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Regional - page 17

Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets

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ST. CHARLES—Spring is here, and with it comes kittens. Homes for Endangered and Lost Pets (H.E.L.P.) is seeking volunteers to care for orphaned kittens in their homes. H.E.L.P. provides supplies, veterinary care, and training. These young kittens usually require bottle feeding, which must be done at regular intervals. Depending on their age, this could require feeding overnight. This is a challenging, rewarding opportunity.

Volunteers must be adults and must be able to keep the kittens in a separate room of their home. If you would like to volunteer, or for more information about H.E.L.P.’s bottle feeding program, please call Lisa at (630) 879-7130.

H.E.L.P. is a volunteer based not-for-profit organization in the St. Charles area. H.E.L.P. strives to provide medical care and a safe, happy, and comfortable living environment for as many cats and dogs possible while maintaining a high standard of care for these animals and making a best effort to ensure these animals are adopted into quality adoptive homes. More information is available on the H.E.L.P. website, www.helpinganimals.org.

Aquascape Inc.’s Water Garden Weekend

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ST. CHARLES—Aquascape, Inc, the innovative leader of water features in North America and inventor of the low-maintenance ecosystem pond, invites the public to join them for their annual Water Garden Weekend, May 19-20, at Aquascape’s headquarters, 901 Aqualand Way in St. Charles, the Water Garden Capital of the World.

The event will begin on Saturday, May 19, at 8:30 a.m. with St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte leading a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Aquascape Designs Water Gardening Store. Located in the company’s atrium, the store and atrium area experienced extensive remodeling. Throughout the weekend, a range of family activities will be offered. “Ask the Expert” sessions, a decorative water feature installation, plant and fish sales, food, and activities for children are some of the highlights.

While attending Water Garden Weekend, visitors can explore Aquascape’s 250-foot-by-90-foot signature pond that replicates the Illinois watershed. A 10-foot waterfall with grotto for behind-the-falls viewing is a highlight of this spectacular water feature. Hundreds of hardy waterlilies grace the surface of the pond, reminiscent of a Monet water garden painting.

In addition to Aquascape’s signature pond on the east side of the property, attendees can stroll the AquaGardens on the west side. Ecosystem ponds, Pondless® Waterfalls, decorative fountains, pergola, outdoor seating, and a patio and deck provide plenty of inspiration for adding water features to any landscape.

For more information about Water Garden Weekend, visit www.aquascapedesigns.com or call (630) 659-2060.

Gardenology in Geneva

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GENEVA—Gather ideas and dreams for your garden. Merchants in historic, downtown Geneva will host the fourth annual Gardenology. This free event takes place on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, along State and Third streets.

Gardenology advisers and vendors will bring their best ideas and garden related products to jump-start your gardening season. Experts in every horticulture field including farming, landscape design, weavers, local nurseries, a dog trainer, COD’s Hort Dept. and more will be on hand to answer questions.

Over 50 vendors will have garden-themed give-aways, merchandise, live demos, and a chance to win a beautiful watering can at each store. The restaurants are cooking up delicious, fresh-from-the-garden fare, so plan to eat with Gardenology for lunch or stay for a great night out.

Stop by the welcome tents in front of the courthouse (100 S. Third St.) or down by Geneva Jakes at Dodson’s Place (407 S. Third St.) or at The Little Traveler (404 S. Third St.) to buy tickets to win Gardenology Day raffle prizes. Tickets will be three for $1 or 20 for $5.

“Our mission is to promote, advise and provide expertise for the educational use of the public. We are all about all things gardening and are committed to providing quality sources of information about horticulture, wildlife, and useful and decorative products to encourage the public to garden for the cultural and aesthetic enrichment of their own lives, homes and community,” said organizers Deb Hilton and Sue Hadley of Country Naturals.

For more information, call Country Naturals at (630) 232-1172 or visit www.gardenologygenevail.com.

May 1 named TriCity Family Services Day by Batavia, Geneva, STC

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GENEVA—TriCity Family Services kicked off national Mental Health Awareness Month by having a day named in its honor.

In a joint proclamation, Mayor Jeff Schielke of Batavia, Mayor Kevin Burns of Geneva, and Mayor Don DeWitte of St. Charles named May 1st TriCity Family Services Day in perpetuity, to recognize national mental health awareness month and the impact that TriCity Family Services is having on the mental health needs of the local TriCity community.

Formally approved at each city council meeting in April, the proclamation was read and celebrated at the agency on May 1, with TriCity Family Services staff, board members and Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg of Geneva in attendance.

TriCity Family Services was commended for serving all ages and all income levels with high-quality, affordable, outpatient mental health services since its founding in 1967.

Alderman Vogelsberg thanked the staff for their compassion, dedication and accessibility to community residents in need.

The celebration of TriCity Family Services Day marks the beginning of the agency’s month-long activities to promote mental health awareness in the community. TriCity Family Services will have mental health displays in the Batavia and St. Charles public libraries; visit Batavia High School health classes; host an open house honoring retiring Family Services Division Tom Dewese; host a Chamber of Commerce After Hours event; and present two evening community presentations in the month of May.

The community is invited to participate in all of TriCity Family Services Mental Health Awareness Month activities. For more information, visit the TriCity Family Services website at www.tricityfamilyservices.org.

Reducing the stigma

in Featured/Health & Wellness/Regional by

Photo: Board member Rosalie Link (left to right), Development Manager Miranda Barfuss, Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg, Board President Jim Di Ciaula, former Board President Diane Gibson and Executive Director Jim Otepka. Courtesy Photo

TriCity Family Services promotes mental health awareness
by Susan O’Neill
GENEVA—May is the month designated for Mental Health Awareness, but TriCity Family Services (TCFS) works all year long to raise awareness and the importance of mental health.

“None of us is really immune from dealing with mental health crises in our lives,” TCFS Executive Director Jim Otepka said.

According to a National Institute of Mental Health statistic, one-in-four American adults 18 and over lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. They can go on to live full and productive lives; however, many people never seek or receive help due to stigma, lack of information, cost or lack of health care coverage.

Otepka said that TCFS has an important role to play in raising the awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness. The agency offers community-centered educational programs, and agency staff conduct presentations for civic groups and organizations of all types, from mothers’ groups and Parent Teacher Organizations to church ministerial groups, as well as round tables for schools’ student services personnel.

Typical topics for the round tables include bullying, school avoidance and refusal, as well as risk factors for suicide and suicide prevention.

“Schools are 40 percent of our referrals,” Otepka said.

Counselors at TCFS offer help to students with attention disorders, depression, anxiety, incidents of self-mutilation, and for victims of bullying.

TCFS is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides mental health services to people and organizations in central Kane County, particularly those individuals and families who are uninsured or underinsured. The service area includes the cities of Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles, as well as Campton, Virgil, Blackberry and Kaneville townships. The agency offers sliding scale fees, and scholarships are available for group programs.

Approximately 90 percent of all counseling clients pay less than the full fee, nearly two-thirds of all child and adolescent clients it serves use Medicaid, and more than half of all counseling clients have reported incomes of $30,000 or less.

When TCFS was founded in 1967, teens were at the core of its services. Through the 2012 Teens Won’t Wait Project, the agency is currently working to better meet the needs of teens in the community through obtaining additional funding.

Group programs for teens include a Wilderness Challenge Program, an eight-day therapeutic adventure that provides a positive peer group experience for at-risk teens; a Young Women’s Retreat, a weekend of building self-esteem and peer support; Mindful Emotions, an eight-week class that helps teen girls strengthen their communication skills and develop healthy coping strategies; and Smart Choices, an anger management class for teens to learn new ways to handle anger that includes working with their families to help change the family dynamics.

The agency offers prevention and early intervention programs, as well as counseling, workshops and other services to promote good mental health and effective family functioning.

“Our area of specialization is working with families,” Otepka said.

He explained that gaining an understanding of the problem within the context of the family allows family members to be part of the treatment.

In addition to divorce support workshops for children, anger management for children and adults, groups for single moms and for grandparents raising grandchildren, TCFS also offers family enrichment groups, designed to build stronger ties between parents and their children and among siblings.

Offered in schools and school settings, the family enrichment groups include families sharing a meal, a discussion with the adults about parenting while the children participate in art or other forms of therapy, ending with an activity that includes both parents and children.

Simply setting aside the time to interact as a family has significant benefits, said Denis Ferguson, director of the Behavioral Health Program.

Ferguson said TCFS staff includes six full and part-time therapists for adults and six for family services.

“We also see a fair amount of couples,” he said. “That’s a key area for us.”

Ferguson explained that the philosophy TCFS staff ascribe to is that the body and the mind are interconnected, and their approach is holistic. They participate in outreach activities, such as a Children’s Wellness Fair in St. Charles and offer classes on mental health issues as part of the Batavia High School health curriculum.

The agency has recently initiated a pilot program with the Visiting Nurses Association Health Care in Aurora, in its pediatric clinics. Staff consult with doctors regarding children with physical complaints, but without a medical reason. In the first three months of the program, they have received 40 referrals for issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders (ADHD), bi-polar disorders, anxiety and depression.

Their goal is to determine if they can help people improve their general health with behavioral health programs.

“There is no health without mental health,” Ferguson said.

Treasurer sets due date for property tax bills

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KANE COUNTY—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert recently announced that taxpayer’s 2011—payable 2012—property tax bills were mailed out this past week.

The first installment will be due June 4, and the second installment will be due September 4.

Reports are that Net Taxable Valuation for Kane County is $13,756,090,133, with a total real estate tax extension of $1,174,127,584. You may visit KaneCountyTreasurer.org to view current tax information and print out duplicate bills. Also on this website is a list of all unclaimed funds held by the treasurer.

Taxpayers can make payment by office, in the envelope provided; mailing the payment with coupon to the treasurer’s designated banks within Kane County; making the payment with coupon at the Treasurer’s Office (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays); making the payment with coupon during business hours; or by making the payment in the tax drop box, which is available 24 hours a day (drop box is located behind Building A at the Government Center in Geneva).

Note there are convenience fees for both of these services. Additional information is available on the Treasurer’s Office website, KaneCountyTreasurer.org.

Aurora man guilty of violating amended stalking statute

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AURORA—An Aurora man is the first person to be convicted by a Kane County jury under Illinois’ amended stalking statute.

Thomas C. Adams (AKA John C. Cassimatis), 74, most recently of the 200 block of South Union Street in Aurora, was convicted by a Kane County jury on April 24 of one count of aggravated stalking, a Class 3 felony, and one count of violating an order of protection, a Class 4 felony.

On April 11, 2011, the victim filed an order of protection against Adams in DeKalb County court after their dating relationship had ended early in 2011, but Adams had continued to pursue the victim. On July 11, 2011, that order of protection was made permanent. On Sept. 8, 16 and 19, 2011, at her Sugar Grove residence, and on Sept. 15 and Oct. 18, 2011, at her Aurora workplace, Adams stalked the victim by driving past her residence and place of employment, which caused emotional distress to the victim, in violation of the order of protection and in violation of the new stalking statute.

An order of protection prohibits the defendant from stalking, harassing or having any contact with the victim.

The amended stalking statute, which took effect June 1, 2010, criminalizes certain behaviors toward others, such as driving by the victim’s home, appearing within the victim’s eyesight, showing up at the victim’s workplace, sending packages to the victim, or having any contact with the victim when these actions cause the victim emotional distress.

Associate Judge Marmarie J. Kostelny set Adams’ next court appearance for 1:30 p.m. May 30, in Courtroom 217 for sentencing. Adams faces a sentence of probation or between three and nine years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Adams had been held in the Kane County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail since Nov. 8, 2011. Bond was revoked upon conviction.

“Our thanks to the jury for carefully examining Mr. Adams’ course of conduct in its entirety in reaching this verdict,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said. “If anyone experiences this type of behavior from someone, they should not hesitate to call the police every time it happens. People should be able to feel safe in their homes and at work from unwanted behavior from others.”

The case was prosecuted by Kane County Assistant State’s Attorneys Jamie L. Mosser and Lindsay Hatzis.

Scouts aim to make the world a better place

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ST. CHARLES—Saving a life, helping out after a flood or disaster, recycling community trash—these acts of kindness are what Scouting calls “good turns.” You may know that the Scouts’ slogan is “do a good turn daily.” But you may not know why. It has to do with how American Scouting came to be, and why today that phrase is at the heart of a program that gives every Scout a chance to volunteer to help the people around him or her.

It’s no surprise that the third Scout law is, “a Scout is helpful,” or that in the Scout Oath, one pledges to, “help other people at all times.” Scouting even has a Good Turn coin to apply the slogan daily.

It’s safe to say that Scouting encourages our youth to live out a set of principles. It’s also where today’s youth can find adventure.

The Boy Scouts of America, Three Fires Council, will host a day-long community showcase Scout-O-Rama—“Daily Good Turn.” It’s at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton on Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with over a hundred hands-on family activities that bring the perfect mix of unforgettable fun and import life lessons. Join us to honor the men and women on Armed Forces Day and “do a good turn” by donating a food item to our event partner, Northern Illinois Food Bank.

“All acts of volunteerism make communities better today and teach our youth lifelong lessons,” said Matt Ackerman, president and Scout executive at Three Fires Council. “We want our communities and youth to have the opportunity to learn the power of giving back. To learn more about teamwork, leadership, service and character. We want our youth to grow up to be successful at what they do, to have a sense of place, of community, to have strong values and a chance to volunteer to make the world a better place.”

Scout-O-Rama is open to the public, and tickets are $5 per person or $20 per family (four tickets or one car load). Plus, they have a variety of one-time and year-long discounts that local consumers know and use frequently, such as Legoland, Colonial Cafe, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts. Tickets are available to purchase at Cantigny Park, the Norris and Deicke Scout shops, and at all Colonial Cafe locations. Onsite parking is available at Cantigny Park, and auxiliary parking with free shuttles will be at the DuPage County Government Center, which is a half-mile north of Route 38.

Be one of the first 1,500 to stop by the BeAScout.org booth to receive a goodie bag sponsored by Chicago Parent, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Plano Molding.

To learn how Scouting can make a difference in your child’s life or for more event information, visit ThreeFirescouncil.org or call (630) 584-9250.

Fundraiser helps Virgil woman with leukemia

in Maple Park/Regional by

CORRECTION: On Page 1A of the May 3 edition of the Elburn Herald, the date of the Pat Probst fundraiser was listed incorrectly. The date of the fundraiser is actually Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. Also, the fundraiser is to help Probst pay travel and living expenses related to her bone marrow transplant later this month.
The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:
Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
e-mail: info@elburnherald.com
phone (630) 365-6446

by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARK—It was Feb. 8, 2012, when Virgil resident Pat Probst was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of blood cells that is fast moving and affects white blood cells known as lymphocytes.

Pat began chemotherapy treatment almost immediately, and was soon experiencing treatment side effects, such as vision change and an inability to taste food. She needs a bone marrow transplant and is scheduled to receive one later this month in Madison, Wis. At that point, she’ll need to live near the hospital while she recovers from the procedure.

“The doctor said her cancer is curable, but will take a very long time to beat the disease,” said Ben Probst, who is Pat’s son.

Ben said the cost of Pat’s bone marrow transplant will not be covered by insurance. Because of this, a fundraiser for Pat will be held at Bootlegger’s Bar, Grill and Pizza, 107 Main St. in Maple Park, on Saturday, May 19, at 4 p.m. The event will feature a raffle including Cubs and football tickets, gift baskets and golf packages. There will also be a cash raffle, with tickets currently available at Bootlegger’s and Casey’s Gas Station in Maple Park.

“The raffle has been a couple months in the works. As soon as we learned what all of the transplant entailed, Tony and Donna (Herrington) from Bootlegger’s said they wanted to help with the benefit raffle, and have been great in doing so,” Ben said.

In addition to Pat’s acute lymphocytic leukemia, her husband, Ken, recently found out that his prostate cancer, removed a year ago, had returned. He has already begun five-day-a-week radiation treatment, while Pat continues with her four-day-a-week treatment.

“Due to mom’s blood levels and lack of immune system from the cancer, she has to be on strict diets, and risk of any infection stops her from eating many things she loves,” Ben said. “Most important, (it) stops her from seeing her grandchildren at times, who mom loves so much. She says that’s one of the hardest things for her.”

Ben said the show of support from the community has been overwhelming.

“Everyone has been great in donating … Mom says that she just wishes it could all be over and that she doesn’t want to be sick anymore. She also says she can’t believe the things people have done so far to help and the get-well cards she has received,” he said.

Anyone interested in donating to the Pat Probst fundraiser can call Ben at (815) 739-0175.

New rule for school: Whooping cough shot for 6th-, 9th-graders

in Health & Wellness/Kaneland/Regional by

KANE COUNTY—Beginning this fall, for school year 2012-13, the state of Illinois is requiring that all students entering sixth and ninth grades provide proof of a dose of the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccination in addition to the school physicals required at these grades.

Numerous outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) have occurred recently among school children in Illinois, and the numbers seem to be on the rise. While Kane’s numbers are not quite as high as some of those in neighboring counties, there have been 37 cases so far this year, compared to 54 last year.

“As we approach the end of the school year, I want to encourage parents of next year’s sixth- and ninth-graders to schedule those physicals and shots,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert. “You will be taking steps to keep them healthy and at the same time meet the school requirements.”

Because pertussis is so highly contagious, the infection often spreads rapidly through school environments. It is easily transmitted through coughing and sneezing and may cause illness that persists for weeks to months. Pertussis does not typically cause severe illness in healthy students, but can prolong absences from school and extracurricular activities.

In addition, pertussis can be transmitted from healthy students to infants and individuals with chronic illnesses, for whom pertussis can be life threatening. Vaccinations are available from your personal physician, from one of the Federally Qualified Health Centers and from some pharmacies.

More information on the new requirement is available by visiting kanehealth.com, by contacting your school or calling the Health Department’s Bee Wize Immunization Program at 866-BeeWize (1-866-233-9493).

“We are encouraging parents not to wait until the last minute to get the vaccination for their sixth and ninth graders,” Kuehnert said. “Now is an ideal time to make an appointment and avoid the rush.”

Protection against pertussis begins to decrease over time. This puts pre-teens, teenagers and adults at risk for the illness. To address this increase in pertussis disease among older students, proof of one dose of a booster vaccination called Tdap (for protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) is being required by the state for all students in grades six and nine. However, all students in grades six through 12 should have a record of a dose of Tdap, as it is likely to be required in the future.

Some other immunizations that also are recommended for this age group include the meningococcal vaccine, a second chickenpox shot (if they never had chickenpox disease), and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series. During flu season, it is also recommended that everyone older than 6 months receive a seasonal flu vaccine.

Local country band plays Nashville

in Featured/Kaneville/Maple Park/Regional by

Photo: Back Country Roads, a local country music band with members from throughout the Kaneland area, recently performed in Nashville as part of a country music contest. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
Nashville—Back Country Roads, a local band in the Kaneland area that describes its music as “the big sounds of Nashville (brought) home to the Midwest,” recently brought their sound to Nashville. The band was invited to play at the Wildhorse Saloon, a three-level, 66,000 square-foot live music and dance venue.

Singer Mary Noren and guitar player Brian Miller had gone to “the Music City” several weeks earlier and dropped off electronic press kits at a few places there. The Wildhorse Saloon contacted them the following day to invite the band to participate in a “Battle for the Saddle” competition on April 25.

Each band played five songs for a panel of three judges, among whom was Michael Knox, Jason Aldean’s producer. Although the band performed well, they did not win the contest, bass player Dave Miller said.

“The experience, however, was well worth the trip,” Dave said. “It was an awesome experience to be on a stage playing to 800 to 1,000 people.”

Kaneville resident and one of the newest members of the band, keyboard player Dan Alfrey described the experience as a “whirl-wind trip,” one day down, one day to play, and the third day, back home.
] “It was humbling, playing in such a large place in a town that is known for its music,” he said.

Approximately 30 to 40 people from the area traveled to Nashville to hear them play. Maple Park resident Kim Goodenough, a friend of vocalist Kyle Miller’s parents, drove them back and forth in her family’s 40-foot motor home.

“The kids are exceptional,” Goodenough said. “They play so well together. They were the only band that had people out on the floor dancing.”

Back Country Roads, also known as BCR, originated in 2009. Kyle and Noren, students together at Northern Illinois University, began singing Karaoke in some of the bars in DeKalb. Their friend Brian Miller soon joined them on acoustic guitar. The band’s first gig was for the Maple Park Fire District Women’s Auxiliary at the Maple Park Pub.

They played a few shows as an acoustic trio, but decided they wanted a bigger sound. They added Jarred Klotz on drums and Dave Miller, Kyle’s great-uncle, on bass guitar.

Soon, they were playing at various festivals and events throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, including the Maple Park Fun Fest, Kaneville Fest, as well as Country Thunder USA in Twin Lakes, Wis. They added Hanna Mathey on fiddle and Dan Alfrey on keyboards. John Von Arx joined the group later on lead guitar.

The band plays mainly newer country music, such as Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Zach Brown Band and Jason Aldean, as well as some of the older favorites, such as Alabama and Johnny Cash, Dave said. They have a loyal following and have opened for bands such as Phil Vassar, David Lee Murphy and Darryl Worley.

More recently, they have begun writing their own music, and have their first single, called “Wake Up This Day.” They are hoping to get the song played on local stations.

“We want to be a band that other people cover,” Dave said.

BCR will perform at Country Thunder USA this summer for their third consecutive year and will open for Neal McCoy at DeKalb’s Corn Fest. They will also play at Elburn Days and the Maple Park Fun Fest.

For more information and a schedule for Back Country Roads, visit backcountryroadsband.com, ‘Back Country Roads’ page on Facebook or download their free Droid/iPhone app ‘Back Country Roads.’

WCC offers Career Education Scholarships

in Kaneland/Regional/Sugar Grove by

SUGAR GROVE—The Waubonsee Community College Foundation is offering scholarships to students enrolling in a variety of career education programs during the upcoming 2012-13 academic year. The application deadline is Friday, May 25.

These $500 program scholarships are available to both new and returning Waubonsee students. A list of qualifying degree and certificate programs and an application form can be found online at www.waubonsee.edu/scholarships.

For more information, contact Admissions at (630) 466-7900, ext. 5756.

Police restrict access to judicial center due to ‘suspicious package’

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Bomb squad opens box to find workout DVD, game, calculator
Kane County—Police restricted access to the Kane County Judicial Center Wednesday morning after a security officer was informed of a suspicious package in the parking lot.

Shortly after 8 a.m., the security officer received word of the item, and officers found a small, grey box on a landscape berm in the parking lot on the northwest side of the complex.

Due to the location of the box and inability to verify its contents without opening it, deputies and court security officers blocked off the west parking lots and diverted all traffic to the east side of the building. The Kane County Bomb Squad was called to the scene, and they were able to safely open the package and located a workout DVD, Playstation video game and a calculator. Deputies collected the box and contents as evidence, and the parking lot was reopened at approximately 9:45 a.m.

During the incident the courthouse remained open and court calls were unaffected. The Geneva and St Charles police departments assisted Sheriff’s deputies with traffic control.

Barefoot collegians

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Sugar Grove resident Amy Manion (left) was among Aurora University faculty and students who walked barefoot on campus in the first “A Day without Shoes” on April 10. Manion is an information services librarian. Katy Meier (right) of Aurora is a junior nursing major and library assistant. Students and faculty collected 1,485 pairs shoes in the inaugural event to benefit students at Bardwell and Brady elementary schools in Aurora, Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora, Soles4Souls, and Crossover Running. Kris Johnson, Wackerlin Center fellow and event coordinator, said goals of the effort were to increase awareness of global poverty through experiential activities and to encourage donations of shoes. Courtesy Photo

Special Olympics 2012 Spring Games

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NAPERVILLE—Families, volunteers and spectators will cheer on runners, shot-putters and other athletes as they compete in the largest area event of the year for Special Olympics Illinois Far West Suburban/Area 2 (DuPage, Kane, Kendall Counties) and Near West Suburban/Area 5 (Eastern DuPage County and west suburban Cook County).

The annual Spring Games will take place on Sunday, April 29, from 9 a.m.
until 4 p.m. at North Central College in Naperville. The public is invited to watch the competition and experience the joy of achievement by Special Olympics athletes.

At the combined Area 2/Area 5 Spring Games, approximately 670 athletes are expected to compete in track & field and power lifting. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies. Competition follows immediately and will conclude around 4 p.m. All athletes will march in the parade of athletes and recite the Special Olympics oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

The running of the torch with the Flame of Hope and the lighting of the cauldron signifies the opening of the games. Naperville Mayor Pradel and North Central President Dr. Wilde are the special guests.

Athletes will compete in the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 & 1500 Meter Runs, Standing & Running Long Jumps, Shot Put, Tennis and Softball Throw, High Jump, 400, 800, & 2K Walk Races, Wheelchair Competitions and Assisted Races and Power Lifting. Athletes compete in divisions by gender and ability levels.

Powerlifters from DuPage, suburban Cook and Will counties will also compete for the chance to qualify for State Summer Games by winning a gold medal at this competition.

To compete in the Special Olympics Illinois Area Spring Games, athletes must train for eight weeks. Athletes who win a gold medal at these area games qualify to compete in the Special Olympics Illinois State Summer Games to be held June 15-17 on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. More than 3,500 athletes from around the state are expected to compete in Summer Games.

National Medication Take-Back Day at the SG Police Department

in Health & Wellness/Regional/Sugar Grove by

SUGAR GROVE—This program is part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. The DEA works with area agencies twice a year in April and October. This one-day drop-off program will take place Saturday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Sugar Grove Police Department, 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove.

Last October, Americans turned in 377,080 pounds—188.5 tons—of prescription drugs at over 5,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 4,000 state and local law enforcement partners. In its three previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners took in almost a million pounds—nearly 500 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a public safety and health issue. Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. Additionally, flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Bring your medications for disposal to Sugar Grove Police Department, located at 10 S. Municipal Drive, Sugar Grove. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. The following is a list of acceptable and not acceptable items.

Acceptable items: non-controlled DEA drugs, medication samples, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, medicated ointments/lotions, vitamins, and medications for pets

Non-acceptable items: thermometers, narcotics/DEA controlled drugs, IV bags, sharps/needles (see below for disposal), bloody or infectious waste and empty containers

Medication Collection

1. Leave items in their original containers. Pill bottles, blister packs, ointment tubes and leak-proof liquid containers are all acceptable.
2. Remove or black out any personal information on the label to protect your privacy.

Year-round medication
drop-off locations:

• Naperville Fire Station No. 4
Route 59 and Brookdale Road, Naperville
9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays
(except on holidays)

• Fox Metro Water Reclamation District
682 Route 31, Oswego, Ill.
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday
(except on holidays)

IEMA, FEMA promote National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) will join with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the first National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, April 22-28.

Throughout the week, federal, state and local agencies across the nation will encourage people to know their severe weather risks, take action to be prepared and set an example for others.

“Here in Illinois, we’ve already experienced nature’s fury this year with the deadly tornado in southern Illinois,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “We can’t prevent severe weather from happening, but by being better prepared and knowing how to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we can lessen its devastating impact and save lives.”

National Severe Weather Preparedness Week coincides with the one-year anniversary of the deadly tornado outbreak in the central and southern states. Just one month later, Joplin, Mo., was devastated by a tornado.

In 2011, there were more than 1,000 weather-related fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries.

The FEMA/NOAA nationwide preparedness effort encourages people to:

Know your risk
The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could affect you and your family. Check the weather forecast regularly and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Severe weather comes in many forms, and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take action
Be a ‘force of nature’ by taking the pledge to prepare at FEMA’s Ready.gov website. When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency supply kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

Be an example
Once you’ve taken action and pledged, share your story with your family and friends. Create a YouTube video, post your story on Facebook or send a tweet. IEMA also promotes severe weather preparedness each year during March.

This year, IEMA joined with the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) to increase awareness of weather alert radios. The two organizations joined together to sponsor a month-long weather alert radio contest that drew more than 3,500 participants from around the state. Participants had to read information about weather alert radios and successfully complete a five-question quiz before registering for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be awarded by IESMA. The winners of the contest will be contacted in the near future by their local emergency management agencies.

Information about severe weather preparedness is available on Illinois’ Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, on FEMA’s website at Ready.gov or on NOAA’s website, www.noaa.gov/wrn.

KCFB celebrates 100 years, hosts family event

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: KCFB Information Director Ryan Klassy points out details in the carving to KCFB members Erwin Panzer, Bernice Maness and Leonard Panzer of Maple Park. The sculpture, at the corner of Randall Road and Oak Street in St. Charles, tops out at 11 feet tall and sports a Kane County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary logo. Courtesy Photo

KANE COUNTY—The seventh annual Touch-A-Tractor at the Kane County Farm Bureau attracted a steady crowd thanks to the efforts of dozens of member/volunteers. Several events at the April farm-city event helped highlight the Farm Bureau’s centennial celebration.

A tree carving on the corner of the KCFB property, facing Randall Road, made a one-of-a-kind Touch-A-Tractor experience. Professional carver Michael Bihlmaier of Marengo, Ill., turned the base of a trunk of a 120-year-old ash tree, taken down due to disease, into a towering ear of corn.

Bihlmaier used half a dozen chainsaws of varying sizes to chip away at the carving over the course of the three-day event, creating a tribute to Illinois’ number-one commodity crop.

“Ash is a very hard, dry wood so it takes a lot of time,” said Bihlmaier.

His chainsaws hummed away as onlookers waited to see what the sculpture would be. What remained when Bihlmaier hit the off switch on his chainsaw was an 8-foot-tall ear of corn, complete with curling husks that cradle over 350 individually carved kernels of corn. Good weather allowed him to finish the ear of corn before the last Touch-A-Tractor visitor left.

A Kane County Farm Bureau 100th Anniversary logo was all that was left to be added when showers came late in the day on Sunday. The sculpture measures 11 feet tall, from the ground to the tallest point.

“It’s definitely the biggest ear of corn I’ve ever carved,” said Bihlmaier, who has completed hundreds of carvings.

Bihlmaier has award-winning talent, has competed in national carving competitions and is a member of the Echo chainsaw carving team. He used a grinder, dremel and other woodworking tools to add detail to the sculpture.

“We’re really impressed with the job Mike did,” said PR Chair Beth Engel of Hampshire. “The detail is so impressive. It should catch the attention of drivers on Randall Road and give them a reason to stop and see what we’re doing to promote a bright future for agriculture here in Kane County.”

KCFB also kicked off the Centennial Grove tribute program, and visitors were able to get a first-hand look at the trees available for purchase to dedicate to individuals or events.

Another first-time attraction was a 1913 Port Huron steam engine brought in by KCFB member Tom Runty. It was a huge hit with kids and adults.

“The littlest kids seem to have the best understanding of it,” Runty said. “They know it looks like a train, and of course that’s exactly the way it works, like a steam-operated locomotive.”

Runty’s first appearance at Touch-A-Tractor was perfectly timed, as the association is celebrating its centennial. The steam engine, which he bought in 1999 and spent five years restoring, is almost the same age as the Kane County Farm Bureau, which has a date of Dec. 31, 1912, on its charter. Almost every kid, and many adults, took a turn standing on the platform of the 20,000-pound behemoth.

“Because we are celebrating our 100th year, we wanted to make this Touch-A-Tractor one to remember,” said Director and PR committee member Bill Collins. “Thanks to moderate weather conditions and some exceptional equipment and displays, I think we provided a really good experience for the kids—which is what it’s all about.”

The event featured 17 antique tractors, modern farm equipment, farm animals and lots of agricultural activities for children. The weekend wrapped up with the announcement of 21 college-bound recipients of nearly $22,000 in Kane County Farm Bureau Foundation scholarships, followed by the drawing of the winners in the not-for-profit’s annual Winner’s Choice Tractor Raffle fundraiser.

Attendance at the annual farm-city event was estimated at 1,500 people for the three-day event.

Ongoing construction on tap for Elburn area

in Elburn/Regional by

Elburn/Lily Lake—Prepare for road delays through the summer as a pair of Illinois Department Transportation projects recently began.

A resurfacing project on Illinois 47 from Seavey Road to just north of Welter Road in Elburn began April 9, and will require reducing Illinois 47 to one lane during the daytime hours where construction is taking place. Flaggers will be present.

The tentative completion date is Aug. 1.

Curran Contracting Company, Inc., of Crystal Lake, is the prime contractor on the $2.4 million project.

Motorists should anticipate delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. Please obey the speed limit, observe closure signs and remain alert for workers.

Further north, the Lily Lake area will be impacted through at least mid-November as IDOT is reconstructing the intersection of routes 64 and 47. This project began April 16.

The project initially will require closing Illinois 64 just east of Illinois 47. Traffic will be detoured on LaFox Road and Illinois 38 to reconnect with Illinois 64 via Illinois 47.

Later in the construction season, Illinois 64 will reopen and Illinois 47 just south of Illinois 64 will close. Traffic will be detoured on Illinois 64 and LaFox Road to reconnect with Illinois 47 via Illinois 64.

The improvements consist of reconstructing the intersection to include left-turn lanes for all directions and a new traffic signal. The profile of the roadway also will be raised to improve drainage.

The tentative completion date is Nov. 15. Curran Contracting Company, Inc., of Crystal Lake, is also the prime contractor on the $5.1 million project.

Motorists should anticipate delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. Please obey the speed limit, observe closure signs and remain alert for workers.

Find details on other construction projects in IDOT’s District 1 at http://www.dot.state.il.us. Updates on the impacts to traffic are available at www.travelmidwest.com.

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