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October events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

GENEVA—The LivingWell Cancer Resource Center announces several upcoming events to increase awareness and to help raise funds for the center during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October:

Bunco for Breast Cancer Awareness will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m., St. Patrick’s Church, 6N487 Crane Road in St. Charles. Donation is $20 for three rounds of Bunco, appetizers, refreshments, gift bags and door prizes. To register, contact Victoria Naughton at (630) 338-8027 or e-mail vlnaughton@stpatrickparish.org.

A 5K run will be held at Marmion Academy on Sunday Oct. 23, with registration at 8 a.m. and the run beginning at 9 a.m. Marmion will sell pink T-shirts and bracelets throughout the month to raise funds for LivingWell. For more information, call Crystal Krueger at (630) 327-7865, on Facebook at marmioncadetsbreastcancerawareness or e-mail Nadine at ncg1966@yahoo.com.

The Arcada Theater in St. Charles presents “Tooty’s Corner, The Stage Play” on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. This is a one-time show about a group of boys and their families growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s. Part of the proceeds will be donated to LivingWell. Tickets can be purchased by calling (630) 965-1000 or e-mail info@tootyscorner.com. For more information, go to www.tootyscorner.com.

Kimmer’s Ice Cream Shop, 1 W. Illinois St., St. Charles, will host a “Girls Night Out” on Thursday, Oct. 28, featuring different vendors for makeup, and other accessories, with a table set up in the shop and lots of fun things to see. Ten percent of the event will support LivingWell. For the entire month of October, 10 percent of Kimmer’s receipts will be donated to LivingWell on their four “Pink” flavors of ice cream. Call Kim at (630) 762-9480.

Steel Beam Theatre fundraiser: The Kane County Scaregrounds

in Regional by

ST. CHARLES—St. Charles native R.J. Ogren, one of the original management artists in charge of creative control at Walt Disney World in the ‘70s and ‘80s, is the lead designer of Steel Beam Theatre’s 2011 fundraiser, The Kane County Scaregrounds, a 4,000- square-foot haunted house in 3-D, which opens at the Kane County Fairgrounds on Friday, Oct. 7, and runs weekends through Sunday, Oct. 30.

Hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 11 p.m., and Sundays, 7 to 10 p. m. (closed Oct. 22). Tickets are $13, with a $15 Fast Pass (no wait) also available at www.KCScaregrounds.com and www.SteelBeamTheatre.com, or at the door. The Kane County Scaregrounds is recommended for ages 13 and up. Younger children will be admit- ted with an adult. Parking is free.

Kane County Farm Bureau receives national award for hunger relief effort

in Regional by

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Farm Bureau’s Harvest for ALL hunger relief effort was recently selected by the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) to receive one of just six Summit Awards for 2011.

The Summit Awards are the highest honor bestowed upon an organization in ASAE’s Pow- er of A Awards. The Power of A is an aware- ness campaign launched by ASAE to educate and inform policymakers in Washington and other outside audiences about the wealth of resources and expertise in the association com- munity.

ASAE recognized the value the effort has in building a stronger community. Since Harvest for ALL started in April 2009, donors have con- tributed and pledged over $50,000 to area food pantries. Twenty area food pantries and the Northern Illinois Food Bank have been chosen to receive crop proceeds, cash, vegetables, eggs and other in-kind donations.

“The generosity shown by local farmers and Farm Bureau members is impressive,” KCFB President Joe White said. “I don’t think anyone really expected the program to do this well, and it’s really a testimony to the strength of our asso- ciation and the support of our members.”

A formal award presentation by ASAE will occur at the National Building Museum in Wash- ington, D.C. in October, where the successes of the Harvest for ALL program over the past two-and-a-half years will be shared with asso- ciation executives, government officials and business and community leaders in attendance.

White said representatives from Kane Coun- ty Farm Bureau will accept the award on behalf of all the Harvest for ALL donors who are help- ing combat hunger in their communities.

“These programs exemplify the best efforts of associations committed to making a mean- ingful contribution to society,” said John H. Ganoe, CAE, Association Management Group, Inc., chair of The Power of A Awards Judging Committee. “They illustrate in a substantive, tangible way the dedication of association pro- fessionals and association members across the country and around the world who strive to help others and build a stronger America and a bet- ter world. We are honored to present these six organizations with the highest award offered in the association community.”

Visit www.kanecfb.com to view a video about Harvest for ALL and to download a par- ticipation form.

Family turns heartache to helping hands

in Maple Park/Regional by

Photo: Part of the Pumpkins for a Cure team at Kuipers’ Farm getting ready to load pumpkins. Steve Rambo (left to right), Paul Zellmer, Mary Agnes, Judy Col- lignon and Sue Coari. Photo by John DiDonna

by Susan O’Neill

GENEVA—Mary Agnes and Paul Zellmer’s son, Jim Zellmer, developed Type 1 diabetes when he was just 6 years old. When he came home after six days in the hospital, he realized that this was not like the time his brother had his tonsils removed. This disease would be with him the rest of his life, and he would have to take shots every day for the rest of his life.

“Mommy, fix this,” he said.

Mary’s heart went out to her son. She knew she couldn’t make the diabetes go away. But she could do something that would help him— and the rest of the family—feel that they had some measure of control.

Paul’s parents, Iowa farmers, offered to donate a crop of pumpkins and gourds to raise money that would go to help find a cure for dia- betes. The following fall, they made $2,000 sell- ing the pumpkins and gourds on their front lawn in the Mill Creek Subdivision in Geneva.

“Everybody was so generous,” Mary said.

Seven years later, Pumpkins for a Cure is a two-day event held in front of the Kane Coun- ty Court House in Geneva. The Zellmers sell pumpkins and gourds and late-blooming mums. This year, they are ordering 11 tons of pump- kins, and there will also be specialty pumpkins available. People pay whatever amount they want.

There are all kinds of children’s activities, including a children’s raffle, a craft table, face painting, music by Jeanie B and more. Haunt- ed hay rides, a professional pumpkin carver, fall gardening and decorating tips by Master Gardener Debbie Notaro, a pet costume con- test, free hot dogs and a performance by the Jesse White Tumblers make it a whole day of fun while people contribute to a good cause.

New this year is an event called Taste for a Cure. Held in front of the Little Traveler, seven Fox Valley restaurants will serve a sample of their best desserts containing pumpkin. People may purchase $5 tickets from Mary before the event, which entitles them to taste three desserts. Tickets the day of the event are $10.

“The price is affordable,” Mary said. “A family of four can come for $20.”

Individuals can vote for their favorite in the people’s choice category, and there will also be an award for the most creative dessert. A professional panel of judges, including head judge and All Chocolate Kitchen owner Alain Roby, will determine the best dessert.

The Zellmers have created their own not- for-profit organization, the Zellmer Childhood Disease Foundation, which supports education and research projects related to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of juvenile diabetes and other chronic childhood diseases.

The organizations that receive the money include the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

During the past seven years, they have raised $250,000.

“People really do care and they really want to help,” Mary said. “The women who come, I think they are grateful that they have healthy children, and this is their way of showing that gratitude.”

The foundation uses the money to fund grants for specific research, including a current project at the University of Illinois at Chicago to develop a newer, more advanced insulin treatment.

In addition to raising money for diabetes research and education, the family has also funded over 100 scholarships to send children with diabetes to a diabetes camp sponsored by the American Diabetes Association. Jim and his younger brother Joe volunteered as junior counselors this year at one of the camps.

The children do everything that normal campers would do, except that the staff are all nurses and doctors who volunteer their time each year to provide campers with a safe camp experience. They also teach the children how to recognize when their blood sugar is low and how to give themselves their own shots.

Jim and Joe (who does not have diabetes) both attended the camp when they were younger, and they loved it so much that they wanted to give back what they feel they received.

Mary said that having a son with diabetes and all of the activities they have become involved with has been a life-changing experience for the entire family. She said it has been a great lesson in how Jim and the rest of them really can change their own destiny.

 

PUMPKINS

FOR A CURE 2011

Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kane County Courthouse 100 S. Third St., Geneva

Pumpkins, gourds, fall mums and all kinds of free activities

All proceeds go to the Zellmer Childhood Disease Foundation

To purchase advance tickets for Taste for a Cure, call Mary Zellmer at (630) 479-8116 www.pumpkinsforacure.org

Rep. Hatcher to run for re-election

in Regional by

YORKVILLE—State Representative Kay Hatcher announced she will seek re-election to the General Assembly serving the 50th District, which serves approximately 600 square miles in Kendall, Kane and LaSalle counties. Hatcher is serving her sec- ond term in a district that will have new boundaries.

“Once every 10 years, legislative bound- ary lines are re-drawn to reflect changing demographics of every district in Illinois,” Hatcher said. “It’s a great honor to have the opportunity to serve the 180,000 residents in the current 50th District through January 2013. This area is the fastest growing in our state, and will be impacted by legal guide- lines that mandate a state representative serve a population closer to 105,000.”

The new legislative boundaries, currently under legal review, create a 50th District that is about one-third the size of the exist- ing district.

“The new boundaries retain the heart of the current district, uniting Kendall and Kane counties into a compact map,” she said.

Food for the needy

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Aurora University cross country team members recently packed 18,615 dry meals at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. Anna Perkowski (from left) of River Grove; Matt Winterowd of Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Allie Furman of St. Charles; Drew Schmitt of Batavia; and Olivia Crump of Indianapolis, Ind. Coach Ryan Chapman said the meals packed will feed 51 children for a year. Other local student-athletes volunteering were: Ashley Mayer of Hampshire; Melissa Babos of Aurora; and Erin Cinto of Sugar Grove.

Courtesy Photo

Kane County Sheriff’s Office looking for citizen of the year

in Regional by

ST. CHARLES—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez is accepting nominations for the Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award.

This award was created in memory of Roscoe Ebey, who was murdered in his Aurora Township home in 2007. Ebey was a decorated World War II military veteran and a popular member of his neighborhood. It was only fitting that the first recipient was Leslie Fleming, whose selfless actions led to the capture of the person who was charged in Ebey’s murder. Perez encourages members of the community to recognize those who go the extra mile to look out for their neighbors.

Anyone wishing to nominate someone should send their nominations via e-mail to dawnbarsanti@co.kane.il.us or mail to Kane County Sheriff’s Office 37W755, Route 38, Suite A, St. Charles IL 60175. Nominations will be taken until Oct. 15, and the award will be presented in November.

Nominate someone for the TriCity Family Services’ Award

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

GENEVA—Is there someone that you know who deserves to be recognized for their dedication to the community? Consider nominating them for TriCity Family Services’ 27th annual William D. Barth Award. Established in 1985, the Barth Award recognizes one individual who has made a significant and positive impact through community service in the central Kane County area.

There are just a few weeks left to turn in a nomination, as all nominations must be submitted in writing by Friday, Sept. 30. A William D. Barth Award Nomination Form is available, but not required, if equivalent information is submitted. A nomination form and a list of prior awardees is available on the TriCity Family Services website, www.tricityfamilyservices.org.

The award will be presented at the annual Barth Award Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Riverside Reception and Conference Center in Geneva.

Nominees must be individuals whose investment in the community, and concern for those living here, is shown by an ongoing involvement in community life. The award recipient will exemplify the legacy of William D. Barth, a founder of TriCity Family Services and a dedicated community leader.

Send nominations to Miranda Barfuss, TriCity Family Services, 1120 Randall Ct., Geneva, IL 60134. Via fax, send to (630) 232-1471 and via e-mail, send to mbarfuss@tricityfamilyservices.org. For more information, call (630) 232-1070.

Open house features alpacas & fiber art

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: 7-year old Ty Vaughan enjoys a sunny day with Peaches, a one-day-old alpaca, born
at Waldron’s farm. Ty’s mother, Linda, volunteers her time at the farm. Photos by Susan O’Neill

Waldron Grove Alpacas
Farm Open House
Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 24-25,
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
39W856 McDonald Road, Elgin
No admission fee
Felt and fiber demonstrations
Alpaca fiber art and alpacas available for
purchase.

by Susan O’Neill
ELGIN—Alpaca baby Peaches made her entrance into the world at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16. She emerged nose first; then one leg poked out. Susan Waldron was glad she had taken those neonatal classes when she realized that Peaches needed help to get her other leg free. Several minutes of gentle maneuvering and lots of KY jelly later, the second leg appeared along with the rest of her face.

Peaches’ mother Tootsie took over from there. Peaches arrived, intact and healthy, and soon her long neck was rotating to the left and right as she took in her new surroundings. She stretched out her long, spindly legs in an attempt to stand up.

Susan carried the tiny alpaca into a stall and dried her off a bit to keep her from getting a chill. Then she stepped out to give the mom and her baby time to bond. Tootsie welcomed her newborn baby, nuzzling her and making little clicking noises. The birthing was a success.

Peaches and Tootsie are among the 36 alpacas that will be at the Waldron Grove Alpaca Farm Open House this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25.

Visitors will see the alpacas in their own environment, and several fiber artists will have their artwork for sale, as well as hand-dyed yarn and roving—fleece that has been cleaned and combed. The artists each have at least one alpaca that boards at the Waldron’s farm, and they use the fleece in their fiber art.

Sugar Grove resident Jo Armstrong, whose art includes woven wall hangings and clothing, processes her own alpaca’s fleeces from washing to spinning. She will demonstrate her spinning techniques. LuAnn Toberg and Anita Riemer make knitting and needle felting kits for creating bracelets with the fleeces. Linda Vaughan, who volunteers her time to help Susan care for the animals, is a potter. Her work, which consists of functional pottery, will be on sale at the open house, as well. Waldron’s work includes tapestries, originally designed clothing and accessories, also for purchase.

Felt and fiber demonstrations will take place throughout the day, and some of the alpacas are also for sale.

Susan said that she and her husband Ron always look forward to sharing their alpaca experience with others. When she and Ron retired, they first began going to alpaca shows just for fun. Susan said they saw people their own age raising alpacas, and their imaginations began to take off.

After about a year of seminars and additional research, the couple sold their house in Wayne in 2003, bought an old farmhouse on five acres in rural Elgin and purchased their first alpaca.

“It started as a hobby,” Susan said.

Susan and Ron soon became enamoured of their new adventure. They began researching blood lines, and purchased Suri alpacas for breeding. They entered their animals in Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA)-sanctioned shows throughout the Midwest, as well as the AOBA nationals in Louisville, where they won ribbons for the conformation of the alpacas, as well as for the luster and fineness of their fleeces. They are now considered premier Suri alpaca breeders in Illinois.

“The ribbons gave us credibility,” Susan said.

Susan began creating fiber art in 2005, after taking a seminar at the Fine Line in St. Charles. She started by making tapestries, and currently creates clothing such as jackets, scarves and purses.

Susan currently divides her time between caring for the animals, creating her art and teaching others. She sells her work to galleries, as well as clothing stores, both locally and in other states, as well.

“I feel very blessed,” she said. “I used to work to keep Cheerios on the table; now I get to do what I want.”

Hultgren accepts Military Academy Applications

in Regional by

GENEVA—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) is accepting nomination applications from young men and women interested in attending one of the United States military academies for summer 2012 admission.

“My staff and I are eager to provide information and assist with nominations to the military academies,” he said.

To be eligible for appointment, you must be a United States citizen; at least 17 and not more than 23 years of age on July 1, 2012; unmarried; not pregnant; have no dependents; good moral character; and a legal resident of the 14th Congressional District of Illinois. Average acceptable ACT scores are 24 in both math and English.

Applications are accepted for the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo.; U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.; and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.

For more information, contact Carol Berger at (630) 232-7104 or send an e-mail to carol.berger@mail.house.gov. The completed congressional application must be received by Nov. 2, 2011. Candidates must also complete the individual academy applications online and meet the required deadlines.

Flu shots fight new form this year

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

SPRINGFIELD—Influenza vaccine is now at local health departments, pharmacies and health care facilities around the state. The Illinois Department of Public Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends people get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Dr. Damon T. Arnold of the Illinois Department of Public Health said vaccines take about two weeks to provide protection.

“Even if you received a flu shot last year, it is important to be vaccinated every year, because the effectiveness of the vaccine declines over the course of a year after vaccination,” he said.

The annual influenza vaccine includes three virus strains and typically one, or all three strains, change from year to year.

To be protected, children, ages six months through eight years, need two doses of influenza vaccine during their first flu season. However, if children in this age group received at least one dose of vaccine last year, they will only need one dose this year because the vaccine has not changed. This year is an exception.

“Every flu season is different and people are affected by the flu differently. Even healthy children and adults can become very sick from the flu,” IDPH Immunization Section Chief Karen McMahon said.

There is a new type of flu shot this year called Fluzone Intradermal, which injects a smaller amount of vaccine just under the skin, as opposed to the regular flu shot, which injects the vaccine into the muscle. For adults who don’t like needles, the intradermal vaccine is given using a needle that is 90 percent smaller than a regular flu shot needle. Fluzone is only recommended for adults, ages 18-64 years. The influenza vaccine is also available in a nasal spray. None of the three forms of vaccine causes influenza.

It is not too early to get your flu shot. You can be vaccinated in September and be protected throughout the entire flu season. The season typically runs from October through May, with the peak in January.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other contagious diseases, it is always important to practice the 3 C’s:
• Clean—properly wash your hands frequently
• Cover—cover your cough and sneeze
• Contain—contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

For more information, log onto www.idph.state.il.us/flu/index.htm.

Senior matchmaker enhances lives

in Featured/Health & Wellness/Regional by

Photo: Marilyn Bawauah visits a few hours each week and watches “Let’s Make a Deal” with 87-year-old Mrs. Lewis. Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski

by Sandy Kaczmarski
KANE COUNTY—A senior companion program that pairs up volunteers and seniors with the goal of enhancing their lives is expanding throughout southern Kane County.

“(The program) enhances a senior’s life by having them want to get up in the morning with something to look forward to,” Program Coordinator Norma Turner said. “We also ourselves are enlightened by what we do with them.”

Turner said she’s made a lot of new friends since starting the program earlier this year. A first grade teacher for 35 years in Yorkville, Turner was offered this position last December while working as a receptionist at an assisted living facility in Yorkville.

“I thoroughly loved the seniors,” she said.

Now she spends time playing a sort of matchmaker to partner the right volunteer with the right senior. Volunteers are thoroughly screened and can just visit with a senior for a short time or take them to doctor appointments or out shopping.

Seniors looking for a companion must be 60 or older, but volunteers can be as young as 18. The program is offered by Senior Services Associates, Inc. in Aurora through a grant it received.

Marilyn Bawuah of Aurora worked at Asbury Gardens, an assisted living facility in Aurora, as a cook for eight years and found that she, too, liked working with seniors.

“I got in touch with Norma through Senior Services and started volunteering,” she said.

She now spends a few hours a week visiting with Mrs. Lewis, as she prefers to be called.

“When she came through that door, I fell in love with her and she fell in love with me,” Mrs. Lewis said. “That’s the way we started.”

And Mrs. Lewis isn’t shy at all about telling her age.

“I am 87 years old. I don’t mind tellin’ nobody,” she said. “If the Lord let me live this long, I can tell it anywhere I go.”

Bawauh said the first time they got together, they just sat and talked about their families.

“She got me watching this ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’” Bawauh said. “She likes to watch that.”

Margarita Bonifaz, 74, loves to write songs and sing with her companion, Theresa Valez. When Turner first paired them up, she wasn’t even aware they were both from Puerto Rico.

“I’m certainly excited about this program,” Turner said.

Turner said she’s found that when seniors don’t just “sit around and stare at the four walls, they’re happy.”

“They have something to look forward to,” she said. “That is truly why I do the job, and why I love this program.”

The program is always looking for more seniors who would like some friendship and for volunteers who want to spend some time helping others. Anyone interested in either should call Norma Turner at (630) 897-4035 to find out how to sign up.

Senior Services Associates, Inc. serves Kane, Kendall and McHenry counties. Visit their website for more information at seniorservicesassoc.org.

Rep. Hatcher announces Foxy Readers Summer Reading Club graduates

in Elburn/Maple Park/Regional by

YORKVILLE—State Representative Kay Hatcher has announced the Class of 2011 graduates of her popular Foxy Readers Summer Reading Club. The club features area students who pledge to continue reading during their summer vacation.

Graduates and their families will be honored at a special reception Saturday, Sept. 17, at 1:30 p.m. at the Plano Public Library. Local Foxy Reader award winners include: Nicole Loske, Tyler Rhodes, Caitlyn Schedin and Yuki Tanizaki, Jake Voss and Alyssa Voss all of Elburn; and Hailey Parisek of Maple Park.

For additional information about this and other community programs Rep. Hatcher sponsors, contact her legislative office at (630) 553-3223 or at info@kayhatcher.us.

Candidates switch seats in election bids

in Elections/Regional by

Redistricting creates 6 degrees of separation between area officials
by Sandy Kaczmarski
KANE COUNTY—After serving nearly 20 years in the Illinois State Senate, Chris Lauzen announced he’s running for Kane County Board Chairman. The current board chairman, Karen McConnaughay, announced she’s running for the newly created Illinois Senate District 33.

Blackberry Township Supervisor Dave Richmond announced he’s running for Lauzen’s District 25 senate seat. Kevin Bacon, the object of the six degrees of separation concept, isn’t running, but Geneva’s mayor Kevin Burns is – against Lauzen for Board Chairman.

And Jim Oberweis, who’s won a primary but never an office, is throwing his proverbial hat in the ring for a bid at Lauzen’s seat.

What voters are left with is a sort of six degrees of separation—the assumption that anyone in the world can be linked to any other person (or Kevin Bacon) in six steps. In this case, it’s to elected officials and familiar names vying for another elected office in Kane County.

Senator Lauzen said he wants to be the next Board Chairman to be able to serve 550,000 people in Kane County compared to the 210,000 in the Senate District. Running for a local office may seem like a step down after serving at the state level—national political parties do not provide financial support at the local level. However, in addition to a larger constituency, there’s also a larger salary. Illinois state senators receive about $58,000 a year, while McConnaughay’s annual salary is nearly $102,000.

Attorney Dave Richmond said he plans to knock on every door in the district the next few months to get his message across to voters. Richmond said his experience as an elected official and his business background, including having worked for Congressman Dennis Hastert, makes him the best person to bring township values down to Springfield. Like the Senate seat he’s running for, the township supervisor is a part-time position, paying $20,000 a year.

Burns said his experience as Geneva mayor the last 11 years gives him an insight into partnering with the communities in the county. He points to having a balanced budget every year, stabilizing the equalized assessed valuation of properties and lowering the city’s tax rate. Burns is a professional development officer, and while he receives $22,000 a year as mayor, he does not qualify for a pension or health insurance.

Oberweis said he will work for ideas that he believes make sense to turn the economy around, and that it will take some significant changes in Springfield to get unemployment numbers down and attract and retain new business to Illinois. Oberweis owns Oberweis Dairy and has run for governor, U.S. senator and U.S. representative, but has yet to be elected.

More than a century of tradition

in Featured/Regional by

Big Rock Plowing Match set for Sept. 17-18

Big Rock—On Sept. 17, a tradition will continue that began back in 1894. It is one of the longest running annual events in the state. It’s the 117th Annual Big Rock Plowing Match.

What is a Plowing Match?
In 1894, Big Rock was an old Welch farming community, and at the end of each growing season, the farmers and their families would get together to celebrate the harvest of their labors by having what amounted to a very large picnic. During the picnic, the men would imbibe and boast as to who was the best farmer. The only way to prove who the best was was to compete against each other under strict sets of rules.

Here are some of the more memorable plowing matches:
1895—The very first plowing match was filled with controversy. Nine farmers competed, but after a long discussion, one was disqualified for only using two horses where the other eight used three.

1901—This was the first plowing match that included prizes. Some of the prizes were—not one but two horse blankets, a rifle, a saddle and a spring seat. The ladies fair also had prizes like jute spread, a silver butter dish and a silk umbrella.

1922—Horseshoe pitching contests were added to the weekend festivities. You had to pay to play, but the funds supported other aspects of the event. At the end of that year, the plowing match had almost $2,000 in the bank.

1937—At the corner of Route 30 and Rhodes Avenue in front of the Gazebo you will see a big rock in Big Rock. This was courtesy of yet another successful plowing match. At last—Big Rock, had an identity.

1940—The plowing match had its first female competitor, Mary Kay O’Connell. She didn’t win but got a ton of publicity for the Plowing Match association, and the annual event grew in popularity.

1950—The Big Rock Plowman’s Association finally found a permanent home. The 19-acre Plowman’s Park, as it is called today, was purchased for a whopping $4,750. They even had enough money to build a new woman’s fair building for the ladies.

1980—The very first horse show was added to the two-day event to pay homage to the faithful steeds that supported the farmers all the way back to the very beginning back in 1895. Today, you can see moms competing with their daughters for the prize and enjoying every minute of it.

In 1895, the farmers believed in having a friendly competition amongst themselves to see who could plow the straightest furrow with their team of horses along with many other skills necessary for farming, and in 2011, the object is still the same: compete and have fun.

As farming technology improved, many categories were established to keep the competition on a level playing field. As an example, if you are here on Saturday, you will see antique steel and rubber wheel tractors compete against each other at 9 a.m. Plowing continues in many categories for two days.

But that’s not all you will see when you come to the plowing match.

• Crafters from around the area
• A ladies fair second-to-none.
• An old-fashioned auction of the blue ribbon prize winning foods
• A Western and English horse show will be going on all day Saturday
• Children’s races begin at 9 a.m.
• Round Bail Roll-off at 3 p.m.
• The horseshoe tournament at 9 a.m.
• Free miniature train rides all day

Visit www.bigrockplowingmatch.com for more information.

Forest Preserve plans 6 info meetings to discuss master plan

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Kane County—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County will hold six Public Informational Meetings to revise its Master Plan. The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss the District’s five-year Master Plan and develop a guide and vision for the future. The Master Plan details and prioritizes all capital and natural resources improvements in the forest preserves.

All residents are encouraged to attend these meetings to share input on programs and amenities they would most like to see in Kane County forest preserves. The meetings are geographically spread throughout the County, and will focus on preserves regionally located near each respective meeting site.

The meetings will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the following locations:
Sept. 13—Randall Oaks Golf Club & Banquets, 4101 Binnie Road, West Dundee
Sept. 15—The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
Sept. 20—Jewel Middle School, 1501 Waterford Road, North Aurora
Sept. 22—Campton Township Community Center, 5N082 Old LaFox Road, Campton Hills
Oct. 4—Gary Wright Elementary School, 1500 Ketchum Road, Hampshire
Oct. 6—John Shields Elementary School, 85 S. Main St., Sugar Grove

For directions on the meeting locations, please call the Forest Preserve District administrative office at (630) 232-5980.

Garfield Farm seeks help with dig

in Regional by

Campton Hills—Registrations are now being taken for individuals who wish to help with an archaeological excavation beginning Wednesday, Sept. 21, at Garfield Farm Museum. Both novice and experienced volunteers are needed to help excavate, screen, wash and catalogue artifacts in the vicinity of the original log house built in 1836 by the Culbertson family and later expanded in 1841 by the Garfield family.

September is Illinois Archaeology Awareness Month and the theme for 2011 is “Saving Our Past—Archaeology and Site Preservation.”

To help accurately interpret, restore and re-create the 1840s conditions of the Timothy and Harriet Garfield’s farmstead and tavern, the museum started up a five-year archaeology program last year

Volunteers must commit to a set schedule to participate. September’s two-week session will begin Sept. 21and continue through Oct. 2. Volunteers who are 14 to 17 years of age may participate with parent permission. Younger students who are accompanied by a parent or guardian may also participate.

To register, see the dig, or to financially contribute to the effort, call (630) 584-8485, e-mail info@garfieldfarm.org, or write to P.O. Box 403, LaFox, IL 60147.

Neighbors split on possible Pouley Road closing

in Elburn/Regional by

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—About nine people, including two township trustees, showed up at a public meeting to express their opinions about possibly closing the at-grade crossing at Pouley Road, if requested by Union Pacific once the Anderson Road bridge is complete.

Lisa Hodge lives on Denali Road in Native Prairie and said she’d like to see the crossing closed not only because of the increased traffic from the train station, but because of the train whistles.

“The issue is they (train engineers) totally lean on the horn when they’re coming by Pouley Road,” Hodge said. “So we’d like to see it closed for the sound.”

The Bergquist family lives just north of the tracks on Pouley and disagreed with the idea of closing the roadway. They want it to stay open.

“I just don’t like having one way out,” Joan Bergquist said. “I hate to see it closed.”

She said in the winter, the drifting snow often closes the north end of Pouley, forcing them to travel south across the tracks. Despite living right alongside the tracks, she said the train whistles aren’t a problem.

“We don’t even hear the whistles any more,” she said. “You get used to them.”

Her daughter Vicki said that safety is her main concern.

“Getting onto (Route) 38 sometimes is impossible in the wintertime,” she said. “Pouley Road to the north drifts shut and you can’t get through.”

Joan’s brother Norm and his wife Diane also said they wanted to see the road remain open.

Jan Jorstad, who lives on the old part of Pouley Road south of Keslinger, wants to see the crossing shut to preserve the historic heritage of the Compton farm. She and her neighbors formed the Pouley Road Preservation Society to protect the area.

“When I moved here, I fell in love with Pouley Road,” Jorstad said. “We’ve tried to preserve this wonderful country feeling we have around here because of all the development. We are all for that closing.”

She said closing the crossing would reduce the volume of traffic on the unpaved portion south of Keslinger Road.

Denny Hawks lives just north of the Bergquists and is concerned about how he’s going to move his farm equipment if the crossing is shut down.

“I farm, and moving machinery down Route 38 is just a pain, so we take everything down Keslinger Road,” he said.

Fred Dornback, Blackberry Cemetery sexton who chaired the meeting, emphasized that the meeting is just a preliminary effort to gather public input.

“There’s no known agency or group saying we need to close Pouley Road,” Dornback said. “If and when it happens is contingent on the completion of the Anderson Road bridge.”

That’s something Dornback doesn’t expect to happen for a while.

“In my opinion, we’re looking to the middle of this decade before a car crosses that road if all the stars align,” he said. “There’s a lot more to do.”

Despite plans for the Elburn Station development that begins with the completion of the Anderson Road bridge, there remain unresolved issues regarding easements and right-of-way between six landowners that would be affected before the bridge work would begin.

Highway Commissioner Rodney Feece explained that the process for closing the crossing would start with Union Pacific filing a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission, which ultimately would make the decision. The township successfully stopped such an effort in 2004 when the railroad petitioned to close the crossings at both Pouley and Brundige roads. He said in case the issue comes up again, he wants to have public comments available to present.

Blackberry Township will accept public input for the next 90 days. Comments can be e-mailed to roads@blackberrytwp.com or mailed to the office at 43W390 Main Street Road, Elburn.

The prince, princess of the plowmatch

in Regional by


The Big Rock Plowing Match Prince and Princess Contest is just one of the many activities featured during the three-day festival, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18, in Plowman’s Park in Big Rock. Pictured are the 2010 Prince and Princess, Niko Nunez and Eleanor Gengler, surrounded by their fellow contestants Dylan Bartlett, Joey Spurlin, Johanna Gengler and Alexandrea Battistella. Courtesy Photo

Keck won’t run for re-election as Kane auditor

in Regional by

KANE COUNTY—William F. Keck announced he will not seek re-election to a sixth term as Kane County Auditor. Keck is one of the longest serving auditors in Kane County after being first elected in 1992.

Keck plans to retire at the end of his fifth term in 2012. Keck supervised the transition of the auditor’s office from accounting to internal audit. With staff assistance, Keck recommended improvements in operations and cost savings. He was president of the Illinois County Auditor Association and is the Continuing Education sponsor for the state of Illinois.

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