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Regional - page 15

Death of 64-year-old man is Kane County’s first case of West Nile

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KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department announced today that a 64-year-old Elgin man with West Nile Virus died last week. Not only is this the first death in Kane County this year attributable to West Nile, it is the first human case in the county.

This summer has been hot and dry—the perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus. It is likely we will see more activity before the season is over. The Health Department monitors for WNV activity in your area and throughout the county. You can visit to view a map of the trap locations throughout the county.

In 2011, Kane County reported one human case and five cases in 2010. In 2009, an unusually mild summer with cool temperatures, there were no human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Kane County. There were three cases of the virus reported in 2008. In 2007 there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002. This is the fourth death attributable to West Nile Virus in Kane County since 2002. In addition to this year, there also was one in 2010, one in 2008 and one in 2002. More West Nile information can be found at

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.

• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile Virus can be found on the Kane County Health Department’s website at or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

St. Charles resident joins TriCity Family Services Board of Directors

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GENEVA—TriCity Family Services (TCFS) is pleased to announce the election of a new member to the agency’s governing Board of Directors. Susan Parker of St. Charles was voted into office at a recent board meeting.

Susan is a benefit advisor for Aflac-Susan Parker & Associates. Susan has spent 20 years of her career holding executive level positions in the field of pediatric and behavioral mental health. Additionally, she has an extensive background in volunteerism and philanthropy. She is actively involved with many community organizations, including the St. Charles and Geneva Chambers of Commerce, Pride of the Fox/Riverfest, STCC Legislative Committee, Fox Valley Saddle Association, and the Wounded Warrior Project .

Formerly, Susan served on the Monroe County Children and Youth Advisory Board and the Monroe County Crime Stoppers Board. With her fundraising experience, mental health background, and dedication to the community, Susan will be an advocate and board member for TriCity Family Services.

Foundation to hold annual Hogfan Party fundraiser

in Elburn/Featured/Regional by

by Amanda Niemi
ST.CHARLES—The Friends of Jason Gould Foundation will hold its fourth annual fundraiser for leukemia and lymphoma research on Saturday, Sept. 8, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the St. Charles Moose.

Gould was an Elburn resident and Northern Illinois University graduate who was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 2003. Jason was treated, and told that 80 percent of patients had no signs of remission. He was one of the 20 percent, and went back for treatment a year later.

In 2005, Jason underwent a baby cord stem cell transplant, which was a success in curing his leukemia. However, due to a serious infection complicated by a weakened immune system after surgery, Jason passed in January 2006.

Jason’s Hogfan Party directly supports the research efforts of Ohio State University’s Cancer Research Center and Dr. Rob Baiocchi. Dr. Baiocchi and his team have developed a vaccine to prevent the Epstein Barr virus which complicated Jason’s immune system, the vaccine is now headed to clinical trials and FDA approval. Dr. Baiocchi and Ohio State have partnered with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and a pharmaceutical company to manufacture the vaccine, the first of its kind.

“I researched treatments for two years and found Dr. Rob in 2008,” Sandy said. “He is working on a vaccine to prevent that complication, which one of the highest mortality rates.”

The Cancer Research Center at Ohio State hopes to make the vaccine available within two years.

“People think there is cancer money out there, and there was none for Dr. Rob’s study. With $2,500 of our money, they were able to complete their study.” Sandy said. “There is money for the big-known cancers, but little or no money for the lesser-known cancers.”

A video will be shown at the fundraiser about one of the patients involved in the clinical trial of the vaccine who has been in remission since 2009.

When asked what the community can do to help those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, Sandy said people don’t know how easy it is to become a donor just by getting their cheek swabbed and adding themselves to the donor registry.

One-hundred percent of the funds received from donations and Jason’s Hogfan Party go directly to a 501c3 public charity fund for leukemia and lymphoma research, and are tax deductible.

The Grand Raffle prizes this year will include an iPad 3, 32-inch flat screen TV, a Trek Bike, an American Girl doll and a ride in a hot air balloon.

For more information, visit or call Sandy Gould at (630) 554-5764.

Property tax due date reminder

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KANE COUNTY—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert would like to remind taxpayers that the second installment of property taxes is due Tuesday, Sept. 4. If you are a new or existing homeowner and need a copy of the bill to remit payment, you may print off a bill from the Internet by visiting or contacting the Treasurer’s Office at (630) 232-3565.

Taxpayers can make payment by:
• Mailing the payment to the Treasurer’s Office. Mail postmarked by Sept. 4 is considered on time.
• Dropping the payment off in the property tax drop box available 24 hours a day. The drop box is located behind Building (A) at the Government Center, 719 South Batavia Ave., Geneva.
• Make payment at a participating Kane County Bank.
• Pay over the Internet by credit card or E-check (note there is a convenience fee for this service).

County Pavement Preservation, Rejuvenation Program to begin this week

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KANE COUNTY—Work on the County Pavement Preservation and Rejuvenation Program began last week, with an anticipated completion date of September 2012, weather permitting. The program will involve the application of surface treatments to various county roads in order to extend the service life of the roadway.

Subject to change, the roadways are anticipated to be treated in the following order:
• West County Line Road (Main Street Road to Route 38)
• Burlington Road (Ellithorpe Road to Route 47)
• Burlington Road (Plato Road to village of Burlington railroad tracks)
• Dunham Road (Kirk Road to Old Stearns Road)
• Army Trail Road (Dunham Road to county line)
• Huntley Road (730’ west of Square Barn Road to 500’ east of Square Barn Road)
• Huntley Road (90’ north of Deerpath Lane to 1,540’ south of Deerpath Lane)
• Galligan Road (910’ north of Binnie Road to 550’ south of Freeman Road)
• David Road
• Swan Road
• Main Street Road (Route 47 to Harter Road)
• Beith Road (Route 47 to Thatcher Road)
• Silver Glen Road (Corron Road to Route 47)

Roads being treated will remain open during treatment and may be reduced to one-lane travel using temporary daily lane closures. Motorists should add extra time to their commutes, expect delays, watch for construction activity, obey flaggers and consider the use of alternate routes while traveling through the work areas.

Questions or concerns may be directed to John Guddendorf at (630) 816-9671. For all Kane County Traffic Advisories, see

Sauer named interim KC Coroner

in Featured/Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Cheryl Borrowdale
SUGAR GROVE—Retired Sugar Grove Police Chief Brad Sauer will reprise his role as an investigator for the next four months, as he steps into the role of interim Kane County Coroner.

Sauer was sworn in as interim coroner on Aug. 14, after the Kane County Board approved his selection by Board Chairperson Karen McConnaughay. Sauer, who retired from the Sugar Grove Police Department on July 1, will serve out the remainder of the term of Charles West, the former Kane County Coroner who died on July 4 and had been under indictment for official misconduct.

McConnaughay said Sauer was the “most well-rounded candidate,” citing his 24 years in the Police Department, including nearly a decade as police chief; his six years as a Kane County Board member between 1990 and 1996; and his stint as president of the Kane County Forest Preserve.

“There were 10 or 11 candidates, and they had a wide variety of backgrounds and were all good candidates,” McConnaughay said. “I thought that because Brad Sauer had a background in law enforcement and in county government and in administration, he was the best qualified for the position.”

Sauer will hold the office through Dec. 1, when he will be replaced by the winner of the Nov. 6 election. The two candidates running for the coroner’s position are DuPage County Sheriff’s Deputy Rob Russell, a Republican, and Tao Martinez, an Aurora Democrat and founder of ArchAngels BioRecovery, a company that decontaminates death scenes following accidents, suicides, homicides and other deaths.

In the meantime, Sauer said he hopes to prepare the coroner’s office so that there is a smooth transition between administrations.

“Really, not even a week into the job, I’m still trying to sort out quite a few thing and try to determine what is the biggest task so that I can leave the office in the best possible position for whoever the person is who starts Dec. 1,” Sauer said. “I want to try to get as much accomplished as possible to help out the office, try to make it accountable to the citizens of Kane County and make it run smoothly. The goal is to winnow the chaff from the grain and set priorities.”

Though Sauer said he considers the Coroner’s Office to be both a law enforcement position and an investigative position, he said it is different from his role as a police chief.

“The police department tries to find the people that caused the death, while the coroner’s office tries to find out the cause of death, and we let the police department go from there,” Sauer said. “For me personally, it’s working with the chief deputy coroner and the deputies and trying to determine what needs to be done in the investigation to come up with the answers that we’re looking for.”

Though Sauer will receive a pension for his years in the Police Department, his position as interim coroner will not increase that pension or make him eligible to receive a second pension, he said.

“I’m not taking any pension, not taking any health insurance or anything, just what the board determines is the starting wage for the coroner,” Sauer said. “It’s not adding to a county pension, and the (police) pension which I will be getting one of these days (as soon as the paperwork goes through) is from downstate. They can’t mix. You have to have seven years to be vested in the county, and I only had six (when I was a board member). The few months I will be here won’t be enough to make it seven years, so I can only get back what I put in originally. We got it straightened out that I wasn’t trying to collect two different pensions.”

118th Big Rock Plowing Match set for Sept. 14-16

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Photo: The 118th annual Big Rock Plowing Match will take place on Sept. 14, 15 and 16. It is one of the longest running annual events in the state with something for everyone including a ladies fair, junior fair, craft, art and antique show, a horseshoe tournament, rides and much more. Courtesy Photo

Big Rock—Big Rock will host the 118th annual Big Rock Plowing Match on Friday through Sunday, Sept. 14-16, at Plowman’s Park in Big Rock.

A traditional competition based on Welsh heritage, this event began in 1894 under the direction of Big Rock farmers S.A. Chapman, W.D. Powell and Walter Scott. Located west of Aurora on Route 30, this farm show is one of the longest running events of its kind.

Activities get underway Friday, Sept. 14, with the carnival wristband night from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Dave’s Pizza will be there, and the concession stand will be open selling hot dogs, chips and pop.

This year, Darrin Lee will return to serve as DJ on opening night, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Antique Steel and Rubber category plowing begins on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 9:30 a.m. A Western & English Horse Show will begin on Saturday at 8:30 a.m., and will continue until 5 p.m.

5 B’s Catering of Waterman, Ill., starting at 11:30 a.m., will prepare pork chop and chicken dinners.

The Ladies Fair auction will be held on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and the Jr. Fair auction will begin at 1 p.m.

The round bale roll-off will be at 6 p.m. this year. Carnival rides will be open until 9 p.m.,and wristbands will be available for purchase all day.

Pleasant House Bakery will be on hand from 5 to 9 p.m., with its wood burning oven to make pizzas and provide desserts. The Wooden Rockers will performing on the stage from 6 to 9 p.m. as well.

Following a community church service on Sunday, Sept. 16, Reuland’s Catering will provide a roast beef dinner starting at 11 a.m. The watermelon eating contest will be at 11 a.m. Plowing will resume on Sunday at noon, and the 4-H Beef Show will begin at 1 p.m. The Prince and Princess Contest will be at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Big Rock Park District Bingo game at 2:30 p.m.

The craft and art show will include hand-crafted items from more than 50 vendors. The show coincides with various festival activities.

For information, visit

Schedule of Events

• Friday, Sept. 14
Kids Night
5:15 p.m. Bicycle Parade (begins at fire barn)
6 to 9:30 p.m. Carnival Wristband Night
6 to 9:30 p.m. DJ: Premier Entertainment by Darrin Lee
• Saturday, Sept. 15
8:30 a.m. Western & English Horse Show
9 a.m. Tractor Trot – 5K fun run
9 a.m. Horseshoe Tournament
9 a.m. Drawing for Lands
9:30 a.m. Plowing
11 a.m. Children’s Races (in the cattle ring)
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5-B’s BBQ Pork Chop & Chicken Dinner
1 p.m. Junior Fair Baked Goods Auction
1:30 p.m. Ladies Fair Baked Goods Auction
2:30 p.m. Pedal Tractor Pull (in the cattle ring)
3:30 p.m. Plowing Trophy Presentation
5 to 9 p.m. Pleasant House Bakery—
oven-fired pizza
6 p.m. Round Bale Roll-off (in the cattle ring)
6 to 9 p.m. Wooden Rockers perform on stage
• Sunday, Sept. 16
10 a.m. Church Service
10:30 a.m. Drawing for Lands
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reuland’s Catering
Roast Beef Dinner
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Watermelon Eating Contest
Noon Plowing
Noon Horseshoe Tournament
1 p.m. Farmers Market Auction
(grain/veg. show tent)
1 p.m. 4-H Beef Show (in the cattle ring)
1:30 p.m. Prince and Princess Contest
2:30 p.m. Bingo—
Big Rock Park District (pavilion)
3 p.m. 4-H Beef Auction (in the cattle ring)
4:30 p.m. Plowing Trophy Presentation

Carnival Rides
6 to 9:30 p.m.
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

6 to 9:30 p.m.
7:30 a.m. to
9 p.m.
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Craft, Art and Antique Show
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

KYFL partners with Potbelly Sandwich Shop for fundraiser

in Community Sports/Regional by

Geneva—The Kaneland Youth Football League (KYFL) will hold a fundraiser at Potbelly Sandwich Shop in Geneva Commons on Friday, Aug. 24.

A portion of the restaurant’s sales between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. will be donated to KYFL.

For the 2012 season, KYFL has more than 400 participants between the ages of 5 and 12 in its flag football, tackle football and cheerleading programs. Anyone interested in more information can contact Eric Marler, Sponsorship & Fundraising Director, Kaneland Youth Football League, Inc., at, or visit for more information.

Volunteer sought for Virgil Twp. Mental Health 708 Board

in Kaneville/Regional by

KANEVILLE—The INC Board, NFP, the local mental health authority for seven townships in southern Kane County, is looking for a Virgil Township resident volunteer to serve on the township community mental health board. This person must have an interest in the issues of mental health, developmental/intellectual disabilities and substance-use disorders.

Meetings are three times a year to review how the local mental health levy serves Virgil Township residents and to provide input on needed community services.

No fundraising or compensation is involved. For more information, contact Jerry Murphy or Marti Cross at (630) 892-5456.

Darden Restaurants grants $1,000 to Lazarus House

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ST.CHARLES—The St. Charles Olive Garden Restaurant, through its parent company Darden Restaurants, recently awarded Lazarus House a $1,000 grant to help finance food service at its downtown emergency shelter.

“We were able to purchase commercial grade food warming equipment with this grant,” Lazarus House Executive Director Liz Eakins said. “We served an estimated 66,000 meals last fiscal year, and it is very comforting to have more reliable equipment to keep food at a safe temperature.

“We are grateful to Darden Restaurants for this gift, which also helped pay for some other food service costs, and for their donations of food over the years and their gift of volunteer service. The gifts from our community continue to pour out and bless our work.”

Waubonsee, KCFPD finalize land exchange

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County on Friday finalized a mutually beneficial exchange of parcels of land on or adjacent to the college’s Sugar Grove Campus.

The Waubonsee Community College Board of Trustees approved the terms of an intergovernmental agreement June 20, and the Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners approved the agreement July 10. Through the agreement, which was facilitated by The Conservation Foundation, Waubonsee obtained 33 acres of farmland from the Forest Preserve District in return for 66 acres of wooded natural areas and wetlands adjacent to Blackberry Creek and the Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm Forest Preserve.

“Waubonsee has always been a strong proponent of environmental stewardship, and this exchange effectively provides for the college’s long-term growth needs while also increasing the natural areas preserved for our community,” Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek said. “This is an excellent example of local organizations working together for the greater good. We’re grateful to be able to partner with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County in this way.”

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County now owns and manages the Blackberry Creek corridor from Bliss Road all the way to west of Route 47. The 66 acres of land expands the district’s Hannaford Preserve to more than 400 acres. In addition, Waubonsee provided approximately $400,000 to the Forest Preserve District to help with additional land acquisition efforts.

“The college has been a great neighbor to us throughout the years, and this exchange just makes so much sense,” said Monica Meyers, executive director for the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. “It’s one of those times where the people served by both agencies come out ahead.”

Brook McDonald, president/CEO of The Conservation Foundation, said that his organization was pleased to help with the process.

“It’s not every day that an agreement is reached that will simultaneously protect Blackberry Creek, increase the acres of forest preserve two-fold, and meet the needs of students—now and in the future,” he said. “This is a classic win-win for everyone, including Mother Nature.”

The Decorating Coaches

in Elburn/Featured/Regional by

Photo: Elburn residents Mary Lynn Gehrett (left) and Christine Katkus are the Decorating Coaches, offering redesign services to create extraordinary spaces in ordinary places. The duo created the business in 2012. Courtesy Photo

FOX VALLEY—The Decorating Coaches is a home redesign and staging business in the Fox Valley area, owned by Mary Lynn Gehrett and Chris Katkus of Elburn and created in 2012.

The duo’s redesign services try to create extraordinary spaces in ordinary places, with staging services to help sell homes quickly with a larger return, and color consultations that are a quick, fun way to refresh a room.

The Decorating Coaches staging services help put a “method to the madness” of selling a home. A staged home is appealing to a buyer. It showcases the home’s best attributes and gives the potential buyer a vision of “home sweet home.” The Decorating Coaches offer consultations and walk through a checklist of “things to do” with you. This list includes decluttering, cleaning, repairing and neutralizing. After the list is completed, The coaches stage your home with furniture placement, rugs and accessories.

Home Redesign offered by the coaches uses the homeowner’s existing furniture, art and accessories in new ways to brighten up the space. Redesign can transform a room without spending a fortune—the space gets a fresh look on a comfortable budget.

The Home Redesign services offered by the Decorating Coaches start with a consultation and walk through of the space. They discuss your desires and needs for the space and develop a plan. After the plan is discussed, you can hire the Decorating Coaches to implement the plan or do it yourself.

The Decorating Coaches are a partnership between Gehrett and Katkus. The partners discovered a mutual love for design while working together as teachers. Both are professionally certified through SRA, Staging and Redesign Academy in Crystal Lake, Ill.

As a child, Gehrett loved to redecorate her room when the seasons changed. Now she loves vintage-inspired furnishings and still redecorates seasonally. She also dyes wool to use in her original rug hooking designs. Gehrett and her husband’s home was featured in the November 2008 issue of “Country Sampler”magazine.

Katkus is inspired by nature’s kaleidoscope of change when creating beautiful spaces. Four years ago, her world expanded after taking an art class. Color, texture, paint and design opened up a new area for Katkus, bringing much joy to her life. She enjoys painting landscapes, while portraits of four-legged critters and people are also part of her portfolio. Katkus’ work has been displayed at libraries and the county fair.

For more information, contact Mary Lynn Gehrett at (630) 272-8030, Christine Katkus at, or visit

Fargo Hotel turns back time, opens for lunch

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SYCAMORE—In time for the annual Sycamore “Turning Back Time” event, the Fargo Hotel saw the installation of its building signage on Friday morning as a crew from Aurora Sign Company installed the Jane Fargo Hotel and Mitchel Lounge signs to the exterior of the building. The signs were a long-time project for owner, Rachel Bauer.

“I can’t believe they are finally here. We put a lot of effort into the design and details, and there are many people to thank for their support and contributions,” she said.

The signs were designed to reflect the building’s history and create a more timeless classic look. The original building sign from 1926 was considered, as well as the building’s cornerstone anchor to downtown Sycamore.

Shortly after taking ownership of the former Stratford Inn, Bauer announced that she had planned to rename the property Jane Fargo Hotel in honor of its history as the Fargo. The restaurant, known as the Carls Fargo, was closed and reopened in October of 2011 as the Mitchel Lounge.

Drought’s effect on corn not yet known

in Elburn/Featured/Regional by

Photo: The corn in this field at route 38 and 47 in Elburn looks more like a pineapple crop. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—With this season’s lack of rainfall, lawns aren’t the only plant life that is being stressed. One look at the surrounding corn fields, and you will see stalks that are significantly shorter than usual and displaying spikey leaves that look like pineapple plants. But the effect of the drought on corn production itself is not yet known.

“The corn has no business looking as good as it does,” said Maple Park resident Warren Grever. “The corn is made in July. The big question with corn is how much is pollinated.”

Grever pulled out four ears of corn from his field and carefully pulled off the leaves. He then gently shook off the silk to see how much remained on the ear. He explained that each strand of corn silk corresponds to one kernel of corn.

“If the silks stick on the ear, then it’s not pollinated,” Grever said.

A couple of the ears were fully filled out, while the other two were undersized with gaps on the tips and in the middle. If the kernels are not pollinated fully and the ear doesn’t fill out, then yields will be low.

Normally, Grever says he will get 190-200 bushels of corn to the acre. A bushel is a measure of volume that equals 56 pounds of corn. He compares the normal yields to the ones he got in 1988, the last big drought farmers can remember. In that year, he got 100 bushels to the acre.

Ryan Klassy, information director at the Kane County Farm Bureau, said that farmers at the Kane County Fair were talking about what is going to happen to this year’s corn crop. Some fields, they said, are looking great, and others are not doing as well. The variation has to do with soil type and type of hybrid.

“It depends on soil type. Good black soil—of course it needs rain and is stressed—could do okay. Sandier soil is not doing that well,” Klassy said. “The variety of seed corn also matters. Different hybrids have different traits.”

Klassy said that how the corn does will depend on how much moisture we get from here on in. When Grever was asked what he thought was going to be the outcome, he laughed.

“I really don’t know. If I get two-thirds of a crop, I’d be happy,” he said.

The Farm Bureau compares this year’s drought to the one in 1988. During both years, none of the corn was rated excellent. While in 1988, 78 percent of the corn was rated either good or fair, this year 66 percent of the crop is rated poor or very poor.

The price of corn on the market is at a record high, up to $8 a bushel for corn and $16 a bushel for soybeans. The effect will trickle into other areas.

“The one that’s really going to feel it is the livestock feeder,” Grever said.

Many farmers have crop insurance that protects against yield or quality losses from natural disasters, including drought, excess moisture, cold and frost, wildlife and disease and insects. It guarantees that the farmer will get a portion of their usual yield.

“How can you not ( have insurance)?” Grever asked. “With the market variability, you can sell 70 percent ahead, and you know you’re going to get paid.”

As to whether or not this drought is indicative of a future pattern, Grever said that there are cycles that occur, and that this area of the country has been relatively stable.

“Our climate has been amazingly consistent and reliable since the 1960s,” he said.

Comparison of corn
and soybean conditions,
1988 vs 2012

‘88 Corn ‘12Corn
Excellent 0% 0%
Good 18% 7%
Fair 60% 27%
Poor 20% 30%
Very Poor 2% 36%

‘88 Beans ‘12 Beans
Excellent 0% 1%
Good 15% 12%
Fair 39% 38%
Poor 14% 25%
Very Poor 2% 24%
(source: IL Weather &Crops, published by IL Dept. of Agriculture USDA-NASS IL Field Office)

Elburn owner renovates downtown Batavia bar

in Elburn/Regional by

Photo: Wilson Street Tavern, 105 E. Wilson Street in Batavia, is a clean, cozy tavern with a great wine list and pictures on the wall by local artists. Photo by Lynn Meredith

by Lynn Meredith
BATAVIA—Elburn resident Mark Hogan knows the right time and the right place when he sees it: he’s been doing it in the restaurant business for years.

After a break of 20 years, Hogan says it’s time to get back into owning a bar. Eight weeks ago, he opened The Wilson Street Tavern in downtown Batavia. The process involved completely renovating the space and turning it into one that will attract neighborhood patrons of all ages.

“I always loved being in the business. I wanted to be my own boss again,” Hogan said. “Before wasn’t the right time, but now it’s time. I want a little neighborhood bar, so that when it’s slow, you don’t worry. I opened the bar not to be a millionaire, but to have a job and make a little money.”

Hogan purchased the bar, formerly the Stop Lite Inn for many years, and immediately began renovating with himself as general contractor. He hired out contractors to replace the floors, walls, put in all-new dry wall and electrical. The bathrooms were completely renovated.

He also had the art deco bar, which had been built in the 1940s and brought out from Chicago refinished.

During the process, Hogan said the city of Batavia was helpful and patient.

“The city was unbelievable to work with. I can’t say enough about them. They took time to answer all my silly questions and walked me through the process of getting economic development money,” Hogan said.

The result is a clean, cozy tavern with a great wine list and pictures on the wall by local artists.

“We want to rotate the art on the walls from local artists. Next, we’re going to have an artist’s work from Water Street Gallery,” Hogan said.

In the next six-to-eight weeks, Hogan plans to put in a 12-draft beer system that would serve craft and local beers.

“That’s a whole new crowd. It’s a huge segment now. It’s a market where those who are interested will search it out,” he said.

He also plans to have a limited menu of paninis, salads and flatbread pizza. For now, patrons can order from nearby restaurants like El Taco Grande, who will deliver to the bar.

With a state-of-the-art juke box that plays virtually any song you can name, the tavern will occasionally have live music.

“We’re experimenting with it. It’s hard to do in a small place,” he said.

In planning this venture, Hogan went out to coffee shops and talked to people to get a feel for the community. He discovered that Batavia residents support their local businesses.

“I found out that the people of Batavia are very loyal to their town. They want the town to do well. We will survive on local business,” Hogan said. “Right now we’re getting 21-year olds and 81-year olds. It’s a good mix of people. It’s a neighborhood feel. Everybody should feel comfortable.”

Q&A with legal experts

in Regional by

ILLINOIS—Illinois Law Now is an ongoing series of short answers to common legal questions distributed monthly by the Illinois State Bar Association and Illinois Press Association.

Question: My neighbor recently burned a worn American flag.
Isn’t that unlawful?
Answer: According to federal law, incinerating a worn-out flag is the proper way to retire it and show honor and respect for your country. Some communities, like Chicago, host an annual flag-burning ceremony and burn thousands of used-up flags at one time.

Question: I offer unpaid internships at my company. Should I ask each intern to sign a contract?
Answer: Because of the jobs crisis, more people are willing to work for free as a way to gain experience. To help prevent a lawsuit, we suggest you have your attorney create a contract, which clearly spells out certain terms. These may include the fact that the intern will not receive wages or the guarantee of a paying job if there is an opening.

Question: What options are
available to me if I cannot
repay my student loan?
Answer: A student loan lender usually requires the borrower to start repaying the loan within several months to a year, even if the student did not graduate. If you cannot begin repaying the loan within the time frame stipulated in your loan contract, you should contact your lender for a deferment or forbearance agreement. Under some instances, like a medical condition, you may qualify to have the entire loan cancelled. You may also want to check out a relatively new federal program, the Income Based Repayment plan, which can make it easier for borrowers to meet monthly debt payments even if they are earning low wages or having problems finding a job.
Failure to repay a student loan can result in stiff penalties including a steep fine, seizure of assets, a lawsuit, and a drop in your credit score.

Question: I am a senior and am embarrassed to admit that I was the victim of a financial scam. Should I go after my predators?
Answer: Americans over age 60 lost at least $2.9 billion in 2010 to financial exploitation such as home repair scams and insurance swindles. Victims of these types of crimes, whose numbers have increased as the economy struggles, are often reluctant to fight back. Abusers know this and often take advantage. Talk to a trusted advisor, such as your lawyer, to help you identify your options.

Question: I have been selected as a juror for a trial. Will I be able
to question the witnesses?
Answer: Yes. Under a new rule adopted by the Illinois Supreme Court, jurors will be permitted to submit written questions for witnesses for the court to consider. The new rule went into effect on July 1, 2012. Proponents of the new law say it will help jurors better understand the case and stay engaged in the proceedings.

Question: Under what
circumstances can my health care provider disclose confidential health information?
Answer: Your health care provider has the right to disclose your confidential information for treatment, payment, and health care operations, such as quality assessment and improvement activities. For other health care disclosure information, check out the Illinois State Bar Association’s free brochure on its Website at

Question: My ex-husband has not been making timely child care
payments. How can I ensure that he follows the terms of the
divorce decree?
Answer: If one of the parties does not adhere to the terms of judgment, the other person may have to go back to court and ask that the non-compliant party be held in contempt of court. If held in contempt, he or she may be required to: a) do what he or she failed to do, or b) pay for the attorney’s fees for the other person, and/or c) pay a fine or be imprisoned.

Question: Can I lose my home if
I file for personal bankruptcy?
Answer: The answer to that question depends on many factors, such as the equity in your home and whether you are seriously delinquent in your mortgage payments at the time you file bankruptcy. You should consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney to answer this question based on your circumstances. However, in most bankruptcy cases, individuals do not lose their homes in the bankruptcy. In general, a debtor has a greater ability to protect assets in Chapter 13 than in Chapter 7.

Question: If I use alternative
dispute resolution (ADR), such as
a mediator to resolve my dispute, do I still need an attorney?
Answer: Mediators and arbitrators do not provide legal advice and do not act as a lawyer for any party. A party to any method of ADR should consider retaining the services of a lawyer in order to obtain the necessary legal advice to understand the full nature, scope and potential consequences of the dispute in which they are involved.
A lawyer can also assist a party to a dispute in choosing the most appropriate ADR method.
A lawyer will understand the procedure and preparation necessary to mediate or arbitrate a dispute, and can guide and represent you through any method of ADR.

Question: I understand the
importance of using an attorney to BUY a home, but do I really need one when I SELL my home?
Answer: When and how you sell your home may be the largest and most important investment decision of your life. Working with a knowledgeable real estate attorney will help ensure that you protect your investment and ensure that the process of selling your home goes smoothly.
For example, did you know that every sale of a home must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and may be subject to a capital gains tax? However, if you have owned and occupied your principal residence for more than two years you may not have to pay this tax. An experienced real estate attorney can help you understand tax problems that may occur if your home is sold at the wrong time. They will also make sure you understand all legal aspects of the sale.

Question: What is the best way
to find a qualified lawyer to
handle my case?
Answer: The most common way to find an attorney is through word of mouth. Talk to your friends and business associates, and ask them for referrals.

Another way is through the Illinois Lawyer Referral Service operated by the Illinois State Bar Association for the convenience of the public. The telephone number is (877) 290-7802, or you can visit their website at Some local city or county bar associations also operate their own lawyer referral systems.

For more information about Illinois law, visit If you have a legal question, send it to

Newlyweds unite by taking plunge at Illinois’ largest waterpark

in Featured/Regional by

Raging Waves
(630) 882-6575
4000 N. Bridge St., Yorkville

YORKVILLE—Raging Waves, Illinois’ largest water park, is now a wedding venue, as the park hosted its first marriage ceremony last month.

A local couple wed on June 16 on the observation deck of the Yorkville park’s biggest ride, in front of friends, family and their combined six children. Getting married at the family-friendly water park seemed like a great idea to Andy Lee and Samantha Kolar, both of Plano. Sidestepping the financial stress, logistical planning, and formality of a traditional ceremony, this bride and groom tied the knot in a way that was fun for everybody.

Raging Waves piped wedding music through the sprawling park as the bride strolled over to The Boomerang to meet her groom at the “altar” on the ride’s observation deck. The couple’s three girls and three boys were appropriately dressed for the summertime historic wedding, wearing white sundresses and Hawaiian shirts.

After exchanging vows, the newlyweds revealed swimsuits underneath their wedding attire and promptly celebrated by taking a thrilling plunge on the popular Boomerang water ride. Wedding guests snapped photos from the viewing deck, capturing the excitement and adventure of this couple—indeed, still kids at heart.

“We were thrilled they wanted to have their wedding at Raging Waves and combine their families here, where our mission is to bring families together for memorable experiences,” said Sandy Martinez, marketing director at Raging Waves. “It was a perfect event for two people who wanted to make sure everyone had a wholehearted good time.”

Health care business benefits from Fox Valley entrepreneurs

in Elections/Featured/Regional by

Photo: FVEC Organizing Committee member Joe Abraham speaks at the FVEC event in Batavia. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Elburn resident Maria Kuhn and her partner Dr. Christina Krause launched their award-winning Integrated Health Advocacy Program (IHAP) over a decade ago. Through their business, Benefit Performance Associates, LLC, Kuhn and Krause have used IHAP to address the health care needs of individuals with multiple chronic illnesses, while reducing the health care costs of the employers who provide health care benefits for these individuals.

Kuhn said that employers spend 80 percent of their health care dollars on 20 percent of their employee population—people with anywhere from five to 15 health problems. According to Kuhn, within the first year of using their program, employers make back a dollar for every dollar they spend on the program. Over the following years, employers save from $3 to $8 for every dollar they spend.

However, the focus is not strictly on saving money, she said. Their goal is to help these very sick individuals make better health decisions, feel better, and attain their best state of health.

“It’s a win-win for the participants, the employers and the clinicians who work with them,” Krause said.

Although the company was experiencing much success with their program, their business model for providing this service was not structured in a way that allowed the company to grow. This is where the Waubonsee Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) came in.

SBDC Director Harriet Parker saw the potential this business had for larger- scale success, and she introduced Kuhn and Krause to several of the business consultants with the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center.

The pair began their work with Joe Abraham, Founder and CEO of BOSI, and author of the book, Entrepreneurial DNA. They took Abraham’s assessment to help them to understand their approach to business (Builder, Opportunist, Specialist, Innovator), what their business strengths were, and how they could leverage them in their own business.

Abraham spent a couple of sessions with the partners, helping them to flesh out their business strategy and modify their business model. They changed their direct sales model to one that relied on partnering with their larger customers to distribute their program more widely.

Parker and Bob Mann, attorney and health care benefits expert, helped them to refine their sales presentation and come up with a more concise message. They also addressed several sales concerns and how the partnerships could be structured, helped them develop a realistic pricing structure and identify negotiating points for various scenarios with potential customers.

Kuhn and Krause are currently in discussions with their first customer under the new model, a large health care broker in Indiana. This new contract has the potential to bring them $300,000 worth of revenue.

They are also in their next phase of work with the FVEC, in which they are working with systems guru Andy Parker to streamline their data collection and create more efficient systems.

“We feel excited and energized,” Kuhn said. “The questions (the consultants asked us) were practical. We learned so much. There’s so many people in the Fox Valley who are committed to making small businesses grow.”

Summary background of the FVEC
The Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center (FVEC) was created in 2010 through a partnership between the Waubonsee Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Center for Business Education Innovation and Development (CBEID).

Funded in part through a grant from the U.S. SBA Small Business Jobs Act, the FVEC is made up of entrepreneurs and business leaders from the Fox Valley area who work with entrepreneurs identified through the SBDC. These small businesses might be in start-up mode, launching a new product, expanding into different markets or innovating and doing new things.

The mission of the FVEC is to help small businesses enhance their success and stimulate economic growth in the Fox Valley.

Successful entrepreneurs provide small businesses with CEO training and mentoring, strategic introductions, and assist in areas such as increasing revenue, improving marketing strategies, business planning and any number of operational issues.

According to SMDC Director
Harriet Parker, FVEC has:
• Helped more than
30 companies
• Raised more than $1.9 million
in debt and equity financing
• Created 50 new jobs

Setting a new strategy

in Regional by

IEMA seeks input on state’s Homeland Security strategy, will hold Sugar Grove town hall meeting
SPRINGFIELD—Representatives from first responder agencies, the education community, private businesses, the public and other groups and organizations in northern Illinois provided input into development of the state’s new homeland security strategy during a town hall meeting June 28 at Waubonsee Community College Academic and Professional Center’s Event Room, Route 47 at Waubonsee Drive in Sugar Grove. The meeting was the seventh in a series of eight meetings held across the state since last fall.

The town hall meetings are part of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) Illinois Homeland Security Vision 2020, a statewide, grass-roots initiative to engage Illinois’ residents and organizations in the revision of the state’s strategy for dealing with current and emerging threats and risks, as well as response to disasters.

Input from the series of town hall meetings will be consolidated and presented in a final summit in Springfield in September 2012.

“The face of homeland security has changed since 9/11, and our strategy for ensuring the safety of people in Illinois must evolve to adequately address those changes,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We need to engage the whole community, including the public and private sectors, as well as individual citizens, to craft a policy that will carry us through 2020 and beyond.”

Vision 2020 is similar to the process the state of Illinois undertook in 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. That process resulted in the development of a statewide homeland security program that is recognized as one of the best in the nation.

Forest Preserve Restoration Ecologist awarded grant

in Regional by

GENEVA—Forest Preserve Restoration Ecologist Ben Haberthur was named one of four TogetherGreen fellowship award recipients on June 21.

TogetherGreen is a conservation initiative of the National Audubon Society and Toyota. Each year, the group selects 40 high-potential, local leaders to receive a $10,000 conservation grant. Haberthur is one of four award recipients from Illinois.

Haberthur’s project aims to help heal war wounds through conservation action. He plans to use the fellowship to create a Veterans Conservation Corps in the Chicago area, initially to focus on restoration at Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia.

As a former Marine and current restoration ecologist with the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, Haberthur was inspired by the late Dick Young, a World War II Marine Corps veteran and local conservationist for whom the Batavia forest preserve, as well as one in Kendall County, are named. Ben, too, is a Marine Corps veteran, having served in the Iraq war. Haberthur returned from Iraq in 2003 and later earned his environmental science degree at California State University in Monterey Bay, Calif.

Haberthur said his personal experience, as well as Dick Young, were his inspiration for the project.

“My resolve to protect and restore our American ecosystems was really solidified after witnessing first hand the environmental devastation wrought by the Hussein regime. They ditched and drained thousands of acres of Iraq’s marshlands during the war,” Haberthur said. “When I returned to school in 2003, anxious to get on with my life, I discovered, while exploring the coastal areas of California, nature provided a peaceful and calming alternative to the stresses of my former military life.”

Haberthur felt that connection with nature could become a broader experience shared by fellow vets who may be struggling with symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The program’s initial conservation goals will be to remove invasive weeds and restore marsh conditions preferred by native wildlife at Dick Young Forest Preserve. The 1.6-acre prairie pothole on the west side of the preserve will be restored to presettlement conditions, including the planting of native wetland species. On the east side of the preserve, hundreds of Red oaks and Bur oaks will be planted as part of an ongoing restoration effort by the Forest Preserve District.

“Time is of the essence when working with vets,” Haberthur said. “Our community has a high rate of untreated PTSD, which can lead to depression, alcoholism or suicide. It is my hope, through this Toyota and Audubon fellowship, to court such individuals to illustrate the healing power of nature, and possibly inspire them to take advantage of their GI Bill benefits and return to school with an eye towards conservation.”

Haberthur hopes a large number of vets will volunteer for the project, although military service is not a prerequisite to participate in the program.

Executive Director Monica Meyers said Forest Preserve staff at all levels spend a lot of time researching and applying for governmental grants, and congratulated Haberthur for his efforts.

“It’s nice to see the district receive a grant that involves private-sector funding that will not only benefit the county’s natural resources but also be used to help our veterans,” she said. “I applaud Ben for thinking ‘outside the box’ and expanding research to find this hidden gem of a grant. This will ultimately strengthen our volunteer program and benefit Kane County forest preserves. The Forest Preserve District and the citizens are being well-served by having Ben on our natural resources team.”

For more information on volunteering in the Kane County forest preserves, call (630) 208-8662. For more details on the TogetherGreen conservation fellowships, visit

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