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Regional - page 21

Hansen-Furnas Foundation scholarships deadline approaches

in Kaneland/Regional by

Batavia—The Hansen-Furnas Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit, charitable organization, announces the scholarship applications for the 2012-13 school year are now available. The application deadline for college and university undergraduate scholarships is March 1 of each year. Prospective students living within a 12-mile radius of Batavia are eligible to apply.

Criteria for granting scholarship awards are based primarily on financial need and academic scholarship. Character references, the quality of the applicant’s letter of intent, and work experience are also considered to ensure successful selections. The general undergraduate scholarships offer payment toward tuition and fees for students pursuing studies at any accredited college or university. The William Carlyle Furnas Scholarship, Leto M. Furnas Scholarship, Robert Buckner Scholarship and Doris L. Nary Nursing Scholarship are granted to one individual each year. All applications must be United States citizens and students must re-apply for a scholarship each year.

Hansen-Furnas Foundation Inc.
General Undergraduate Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to individuals planning to enroll, or enrolled, as undergraduate students. These awards offer a maximum of $3,000 per year.

William Carlyle Furnas
Undergraduate Scholarship

This full-tuition scholarship is awarded to a student planning to enroll, or enrolled at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.

Leto M. Furnas Graduate
Scholarship for Women

This scholarship is awarded to a woman planning to enroll, or currently enrolled in, a post-graduate degree. This tuition award is a maximum of $5,000 per grant.

Doris L. Nary RN to BSN
Completion Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to an RN attending college to complete a BSN. Applicants must also be currently employed at Delnor, Mercy or Copley hospitals. The amount of this award is $5,000 per grant.

William Carlyle Furnas and Hansen-Furnas Foundation Scholarship applications are now available in your local area high school guidance counselor’s office. In addition, all scholarship applications (new, renewal, graduate, nursing) are available outside the foundation office at 28 S. Water St., Suite 310, Batavia. If you have any questions, please call (630) 761-1390. Deadline for receipt of all applications is March 1.

Arnold and Mildred Erickson Scholarship deadline nears

in Kaneland/Regional by

Sycamore—The Arnold and Mildred Erickson Charitable Foundation, Inc., administered by The National Bank and Trust Company of Sycamore, is now accepting applications for the 2012-13 academic year. The foundation provides scholarships for individuals attending Waubonsee Community College and also for those attending a four-year college or university.

The Arnold and Mildred Erickson Undergraduate Scholarship is available to graduates of Kaneland High School or Burlington Central High School who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a duly accredited four-year college or university.

The foundation was created by Mildred Erickson in order to further her charitable interest in Elburn and the surrounding area. Since the foundation’s inception in 1997, a total of $959,400 in scholarships has been awarded.

Further information regarding scholarship eligibility and application forms are available through the high school guidance office at Kaneland and Central high schools, the Financial Aid Office at Waubonsee Community College. Applications and information are also available at the banks’ website, www.nabatco.com under Trust/Wealth Management/Scholarship Applications.

All application materials must reach The National Bank and Trust Company of Sycamore no later than March 1 prior to the academic year in which aid is being requested.

Scholarships for children of veterans

in Kaneland/Regional by

AURORA—Children of Illinois veterans, who are enrolled or have been accepted to any University of Illinois campus (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield), can now apply for the “Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver,” according to state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora). The completed applications must be returned by March 1.

“The U of I ‘Children of Veterans Tuition Waiver’ is a great way to recognize not only the sacrifice of our military veterans, but also the sacrifices that their families make,” Lauzen said. “With the price of higher education continuing to rise, students need to take advantage of all available assistance.”

The waiver covers the cost of tuition for four consecutive years. The waiver is available to any natural or adopted child of a veteran who served in World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Conflict, Southeast Asia Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom. One tuition waiver per war/conflict per county will be awarded.

“It is important for all eligible students to act on this opportunity before March 1st,” Lauzen said. “A maximum of six waivers per county will be awarded, so there will be a great deal of competition for the waivers.”

For more information on the Children of Veterans Tuition Waivers, call (630) 264-2334 or visit http://www.osfa.uiuc.edu/aid/scholarships/waivers_COV.html.

‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’

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IEMA encourages participation in Great Central U.S. ShakeOut Feb. 7
SPRINGFIELD—More than 152,000 Illinois residents have already registered to participate in a multi-state earthquake drill, and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is encouraging even more groups and individuals to join in the second annual “Great Central U.S. ShakeOut” on Feb. 7.

“With the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones located in Southern Illinois, it’s important for people to know how to stay safe if a major earthquake occurs,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut will be the perfect opportunity for families, businesses, schools and other groups to practice the ‘Drop, Cover and Hold On’ protective actions they should take during an earthquake.”

Monken explained that the slogan “Drop, Cover and Hold On” reminds people to “drop” down to the floor, take “cover” under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and “hold on” to the furniture item and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.

More than 1.2 million people in nine states currently are registered to participate in the Shakeout drill, which will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 7. Last April, more than 250,000 Illinois residents participated in the first ShakeOut drill in the Central U.S.

Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus. Registered participants will receive additional information about the drill and earthquake preparedness.

“The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut” drill is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC), which includes members from states impacted by the New Madrid Seismic Zone. Other partners include state and local emergency management agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Citizen Corps, U.S. Geological Survey, the American Red Cross and other public and private entities.

Besides Illinois, other states participating in the drill include Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Additional information about the earthquake risk in Illinois and steps to take before, during and after an earthquake is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

IDOT, ISP, Illinois Tollway encourage motorists to prepare for winter driving condition

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

CHICAGO—Illinois transportation and law enforcement officials urged motorists to prepare for winter driving conditions. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois Tollway and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are working together to ensure the state’s frontline winter crews and emergency equipment are available to respond to possible inclement weather and make travel safer and easier on Illinois’ highways, tollways and major roads.

“We want all motorists to be aware of winter road conditions and encourage drivers to slow down, buckle up and cooperate with snow plows,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. “IDOT winter crews remain prepared to clear state roadways as needed, but we also ask motorists to take the necessary steps to help ensure their personal safety as well.”

State agencies encouraged defensive driving in winter weather, and offered tips on how motorists can help transportation and law enforcement workers road ensure safety.

“We have been preparing for this winter season for many months and are ready to put our plans into action, now that the first major snowfall is on its way,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “While Tollway crews work to clear snow and ice from our roadways, we ask that our customers drive carefully and give snowplow drivers room to do their job safely and effectively.”

In addition, ISP has coordinated road safety plans with the Illinois Tollway and IDOT to ensure traffic enforcement priorities include safe driving, safe roads and safe access for all citizens during the winter months.

“Winter driving conditions can be hazardous on first responders and motorists. We are reminding the motoring public that when accidents occur and conditions are extreme, (those who are) exchanging insurance and driver information are advised to keep motorists safe and roads clear, unless medical attention is required,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau.

Motorists can file accident reports at the nearest State Police District within seven business days.

To help keep state routes clear and passable, IDOT has more than 400,000 tons of salt, 3,600 employees and 1,700 pieces of equipment prepared for deployment to cover over 43,000 lane miles statewide. The Illinois Tollway also has more than 80,000 tons of salt, 41,000 gallons of anti-icing materials and 7,000 tons of roadway abrasives, as well as more than 400 employees, and its full fleet of 183 snowplows prepared for the 286-mile system of roads serving 12 counties in Northern Illinois.

In addition, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) recently kicked off its annual Preparedness Campaign. Helpful information on severe winter weather and disaster preparedness is available on the Ready Illinois website, www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Winter weather travel
safety tips include:

• Watch out for black ice roads that appear clear but can be treacherous. Take it slow when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges and shady areas—all are prone to black ice.
• Always keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to help prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing.
• Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to make a trip, check the forecast and make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
• Always carry an emergency car care kit that contains jumper cables, flares or reflectors, windshield washer fluid, a small ice scraper, traction material, blankets, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
• Carry a cell phone and always wear a safety belt.
• Dress warmly for the weather—layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in anticipation of unexpected winter weather emergencies.
• Make sure someone is aware of your travel route.
• Clear snow and ice from all windows, mirrors and lights on your vehicle before you drive. Blowing snow can significantly diminish visibility. Clearing all snow before you begin driving assures maximum vision of your surroundings and assists in reducing ice and snow buildup as you drive.
• Adjust speed to road conditions and traffic around you. Reducing speed during inclement weather conditions increases your ability to respond to the unexpected.
• Increase the interval between your vehicle and the one in front of you. By creating more distance between your vehicle and others, you decrease your chances of a collision, because stopping distances increase as pavement conditions deteriorate.
• Avoid unnecessary lane changes. During heavy snowstorms, slush and packed snow build up in the area between traffic lanes. Abrupt or frequent lane changes may cause your vehicle to slide on the buildup and spin out of control.
• Keep away from snowplows. Should you encounter snowplows, the safest choice is to keep back and let them do their job. They travel at a speed of approximately 30 mph, so traffic delays should be expected. During periods of extremely heavy snow, Illinois Tollway snowplows will work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once.
• Do not use the shoulder of the road to pass a snowplow. Some snowplows are equipped with wing plows that extend to the left or right of the vehicle. While these wings allow for more efficient removal of snow, they are nearly invisible to passing motorists due to blowing snow. De-icing materials spread from the rear of the truck may also be a distraction to motorists attempting to pass.
• Reduce speed in cash lanes at toll plazas. Drivers paying cash at mainline toll plazas or traveling on ramps should adjust their speed on approach during snow and ice storms.
• Watch for lane designations on approach to the toll plaza; switching lanes close to the toll plaza is unsafe, especially during winter weather.
• Call *999 for Tollway road assistance. Should you encounter car trouble and require roadway assistance, try to move your car to a safe position on the shoulder or in an untraveled area. Report stranded vehicles by dialing *999 from a cellular phone.
• Stay in your vehicle; H.E.L.P. is on the way. During continued periods of extremely cold weather, the Illinois Tollway operates a “Zero Patrol” to supplement the Illinois State Police District 15 and the Tollway’s Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (H.E.L.P.) vehicles. These patrols enable workers to cover the entire 286-mile Tollway system 24 hours per day when temperatures and wind chills are at or below zero. Stay in your vehicle—it’s the safest place to be if you are stranded.
• The Illinois Tollway operates a toll-free telephone line to keep customers up to date about weather conditions on its roadways. Customers can call 1-800-TOLL-FYI (1-800-865- 5394) to get recorded information that is updated every two hours or as conditions require during winter storms.
• The Tollway’s Traffic and Incident Management System (TIMS) provides real-time travel times via the Illinois Tollway’s website www.illinoistollway.com.

January is National Radon Awareness Month

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Healthy Places Coalition is urging homeowners to have their homes tested for the presence of this odorless, tasteless and colorless gas as part of National Radon Awareness Month.

Radon is a radioactive gas, estimated to cause as many as 20,000 deaths from lung cancer each year throughout the United States. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today, following tobacco use. Kane County is designated by the USEPA as an area with a high potential of exceeding the recommended level of radon gas in homes. Test results for homes in Kane County have found that 27 percent of tested homes exceed the recommended limit for radon gas, which is 4 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air). Test results from some areas within Kane County commonly exceed this level.

Testing is the only way to know if you and your family are at risk from radon. The EPA and the Surgeon General recommend testing all homes below the third floor for radon. Testing is inexpensive and easy—it should only take a few minutes of your time. Millions of Americans have already tested their homes for radon. Do-it-yourself test kits are cheap ($15 to $30) and can be purchased at hardware stores, home improvement stores and online. These kits are cost effective and easy ways to screen your home. Professional testing services are also available. To find a professional in your area, visit www.radon.illinois.gov and click on “List of licensed measurement professionals.”

More information about National Radon Awareness Month is available by visiting the U.S. EPA radon website at www.epa.gov/radon. To learn more about the new radon law in Illinois, visit the IEMA radon website at www.radon.illinois.gov.

Veterinarian accepts post with Animal Control

in Regional by

Kane County—Dr. Kimberly Rudloff, DVM, accepted an offer of employment as Kane County’s new Veterinarian/Administrator for the Kane County Animal Control Department. Dr. Rudloff will begin her duties on Monday, Feb. 6, at an annual salary of $88,000.

“Dr. Rudloff is a caring and compassionate veterinary professional and a solid clinician, administrator and businesswoman with a consistent record of success,” said Paul Kuehnert, Executive Director Kane County Health Department. “Based on her personal attributes, professional qualifications and past experiences, I fully expect her to excel as Kane County’s Veterinarian/Administrator.”

Dr. Rudloff’s selection was the result of a recruitment process that began immediately after the Kane County Board passed Resolution 11-358, authorizing the hiring freeze exemption and approving the new job description. A national search was undertaken with ads in veterinary and public health professional journals and newsletters, as well as both print and online advertising in the Chicago metropolitan area. This resulted in the receipt of 110 applications, seven of which met the qualifications for the position. Six of the 7 qualified applicants were residents of the Chicago area, submitted their applications within a few weeks of the advertisements, and were interviewed.

Dr. Rudloff has been in practice since 1991. She obtained both her undergraduate degree (animal sciences) and her doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Ohio State University. Following graduation, she completed a one-year internship in emergency medicine and critical care. In addition to her years of clinical experience in both general and emergency veterinary medicine, Dr. Rudloff has served in professional teaching, clinical research, consulting, and administrative roles.

As the Assistant Director of Membership and Field Services for the American Veterinary Medical Association, she coordinated efforts to design and implement employment and housing programs for veterinarians and animal care technicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In her most recent position, she developed, established and now directs the veterinary technology and veterinary assistance programs for Sanford Brown College in Hillside, Ill.

Down the drain?

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Sugar Grove ends Mallard Point drainage negotiations
by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—The solution to the drainage problems in the Mallard Point and Rolling Oaks subdivisions in Sugar Grove just became more complex.

Two months after the Village Board approved four resolutions for improvements and an extension of the drainage system in the two subdivisions, Village President Sean Michels announced on Jan. 4 that the village was walking away from a deal with the Rob Roy Drainage District No. 2 and three land owners (one of which is the family of Sugar Grove Police Chief Brad Sauer) to allow for the installation of a pipe—18 inches in diameter and 8,800 feet long—that would convey water from the subdivisions to the Drainage District ditch located near Jericho Road and Route 30.

The landowners were involved in the deal because the pipe would have to travel through their property to reach the Drainage District’s concrete ditch. The Sauer family owns the largest of the three properties.

The cost of the project was estimated at $1.7 million, with Kane County slated to kick in $171,000 toward that cost. The Drainage District, during the last 17 months, has spent in excess of $100,000 in engineering and legal fees related to the project, according to Drainage District President Mike Fagel.

“The position of the village is that we’ve reached the end of our negotiations. We negotiated with the Sauers and the Rob Roy Drainage District and could not come to terms,” Michels said. “Therefore, the village is moving on to look for other alternatives to rectify the situation and help out the residents with their drainage issue.”

Michels, who has been village president since 1999, cited control of drain tile (after installation), price of easement and wetlands as reasons why the village chose to end negotiations.

“The big (reasons) are (with) the Sauers. With Rob Roy, it was the permitting process and some of the fees that they were requesting,” he said. “We had been negotiating since May with Rob Roy and since August with the Sauers, and in late December when we received final proposals (from them), that was when the village made the decision to move in another direction.”

According to Fagel, the Drainage District on Dec. 26 agreed to waive the $18,000 connection fee. The district maintained that the village should pay for engineering costs, with a $10,000 cap.

“The permit process protects all of us, but we do not want to stand in the way of this project,” Fagel said.

Mallard Point resident Jim Stone spoke during public comment at the Village Board meeting on Jan. 17, stating his frustration over the fact that the village didn’t send out a hard-copy letter to notify residents of its intention to cease negotiations with the Sauer family and the Drainage District. Instead, the village sent out e-mails to Mallard Point residents who had signed up to receive electronic notices from the village.

Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said during the meeting that the e-mail-only notification was “maybe an oversight.”

“The fact that they pulled out of the agreement … that’s just pathetic,” Stone later said. “My basement is in horrible shape (because of flooding), and so are a lot of other basements in this subdivision.”

Mallard Point drainage concerns
documented 20 years ago

A letter from attorney Bruce A. Brown, representing Rob Roy Drainage District, to attorney Leonard Stoecker, dated July 21, 1992, states, “The drainage district is obviously concerned that the proposed development could unduly burden the downstream landowners and the drainage district system. In view with past contracts with this developer, we are also concerned that this project may be an ‘on again, off again’ proposition.

Brown urged the Village Board to reconsider their position on the project in light of the “drainage problems in (the) plan.”

A document from former village engineer/administrator Joe Wywrot to the Plan Commission, dated Feb. 10, 1995, states, “Based on wetland requirements, a number of lots in Mallard Point “are not buildable. The plat should indicate that the wetland in the area is to be mitigated if that is (the) intention.”

According to Fagel, developers in 1993 installed Mallard Point Unit 1 detention pond without the inclusion of a bypass pipe to reconnect a damaged drain tile at the location. A document dated April 7, 1998, from then-Village Engineer Brian L. Schiber states, “As a reminder, we are still awaiting the completion of the drain tile replacement around the wetlands.”

So, why wasn’t the bypass tile ever installed? According to Sugar Grove Township Supervisor Dan Nagel, an effort to install the pipe resulted in workers digging into running sand, which halted the project for good.

Kane County take
facilitator role in talks

In spring 2009 Kane County began serving as facilitator among all three negotiating sides in the deal to fix the drainage issue once and for all. Board representative Drew Frasz (Dist. 26-Elburn), the point man during these talks, said the board has a relationship with both the village and Drainage District, and wants to see the flooding issue through to the end.

“(The negotiations) have been a continual forward movement in a positive direction. It’s been slower than I would’ve liked to see it, but that’s just the necessity of getting all the facts down and engineering right,” he said. “Our goal was to communicate with all parties, find out what’s important to them and what they can bend on.”

Frasz said the 800-pound gorilla in the room during negotiations was the fact that, even if the three sides found a solution to the drainage issue, there wasn’t a funding mechanism to make it happen. Kane County then acquired a stimulus fund (otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act) of approximately $16,800,000 in fall 2009.

“Chairman (Karen) McConnaughay proposed that we make this funding available to any governmental agency in Kane County, to be used on drainage- and water-related projects,” Frasz said. “The Mallard Point issue was the impetus for that idea and, of course, the prime project that we wanted to fund with that money.”

Fagel said Kane County has been a true partner to the Drainage District in these negotiations.

“The County Board Chair, County Board member Drew Frasz and the Water Resources department have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with us in the investigation, solution, financing and potential resolution (of the drainage issue),” he said.

As part of the deal, the Drainage District was slated to receive a $330,000 loan out of recovery bonds from the county.

“Those bonds have to be paid back, but it’s long term, low interest,” Frasz said.

If the drainage project is completed, Mallard Point residents will pay 50 percent of the project’s cost over 20 years.

The Sauer family was set to receive $275,000 from the village for the easement. Frasz said that during the negotiations, the village did not express a concern with the dollar amount.

According to Frasz, Sauer himself owns a small parcel of wetland on the north end of his family’s property and is willing to donate that land to the village as part of the easement deal.

Sauer said that he did not want to directly comment on the negotiations.

Letters from the Sauer family and Rob Roy Drainage District, including a cover letter from Kane County, were delivered to Village Hall on Tuesday. All three letters urged the village to reconsider its stance and re-enter negotiations with the other two sides.

“It’s entirely up to the village to decide if they want to move forward (with negotiations). As far as (Kane) County’s position, I’ve made it clear all along that the county is not ready or willing to give up on this project or the residents, whether they are in the municipality or in the unincorporated areas,” Frasz said. “We want to get the project done and we want to get it done this year. It’s really the village’s call … we ask them to look at the current situation, which is greatly improved, and reconsider jumping back into this thing with both feet.”

IDNR reminds snowmobile operators to practice safety

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Additional opportunities to take safety courses in 2012
SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding snowmobile operators and riders to take extra caution this year when the snow begins to fall in Illinois.

Every year throughout the state, people are seriously injured or lose their lives on snowmobiles. Many of these accidents could have been prevented had proper precautions been taken and common sense been used.

In most instances, being alert, knowing the trail, and traveling at a reasonable rate of speed for trail conditions can prevent most accidents. In North America, more than 50 percent of snowmobile fatalities involve intoxicated operators.

Last season (2010-11) in Illinois, 47 reported snowmobile accidents resulted in 1 fatality.

“Snowmobiling is a fun activity for thousands of people in Illinois each year, but that fun can be quickly eclipsed if safety isn’t the top priority,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “If you are planning to snowmobile this season but haven’t yet taken a safety course, there are new opportunities to do so in 2012.”

Starting in 2012, two new online snowmobile safety courses will be available the public to become familiar with safe sledding practices or to refresh themselves on staying safe. Individuals will be able to earn legal safety certification through either www.snowmobilecourse.com or www.snowmobile-ed.com. Both companies charge a fee of $29.50 to complete their course.

While IDNR encourages everyone to take a snowmobile safety class before their first ride of the season, state law requires that persons at least 12 years of age and less than 16 years must have in possession a valid Snowmobile Safety Education Certificate of Competency issued by IDNR in order to operate a snowmobile alone.

The IDNR continues to offer free traditional classroom safety classes though most have taken place for this season.

Current snowmobile safety education courses require students attend an eight-hour class where certified instructors teach basic safety principles, maintenance, operation, winter survival, regulations and a proper attitude of respect for the student’s fellow person and the environment.

Basic safety tips for safe snowmobiling:
• Know your equipment and make sure that equipment is in proper working order.

• Wear sensible, protective clothing designed for snowmobiling, such as a full-size helmet, goggles or face shield to prevent injuries from twigs, stones, ice chips and flying debris.

• Avoid wearing long scarves. They may get caught in moving parts of the snowmobile.

• Know the terrain you are going to ride. If unfamiliar to you, ask someone who has traveled over it before. Be aware of trails or portions of trails that may be closed.

• Drowning is one cause of snowmobile fatalities. When not familiar with the thickness of the ice or water currents, avoid these areas.

• Know the weather forecast and especially the ice and snow conditions in the area.

• Always use the buddy system. Never ride alone or unaccompanied.

• Travel at a reasonable rate of speed for your visibility conditions.

Reminder to riders and hikers: A minimum of 4 inches of snow cover must be present for
snowmobile use on state-managed property. Call ahead to site offices to get the latest snow conditions and trail closures at individual sites. Ignoring these closures can result in a minimum $75 fine and possible arrest. For a list of site offices please visit the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/.

Agency on Aging seeks volunteer for advisory council

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Kane County—The Agency on Aging of Northeastern Illinois is seeking a Kane County resident or person employed in Kane County to represent the county on its Advisory Council. The position is for the remainder of an unexpired term, and the appointee may then serve a full three-year term.

The primary qualifications required for this volunteer position are a sincere interest in benefiting senior citizens and a desire to make the public aware of the services available to seniors. Interested people should contact Dawn Simon at the agency by Friday, Jan. 27, at P.O. Box 809, Kankakee, IL 60901, or by phone at (815) 939-0727 or 1-800-528-2000.

The Area Agency on Aging of Northeastern Illinois is a nonprofit organization responsible for developing and coordinating a network of services for older persons throughout an eight-county area in northeastern Illinois.

The agency informs and advises public and private agencies and the general public of the needs of older persons living in the area, and acts as an advocate on their behalf. The agency serves DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Other information about the agency and other topics of interest to the elderly and links to other resources are available at the agency’s website, www.ageguide.org.

Start your adventure training now

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Three-city adventure race chooses Aurora area
Regional—The land and water trails of the Aurora area were key in determining the location of an inaugural adventure race planned for the region on May 27.

The three-city series of hybrid-style adventure races will draw participants and spectators to challenge and push their overall adventure racing skills and fortitude.

The local race is stage 2 of the three-stage series and will span from Batavia to North Aurora to Aurora on May 27. The first race will be held in late April in Beloit, Wis., and the final leg of the series will be in Rockford, Ill., on a date still to be determined.

Each six-hour race features paddle, mountain biking and urban obstacle components and are designed to include water, land trails and parks with obstacle components at the end. A portion of proceeds will support local community initiatives aimed to strengthen and encourage outdoor pursuits.

According to the United States Adventure Racing Association, adventure racing is sweeping the nation at a phenomenal rate. Adventure racing is one of the few sports where just completing a race is often considered a victory.

There will be four main competitive categories that individuals and teams can compete in—Amateur, Team, Youth and Pro. There are a number of adventure race training series and clinics planned leading up to the different races that will be announced soon.

Paddle and Trail, the sponsor of the series, is currently seeking people interested in helping in any way with the races, and is also planning on developing a race committee in each city. For further information, call (608) 931-6895 or e-mail therese@paddleandtrail.com.

Local Senator’s son serves on USS Kidd

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Served on ship that rescued Iranian fishing boat from suspected pirates
AURORA—As widely reported on Jan. 6, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Kidd rescued an Iranian fishing boat that had been commandeered by suspected pirates just days after Tehran warned the United States to keep its warships out of the Persian Gulf.

U.S. Navy Ensign Hans Lauzen of Aurora is serving as Combat Electronics Officer on the USS Kidd on his first deployment, after graduating and being commissioned at the University of Southern California in May 2011.

American forces flying off the guided-missile destroyer responded to a distress call from the Iranian vessel, the Al Molai, which had been held captive for more than 40 days, the U.S. Navy said Friday. The Kidd was sailing in the Arabian Sea, after leaving the Persian Gulf, when it came to the sailors’ aid.

A U.S. Navy team boarded the ship last Thursday and detained 15 suspected Somali pirates. They had been holding the 13-member Iranian crew hostage and were using the boat as a “mother ship” for pirating operations in the Persian Gulf.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “This is an incredible story … a great story,” explaining that the very same American ships that Iran protested for recently traveling through the Strait of Hormuz were responsible for the Iranian vessel’s recovery.

The episode occurred after a week of hostile rhetoric from Iranian leaders, including a statement by Iran’s Army chief that American vessels are no longer welcome in the Gulf. Iran also warned that it could block the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway that carries to market much of the oil pumped in the Middle East.

Nulan said the Navy had made a “humanitarian gesture” in rescuing and taking the Iranians on board, feeding them, and ensuring that they were in good health before setting them safely on their way.

Ensign Hans Lauzen is the son of Illinois State Senator (R-25) Chris Lauzen and his wife Sarah, of Aurora.

Going green

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Solar power system now operational at Midwest Groundcovers
St. Charles—Midwest Groundcovers’ 99-acre nursery in St. Charles now utilizes 37.5 kilowatts (kW) of solar energy.

Realgy LLC, an alternative energy service supplier in Illinois, owns the solar photovoltaic (PV) system now installed at Midwest’s headquarters. As part of Realgy’s commitment to generating local renewable energy, Realgy funded the project and hand-picked Midwest Groundcovers as a test-site for the installation.

“We are excited to announce the completion of the Midwest Groundcovers solar project,” says Michael Vrtis, president of Realgy. “Realgy made this investment as a trial and looks forward to Illinois promoting renewable energy so we can continue to install and provide the benefits of renewable energy to businesses in Illinois.”

Renewable Energy Alternatives of Northbrook, Ill., installed the solar PV system on the roof of Midwest’s maintenance building.

“Midwest Groundcovers’ facility is a beautiful nursery and agricultural center. We are excited to contribute to the use of solar energy for Midwest to generate electricity,” said Renewable Energy President Bernie Schmidt of the installation.”

The Midwest Groundcovers solar PV system will produce over 48,430 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually and more than one million kWh over the next 25 years. This is enough energy to power approximately 13 average U.S. homes each year. The environmental benefits associated with the system will offset nearly 900,000 pounds of carbon dioxide over the initial 25 years of operation.

Gary Knosher, president of Midwest Groundcovers, is enthusiastic about the project.

“All of our products use solar energy since we are a plant nursery,” Knosher said. “Adding the ability to generate clean solar energy to satisfy some of our annual electricity requirements is really exciting and builds on our sustainable commitment. This is why our vice president, Stan Schumacher, initially pursued the project for us.”

“At Midwest, we have always considered ourselves responsible stewards of the environment, and the solar panel initiative naturally aligns with our company’s sustainable practices,” said Schumacher.

Midwest Groundcovers hosted an official Turn-On Ceremony for the solar PV system on Monday. Numerous green industry leaders and community representatives attended.

Renewable Energy Alternatives installs products manufactured to conserve, save and produce clean energy. For more information about this organization, please contact Andrew Patellaro at (847) 291-7693 or visit Renewable Energy on the web at www.renewableenergyalt.com.

Realgy LLC is an alternative energy service supplier providing natural gas and electricity to commercial and residential consumers in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Visit their website at www.realgyenergyservices.com or contact Michael Vrtis at (860) 233-2270.

Midwest Groundcovers LLC is an industry leader in the propagation, growth and wholesale distribution of quality container nursery stock. The company operates over 300 acres of state-of-the-art nursery production facilities at five locations in St. Charles, Virgil, and Glenn, Mich.

Visit Midwest Groundcovers LLC on the web at www.midwestgroundcovers.com. For more information about this project or to obtain photographs of the event, please contact Jill Bondi at (847) 742-1790.

County Board votes for settlement with AFSCME

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Kane County—The Kane County Board voted Tuesday to authorize an agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3966 concerning the 45 Health Department union employees who were laid off Nov. 8, 2010. The agreement includes a monetary payout and an extension of recall rights to three years, up from one year.

“This closes a difficult chapter in the history of the Kane County Health Department,” said Paul Kuehnert, Health Department executive director. “I feel this is a fair settlement for both sides. I look forward to working together with AFSCME, and our staff represented by AFSCME, as we continue to provide the essential services of public health to Kane residents.”

Each of the 45 union employees will receive $500, plus an amount that would have been received for 16 days of work and in short-term sick day accrual benefits had those employees remained actively employed through Nov. 30, 2010. In addition, the affected employees will be eligible to be recalled for employment for up to three years. This is an increase from the one-year recall included in the standard union contract.

The 2010 layoffs were brought about by a reorganization of the Health Department due to declining revenues from state programs administered by Kane County. The reorganization saw the transfer of a set of individual health services, such as mother-baby case management, to the three Federally Qualified Health Centers serving Kane County.

“Despite all the dire predictions about people falling through the cracks, the FQHCs have proved their ability to provide these important services,” Kuehnert stated. “This is a good example of responsible reorganization of local government in partnership with private community agencies, assuring that the Health Department can continue to provide the vital services of protecting and promoting the health of our entire community.”

Folk and fame

in Kaneland/Kaneville/Regional by

The Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival kicked off the new season with Lee Murdock’s Hometown Concert. The event took place on Saturday at the Kaneland High School auditorium. Murdock (left) had a special guest, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician Jim Post. Photo by Patti Wilk

Pet massage, swimming rolled into one

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Ron Hanik combines both in nearby A+ Pet Massage and Swimming
Oswego—Ron Hanik of A+ Pet Massage and Swimming now offers canine massage and swimming in two convenient locations and economically-priced at 23 Washington Street in Oswego and 743 Edgewood in Wood Dale.

Hanik is a licensed massage therapist, certified in pet massage from the Pet Massage Institute and dog training from the Animal Behavior College. He also holds his MSW degree as a clinical social worker.

Loving pets and having acquired a dog with behavior problems, Hanik became interested in solving the problem of his dog and others. He began studying dog training and pet massage, traveling the dog agility circuit for two years. Ultimately he linked the two specialties, eventually adding the pool to the mix and opening first his Wood Dale location and, more recently, his Oswego location.

Swimming, providing non weight-bearing exercise increases muscle tone, aids in recovering from surgery and alleviates arthritic pain. According to Hanik, “Some dogs, when put in the water, are not able to kick with their back legs. But there are points in the paws that stimulate this ability and soon an immobile dog is working his back legs.”

Dogs are fitted with a life vest before entering the 82-84 degree pool that is equipped with a resting platform. Swimming is alternated with massage right in the pool.

Dogs come to Hanik for fun swims and exercise as well as therapy. Hanik performs massage on cats as well. His massage techniques help alleviate common ailments in dogs and cats and result in reduced joint pain, increased flexibility, alleviated internal organ problems and reduced emotional problems.

According to Hanik, “Swimming is the best play activity for your dog because of its low impact nature. It can be done through the dog’s entire life span.”

The greatest reward for Hanik is seeing the smiles on the faces of the owners as their pets improve.

Forest preserve district reminds snowmobilers to be safe, sober on the trails

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Geneva—With winter officially here and snow sure to follow, the Kane County Forest Preserve District released a statement reminding snowmobilers to stay safe and follow the law.

“Snowmobiling is great exercise that brings people outdoors to interact with nature and each other. It is great for stress release and good mental health,” said Forest Preserve Officer Rick Splittgerber. “But it’s so important to be safe, use common sense, and follow all laws while riding.”

Splittgerber suggests the following safety tips before every trip:

• Point your snowmobile in a safe direction.
• Check the steering system. Does it move easily?
• Check the throttle. Does it move easily? Press in and release. Make sure it is not frozen in the “on” position.
• Check the brakes. Do they stick or bind?
• Check the headlights and taillights. Do they both work?
• Check the fuel level. Is it enough for the return trip?
• Check the oil injection. Is the oil well full?
• Check the emergency stop switch. Does it work?
• Is the track clear of snow and ice?
• Are you dressed properly?
• Always tell someone where you are going and approximately when you expect to be back.
• Never go alone. Always use the buddy system. Your life may depend on it.

In additional to regular trail signage, this year, “You drink, you ride, you lose” signs have been posted along the trail. The district said it hopes the signs will discourage riders from being under the influence of alcohol while operating a snowmobile.

Trails are patrolled by the Forest Preserve District police, the Kane County Mounted Rangers, and the Snowmobile Safety Patrol.

In the Kane County forest preserves, snowmobiling is only allowed on trails marked specifically for this purpose, including:

• Campton Forest Preserve (on internal, marked trails only)
• Great Western Trail (west of Wasco, only)
• Hampshire Forest Preserve (on internal trails only)
• Snowmobiling is also allowed for transit only through the following:
• Burlington Prairie Forest Preserve (transit through preserve only on marked trail)
• Glenwood Park Forest Preserve (on the Batavia Branch of the Illinois Prairie Path)
• Rutland Forest Preserve (parking only)
• Muirhead Springs Forest Preserve (transit through preserve only on marked trail)

There must be 4 inches of snow, and the ground must be frozen. Snowmobiling hours are sunrise to sunset, except on the Great Western Trail, west of Wasco, where it is permitted from sunrise to 11 p.m. The speed limit in all preserves and on all trails is 15 mph, except the Great Western Trail west of Wasco, where it is 35 mph. Riders must stay on trails as marked.

The district also wants riders to be aware of recent changes made to the Illinois Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act, in April 2011. Snowmobiles must now be covered by liability insurance (unless riders stay exclusively on private property not denoted as a snowmobile trail). Proof of insurance is required. Additionally, non-Illinois residents are required to purchase a yearly snowmobile trail use sticker, if the vehicle is not registered in Illinois.

For more information on snowmobiling in the Kane County forest preserves, visit kaneforest.com/publications/brochures/winterActivities.pdf.

New motor vehicle laws enforced by Illinois police

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Springfield—Beginning Jan. 1, Illinois State Police (ISP) began enforcing new motor vehicle laws that passed in 2011, as the push to decrease traffic fatalities remains a top priority for law enforcement officials across Illinois.

The ISP’s most common traffic violations—speeding, DUI, seat belts, and distracted driving—remain a top priority for ISP troopers to enforce, and will be further enhanced with new laws that took effect at the beginning of the year.

“Traffic fatalities are under 1,000 for the third straight year, but one traffic fatality is one too many,” said ISP Director Hiram Grau. “Although there are many factors that contribute to the reduction of traffic crash fatalities, it is no coincidence that seat belt compliance in Illinois has increased, as the number of fatalities has decreased.”

Grau also pointed to the fact that public safety partnerships and awareness campaigns also contribute to the compliance level of motorists and passengers.

The ISP continues to support safety education programs and initiatives, which have had a direct impact on public safety and have reduced the number of traffic crash fatalities on Illinois roadways. As of Dec. 29, 2011, preliminary data indicated Illinois had experienced 821 traffic crash fatalities in 2011, which are 26 fatalities less than the same time period in 2010.

Seat belts for all occupants
Illinois State Police will enforce a new seat belt law that requires all passengers of a motor vehicle to be properly restrained when the vehicle is operated on a street or highway.

The previous legislation only required the front seat driver, passenger, and passengers under the age of 19 to wear a seat belt. The new legislation requires all passengers traveling inside a vehicle to be properly restrained. The new law does not apply to back seat taxicab passengers, authorized emergency vehicles or those issued a medical exemption.

Enforcement of federal motor carrier
safety administration regulation

This new regulation prohibits the use of a hand-held mobile device by anyone driving a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). The regulation also prohibits motor carriers from requiring drivers to use a hand-held device while operating a CMV on a highway. The only exceptions are when the mobile device is being used with a hands-free application, when the CMV is pulled over and completely stopped at a safe location, or when a CMV driver is requesting emergency police or fire services.

Since the inception of distracted driving laws in 2010, the Illinois State Police has issued over 19,540 citations and written warnings to distracted drivers. Commercial motor vehicle operators account for 2.5 percent of the citations and warnings issued.

A mobile telephone is considered a mobile communication device that falls under or uses any commercial mobile radio service as defined by the Federal Communications Commission. The definition does not include two-way or Citizens Band (CB) radio services.

Truck speed limits
This new law took effect on Jan. 3 and increases the speed limit for second division vehicles traveling on four-lane highways where the speed limit is 65 miles per hour.

The legislation removes the split speed limit provision for second division vehicles with gross weights of 8,001 pounds (or more) operated on a four-lane highway outside the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will. The previous law restricted second division vehicles to a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour.

FitMama invites public to grand opening, ribbon cutting

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La Fox—FitMama is inviting women to bring their families and their resolutions to the FitMama grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. 1 p.m. at 1N254 LaFox Road, Unit E, in downtown La Fox. Ribbon-cutting will take place at 10 a.m. Refreshments will be served and raffles will be offered, as well as a chance to meet the team of 16 Founding FitMamas.

Founder Erin Schaefer started FitMama Bootcamp in Elburn in May 2011 with a half-dozen local moms in a park in her neighborhood, and within months, FitMama grew by word of mouth to nearly 50 women. This prompted a recent expansion into the new indoor facility located in downtown LaFox. FitMama offers a variety of classes in addition to the bootcamp sessions, including yoga, pilates, Zumba and kickboxing. Childcare is also available for morning sessions for a small additional fee.

Since losing nearly 100 pounds with the help of a personal trainer, Erin has competed in nine triathlons (even one running barefoot) and a half marathon and is always eager to set further goals, including training for an Ironman 70.3 in 2012.

Erin is an NCSF Board Certified Personal Trainer with over 1,000 hours of training experience training women and men ranging in age from 15 to 75. She has experience with performance enhancement training for athletes, nutrition consultations, and is also a Power Plate specialist and is AED/CPR certified.

Erin is unlike any other trainer because of her ability to relate to clients who aren’t as fitness-focused as others. Her passion for training shows through in her vast knowledge of function and movement of the musculoskeletal system, how these are affected by past lifestyle habits and other factors, and the best methods for changing these for the greatest outcome.

A mother of two young children, she always emphasizes the importance of setting time aside for yourself to stay healthy and fit.

“I make my children the reason I workout, not the excuse not to,” she said.

For more information, contact Erin at erin@iamafitmama.com or (630) 337-6001 or visit IAmAFitMama.com.

New electronic products disposal law in effect

in Elburn/Regional by

by Lynn Meredith
ELBURN—Did you get a new TV for Christmas? Are you ready to throw out the old computer? You will have to find other ways to get rid of these outdated products, according to a new law.

Effective Jan. 1, a new phase of the Electronic Products Recyling and Reuse Act went into effect. It establishes a landfill ban on 17 electronic products. Things like TVs, monitors, electronic keyboards, cable receivers and printers will no longer be collected with the regular trash.

At the regular Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Trustee Jeff Walter raised the question about how to get rid of electronic products if Waste Management could no longer pick them up.

According to the law, electronics must now be taken to a registered recycler where they will be disposed of in a way that does not waste the valuable resources of our landfills and potentially contaminate groundwater, as under the old system of dumping in landfills.

The village is checking with Waste Management to see if other arrangements are available, perhaps for a fee. Otherwise, Kane County has three locations that routinely collect electronic equipment. With the economy the way it is, people might be willing to reuse.

“You can probably put it out at the trash, and these days, somebody will take it,” Dave Anderson said.

For more information, visit www.countyofkane.org under R for Recycling or contact Jennifer Jarland, Kane County’s Recycling Coordinator at recycle@countyofkane.org or (630) 208-3841.

Drop-off locations to recycle electronics in Kane County
Kane County monthly electronics and book recycling collection event:
540 S. Randall Road,
St. Charles
(630) 208-3841
2nd Saturday of each month,
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Batavia Public Works Department electronics drop-off
200 N. Raddant Road, Batavia
(630) 454-2310
Monday through Friday,
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ReStore Electronics recycling drop-off
800 N State Street,
(847) 742-9905
Wed-Fri, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sat, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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