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Regional - page 12

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.

Marmion Academy Math Team State qualifiers for 7th consecutive year

in Regional by

NAPERVILLE, ILL.—The Marmion Academy Math Team competed in the ICTM Regional Competition at North Central College on Feb. 23. The team finished in second place in the Regional, losing only to five-time state champion University of Chicago Lab School.

Marmion placed ahead of Montini, St. Francis, Lisle and Nazareth, and is currently ranked No. 4 in the state in Division 2A. This gives the Cadets their seventh consecutive berth as a whole-team qualifier in the ICTM State Finals, which will take place Saturday, May 4, at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Marmion’s math team is coached by Marmion mathematics teachers Joseph Large (team moderator), Debbie Wilkinson, John Salomone, and Carol Kinzer.

A complete list of this season’s highlights and individual winners can be found at www.marmion.org.

DeKane Equipment Corp. celebrates 40th anniversary

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Russ Ruh in 2013 will celebrate 40 years of partnership within DeKane Equipment Corporation. Here, he is pictured in front of a company tractor.
Courtesy Photo

by Elizabeth Rago
BIG ROCK—In 1972, Hinckley-Big Rock High School junior Russell Ruh, commonly known as Russ, was hired by partners Robert Hardekopf and Merle Thorson to work in the Service Department of Big Rock Implement Company. With one slip of a gear case, young Russell’s life would not only land him in crutches, but also behind the counter taking inventory of implement parts. Recognizing Russ’s natural knack for managing parts, Robert decided to keep his enthusiastic young employee permanently in the Parts Department.

Forty-one years later, Russ Ruh celebrates the 40th anniversary of his partnership with Hardekopf, James Shrader, Mike Johnstone, Peter Kaus and Brent Shrader of DeKane Equipment Corporation. Adding to the foundation of rich local history in Big Rock, most do not know that DeKane Equipment Corp. first came into existence in 1880.

Before the turn of the century, a gentleman by the name of Levi Davis started a general store establishment, located by what was previously the bandstand (presently the big gazebo) by the big rock on Route 30. Levi’s General Store stocked coffee, sugar, and tea, all of which were delivered via horse-drawn covered wagon. A small ledger book documenting transactions, including livestock taken in as trade for goods offered was found in the 1950’s by future owner, Robert Hardekopf, among stacks of old papers and items from previous owners. Robert brought the ledger book to owner, Carl Thurow, insisting the worn records were too valuable to discard. Carl kept the journal, and incidentally, it has never been seen since.

Since the general store began, ownership changed hands and names three times, and by 1954, Hardekopf and Thorson solidified the current future of the company, Big Rock Implement.

Sixty-five years later, Robert Hardekopf is still walking through the doors of DeKane Equipment, almost half the lifetime of the business itself.
So, what has kept this historic company flourishing since 1880?
“Hard work, quality product lines and consistent superb customer service,” Ruh said. “Companies like DeKane are few and far between now. We work with customers in a 50-mile radius with farm, construction and consumer (lawn and garden) equipment.”

Establishing roots in a small community such as Big Rock also means supporting local organizations and families. DeKane Equipment Corp. staffs 20-25 area employees, has been a major contributor to the Big Rock Fire Department and annually participates in the Big Rock Plowing Match.
“It all starts with establishing a positive personal relationship,” Ruh said of DeKane’s successful past. “Our customers like and trust us because we offer competitive prices, on-site repairs, and if you have a problem, we fix it the first time.”

As the landscape of the Kaneland area has changed over the years, DeKane has stretched its farm equipment service both out west and to the east of Big Rock, and offers Versatile tractors; lawn and garden equipment like Stihl
lawn and garden products; Kubota tractors; Cub Cadet mowers and tractors; Woods; Grasshopper; Scag; Dixon equipment; Honda mowers; generators and Troy Bilt tillers. An ever-evolving business, DeKane Equipment Corp. has come a long way from selling sugar and coffee, but their consistent message of providing customers with high-quality products and friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy staff members remains true.

DeKane Equipment Corporation will host a 40th anniversary celebration on May 18 at 47W619 US Route 30. The festivities will be suitable for all ages.
For more information about DeKane Equipment Corporation, or to find out more about the 40th anniversary celebration, call (630) 556-3271 or visit www.dekane.com.

Up in flames

in Regional by

Photo: A fire on Tuesday evening resulted in the loss of Hintzsche Fertilizer’s maintenance building at its Troxel location. Firefighters combated the blaze for nearly four hours. Photo by John DiDonna

Hintzsche loses maintenance building in fire
TROXEL—Kaneville Fire Protection District firefighters on Tuesday evening were dispatched to Hintzsche Fertilizer, 2S181 County Line Road, on a report of a possible structure fire.

According to Hintzsche Fertilizer President Dave Hintzsche, a semi-truck parked inside a maintenance shop on the property caught fire around 5:45 p.m. The blaze then extended to the actual maintenance building.

“We suspect it was due to an electrical fire with the semi-truck,” he said.

Kaneville firefighters arrived at the scene at approximately 5:50 p.m. Additional aid was provided from local fire departments, including Elburn, Maple Park, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Hinckley, De Kalb, Burlington, Hampshire, Pingree Grove, Shabbona, Little Rock-Fox and Bristol-Kendall.

According to Tate Haley, assistant chief of fire operations for the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District, firefighters remained on the scene for just under four hours.

Hintzsche said the entire maintenance building was lost in the fire, as were some pieces of equipment.

Sen. Oberweis comments on Gov. Quinn’s ‘State of the State’ speech

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SPRINGFIELD—State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) issued a statement regarding Gov. Pat Quinn’s “State of the State” speech, presented to a joint session of Illinois lawmakers Feb. 6 in the chambers of the House of Representatives.

“I was very pleased that the governor took time to talk about the very, very serious financial situation that our state is facing,” Oberweis said. “Unfortunately, his speech did nothing to improve the ‘business unfriendly’ status of Illinois. His support of Senate Bill 1, the public pension reform bill, doesn’t go nearly far enough. Senate Bill 1 only solves a small part of our problem. If that is all we do, we’ll be back here facing the problem again in another year or two. We ought to do the right things now to fix this problem on a long-term basis.

Oberweis said all new employees should have a defined contribution plan instead of a defined benefit plan so that the problem does not recur.

“I don’t believe that Senate Bill 1 will solve our problems, but at least it is a step in the right direction,” he said. “I am delighted that the governor was willing to at least call attention to the serious problem that we have.”

The 25th District senator said he is willing to work with Gov. Quinn and his fellow lawmakers to right Illinois’ budget wrongs.

Jeffers named KCHD executive director

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KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Board on Feb. 13 appointed Barbara Jeffers, MPH, the permanent executive director of the Health Department. Jeffers had been serving as interim executive director since June 2012, when she was appointed to the fill the position of former executive director Paul Kuehnert, who left for another position.

Jeffers said she will sustain the momentum of the department in terms of protecting the community, maintaining its partnerships and continuing the department’s strategic planning. Her commitment to partnerships is stronger than ever, for only by working together can the Health Department achieve its vision of having the healthiest residents in Illinois by 2030.

The commitment to strategic planning continues to be firm as the first implementation projects of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) are now being felt throughout the county.

“The CHIP needs the support of everyone if we are to successfully attack the threats to community health and well being and meet our health priorities,” Jeffers said. “This is not just a Health Department document; it is a blueprint for the entire community to follow for a better quality of life for all of us.”

For over seven years, Barbara Jeffers has held several positions at the Health Department. Prior to county government, she was employed by the state of Illinois for 14 years—her last appointment being the director of Training and Development for the Department of Human Services.

Jeffers has a Masters of Public Health degree from Northern Illinois University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Kane County Sheriff, DEA hosts prescription drug seminar at KHS

in Featured/Kaneland/Regional by

Photo: The Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the DEA Tactical Diversion Unit on Feb. 13, provided a presentation to staff, faculty and parents on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The event took place in the Kaneland High School Auditorium. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez talks about the perscription drug disposal program. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Mary Parrilli
KANE COUNTY—Members of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and DEA presented a seminar on the illegal use of prescription drugs on Feb. 13 at Kaneland High School.

A similar presentation was held at Harter Middle School about one year ago. Due to some current issues at KHS, Kane County Sheriff Patrick Perez wanted to host another event—this time at the high school level.

“I’m not saying that there is an overwhelming prescription-drug-use problem at the high school, but we wanted to educate parents and Kaneland staff about the increasing use of prescription drugs among high school and college-aged kids,” he said. “We wanted to teach parents how to make their homes safer.”

Perez, two Kane County Sheriff’s deputies and three DEA agents from Chicago presented to parents and faculty a few choice topics on the illegal use of prescription drugs.

“One thing that parents need to realize is that just because a drug has a prescription, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe,” Perez said.

Perez explained that most painkillers are opiates, which are highly addictive. Kids often take them thinking that it will give them a buzz, not realizing that they are addictive substances. Many times, the use of prescription painkillers leads to the use of heroin.

One of the easiest ways that kids can get a hold of these drugs is via their parents’ prescriptions, Perez said. Often times, a parent has a surgery, or is prescribed something, and then doesn’t finish the whole bottle. In some instances, the kids then steal from the parents’ prescription, and either take the pills themselves, or sell them for anywhere between $20 and $30 per pill. There are even some high school kids who attend various open house events, and go through medicine cabinets, grab what they can, and then turn around and sell the pills.

“It’s not just painkillers, though—high school and college kids, in order to stay up all night or cram for tests, often use Aderall, which is a stimulant,” Perez said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the ones who really need the drug for their ADHD.”

According to Perez, some kids even host or attend “pharma-parties,” where everyone brings a grab bag of pills and places it in a big bowl, which then acts like a candy bowl, free for the taking. Kids often times don’t even know what drug they’re ingesting.

At the presentation, the DEA members handed out prescription drug identification charts to aid parents in the discovery of pills.

Perez and his team discussed ways to prevent the illegal diversion of pharmaceuticals. The biggest thing that people can do is simply not make them available. If you get a prescription, keep it hidden or locked up, away from your kids.

“When parents leave their medications out in the open, this creates what we call a “crime of opportunity,” the same as if you left your iPod sitting in your car, in view, and someone stole it,” Perez said.

It is also important to dispose of the pills properly. Perez doesn’t recommend flushing the pills down the toilet, as they may contaminate the water supply. He does recommend using the Sheriff’s Office prescription drug drop box, located at the office, 37W755 Route 38 in St. Charles, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. All you have to do is drop your pillbox into the drop box. The DEA then picks up the pills and takes them to an incinerator to dispose of them properly.

“I strongly recommend and encourage people to use (the drug drop box). It is the safest and easiest way for prescription drug disposal,” Perez said.

About 15 people showed up to the event on Wednesday. Perez said he was a little disappointed with the lack of participation by the Kaneland community.

“I thought the presentation went very well for those of whom came by,” he said. “I just really want parents to be educated about this, since prescription drugs are the fastest rising in drug choice for young adults and teenagers.”

Vaccinating your pet

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

ILLINOIS—Even though they may be taken for granted, pet vaccinations are vital for your pet’s health. Properly vaccinating your pet is an important part of pet care because vaccines can potentially help protect your pet against some serious health conditions and diseases.

“Vaccines are a suspension of altered microorganisms which will prevent, lessen, or treat disease without causing the disease,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Vaccines are considered the cornerstone of preventive medicine. Knowing the different types of vaccinations and how they work can help pet owners provide the best care for their animals.

“There are live, killed, modified live and recombinant vaccinations,” Stickney said. “By exposing the immune system to bacteria or viruses that are genetically similar to the ones that will cause disease, the immune system will develop antibodies that protect the body when it encounters the actual disease-causing organism.”

Stickney said some pet vaccines can be purchased over-the-counter and given by non-veterinarians. However, there may be quality control issues with vaccines if you are not familiar with the correct way to store and use them.

“By law, certain vaccines, like the rabies vaccine, can only be given by your veterinarian,” Stickney said. “Your veterinarian is also the best person to determine the vaccines your pet needs and how frequently they should be administered.”

According to Stickney, all puppies and kittens should receive the rabies vaccine at three months of age, and again at one year of age. Vaccination schedules vary depending on the area of the country you are in and the prevalence of different diseases in that area.

Puppies should be vaccinated for distemper virus, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza, while kittens should be vaccinated for viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia. Other vaccinations may also be recommended depending on the lifestyle of your pet.

“Booster shots are necessary in puppies and kittens to overcome ‘maternal immunity,’ where the antibodies that the puppies and kittens acquired from their mother provide some protection but eventually break down,” Stickney said. “Vaccines are ineffective in the face of maternal immunity; therefore the puppy and kitten vaccine series is necessary to protect the pet during the time when the maternal immunity disappears. Booster shots remind the immune system of diseases it is supposed to protect against.”

The frequency at which adult animals should receive booster vaccines has been a topic of debate among veterinarians for years. Increasingly, there is evidence that most vaccines do not need to be boosted every year, and that the risk of an animal catching certain diseases decreases with age. Your veterinarian will be able to tailor a vaccine protocol to the specific lifestyle of your pet.

“No vaccine is 100 percent effective,” Stickney said. “It is possible to overwhelm any vaccine and immune system with exposure to enough disease-causing organisms.”

Additionally, adverse reactions can occur from vaccinations. These reactions are most likely to occur the second time an animal receives a vaccine. They usually occur within a few minutes to six hours of vaccination.

“There are two types of reactions commonly seen: anaphylactic and delayed hypersensitivity,” Stickney said. “Delayed hypersensitivity reactions are more common and less serious. The pet becomes itchy and the face and ears swell. These reactions can usually be treated with antihistamines. Anaphylactic reactions are less common, and are serious and life-threatening. The animal collapses and goes into shock. Epinephrine and intravenous fluids are necessary to treat the animal.”

If your pet has had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, it is important to let your veterinarian know. Even pets that are allergic to a specific vaccine typically have no problems if they are treated with antihistamines before vaccinations.

Remember, vaccines are health products that signal protective immune responses in your pet. Your veterinarian can best guide you in the use and scheduling of vaccinations for your pet.

Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Scholarship

in Kaneland/Regional by

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez will award one scholarship to a Kane County resident in the amount of $500. The scholarship is part of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association program in which Illinois residents are awarded college scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year. The scholarships must be applied toward tuition, books or fees, and students must be enrolled at a full-time certified institution of higher learning within the state of Illinois.

Applications are available at the front desk of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, 37W755 Route 38 in St. Charles, or online at www.ilsheriff.org. The applicant must complete the application and answer the essay question. All applications must be submitted by Friday, March 15, 2013.

For more information, contact Janet Ardelan at (630) 208-2003.

Better Business Bureau offers tips to help protect against identity theft

in Regional by

CHICAGO—Some Hollywood movies portray identity theft as a comical occurrence. However, in reality, being a victim of identity theft can have large financial consequences. It is extremely important to try to deter identity theft from happening, quickly spot it if it has happened, and take the appropriate steps to defend yourself. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) offers tips on how to respond in the case that identity theft has taken place.

“Identity thieves are relentless in their pursuit of private information,” said Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the BBB. “It is very important to be aware of all the different ways to defend yourself and to keep your identity safe. It is always easier to avoid a problem rather than fix it once it occurs.”

The BBB offers the following tips to keep your identity secure:
• Carry only the cards you need at the time. Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry in your wallet or purse. Do not carry your Social Security card unless you need it.
• Cut up old or expired credit cards. Be aware of inactive credit card and bank accounts. Check them periodically for suspicious activity.
• Choose your PIN wisely. For your ATM card, choose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) different from your address, telephone number, middle name, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your birth date or any other information that could be easily discovered by thieves.
• Social Security Number (SSN): Be careful about sharing your SSN. Ask why your number is needed, how it will be used and what will happen if you refuse. Do not carry your Social Security card with you on a daily basis. Leave it at home in a secure location.
• Mailbox: Place outgoing mail in a secure mailbox. If you do not have a locked mailbox, pick up incoming mail as soon as possible.
• Storage: Never store your private documents in unsecured locations, such as your car or office. At home, invest in a fireproof lock box or safe to store important documents.
• Shred Documents: Avoid storing documents that contain personal information you no longer need including: credit card applications, insurance forms, financial statements, health forms, and other billing statements. Shred all unnecessary documents that contain personal information; garbage cans are goldmines for identity thieves.
• Receipts and Bank Statements: Monitor bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity. Know what dates your bills arrive. Late or missing bills can indicate your information has been compromised.
• Credit Report: Check your credit report annually. Under the Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act, consumers are entitled to a free annual credit report. The only authorized source is AnnualCreditReport.com 1-877-322-8228.

For more consumer tips, visit www.bbb.org

Soccer club serves community

in Community Sports/Regional by

Photo: Members of the Kaneland United Soccer Club that worked on a
community service project include (back, left to right) Brad Simmons, Tyler Chapman, 10, Tucker Jahns, 10, Soren Bailey, 10, Garrett
Robinson, 10, Trevor Jahns, 13; and (front) Tommy Musaras, 10, Lane Robinson, 8, Sean Gannon, 8, Zander Webster, 9, and Jacob Simmons, 10.
Courtesy Photo

Kaneland—Several members of the boys Kaneland United Soccer Club (KUSC) spent part of a recent weekend helping the residents and staff at Wayside Cross Ministries in Aurora on Jan. 19.

The players and several parent chaperones sorted, stocked and organized clothes and supplies in the organization’s warehouse and the Community Store. Wayside Cross Ministries is an 85-year-old Christian-based organization that assists men, women and children with shelter, job training, meals, and counseling services, with the goal of creating financial and socio-economic independence.

Travel Club Director Brad Simmons said it is important for the players to be well-rounded and to realize the importance of volunteering and helping others.

“They need to understand that being a good person goes beyond playing sports and the importance of giving back to others,” Simmons said.

To honor players who volunteer at least three hours of time to a group, KUSC awards a Community Service patch. The patches are intended to recognize the kids and promote volunteerism throughout the entire club.

Illinois sees home sales increase in December 2012

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SPRINGFIELD—Illinois home sales increased 15.2 percent over previous-year levels in December 2012, and median prices increased by 5.6 percent, according to the Illinois Association of REALTORS.

Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in December 2012 totaled 10,265 homes sold, up from 8,908 in December 2011. Year-end 2012 home sales totaled 128,436, up 22.9 percent from 104,480 in 2011.

The statewide median price in December was $132,000, up 5.6 percent from December 2011, when the median price was $125,000. The December median price reflects a 10 percent gain from the year’s low point of $120,000 in February 2012. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less. Year-end 2012 median price reached $139,000, up 0.7 percent from $138,000 in 2011.

“Throughout 2012, we saw signs the state’s housing market was recovering,” said Michael D. Oldenettel, CRS, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of REALTORS. “When you look at where we were in January 2012 versus where we ended up in December, you have to be impressed with the market’s resilience.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 3.32 percent in December 2012, down from 3.33 percent during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Last December, it averaged 3.94 percent.

In the nine-county Chicago Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), home sales (single family and condominiums) in December 2012 totaled 7,372 homes sold, up 19.2 percent from December 2011 sales of 6,184 homes. Year-end 2012 home sales totaled 90,365, up 26.7 percent from 71,315 homes sold in the region in 2011.

The median price in December 2012 was $151,500 in the Chicago PMSA, up 4.5 percent from $145,000 in December 2011. The year-end 2012 median price reached $160,000, down 1.5 percent from $162,500 in 2011.

“Positive signs for the housing market continue with the comparative advantage of ownership versus rental generating a significant opportunity for increased housing sales in 2013,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois. “The housing market is likely to experience some bumpiness in the first quarter of the year until there is resolution of the fiscal challenges in Washington and Springfield. Declining consumer confidence reflects the uncertainties; consumers are unlikely to explore major purchases, especially of houses, when tax rates, mortgage interest deductions and pension obligations remain unresolved.”

Fifty of 102 Illinois counties reporting to IAR showed year-over-year home sales increases in December 2012. Thirty-nine (39) counties showed year-over-year median price increases, including Cook, up 7.7 percent to $150,000; Jo Daviess, up 3.7 percent to $169,000; Kane, 9.4 percent to $142,270; Madison, up 24.5 percent to $114,500; Sangamon, up 3.5 percent to $124,500; Rock Island, up 7.4 percent to $91,250; Tazewell, up 23.1 percent to $129,900; and Winnebago, up 6.1 percent to $79,950.

The city of Chicago saw a 14.6 percent year-over-year home sales increase in December 2012 with 1,806 sales, up from 1,576 in December 2011. The year-end 2012 home sales totaled 22,333, up 22.4 percent from 18,250 home sales in 2011.

The condo market in the city of Chicago showed a sales increase of 17.7 percent to 1,037 units sold in December 2012.

The median price of a home in the city of Chicago in December 2012 was $185,000 up 19.4 percent compared to December 2011 when it was $155,000. The year-end 2012 median price reached $185,000, up 5.7 percent from $175,000 in 2011.

“December showed positive indicators across the board at the height of the holiday season, which is typically a quiet time for home sales,” said Realtor Zeke Morris, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and operating principal and managing broker, Keller Williams Realty, CCG. “In addition, the 18.9 percent decrease in market time from the same time in 2011 shows a continued clearing of inventory, of both single-family homes and condominiums, which should prompt action among buyers and sellers and continue to promote home price stabilization.”

Sales and price information is generated by Multiple Listing Service closed sales reported by 31 participating Illinois Realtor local boards and associations including Midwest Real Estate Data LLC data as of Jan. 7, 2013, for the period Dec. 1-31, 2012. The Chicago PMSA, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the counties of Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will.

The Illinois Association of Realtors is a voluntary trade association whose 41,000 members are engaged in all facets of the real estate industry. In addition to serving the professional needs of its members, the Illinois Association of Realtors works to protect the rights of private property owners in the state by recommending and promoting legislation to safeguard and advance the interest of real property ownership.

Find Illinois housing stats, data and the University of Illinois REAL forecast at www.illinoisrealtor.org/marketstats.

Local teens receive Brattin Civic Youth Award

in Elburn/Regional/Sugar Grove by

AURORA—Last December marked a significant month for Sugar Grove resident and Rosary High School junior Julia Hoyda. A tenacious and conscientious volunteer, Julia is dedicated to adding memorable moments to her teenage years by serving others in her community, and was recently awarded the Brattin Civic Youth Award at the 43rd annual Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Luncheon.

This particular Civic Youth Award is honored to Fox Valley youth in memory of Aurora businessman Ted Brattin, who was involved in the founding of the Aurora Navy League Council and the Aurora-Naperville Rotary Club. Ten youth showing auspicious leadership and prominent service to the community in the style of Brattin were presented with the award in an event hosted by the Aurora Navy League, the Aurora-Naperville Rotary Club and Aurora University.

Of the 10 recipients of the Brattin Civic Youth Award, Julia Hoyda and Kaneland High School senior Nicole Hanlon reside in the Kaneland community. Exhibiting qualities of citizenship, service and leadership comes naturally to Julia and Nicole, as both have been busy advocating simultaneously as accomplished students and community service supporters. Julia, an active member of the Girl Scouts for the last 11 years, serves as a camp aide and an enthusiastic volunteer of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (FVSRA).

“I’m due to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award this year,” Julia said. “To qualify for this highest honor, you must create a project that improves your community. I combined my love for the outdoors, the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association and my brother to inspire me to create this program.”

Julia wants to spread the word and inspire others to realize that people just like her brother (who is autistic and has a seizure disorder) are people, too. It takes a tenacious and patient person to see 80 hours of planning turn into a successful community project. The summer of 2012, Julia brought her vision to life as she led an outdoor program for adults participating in the FVSRA. The program consisted of leading and assisting clients in activities like fishing, gardening and painting a fence for a chicken coop. Julia’s program was such a success among the clients, the FVSRA is gearing up for its second season this spring.

“It was amazing to see the smiles on the client’s faces,” Julia said. “I want everyone to know that just because someone has a disorder doesn’t mean they aren’t cool or like to have fun.”

In addition to her work with the Girl Scouts and Fox Valley Recreation Association, Julia is an honor student and student ambassador at Rosary, a member of the Marmion marching and jazz bands, and participates in Debate and Latin clubs.

“I am wowed that I can make a difference in the lives of others,” Julia said.

Hanlon, an Elburn resident, is also making a significant impact on her community. A World Youth in Science and Engineering team member, soccer player and active youth leader at St. Gall Catholic Church, Nicole’s community service resume is not lacking in supporting organizations that make a difference.

“Nicole is a natural leader,” said Laura McPhee, Kaneland High School secretary. “I nominated her because she has this innate sense of stepping in to help anyone at a moment’s notice.”

In addition to Hanlon’s rigorous academic schedule, she tutors her peers as a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers with organizations like the Aurora Golden K Kiwanis Club and Heartland Blood Center.

“She never hesitates to step up and be an example … I believe Nicole thrives on excellence and encourages her peers to be the best they can be,” McPhee said.

The work Julia and Nicole carry out within the Kaneland community brings to light the fact that teenagers today are making a grassroots effort everyday to improve their world. As Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”

HorsePower fundraiser a hit

in Regional by

Photo: HorsePower founder Carrie Capes (left) and Chairman John Cain hold up a check presented to them by Michael Schulz of Modern Woodmen of America.
Courtesy Photo

by Dave Woehrle
ST. CHARLES—A fundraiser for HorsePower Therapeutic Riding was held at St. Charles Bowl on Saturday.

The three-and-a-half-hour event raised $11,519 for HorsePower, a non-profit organization in Maple Park that offers horseback riding lessons to children and adults with disabilities.

HorsePower’s programs focus on communication, connection and teamwork between the student and their horse, providing opportunities for physical, emotional, cognitive and social growth. The therapeutic horse riding program currently has 25 students between the ages of four and 37.

HorsePower Program Director Carrie Capes was pleased with the fundraiser’s turnout.

“The event was sold out one week before the date,” she said. “We sold 150 bowling tickets and an additional 40 non-bowler tickets. The place was packed.”

The event was co-sponsored by Modern Woodmen of America, a fraternal financial services organization that specializes in coordinating and insuring community events. The group matched funds up to $2,500.

Modern Woodmen representative Michael Schulz felt honored to be involved.

“This is our way of getting the word out and getting involved in the community to benefit local people and to have a real impact,” Schulz said. “I am so thankful and blessed to be able to help out in this way. I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I worked at a normal insurance company.”

Sue Pozen, a paraprofessional at Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary, won $1,530 in the 50/50 raffle at the fundraiser.

HorsePower Therapeutic was co-founded by lifelong equestrian enthusiasts Capes and Justin Yahnig in March 2012, starting with four students and a dream to harness the healing power of the horse. Yahnig provided a financial background and experience training and showing Arabian horses, while Capes, a recreation therapist, special needs parent, and PATH-certified therapeutic riding instructor, established a Board of Directors for the therapeutic horse riding organization in August 2012.

Elburn resident John Cain is the current chairman of HorsePower, which became an Illinois registered non-profit corporation in December 2012.

Lighting the night sky

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: Residents of the Foxmoor Subdivision in Montgomery held a sky lantern memorial on Dec. 22 for the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary victims. The laterns filled the night sky.
Courtesy Photo

Montgomery neighborhood lights lanterns for Newtown victims
by Mary Parrilli
MONTGOMERY—Just a few days prior to Christmas, a neighborhood in Montgomery held a memorial for the 26 victims who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that occurred on Dec. 14.

Foxmoor subdivision residents yearning for action and unity decided to get together on the evening of Dec. 22 at the neighborhood pond. Laura Blickem Hensley, a stay-at-home mom and resident of the subdivision, organized the event.

Hensley used the subdivision’s Facebook page to harmonize a lantern-lighting tribute for those lost in the tragedy. It was something she wanted to do herself, and once she found the lanterns, she thought she would extend an invite to others in her community.

“I thought, the more the merrier,” Hensley said.

Susan Buerke, a Foxmoor resident who participated in the event, said that 20-to-25 people came out to take part. The group lit a total of 26 lanterns, one for each victim.

Buerke is an accountant and a mother of three. She said that people of all ages showed up that night. Children, adults and even some of the elder neighbors came to light sky lanterns—paper lanterns that, when lit, fill with hot air and rise up into the sky.

“It was a very moving and emotional sight to see. They looked like stars against the night sky,” Buerke said.

Lack of lighters prevented the lanterns from being lit at the same time. As a result, the lanterns ascended at different times, which actually provided depth to the starry sight.

“We saw a beautiful trail of lanterns. They were peaceful and quite graceful as they ascended,” Hensley said. “I felt an emotional attachment to each one of them.”

Susan’s daughter Morgan, a Kaneland High School junior, said her parents had been keeping her updated with the events and information regarding the Sandy Hook tragedy. When Morgan heard that one of her neighbors was organizing a lighting tribute, she felt compelled to take part.

“I really just felt like I needed to do something about it. I wanted to feel like I had some power, or like I could show the world that this tragedy had a powerful impact,” Morgan said.

Hensley said that she wanted the lanterns to symbolize prayer, light and hope to Connecticut. She wants the families to know that they’re not alone.

Hensley has two children: a 9-month old and a son in kindergarten. She said that the tragedy really struck a chord with her and made her realize that tragedies like Sandy Hook can happen anywhere.

As the lanterns rose up into the night sky, the Buerkes thought of each and every one of the innocent lives that were taken away on that day, Dec. 14.

“I felt like I was letting go of souls,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she felt sadness, but also felt a small, inexplicable sense of comfort, knowing that she had taken action into her own hands.

Susan said that, after the lanterns had gone, she felt a sense of unity with her neighbors and with all of those suffering from the tragedy. She said that it felt good to share her sorrow with others.

“It was an instance of honesty and true emotion for us. A chance to reach out to our community and console one another in our emotional states,” Susan said

“You know, Connecticut is so far away, but you still want to do something. Maybe the families in Connecticut won’t know that I did this, but I believe in the power of prayer,” Hensley said.

On a local level, it was a chance for action, and for members of the community to come together and express sorrow with one another. Members of the Foxmoor subdivision experienced togetherness and a sense of welcoming from one another.

On a national level, each Foxmoor attendee that Saturday night was able to take part in a symbol of hope and healing for the families who lost loved ones in Connecticut.

“I just hope that those affected will find peace. I cannot imagine what those parents are going through, or how they’ll learn to live without their children,” Hensley said. “All I can say is, I hope they take it one day at a time.”

Lantern2

Three subjects charged with reckless conduct for BB pistol shooting near Sugar Grove

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KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an incident in which subjects traveling in a car used a BB pistol to shoot at subjects in another car.

The incident took place at approximately 3:15 p.m. on Monday in the area of Route 30 and Route 47 near Sugar Grove. The victim followed the offending vehicle into South Mill Creek. By the time deputies were able to catch up to the vehicle, it had stopped at the intersection of South Mill Creek Drive and Fabyan Parkway in unincorporated Geneva.

Deputies at that time were able to take the three subjects inside the vehicle—Hector Rubio, 18, of the 200 block of Bluegrass Parkway in Oswego, Ill., Michael Thompson, 20, of the first block of Oakwood Drive in Oswego, and Elle Fowler, 18, of the 3100 block of Thunderbird Court in Aurora—into custody. Deputies also recovered an air soft pistol that closely resembled a handgun.

All three subjects were charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.
Due to the nature of the call, Geneva schools were placed on lockdown until the incident was resolved.

Marmion Academy to induct three members into its Athletic Hall of Fame

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AURORA—Marmion Academy will induct three new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 9. The induction will take place in Marmion’s gym, 1000 Butterfield Road in Aurora, during halftime of the varsity basketball game at 6 p.m.

This year’s inductees are Thomas Collins (Class of ‘76), Eric Konen (Class of ‘87) and Rich Sharpenter (Class of ‘63).

While at Marmion, Collins played football, basketball and track all four years. He played on the conference-winning football team and played in the playoffs against Geneseo. He also played on the 1976 basketball team that won regional, sectional and super-sectional, and played in the Elite 8. In track, Collins participated and was a member of the team winning Conference in the WSCC.

Collins has spent his entire professional career in college athletics, working his way up from assistant ticket manager at Arizona State University to athletic director at Ball State University.

Collins has served on numerous boards including the NCAA Amateurism Cabinet, Mid-American Conference finance committee, Tempe Sports Authority, Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors. He has run numerous Pac-10 (now Pac-12) and NCAA championship events over the years while at ASU. Tom was part of the 1996 Super Bowl Committee that hosted Super Bowl XXX in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

Konen played basketball and golf all four years of his high school career. In golf, his team had a 48-1 record in dual match play over four years. He held the nine-hole scoring record of (32) as a freshman. In 1983 the team finished seventh in State. Three out of four years, the golf team was conference champ. The team was city champion all four years during Konen’s time on the team. He was individual medalist (74) in ’86 and named team MVP in ’86. He was co-captain of the basketball team in his senior year. Konen was All-Conference in ’85 and ’86, and Academic All-Conference in both basket and golf in ’87.

While at St. Ambrose University, Konen earned four varsity letters in golf and basketball. In his sophomore year, the basketball team made it to the Sweet 16 in the NAIA National Tournament. Konen averaged eight points and five rebounds per game that year.

Sharpenter played football all four years in high school, played basketball three years and ran track two years. He was All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State in football in 1962, playing center and defensive end his junior year. In basketball, he was center for the varsity team his junior year. Sharpenter has been a major booster of Marmion athletics for over 40 years.

For more information, visit marmion.org.

Oberweis sworn in as 25th District senator

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

SPRINGFIELD—Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove was sworn in as the state senator for the 25th District during inaugural ceremonies on Jan. 9 in the Senate Chambers.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis administered the oath of office to Oberweis and his Senate colleagues as the Illinois General Assembly convened its 98th biennial session.

Don’t delay, test for radon today

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

KANE COUNTY—January is National Radon Action Month, and the Kane County Health Department, in conjunction with the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition, recommends that now is a good time to test your home for the presence of radon. Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally from the breakdown of uranium and is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the world, along with smoking and secondhand smoke.

Rocks and soil can contain uranium. Radon gas can enter through cracks in homes/buildings/schools and expose people to the radiation. Because of the geology in the Midwestern United States, homes in Kane County have the potential for higher levels of radon.

The Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Plan targets chronic diseases such as cancer, and the department recommends that all homes in Kane County be tested for radon. Testing kits are available for $15 from the Kane County Health Department and Kane County Development Office. This cost includes the kit, cost of mailing to a certified lab for analysis, and results. Kits are available at these locations:

• Aurora Health Department Office, 1240 N. Highland Ave., Suite 5, Aurora, Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

• Kane County Development Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva, Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Elgin Health Department Office, 1750 Grandstand Place, Suite 2, Elgin, Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to noon

Test kits also are available at most local hardware stores.
More information and resources about radon is available on the Health Department’s website, kanehealth.com/radon.htm.

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