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Regional - page 26

July 29 police blotter

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

• Zachary Wicks, 20, of the 1500 block of north Latrobe, Chicago, was arrested on Tuesday, July 12, on an outstanding DeKalb County warrant for damage to government property. Wicks was unable to post bond and was transported to Kane County Jail.

• Joseph A. Soto, 22, of the 1N900 block of Saddlewood Drive, Elburn, was charged on Friday, July 15, for driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal transportation of alcohol. Soto was also cited for an invalid registration.

• Genaro H. Garcia, 19, of the 1000 block of Pattee, Elburn, was charged on Saturday, July 16, with driving on a suspended license. Garcia will be in court Aug. 5.

• Michael Joseph Patrick, 37, of the 400 block of west Pierce, Elburn, was charged on Tuesday, July 19, for driving with a suspended registration, no insurance, suspended plates, and a sticker that was not authorized for the vehicle. Patrick also was charged for driving without a valid license.

Sugar Grove
• Sugar Grove police on July 21 were dispatched to the first block of North Dugan Road on a report of a stolen utility trailer. An employee of the business that owned the tanks told police that the trailer was stolen sometime between 2 p.m. on July 16 and 6 a.m. on July 18. The trailer is a black 1990 Doolittle Utility double axle.

• Sugar Grove police on July 21 received word of a stolen volleyball net on the 100 block of Vale Avenue. The victim told police that the theft occurred between 9 p.m. on July 20, and 8 a.m. on July 21. The value of the stolen equipment is approximately $150.

• Sugar Grove Police on July 25 performed a traffic stop on a vehicle in which the driver was operating an electronic device while driving. Police observed several syringes in the vehicle, at which time the driver, Evan Ruff, 23, of the 29W400 block of Forest View Drive in Warrenville, Ill., told police he was diabetic, offering a blood sugar testing kit as proof. Police then performed a quick search of the vehicle and found a metal smoking pipe that had burnt residue and the odor of cannabis in the center console. Police also found plastic bag containing cannabis. Ruff was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of cannabis.

• Sugar Grove police on July 25, while investigating a report of domestic trouble on the 200 block of Maple Street, discovered a man with an in-state warrant for his arrest. The suspect, Mark Letts, 53, of the 200 block of Maple Street, had a warrant out of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office for misdemeanor retail theft. Letts told police that he suffers from mini-strokes and was currently having one, at which time police had an ambulance dispatched to the location. Letts was then transported to Provena Mercy Center.

• Sugar Grove police on July 25 were dispatched to an area near Hankes and Norris roads on a report of a suspicious vehicle. Police observed a vehicle matching the description given by Montgomery dispatch, at which time the vehicle pulled into the parking lot of the Walnut Woods basketball courts. Two male subjects then exited the vehicle. One of the males, Marcus McClain, 25, of the 200 block of Judson Avenue in Oswego, had a warrant for his arrest out of Kendall County Sheriff’s Department for driving while license suspended. McClain was taken into custody and transported to the Sugar Grove Police Department, where he posted bond, was given a court date and then released.

• Sugar Grove police on July 11 were dispatched to the 700 block of Queens Gate Circle on a report of burglary to a motor vehicle. The owner of the vehicle told police that someone had broken into his car and took a key to the vehicle, a pair of black Puma gym shoes, $40 in various bills, and two credit cards.

• Sugar Grove police on July 12 were dispatched to the 700 block of Wild Ginger Road on a report of theft. The victim told police that someone had knocked over her stack of decorative stones, placed one stone in the mailbox and raise the red mail flag, and stole two of the stones. The stones are valued at $20 each.

• Sugar Grove police on July 19 were dispatched to the first block of N. Dugan Road on a report of theft. The victim told police that someone had stolen three propane tanks from his lot. The value of the three propane tanks is estimated at $600.

• Sugar Grove police on July 19 performed a traffic stop on a vehicle after noticing its dual rear tires were bulging and rubbing together while the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Galena Boulevard. The passenger of the vehicle identified himself as Alfredo Leon. Police ran a check on the name “Alfredo Leon” and got a description of a 6’3” male weighing approximately 353 pounds. Police estimated the passenger to be about 5’6” and weighing 200 pounds, and took the man into custody. The driver, Juan Quintanilla, 28, of the 500 block of Woodlawn Avenue in Aurora, admitted to police that the passenger was his brother, Alfonso Quintanilla, 18. Police then discovered that the Kane County Sheriff’s Office had a warrant out for Alfonso’s arrest. Alfonso was charged with obstructing identification and then transported Kane County Jail.

Kane County Sheriff’s Department
• The Kane County Sheriff’s Office has concluded its investigation into the fatal traffic crash that occurred on May 16, 2011, on Green Road south of Hughes Road in unincorporated Blackberry Township that involved two Batavia High school students. Lynlee Gilbert of Batavia died as a result of the crash, and Sarah Ginter, also of Batavia, was seriously injured.
Based on the investigation and crash reconstruction, it appears that the vehicle was traveling at approximately 68 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The vehicle partially left the roadway while entering a curve in the road. It appears that Gilbert overcorrected while attempting to get the vehicle under control and left the roadway on the west side of Green Road, where she eventually struck a tree. Sheriff’s investigators believe that speed and driver inexperience were the primary factors in this crash. Toxicology reports were negative for both Gilbert and Ginter.
No tickets were issued as a result of this investigation.

Bowling fundraiser to help with a new heart for St. Charles man

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by Sandy Kaczmarski
ST. CHARLES—A St. Charles man needing a heart transplant will get some help from a fundraiser at the St. Charles Bowl on Saturday, July 30, at 7 p.m. The money raised will help with mounting medical costs and home repairs on his fixer-upper.

Ed Platis now has a pump that helps his weak heart do its job as he waits for a new heart. He is number eight on a regional list and has been waiting for four months.

Platis was a 28-year old newlywed in 2008 when he developed a cough that just didn’t seem to go away. Just a few months after his wedding, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

“He gets extremely tired and weak,” his mother-in-law Donna Stachnik said. “There is no cure.”

Stachnik said she’ll never forget the day her daughter called her with the news.

“There was terror in her voice,” she recalled. “To think as newlyweds, for a doctor to say he could die from this.”

Stachnik said no one had any idea there were any health issues with Ed.

“He worked as an apprentice plumber when my daughter started dating him,” she said. “There’s no history of heart failure in his family. We had no idea there was anything wrong.”

Platis had to leave work, and he also had to stop a rehab project on the home he and his wife Jackie purchased; his great-grandparents’ home that’s been in the family since the 1920s. Stachnik said the contaminants and dust from tearing out walls and replastering make the house uninhabitable with his delicate condition, and they must be completed before he and Jackie can move back in.

Anne Kijowski from St. Charles Bowl said she and Donna “go way back” and have been friends for a long time. She said when she heard about Ed’s situation, “it sounded really sad.”

“Bowling fundraisers are a great way to make a lot of money in the least amount of time,” she said.

Kijowski said a fundraiser a few years ago brought in about $9,000. Some of the raffle items that will be available include a 40-inch flat screen TV from Tiger Amusement in Sugar Grove, a private theater showing from the Arcada Theatre, Cubs and White Sox tickets, and signed sports memorabilia.

Liquor ‘n’ Wine locations in St. Charles and Geneva are donating 5 percent of Tuesday sales during July to the fundraiser.

Information on Ed and Jackie including other fundraisers and donation information can be found at haveaheartfored.org and also on Facebook under Haveaheartfor Ed.

St. Charles Bowl is at 2520 W. Main St. Tickets for the Ed Platis fundraiser are $20 per person. Lane sponsorships are available for $50 per lane. Call the bowling alley at (630) 584-9400 for more information.

Former St. Charles man sentenced to 2 years In prison

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Crash last year severely injured other vehicle’s driver
ST. CHARLES—A former St. Charles man was sentenced to two years in prison for driving his car into an oncoming vehicle last Augustan act that caused serious injuries to the driver of the other vehicle.

George H. Smith, 81, was driving east on State Street in Geneva when he swerved into oncoming traffic and struck a car driven by Mark Rein of Geneva head on.

Rein suffered serious injuries, including a brain hemorrhage, and is still recovering. Following the crash, Smith told police that he drove into oncoming traffic with the intent to kill himself and injure someone else.

Smith had faced a sentence of probation or a maximum of three years in prison.

During his opportunity to address the court, Smith turned to the victim and his wife and apologized for his actions.

No ATV’s in Kane forest preserves

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GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County reminds the public that all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), recreational golf carts and other motorized vehicles are not permitted in the forest preserves.

Aside from ruts made by drivers who illegally operate vehicles in the preserves, such activity can destroy plants, flowers and wildlife, and make the preserves less enjoyable for others.

Violators could face fines and a mandatory court appearance. Parents can be held responsible for a minor child’s conduct.

For more information on forest preserve ordinances, go to www.kaneforest.com.

Kane County road work

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KANE COUNTY—Crack routing and sealing work for Kane County’s 2011 program is scheduled to begin July 18, and end Monday, July 25, on the following road portions:
• Kaneville Road, from Peck Road to Fabyan Parkway
• Keslinger Road, from Randall Road to Brundige Road
• Peck Road, from Route 38 to Kaneville Road

Temporary daily lane closures from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, will be required to accomplish this work. Be on the look-out for Construction Ahead signs and flaggers, and reduce vehicle speed while traveling through construction zones. Motorist should expect delays, increased travel times during the crack rerouting and sealing process, and are advised to consider alternate routes during this work.

Questions or concerns may be directed toward Bryan Schramer at (630) 762-2744.

8 Habitat for Humanity affiliates partner in Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity

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AURORA—Montgomery-based Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity is among eight Chicago-area Habitats affiliates that have joined to create Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity.

Rev. Jeff Barrett, Fox Valley Habitat executive director, said the goal of the umbrella organization is to significantly increase the number of families served.

In addition to Fox Valley Habitat, other partner affiliates are in Addison, Carpentersville, Chicago, Chicago Heights, Joliet, McHenry and Waukegan.

“The umbrella Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity organization will more effectively recruit donors, volunteers and advocates to help Habitat for Humanity address the urgent housing needs in the Chicago area,” said Greg Thompson, president of the Chicagoland Habitat board of directors.

The Chicagoland board includes area business leaders, practitioners skilled in fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and real estate, community leaders and individuals with current and past ties to Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI).

The Chicagoland board, in collaboration with the eight Chicagoland affiliates, recently developed a comprehensive strategic plan with the help of McKinsey & Company, which donated resources.

Joe Mulvey of HFHI said, “The strategic plan is a great roadmap to effectively and dramatically increase the number of families served in the Chicagoland area.”

According to Thompson, the eight cooperating Habitat affiliates have been unable to meet the great need in Chicago for affordable housing. With the recent recession, the situation has become even more serious.

Despite the individual strengths and aspirations of the eight separate Habitat for Humanity affiliates, their overall growth in the Chicagoland area is limited to the capacity of each affiliate.

Chicagoland Habitat can leverage capacity building and growth, marketing and advocacy as one Chicago Habitat for Humanity by working in collaboration with the eight Chicagoland affiliates.

Program highlights various district forest preserves

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by Keith Beebe
KANE COUNTY—Local families looking to get a little more in touch with nature should take a hike … to the various forest preserves in Kane County.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is offering its Take A Hike program throughout the year, encouraging people to visit and experience a different forest preserve in the county each month. Participants will also complete a specific activity at each preserve.

There’s also a bit of incentive involved in visiting each preserve, as anyone who completes a minimum of six activities will receive a special patch.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County website lists the Take A Hike program as ideal for Scouts, youth groups, as well as anyone looking for a bit of exercise while experiencing what each forest preserve has to offer. The preserve highlighted this month is Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora. Fitchie Creek Forest Preserve in Elgin will be highlighted during August, with Campton Forest Preserve in Campton Township, Otter Creek Forest Preserve in South Elgin, Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve in South Elgin, and Elburn Forest Preserve to be highlighted in September, October, November and December, respectively.

“It’s a fun way to get people out to the preserves that they aren’t familiar with,” said Valerie Blaine, nature program director with the Kane County Forest Preserve. “We get a lot of calls from Scouts and families, but we haven’t had anyone come in yet with their six completed activities. I think people will start coming in (with those) in the fall.”

The idea for the Take A Hike program was thought up during a community affairs committee meeting, which the Forest Preserve District of Kane County website defines as a monthly event to consider programming, policies and marketing as it relates to the district’s environmental education, Nature Center and community programming.

Blaine said the Forest Preserve implemented several ideas and suggestions for the Take A Hike program that were submitted during that initial meeting.

“There are a lot of wonderful, natural areas in the (Kane County) Forest Preserve District, and we’d like to encourage people to go out and get to know some of these preserves,” she said. “We’re really fortunate to have forest preserves and natural areas so close by. I’ve lived elsewhere and had to drive hours to get to a nice park, and the forest preserves (in Kane County) are right here (in front of us) and available to everybody.”

A new set of forest preserves will be highlighted by Forest Preserve District of Kane County in 2012.

Keep cool while spending less on energy

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SPRINGFIELD—The hottest days of summer are ahead—can you keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank? The Energy Education Council offers some simple tips to boost comfort and save on electric bills during the sultriest of days:
• Make sure your air conditioner filter is clean; change or clean it monthly during the cooling season.
• Ensure air can move freely around the AC unit coils. Remove leaves and plant overgrowth that could keep it from operating efficiently.

Use ceiling and oscillating fans to create a “wind chill” effect. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler, and allows a higher air conditioner thermostat setting while maintaining cooling comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be lowered by about 3 percent.

Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, which let in hot humid air. Turn off lights, televisions and computers when not in use.

Close drapes and shades on sunny days. Plan to do hot work—washing and drying clothes, cooking and baking—during cooler morning and evening hours.

Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven, or grill outdoors.

Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will increase the temperature near the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.

“There are several low-cost measures that can yield big energy savings,” EEC Executive Director Molly Hall said. “Replace traditional light bulbs with lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs waste 95 percent of their energy in heat; CFLs burn cool, use only a fourth of the energy and come in many styles and color temperatures.

Other low cost suggestions include:
• Install a timer or programmable thermostat to increase and decrease the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you’re away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.
• Seal air leaks and cracks. Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to improve efficiency and cut energy costs year round.
• Ventilate the attic and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30 percent of your cooling bill. Be sure the insulation does not block vents or cover exhaust fans.

Increased summer electric demands do not only place a strain on budgets, they also can place a severe strain on your home’s electrical system—a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Flickering or dimming lights, TV or computer monitors; or frequent circuit breaker trips, are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked immediately by a professional.

For more information and tips to help cut costs and improve home safety, visit www.EnergyEdCouncil.org
or www.SafeElectricity.org.

U.S. Postal Service expands to 100,000 locations

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BLOOMINGDALE, IL—With nearly 100,000 places to buy stamps, ship a package or renew a passport, the U.S. Postal Service is expanding customer access to its products and services. It’s not about brick-and-mortar post offices anymore, as postal products move online and into retail outlets, grocery stores, office supply chains and pharmacies.

Responding to changing customer needs and a business plan that calls for expanding access to Postal Service products, stores including Costco and Office Depot are offering shipping and mailing services.

According to postal spokesperson Sean Hargadon, the Postal Service is changing for the better.
“We’re teaming up with hundreds of new stores so customers can do postal business at places where they already shop,” Hargadon said. “Americans have more to do and less time to do it. We know simpler is better—online, on your mobile device, on your way, with an expertise that you can count on.”

Customers can find dozens of locations to purchase postal services within their neighborhoods by visiting an interactive map at www.uspseverywhere.com and typing in a zip code. Using a simple icon guide designating stamps, shipping and packaging, PO boxes and other services, customers can easily navigate to retail outlets, grocery stores, Automated Postal Center (APC) kiosks and post offices, among other options.

With post office hours usually ending by 5 p.m. or earlier, customers can send a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and buy Forever stamps as long as the alternate sites are open, often as late as 9 p.m. Some sites are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“We’re creating easier, more convenient access to products and services when and where our customers want them,” Hargadon said. “We’re everywhere so you can be anywhere.”

There are about 32,000 post office locations around the country that sell Postal Service products and services. There are more than 50,000 other locations selling postage stamps alone—the top product sold at post offices. With the additional shipping provider locations added in, customers have about 100,000 locations and ways to do business with the Postal Service.

Nearly 35 percent of the Postal Service retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as Costco, Office Depot, grocery stores, drug stores, APCs, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Trail resurfacing set for Virgil Gilman, Great Western Trails

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Sugar Grove—Trail resurfacing work on the Virgil Gilman Trail in Sugar Grove and Great Western Trail in St. Charles and Campton Hills may cause intermittent closures through July. Trail users are reminded to be aware of construction traffic and workers during the project.

Work on the Virgil Gilman Trail is from Bliss Road to Waubonsee Drive in Sugar Grove. The trail will be open during most of construction, but intermittent closures can be expected. Resurfacing is scheduled to be completed by Monday, July 20.

Users on the Great Western Trail should plan for intermittent closures from the trail head at Dean Street in St. Charles through Brown Road in Campton Hills. Resurfacing work is scheduled to continue through Friday, July 22.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County maintains the trail systems and cautions that schedules are subject to change due to weather and other circumstances.

Brief power outages, few tree limbs down in wake of storm

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by Sandy Kaczmarski
REGIONAL—For the most part, the Kaneland area was spared from Monday’s intense storms that quickly moved through the area packing winds upwards of 70 miles an hour. With only a few power outages reported in Elburn, Sugar Grove and some unincorporated areas, most power was restored after a few hours.

Metra suspended service on the North, Northwest and Elburn West lines until about 9 a.m. until the storm passed.

ComEd reported about 130,000 customers were affected in the western suburbs following the storm. As of early Wednesday, the utility company said about 182,000 customers remained without power, concentrated mostly north of Chicago. Many may not get the lights back on until this weekend.

Meteorologist Tom Skilling reported on his Facebook page that the fast-moving squall line that blasted through the area covered 1,400 miles through several states, including Illinois. He said some areas in Iowa were hit with 110 to 130 mile-per-hour winds tracked by the National Weather Service, which he said would classifiy as Category 3 hurricane strength.

A passion for hope:

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raising awareness about the dangers of substance abuse
by Lynn Meredith
BATAVIA—Chris’ Walk began four years ago after Vicki Altepeter Foley lost her son Chris to a heroin overdose. She and the members of her extended family created a walk against substance abuse to raise awareness of the dangers of addiction. The walk raises money for Hearts of Hope, a non-profit in Geneva. In the aftermath of Chris’s death, Foley found her life’s passion.

“I learned so much since he has been gone,” Foley said. “It really is a disease. Some people smoke. Some people drink. Some people gamble. It alters the brain and is one of the hardest drugs to get off.”

Chris Foley began his journey to addiction with marijuana. The use of drugs progressed until he took up heroin at age 17. He was introduced to the drug at a party with friends from high school in St. Charles. For so many people who succumb to addiction, the reasons are not clear and the process’s out of the user’s control.

“I asked him why he used the drugs, and he never could answer. The act of taking the drug alters the brain. He was never the same. He said to me once, “Mom, do you know how many times a day I have to say ‘no?’ It can happen to anybody,” Foley said.

The stigma of drug addiction often keeps people from dealing with the problems, Foley said. Unlike the common myth that drug addicts are on the streets of a large city, the issue is quite serious in the suburbs. Whereas Chicago used to be the hub for distribution, now the drugs are being sold in the Fox Valley.

“You can get it for ten dollars,” she said. “It’s a cheap way to feel numb and have all your worries go away. It’s a way for kids to cope who don’t have the skills to cope with life. There have been a number of deaths in our area.”

Foley is passionate in her pursuit to help families and save lives. She goes every Tuesday into jails to teach life skills to inmates, many of whom are there because of theft or other crimes related to addiction. She sees inmates with no place to live after they are released, no job, and a record. Without rehabilitation, it can be a continuing cycle. She tries to help them deal with their emotions and even abusive relationships.

“I believe addiction can only be overcome with a Christ-centered approach. We try to give them hope,” she said. “If it wasn’t for my faith, I would never have gotten through Chris’s death. I don’t want people to go through what my family went through.”

Foley said she has changed through her experience with an addiction in her family. She was not outspoken before, but now is passionate about talking to everyone she can.

“Now, I get on my soapbox. Once something like this hits, you have to do something. I’m trying to save one life at a time, she said. “I will do this until the day I die.”

Chris’ Walk Against
Substance Abuse

The 4th Annual Chris’ Walk Against Substance Abuse will be held on Saturday, July 16, at the Batavia Riverwalk, 155 Houston St., Batavia. Registration for the one-mile family-friendly walk starts at 8:30 a.m., the walk is at 9 a.m. and a rally featuring Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez starts at 10 a.m. There is no cost to participate; however, pledges are encouraged. Activities include face painting, a balloon launch, chair massages and more. Register at www.chriswalk.net. Call Vicki Altepeter Foley for informatoin (630) 802-1868.

Remove sources of standing water to prevent West Nile Virus

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KANE COUNTY—The recent wet spring is sure to breed a good crop of mosquitoes, but while they may be annoying, they are not the kind that spread West Nile virus. The mosquitoes we typically see in late spring and early summer are called, appropriately, “nuisance” or floodwater mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is most commonly associated with the Culex mosquito. Hot, dry weather and stagnant water are the two main ingredients prized by the Culex. As temperatures rise, we usually begin to see our first human cases in July or August.

“Now is a good time to get out and inspect your yard for items such as old tires and clogged gutters where stagnant water can accumulate. These are the types of areas that provide the ideal breeding spots for the Culex mosquito,” said Paul Kuehnert, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “By identifying problem areas now, you will be able to protect yourself later in the summer.”

Last year there were five cases reported in people in Kane County. In 2009, an unusually mild summer with cool temperatures, there were no human cases of West Nile virus reported in Kane County. There were three cases of the virus reported in 2008. In 2007 there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Only about two out of 10 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Kane County Health Department’s website at www.kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm, the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Forest Preserve makes first 2011 referendum investment

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GENEVA—The Forest Preserve District of Kane County expanded Meissner-Corron Forest Preserve last week, adding approximately 350 acres to the preserve.

The property, in Plato and Campton townships, is the first to be purchased with 2011 referendum funds. In April, Kane County voters approved a $30 million referendum for land acquisition and preserve improvements.

“We are happy to be able to make this investment,” Forest Preserve District Executive Director Monica Meyers said. “The new property borders Meissner-Corron Forest Preserve to the west and south, creating a 616-acre preserve. In addition to the expansion, the acquisition gives the district a chance to enhance the protection of high-quality natural areas that already exist at the original preserve.”

Meissner-Corron Forest Preserve contains a wetland with more than 50 native species, including some extremely rare wildflowers, lilies and orchids. The new acquisition will help provide a buffer for this botanically significant area.

“When this purchase is viewed with existing Forest Preserve holdings and Campton Open Space property, we are creating an approximately 860-acre complex of open space,” said Ben Haberthur, restoration ecologist for the Forest Preserve District.

“This acquisition places a buffer around the high-quality Russell Prairie remnant, currently in the process of being dedicated as an Illinois Nature Preserve. Plus, due to the previously linear shape of Meissner-Corron, much of the wildlife habitat occurred on the edges of the preserve. This preserve addition accommodates the potential creation of larger blocks of habitat,” Haberthur said.

In addition to the natural resources benefits, Forest Preserve President John J. Hoscheit highlighted potential tax savings.

“The district appreciates the cooperation of the city of Elgin in this acquisition. As we gave our public presentations in advance of the referendum, this was one of the parcels mentioned most often. It was originally zoned and annexed by Elgin with the prospect of hundreds of homes to be built. That would have required the construction of additional schools and other supporting infrastructure. Now that the property will be preserved forever as open space, those costs will be avoided,” Hoscheit said. “For these reasons and because the acreage was adjacent to Meissner-Corron, this property was at the top of our list,” he said.

Tips to Care for Storm-Damaged Trees from Illinois Arborist Association

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Recent storms remind that simple steps taken now can have a lasting positive impact
ANTIOCH, Ill.—Devastating tornados and storms ravaged much of the Midwest in recent days. The trail of destruction included thousands of trees either severely damaged or at least impacted by Mother Nature. Unprotected trees that are damaged may appear to have fatal wounds. However, though major branches may be broken, or the bark may be torn and gouged, trees have an amazing ability to recover from even the most severe cases.

First aid for damaged trees after a major storm can help trees recover, urges the Illinois Arborist Association (IAA), the local chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Residents are encouraged to follow a few simple tree first aid procedures:

1. Do not try to do it all yourself. If large limbs are broken or hanging, or if ladder or overhead chain saw work is needed, it is a job for an ISA-Certified Arborist.

2. Take safety precautions. Look up and look down. Be on the alert and stay away from downed utility lines and dangerous hanging branches which look ready to fall.

3. Assess the damages. Evaluate your trees carefully by asking: Other than the wind damage, is the tree basically healthy and vigorous? Are major limbs still remaining? Is at least 50 percent of the tree’s crown (branches and leaves) still intact? Are there remaining branches that can form a new branch structure? If you answered “yes” to the majority of these questions, there is a good chance for complete recovery. Contact an ISA Certified Arborist to determine the tree’s exact condition.

4. Remove any broken branches or stubs still attached to the tree. Remove the jagged remains of smaller sized broken limbs to minimize the risk of decay. Prune smaller branches at the point where they join larger ones. For larger broken branches, a professional arborist who has the necessary equipment and knowledge should cut them back to the trunk or a main limb.

5. Resist the urge to over-prune. Do not worry if the tree’s appearance is not perfect. With branches gone, your trees may look unbalanced or naked. You will be surprised at how fast they will heal, grow new foliage, and return to their natural beauty.

6. Do not top your trees. Professional arborists say that “topping,” the cutting of main branches back to stubs, is extremely harmful and unhealthy for trees. Stubs often grow back many weakly attached branches that are higher and are more likely to break when a storm strikes. Also, topping reduces the amount of foliage, on which the tree depends for the food and nourishment needed for re-growth. A topped tree that has already sustained major storm damage is more likely to die than repair itself.

A qualified tree care professional can assist you with the damages and will perform the job safely. To locate a certified arborist in your area, contact the IAA at (877) 617-8887 or visit www.illinoisarborist.org.

Illinois Arborist
Association background

The Illinois Arborist Association is a non-profit organization that educates members and the general public in proper tree care. IAA supports research on trees and is based on the mission to “Foster interest, establish standards, exchange professional ideas and pursue scientific research in Arboriculture.”

Kane County 4-H Small Pets, Cat Show to be Held July 12

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Kane County—The 4-H small pets and cat shows will be held on Tuesday, July 12, at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles. Small Pets judging will begin at 5 p.m. and Cats judging will begin at 6 p.m.

During the project judging, 4-H members bring their completed small pets and cat projects to the fairgrounds for judging. As part of conference judging, the judge will talk with the 4-H’ers about their projects. The judge may ask questions about the small pet or cat, the 4-H’ers’ skills in caring for the animal, things the 4-H’ers would do differently next year in the project, or any other type of question they feel is relevant to the project exhibited.

4-H’ers work on their projects throughout the year. A lot of time and effort goes into the project work. In addition, much knowledge is gained by the youth through their project work.

If you are interested in small pets or cats, please feel free to attend the shows on Tuesday, July 12.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H or the small pets or cat show, contact University of Illinois Extension in Kane County at 535 S. Randall Road in St. Charles, visit us on the web at www.extension.uiuc.edu/ kane or call (630) 584-6166. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Property taxpayers workshop to be held

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Blackberry Township—Blackberry Township Assessor Uwe Rotter will hold a taxpayer workshop on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. (except in November and December, when it will be held the third Thursday).

The workshops will provide information about the property tax cycle, how assessments are developed and the appeal process. Taxpayers will also have the opportunity to address specific questions concerning their property and discuss any other property tax related concerns.

The workshops will be held at the Blackberry Township Building at 43W390 Main Street, one-quarter mile east of Fisherman’s Inn.

For a list of dates, visit www.blackberrytwp.com or call (630) 365-6580.

Plan ahead for a safe holiday picnic

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Kane County—Now is a good time to start planning the traditional holiday barbecues, picnics and Fourth of July weekend activities. Unfortunately, some people don’t plan on something that goes hand-in-hand in the warm summer months: bacteria.

“We want people to enjoy the holiday, and you can’t if you’re stricken with a foodborne illness. By following just a few simple tips, you can enjoy the food and festivities all weekend,” said Kane County Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert. “Bacteria multiply in food faster in warm weather and can cause foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning).”

You can help prevent an unpleasant experience:

Wash your hands
Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food. If you’re eating where there’s no source of clean water, bring water, soap, and paper towels or have disposable wipes/hand sanitizer available.

Marinate food in the refrigerator
Don’t marinate on the counter—marinate in the refrigerator. If you want to use marinade as a sauce on cooked food, save a separate portion in the refrigerator. Do not reuse marinade that contacted raw meat, poultry, or seafood on cooked food unless you bring it to a boil first.

Keep raw food separate
Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood in a separate cooler or securely wrapped at the bottom of a cooler so their juices won’t contaminate already prepared foods or raw produce. Don’t use a plate or utensils that previously held raw meat, poultry, or seafood for anything else unless you wash them first in hot, soapy water. Have a clean platter and utensils ready at grill-side for serving.

Cook food thoroughly
Use a food thermometer to make sure food is cooked thoroughly to destroy harmful bacteria. Refer to the Safe Minimum Temperatures chart for safe internal temperatures for foods. Partial precooking in the microwave oven or on the stove is a good way to reduce grilling time—just make sure the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to finish cooking.

Keep hot food hot
and cold food cold

Keep hot food at 140°F or above until served. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them to the side of the grill, or wrap well and place in an insulated container.

Keep cold food at 40°F or below until served. Keep cold perishable food in a cooler until serving time. Keep coolers out of direct sun and avoid opening the lid often.

Cold foods can be placed directly on ice or in a shallow container set in a pan of ice. Drain off water as ice melts and replace ice frequently.

Don’t let hot or cold perishables sit out for longer than two hours, or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90°F. When reheating fully cooked meats, grill to 165°F or until steaming hot.

Transport food in the passenger compartment of the car where it’s cooler—not in the trunk.

Put these items on your list
These non-food items are indispensable for a safe barbecue:
• food thermometer
• several coolers: one for beverages (which will be opened frequently), one for raw meats, poultry, and seafood, and another for cooked foods and raw produce
• ice or frozen gel packs for coolers
• jug of water, soap, and paper towels for washing hands
• enough plates and utensils to keep raw and cooked foods separate
• foil or other wrap for leftovers

More information on food safety is available on the Health Department’s website at www.kanehealth.com/food_safety.htm.

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