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Snowball Dance at S.S. Peter & Paul Church

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VIRGIL—S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church will host its Snowball Dance (one of Kane County’s oldest dances) on Saturday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m. to midnight at the church, 5N939 Meridith Road in Virgil.

Admission to the dance is $10 per person, and is limited to those 21 years of age and older. Music will be provided by Hometown Band, with sandwiches and chips available at approximately 10:30 p.m. Beverages will be available for purchase.

Batavia Park District announces two department head changes

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BATAVIA—The Batavia Park District recently ended an extensive search for its new director of finance after the position was vacated in November. The position is crucial to the park district due to its role with budgeting, tax levies and payroll; therefore, the task of finding a replacement was not taken lightly.

Last week, Executive Director Allison Niemela announced that Rita Kruse-Hankes of Aurora had accepted the position.

Kruse-Hankes was previously the assistant finance director for the village of Addison. Prior to that, she held a position as an accounting manager with the village of Downers Grove.

Government experience was crucial in the selection of a new director of finance for the park district. With nearly 10 years of experience in government finance and a strong financial background, Kruse-Hankes was an ideal fit.

“I look forward to the new challenges of leading a finance department in a forward progressing organization,” Kruse-Hankes said. “Having been born and raised in the Tri-Cities area, I feel my knowledge, work experiences and passion will inspire a better district for the future.”

Kruse-Hankes is a Certified Public Accountant and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University. Wednesday was her first day with the Batavia Park District. She can be reached at ritak@bataviaparks.org or (630) 879-5235 ext. 2021.

Kari Miller has recently been promoted from marketing and public relations manager to director of marketing and public relations. She will oversee the marketing and public relations department consisting of seven employees. Additional responsibilities include being the webmaster for the district and developing and maintaining comprehensive marketing plans and promotions for all recreation programs, special events, the Depot Museum and the Hall Quarry Beach. She will be in charge of the district’s communications, including publications, email blasts, video productions, social media and public relations campaigns.

Miller joined the Batavia Park District in 2008 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communications from Bradley University. She has eight years of public relations experience.

Miller was promoted by Allison Niemela, the former director of marketing and public relations who recently was promoted to executive director. The promotion will be a smooth transition for the district.

“Kari is one of the fastest rising stars I’ve encountered, always looking out for the best interest of the district,” Niemela said. “She is very talented and deserving of this promotion.”

During her tenure with the district, Miller was instrumental in managing the district’s social media accounts, which include Facebook, Twitter and texting promotions. She continues to look for new ways to improve communication channels with residents.

Miller also implemented a flipbook feature to the website,which replaces PDF files and allows for added features such as video and photographs to be linked throughout the fun guide to the website. Miller is currently building a new website for the district based on feedback from surveys and focus groups, and is always welcoming new challenges.

“This is definitely a very exciting time for me,” she said. “A lot of my work is behind the scenes so I’m honored the executive director has the confidence in me to take on this position.”

Miller has demonstrated her leadership skills in several capacities. This year she is the director of the Communications and Marketing section for the Illinois Park and Recreation Association. Last year Miller was the recipient of the district’s most prestigious honor: the Bruce the Spruce Award. Miller received the award as a result of the respect her co-workers have for her and for her work ethic.

“Being nominated by my peers was a huge compliment, and one that I’m incredibly proud of during my time at the Batavia Park District,” Miller said.

Miller can be reached by email at karim@bataviaparks.org or by phone at (630) 879-5235, ext. 2022.

Elgin Symphony Orchestras ends 2012 with sold-out performance

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ELGIN, ILL.—The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) recently hosted more than 3,000 concertgoers with its “Let It Snow” holiday concerts on Dec. 15-16. The Sunday concert was literally sold out—not one seat was left open. Patrons were waiting in line, anxious for the news that someone had turned in their ticket, thus opening up a seat.

From the Christmas-themed balloon sculptures to the family photography station to the Elgin Children’s Chorus in festive attire holding candles during the “Silent Night” sing-a-long, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra concerts gave each audience member a magical start to the holiday season.

This is the first sold-out concert the ESO has seen in recent years, and it’s just the latest in a series of expanding concert attendance for the ESO events at the Hemmens Cultural Center.

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra also announced at the “Let It Snow” concerts that an anonymous donor will match up to $150,000 through the end of 2012.

“Let It Snow”, featured a new voice to the roster of ESO guest artists: Rachel DeShon, named “Seattle’s Littlest Diva.” ESO patrons were entranced as DeShon graced the stage in a red dress and ended the program with her signature song, “O Holy Night.” DeShon has been featured with Marvin Hamlisch, and was scheduled to tour with him in 2012 before his untimely death. DeShon was recently featured with the Seattle Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony.

To support the ESO, visit www.ElginSymphony.org.

National recognition

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KC Health Department awarded national accreditation status
KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department recently announced that it has received national public health department five-year accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB). With this achievement, Kane County becomes the first county health department in Illinois to reach this status.

To receive accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of quality standards and measures. Hundreds of health departments are preparing to seek national accreditation through the program, which launched in September 2011 after more than a decade in development. So far only 22 health departments have been granted accreditation status, out of a total of more than 3,000 in the U.S.

“Accreditation is the gold standard for health departments and demonstrates our commitment to providing quality services and better serving our community. National accreditation signifies the incredible efforts the Kane County Health Department puts forth every day to improve and protect the health of the public,” said Health Department Executive Director Barbara Jeffers. “Achieving accreditation opens the door to a number of benefits, including increased credibility, accountability, and possible funding advantages. Having reached this milestone will provide us with valuable, measurable feedback to further our commitment to continuous improvement.”

“The Kane County Health Department is one of the first of many health departments that we look forward to being able to recognize as a high-performing public health department,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The peer review process provides valuable feedback to inform health departments of their strengths and areas for improvement, so that they can better protect and promote the health of the people they serve in their communities.”

While public health departments provide expert leadership in protecting and promoting the health of people in communities across the country, there has not been a set of nationally recognized standards until now. The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHA) established in 2007, was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body, and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, Tribal, state and local levels.

More information about accreditation is available on the Health Department website at www.kanehealth.com/accreditation.htm and the PHAB website at www.phaboard.org.

Snowball Dance at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church

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VIRGIL—S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church will host its Snowball Dance (one of Kane County’s oldest dances) on Saturday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m. to midnight at the church, 5N939 Meridith Road in Virgil.

Admission to the dance is $10 per person, and is limited to those 21 years of age and older. Music will be provided by Hometown Band, with sandwiches and chips available at approximately 10:30 p.m. Beverages will be available for purchase.

IACA names Keck 2012 Auditor of the Year

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ILLINOIS—In recognition of his many years of service as their continuing education sponsor, the Illinois Association of County Auditor has named William F. Keck, CPA, retired Kane County auditor, as their 2012 Auditor of the Year.

Citing his professionalism and dedication to the IACA, association members believe Keck is a role model for county auditors, present and future.

Family New Year’s Eve party

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AURORA—Bring the kids to a mid-day New Year’s Eve celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 31, at Vaughan Athletic Center, 2121 W. Indian Trail Road in Aurora.

This event will include giant inflatables, fun and games, sports demos, hula hoop contests, dancing, live DJ, a balloon drop, party favors and snacks.

The cost of admission is $7 per person if registered by 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28. After that, admission is $10 per person, with no charge for children ages 2 and under.

For more information, call (630) 907-9600.

How to safely remove snow from your roof

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

ILLINOIS—If heavy snow is left on your roof, it can result in costly water damage, or even cause your roof to collapse. Safely remove snow from your roof by using the following guidance from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

Find additional resources to prevent roof damage during severe winter weather at www.disastersafety.org/freezing_weather/prevent-roof-collapse/.

Snow removal equipment meant for pavement should never be used on the roof since they can damage the roof cover system. Stay grounded. Use a snow rake with a long extension arm that will allow you to remove the snow while standing on the ground. You are likely not a tightrope walker, so don’t use a roof rake while on a ladder.

Hire a snow removal contractor if you feel uncomfortable removing snow from your roof. Look for an established, licensed and bonded professional. Be sure to check references, and ask to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance.

Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small.

Marmion entrance exam for 8th-grade boys

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AURORA—Marmion Academy High School will host its second entrance exam for 8th-grade boys on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, beginning at 9 a.m. In order to register for the exam, an application for admission must be filed prior to or on the day of the exam.

To file an application or receive more information on Marmion Academy, visit www.marmion.org or contact the admissions office at (630) 897-6936, ext. 227.

School boards push to add definition of cyber bullying in school policy

in Kaneland/Regional by

CHICAGO—The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) seeks legislation that would require every Illinois public school district policy on bullying to contain a definition that includes “cyber bullying.”

Representatives from 360 Illinois school districts considered resolutions on various public school issues at the Association’s annual Delegate Assembly. The assembly was held in conjunction with the 2012 Joint Annual Conference, Nov.16-18 in Chicago.

The resolution, submitted by Dunlap CUSD 323 in Peoria County, is intended to encourage school districts to bring a wide range of education stakeholders together to establish local policies that will help deter all forms of bullying, including activities conducted online.

The rationale behind the resolution noted that the effects of cyber bullying have been fatal, and there are no consequences in state law to deter such behavior.

Cathy Piehl, board secretary of the proposal’s co-sponsor, Indian Prairie CUSD 204, Naperville, said such a bill would provide state guidance for local districts to deal with a growing problem that is “very destructive to our school environment and our school districts.”

Piehl said the general definition of cyber bullying is well established, and the resolution presented to delegates strikes a good balance between guidance from the state and the flexibility for local control.

“I don’t think the legislation that was in place before defined cyber bullying,” she said.

The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the school board delegates.

Representatives also approved a resolution that seeks to revise the method of funding state-authorized charter schools to limit the amount that can be diverted from local school districts to support charters.

Sponsors said the proposal would encourage creation of new state-authorized charter schools to the extent the state provides the means to fund them. They said decreases in state aid endanger services for both state-authorized charter school and their host school districts.

The amount of state funds diverted from the local district currently is based on the per capita tuition calculation of the local district multiplied by the number of students at the charter school. For example, a state charter school drawing 300 students would receive $3 million from the local district if that district had a per capita tuition charge of $10,000 per student. The local district must shoulder 100 percent of the cost even though state dollars may only account for 20 percent of the local district’s revenue.

The resolution was approved overwhelmingly and without discussion.

A total of 23 resolutions were submitted for consideration this year; 11 of which were new proposals, and one that amended an existing position statement. The others reaffirmed existing position statements. Local member districts are encouraged to draft and submit proposals in the spring. After a committee review them and offers its recommendations, the Delegate Assembly votes on the resolutions. Those approved are used by IASA and other school management supporters to establish an agenda for their lobbying efforts.

“This resolution aims to limit the withholding of state funds from school districts hosting a charter school by pegging it to the percentage of state funds the local district received per student in the prior year,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB deputy executive director. “School districts said they need to have the state revenue per student follow the student, not local revenue. The state, as the chartering entity, would then ensure payment of the balance of the per capita funding entitlement to the charter school.”

Other resolutions approved by local school board representatives included proposals that:
• Allow school districts additional flexibility under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL)
• Encourage employers to allocate time off for employees’ state-required school board member training
• Restore boards’ right to enter into contracts with third parties for non-instructional services
• Exempt students from physical education classes as needed to attend show choir
• Ease state requirements for homeless student transportation beyond district borders in order to bring the state law into agreement with federal law

Delegates also approved a call for biennial state budgets rather than yearly budgets, essentially requiring that lawmakers determine the amount of funding for education entitlements and General State Aid to schools no later than March 31 (three months prior to the start of the budget year).

Sponsors said the budgeting cycle needs to be changed to allow school boards to make fiscal and staffing decisions after they are informed about the amount of state aid and educational entitlements available. Currently, local school district budgets are due months before the state budget is finalized. The timetable has been a bigger concern in the past few years because state budget shortfalls and lean fiscal times have caused delays and reductions in state payments to school districts.

Delegates rejected seven of 12 resolutions containing new or amended position statements for IASB, including a pension reform proposal to seek additional state revenue, including potential Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reform sources to cover any additional cost placed on school districts for pensions benefits of teachers.

“Discussions about reforming the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension funding have included a proposal to shift the normal cost of this to local school districts, with a price tag of an additional $800 million to be paid by school districts,” Schwarm said. “While most delegates agreed that absorbing an $800 million hit would devastate local school districts, concern was voiced about the fairness of using TIF funds to defray these costs, particularly because such funds are already allocated for specific purposes by municipal officials.”

IASB delegates also heard reports from IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy and Association President Carolyne Brooks.

“Education faces some of the most challenging times in the history of our country, and it truly is crucial that we do something in Illinois to help preserve our democracy,” Brooks said.

Brooks was re-elected as Association president, and Karen Fisher as vice president. Both will serve one-year terms. Brooks is a board member in West Richland CUSD 2 in Noble, Ill.; Fisher is a board member in THSD 140 in Ottawa, Ill.

More than 84 percent, or 727 of the state’s 861 school districts, attended the 2012 Joint Annual Conference. This was the 80th meeting of the IASB, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Attendance at this year’s event topped 10,000. This included school board members, exhibitors, administrators, superintendents, board secretaries, regional superintendents and university professors, IASB service associates, school attorneys, state board officials, special ed administrators and others. The conference offered a wide variety of professional development programs in 116 panel sessions, nine pre-conference workshops, three general sessions and other learning opportunities.

The Illinois conference is the largest state education conference in the nation. More information about this year’s conference can be found on the Association’s website: www.iasb.com/jac12/.

Publisher teams up with Beebe to tell story

in Elburn/Football/Kaneland/Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Aurora Christian football coach Don Beebe has made a career and life out of transitions.

A 1983 graduate of Kaneland High School, he suited up for the Knights and went to school at Western Illinois and Chadron State College in Nebraska.

After working construction and putting up aluminum siding in nearby towns like Montgomery, he moved on for a shot at the NFL Combine and was subsequently drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

After several years and an infamous Super Bowl swat later, Beebe went to the Green Bay Packers, where he earned a championship ring in 1997.

Beebe then moved on to the next phase of his life, operating Don Beebe’s House of Speed, and most recently, head coach of the two-time Class 3A football champion Aurora Christian Eagles.

That’s where Jim Gibson comes in.

Gibson, owner and operator of Big Talk Publishing in Aurora, met with Beebe to put a book together. The result, “Six Rings from Nowhere,” was released at Aurora Christian High School last week.

It wasn’t hard for Gibson, a veteran of the television and movie industry, to get involved and tout the story.

“What’s great is that Don isn’t a blue-chipper, he’s blue collar,” Gibson said. “He’s the guy reading that book.”

Hoopla surrounding the book should continue with the NFL playoffs on the horizon. This season marks the 20th anniversary of the Bills’ historic Wild Card round comeback against the Houston Oilers, as well as the Super Bowl swat to rob Leon Lett of a defensive touchdown.

Gibson said CBS Sports is set to be in the area to interview Beebe and Lett about the play.

“(Beebe’s) so humble about all this. He’s a guy that showed up at the same combine with a pair of old tennis shoes and a duffle bag sharing space with Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders,” Gibson said.

The book is available for purchase at houseofspeed.com, sixringsfromnowhere .com, donbeebe.com, or at Aurora Christian High School.

“This book was a no-brainer, and comes after a long process,” Gibson said. “I knew of Don before this, and as I got to know him on a much deeper level, I felt he really needed to explain his story.”

“Six Rings from Nowhere,” co-written with writer Denise Crosby, has an introduction by Beebe’s Bills teammate Jim Kelly, and a forward by his Packers teammate Brett Favre.

Included in the book are tales of Favre giving a game ball to Beebe after their Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, and his first catch in the NFL, a touchdown pass against Houston cornerback Cris Dishman.

“(Beebe’s) a guy that was out of college football for three-and-a-half years, and decided ‘I have to get back to football,’ and that’s the beginning,” Gibson said.

Big Talk Publishing’s effort is a story of faith, hope and triumph, plus plenty of anecdotes for the most ardent football fan.

The story of the Kaneland Knight-turned construction worker-turned-wide reciever-turned-championship coach and father of four has something for everyone.

“Working with him and talking about how he got his first ring and the winner of ESPN’s first Play of the Year was great,” Gibson said. “But it’s about a guy who has the heart of a champion.”

Treasurer asks residents to help locate military medal owners

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SPRINGFIELD—On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford unveiled an updated Operation Reunite list of names now that several military medals have been returned to veterans.

Operation Reunite is the program that links veterans and their families with any unclaimed military medals, awards and military artifacts that have been transferred to the treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division. Rutherford launched Operation Reunite shortly after taking office in 2011.

Rutherford recently returned two Purple Hearts to a woman in Rockford whose family earned the medals, and returned a Bronze Star to veteran Tommy Fenton of Mt. Vernon, Ill., meaning two families now have their honors in their hands.

“I don’t have many better duties as treasurer than to reunite a military medal with a veteran,” Rutherford said. “It is my goal to return each and every one of the medals and awards that belong to these veterans or their heirs.”

The list of names is printed on the Operation Reunite brochure, which can be found at www.treasurer.il.gov.

“If anyone recognizes a name on the list, please let us know,” Rutherford said. “While we have a city connected to the names of most of the medals, and perhaps even a last known address, enough time has passed that the address is no longer valid. To find a hint about the veterans’ new address, or the whereabouts of the veterans’ families, would likely allow us to reunite these medals with the rightful owners.”

The email address for the Unclaimed Property Division is info@Icash.Illinois.gov.

The vault located beneath the Illinois State Capitol contains thousands of lost of forgotten valuables, including nearly 200 military artifacts, which includes medals belonging to the men of women who have dutifully served our country. The valuable military awards span more than a century of American conflict, including one medal that dates back to the Spanish American War, circa 1898. Other priceless items include service records, dog tags and commendations from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office came to be the caretaker of these military artifacts after they were lost or forgotten. Often, a veteran of the armed forces or a family member has stored these objects in a bank’s safe deposit box and forgotten about them over time. Banks eventually relinquish stewardship of the contents of these boxes to the treasurer’s office. The treasurer then serves as the custodian for these items, storing and protecting them in the state vault under the Capitol until they may be reunited with whom they rightfully belong.

Waubonsee Foundation announces available scholarships

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SUGAR GROVE—The application for 2013-2014 Waubonsee Community College Foundation scholarships is now available online at www.waubonsee.edu/foundation. More than 200 scholarships are offered to new and returning Waubonsee students.

All applications must be completed and submitted online. Paper copies will not be accepted. The due date is midnight on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013. Scholarships will be awarded in early April 2013.

For more information, call the Waubonsee Community College Foundation at (630) 466-2983.

Waubonsee names Dale director of Registration and Records

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SUGAR GROVE—The Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees recently appointed Marc Dale Jr. as its director of Registration and Records/Registrar.

Dale, an Aurora resident, began his community college career as a financial aid advisor at Ivy Tech Community College in East Chicago, Ind., in 2009. He was promoted to the position of assistant registrar in September 2010.

Dale earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from Purdue University, and his master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Chicago State University.

Illinois Treasurer encourages residents to take advantage of college savings plan

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ILLINOIS—By taking action before the end of December, families who hope to help their children afford a college education can receive a boost in their accumulated savings. Three specific tax benefits can be realized by adding a Bright Start 529 College Savings Plan to year-end tax planning strategies. Bright Start contributions even make perfect holiday gifts for children, grandchildren or any loved ones.

In Illinois, those who contribute to a Bright Start 529 plan receive three particular tax benefits:
• Contributions are deductible from personal income generating a 5 percent benefit based on the state’s current income tax rate.
• Earnings grow tax free over the life of the account.
• Withdrawals are not taxed when used for qualified education expenses.

“For families who want to save for college, Bright Start accounts are an outstanding tool. For as little as $25 to begin, people can start saving for education and realizing the tax benefits,” said Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford. “But remember, time is running short to take advantage of deductions on your 2012 Illinois taxes—contributions need to be made by the end of December. I urge parents and grandparents to consider these college savings accounts as thoughtful, meaningful holiday gifts for loved ones.

Illinois raised its individual income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent back in 2011. However, the state does allow for contributions to its Bright Start College Savings Plan to be deducted from personal income, lowering most individual’s state tax bill by 5 percent of their Bright Start contributions. In essence, most parents who contribute $10,000 realize a “bonus” of $500 in a lowered tax bill.

With the end-of-year tax deduction deadline approaching, today’s a good day to invest in a loved one’s education. Maximum contributions of up to $10,000 for an individual, or $20,000 if married and filing jointly, can be deducted from your Illinois state taxable income each year. One can even rollover a 529 plan account from another state and deduct the amount of their contributions made to the former plan.

For more information on Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s Bright Start College Savings Program, visit www.treasurer.il.gov and click on the college savings link, or go directly to the program’s website at www.BrightStartSavings.com.

MP teen killed in multi-car collision

in Elburn/Maple Park/Regional/Sugar Grove by

CAMPTON HILLS—A two-car collision in Campton Hills has claimed the life of a Maple Park teen.

Zachary Bingham, 18, of the 49W800 block of Peterson Road in Maple Park, was traveling eastbound on Route 38 at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday when his 2002 Pontiac Grand Am was struck head-on by a westbound 2003 Nissan Altima traveling at a high rate of speed and passing numerous vehicles.

The driver of the Altima, Jennifer Liston, 30, of the 3100 block of Old Gate Road in Madison, Wisc., was pronounced dead at the scene by the Elburn and Countryside Fire Department. Bingham was transported to Delnor Hospital in Geneva and later Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., where he was pronounced dead.

The Altima driven by Liston was reported stolen out of Wheaton, Ill. Prior to the accident, Liston was involved in a minor hit-and-run incident in Geneva. Kane County Sheriff’s deputies spotted the Altima traveling westbound and attempted to perform a traffic stop, but Liston fled at a high rate of speed. Deputies then briefly gave pursuit before they were eluded.

According to a Campton Hills Police Department press release, numerous witnesses reported that the Altima driven by Liston was traveling recklessly, passing numerous vehicles on Route 38 at speeds reported over 100 mph.

Immediately following the collision, Liston’s

vehicle proceeded westbound on Route 38, rear-ending a vehicle driven by Kevin Kull of Sugar Grove. Kull’s vehicle was then pushed into the eastbound lane, where it was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by Ryan Anderson of Sycamore.

The passenger in Bingham’s vehicle, Erin Pazin, 19, of Elburn, and the passenger in Kull’s vehicle, Nadia Kull, 48, of Sugar Grove, were both treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The accident is currently under investigation by the Kane County Accident Reconstruction Team.

AMBER Alert team celebrates 10-year anniversary

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SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois AMBER (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert Task Force recently announced the 10-year anniversary of the first AMBER Alert broadcast in Illinois.

Every year, hundreds of children are abducted in Illinois. Most are returned home safely; unfortunately, others are not. The public’s help in locating missing children is critical, and the AMBER Alert Task Force relies on tips and information to assist law enforcement’s efforts in finding missing children.

When a child is reported missing, every second counts. That is why the AMBER Alert Program’s greatest tools are the eyes and ears of the public.

The AMBER Alert System is named after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted in 1996 while playing near her home in Arlington, Texas. She was later found murdered. In response to community concern, the Texas Association of Radio Managers, with the assistance of Texas’ local area law enforcement, created the first AMBER Plan. All 50 states now have similar plans.

The Illinois AMBER Alert Notification Plan is a voluntary partnership between law enforcement agencies, broadcasters and the National Weather Service (NWS) to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child abduction cases. This is the same concept used during severe weather emergencies. The goal of the AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe return of the child.

The effectiveness of the system requires collaboration between law enforcement agencies, Illinois Broadcasters, the NWS, the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Press Association and the public.

“While we hope for a day when we never again need an AMBER Alert, the broadcast community, as always, stands ready to voluntarily serve at moment’s notice,” said Dennis Lyle, president and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association.

Since its inception, the Illinois AMBER Alert System has been used to broadcast 88 messages of abducted children, with the Alert accounting directly for 41 children returned home safely.

In 2012, Illinois has activated six AMBER Alert Broadcasts . In four of those cases, the AMBER Alert was credited with the recovery.

Since 1997, nationwide AMBER Alerts have been credited for over 590 children returned home safely.

“The proof of the effectiveness of an AMBER Alert Broadcast is in the numbers,” said Illinois AMBER Alert Coordinator Craig Burge. “This program is unlike many others because it is a public partnership. Citizens in Illinois can take pride in the fact that they can help each and every time a child is abducted by simply being aware of their surroundings and reporting what they see to law enforcement officials.”

Burge also stressed that collaboration is key. “This collaborative effort will continue to provide the basis for the success of AMBER Alerts for years to come,” he said.

For more information about AMBER Alerts, visit www.amberillinois.org.

Village Board discusses hiring 911 dispatch service

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Chris Paulus
SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove Village Board members on Nov. 20 discussed hiring the company Tricom to answer 911 calls and take care of dispatch.

Montgomery currently takes care of dispatch for Sugar Grove, while Tricom currently dispatches for St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva and Elburn.

“When a 911 call comes in, we take data from our dispatch centers and go straight to the squad cars,” said Nicole Lamela, regional vice president of Tricom. “If it’s a landline, it gives us the info of their address. If it’s a wireless call, the GPS bounces off the cell towers and shows up on our map.”

Tricom notes its consistent achievement of a 60-second response time. The company has a system whereby calls are prioritized and allocated when necessary. Board members and Tricom representatives during the meeting expressed a desire to work together.

Dog-attack wounds cited as cause in death of Big Rock woman

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BIG ROCK—The death of a Big Rock woman has been ruled the result of wounds sustained during a dog attack.

Dawn Brown, 44, of the 400 block of Jefferson Street in Big Rock, was found dead on the afternoon of Nov. 12. After completion of her autopsy by the Kane County Coroner’s Office, it was ruled that Brown died from wounds she sustained inside her home during an attack by her pet Mastiff.

Brown and her husband also owned a Boxer and Pit Bull mix breed. All three animals were taken into custody by Kane County Animal Control.

A memorial service for Brown was held on Saturday in Big Rock.

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