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Big Rock business offers ‘More Polish Pottery’

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BIG ROCK—Walk into More Polish Pottery, and you’re likely to find three-year-old Katarina assisting her mother, Rebecca Gengler, in the pottery shop on their property.

The store sells one of the Midwest’s largest selections of traditional Polish pottery, and Rebecca imports 350 different shapes from Ceramika Artystyczna, a company in Bolesławiec, Poland, that produces artisan ceramics using traditional processes.

Though Rebecca started the shop—located in an outbuilding on the family’s five-acre property at 8S953 Jericho Road in Big Rock—just two years ago and has done little marketing, she’s had customers arrive from 34 states so far. Since the business is within sight of the Genglers’ house, it’s a family endeavor, with her four children—Alex, 7; twins Johanna and Ellie, 6; and Katarina—joining her when necessary.

“My children use Polish pottery every day,” Rebecca said. “I hope when they grow up and go to college, they will remember this as their family tradition that they grew up with.”

Rebecca is fourth-generation Polish, but she didn’t develop a love of Polish pottery until she moved to Germany with her husband, Darrin, a military police officer, after their wedding in 1998.

Three-year-old Katarina Gengler assists her mother, Rebecca, in her More Polish Pottery shop. Katarina’s favorite pattern is “burgundy berry,” and she picked out this bowl to eat her cereal from every morning. Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale
Three-year-old Katarina Gengler assists her mother, Rebecca, in her More Polish Pottery shop. Katarina’s favorite pattern is “burgundy berry,” and she picked out this bowl to eat her cereal from every morning.
Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

“We basically moved there with the clothes on our back and our wedding gifts, and we would go flea marketing and buying things in Europe,” she said. “Polish pottery was one of those things. The units would schedule trips for the wives to go shopping in Poland for pottery, and it was a whirlwind adventure. And I realized that everything is made by women and hand stamped.”

Rebecca was hooked and bought dozens of pieces, so many that when they hired movers to bring them back to the United States in 2001, the moving men who were helping them pack kept asking in disbelief, “More Polish pottery?”

The Genglers moved to Big Rock to be near her husband’s family, and she pursued a master’s degree in recreation administration at Aurora University and worked as an executive director for Homemade Gourmet.

By 2005, she knew she wanted to start her own company, but she wasn’t sure how to go about it, especially as her family started growing. When the family bought a former nursery in Big Rock, complete with greenhouses and outbuildings, she suddenly had the space she needed and seized the opportunity to share her love of Polish pottery.
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At first, the business did not have retail hours, and Gengler mainly did off-site shows at farmer’s markets and craft shows, as well as selling pottery wholesale to area retailers. She wasn’t sure anyone would come out to Big Rock to buy ceramics, but when she started having a few retail hours a week, she found that people were driving long distances—sometimes from other states—to get there.

“When we moved back here (from Europe), I could never find this pottery, even though Chicago has such a large Polish population. But people will drive for long distances to get it. People have it from their moms, and they come in and register for more pieces,” she said.

More Polish Pottery carries one of the largest selections of Polish pottery in the Midwest, with more than 350 shapes and a thousand pieces on display. Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale
More Polish Pottery carries one of the largest selections of Polish pottery in the Midwest, with more than 350 shapes and a thousand pieces on display.
Photo by Cheryl Borrowdale

“It’s kind of like our field of dreams,” she added. “If you build it, they will come just to get the pottery.”

Rebecca has been working with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College to help her business grow, taking professional photos of her shop, developing an extensive website and creating a social media presence to help spread the word about More Polish Pottery.

As the business has grown, she’s added more retail hours at the store, which is now open four days a week and by appointment. She’s also expanded the selection to include thousands of pieces and more than a dozen patterns—so many that she’s begun using some of the greenhouses on her property, a former nursery that once sold hostas and ornamental grasses, to display additional pieces.

Katarina’s favorite pattern is burgundy berry, a design that features a ring of purple and red berries that have been hand stamped using natural sponges from the Baltic Sea, surrounded by an intricate, deep blue border. She picked out a bowl with that pattern for her cereal every morning, and she’ll show off her favorite pieces to customers.

Rebecca said that although her children are young, she’s not afraid to let them use the pottery, because the glazes are all eco-friendly, and even if they drop something, the dishes typically don’t break because they’re made from unusually dense clay found only in Bolesławiec.

“It’s world-class stoneware, but it’s practical for everyday use,” Rebecca said. “It’s actually a 400-year-old product. That area of Poland has really dense clay soil, and the density of it allows (the pottery) to be more chip resistant, and because it has a long 400-year heritage, they have perfected it so that it withstands general use. It’s stain resistant, microwave safe, oven safe and dishwasher safe. It’s meant to be heirloom quality.”

All the patterns have the traditional deep blue border that all Polish pottery features, which makes it easy to mix and match pieces and create a collection, Gengler said.
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Though the pottery itself is from Poland, most of the customers who buy it are not.

“The typical people who like it are people who appreciate art and like good-quality bakeware,” Gengler said. “It’s a gift or an heirloom, and it’s not something that’s going to be found in a big box store. We sell at farmer’s markets and festivals, and we find people who say, ‘Wow, this is beautiful, and are excited to find a product that incidentally is from Poland, as well.”

For more information on More Polish Pottery, including opening hours and patterns, visit morepolishpottery.com. Gengler also sells pieces at the Oswego Farmer’s Market on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, at the 3 French Market in Morris, Ill., on the second Saturday of June and at the Sandwich Fair in the fall.

Two new board members join TriCity Family Services Board of Directors

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GENEVA—TriCity Family Services recently announced the election of two new members to the agency’s governing Board of Directors. Dr. Eric Nolan of Elgin and Kyle Breunlin of South Elgin were voted into office at a recent Board Meeting.

Dr. Nolan is a child psychiatrist who is on staff at Streamwood Behavioral Health and also holds a private practice, Creekwood Associates. Nolan was born and raised in rural Kane County, and recently returned to the area after completion of his medical training.

Nolan is currently board certified in general psychiatry, and is in the process of completing board certification in child and adolescent psychiatry. From 2007 to 2009, Nolan was actively involved with Make-a-Wish Illinois as part of their Associate Board. He looks forward to using his expertise and knowledge of fundraising, physician-to-physician outreach, and public speaking to further benefit the agency. Nolan will contribute greatly to the Board of Directors, further advocating for mental health outreach and services in the community.

Kyle Breunlin grew up in St. Charles and is founding partner of several successful organizations, including KB Principal, Gotham Consulting and Violent Ventures. Breunlin has extensive experience planning, developing and implementing new business procedures and standards in order to increase business efficiency.

Breunlin has spent nine years working with clients to maximize their business potential at the greatest value to their organizations. His industry experience includes success for top tier organizations in the areas of human resources, government, natural resources, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, retail, construction, entertainment, marketing, electronics and education. He looks forward to using his expertise in business management and IT consulting to further benefit the agency.

TriCity Family Services is a leader in providing counseling and other mental health services for children and teens, their families and community members across all income levels and life stages. Their unique family-centered approach seeks to strengthen the TriCity community by promoting lifelong mental health. TriCity Family Services never denies services based on an inability to pay.

Elburn Coop completes Newark Seed Acquisition

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SYCAMORE, ILL.—Elburn Cooperative Co. recently announced that it has completed the acquisition of Newark Seed on Highway 52 in Newark, Ill.

Elburn Cooperative completed the transaction, which began in 2007 when Elburn Cooperative took over the Pioneer Seed Agency, operated by Steve Scalf, on Highway 52 south of Newark.

“We’re extremely pleased with the growth of our seed sales at Newark, and with the help of our partners at Pioneer, we look forward to growing the business further,” said Dave Myers, Agronomy Division Manager for Elburn Cooperative. “We have a great team at Newark, and they are an important part of our agronomy offering in the southern part of our territory.”

Scalf in 2007 became an employee of Elburn and manager of the Newark location, and he continued to own and operate the bulk seed and treatment facilities. With the purchase’s completion, Elburn Cooperative will own and operate the bulk seed and treatment facilities. Scalf will continue to manage the location.

The site also employs two sales people, Fred Blue and Nate Rink, and a seasonal employee, Jake Scalf, who handles seed treatment.

FV Festival Chorus to perform at Carnegie Hall on Memorial Day

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NEW YORK CITY—Members of the Fox Valley Festival Chorus will perform at Carnegie Hall on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, at 8 p.m. One year ago, Naperville resident and IMSA Instrumental Music Director Mary Beth McCarthy, the director of the Chorus, received a formal invitation to perform John Rutter’s Requiem under the direction of Rutter himself. Even McCarthy will have the opportunity to step aside from her traditional role of conducting the Chorus and sing as a member.

The group will join seven other groups from throughout the country and the New England Symphonic Ensemble on the Perelman Stage in the Isaac Stern Auditorium.

In preparation for the concert, the Chorus starting rehearsing in September 2012, in addition to presenting two local performances in April 2013. Once they arrive in New York City, the singers will rehearse for three days in order to be ready for their big Carnegie Hall debut.

When they are not rehearsing, members will have the opportunity to attend Broadway plays and sightsee. But once they return to Illinois, they will put the finishing touches on the aptly named spring pops concert, “From Broadway to the Big Screen,” which will feature Broadway show tunes that started out as stage musicals and ended up as movies.

Additional information about the Chorus or the concerts is available by email at foxvalleyfc@gmail.com or online www.foxvalleyfc.org.

WCC reaches agreement to sell former downtown Aurora Campus buildings

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AURORA—For more than two decades, Waubonsee Community College educated thousands of Aurorans at its downtown campus on Stolp Island. In June 2011, Waubonsee moved its downtown Aurora operations to a new 132,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art campus across the Fox River at 18 S. River St. Thanks to a purchase agreement in the amount of $1.5 million with developer Gorman & Company, downtown Aurora will continue its renaissance with the introduction of a mixed-use residential/retail development at the historic former campus.

At their May meeting, Waubonsee’s Board of Trustees approved the purchase agreement for the two buildings that comprised the former campus. Gorman & Company, a leader in downtown revitalization projects, plans to redevelop the former campus into apartments and retail. The closing is expected in January 2014.

Waubonsee opened its former Aurora Campus on Stolp Island in August 1986 and expanded the campus a year later. The college initially invested more than $6.4 million to turn the historic buildings into 88,000 square feet of educational spaces that included 41 classrooms and labs, as well as a bookstore and library.

Waubonsee’s new downtown Aurora Campus features comprehensive student services and 52 classrooms, labs and other specialized instructional spaces that allow students to earn complete associate degrees and certificates in downtown Aurora.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams to visit Kane County

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

GENEVA—Beginning this week, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs) will be in Kane County to provide information and provide residents affected by last month’s flooding with an opportunity to register for federal disaster assistance.

These teams will be visiting homes, businesses and high-traffic locations in the affected areas providing support to disaster survivors directly in the communities where they live and work.

DSAT members may offer residents the opportunity to use a tablet computer to register for assistance. Residents will not be required to share personal information unless they wish a DSAT team member to enter the data for them. Residents are reminded to ask for federal identification before providing personal information.

Don Bryant, director of the Kane County Office of Emergency Management, said that the DSAT teams will give residents the opportunity to ask a FEMA representative directly about the disaster assistance process and register for the program.

If residents prefer to use their own personal computer or telephone to register for FEMA assistance, they can do so by calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585) or by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Maple Park Police Dept. ‘pulls’ for Special Olympics

in Maple Park/Regional by
Phil Anderson of Maple Park came out today to pull in support of the event.  Phil's father John Anderson also participated while his mother Celeste Anderson and his Aunt Kathy Coffey volunteered to sell raffle tickets during the day.

MAPLE PARK—Colleen MacRunnels aims for the Maple Park Police Department to be in first place in this year’s Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run, a competition among police departments to raise the most money for Special Olympics.

The $37,000 the department raised at Sunday’s sixth annual Pulling for Special Olympics Sporting Clay Shoot event will go a long way toward that goal, which the MPPD hopes to achieve by raising $50,000 total.

Last year, the department raised a total of $40,071.83—the largest chunk of which, $32,000, came from last year’s clay shoot—and that was enough to put the MPPD in fifth place statewide, right between the two heavyweights of Illinois law enforcement: the Illinois State Police, which took fourth place, and the Chicago Police Department, which took sixth. Crestwood’s police department took first place.

It was an impressive showing for such a small department—Maple Park has only one full-time officer, Chief Mike Acosta, and five part-time officers.

“It shocks the other police departments who are huge, and they ask, ‘How many people do you have?’ And they’re just amazed. They want to know, ‘How did you do that?’ And I basically tell them it’s the coordinators working for us,” Acosta said. “(Colleen and Jim MacRunnels) are out there shaking bushes and looking for donations, and they are giving from their heart to the Special Olympics.”

Colleen, who lives in Elburn and worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections, had been organizing Law Enforcement Torch Run events for several years. When she retired, she approached Acosta about organizing the fundraisers for the MPPD instead, and she created the Pulling for Special Olympics event.

In its first year, the clay shoot raised only $2,400, but it’s been growing every year, Colleen said. This year’s event, which took place at the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club in Elburn, had nearly 300 shooters participating. Participants paid $75 if they preregistered or $90 at the door.

The clay shoot featured three different courses, each with five stations. Participants chose a course and then got to shoot at the five stations, each of which was set up differently.

“At each station, the sporting clay shells went off in different directions,” Colleen said. “They mimicked birds and different animals.”

In addition to the clay shoot, the event included trap shooting, shooting games, lunch, door prizes and a silent auction. Sponsors donated dozens of prizes for the silent auction, including a Cruzin Cooler, guns, gun accessories, jewelry and wine baskets. Door prizes included a variety of different guns, as well as scopes, ammunition, clays and shells, gun vaults, deep fryers, time on the target range, a pheasant hunt, rounds of golf, sunglasses, games and restaurant gift certificates.

In addition to the money raised through the shooting course, raffles and auction, many local companies and individuals sponsored the event, providing products for the raffles and auction or cash donations. Monnett Precision Grinding in Addison donated all the guns used as prizes, and Berkeley Finer Foods in Batavia sponsored the lunch.

Other sponsors included the Maple Park Pub and Grill; the Kane County Flea Market; Dan Murphy—Edward Jones of Elburn; Cabela’s, a sporting goods store in Hoffman Estates, Ill.; and the Wal-Mart in DeKalb.

Several Special Olympics athletes were present at the event, as well, including Sugar Grove resident Dustin Dickens, who won a gold medal in powerlifting at the 2007 Special Olympics world summer games in China. Dustin, a former Elburn resident, has Down syndrome and works at the Jewel in Elburn.

“They were there kind of like public relations,” said Rick Dickens, who is Dustin’s father. “They helped with various small things, but they’re there schmoozing, not shooting. They wear their medals, sell raffle tickets (and) thank all the shooters for coming.”

Dustin, who has won 80 gold medals, 35 silver medals and 27 bronze medals throughout his career as a Special Olympian, only wore a few medals from his collection because “the medals get heavy,” Rick said.

“The shooters got to see the athletes out there with their medals, (and) they got a chance to meet the athletes, and it’s really impactful,” Colleen said.

According to Colleen, the clay shoot is a successful fundraiser partly because of the uniqueness of the event.

“My husband (Jim) and a couple of his friends made the suggestion (to have a clay shooting event) because, for the Special Olympics, a lot of the police departments do golf outings and we wanted to do something different,” Colleen said. “It’s been a real positive event, and it’s been growing by word-of-mouth. People come and have fun, and then they tell a friend and their neighbor.”

Even if the department doesn’t take first place this year, Colleen said she plans to keep trying.

“Our goal for this year is No. 1. I’m not going to quit until we do,” she said.

Acosta said he thinks the department has a good shot at winning this year—they were only $7,000 behind Crestwood, the first-place winner last year—and he is hoping to be able to display the first-place trophy.

“You get this really huge trophy, and I didn’t know that until this year until I went down to Crestwood and I saw that they had one,” he said. “We received the gold award last year for raising over $20,000 a year. But next year? How do you top No. 1? I guess you just continue to be top.”

Though the clay shoot was the biggest Special Olympics fundraiser the MPPD will do this year, there are at least two more fundraisers planned to help the department reach its $50,000 goal.

The first, Cop on Top, will be on May 31, and Maple Park’s police officers will sit on the roof of the Dunkin’ Donuts at 80 Tyler Creek Plaza in Elgin, asking people to make a $10 donation to Special Olympics in return for a free Special Olympics coffee mug, a donut and a coffee refill.

“All the officers go up on the rooftops of Dunkin’ Donuts, and people give money to get us off the roof,” Acosta said. “You know—a cop and a donut. It goes together.”

The family-friendly event will also feature either Mr. McGruff, the crime dog mascot, or an ambulance for children to look at, Colleen said.

The department will also host the Wheel of Meat Extravaganza at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the Maple Park Pub, 221 Main St., Maple Park. The event, which is also organized by the MacRunnels, will raffle off 125 prizes, including meat from Inboden’s Meat Market in DeKalb, sporting goods and various other prizes. Last year, the Wheel of Meat event raised $6,800 for the Special Olympics.

If the department hasn’t reached its total fundraising goal of $50,000 after that, Colleen may plan additional events to raise more before the December deadline. Last year, Bootlegger’s in Maple Park did a last-minute raffle to help the Police Department meet its goal.

Acosta said the department will find out which department was ranked No. 1 at the kickoff for next year’s Law Enforcement Torch Run competition in February.

“It’s amazing, because when you think about Maple Park, it’s a small little town. But when you look in general at the top fundraisers, they are small towns,” Rick said. “When you have a small town like Elburn that embraced our son, everybody knows everybody. And the small towns really support their own and their causes.”

Joseph A. of Aurora came out to support cause with friends.
Joseph A. of Aurora came out to support the cause with friends.
John Ramirez of Rosemont PD tries to get some good shots in while supporting a good cause with others in the same mission Sunday in Elburn.
John Ramirez of Rosemont PD tries to get some good shots in while supporting a good cause with others in the same mission Sunday in Elburn.
Event goers/shooters look on in support of others participating in the days events.
Event goers/shooters look on in support of others participating in the day’s events.
Crowds of supporters gear up for their turn to "pull the trigger" in support of Special Olympics today.  Orange seemed to be popular for most because of the nature of the event they were trying to be safe.
Crowds of supporters gear up for their turn to “pull the trigger” in support of Special Olympics today. Orange seemed to be popular for most; because of the nature of the event, they were trying to be safe.
Phil Anderson of Maple Park came out today to pull in support of the event.  Phil's father John Anderson also participated while his mother Celeste Anderson and his Aunt Kathy Coffey volunteered to sell raffle tickets during the day.
Phil Anderson of Maple Park came out today to pull in support of the event. Phil’s father, John Anderson, also participated while his mother, Celeste Anderson, and his aunt, Kathy Coffey, volunteered to sell raffle tickets during the day.
Louise Maywald volunteered her time cooking at the event as her husband is a club member.
Louise Maywald volunteered her time cooking at the event, as her husband is a club member.
Police officers from all over where there in support of this huge event.
Police officers from all over were there in support of this huge event.
Many great raffle prizes to be choosen from as so many businesses were more than generous.
Many great raffle prizes to choose from, as many businesses were more than generous.

Burglars target unlocked vehicles in Blackberry Creek

in Elburn/Maple Park/Regional by

ELBURN—Elburn police are investigating a string of more than 20 automobile burglaries that took place between Sunday night and Monday morning in several neighborhoods in the Blackberry Creek subdivision.

Calling it “a crime of opportunity,” Elburn Police Chief Steve Smith said that all of the vehicles entered had been left unlocked, and they were all parked either on the street, or in the driveways of the owners of the vehicles.

In addition to cash, items taken from the vehicles include iPads, computers and jewelry, which Smith said could easily be sold to a third party.

Elburn Police Department detectives have begun an investigation, working with officers in several nearby communities that have experienced similar burglaries in recent weeks. Maple Park and Campton Hills recently had a series of similar burglaries.

“That’s standard procedure to touch base with other Police Departments in the area,” Smith said. “Maybe we’re looking at the same people or same group of people. We all share information on these things.”

Smith said that the most important thing people can do to avoid this type of burglary is to lock their vehicles, and not to leave anything of value in the car, especially in plain sight. In addition, they should never leave the keys to their car inside the car.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” he said. “They’ll try the door handle and rummage around in the car. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, it’s the car that’s unlocked that gets hit.”

Anyone who thinks that they might have any information that could assist in the investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Brad Ferguson at (630) 746-0046. Also, anyone who thinks that one of their vehicles was a target of the burglars, even if nothing was taken, are encouraged to call 9-1-1, so that an officer can conduct an initial investigation.

New SG Twp Board members sworn in

in Regional/Sugar Grove by
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Sugar Grove’s new Township Board includes Lee Drendel (left to right), Tom Rowe, Scott Hester, Phil Silagi, Laurie Geary and Greg Huggins. Courtesy Photo

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Township Board members were sworn in on Monday, with Lee Drendel, Scott Hester, Laurie Geary and Mike Fagel as trustees, Phil Silagi as township clerk, and Greg Huggins as highway commissioner. Tom Rowe was sworn in as the new township supervisor.

Geary has worked in banking for about 30 years, and has also contributed to the Corn Boil and the Holiday in the Grove event. She said she is excited to begin her work in municipal politics.

“I want to help grow the senior center. I was an auditor for the center in the past. I also worked at the Sugar Grove Library doing some training for the seniors,” she said.

Geary, a write-in candidate, ran a minimal campaign through the use of business cards, Facebook and ads in the Elburn Herald. She won 105 votes.

“We have to win back the trust of the people. We have to show them that (the platforms) that we ran on will actually happen,” she said.

The township will soon begin discussion of its general budget for the fiscal year, with the proposed date of the public hearing set for Monday, June 24. Board members on Monday took time to look over the budget spreadsheet and discuss details of some of its funds.

“The supervisor desperately needs a new computer,” Rowe said. “It’s a very old computer that I think was donated to the Township.”

Rowe said the Township also put some funds into the senior center.

“One thing that we want to move towards with the monthly lunch is more of a catered situation. We’d still like to offer it free to the seniors,” he said.

According to Rowe, the Township is also trying to compensate for the loss of mental health funding from the state and national level.

The new-look Township Board on Monday passed an ordinance requiring signatories on checks. This will require two signatures on checks written by the township—one from the supervisor, and another from a trustee or clerk.

Rowe said this proposal was based on a suggested made by the township’s law firm.

“About a year ago, the Township Board made a decision and passed a resolution to require two signatures on checks,” Rowe said. “Talking to our law firm, they were a little bit surprised by that. Normally the supervisor just signs the checks. The law firm suggested that one signature be from the supervisor and the other be from another board member or the clerk,”

Marmion Academy appoints new headmaster

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AURORA—Abbot John Brahill OSB, president of Marmion Academy in Aurora, recently announced that Anthony Tinerella, a 1984 Marmion graduate, will take over as the next Headmaster at the Catholic and Benedictine high school effective July 1.

Tinerella will fill the position currently held by Dr. James Quaid, who has accepted the position of principal at Gordon Tech College Prep on Chicago’s north side.

Tinerella holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Illinois State University, and a master’s degree in education and administration from North Central College.

“I am confident that Mr. Tinerella will continue and build upon the work that Dr. Quaid has done during these past two years in order to strengthen the educational mission of Marmion Academy in the coming years,” Brahill said.

Tinerella said he’s both honored and humbled by Brahill’s decision to name him headmaster of the academy.

“This institution holds a very special place in my heart, and I look forward to this incredible opportunity,” Tinerella said.

Tinerella’s returned to his alma mater in 1990 as a teacher and athletic coach. Some of his duties included teaching Physics (1990-1992) and Biology (1992 – 2009), and serving as Science Department chairperson (1999- 2001), varsity head football coach (2001- 2004), assistant dean of students (1994-2000) and dean of students (2001-2009).

Tinerella in 2009 was hired as principal of Guerin College Preparatory High School. In this position, he had the responsibility for all aspects of the administration of the school, including designing and implementing curriculum, nurturing a positive faith-based school culture, planning and managing the budget, overseeing human resources management, developing and facilitating a faculty professional development program, and being an integral part of capital campaign initiatives.

Tinerella returned to Marmion Academy in July 2012 as an assistant headmaster, working in close collaboration with Dr. Quaid on the curriculum, technology integration, teacher assessment, community building, student discipline, and the overall safety and well-being of the students. In January 2013, Tinerella was promoted to associate headmaster by Quaid and began assisting with the work of the Long Range Planning Committee.

This past year Tinerella implemented Marmion’s PRIDE Program, which supports the core values of the academy and nurtures a sense of community. He has also provided technology professional development and support to the faculty. Finally, he has collaborated with Quaid and Dr. Vic Pinks, chairperson of the Science Department, to establish a plan for a long-range technology implementation program.

“Mr. Tinerella is a practicing Catholic with a long history of commitment to Catholic education and especially to Marmion Academy. As both a Marmion graduate and member of the faculty over many years, he understands and appreciates first-hand the traditions and Catholic/Benedictine values of Marmion,” Brahill said.

Kane County Bar Foundation announces law school scholarships

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KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Bar Foundation is currently accepting applications for law school scholarships.

Through the generosity of Kane County Bar Association members, the Foundation has been able to award at least two scholarships of $1,500 each year. Qualified applicants are 16th Judicial Circuit (Kane County) residents (or whose parents reside in the 16th Judicial Circuit) who are attending law school in the 2013-14 academic year. The scholarship application deadline is April 30.

Further information and applications can be
obtained on the Kane County Bar Foundation’s website, www.kanecountybar.org/scholarship-information.

KC Health Dept. officially files for accreditation

in Regional by

ILLINOIS—With the help of Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck and Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, the Kane County Health Department officially submitted its documentation needed for national accreditation during a recent ceremony.

The documents were sent to the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) during the last day of National Public Health Week.

“To be accredited would place us among the best local health departments in the nation and is another example of our commitment to achieve our vision of having the healthiest residents in Illinois by 2030,” Kane County Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers said.

“Accreditation is the wave of the future in public health, and we are encouraging all departments to become accredited,” Hasbrouck said.

“Our job is to provide the best possible services to our residents for the lowest possible cost, and to have our health department accredited is another example of our commitment to meet that responsibility,” Lauzen said.

Filing for accreditation is just the first step. Next, PHAB must review the submitted documents (329 of them covering 12 separate domains, or categories), a process which can take several weeks. PHAB then schedules a two-day site visit, where staff members who worked on the different domains, as well as stakeholders and partners, are interviewed. The final decision will be made after the PHAB Accreditation Committee reviews the site visit report.

Accreditation through PHAB provides a means for a department to identify performance improvement opportunities, to improve management, develop leadership, and improve relationships with the community. The process is one that challenges the health department to think about what business it does and how it does that business. It encourages and stimulates quality and performance improvement as well as greater accountability and transparency.

Each year the first week of April is celebrated as National Public Health Week. This year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money.” The 2013 NPHW theme was developed to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending.

Township Board, residents clash over handling of former supervisor

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Township meeting room on Monday was filled with approximately 35 community members—many of whom stood during public comment and spoke in defense of former township supervisor Dan Nagel, who resigned from the position in October 2012.

Township Board members last October were approached by a man named Lee Thompson, who said he was concerned about some “inaccuracies” that he thought were taking place regarding Nagel. Township trustee Harry Davis explained that he had spoken with Nagel the day before, and explained to him that if the information Thompson presented before the board had merit, Davis would ask Nagel to resign. According to Davis, Nagel agreed.

The board then used a fiscal audit, required by state law yearly or when a board changes supervisors, to reveal the details of Nagel’s transactions.

“I filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request last year. I went to the police and they recommended this firm and this firm,” township trustee Scott Jesseman said. “The Police Department suggested (the audit). The intention of the audit was to find out what was missing and report it back to the public.”

The audit noted a total of $4,610, broken down in monthly reimbursement payments, that had been approved by the Township Board, absent of an initial decision to begin the alotment. An additional $3,000 in meal, gas and phone reimbursements had also received board approval, while not following various regulations and standards. Further details of the audit can be found on the Sugar Grove Township website, townshipofsugargrove.com.

Davis said the police’s recommendation was to take the audit to the state attorney. Based on the dollar amount, they decided not to prosecute criminally.

“We had a conversation with Dan and he was okay with this. He was going to resign if the information had merit,” Davis said. “There was a refrigerator here in the building that he sold to the township that never had a receipt. There were multiple items and transactions that should have had board approval. Nobody put a gun to his head; nobody threatened him with his life. He recognized his own fault at that point and said, ‘OK guys, I’m done.’

Community members in attendance during Monday’s meeting argued that the story is suspicious and has holes.

“Usually an audit will come back with the goods and the bads. If there were financial discrepancies that were showing up in the past, those would have come through on an audit,” said Kane County Board member Melisa Taylor. “They would have come through on a yearly audit. It’s not the responsibility of the supervisor only to read that audit; it’s the responsibility of the entire board.”

Township Board members also disclosed that the Nagel situation has been largely handled outside of an actual board meeting, and that those outside meetings did not meet a required quorum. Complaints from community members in attendance ensued.

“Those of you who were involved (in the meetings with Dan) should have walked away—that was a violation of the Open Meetings Act right there,” Taylor said. “Unless it’s in the meeting minutes, it’s irrelevant. It’s a moot point. It’s done—it’s dead. I guarantee you that all of these comments about what Dan said are not in the meeting minutes.”

Jesseman at one point during the meeting responded to many comments similar to those made by Taylor.

“I believe you’re right,” Jesseman said. “I was part of it. There were lots of things that were wrong. Everyone’s responsible and everyone’s culpable.

As trustees, we maybe didn’t do enough due diligence. People say I did it to be popular. I didn’t do it to be popular. I did it to do the right thing.”

Jesseman stated that he thought he has held up his end of the bargain of putting the situation to bed, to which an individual in the public stated “Don’t put (Nagel) in jail, then.”

“I’m not putting him in jail,” Jesseman said. “You’re making this stuff up.”

Another member of the public commented that the board members’ “feathers were getting rustled” and that they were trying to “gain control” of the situation.

“You guys are attacking me. I stand up and try and defend myself,” Jesseman said. “If Dan did nothing wrong, why didn’t he show up? He’s sent his winged monkeys out … why don’t you look at the evidence instead of your friendship?”

Board members went into closed session to determine the next course of action, per the request of those in attendance at the meeting. Board members returned later with the following statement, which Davis read aloud.

“The board discussed possible litigation issues. The Township Board is united in its desire to move forward and put this matter behind us,” he said. “The board will not seek any criminal prosecution. The board may seek the return of items in question.”

A motion to adjourn was then approved.

Allergic to eggs? Try these ‘eggcellent’ ways to celebrate Easter and Passover

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

NORTH AURORA—Easter and Passover traditions often include eggs, either as part of a fun holiday activity or a recipe. For people with life-threatening egg allergies, the key to staying safe is to be aware and prepared for an unexpected exposure.

“Approximately 1.5 percent of young children have life-threatening egg allergies,” said Sakina Bajowala, M.D., board-certified allergist & immunologist at Kaneland Allergy & Asthma Center in North Aurora. “Creating Easter and Passover traditions without the threat of egg exposure is easy to do. A little planning and creative thinking is what’s required to have a fun and tasty celebration.”

Kids with egg allergies can participate in Easter games and Passover activities. Consider the following ideas:

• Coloring eggs is a safe activity as long as the person with egg allergies does not eat the eggs. Touching the hard shell poses no threat.

• Instead of placing a hard-boiled egg on a Seder plate, consider using a flower or a plastic egg as a substitute.

• Use plastic eggs for your Easter egg hunt and fill them with toys, money, stickers or candy. Just be sure to read candy labels first.

• Use plastic eggs instead of real ones when playing the “egg in a spoon” race.

Getting together with family for the holiday? Be sure to include egg-free recipes when cooking meals, and ask about ingredients in recipes made by others. For each egg required in a recipe, substitute one of these mixtures:

• One and one-half tablespoons water, one and one-half tablespoons cooking oil and one teaspoon of baking powder
• one teaspoon baking powder, one tablespoon water and one tablespoon vinegar
• one teaspoon apricot puree
• one packet of plain gelatin mixed with two tablespoons of warm water.

“Easter and Passover celebrations should be fun and inclusive, but everyone with life-threatening food allergies should be prepared for the unexpected accidental exposure,” Bajowala said. “Preparation includes always carrying two doses of your prescribed epinephrine auto-injector and knowing what the signs and symptoms are of an anaphylactic reaction.”

Illinois Farm Bureau, IDOT and state police partner to launch statewide rural safe driving campaign

in Regional by

BLOOMINGTON, ILL.—Since 2008, roadway collisions have been the second leading cause of Illinois farm-related deaths. To combat this problem, the Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois State Police (ISP) recently launched “Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road,” a rural roadway safety awareness program.

“The Illinois Farm Bureau board endorsed the effort to increase awareness about rural roadway safety,” said Terry Pope, Illinois Farm Bureau District 9 Director. “We believe this program will save lives and exemplifies our strength as a grassroots organization striving to serve the interests of our members. This effort originated with members of two county Farm Bureaus who recognized a problem and acted to resolve it.”

Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road began with Farm Bureau members in Adams and Madison counties who wanted to raise awareness about the unique dangers of rural driving. The idea quickly caught on in five additional counties. The success of this initiative at the county level and the need for safer rural roadways triggered the statewide effort.

As a part of Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road, banners will appear along rural roadways throughout the state to remind rural motorists and farmers to look out for each other. Increasing efforts for education and awareness will decrease the number of accidents that occur and make rural roadways safer for everyone.

“One driving fatality is one too many,” said Illinois State Police Education Officer Mike Kindhart. “We need to educate the public about safely navigating rural roadways. With drivers being distracted more and more with electronic devices, the need for such a campaign is even more important.”

Twenty-nine Illinois residents have died in roadway collisions with farm machinery during the last five years. Rural motorists accounted for all deaths except three, who were farmers. Through the efforts of the Caution: Slow Down, Share the Road campaign, project partners aim to reduce rural roadway deaths to zero.

School Board discusses charter school concerns

in Featured/Kaneland/Regional by

by Mary Parrilli
KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday held a public hearing on the charter school proposal submitted to the district by Virtual Learning Solutions (VLS). The board was also given a proposal presentation by a representative from K12, a management company that is seeking partnership with VLS.

John McMurray, a representative from K12, on Monday presented to the board and proposed an online charter school called Illinois Virtual Charter School at Fox River Valley, a completely online school system for grades K-12. It is a public school, funded by public money, with no cost to parents. It operates much like a regular public school, with standardized tests, a common core curriculum and daily classes.

VLS has proposed to District 302 a charge of $8,000 allocated to them per student.

“The establishment of a charter school will have an impact on Kaneland finances,” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler noted to the board. “It is important for the board to prioritize the impact that the charter school will have on the local taxpayer, given that there would be less money available from the state.”

The board voiced many questions and concerns regarding the online charter school; one such concern was that K12 is a for-profit company, making money off of taxpayers.

“K12 is a for-profit company, and as far as I know, they are making a sizeable profit, millions of dollars. I don’t like the fact that you (K12) are making profits off the backs of taxpayers,” School Board trustee Joe Oberweis said.

Members of the community in attendance also voiced their concerns, including Sharon Beck, high school math teacher and president of the Kaneland Education Association.

“We need property taxes to pay for schools that provide our community with high-quality education,” Beck said. “The fact of the matter is that charter schools take from public schools.”

The board will make a decision and vote within 30 days to grant or deny the proposal.

Blackberry Township asks for more money for roads

in Elburn/Regional by

Blackberry Township by the numbers

>
58 miles
of road, 52 in blacktop, six in gravel

90 percent
of funding to maintain township roads comes from property taxes

1.9 percent
of property tax bill comes to the road district

If referendum passes, a $300,000 home owner pays an extra
$140 per year

75 percent
of Elburn is in Blackberry Township

$50 of every $100
collected comes back to the village of Elburn

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Blackberry Township Road Commissioner Rod Feece during Monday’s Village Board meeting made a plea for a referendum vote to increase the property tax levy for township roads.

According to Feece, the tax rate has been the same for 35 years, and at the current pace of overlaying one to one-and-a-half miles of road per year, he said the township has been “falling further and further behind.”

“We’re at a crucial time,” Feece said.

The township consists of 58 miles of road, 52 of which are blacktop, with six still in gravel. Feece said he hopes to increase the number of miles of blacktop maintained per year to five or six.

Approximately 90 percent of the funding to maintain the township roads comes from property taxes, with the remaining 10 percent from motor fuel taxes, Feece said. The impact of the tax levy increase on a homeowner of a $300,000 home would be an additional $140 in property taxes per year, or just under $12 a month.

Although the township has been successful in obtaining a couple of grants, the money had to be used for specific purposes, such as $210,000 to bridges and $40,000 to build a new barn.

He said he does not plan to hire any additional people, nor will he use the money to purchase extra machinery.

“Everything extra will go to paving,” he said.

Approximately 75 percent of the village of Elburn is within the township, as well as a small portion of North Aurora. Feece said that if a resident pays $100 in taxes to the township, $50 of that comes back to Elburn, and although that money that gets deposited into the general fund, Village President Dave Anderson said that it will be used for streets.

“Nobody wants to pay taxes, but if we do agree as a democracy that we will tax ourselves, it’s visible—we see the result,” Anderson said.

Local couple re-launches The Lodge on 64

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Aaron and Kristie Perez recently purchased and re-launched The Lodge on 64 in Wasco. Kristie is an Elburn native who attended Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College. Photo and story by Elizabeth Rago

WASCO—The timing was perfect for husband-and-wife entrepreneur team Aaron and Kristie Perez as they were presented in late 2012 with the opportunity to become owners of The Lodge on 64 (formally known as Niko’s Lodge).

The daughter of a local farmer, Kristie was born and raised in Elburn and attended both Kaneland High School and Waubonsee Community College.

“We couldn’t say no to this location and its proximity to all the great surrounding towns and communities,” the Perezs said.

With their lease up, the restaurant’s previous owners did not execute their option to purchase the property. Kristie and Aaron, who together have more than 29 years of experience in the restaurant business, eagerly said yes to the opportunity.

The three-day process (yes, Kristie and Aaron re-launched The Lodge on 64 in three days) posed challenges similar to what other turnkey businesses face when opening. Numerous repairs, new licenses and permits and an update of existing computer software were on the punch list to get The Lodge ready for business.

“The biggest obstacle was taking the restaurant from being closed to making it fully functional and operational as The Lodge on 64 in three days,” Aaron said. “The process was definitely hectic and a little stressful, but we knew what to expect trying to get The Lodge up and going.”

Kristie said that she and her husband have been in the business long enough that they have experienced the ins and outs of what makes a restaurant succeed or fail.

“We have always talked about where and when to open our own restaurant,” Kristie said. “Entering into this venture with The Lodge, we feel like it is right fit us and the community.”

Upon entering The Lodge, eyes are immediately drawn to the mural created by local artist B.J. Wagner on the walls of the entryway. The warmth of the live rotisserie displayed behind the host station, combined with prints and original newspaper clippings of the history of the space, previously known as “The Farm,” brings a relaxed and cordial feel right off the bat.

The Lodge offers American fare featuring ribs, “Braveheart” steaks, burgers, seafood, pasta and salads. The rotisserie oven selections include: wood-roasted chicken, duck, pork and turkey. Fresh homemade appetizers like baked mushrooms stuffed with garlic cream cheese mix or spinach artichoke creamy crab dip, served hot with grilled pita bread, and hearty entrees like the Braveheart burgers are just a few options on the menu.

Monday through Friday, The Lodge will offer all-you-can-eat specials like ribs and fish fry. Monday-through-Thursday “Lodge Dinner Deals” for will be available $10.99.

The Lodge also features complimentary s’mores, which guests can roast on outdoor fire pits, adding to the friendly atmosphere of this Midwest-version of a mountain lodge. From a casual venue to watch your favorite sports team to an intimate night out with your significant other or close friends, The Lodge on 64 serves up homemade American cuisine.

“We want to be known as the place to go for any occasion,” Aaron said. “Whether it is date night, family night out, graduation, birthday and engagement parties, or even a place to watch your favorite sporting events. We cater many events and offer banquet services, but we want to be known for is our quality food and great service.”

For more information about The Lodge on 64, visit thelodgeon64.com or call (630) 443-8000. The Lodge on 64 is located at 41W379 Route 64 in Wasco, just west of St. Charles.

Fagel to run as write-in candidate

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2 president seeks Sugar Grove Township Board seat
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Mike Fagel has spent the past four years actively engaged in Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2, spending countless hours trying to “do the right thing” while acting in the role of a public servant.

Such experience led to Fagel’s interest in Sugar Grove Township and the idea of people working with people.

“I attended many township meetings and reported monthly to the concerned Township Board and officials about the plight of the Rob Roy District (and) the plight of the Mallard Point Residents affected by the longstanding (drainage) issues,” Fagel said. “I saw how they addressed issues on a people basis, and that was what really interested me.”

Fagel will run as a write-in candidate for Sugar Grove Township Board trustee on the April 9 General Election ballot. He previously worked with the township when it purchased the former Sugar Grove Public Library located at 54 Snow St.

“I was asked to help in the retrofitting of the building for township offices,” Fagel said. “I volunteered to assist with the security systems design, security hardware, locking systems and communications infrastructure design and installation. I worked to get bids, interview vendors and helped to open the facility on time.”

Fagel began to consider candidacy for Township Board following the passing of board trustee Ken Hinterlong in January 2012, and was interested in circulating a petition for the General Election. However, Fagel was unable to accomplish it in time.

Three months later, he noticed that there were two unopposed seats on the Township Board.

“I decided that it was an interesting situation (and) that I might have an opportunity to run as a write-in candidate for the Township Board,” Fagel said.

Fagel’s career in public service, local and national work spans four decades. He teaches in the Masters of Public Policy Program at Northwestern University, the Masters of Public Affairs at Illinois Institute of Technology—Stuart School of Business, as well as in masters and undergraduate programs at Northern Illinois University.

He also spent nearly 30 years as a volunteer firefighter and in various law enforcement roles. Fagel is currently a critical infrastructure analyst at Argonne National Laboratory, supporting the Department of Homeland Security.

He supports the U.S. Army Central Command in various nation building missions, and was deployed to New York City this past October for the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.

As for what Fagel would bring to the Township Board in terms of advocacy, he said his main points will consist of fair, open and transparent government; as well as fiscal responsibility and the consideration of methods to lower the cost of government to citizens.

“I will also advocate stronger inter- and intra-government communications in a meaning full way,” he said.

Other points of interest for Fagel include facilitating a stronger tie to the needs of the entire community, emergency planning for the township residents and a forum for citizen involvement.

“I am a public servant, not a politician,” he said.

Village budget process may be affected by state financial problems

in Elburn/Regional by

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—If Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is successful, Elburn and other Illinois municipalities will see a decrease in their share of the state income taxes in the coming fiscal year.

According to an alert from the Illinois Municipal League, the Governor’s Office is proposing to cap the LGDF (Local Government Distributive Fund) at the 2012 level of $81 per resident.

The current level for Elburn for 2013 is $90 per person, a total of $504,180, based on a population of 5,602. If the cap is implemented, Elburn’s share of the Illinois income taxes would be reduced by $11.50 per person, for a total loss of $64,423. The projection for fiscal year 2013-14 had been $95.40 per person.

“That’s a pretty big hit on our revenue,” said Doug Elder, who has taken on Village Administrator Erin Willrett’s responsibilities while she has been on leave. “The state’s unresolved financial problems have placed the LGDF at great risk.”

Calling it a “bombshell” from the state, Elder encouraged the trustees to call their state legislators and the governor to tell them that the decrease is unacceptable.

The Village Board reviewed the revenue portion of the operating budget on Monday. The water and sewer fees, which residents pay based on their usage, make up 33 percent of the village’s budget. The majority of the remainder of the revenues is made up of taxes, such as property taxes, sales tax, income tax, utility tax, court fines and others.

The equalized assessed value for the village of Elburn, on which the property taxes are based, has gone down each year since the economy took a hit in 2008.

“That’s a total loss of more than 20 percent,” trustee Bill Grabarek said.

Although the EAV has been going steadily down since 2008, property tax rates have been going up, resulting in higher property taxes on existing property owners and an overall net increase in village revenues.

The board has previously reviewed the draft budgets of the individual village budgets, and will take a look at the big picture at the March 25 meeting.

The proposed appropriation ordinance shows the maximum amount approved by the board that may be spent on specific items, and the operating budget is the day-to-day guide for how the village will spend its money.

The appropriation ordinance will be available for public inspection in Elburn Village Hall from March 26 through April 15, with a public hearing on April 1.

The Village Board will vote on the appropriation ordinance and the budget at its April 15 meeting, and the fiscal year will begin on May 1.

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