pins.

The only team blemish for KHS was a 45-18 loss to Rock Island.

Gust won a 7-0 battle, while Ponce was victorious in 5-1 fashion. Goress won a 7-2 match, while the final two wins went to Sharp (9-3) and Theis (3:10).

Kaneland travels to Woodstock for a dual on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Bowling sees promising signs at Lisle Invite

in Bowling/Featured by

Photo: Christie Crews is trying to improve on her standout performance last year. Here she throws against LaSalle Peru High School on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes a weekend invite is all you need to see what can happen.

On Saturday, Kaneland bowling went to the Lisle Invite and came away with a second-place trophy in the “B” bracket.

Kaneland knocked down 1,308 pins in the morning session and 2,060 pins in the afternoon session for a total of 3,368.

The first matchups were traditional five-on-five formats, with the field divided into A and B brackets in the afternoon.

KHS was ninth out of 16 teams, and was placed in the “B” bracket.

Kaneland came away with wins over Lisle and then Willowbrook before losing to Rock Island in the final match of the day.

“It’s a game we should have won, but tiredness showed, and we just didn’t get the scores we needed,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “Still, we got a nice trophy for taking second place. It was good to bowl against several teams on the same day. As is often the case with us, we just seemed to tire out and lose the competitive spirit late in the day. We’ll have to work on that prior to our next tournament in January. All in all, I’m pleased with our performance, and I think the girls are, too.”

Kaneland played hosts to LaSalle-Peru Tuesday and fell in all three games by a total of 2,908-2,620.

Christie Crews led the Lady Knights with a pair of 181-high games and a 508 series. Ellissa Eckert followed with a 175 high game and 467 series.

Bowling picks up on Jan. 3, 2013, hosting Sycamore High School at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

SG Irish pub to open in late December

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Runway to Galway, an Irish pub and eatery, will open in Sugar Grove in late December. The
property is owned by Stephane Corbiere, a native of France. Courtesy Photo

by Elizabeth Rago
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove residents can expect an Irish pub with an adjoining dining room sometime before the New Year.

Runway to Galway, owned by Stephane Corbiere, will open at 1942 Route 30, across from the Air Classics Historical Aviation Museum. From the front of the house, patrons will be able to casually sip their beer and enjoy classic Irish stew while taking in the view of the museum’s collection of aircraft and vehicles.

“I wasn’t originally looking for a startup company, but Steve Fulton (owner of the building) introduced me to the Sugar Grove property,” Stephane said. “The geographic location is perfect and the community is not only friendly, but family friendly.”

Stephane is originally from France, and his wife, Fiona, who hails from Galway, Ireland, found Sugar Grove to be not only the perfect place to start a business, but a wonderful area to relocate and raise their family of five.

The name of the pub features the region of Galway, which holds a lot of history for Stephane, as he met his wife and started their family among Galway’s festive culture and vibrant music scene. The Sugar Grove pub is meant to be a place where community members can congregate; not be served and rushed out the door, states Stephane.

The Corbiere’s vision for the pub is to be a place where friends and families gather. Combined with great food, drink and a comfortable layout, Runway to Galway is ideally positioned to offer a relaxed atmosphere, hearty food and spirited drink.

“There is plenty of room for business owners in this area, and I am fortunate to be one of the first serving the Sugar Grove community and employees from local businesses like Scot Industries and the Aurora Municipal Airport,” Stephane said.

The pub is still under construction as Stephane works with area contractor Cort Kormos of Vintage Development Ltd. in Elburn.

“This is a very local project where we are working with area plumbers, electricians and carpenters to build Runway to Galway,” Cort said. “As the owner of the property, Steve did not want to start from scratch. The building is 90 percent new except for the existing exterior structure.”

Cort added that Stephane and Runway to Galway are a really good addition to the community.

“Our target date to open is the third week of December,” Stephane said. “As long as the logistics are in order, we are excited to be welcoming patrons very soon.”

Sugar Grove resident James Lancaster is all about supporting local small business, and finds the idea of an Irish pub to be an excellent addition to Route 30.

“My family has always looked to support local establishments first, which boosts the economy. Plus, I enjoy seeing my friends and neighbors when we go out,” he said.

Adams retires after 35 years of service to the SG Community House

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photos: Thanks to Lil’s tireless efforts over the years, a garden was created at the Community Center this summer in honor of her recent retirement. It will forever be known as “Lil’s Garden” and adorned with a plaque. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Lil Adams, a 45-year Sugar Grove resident and long-time board member, manager and caretaker of the Sugar Grove Community House, is retiring from those responsibilities after 35 years of dedication.

Adams joined the Sugar Grove Township Board of Directors for the Community House in 1977. Upon retiring from her career with AT&T in 1989, Adams took over custodial duties for the building. Since then, she has managed the maintenance of the building, as well as scheduling and managing all the activities and events.
“I was going to do it until they found someone else,” she said.

The Sugar Grove Community House, built in 1929 for community events and township resident use, has been host to the Scouts, 4-H clubs, homeowners association meetings, youth basketball, soccer and other youth groups, men’s indoor basketball league, Rocky’s DoJo kick-boxing matches, Sugar Grove Fire District pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, as well as aerobics classes, wedding receptions, showers, anniversary and birthday parties over the years.

“You name it; we’ve had it,” Community House Board President Stan Schumacher said. “Without Lil’s assistance, there’s no way we could have functioned that well in that capacity. It wasn’t just a 9-5 job. Whenever she needed to be there, she was right there.”

Schumacher said that Adams was already on the board when he joined 26 years ago.

“I first met Lil and her husband Tom through the Sugar Grove Young Adults group,” he said. “You could tell her love for that building. She always kept it in tip-top clean shape. Her dedication was seven days a week. She was always right there to make sure people could get in and to lock up afterwards.”

Adams in 2011 was recognized by the village of Sugar Grove last year with the Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year Award. Adams received several nominations for Citizen of the Year from United Methodist Church, Sugar Grove Township, Conley Outreach and many of her close friends. The village also received numerous letters of support from local residents and businesses.

“I never dreamed they would do that (for) me. I had no idea I’d receive the award, even
though a lot of my friends were behind it all,” she said at the time. “It was a very well-kept secret.”

Lil Adams is honored as the 2011 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year at the Sugar Grove Corn Boil by Village President Sean Michels.  File Photo
Lil Adams is honored as the 2011 Sugar Grove Citizen of the Year at the Sugar Grove Corn Boil by Village President Sean Michels. File Photo
This spring, while Adams was on vacation, volunteers installed a water feature in front of the Community House in honor of her many years of service. During a dedication of the feature on Nov. 17, a plaque was also mounted on the front of the building so that future generations would know of Adams’ contributions. Native plantings complete the area now known as “Lil’s Garden.”

“That was so nice. It was such an honor,” Adams said. “People out here have been so good to me. I think I’ve been getting too much attention lately.”

Sugar Grove residents don’t see it that way.

“Lil’s a wonderful person, and she loves Sugar Grove,” Sugar Grove Chamber Executive Director Shari Baum said.

Baum said the business community and residents wanted to show how much they appreciate her dedication to the preservation of the building over the past 35 years.

In addition to the Community House, Adams’ community and volunteer work have included the school PTA, Sugar Grove Lions Club, Sugar Grove Election Board, Sugar Grove Corn Boil, as well as her roles with the Sugar Grove United Methodist Church. Adams has managed the church’s pie-baking efforts over the years for the annual Corn Boil, performed in the handbell choir, and served on various committees and boards.

Adams has been helping with the transition to the new custodians, and will serve on the board until next April. Then she said she is going to sit back and relax a bit more.

“It’s real soothing just to sit on the bench (outside the Community House) and listen to the water flow,” she said.

But Adams won’t sit still for too long. In addition to her church activities, she belongs to the Red Hat Ladies Club out of Oswego, goes to movies, and plays cards and dominos with her fellow club members.

“There are a lot of nice ladies in the group,” she said.

Of her years with the Community House, Adams said that it has been a great experience.
“I met a lot of nice people, had a lot of parties, big responsibilities and a “very, very nice board to work with,” she said.

When she joined the board, Dale Storck and Elaine Fox were trustees. Schumacher replaced Storck, and Jerry Murphy recently became a trustee.

“Our community owes a great deal of gratitude to Lil for everything she has done for them,” Schumacher said.

Photos: 2012 Elburn Christmas Stroll

in Elburn/Featured by

Five-month-old Dylan Jump (right) of DeKalb doesn’t know what to make of Santa at the Town and
Country Public Library during the Elburn Christmas Stroll on Friday.

Grace Algrim, 9, and her grandma, Becky Hale, create crafts during the Christmas Stroll.

Santa Claus greets riders of all ages on the Polar Express train located at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center. The train loaded up and took spectators throughout the grounds and around Christmas-themed inflatables.

Kyle of Maple Park gives his ticket to Elburn Herald Editor Keith Beebe at the Life-Sized Kandyland game. The Elburn Herald has been doing the game for nearly 15 years and was excited for the challenge of setting up in the Community Center. The turnout was over 700 at this year’s event.

The Holiday Craft Faire was in full swing at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center on Friday during the stroll. There were more than 10 crafter tables, as well as businesses set up to help visitors. This year’s wreath auction was also well received, bringing in over 10 decorated wreaths for visitors to bid on and purchase.

The Kasap family of Elburn—Lydia, Lauren and Jordan—check out the Elburn Fire Department displays during the Christmas Stroll.

Photos by Kimberly Anderson

Lady Knight streak ends

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photos by Patti Wilk

Kaneland’s season-opening win streak falls in loss to DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The opening season unbeaten streak for the Lady Knights basketball team came to an end Tuesday against DeKalb, but not before earning a tough overtime win over Sycamore last Thursday.

After navigating through a tough and tight battle and seeing the game almost slip away with under a second remaining, the Lady Knights used an extra quarter to dispense of visiting Sycamore on Thursday, 44-37.

Middle presence Ashley Prost paced the Lady Knights with 11 points, while Lauren Goff of Sycamore had a game-high 12.

Kaneland was 15-for-40 from the field on Thursday, but 13-for-18 from the foul line.

The fourth quarter began with Kaneland up 24-22, and a Sarah Grams pull-up jumper eventually gave KHS a 32-27 lead, but two baskets by the Lady Spartans made it 32-31 with 2:58 remaining.

Two foul shots by Grams with 1:41 to go extended the lead to 34-31, but an SHS basket with 28.3 to go made it 34-33.

Sycamore would get one last possession, and a Prost foul sent the visitors to the line with .1 second left.

“It wasn’t a position we wanted to be in,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We just got fortunate and caught a break.”

After the front end of the two shots was made, it was on to overtime, where Brooke Harner scored the first two baskets and KHS kept the lead doing with foul shots from Aly O’Herron, Prost and Grams.

“Our main goal is to make the other team take a time out within the first two minutes and keep up the defense, and the offense will follow after,” Harner said.

Kaneland led 10-8 after one quarter, and trailed 14-13 at halftime.

“They had us dribbling too much early on, kind of got us frustrated. They had us throwing the ball for longer passes than we wanted to, and they got to us that way,” Colombe said.

In the third, baskets by Prost and Harner, along with a free throw from Emma Bradford, gave KHS a 20-16 lead.

Marina Schaefer’s two baskets made it 24-19 with 1:14 left, setting the state for the final quarter.

The streak ended at seven games when DeKalb stifled the Lady Knights offense. Kaneland fell 31-17 in a game that saw just three Kaneland players change the scoreboard.

Bradford led the way with 11 points, O’Herron contributed five points, and Marina Schaeffer added one.

Kaneland sits at 7-1 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII). The team gets set for a new holiday tourney entry beginning Saturday, Dec. 15, with the Ottawa Tournament.

Boys step into pressure cooker

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland varsity head coach Brian Johnson (right) tries to settle down his players in the third period at Sycamore. Photos by John DiDonna

Sycamore ‘D’ too much; KHS nabs win over H-BR
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—There would be no duplicating the last-second magic of late November like the Kaneland boys basketball team had against Morris. The host Sycamore Spartans made absolutely sure of that on Friday along Spartan Trail.

However, another game came down to the wire on Tuesday against Hinckley-Big Rock (H-BR), and this time the Knights came through in a 44-42 win.

Against Sycamore, a stingy press meant Kaneland was playing catch-up for the entire duration of the Northern Illinois Big XII meeting between the rival Knights and Spartans, with Sycamore earning a 60-46 win.

For Sycamore, Devin Mottet had 17 points, while KHS was paced by Matt Limbrunner’s 19. Dan Miller added nine.

Kaneland was 7-for-10 from the foul line.

A Tyler Carlson jumper with 4:24 remaining in the first deadlocked the affair at four apiece, but Sycamore went 4-for-5 from the field and made six foul shots to go up 19-7 at the end of the first, and continued its run into the next quarter to go up 23-7 before Miller’s offensive putback with 4:53 remaining in the half. Kaneland’s scoring drought lasted 5:20.

Down 27-11, the Knights went on a 9-2 run to close the half, thanks to a three-point play by Limbrunner, two foul shots by Bailey Harvell, two foul shots by Carlson and a basket by Limbrunner.

Sycamore’s fortunes were lifted by a fast tempo and key baskets by Mottet to go up 41-22 with 3:36 left.

Kaneland closed the third frame on an 8-2 run, stamped by a Cole Carlson putback with 22.6 to go.

Sycamore saw its lead go up to 15, but Kaneland got within 10 on four occasions, only to get no closer.

KHS coach Brian Johnson surveyed the difficult task with an improved Spartans contingent.

“This isn’t the Sycamore of the last few years; they’re a good team,” Johnson said. “They’re well coached and played extremely hard. We have to stick to our philosophy in beating those types of presses, and we didn’t really do it.”

Against H-BR, Kaneland used an 11-4 third quarter advantage to overcome a three-point halftime deficit to propel them to a much needed victory.

Matt Limbrunner led the team with 14 points, including three three-pointers. John Pruett added 12 points, and Carlson chipped in 10.

Kaneland now sits at 2-4 on the season. The Knights will battle host DeKalb Barbs on Friday, Dec. 14.

Tough week for Knight matmen

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland’s Stephen Gust doesn’t let his opponent attack him during his match
at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—If a team is going to have a difficult week, it is much better to have them in early December than in February.

Kaneland High School dual action through 2012-13 has it at a 4-5 record, after losses to Cary-Grove 66-12 and host Crystal Lake Central 46-18 back on Dec. 5, as well as a Thursday loss to DeKalb.

At the still-new digs along Dresser Road in DeKalb, the NIB-12 offering featured three key wins by the Knights.

At 145-pounds, Dan Goress took a technical fall, while 220-pounder Nick Sharp earned a pinfall, as did 285-pound teammate Justin Diddell.

Kaneland’s odds were more daunting with four forfeit loses on the night.

The Knights also learned their individual postseason assignment, as they’ll head to Sycamore.

The grouping also features Belvidere, Belvidere North, Burlington Central, Glenbard South, Rockford Boylan, Rockford East, Sycamore and St. Francis of Wheaton.

Top finishers in the regional head to Rochelle for the sectional.

In the thick of things by the end of the season could be those included in the current Class AA rankings, like 113-pounder Stephen Gust (No. 4), 132-pounder Esai Ponce (No.2), Goress (No. 5), Sharp (No. 7) and heavyweight Zach Theis (No. 12).

The Knights strap on the singlets to host fellow conference cornerstone Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 13.

Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. 											           Photo by John DiDonna
Kaneland senior Sonny Horn (138 pounds) tries to pull down his opponent at DeKalb on Dec. 6. Sonny went on to win this match. Photo by John DiDonna

Cougars to host meet-and-greet with Santa, Ozzie

in Featured/Kane County Cougars by

Event at ballpark to include ornament, cookie decorating
GENEVA—The Kane County Cougars will host a Christmas Meet and Greet event, featuring Santa Claus and Ozzie T. Cougar, on Saturday, Dec. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon inside the upper deck level at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.

Children can meet Santa and Ozzie, pose for photos, as well as take part in numerous holiday activities inside the upper deck level. Those activities include a coloring station, ornament decorating station and a cookie decorating station.

The event is free, although there is a nominal cost for participating in the ornament and cookie decorating activities. A portion of proceeds will benefit Ozzie’s Outreach, the Cougars’ charitable foundation.

Fans are also asked to bring a gently used coat or sweatshirt. All collected items will be donated to area residents who are in need of warm clothing this winter. Fans who donate an item will receive four undated ticket vouchers, valid for a 2013 regular season Cougars game.

Additional information on the Christmas Meet and Greet event is available by calling (630) 232-8811 or visiting

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