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Regional - page 18

Celebrate 100 Years of Girl Scouts with Disney

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Photo: A rock-climbing wall will be one of many activities available during the Girl Scouts’ Centennial Celebration on Saturday, April 28. Courtesy Photo

Girl Scouts host celebration with Radio Disney
DeKalb—In honor of 100 years of Girl Scouting, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI) will host a family-friendly Centennial Celebration on Saturday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NIU Convocation Center, 1525 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb.

The Radio Disney AM 1300 Road Crew will provide interactive entertainment that includes music, dancing, prizes and more. The event will also feature a live stage performance by pop group Savvy, stars of the TV series “The Wannabes” on STARZ Kids & Family Channel. State Street Dance of Geneva will choreograph a dance designed especially for the event, celebrating Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary.

Admission includes parking, performances and all activities:
• Rock-climbing wall
• Play zone with DJ, inflatables and photo booth
• Hands-on activity zones including environmental, financial literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), healthy living and Girl Scouts through the years

Tickets are $10 per person; $12 per person day of event. Children ages 2 and under are free.

Tickets can be purchased at the NIU Convocation Center box office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 or at Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois Shops. Tickets purchased at the Girl Scout Shops can either be purchased in person or by phone. Tickets purchased by phone will be available for pick up at the will call window on the day of the event. All ticket sales are final.

Mazan performs ‘Dying To Do Letterman’

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GENEVA—Comedian Steve Mazan will provide an evening of laughter and inspiration as he performs his comedy show, “Dying to Do Letterman,” at the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 30.

This program will celebrate the pre-opening of the LivingWell’s new building, located at 442 Williamsburg Ave. in Geneva.

Mazan is a comedian, Emmy winning writer, and the subject of the award-winning documentary “Dying to do Letterman.” In 2005, Steve was diagnosed with cancer and given a worst-case scenario of five years to live. Rather than slow down, Steve decided to use whatever time he had left to chase his ultimate dream: to perform his comedy on The Late Show with David Letterman.

This program is open to the public and is free of charge, although registration is required by Wednesday, April 25, as seating is limited. Please call (630) 262-1111 to register.

This event will take place at the new LivingWell facility, 442 Williamsburg Ave., in Geneva. Regular programming will begin at the new facility on Monday, May 7.

Kane County Health Department community garden plots now available

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Kane County—Plots in the Kane County Health Department’s community gardens are now available, just in time for the start of the growing season. There are more than 1,300 community garden plots available throughout Kane County, primarily in the various Park District locations.

The prices and availability vary, but check out the website of your Park District for details.

“The best way to add fruits and vegetables to your family’s diet is by growing your own,” said Paul Kuehnert, Health Department executive director. “Besides having the satisfaction of growing it yourself and the savings you’ll see on your grocery bill, we know that a regular diet of fresh fruits and vegetables helps battle chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes and cancer. That is why increasing access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is a priority in the Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Plan, recently adopted by the Board of Health.”

Plan your garden with your family. Not only will your children enjoy the family activity, they are more likely to try produce they helped grow. And you’ll enjoy the fresh air activity.

For more information on starting a garden, check out the University of Illinois Extension guide, “Ten Steps to a Successful Garden” at web.extension.illinois.edu/vegguide/tensteps.cfm.

Spring into employment

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Frances Jerman of Aurora (right) reviews information at Waubonsee Community College’s annual Spring Job/Internship Fair on Friday. Local job seekers were able to connect with 80 area employers at the event, which took place on the Sugar Grove

Precious Eboh of Aurora (above) introduces himself to Emily Sharp, Staffing Consultant for Dreyer
Medical Clinic, at WCC Spring Job/Internship Fair on Friday.

Courtesy Photos

Kane County announces final multiplier

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SPRINGFIELD—Kane County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to Brian Hamer, director of the Illinois Department of Revenue.

The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier,” is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law. This equalization is particularly important because some of the state’s 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties (e.g. school districts, junior college districts, fire protection districts). If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result.

Under a law passed in 1975, property in Illinois should be assessed at one-third of its market value. Farm property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures, but with farmland assessed at one-third of its agriculture economic value. Farmland is not subject to the state equalization factor.

Assessments in Kane County are at 33.23 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The equalization factor currently being assigned is for 2011 taxes, payable in 2012. Last year’s equalization factor for the county was 1.0000.

The final assessment equalization factor was issued after a public hearing on the tentative factor. The tentative factor issued in December 2011 was 1.0000. The equalization factor is determined annually for each county by comparing the price of individual properties sold over the past three years to the assessed value placed on those properties by the county supervisor of assessments/county assessor.

If this three-year average level of assessment is one-third of the market value, the equalization factor will be one (1). If the average level of assessment is greater than one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be less than one (1). And if the average level of assessment is less than one-third of market value, the equalization factor will be greater than one (1).

A change in the equalization factor does not mean total property tax bills will increase or decrease. Tax bills are determined by local taxing bodies when they request money each year to provide services to local citizens. If the amount requested by local taxing districts is not greater than the amount received in the previous year, then total property taxes will not increase even if assessments increase.

The assessed value of an individual property determines what portion of the tax burden a specific taxpayer will assume. That individual’s portion of tax responsibility is not changed by the multiplier.

IDNR urges caution to prevent wildfires

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SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding Illinoisans and visitors to the state to take precautions to prevent wildfires, especially with the unusually warm and dry weather in the state this spring.

“Our IDNR staff and local fire agencies have already been busy this spring dealing with wildfires at state sites. We’re encouraging visitors to our state parks, state forests, other state sites and federal and local forest and park land—as well as private landowners—to be extra vigilant this spring in preventing fires because of the unseasonable weather that could contribute to even more fires in the coming weeks,” said IDNR Forest Protection Program Manager Tom Wilson.

“We encourage our Illinois residents to become our eyes and ears while enjoying the beauty of our state parks and other forest preserves during warm weather. By becoming more vigilant and educated on wildfire safety, serious incidents of fires on state sites can be prevented,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis.

Fires in March burned nearly 400 acres at Sand Ridge State Forest in Mason County and dozens of acres of park land at Lincoln Trail State Park in Clark County. Last November, nearly 1,500 acres of heavily wooded hunting ground burned in a wildfire at Pere Marquette State Park in Jersey County.

Among wildfire prevention/safety measures suggested by the IDNR Division of Forest Resources:
• Avoid outdoor burning when winds are above five (5) miles per hour and/or when the relative humidity is below 40 percent.
• Burn in protected areas only with no combustible materials within 10 feet around for small fires and 50 feet for larger fires.
• Prior to burning, check the National Weather Service’s fire weather forecast for expected conditions.
• Avoid welding and grinding in areas with dry vegetation, and make sure that machinery is in good working order (bearings greased, avoid dragging chains and parts).
• For vehicles, especially those with catalytic convertors, avoid parking in areas with tall vegetation.
• Campfires should be small, in protected areas, and burned during night time hours within fire grates or fire rings.
• Be careful to safely dispose of lit cigarettes, cigars or other smoking material.
• Have a bucket of water and shovel on hand and be sure to thoroughly drown out the fire prior to leaving the area.

Anyone spotting a wildfire should report it to the nearest fire department, law enforcement office, IDNR office or U.S. Forest Service ranger station.

Motorists reminded to share the road this spring

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SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are reminding motorists to be alert for farm equipment.

Because of unseasonably warm and dry weather, many farmers were able to finish their field preparations early this year and now are ready to get started planting. That means the farm traffic on rural roadways will increase drastically the next few weeks, much sooner than usual.

“Field work got off to an early start this year because of the mild weather,” IDOA Acting Director Bob Flider said. “I want to encourage motorists to drive carefully and to be alert for slow-moving farm vehicles on rural roadways until the work is complete.”

According to the Illinois Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, soil temperatures are warm enough for planting. Most farmers simply are waiting for the “go date,” or the earliest planting date that their crop insurance policies allow, before proceeding. For much of the state, that is April 6.

Some planting has already occurred, though. The field office reports five percent of the corn crop currently is in the ground.

“Living in rural Illinois, I know how important and vital a safe distance and visibility is between heavy farming equipment and the motoring public,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “We advise all drivers to prepare for the upcoming planting season and continue to share the road, remain focused, slow down and obey posted speed limits.”

Studies show that left-turn, rear-end and passing collisions are the most common types of accidents involving motorists and farm machinery. The departments suggest the following tips to keep motorists safe when encountering farm vehicles:
• Pay attention and don’t drive distracted.
• Slow down when encountering slow moving vehicles.
• Pass with extreme caution.
• Allow extra room when following farm equipment.
• Be patient. A farmer can’t always move over to let motorists pass.
• If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you. Farm machinery operators may not be able to see you because the large equipment or a load can block part of their rear view.

Early warm weather means earlier bat activity

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SPRINGFIELD—With temperatures in Illinois already in the 70s and 80s this year, bats are becoming active, which means the possibility of exposure to rabies is increasing. Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has already had one bat test positive for rabies, and two people are undergoing post-exposure treatment after coming into contact with that rabid bat.

“Bats are already active this year due to the early, warm temperatures,” said Dr. Connie Austin, state public health veterinarian. “It’s important to remember that you should never try to approach or catch a bat, or any wild animal, you find outside. Instead, call your local animal control agency for its recommendations.”

In 2011, 49 bats and one cow tested positive for rabies in Illinois. Any wild mammal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Humans can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat, but bats have very small teeth and the bite mark may not be easy to see. If you find yourself in close proximity to a bat and are not sure if you were exposed—for example, you wake up and find a bat in your room—do not kill or release the bat before calling your doctor or local health department to help determine if you could have been exposed to rabies and need preventive treatment.

Without preventive treatment, rabies is a fatal disease. If you have been bitten or have had direct contact with a bat, seek immediate medical attention. Treatment with rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin immediately.

An animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies. Changes in any animal’s normal behavior, such as difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. For example, skunks are normally nocturnal and avoid contact with people, but a rabid skunk may approach humans during daylight hours. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground or is unable to fly, is more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached, but should never be handled.

The following tips can help prevent the spread of rabies:
• Be a responsible animal owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals you own.
• Seek immediate veterinary assistance for your pet if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
• Call the local animal control agency about removing stray animals in your neighborhood.
• Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home.
• Do not try to nurse sick, wild animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn to reduce the risk of exposures to rabid animals.
• Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot gain entry.
• If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials.
• If you can do it without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten, try to cover the bat with a large can or bucket and close the door to the room.
• Information about keeping bats out of your home or buildings can be found by visiting www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbats.htm.

Information about rabies can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/health/infect/reportdis/rabies.htm.

March 2012 was the warmest March on record for Illinois

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—The statewide average temperature for March was 54.9 degrees—13.8 degrees above normal—making March 2012 a record-setting month, according to State Climatologist Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey.

The warmest temperature reported in the state was at Chicago O’Hare on March 21, with 87 degrees. The coldest temperature reported was in Monmouth, Ill., on March 5, with 5 degrees.

The three-month winter period from January to March 2012 was another record-breaker; it was the warmest of that period on record since 1895. The statewide average temperature from January to March was 40.9 degrees, 9.1 degrees above normal.

The statewide average precipitation was 2.11 inches, 1.1 inches below normal or 66 percent of normal. Precipitation was below normal across much of the state. However, there were a few wet spots, with Fairview Heights reporting the highest monthly total of 4.88 inches of precipitation.

Despite the warm temperatures, there was some snow in March. The largest monthly total was reported at Roscoe, Ill. with 5.6 inches of snow.

The Illinois State Water Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a division of the Prairie Research Institute, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.

Board of Health adopts Community Health Improvement Plan

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Kane County—The Kane County Board of Health Tuesday adopted the Kane County 2012-2016 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a comprehensive set of policy and program recommendations for our community.

It identifies areas where the public can have the largest impact on improving the quality of life for all Kane residents—particularly the most vulnerable residents of our community—by reducing preventable sickness and death.

Two versions of the plan (one with and one without appendices), a comprehensive data book and an executive summary are available for viewing at www.kanehealth.com/chip.htm

“There are many factors that affect our health and have a tremendous influence on health outcomes,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert. “The physical environment, social and economic factors, and clinical care all play a role in an individual’s health and are all incorporated into the plan.”

The CHIP was developed based on the results of the Community Health Assessment. Throughout 2011, the Health Department, in partnership with the five hospitals in the county, the Fox Valley United Way, the United Way of Elgin, and the INC Board, jointly funded and led the collection of social, economic, health and other data to better understand the health of our community. For the first time, more than 1,500 adults were surveyed about their health. The survey also asked 420 adults about the health of a child in their home. The assessment also included a number of public meetings and focus groups to gather input directly from residents. All of the data and information collected through the assessment is included in the plan.

The assessment led to the identification of six top threats to community health across Kane County. The threats are 1.) Obesity, 2.) Chronic Diseases, 3.) Infant Mortality, 4.) Childhood Lead Poisoning, 5.) Communicable Disease, 6.) Poor Social & Emotional Wellness. The Plan recommends a focus on four priority areas and 16 evidence-based strategies to address these top health issues over the next five years. The Plan establishes a framework for community organizations, employers, municipalities, schools, residents and others to work towards improving the health of our communities.

The CHIP aligns with the County’s update to the 2040 Plan which recognizes and emphasizes the connection between the most important resource in Kane County – its people – with the opportunities and barriers for healthy living created by the built and natural environment, and how together they shape the overall health of communities. The 2040 Plan will be the first Kane County Plan to integrate planning for community health with land use and transportation issues. This new approach was formalized by the Kane County Board in October 2010 through the adoption of the 2040 Conceptual Land Use Strategy Report.

2012 roadway construction to begin

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KANE COUNTY—The 2012 roadway construction/inspection season has begun. While you may find it aggravating when you happen upon construction, keep in mind that it is necessary to repair and improve the roadway system.

Additionally, inspection work such as the upcoming bridge inspections (listed below) is performed for safety of the traveling public. The village of Sugar Grove urges you to exercise caution and remain alert when travelling in a construction area. Drive cautiously for your safety and for the safety of those working in the area. Roadway construction areas may slightly increase the time that it takes you to arrive at your destination, so plan to leave a little earlier or take an alternate route.

Also, keep in mind that those who work in construction zones are performing their jobs and just like you, have loved ones waiting for them at the end of the day. Help keep them safe.

The village receives notifications of upcoming construction and inspection projects. As they are received an e-mail is sent and also posted on our the village website at www.sugar-grove.il.us/2012_construction.html.

Traffic will be reduced to one lane for bridge inspections beginning Tuesday April 10 (weather permitting) at the following locations:

• Bliss Road over the Blackberry Creek—northeast of Route 47
• Dauberman Road over Welch creek—north of US 30
• West County Line Road over Union Ditch No. 3—south of Winters Road

Hultgren receives U.S. Chamber Of Commerce ‘Spirit Of Enterprise’ Award

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GENEVA—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) this week released the following statement after recently receiving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award.

“I’m honored to have received this award, given to those in Congress who have stood on the side of free enterprise and the private sector, and who have worked as I have to cut red tape, reduce spending, and shrink the federal government,” said Hultgren. “As I visit small businesses across the 14th District, I hear time and again just how important it is that we do those things, and in doing so make it easier for small businesses to hire and expand. I look forward to working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the future, as we fight for the vitality of America’s job creators.”

“Over the past year, Congressman Hultgren has worked to protect and advance the interest of America’s jobs creators,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “By supporting pro-growth policies, Congressman Hultgren is helping unleash the power of free enterprise to put our economy back on track and put Americans back to work.”

Parents matter

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Learn how to protect your children, attend drug prevention event
Kane County—The problem of heroin use and addiction in the Chicago area has gotten national attention with a record multi-million dollar seizure of heroin occurring just one year ago in Elgin. Kane County has also been spotlighted in national news stories dealing with the issue of synthetic marijuana use. Law enforcement and medical professionals are also concerned about the increased illegal use of prescription drug by our youth’s today.

These drug topics are relatively new, but no less important than talking to your kids about the use of alcohol. Many parents do not understand the scope of the problem or how to talk to their kids about it. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez and Undersheriff David Wagner, along with Lea Minalga from Hearts of Hope, a parental support group based in Geneva, and other community members will present the “Parents You Matter” education program. This program brings together a wide range of presenters, from law enforcement, prevention and treatment professionals to educators and healthcare professionals, and is designed to help parents understand, prevent and address drug and alcohol issues.

This event will be held at the Christ Community Church located at the intersection of Randall and Bolcum roads in St. Charles on Monday, April 16, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Parents do not need to RSVP. According to Perez, parents owe it to themselves—and more importantly to their children—to invest a few hours of their time to help educate themselves on this very real problem that is happening in neighborhoods all across Kane County.

This event is a separate event than the Kane County Drug Court program that has been covered recently. The fact that there are so many educational events underscores just how important this topic is and the need for parents to become educated on the topic of heroin addiction. This event offers yet another opportunity for parents to invest in their kid’s future.

Marmion senior’s Drill Solo wins big at Ohio meet

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HOLLAND, OHIO—Marmion Academy’s nationally ranked Flannigan Rifles Drill Team competed at the Springfield High School Drill Meet in Holland, Ohio, on March 3.

Senior Eddy Birth of St. Charles was awarded the first-place trophy for his performance in the Armed Exhibition Solo event. Birth performed an impressive solo routine that included two “quad” spins (four aerial rotations of a 10 pound rifle).

Junior Stuart Kofron of Batavia and sophomore Christopher Voirin of Batavia earned a second-place trophy for their Armed Exhibition Duet performance. The IDR (Infantry Drill Regulations) Platoon C, commanded by senior Brian Wulff of Batavia, earned a third-place trophy for Marmion.

At the conclusion of the meet, a Knockout Competition was held. This competition allows cadets to compete individually, showcasing their knowledge and skill in executing commands under pressure. Drill sergeants yell out commands in quick succession, and the final 10 cadets left standing receive medals. Senior Stuart Quinn of Sugar Grove won the second-place medal in the Armed Knockout competition. In the Unarmed Knockout competition, the following Marmion cadets earned medals: sophomore Jack Maley of South Elgin, second place; freshman Christian Harris of Batavia, fourth place; senior Tom Pacer of Batavia, sixth place; and sophomore J.R. Fredstrom of Yorkville, 10th place.

Elburn resident named 2012 Board of Trustees Professors

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DEKALB—Northern Illinois University recently named Elburn resident and geologist Reed Scherer as one of its three 2012 Board of Trustees Professors—an honor that recognizes international prominence in research as well as excellence in all facets of teaching.

The trio works in fields that seem far removed from each other, with historian Heidi Fehrenbach illuminating post-World War II European history, chemist Chhiu-Tsu “C.T.” Lin mixing up the chemistry for new inventions, and Scherer conducting climate research in the most remote region of the planet. These three bring uncommon creativity to their work that ignites a passion for knowledge among their students.

“The latest round of Board of Trustees Professorships confirm what colleagues and students have known all along—that Heide Fehrenbach, C.T. Lin and Reed Scherer are among the very best at what they do, not only at this university but anywhere,” NIU President John Peters said. “We’re indebted to all of them for their scholarship, tremendous work with students and service to our community.”

Established in 2007, the Board of Trustees Professorships honor faculty members who have consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching, academic leadership, scholarship or artistry, and service and outreach. Special emphasis is placed on recognizing those who have earned widespread acclaim for their work while continuing to engage students in their professional activities.

Each BOT Professorship is accompanied by a $10,000 stipend, renewable annually during a five-year term. The BOT Professorship awards will be presented during the annual Faculty Awards Ceremony and Reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in the Altgeld Auditorium.

Here’s a closer look at the local 2012 BOT Professor.

Rock star
In contemporary and geologic terms, Reed Scherer simply rocks.

The NIU geology professor—who directs the new Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy (ESE Institute)— excels at just about everything: inspirational teacher, world-renowned polar scientist, institutional innovator.

“Professor Scherer does not just teach students about science,” said Joseph Peterson, who earned his Ph.D. from NIU in 2010 and is now a geology professor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. “He teaches students how to be scientists.”

Scherer has long embraced the engaged-learning approach in all its variations, whether he is presenting a classroom comparison between the evolution of automobiles and organisms, working alongside students on dinosaur digs in the American West, or training the next generation of scientists while on Antarctic expeditions.

“One cannot fully understand geological concepts until you’ve spent time both in the lab and out in the field puzzling over an outcrop, whether in Illinois, Montana or Antarctica,” Scherer said.

Scherer’s students—undergrads and graduate students alike—have published research in prestigious scientific journals and made presentations at conferences on five continents.

Under Scherer’s direction, current Ph.D. student Jon Warnock won two separate grants, totaling more than $300,000, from the National Science Foundation to study Antarctic fossil records. Scherer also helped Warnock and Matthew Konfirst, who earned his Ph.D. last year, land opportunities to learn from world-renowned experts at prestigious summer courses and workshops in Italy, Australia and Poland. Both students chose to stay at NIU to work on their doctoral degrees because of the strength of Scherer’s research program.

“Reed encouraged me to broaden my horizons,” said Konfirst, now a postdoctoral research scientist at Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar Research Center. “He left an indelible imprint on my intellectual development.”

Scherer himself earned his Ph.D. in paleontology at Ohio State and worked at a Swedish university before being recruited to NIU in 2000. He teaches a wide range of courses to undergraduate and graduate students.

Outside the university, Scherer’s research takes him to the planet’s Polar Regions, where he is working to decipher the geologic history and ongoing changes in the ice sheets by studying fossils known as diatoms. These microscopic single-celled algae live in shallow seawater and are deposited on the ocean floor, leaving behind beautifully ornate glass-like shells that tell a detailed tale of climate change over time. Geologists need to understand the past to predict the future.

In the 1990s, Scherer was a key member of a research team that confirmed the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been unstable in the geologic past and even collapsed, raising sea levels by up to 18 feet. He and NIU colleague Ross Powell are continuing their investigations in Antarctica, where they plan to use a 28-foot-long, 2,200-pound robotic submarine to explore melting near the WAIS base.

Despite numerous international research commitments, Scherer also is a leader on campus. In recent years, he served as interim associate dean for research and graduate affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He also was a leading proponent of the Strategic Planning initiative that resulted in the popular new environmental studies major and minor, which he oversees in his role as ESE Institute director.

“Reed epitomizes the combination of internationally recognized scholarship, excellence in teaching, engagement of students and leadership service that the Board of Trustees Professorship celebrates,” said Colin Booth, geology chair. “The geology department, the college and the university are fortunate indeed to have him.”

Route 47 resurfacing project in Elburn

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ELBURN—The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that a resurfacing project on Illinois 47 from Seavey Road to just north of Welter Road in Elburn is scheduled to begin, weather permitting, on Monday, April 9.

The project 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.

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.

County Health Rankings: Kane County Ranks 8th in Illinois Up from 9th last year

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Kane County—The Third Annual County Health Rankings released Tuesday once again show that Kane County residents are some of the healthiest in Illinois.

Overall, Kane ranked eighth in the state, moving up from ninth in 2011 and 11th in 2010. The rankings show Kane with a Health Outcomes rank of 8, and a Health Factor ranking of 30, both improvements from last year.

“Even though we ranked among the best in the state, the rankings reveal areas where we can improve. This report really reinforces what we have learned over the past year in our community health assessment that we conducted with the hospitals, United Ways and the INC Board. It helps us identify those areas where we still need to do more to shape our environment to support healthy choices,” Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said.

As one of the first steps toward the Health Department’s goal of improvement, the Kane County Board of Health will consider adopting the 2012-16 Kane County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) at its meeting next Tuesday. This CHIP names four health priorities that take aim at several of the factors included in the report, including limited access to healthy foods.

In addition, Kane County has been awarded two planning grants, one from the American Public Health Association and one from Health Impact Project (a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts) that recognize the county’s efforts to integrate health in land use and transportation planning and that also support efforts to improve the county’s built environment.

“The rankings are a great way to see how our county compares to others in the state,” Kuehnert said. “We are moving in the right direction. The rankings show where we are doing well, and where we can improve so that we can achieve our vision of having the healthiest residents in Illinois by 2030.”

The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of nearly every county in all 50 states, using a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. This year’s Rankings include several new measures, such as how many fast food restaurants are in a county and levels of physical inactivity among residents. Graphs illustrating premature death trends over 10 years are new as well.

The rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org, include a snapshot of each county in Illinois and throughout the United States with a color-coded map comparing each county’s overall health ranking. Researchers used five measures to assess the level of overall health or “health outcomes” by county: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birthweight infants.

The rankings also consider factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Among the many health factors they look at: rates of adult smoking, adult obesity, excessive drinking among adults, and teenage births; the number of uninsured under age 65, availability of primary care physicians, and preventable hospital stays; rates of high school graduation, adults who have attended some college, children in poverty; community safety; limited access to healthy foods; rates of physical inactivity; and air pollution levels.

More information about the County Health Rankings and Kane County’s proposed 2012-16 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is available by visiting www.kanehealth.com.

Substance Abuse Prevention Forum 2012

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ST.CHARLES—Kane County’s Juvenile Drug Court program recognizes the growing concerns related to substance abuse and the difficulties individuals and families have accessing community resources. For that reason, the Juvenile Drug Court will sponsor the “Substance Abuse Prevention Forum 2012” on Wednesday, April 11, 7 to 9 p.m. at the St. Charles East High School’s Norris Cultural Center, 1020 Dunham Road in St. Charles.

This forum will bring together parents who have lost their children to substance abuse, substance abusers, recovering addicts, law enforcement agencies, substance abuse providers, and other community resources to provide individuals and families an opportunity to ask questions and educate themselves about the growing epidemic of substance abuse.

There will be no cost to attend the forum. Contact Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator Diana Uchiyama at (630) 444-3173 if you have any questions or need further information. A forum brochure with information is also attached for your use.

Former Elburn man pleads guilty to beating toddler

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KANE COUNTY—A former Elburn man has pleaded guilty to severely beating a toddler in a St. Charles hotel room while high on heroin in October 2010.

James C. Cooper, formerly of the 700 block of North First Street, Elburn, and most recently of the 1500 block of East Main Street, St. Charles, recently agreed with the Kane County State’s Attorney to a sentence of 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for a guilty plea to one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony.

Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon accepted the plea.

The morning of Oct. 27, 2010, in a hotel room in the 1500 block of East Main Street, St. Charles, Cooper slammed the victim face-first into the bed. The victim immediately was unresponsive, not breathing and bleeding from her mouth.

After 911 was called, Cooper fled the scene before emergency responders arrived. He was taken into custody three days later in Batavia.

Cooper acknowledged this week in court today that he was under the influence of heroin at the time of the incident.

According to Illinois law, Cooper must serve at least 85 percent of the prison term. He was given credit for at least 519 days served in the Kane County jail, where he had been held since his arrest.

In January 2011, the victim’s mother, co-defendant Cathleen A. Koch, 30, last known address of the 1500 block of East Main Street, St. Charles, was indicted on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, six counts of obstructing justice, each a Class 4 felony, and six counts of endangering the life or health of a child, each a Class A misdemeanor.

The charges against Koch are based on an allegation that she is legally responsible for the abusive acts of Cooper, her paramour.

Illinois Appellate courts have held that a person aids another person in the commission of an offense where she has an affirmative duty to act to protect her child, and chooses not to act.

Koch remains free on $10,000 bond. Her trial has been set to begin at 9 a.m. July 16, in Courtroom 319 in front of Judge Sheldon. If convicted, Koch would face a sentence of between six and 30 years in prison.

“Our office remains committed to seeking justice for the most defenseless and vulnerable in our society,” Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon said. “Certainly, each of us feels a tug at the heart when we learn of a defenseless child being beaten up by someone she should be able to trust will protect her.

“We hope that this case serves as a warning of what can happen to a person who becomes involved with illicit narcotics and violently acts out toward those around him. This defendant acknowledged today in court that he had used heroin many times in this victim’s presence. He is headed to prison, but a child suffered much greater consequences as a result of his selfish and criminal conduct.

“Thanks to the St. Charles Police Department for its thorough investigation of this case, and to Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Cullen and Debra Bree, who prosecuted this case.”

The charges against Koch are not proof of guilt. Koch is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial during which it is the state’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Health Department recognizes National Public Health Week

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SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins communities nationwide recognizing National Public Health Week, April 2-8, to raise awareness about the importance of prevention and wellness through this year’s theme, “A Healthier America Begins Today: Join the Movement.”

“Everyone has a role to play in creating healthier communities, and this year’s theme encourages all of us to start now in taking active, strategic steps to get healthy and stay healthy,” said IDPH Acting Director Dr. Arthur Kohrman. “Little steps can lead to big changes.”

The first full week of April has been observed as National Public Health Week (NPHW) since 1995, allowing communities nationwide to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health.

With nearly 1 million Americans dying every year from diseases that could be prevented, National Public Health Week will highlight five daily themes:

• Active Living and Healthy Eating—Promote healthy choices in your communities, such as bike lanes and farmer’s markets.

• Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs—Identify alcohol and drug-use disorders early to reduce high-risk alcohol and drug consumption.

• Communicable Diseases—Encourage proper hand-washing and food preparation habits.

• Reproductive and Sexual Health—Practice safe sex, encourage responsible contraception behavior and promote access to preventive health services.

• Mental and Emotional Well-Being—Refer people with signs of depression and suicidal thinking to appropriate resources and help centers.

Find the Health Department on Facebook at Facebook.com/IDPH.Illinois or follow them on Twitter @IDPH.

During National Public Health Week, which also intersects with National Minority Health Month observed every April, the IDPH Center for Minority Health Services will also host its first-ever Minority Health Conference, April 4-5, in Naperville. The Minority Health Conference will examine health disparities impacting communities of color in Illinois and work on proactive, preventative solutions for better health outcomes.

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