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Cloat named Kane County Associate Educator of the Year

in Kaneland/Regional by

By Keith Beebe
KANELAND—A District 302 staff member has been recognized as an Educator of the Year in Kane County.

An awards banquet honoring Kane County 2011 Educator of the Year nominees was held on May 6 at the Pheasant Run Mega Center in St. Charles, with Julia Cloat, a Response to Intervention (RtI) facilitator at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary, taking home the award in the Associate Educator category.

The other District 302 nominees for Educator of the Year were John Stewart Custodian Noe Malagon (in the category of Support Staff), Blackberry Music Teacher Brandon Fox (Elementary Educator), Harter Middle School Science Teacher Charri Trembley (Middle School Educator) and Kaneland High School Biology Teacher Doug Ecker (High School Educator).

There is also an Administrator category.

Cloat said she actually felt a little embarrassed and unworthy upon hearing that she was nominated, and thought that several teachers in Kane County were deserving of a nomination.

“I truly felt that it was my team’s efforts that deserved the acknowledgment and that this was their award, not just my own,” she said. “The teachers who I work with are so dedicated to working hard and doing what is needed to help children learn every day. I don’t deserve to be recognized any more than any one of them.”

To be nominated as an Educator of the Year, fellow work colleagues must submit a letter of recommendation that is then reviewed by the Kaneland School District Educator of the Year committee. The committee then selects a Kaneland Educator of the Year for each category, and in turn, nominates all of the honorees for Kane County Educator of the Year.

The Associate Educator category pertains to any staff member in a certified position who is outside of the classroom: special education, intervention, etc.

“Julia (won) the R.B. Mades Award, which is given to the winner of the Associate Educator category,” Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. “It was a great honor for her.”

The Regional Office of Education selects the winner of each category and then presents the winners at the Educator of the Year banquet, which is also meant to recognize the nominees from every district.

Cloat became a classroom teacher during the 1998-99 school year, which was also the year John Stewart opened. Cloat taught at JSE for six years before transferring to Blackberry Creek, where she served as a challenge teacher, reading teacher and literary specialist. She then returned to JSE for the 2008-09 school year and became the RtI facilitator.

“RtI is a multi-step approach to providing services and interventions to students whose academic and behavioral needs are not being met through the core curriculum,” she said. “It is my role to coordinate the interventions for the students who receive RtI services.”

Health Department conducts food-borne illness outbreak investigation

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

Kane County—The Kane County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratories, and other local health departments have reported a recent increase in Salmonella ser. Typhimurium in Northeastern Illinois.

In approximately the past two weeks, 10 cases of Salmonella ser. Typhimurium with a matching PFGE, or genetic, pattern have been reported In Illinois. This pattern is rare in Illinois. At least two additional cases of S. Typhimurium are pending the PFGE results. Cases in other states have also been identified.

While the investigation is ongoing, a common potential link is that seven of the people affected reported having eaten at Portillo’s in St. Charles during the month of April. No specific food item has been identified to be source of the illness.

The management of Portillo’s is actively cooperating with state and local health officials in the investigation. The restaurant was sanitized over night Monday, and is having all its food handlers tested for possible infection.

Before returning to work, the restaurant’s food handlers will need to provide two samples for testing, each one 24 hours apart. Portillo’s has called in workers from some of its other locations so that it can operate while waiting for the test results of the other staff members.

The seven people have tested positive for Typhimurium Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment or ever visiting a doctor. However, in order to assist in the investigation, the Health Department is recommending that anyone who has had these symptoms visit their personal physician.

J.A. Air takes top spot on FBO survey

in Featured/Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—In the world of aviation, earning a spot on Aviation International News’ (AIN) survey of the top 40 fixed-base operator (FBO) facilities in the country is like winning the Super Bowl. Earning the No.1 spot on the list is like winning baseball’s Triple Crown.

So which FBO topped the list in 2011? That would be the J.A. Air Center, located at the Aurora Municipal Airport. The J.A. (Joliet Avionics) Air Center has been open since December 2008, and was previously located at the DuPage Airport in West Chicago, as far back as the mid-1990s.

“(Earning the top FBO spot) is a dream come true. It’s what we had planned when we decided to move our business from DuPage Airport out here to Aurora—to provide a world-class facility,” J.A. Air Center President Brad Zeman said. “We were just hoping to someday get on the survey. Optimistically, (we said), ‘Hey, top 10 would be phenomenal,’ but to win is just completely over the top. For a private company, where you’re competing against a lot of companies that are owned by Fortune 500 companies and others that are owned by government entities that have budgets well beyond private owners, it’s just absolutely amazing (to win).

AIN is the most widely read publication regarding corporate aviation, which is essentially any business that has an airplane—single-engine planes up to business jets. The publication’s FBO Survey is compiled from the opinions of pilots and dispatchers, and grades FBOs on areas such as line services, overall facilities, and pilot and passenger amenities.

Zeman credits the J.A. Air Center’s service as a major reason why the facility earned the top spot on the survey.

“Our people give the best service anywhere, and we treat our customers like family and friends,” he said. “In everything we do, we try to anticipate the pilots’ needs, but also the passengers’ needs.”

A strong example of the J.A. Air Center’s commitment to providing great service includes the facility’s 25,000-square-foot canopy that can provide total cover for even the largest business jets. In the event of rainfall, a customer can taxi their airplane underneath the canopy and get in and out of the aircraft without getting hit with a single raindrop. Other amenities include a drive-up canopy for people to keep dry when they exit their cars, and doorless bathrooms.

“People getting in and out of airplanes always have things in their hands, and we designed the bathrooms so there are a series of turns and walls (instead of doors),” Zeman said. “Yeah, you do a little bit of zig-zagging, but there are no doors to have to deal with.”

The J.A. Air Center also bakes fresh cookies in-house every day, and offers Lou Malnati’s Pizza for people who are traveling through on business. Zeman said it’s a nice way for visitors to take home a little taste of Chicago.

The J.A. Air Center, which beat out other FBOs such Global Select at Sugarland Regional Airport in Sugarland, Texas, and XJet at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo., also earned the highest score in the history of AIN’s FBO Survey, notching an overall grade of 9.52. Global Select’s grade of 9.45 was the next highest, followed by XJet with a grade of 9.16.

So what’s next for the J.A. Air Center after earning the right to be called the best FBO in the country? Zeman said he expects the increased publicity to help put the Aurora Municipal Airport on the map.

“I think what we’ll find is more corporate aviation is going to come through Aurora Airport to experience the service that we provide, and that’s good for the community as a whole because it brings more businesses through the front door of (this) community,” he said. “The truth of that matter is this is the best location for business aircraft in Chicagoland. It’s the only one that has direct access to the tollway, and there’s only one stoplight between Aurora Aiport and the Chicago Loop, and this is the only airport that can say that.”

Lawsuit against Chairman dismissed

in Elburn/Regional by

by Lynn Meredith
KANE COUNTY—A Kane County judge dismissed a lawsuit against Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay brought by Elburn resident James MacRunnels. The lawsuit claimed that McConnaughay violated county ordinances when she gave out 14 raises to employees.

MacRunnels ran against McConnaughay in the 2008 Republican primary.

“From the beginning we knew this (lawsuit) was a frivolous, unwarranted exercise on Mr. MacRunnels’ part to engage in political gamesmanship,” McConnaughay said. “As you know, he was a former opponent.”

The suit was filed in December 2010 by MacRunnels and claimed that McConnaughay violated Section 2-48 of the Kane County Code. He claims that she gave raises without county board approval as set forth in the code.

“We have the utmost respect for Judge Mueller, but we were of the opinion that she was violating the ordinance in handing out the raises,” said William T. King Jr., attorney for MacRunnels. “Well, she was. It’s there in black and white.”

He said that his client is attempting to stop her from handing out raises without approval.

“But, apparently, she doesn’t want to stop,” he said.

MacRunnels has 30 days in which to appeal the decision.

“We’re exploring our options, but we really don’t know yet,” King said.

KC Chairman says future looks bright, despite sour economy

in Regional by

Photo: Forest Preserve President John Hoscheit and County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay speak at a luncheon sponsored by the Geneva and St. Charles Chambers of Commerce at Pheasant Run Resort on Tuesday. Courtesy Photo

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Kane County—Kane County is in a position to take advantage of future growth opportunities as a result of the fiscal prudence taken by the County Board during the last 10 years, according to the board chairman.

County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay told a group of about 60 business people that the hard work, “sometimes contentious work,” of the County Board is what has put Kane’s finances on solid ground.

“While many government chief executives have been facing financial catastrophes, I can tell you that Kane County is in a solid financial position as we look to the future,” McConnaughay said.

A county update luncheon was co-sponsored by the Geneva and St. Charles Chambers of Commerce at Pheasant Run Resort on Tuesday. Forest Preserve President John Hoscheit also spoke and talked about the recently approved referendum for $30 million for land purchases.

McConnaughay said the board knew even before the economy turned sour that the enormous demand for services and infrastructure would not be far behind. As a result, the board worked to “keep a tight rein” on spending and to build up reserves.

“We believed these policies were sound when we first pursued them in the last decade,” she said, “But they were most importantly the saving grace for us when we ran into the worst recession we’ve seen in generations.”

While unemployment remains at about 8 percent, McConnaughay said several areas with job potential in the future include finance and healthcare, education, and professional services.

She said one of the biggest challenges facing local governments today is the issue of pensions. McConnaughay said $20 million of the county’s budget is spent on pensions and healthcare costs for its 1,300 employees. She said future government employees will not enjoy the same pension benefits as those currently in government have in place.

Population growth projections, regardless of the economy, remains at 800,000 by the year 2040. That is why the board is looking into public transportation possibilities and creative land use management, which McConnaughay said means housing that encourages walking to work, school, and for shopping.

Despite the successful passage of three previous referenda, Hoscheit said it was risky to ask the voters to approve another in light of the depressed economy.

“We’re in an economic situation where we have great opportunities to acquire land,” he said. “What was going for $90,000 an acre is now between $10,000 and $20,000 an acre.”

He said the day following the election, Forest Preserve offices were flooded with phone calls from banks and other land holders wanting to sell their property.

Hoscheit said the referendum will allow the district to take advantage of various matching grants available and partnering with local park districts in helping them with land purchases.

Kane County 2011 Resurfacing Program begins

in Regional by

KANE COUNTY—Roadway work necessary to implement Kane County’s 2011 Resurfacing Program is scheduled to begin the week of May 2 on the following roads: Corron Road, from south of Bowes Road to Bowes Road; Bowes Road, from west of Corron Road to east of Corron Road; Fabyan Parkway, from 1275 feet west of Kingsland Drive to 100 feet east of Kingland Drive; and Main Street, from 500 feet west of Route 47 to Harter Road.

The roadwork is expected to be completed by May 31, weather permitting.

The resurfacing process typically includes:
• Grinding and removal of 1.5 inches of the top-wearing surfacing of the pavement
• Placement of a fresh oil application over the grinded pavement
• Placement of 2.25 inches of an asphalt layer over the oil application to provide a new, smooth riding surface.

Work on Fabyan Parkway also includes curb and gutter removal and replacement.

A map showing county highways included on the 2011 Resurfacing Program is available at www.co.kane.il.us/DOT/constProjects.aspx. Click on “2011 Construction Projects” and then “2011 Resurfacing Map.”

Daily lane closures from Monday through Saturday will be required to accomplish this work. Please watch out for flaggers and anticipate increased travel times while traveling through these construction areas. The public is advised to use alternate routes, especially after placement of the fresh oil application. Signs will be posted to inform the public in advance of the oil application.

Questions or concerns may be directed to Bryan Schramer at (630) 762-2744 or John Guddendorf at (630) 816-9671.

2011 Garfield Farm Museum Awards Dinner

in Regional by

ST. CHARLES—Garfield Farm Museum will hold its annual Garfield Farm Museum Awards for historic and environmental preservation on Saturday, May 7, at 8:30 p.m. at the Dunham Woods Riding Club in Wayne.

These awards recognize individuals and groups whose efforts parallel the museum’s three themes: history, farming and the environment.

The Gifford Park Association of Elgin, Ill., Charles Greenhill of Lake Zurich, Ill., and Dan and Tina Larsen of LaFox are the 2011 winners of the Historic Preservation Awards. Barbara Reed Turner of Long Grove, Ill., will receive an Environmental Preservation Award.

The evening begins with a reception and dinner at 6:45 pm. Dinner is $50 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the museum at (630) 584-8485 or info@garfieldfarm.org. Garfield Farm Museum is located five miles west of Geneva, off Route 38 on Garfield Road.

Aurora Airport manager to be inducted into aviation hall of fame

in Featured/Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Keith Beebe
AURORA/Sugar Grove—Bob Rieser began working for the city of Aurora in May 1971 as a summer college intern while working toward a degree in civil engineering.

Forty years later, he will be the first professional airport manager to be inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

The Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame is a part of the annual Illinois Aviation Conference, which will be held this year on May 24 and 25 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield. The conference features programs, guest speakers and other tools to help show what is currently going on in the world of aviation.
[quote] Rieser, who serves as manager and director of aviation at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, is one of four people who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. He said he was both pleased and surprised when he found out in late January that he would be inducted this year.

“It’s an honor to be inducted, and it’s very nice to be acknowledged by your peers in the industry,” Rieser said. “There’s no better form of flattery, especially if you look at the guys who are in there ahead of me. It’s an honor to be in that group of distinguished people in aviation.”

This was also Rieser’s first time being nominated for the Hall of Fame. According to Rieser, nominees do not typically make it through the screening process the first few times they are nominated.

“I guess I met the criteria,” he said. “The biggest thing they look for is what you do for aviation in Illinois outside of your job, and I guess I’ve done that.”

According to an Illinois Aviation Conference press release, Rieser’s skills, love and devotion to general aviation have opened many doors of opportunity to the aviation community for those who want to be part of it. The release states that Rieser has supported EAA Chapter 79 in flying over 14,000 children as part of the Young Eagles program, and has hosted the Chapter One Aerobatic Competition, the North American Trainer Association formation seminars, the Moleaires line control model airplane competition, and the USAF Reservists.

The press release also states Rieser’s devotion to aviation and dedication to Illinois airports qualifies him to join the ranks of notable inductees in the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame.

One of the first projects Rieser was assigned to work on 40 years ago was the construction of a runway extension. After that, he finished his college training, earned his degree at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and went to work for Aurora, building projects as a civil engineer. Then, everything came together for Rieser one day in 1978.

“The then-airport manager apparently went to the mayor, who was Jack Hill, and said he wanted to take a three-month leave of absence. The mayor walked up into the engineering part and said, ‘OK, he’s going to be gone for three months; who wants to look after it while he’s gone?’ And I stuck my hand up,” Rieser said. “That was it. He just said, ‘Take care of it while you do your other stuff.’”

Rieser then officially began splitting his time between civil engineering and managing the airport in 1981, and then moved into the full-time airport manager position three years later. Rieser is currently the longest-standing airport manager for a public airport in the state of Illinois.

He also believes he still has plenty of important work still ahead of him.

“I want to keep working, and I see some good surprises coming up around here this next year,” he said.

Consult a lawyer at no cost

in Regional by

SPRINGFIELD—Anyone in Illinois with a question about a legal matter can call and talk to a lawyer at no cost on Ask A Lawyer Day, Saturday, April 30.

Lawyer volunteers will answer phones at six locations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Any Illinois resident can call toll free, or a local number in some areas, for a free phone consultation with a lawyer.

The 30th annual Ask A Lawyer Day is a public service sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) in cooperation with bar associations in Chicago, Northwest Suburbs, DuPage County, Lake County and Will County.

Lawyer volunteers will be able to answer questions about consumer problems, family law, estate planning, personal injury, or any other legal situations affecting individuals.

“We find that many people hesitate to see a lawyer, even when they know they have a legal problem,” said Mark D. Hassakis of Mt. Vernon, president of the Illinois State Bar Association. “Ask A Lawyer Day provides an opportunity to learn about a legal situation, or how best to address a legal problem, in a user-friendly manner.”

From anywhere in Illinois, call the Illinois State Bar Association at 1-800-252-8908 or (217) 525-1760

Also, lawyers can be found online at http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com.

Campton Hills begins community planning project

in Regional by

CAMPTON HILLS—The village of Campton Hills is updating its comprehensive plan that will guide land use and other decisions for decades to come. As part of that effort, the village is inviting local residents, business owners, community leaders and other stakeholders to attend a special community planning event.

To be held on Monday, May 2, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Wasco Elementary School, 4N782 School St., Wasco, the session will feature electronic keypad polling in which participants can state their preferences for issues they feel should be addressed in planning for the future of Campton Hills.

Since incorporating in 2007, the village’s land use decisions have relied largely on the plans of Kane County and Campton Township. Now, a grant to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is enabling CMAP staff to provide technical assistance to Campton Hills, including help with public participation in the plan’s development.

The May 2 event lets residents have their say.

For information, call (630) 584-5700 or e-mail carolyn.higgins@villageofcamptonhills.org to RSVP by Friday, April 29.

Hultgren Unveils STANDUP Act

in Regional by

GENEVA—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced at a press conference at Geneva High School on April 20 that he will be the lead Republican sponsor on legislation to protect the driving public, particularly teenagers, through the nationwide adoption of Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) laws.

“I was proud to support the Graduated Driver’s License program in Illinois when I served in our state legislature, and I’m excited to take those same ideas to Washington, D.C. to help make our roads safer,” said Hultgren, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee. “The statistics are telling. We know that motor vehicle accidents are the number-one killer of American teens, and that teen drivers comprise only 7 percent of drivers on the road, yet 20 percent of all highway fatalities occur in crashes involving teen drivers. Action must be taken to educate teen drivers and protect everyone on our nation’s roadways.”

The legislation, H.R. 1515, the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act of 2011, urges all states to adopt GDL laws that meet specific minimum requirements within three years. Those requirements include:

• A three-stage licensing process—learner’s permit, intermediate stage, unrestricted driver’s license

• Prohibits night-time driving in the intermediate stage when teens are driving by themselves for the first time

• Passenger restrictions during the learner’s permit and intermediate stage (no more than one nonfamily member under the age of 21 unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the vehicle)

• Prohibits non-emergency use of cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages

• Learner’s permit begins at age 16 while the full licensure begins at age 18

• Any other requirement adopted by the Secretary of Transportation, including learner’s permit holding period at least six months; intermediate stage at least six months, at least 30 hours behind-the-wheel; supervised driving by licensed driver 21 years of age or older; automatic delay of full licensure if permit holder commits an offense, such as DWI, misrepresentation of true age, reckless driving, unbelted driving, speeding, or other violations as determined by the Secretary.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of Americans between 15 and 20 years of age and that between 1999 and 2009, more than 90,000 Americans were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving teen drivers, an average of 155 deaths per week.

They also report that the fatality rate for teen drivers is four times higher than the rate for drivers between 25 and 70 years of age and that teenage drivers who are 16 years of age have a motor vehicle crash rate that is almost 10 times higher than the crash rate for drivers between 30 and 60 years of age.

“Between cell phones, GPS devices and satellite radio, today’s teen drivers are facing more distractions than the teens of prior generations,” Hultgren said. “Simply acclimating teen drivers to the responsibilities and rigors of the road saves lives, and Graduated Driver’s Licensing is a proven method to provide teens with the skills and experience they need to be out on the road safely.”

Hultgren added that according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, teen driving deaths dropped by over 40 percent in Illinois in the first full year following the 2007 implementation of a stronger graduated driver licensing law.

Heroin seizure believed to be largest ever in Kane County

in Regional by

Kane County—The Kane County Sheriff’s Department confiscated what officials believe to be the largest amount of heroin ever seized in Kane County following a routine traffic stop Monday in Elgin.

According to the Sheriff’s Department, a deputy on Monday made a traffic stop at Route 25 and Luda Street in Elgin for failure to signal when required. The driver, who was the sole occupant, did not have a valid driver’s license.

During the investigation, the deputy had reason to believe the driver was transporting illegal narcotics into the Chicago area. The deputy then located a hidden compartment in the vehicle. Once deputies were able to access the compartment, more than seven kilograms of heroin was discovered. The heroin is believed to have a street value of approximately $2.1 million.

According to Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez, this is a major seizure of heroin. During the past several years the heroin problem in the suburbs has gained national attention. The narcotics seized as a result of this traffic stop most certainly would have made its way to the suburbs and Kane County. This seizure, which is believed to be the largest in the history of Kane County, hopefully will choke off some of the supply of the highly addictive and deadly narcotic, he said.

The driver, Claudia Chagoya, was taken to the Kane County Adult Corrections Center. The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office authorized one count each of the following charges against Chagoya:
• Controlled Substance Trafficking, a Class X felony
• Unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, a Class X felony
• Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 1 felony
• Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony

Claudia Chagoya, female, 41, of El Paso, Texas, is a Mexican citizen who held a valid passport at the time of her arrest. She was scheduled to appear in bond call on Wednesday at the Kane County Judicial Center.

The charges against Chagoya are not proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

County sets property tax bill due dates

in Regional by

Kane County—Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert announced this week that taxpayer’s 2010, payable 2011, property tax bills will be mailed out on or before Tuesday, April 26.

The first installment will be due June 1, and the second installment will be due Sept. 1.

County Clerk Jack Cunningham reported that Net Taxable Valuation for Kane County is $14,830,044,664 with a total real estate tax extension of $1,153,979,977.

Starting April 26, you may visit KaneCountyTreasurer.org to view current tax information and print out duplicate bills. Also available on this website is a list of all unclaimed funds held by the Treasurer.

Taxpayers can make payment by:
• Mailing the payment to the Treasurer’s Office, in the envelope provided,
• Making the payment at any one of the designated banks within Kane County,
• Making the payment during business hours in the Treasurer’s Office (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except holidays),
• Dropping the payment off in the property tax drop box, which is available 24 hours a day. The drop box is located behind Building A at the Government Center in Geneva.
• Credit card or e-check over the Internet. Please note there are convenience fees for both of these services. Additional information is available on the Treasurer’s Office website KaneCountyTreasurer.org.

Estimate of average property tax bill by township
This chart is provided to give homebuyer’s an estimate of what a tax bill amount might be in different geographic locations within the county (based on 2010, payable 2011, data with homestead exemption). Please note actual tax bill may vary significantly from estimates given here.
For specific information on tax rates, please contact the County Clerks Tax Extension Office at (630) 232-5964. For specific information on exemptions, please contact the Supervisor of Assessments Office at (630) 208-3818.

Home Value $150,000 $200,000 $250,000 $300,000 $500,000
Location
Aurora Township 3,772 5,077 6,383 7,688 12,909
Batavia Township 3,591 4,834 6,076 7,319 12,289
Big Rock Township 3,473 4,674 5,876 7,078 11,884
Blackberry Township 3,821 5,144 6,466 7,788 13,078
Burlington Township 3,827 5,151 6,475 7,799 13,096
Campton Township 3,371 4,537 5,704 6,870 11,535
Dundee Township 3,713 4,998 6,283 7,568 12,708
Elgin Township 4,112 5,535 6,958 8,381 14,073
Geneva Township 3,713 4,997 6,282 7,567 12,706
Hampshire Township 3,410 4,590 5,770 6,950 11,669
Kaneville Township 3,669 4,939 6,208 7,478 12,556
Plato Township 3,889 5,235 6,581 7,927 13,310
Rutland Township 3,387 4,558 5,730 6,902 11,589
St. Charles Township 3,523 4,742 5,961 7,180 12,056
Sugar Grove Township 3,802 5,117 6,433 7,749 13,011
Virgil Township 3,776 5,082 6,389 7,696 12,922

State announces loan program for farmers

in Regional by

Illinois—llinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford on Monday 18 announced a low-interest loan program for farmers in conjunction with the Illinois Farm Bureau.

The program, Ag Invest, has the treasurer’s office partner with eligible lenders to offer farmers low-interest loans they can use for operating costs, equipment purchases, construction-related expenses and livestock purchases.

Rutherford’s Ag Invest loan program offers interest rates not to exceed 4.5 percent for qualified borrowers at participating financial institutions.

“In partnership with these lenders, it is our desire to bring farmers an opportunity to pay less interest for operating expenses,” Rutherford said.

The treasurer announced borrowers can now have access to $120,000 annually per farmer or $240,000 annually for a farm operation with more than one borrower. Rutherford is also making the Ag Invest loan process less cumbersome for both lenders and farmers, eliminating lengthy paperwork and tedious questions.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson said these changes to Ag Invest are key for farmers who rely on borrowing heavily to do their work.

“Farming is a capital intensive industry and having access to capital is important to farmers,” said Nelson. “This is a positive step the state can take to assist our largest industry.”

One may find out more about Ag Invest at the treasurer’s website at www.treasurer.il.gov and follow the Ag Invest links under the Invest in Illinois tab. To find a participating financial institution offering Ag Invest loans, one can call the Ag Invest office at (217) 557-6436.

This little doggie has a happy tale

in Elburn/Regional by

Photo: Arrow receives one of his twice weekly electro-acupunture treatments to stimulate his paralyzed back legs. Courtesy Photo

by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—A puppy named Arrow, who was born at a kennel named Texas Aussies, was adopted by a lady in Texas who owns a ranch named Flaming Arrow.

Linda Mikeworth, who breeds Australian Shepherds at her Hampshire kennel, thinks it was fate. But Arrow’s journey included an unexpected stop in Elburn after a paralyzing injury before heading to the Lone Star State.

Sometimes there’s no explaining why something happens, especially in the animal world.

So when Mikeworth’s 12-year-old male dog grabbed one of her 5-week-old puppies and pinned him to the ground, she figured it was just because the older dog was less tolerant.

“A lot of male dogs don’t like puppies,” Mikeworth said. “He just didn’t want this puppy in his face.”

She knew the puppy she called Arrow was hurt, but it wasn’t until a few days later she noticed he was losing mobility in his hind quarters. The veterinarian she works for put him on steroids, but when she realized Arrow’s hind legs were paralyzed, she said she knew the injury had something to do with the spine.

Arrow (below) with some acupuncture needles in his back to help with his paralysis. Courtesy Photo
“I looked for somebody that did chiropractic work for dogs and found Dr. Cechner at Elburn Animal Hospital,” Mikeworth said. “I got Arrow in as soon as possible.”

Susan Cechner is one of few veterinarians in the area trained in chiropractic as well as acupuncture. She is certified in both and also provides various types of herbal medicine.

X-rays showed there were three spots on Arrow’s spine that were damaged, ruling out chiropractic treatment, which might cause further damage. Cechner said Arrow was experiencing “very minimal deep pain” determined by tightly pinching the toe and looking for a response.

“We got just a little bit of withdrawal,” Cechner said. “He wasn’t crying. Obviously if you have a healthy dog or cat and you pinch their toe, they’re going to pull away and might try to bite you.”

Because she had successfully treated another dog with similar injuries and was able to get him back walking, Cechner said she was hopeful she might be able to help Arrow.

She recommended electro-acupuncture to “get the muscles firing.”

Based on ancient Chinese medicine, needles are placed into meridians, or points in the body that correspond to different organs. With the copper needles in place, Cechner hooked Arrow up to a machine that generates electrical impulses for up to 15 minutes at a time. Arrow got the treatments twice a week and showed considerable improvement each time.

Mikeworth happened to meet someone while at work who has connections with special needs animals. Within 24 hours and after several e-mails and phone calls, she found Arrow a new home.

“Our goal was to get him walking again,” she said. “He’ll probably never be 100 percent, but he just kept improving after each session.”

Arrow received seven electro-acupuncture treatments from Cechner before moving to Texas with his new owners, who will continue the treatments and also add hydrotherapy.

And following the final treatment before leaving, Cechner said Arrow was able to stand up and actually took a few steps with his hind legs.

So the dog named Arrow now has a new home on a 200-acre ranch that bears his name.

Mikeworth couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

“It just sounded like it was all meant to be.”

Texas Aussies (texasaussies.com) is located in Hampshire and breeds Australian Shepherds. For more information, e-mail linda@texasaussies.com.

Elburn Animal Hospital (elburnanimalhospital.com) has been in business since 1992 and is located at 403 E. North St. Phone: 630-365-9599.

Flint (above), a 12-year old dachshund from Geneva with back problems, gets a chiropractic treatment from Dr. Susan Cechner at Elburn Animal Hospital.

Construction on Hughes, Keslinger Road scheduled to begin this week

in Elburn/Regional by

KANE COUNTY—Construction work on Keslinger Road over Mill Creek Bridge and Hughes Road over Blackberry Creek Bridge began Monday and are scheduled to end June 30.

On the targeted section of Keslinger Road, one lane in each direction will be maintained during construction. Daily lane closures may be necessary, depending on the work by the contractor.

On the targeted section of Hughes Road, traffic will be reduced to one lane. A temporary traffic signal will allow movement in one direction across the bridge.

Motorists should anticipate increased travel times and exercise caution while driving through the work zone. Your cooperation and patience during this project is greatly appreciated.

If you have any concerns, please call Jim Zaharopoulos at (630) 444-2957.

Word Working

in Regional/Sugar Grove by

Bristol resident Jeff Goins (left) and Aurora University assistant professor of English Heidi Rosenberg use individual paper words to compose a poem at Phillips Library. Goins, a junior English/theater major, was among students in Rosenberg’s Intermediate Poetry class creating poems on a transparent glass wall in the library. Celebrating National Poetry Month, the wall and more than 500 sample words were developed by information services librarian Amy Manion of Sugar Grove. Courtesy Photo

By the numbers

in Health & Wellness/Regional by

Study looks at Kane’s health
KANE COUNTY—The County Health Rankings, a national study released recently, show once again that Kane County residents are some of the healthiest in the state, but they also highlight areas that need to be addressed in order to achieve the Kane County Health Department’s 2030 vision of having the healthiest residents in Illinois. Kane ranked ninth out of 102 Illinois counties in health outcomes, an improvement from 11th last year.

“We are happy that we’re moving in the right direction,” Health Department Executive Director Paul Kuehnert said. “We can see with this study that where we live, learn, work and play influences how healthy we are and how long we live. So much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office.”

The study shows Kane County dropping to 41st in health factors, a decline from 19th last year. That portion of the study highlights areas that need improvement in order to achieve better health outcomes. Below are some areas to be addressed:
• Adult smoking—17 percent in Kane County; national benchmark: 15 percent
• Adult obesity—28 percent in Kane County; national benchmark: 25 percent
• Teen birth rate—46 per 1,000 female population between 13 and 19 years; national benchmark: 22 per thousand of that population.

“Smoking and obesity tie directly into chronic disease, while a high teen birth rate will tie into infant mortality disparities. We must continue to work as a community to attend to these health factors and make progress in order to move toward having the healthiest residents in Illinois,” Kuehnert said. “We are fortunate that so many Kane community members and leaders—from parents to faith leaders to elected officials at all levels—are working in active health partnerships, like ‘Making Kane County Fit for Kids,’ the Kane County Perinatal Committee, and the Aurora and Elgin ‘Circles of Wise Women’ to address these health issues in Kane.”

The County Health Rankings Report also identifies key measures of social and economic impact on health, as well as the environment. Key measures include:
• Unemployment, which was 10.3 percent at the time of the study in Kane, compared to 5.3 percent in the national comparison counties.
• College education, which was 59 percent in Kane, compared to 64 percent in the national comparison counties.
• Uninsured, which was 19 percent in Kane, compared to 13 percent nationally.
• Air quality improved from last year, with Kane seeing two air pollution particulate matter days, a decline from four last year, and no ozone action days this year, compared to nine last year.
• Access to healthy foods also showed an improvement, with 75 percent of the ZIP codes having access this year, compared to 43 percent last year.

The Health Department will use the results of this study as it conducts its Community Health Assessment, which currently is in its initial stages. The five-year update of the Kane’s Community Health Assessment and Community Health Action Plan will be completed by the end of 2011. Working with its partners, the Health Department will use the data in the County Health Rankings report, a comprehensive community health risk behavior survey, data from other surveys, and sources such as the 2010 Census, as well as focus groups and a series of community meetings to develop an updated blueprint for improving the health of Kane County residents over the next five years.

Kane County started to address some of the significant issues raised in the health rankings long before the first rankings were issued last year. Based on the recommendations of the County’s Regional Planning Commission and at the direction of the County Board, the county’s staff in Development and Community Services, Health and Transportation, have begun updating the 2030 Land Resource Management Plan to a new 2040 Plan. The Making Kane County Fit for Kids initiative, with its goal of promoting active living and access to fresh foods, released its Fit Kids’ 2020 Plan in January. The Fit Kids 2020 plan focuses on sector specific issues that each community can address to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity and will be integrated into the 2040 Land Resource Management Plan.

The second-annual study, commissioned and paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Institute, ranks each county in a state in Health Outcomes and Health Factors. Health Outcomes were measured by length and quality of life. Health Factors include clinical care, health behaviors, social and economic factors and physical environment. In simple terms, health outcomes can be described as a snapshot of our resident’s current health, and health factors can be seen as a potential picture of their health in the future.

To find more information about the County Health Rankings, including accessing the full report, visit www.kanehealth.com.

Elburn, Sugar Grove receive fluoridation awards

in Elburn/Regional/Sugar Grove by

SPRINGFIELD—The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), presented fluoridation awards to 433 community water systems for maintaining state-mandated fluoride levels every month in 2010. The awards were presented at a ceremony held during the 2011 Illinois Section American Water Works Association Conference and Expo at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.

The Elburn and Sugar Grove water departments both received fluoridation awards.

“Water fluoridation can improve overall oral health for both children and adults. Studies show water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by about 25 percent over a person’s lifetime,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. “Studies also show that widespread community water fluoridation saves money for both families and the health care system. We applaud those communities that maintain levels of fluoride in their water systems and encourage them to continue their efforts.”

Of those recognized, 101 systems earned a commendation for meeting state recommended fluoride levels of 0.9 to 1.2 parts per million for at least five consecutive years; 40 for at least 10 years; 78 for at least 15 years; 14 for at least 20 years and 7 for at least 25 years. Another 110 received honorable mention for meeting state fluoride levels 11 of 12 months in 2010.

“We join public health in congratulating these water supply operators for their diligence in maintaining optimum fluoride levels for the benefit of the public,” said IEPA Interim Director Lisa Bonnett.

Fluoride in drinking water helps improve the quality of life through less tooth decay; reduced time lost from school and work; and less money spent to restore, remove or replace decayed teeth. In Illinois, approximately 99 percent of those served by public water systems receive the benefit of fluoridated drinking water, compared to the current national average of approximately 72 percent. Fluoride is found naturally in water, but in many communities the amount of the mineral is too low and does not meet the required standards. Water operators will add fluoride to fulfill optimal health benefits to the communities. Of the 1,838 water supplies in Illinois, 834 systems adjust fluoride levels.

Illinois communities have practiced water fluoridation for more than 60 years, and fluoride continues to prove beneficial in the battle against tooth decay. In fact, drinking fluoridated water from birth can reduce tooth decay by 40 to 65 percent.

Hultgren accepts applications for fall interns

in Regional by

GENEVA—U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) announced he is now accepting applications for fall semester internships in both his Washington, D.C. and Geneva offices. The position is unpaid and would run approximately from Aug. 15 to Dec. 15. Full-time students or applicants with Illinois ties preferred. Academic credit is available.

Interns in the Washington, D.C. office will be responsible for greeting visitors, answering phones, giving tours of the U.S. Capitol and assisting staff with policy-related projects. Interns in the Geneva office may be asked to help with administrative functions, conduct casework on behalf of constituents and assist with special projects.

Interested applicants should submit a resume, writing sample and exact dates of availability to hultgrenresumes@gmail.com. Applicants should also indicate whether they are applying to the Washington, D.C. or Geneva office. Applicants may include names and phone numbers for personal and/or professional references. Applications must be received by June 15, 2011. For more information, call (202) 225-2976.

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