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Eagle Scouts in abundance in Big Rock Troop 19

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Photo: Sam Kimpan is an Eagle Scout from the Boy Scout Troop 19 in Big Rock and surrounding communities. His Eagle Scout project was to clear 1/4 mile of the Little Rock Creek, which runs through Hinckley. After the debris was cleared, the creek went down six inches, and it has fixed the flooding problem for the community it runs through. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
Big Rock—Sam Kimpan, 18-year-old Big Rock Boy Scout Troop 19 member, is the most recent in his Troop to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. According to Denise Mathewson, the troop’s committee chair, Kimpan is one of three boys who will become an Eagle Scout this year, making the Troop on target for 20 boys who have earned this rank within the past 16 years.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a rigorous endeavor. It requires progressing through the six Boy Scout ranks, earning 21 merit badges, planning, developing and leading a service project, six months in a Troop leadership position, and successfully completing the Eagle Scout Board of Review.

Because of the rigor involved, the average number of Boy Scouts who go on to earn the Eagle Scout rank is only four out of 100 Scouts. The percentage of Troop 19’s Scouts who reach that rank for just this year is about 15 percent, nearly four times the average.

“I think it has a lot to do with being a smaller, close-knit town, with a lot of parents involved,” said current Scout Leader Bill Yoder.

Mathewson said that parents within the community feel strongly about their boys’ involvement in Scouting, and there is a lot of parental devotion to organizing, planning and assisting the boys in achieving their accomplishments. Her husband Eric, an Eagle Scout himself, has coordinated the troop’s merit badge process. Sam’s father, Mike Kimpan, was Scout Master for three years until Yoder took over a year ago. Prior to becoming the Scout Master, Yoder was an assistant leader since his son, David, now 18, was in first grade.

“The Scout leaders are just such good role models,” said Donna Kimpan, Sam’s mom. “They all have jobs, but every Monday night, there they are. These guys really care about the kids.”

“And the boys have to make that commitment, too,” Yoder added.

Yoder said that when he became a leader with the Scouts, there were seven in his den, including his son, David. Of the seven, two dropped out, and three of the remaining five will become Eagle Scouts.

Yoder emphasized that Big Rock and the surrounding communities and its businesses have supported the Troop over the years, allowing the boys to do many fun things.

The Big Rock Lions Club has been the sponsor of the Troop since it began in 1989. Others contribute generously, as well, such as O. M. Fasel Greenhouse, which helps with the Troop’s spring plant sale and the wreath and evergreen sale in November. The proceeds from these sales help the Scouts earn money for camping equipment.

Yoder said the Troop tries to camp out at least once a month. In the colder months, they stay in cabins, and the rest of the year they’re in tents.

Nathan Carr, a 33-year-old former Big Rock resident, was in the first group of Cub Scouts that progressed to Boy Scout Troop 19.

“It was great as a kid,” he said. “We would go on adventures.”

Carr recalls hiking at Starved Rock State Park every year during a week-long camping trip, working on merit badges and learning things such as first aid, fire-starting, knot-tying and setting up camp.

Carr stayed in the Scouts until he was 20, two years after earning his Eagle Scout rank, when he became an assistant Scout Master with the Troop.

His Eagle Scout project created Big Rock’s annual Easter Egg Hunt, which will celebrate its 17th year this spring. The hunt draws between 200 and 300 egg-seekers, who hunt for the 2,000 to 3,000 hidden eggs. Carr still comes back for the event some years, and now he brings his girlfriend’s daughter to the event.

“It’s neat to see the next generation participating,” he said.

Kimpan said that for him, Scouting started out as just a fun activity. Then, he began to learn more and more skills, and during high school, began taking on leadership roles, planning outings and helping other boys obtain their merit badges.

The boys learn how to give first aid and CPR, how to give a speech in front of a group, about citizenship from local to global, personal fitness, as well as personal management and how to plan and handle money.

“They try to prepare you for life,” Kimpan said.

Kimpan’s project to earn his Eagle Scout rank involved clearing debris at Little Rock Creek, which had led to flooding of residents’ basements in the area.

“A couple of trees had fallen and created a log jam,” he said. “The water was a foot higher than it should have been.”

Kimpan said he had 15 to 20 Scout and community volunteers and two to three pieces of equipment during two weekends. They removed tires, metal, logs, a hot water heater, a swing set, a BBQ grill, as well as the front suspension of a car.

The idea behind the projects is to take it from start to finish, Yoder said. The boy writes up a proposal to the recipient, puts together a plan for how he will accomplish it, obtains the funding and creates a budget, recruits volunteers, leads the project, tracks the dollars received and spent, and obtains the recipient’s approval that the job was done to their satisfaction. The last step is a review in front of the Eagle Scout Board of Review.

“I believe everybody could benefit from Scouting,” Carr said. “The experiences are well worth the time invested. There’s nothing else like it for boys growing up.”

This is the creek area before the cleanup. Courtesy Photo

Thanks to Sam’s efforts, here is the area after the cleanup. Courtesy Photo

Troop 19 Eagle Scouts
Scout Name Eagle Scout
Board of Review Date

Nathaniel Carr 2/26/1997
Alexander Carr 11/13/2000
Michael Phillips 11/13/2000
Paul Drawz 4/30/2001
Jason Kazmierczak 9/3/2002
Matthew Kline 10/27/2003
Alex Kline-Wedeen 9/21/2005
Christopher Stola 5/8/2006
Michael Kline 7/11/2006
Ryan Mathewson 8/15/2006
Greg Landgren 11/14/2007
Jacob Franzen 11/27/2007
Evan Kline-Wedeen 12/11/2007
Peter Groch 3/31/2009
German Arroyo 11/17/2010
George Thompson 12/21/2011
David Yoder 2/3/2012
Samuel Kimpan 2/28/2012

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

Photo: Sarah Stark (left to right), Hanah Ritter, Kathy Morrison, Marisol Ward, Melissa Palmer, Monika Darfler, Jeff Wong, Judge Linda Abrahamson, Craig Koster. Manish Patel, Sarah Baxa, Leanne Gramley, Fernanda Hamlin, Debbie Mirandi, Charles Domagalski, Michele DuVair and Denise Crosby. (Not pictured: Sally Wiggins and Jean Woodhouse). Courtesy Photo

KANE COUNTY—Judge Linda Abrahamson presided over the swearing in of 16 new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers. These individuals completed a 40-hour training program in order to represent the best interests of children who have an open case in Juvenile Court due to abuse or neglect.
If you would like to become an advocate for children, call the CASA Kane County office at (630) 232-4484, or visit www.casakanecounty.orgto view a schedule of upcoming volunteer information meetings in March and April. Training will begin again in May.

State recognizes local communities for maintaining fluoride levels

in Elburn/Health & Wellness/Regional/Sugar Grove by

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), last week presented fluoridation awards to 432 community water systems—including Elburn and Sugar Grove—for maintaining state mandated fluoride levels every month in 2011. In addition, the village of Maple Park joined another list of honorable mentions for maintaining the mandated levels for 11 of the 12 months.

The awards were presented at a ceremony held last Wednesday during the 2012 Illinois Section American Water Works Association Conference and Expo at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

“Water fluoridation can improve overall oral health for both children and adults, and studies show water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime,” said Dr. David Miller, IDPH Division of Oral Health Chief. “We applaud those communities that maintain levels of fluoride in their water systems and encourage them to continue their efforts.”

Of those recognized: 81 systems earned a commendation for meeting state recommended fluoride levels of 0.9 to 1.2 parts per million for at least five consecutive years; 47 for at least 10 years; 79 for at least 15 years; 16 for at least 20 years, 8 for at least 25 years, and 1 for at least 30 years. Another 122 communities received honorable mentions for meeting state fluoride levels 11 of 12 months in 2011.

“Maintaining optimum fluoride levels provides an important benefit for the public. The Illinois EPA congratulates these water supply operators for all their efforts to diligently ensure fluoride levels to their respective communities,” IEPA Interim Director John J. Kim said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long acknowledged the public benefits of fluoridation of water systems. In fact, drinking fluoridated water from birth can reduce tooth decay by 40 to 65 percent. In Illinois, communities have practiced water fluoridation for more than 60 years, and fluoride continues to prove beneficial in the battle against tooth decay.

Approximately 99 percent Illinois residents served by public water systems receive the benefit of fluoridated drinking water, compared to the current national average of approximately 72 percent. Fluoride is found naturally in water, but in many communities the amount of the mineral is too low and does not meet the required standards.

Water operators will add fluoride to fulfill optimal health benefits to the communities. Of the 1,789 water supplies in Illinois, 831 systems adjust fluoride levels and another 785 have either adequate, natural fluoride or are connected to an adjusted system.

Hultgren announces Congressional Art Competition

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced the start of the 2012 Congressional Art Competition for the 14th District, where the winner’s artwork will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. for an entire year.

“The Congressional Art Competition provides me the opportunity to showcase the talent of high school student constituents and acknowledge this region’s gifted young artists,” Hultgren said. “I look forward receiving entries from students throughout the 14th Congressional District.”

The Congressional Art Competition was created in 1982, and hundreds of thousands of high school students have been able to participate at the local level over the years. Each congressional district has one winner whose artwork will go to Washington D.C., and each winner will also receive a roundtrip ticket to Washington D.C., compliments of Southwest Airlines.

Entries for the competition are now being accepted and must be submitted to Rep. Hultgren’s district office in Dixon or Geneva by Monday, April 2. The entry only needs to be framed if it is selected as the winner to be hung in the U.S. Capitol.

For any additional questions or to obtain a copy of the guidelines and student information/release forms, visit or contact Ruth Richardson at (630) 232-7104.

Local Girl Scouts to extend cookie program

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NORTHERN ILLINOIS—In appreciation of overwhelming community support during Girl Scouts’ 100th year, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois has decided to extend its local Girl Scout Cookie Booth Program.

The program was originally scheduled to end on March 18 but has been extended to April 8. The extension allows community members added opportunities to purchase cookies at area locations and helps local troops earn increased funding for exciting projects throughout the year.

Girl Scout Cookie Booths are the final phase of the Girl Scout Cookie Program and allow people to buy Girl Scout cookies through direct sales to the public. All booth locations accept cash and checks payable to Girl Scouts. All eight varieties of Girl Scout Cookies will be on sale for only $4 a box.

For more information on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, visit

Raffling relief for Southern Illinois tornado victims

in Featured/Kaneville/Regional by

Photo: A Catholic church located in Ridgway, Ill., show the damage caused by a tornado that struck Southern Illinois on Feb. 29. Courtesy Photo

Kaneville store plans raffle for Southern Illinois tornado victims
by Keith Beebe
KANEVILLE—Pat Hill’s fundraising effort for families affected by the tornado that ripped through Southern Illinois on Feb. 29 began with a collection jar on the checkout counter of her business, Hill’s Country Store in Kaneville.

The Hill family’s tornado relief effort has since grown to a full-scale raffle fundraiser, thanks to Pat’s 21-year-old daughter, Alexa.

“The donation jar was a great idea, but I felt like we should do something more and get more money, so I thought we’d have some raffles and a bake sale,” Alexa said.

The Hill family first learned of the Southern Illinois tornado relief effort from Sycamore resident Lee Newtson in early March. Newtson told Pat he planned to travel to the disaster area and meet with families whose homes were destroyed by the tornado.

The disaster also claimed the lives of seven people in Southern Illinois.

“Lee came into the store on a Monday and said he was heading down to Harrisburg that Saturday. I said, ‘Jeez, what do you need?’ and he said he was trying to collect money and gift cards to take down there where the help is needed,” Pat said. “I told him I could put out a jar and see what I get by Saturday. I collected some personal hygiene items from people and also raised about $172 before (Lee) left (for Southern Illinois).”

Newtson first learned about disaster recovery at Conley Funeral Home in 1960. He trained on Chuck Conley’s ambulance service and assisted on removals, visitations and funerals. Newtson participated in disaster recovery in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as the relief effort in Joplin, Mo., following a deadly tornado that struck the area in May 2011.

“I have been able to gain support with donations from my Grace Fellowship Church of Maple Park (and) Pastor Jim Harper,” Newtson said. “Also, the Men’s Prayer Group on Saturdays, 1960 high school class mates, doctors, dentist, friends, Pat at the Purple Store (Hill’s Country Store) and acquaintances. They have all given me money, gift cards and goods to take along on the tornado recovery missions.”

Newtson worked primarily with two families—the Wynn family of Ridgway, Ill., and the Lane family of Harrisburg—during his time in Southern Illinois. He took them out to lunch, met their children and surveyed the damage done to their respective homes. The Lanes have no insurance and currently live in the basement of their tornado-ravaged home, while the Wynns are living in a makeshift camper in their friend’s driveway.

The raffle put together by Pat and Alexa Hill will go toward the two families.

“Both of those families are having a hard time, and I thought this fundraiser would be a good event to pair with the Kaneville Fire Department’s Easter egg hunt,” Pat said. “We’ll have a table set up during the event, and my son, Tyler, will be there to help out. My goal is to send each of these families a $500 check, and we’ve raised $102 up to this point.”

Raffle tickets will be sold at the fire station, 46W536 Lovell St. in Kaneville, during the Easter egg hunt, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 31. Tickets can also be purchased at Hill’s Country Store from now until Wednesday, April 14, at 3 p.m. Raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each, or six for $5.

Pat said there are at least 10 or 15 big prizes lined up already for the raffle, including a $50 Visa gift card from Old Second Bank, a $25 gift card to Ream’s Market, a $25 gift card to Sam’s Club, a gift basket from American Bank and Trust in Elburn, a gift card to Panera Bread, a blu-ray player, and a $50 gift basket from Hill’s Country Store.

As for the actual raffle drawing, Pat believes it will take place sometime during the middle of next week.

“I am thinking it will happen April 4 or 5, so we can write the checks and mail them to the families by Easter, which is April 8,” she said.

Alexa said the purchase of just one raffle ticket can make a difference in the lives of both families.

“The pictures of the damage just looked horrible, and I can’t even imagine losing all of my stuff like (these families did). If you can come out and just buy one or two raffle tickets, you’re helping them,” she said.

From challenging beginnings to a forever home: horses find their field of dreams

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Photo:Longtime volunteer Mike Daleiden leads Jori to a pasture for an early morning turnout. Photo courtesy of FODHRA

by Lynn Meredith
BATAVIA—When Willy, a 21-year-old thoroughbred gelding, arrived at Field of Dreams (FOD) Horse Rescue nine months ago, he was severely emaciated with a dull, patchy hair coat. He had been left in an outdoor paddock all by himself and had no recent veterinary care. With the love and dedication of the all-volunteer staff and the five other horses who live there—including a 45-year-old donkey named Orlando—Willy gained a whopping 500 pounds and learned to trust that people would actually feed, groom and clean him.

Willy’s success story is everything that FOD is supposed to do. Not only was he rescued and rehabilitated, but he was also adopted out to a new owner. Along the way, the volunteers learned valuable lessons on what it means to work with and love a horse and what they can get back from the experience.

“It’s immeasurable. You can’t put words to it,” said Craig Knight, president of the non-profit headquartered in St. Charles. “Everyone does it out of love of animals and the realization that in Northern Illinois and Southwestern Wisconsin, there is a need for services. The horses come from challenged beginnings. We make sure that they are never going to have that happen to them again. We are going to respect them for the proud animals they are. We find them their forever home.”

Two shifts of volunteers work seven days a week, 365 days a year to nurture these rescued animals back to health. Annually, in the United States alone, 140,000 to 160,000 horses are produced through breeding. For various reasons, many are neglected, abused or simply unwanted. When race horses or show business horses aren’t fast enough, get injured or can’t perform at the levels required, they no longer make money for their owners. When that happens, some are prone to be neglected, put down, or shipped to Canada or Mexico and slaughtered for their meat. In other instances, people discover that horses cost a lot more money than cats and dogs and live for 30 to 40 years. They find they no longer want, or can afford to, to care for the animals.

“That’s where FOD serves a niche market in the equine business,” Knight said. “We get numerous calls of ‘Come collect my horse.’ We’d love to rescue every one, every one that we can.”

But caring for a rescued horse is not cheap. It costs $600 to care for one horse for one month. That amount includes insurance, medicines, farrier and vet services, good quality feed, and the services of a licensed waste hauler. The organization has no paid staffers and needs to raise funds to care for the horses. It holds a fundraising dinner and silent auction in the fall and other fundraisers throughout the year. In a new program called “Equine Essentials,” people who want to give money directly to the care of the horses can pay for feed and hay for all the FOD horses on a weekly, monthly or yearly schedule.

Once a horse’s physical and emotional problems are resolved, he or she is available to be adopted out. FOD takes great pains to ensure the horse will be cared for properly after the adoption.

“We want to see where they are keeping the horse, their horse knowledge and if they know what they are getting into,” Knight said. “FOD retains the right to look in on the horse after the adoption. If it is not cared for in the way they said they would, we have it in the contract that we can take back the animal. Our biggest fear is someone wants to adopt, gets in over their head and the horse ends up neglected.”

Often, as was the case of Willy, an FOD volunteer will adopt a horse and board him at the FOD stable. Right now, three horses are available for adoption: Ginger, a 27-year-old Morgan mare who has healed from injuries after a dog attack, TJ, a 7-year-old thoroughbred chestnut gelding who retired from racing due to an ankle injury, and Jori, an 8-year-old thoroughbred mare whose owners could no longer care for her.

“Adoption is a long-term commitment. It is our hope that all our horses will be adopted out,” Knight said.

FOD provides careful training in the care and safety of working around horses. Four times a year, it conducts volunteer orientation sessions to aquiant potential volunteers with the facilities and requirements of the work. Volunteers can choose to work a morning shift, which involves more physical labor, or an afternoon shift, which involves more hands-on work with the horses, and there is no minimum number of hours for volunteering.

To learn more about how to support FOD Horse Rescue by volunteering or through donation or adoption, visit or contact

Field of Dreams Equine Essentials Donation Program
Cost of care of feed and hay
for all FOD horses:

1 week: $100.25
1 month: $401
1 year: $4,812

Health Department receives grant to support Planning Cooperative

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KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department was awarded a $40,000 grant from the American Public Health Association (APHA) that will be used to further integrate a health component into Kane County’s comprehensive land-use strategies. The grant funds will be used to address the issue of chronic diseases—one of the six major health risks facing Kane County residents identified in the Community Health Improvement Plan—through the recently established Kane County Planning Cooperative.

Kane County was one of six Health Departments chosen from a competitive, nationwide field of more than 121 applicants. The project will accelerate implementation of the Kane County 2040 Master Plan and, in particular, six high priority policy recommendations. This will be done through an innovative policy implementation initiative—the Kane County Planning Cooperative—that will 1) engage and educate policymakers, planning and development staff, and members of the public in Kane County regarding the 2040 Master Plan, and 2) provide resources and technical assistance to municipalities and other public and civic organizations in Kane to adopt and implement one or more of the six high-priority policies.

“We are honored to have been chosen to receive this award,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “Our innovative policy implementation initiative—the Kane County Planning Cooperative—will engage and educate policymakers, planning and development staff, and members of the public in Kane County regarding the integrated health, transportation and land use policies in Kane’s 2040 Master Plan.”

When the 2040 Master Plan is adopted by the County Board this spring, it will guide policy decisions for the next five to eight years (through completion of the next update cycle).The plan is also intended to guide land use and transportation decisions made by other public and civic organizations—municipalities, school districts, libraries, hospitals, the forest preserve and park districts—throughout the county. Most critical are the 30 municipalities within Kane that have policy jurisdiction over nearly 90 percent of the physical space of the county. Alignment of municipal comprehensive plans, as well as the plans and policies of other Kane public and civic organizations, with the 2040 Master Plan is critical if we are to realize the population health improvements we seek.

The Kane County Planning Cooperative will be staffed by planners from three Kane departments—Development, Health and Transportation. The cooperative will address the gaps that currently exists because of reduction (or elimination) of planning staff among municipal and other public and civic partners.

The 2040 Master Plan is now in its final stages of development and is in a public comment period. County Board adoption is anticipated in the spring. The following six high-priority policy recommendations are incorporated into the 2040 Plan:

• Developing municipal bike- and walk-ability plans
• Establishing/expanding Community gardens
• Expanding smoke-free campuses
• Expanding safe routes to school plans to all nine school districts
• Achieving USDA Healthier US School Challenge standards in all nine school districts
• Instituting comprehensive, evidenced-based workplace wellness policies

Widespread implementation of the six policies will have a positive, measurable population health impact, decrease chronic disease burden and reduce health disparities in Kane County. To view a draft of the 2040 Plan please visit

Forest Preserve District plans spring prescribed burns

in Regional by

GENEVA—With the early spring-like weather, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County hopes to get a head start on the prescribed burn season.

Each spring and fall, the district conducts prescribed burns across prairies, woodlands and wetlands in an effort to improve or maintain the ecological health of a site. These carefully controlled burns release nutrients from burned plant materials, encourage seed growth, open the woodland floor to sunlight so native wildflowers and plants can flourish, and they reduce the abundance of non-native brush such as buckthorn.

“Fire is a natural and essential ingredient of healthy native ecosystems. Prescribed burns perform a house cleaning function for nature,’ said Director of Natural Resources Drew Ullberg. “Prairies are especially adapted to fire, and depend on it to maintain their unique character.”

Sites targeted for the spring burn season include portions of the following Kane County forest preserves:

Grassland/wetland areas

• Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia
• Meissner-Corron Forest Preserve in
Campton and Plato Townships
• Freeman Kame-Meagher Forest
Preserve in Rutland
• Campton Forest Preserve in Campton Hills
• Aurora West Forest Preserve in Aurora
• Mill Creek Forest Preserve in Geneva
• Bliss Woods Forest Preserve in Sugar Grove
• Johnson’s Mound Forest Preserve in Elburn
• LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles
• Lone Grove Forest Preserve in Kaneville
• Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva
• Burnidge Forest Preserve in Elgin
• Big Rock Forest Preserve in Big Rock
• Hannaford Woods/Nickels Farm Forest
Preserve in Sugar Grove
• Blackberry Maples Forest Preserve in
Blackberry Township
• Schweitzer Woods Forest Preserve
in Dundee
• Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve in
Plato Township
• Elburn Forest Preserve in Elburn

Before a burn, trained staff survey the preserve and create a detailed plan of action. They then carefully monitor the weather and wait until conditions are right, to minimize the chance of smoke blowing toward homes and roads. Staff also notify residents via mail, so that those with health concerns can avoid the smoke.

For more information on prescribed burns, contact the Forest Preserve District of Kane County at (630) 232-5980 or visit

Taking the plunge

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Jordan Leudtke (left to right), Lauren Pence, Kassidy Reever and Celena Slowick participated in the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Illinois. The event was held at Silver Springs State Park in Yorkville on March 4. The girls raised approximately $775, soliciting sponsors in exchange for jumping into the icy waters of Loon Lake at the state park. They have also participated in various year-round fundraising events for the Special Olympics. Courtesy Photo

State Attorney’s Office honors 3 employees

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KANE COUNTY—Three employees of the Kane County State Attorney’s office were honored on March 9 for their contributions to the office and their commitment to public service and law enforcement in 2011.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Niermann was named Prosecutor of the Year, and Deborah Day, supervisor of DUI, Domestic Violence and Kane Branch Court support staff, was named Employee of the Year. In addition, Assistant State’s Attorney Christina Wascher was the recipient of the Ace of Spades Award.

Niermann has been a Kane County ASA since 1995 and is the deputy chief of the office’s Civil Division. She represents Kane County on environmental issues and also represents the county in labor negotiations. She has received rulings in the county’s favor that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines being paid to the county for environmental hazard and zoning ordinance violations. Niermann takes great pride in working for a clean environment for Kane County’s residents.

In 2011, Michele served as interim chief of the civil division for the six months. She is the longest-serving ASA in the Civil Division.

Deb Day has been with the office since 2010. She joined the office as an administrative assistant in Traffic and Misdemeanor Division. Her affinity to make jobs and tasks more efficient quickly became apparent, as she found methods to turn a two-person job into a one-person job. In 2011, Deb was promoted to supervisor of support staff for the Domestic Violence, DUI, and Traffic & Misdemeanor divisions, and for Kane Branch Court.

Deb ran her own successful publishing business for more than 20 years. She then put her resourcefulness and ingenuity to work to for the people of Kane County. Her private sector background and problem-solving skills have been a great asset to this office and to the people of Kane County.

Wascher was recognized for her excellence in the courtroom as recipient of the Ace of Spades Award. The award is based on a number of factors, including the number of trials completed, the complexity of the trials completed, the willingness of the prosecutor to serve as co-counsel to other prosecutors in their trials, the steps taken to improve and develop new trial skills, and the way in which the prosecutor mentors and inspires other prosecutors to try cases.

Police blotter for March 23

in Elburn/Regional/Sugar Grove by

The following reports were obtained from local police departments. The individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Sugar Grove

• Kevin D. Patterson, 35, of the 2500 block of Westminster Lane in Aurora, was arrested on March 10 and charged with disorderly conduct for filing a false police report. Patterson had reported his truck stolen following his involvement in a single-vehicle accident the previous night.

• John W. Case, 31, of the 2700 block of Warren Boulevard in Chicago, was arrested on March 11 and issued ordinance citations for possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as a citation for speeding (77 mph in a 55 mph zone).

• Cecilia M. Mastrodomencio, 19, of the 400 block of School Street in Plano, Ill., was arrested on March 13 and issued citations for possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and speeding (60 mph in a 45 mph zone).


• Fernando Lopez-Escobar, 19, of the 200 block of Kedvale Avenue in Chicago, was taken into custody on March 9 and cited for speeding and not having a valid driver’s license.

• Christopher A. Shoemaker, 41, of the 500 block of Walnut Avenue in Maple Park, turned himself in to Maple Park Police on March 14 because a warrant was out for his arrest. As a condition of bond, Shoemaker had to report to the Elburn Police Department for processing.


• Campton Hills Police on March 15 responded to a report of a single-vehicle accident at Campton Hills Road and Ponderosa Drive.

The driver of the vehicle, James R. Jensen, 46, of the 1000 block of N. 14 th Street in Dekalb, Ill., was pronounced dead upon arrival of fire and police personnel.

Jensen’s Dodge Caravan was going west on Campton Hills Road near Ponderosa Drive and left the roadway. The vehicle traveled a short distance and struck a tree. The vehicle came to rest against the tree.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Department, St. Charles Police Department, Kane County Coroner’s Office, Kane County Office of Emergency Management, Kane County Forest Preserve Police, and the Fox River Fire Department assisted in the incident.

The crash is under investigation by the Campton Hills Police Department.

Local, state emergency management officials launch weather alert radio contest

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

SPRINGFIELD—Local and state emergency management officials this week launched a statewide contest aimed at increasing awareness and use of weather alert radios. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are sponsoring the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest, in which participants will complete an online quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The contest will be highlighted throughout March, which is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“2011 was one of the worst years for tornado deaths in the U.S. in the past 60 years,” IEMA Director Jonathon Monken said. “Fortunately, Illinois didn’t experience these terrible storms, but we never know when or where the next deadly storm could strike. Weather alert radios are a key tool for alerting people to approaching danger, day or night, and every home should have one.”

The contest is available on the Ready Illinois website (, the IESMA website ( and on many county and municipal emergency management agency websites. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. The contest runs through March 31. Winners will be announced in April.

“Through this contest, we hope to make people in Illinois more aware of the importance of weather alert radios as part of their personal preparedness kit,” IESMA President Chuck Genesio said. “Much like a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector alerts people to those dangers, weather alert radios warn people of hazards outside the home so they have time to seek shelter or take other actions to stay safe.”

IESMA purchased the weather alert radios in 2010 and 2011 as part of a program to increase emergency preparedness in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and government buildings throughout Illinois. Nearly 7,300 weather alert radios were distributed for placement in these facilities through the program, which was funded with $172,420 in federal homeland security grant funds allocated by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The 100 radios distributed as part of the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest will help Illinois residents better prepare for emergencies.

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

“Tornadoes do not just occur during the day,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “In Illinois, 30 percent of all tornadoes occur at night when it can be difficult to hear outdoor warning sirens from inside your home, especially if you are asleep. The best way to be warned about tornadoes at night is to have a weather alert radio in your home. It is like having your own personal storm siren.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding and recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. The guide also includes definitions of important weather terms, including watches, warnings and advisories and a list of items needed for a family emergency supply kit. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at or by calling (217) 785-9925.

TriCity Family Services annual benefit and auction

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BATAVIA—TriCity Family Services is hosting its 23rd annual Benefit and Auction on Saturday, April 21, at the Lincoln Inn Banquets in Batavia. The theme for this year’s event is “A Secret Garden … Open the Gate Because Teens Won’t Wait,” and it will feature extensive silent and live auctions, raffles, seated dinner, entertainment, and new this year, the Golden Heart Awards. The recipients of the awards will be recognized for their long-standing and meritorious philanthropic support of TriCity Family Services.

The inaugural Golden Heart Awards will be presented to: Tom and Ann Alexander (for an Individual or Couple), Hansen-Furnas Foundation (for a Company or Foundation) and United Methodist Church of Geneva (for a Community Group or Organization)

The Lincoln Inn Banquets is located at 1345 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia. Cocktail hour and silent auction will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., with dinner at 7:30 p.m. Cocktail attire required.

Tickets are $75 each. Tables of eight persons can be purchased for $600. Make your reservation online at or call the TriCity Family Services offices at (630) 232-1070.

TriCity Family Services would like to thank Presenting Sponsors: BMO Harris Bank, Exelon Nuclear and FONA International.

The agency is currently seeking additional sponsors and advertisers for the event program book. The agency is also seeking items for the silent and live auctions. Please contact Hallie Hudson, development associate, at (630) 232-1070 or for more information or visit

All proceeds benefit TriCity Family Services, our local leader in community-based counseling and supportive services for those in need.

‘Girls Today … Design Divas Tomorrow’

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KANE COUNTY—Did you know girls are completely aware gender barriers still persist in today’s society? According to a recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 57 percent of girl respondents agree that if they were to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering or math, they would “have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously.”

Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois (GSNI) wants to change statistics like this with “Girls Today … Design Divas Tomorrow” program, where girls discover their inner designer while creating innovative structures. Highlights include dissecting toys, developing prototypes, designing a bubble product, building a catapult and competing to see who can fling a marshmallow the farthest. Participants will also learn electrical secrets by exploring Snap Circuits™ while creating their own electronic board game and light-up bracelet. This program is funded in part by Fox Valley United Way.

The program is March 26–30, from 9:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at GSNI’s Camp Dean in Big Rock. There will be a bus pick-up/drop-off available at Thompson Middle School, 440 Boulder Hill Pass in Oswego.

The program is open to all girls in grades six through eight. There is a $25 fee, with financial assistance available. Fee includes lunches/snacks for each day, as well as all program supplies. There is an additional one-time $12 fee for non-Girl Scouts. This fee registers participants as Girl Scouts, allowing them to participate in this program, as well as many others. Registration deadline for this program is Thursday, March 1. To register, call Pam Schnecke at (847) 741-5521, ext. 7140.

Help stamp out hunger

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St. Charles—Lazarus House, a St. Charles based 501(c)(3) charitable organization, helps feed the hungry of mid-Kane County and is participating in the million dollar Feinstein Challenge during March and April.

The amount Lazarus House will earn from the challenge depends on the amount it raises from donors. All financial donations received by Lazarus House during March and April and labeled with “Feinstein Challenge” will be totaled and reported to the Feinstein Foundation. The Feinstein Foundation will give away $1 million dollars, proportionately, to participating charities.

“We are grateful to the Feinstein Foundation for this annual challenge, which gives us an opportunity to bring attention to the needy from our community,” said Liz Eakins, Lazarus House executive director. “Many people are struggling, and we are privileged to help make a difference in their lives.”

Lazarus House serves people connected to mid-Kane County who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and food insecure. For the first seven months of this fiscal year, Lazarus House has served a record night average of 67 homeless persons per day and helped an average of 61 households per month with rental assistance. People in need of shelter are encouraged to call (630) 587-2144. For rental assistance, call (630) 587-5872.

2012 Illinois Mid-Winter Bald Eagle survey results

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SPRINGFIELD—The annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Survey, coordinated by the Illinois Audubon Society, was conducted between the dates of Jan. 4 and 18.

Nationally, this effort is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The goal of the survey is to maintain the long-term, national coordination of the surveys collected, analysis of that data and reporting of the results.

The 2012 statewide surveyors counted 2,152 eagles, up slightly from the 2,108 birds counted in 2011. Surveyors noted that while milder temperatures have kept rivers free of ice, it had been cold enough to freeze most of the backwater areas. Normally, surveyors face harsh winter conditions while conducting their surveys. Routes can be treacherous due to ice and/or snow cover, high water levels and sudden snowstorms the day of the survey can impair visibility.

“We were blessed with pleasant weather and lots of bald eagles,” said surveyor Chris Krusa of the Piasa Palisades Group—Sierra Club Illinois, Glen Carbon.

A total of 44 routes are conducted each year in Illinois. Twenty-nine of those routes are located on the Mississippi River and nine on the Illinois River. Additional routes include Ohio and Wabash Rivers, Crab Orchard Lake, Horseshoe Lake Conservation Area and Carlyle Lake. The largest populations of the eagles spotted were counted along the Mississippi River (76 percent of the overall total), followed by 36 percent observed on the Illinois River and 8 percent sighted on the remaining surveys. The number of adults versus immature eagles reported on these surveys, an important indicator of recovery and survival remains at 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

Information regarding the 2012 survey and previous year’s data can be obtained by calling the Illinois Audubon Society at (217) 544-2473.

Provena Patient Renovation and Modernization Project

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AURORA—Evidence-based research suggests that appropriate visual art can have a healing effect on patients by reducing anxiety and potentially leading to less medication and shorter hospital stays.

Aurora’s Provena Mercy Medical Center is currently seeking original artwork from Illinois artists for display in the 2012 Patient Renovation and Modernization Project. With half of the patient rooms complete in January 2012, the 90-room renovation project is set for completion in fall of 2012.

Submitted artwork will be reviewed by a selection committee who will choose up to 30 works of art deemed appropriate for a healing environment. The hospital will seek donors to purchase the selected work directly from the artist for donation to the hospital. Artists are asked to submit art valued between $300-$2,500 each. In the event that no donor can be found for a selected piece of art, the artists have the option to donate the piece to Provena Mercy Medical Center, or retain the piece as part of their own collection.

Artists may submit up to five .jpg images of art no larger than two megabytes each they would like considered for this project. Artwork must be unframed and is not to exceed the maximum overall dimensions of 24” wide by 40” high. All entries must be submitted via e-mail to by Thursday, March 15.

Artwork submission forms are available on or at the Provena Mercy Medical Center Foundation office, located at 1325 North Highland Ave. in the general hospital. For more information, please call (630) 801-2663.

Artists will be notified of selection by April 15. A reception showcasing the purchased art will be held on June 15, for the artists and the donors. The art donations will be displayed with both the artist and the donor’s names listed on the plaque adjacent to it.

40 years of RVs

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Photo: Rick and Lisa Flanigan, owners of Holiday Hour RV in Cortland, stand by a pop-up camper at the business, which is celebrating its 40th year. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Holiday Hour RV survives, thrives through economic ups and downs
by Susan O’Neill
Cortland—Holiday Hour RV owners Rick and Lisa Flanigan work hard so their customers can have fun. Their motto is, “Your pleasure is our business.”

Rick’s mom and dad, Les and Shirley Flanigan, started the business in 1972 in a renovated gas station on the south side of DeKalb. Rick began working for them full-time in 1983, and three years after he and Lisa were married, she joined the business in 1990.

The Flanigans celebrate Holiday Hour’s 40th anniversary this year. They have made it through some very tough times in the economy, and are proud to have survived through it all.

“You think our economy’s tough today?” asked Rick.

A year after his dad went into the RV business, OPEC leaders placed an embargo on the sale of gasoline to the United States and other countries, leading to a shortage of gasoline and rationing at the pump.

“People were waiting in line for an hour and a half,” Rick said. “We sold (only) six campers in 1975. You start wondering, ‘what are you doing in this business?’”

Although the embargo was lifted in 1974, the effects of the energy crisis lasted throughout the 1970’s. However, in 1976, Rick’s dad Les chose that time to build a new and larger facility. He had enough confidence in the long-term future of the business that he sold his house to obtain the money.

By 1979, interest rates had skyrocketed to 21.5 percent. With the purchase of a camper dependent upon customer financing, once again, that year they sold only six campers.

After the market crashed in 2008, 2009 was Lisa and Rick’s worst year in the business. They have seen four RV manufacturers go out of business in the past three years. They cut their inventory in half and, for the first time ever, they had to lay off three employees. However, even during this difficult time, they feel they’ve done pretty well at keeping their heads above water.

“We work this business hard,” Rick said.

He and Lisa are there at the dealership every day. Their main carrier, Jayco, a family-owned and operated manufacturer of RVs, is also a long-time survivor. Jayco has been in business for 35 years.

“It’s a very well-known product,” Rick said. “It’s a company that stands out among the others.”

Rick said the secret to success in this business is to have the right product at the right time. He said that people typically buy a camper in the summertime, and only 5 percent of their business is through orders.

“They see it, they like it, they buy it,” he said. “It’s an impulse purchase.”

Rick and Lisa’s planning, however, is always a year in advance. They order the bulk of their product in October. They carry Jayco tent campers, travel trailers and fifth wheelers, as well as Puma trailers of all sizes and i-Go trailers by Evergreen. They offer service in addition to sales, and a number of their customers store their unit year-round at their location.

He and Lisa have raised three children during the past 25 years, and Rick said they all help out with the big shows they attend. They have also gone camping together every chance they could over the years.

“There’s just some things in this country you can’t see from an airplane,” Rick said. “In the last 40 years, we’ve been all over the country. You can stop when you want, do what you want when you want.”

A Holiday Hour tire cover comes with every order, so it is easy to recognize a customer. Rick said they have run into them at campsites all over the country. They also camp together with their customers the last weekend of every month from April through October.

Rick and Lisa will host two events this year to celebrate their 40th anniversary. An open house and sale weekend is set for March 29 to April 1. Then, in September, they will hold a camping weekend at the Millbrook Yogi Bear Campground for their current customers. Back Country Roads will provide the music, and they’ll serve a pork chop dinner on Saturday and a pancake breakfast on Sunday. There will be Bingo, prizes and give-aways. Registration forms will be mailed by July.

Holiday Hour RV

Rick and Lisa Flanigan, owners
350 W. Lincoln Highway
Route 38 between
Cortland and DeKalb
(815) 756-9438

Upcoming events
to celebrate 40th anniversary

Open House and Sale Weekend
March 29-April 1

Current customer camping weekend
Sept. 21-23

Expansion of Stuart Sports Complex to begin in spring

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MONTGOMERY—In continuing to keep pace with community growth and the accompanying demand for more athletic fields, the Fox Valley Park District will begin expansion of Stuart Sports Complex this spring.

On Monday, the Montgomery Village Board gave final approval for the plan, paving the way for four new ball fields with lights and 11 new soccer fields to be built. The expansion covers 135 acres at the south end between the current park border and Base Line Road (Route 30).

Community leaders worked closely with various consultants and representatives from local athletic organizations to formulate an expansion plan that would best meet the needs of residents.

“This project is a great example of how communities benefit when public agencies collaborate to work together in the best interests of their residents,” said Nancy McCaul, Fox Valley Park District Executive Director. “The intergovernmental cooperation between the Park District and the Village of Montgomery allowed us to develop a plan that will be implemented quickly and create an even better athletic facility for our communities.”

Of the 11 full-size soccer fields, five would be designated as “flex” fields to be used for a variety of activities. Other highlights of the master plan include:
• A permanent restroom and concession structure near the ball fields and associated parking.
• A 280-vehicle parking lot and drop-off aisle to serve the ball fields and soccer at the northeast area of the site.
• A 320-vehicle parking lot and drop-off aisle to serve the eight soccer/flex fields at the southern area of the site.
• Asphalt paths, primarily around the ball fields.
• Native plantings in areas of storm water management/bioswale areas.
• A 15-acre dog park with a 30-vehicle parking lot.

Stuart Sports Complex currently features 25 full-size soccer fields and four baseball diamonds. A master plan for the expansion was developed following a detailed study by Market and Feasibility Advisors (MFA) to ascertain present athletic field demand. In summary, MFA concluded that within the next five years the District’s athletic field demand can support the addition of four flexible baseball/softball fields and up to 14 soccer fields.

“This master plan will allow the district to address this demand in an efficient and safe manner that provides high-quality athletic fields suitable for extensive in-house league play, affiliate use and potential tournaments,” said Jeff Palmquist, director of planning, development and grants.

The inter-governmental agreement will have far-reaching benefits, said Montgomery Village Manager Anne Marie Gaura.

“This is going to be a huge development for the village and our residents and it’s going to be an economic development driver for the whole area out west of Orchard Road,” said Gaura.

The project is a major component to the District’s 2008 Open Space, Park and Recreation Investment (OSPRI) plan that allocates $8.6 million toward the expansion of the Stuart Sports Complex. Bidding for the project is expected in May, with a bulk of construction work to take place this season and completion by 2013. However, athletic field use will not be available until 2014 to allow turf areas time to grow.

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