2009 Year in Review

By on December 31, 2009

The year 2009 was full of highs and lows, reasons to laugh and be inspired, and reasons to cry and pray. Following are just a small sampling of some of the events and people who made 2009 a year to remember.

—January—

View our complete January 2009 archive >>

Good Samaritans
Sugar Grove police received four pairs of helping hands at exactly the right time in early January. A horse trailer pulled by a truck on Route 47 tipped on its side after the driver lost control of her car on an icy patch of roadway.
While police were developing a plan to remove the horse from the trailer in a safe manner, an equine specialist stopped to offer assistance, shortly followed by a veterinarian.
While the vet sedated the horse, two additional equine experts stopped at the scene to help the emergency responders extricate the horse from the trailer.
Other than some minor cuts and bruises, the horse made it through the ordeal in fine shape.
“I don’t know what we would have done if they hadn’t showed up,” Sugar Grove police officer John Sizer said at the time. “Obviously, it was not this horse’s turn to die.”

New leadership planned for Kaneland
The Kaneland School Board approved Jeff Schuler to replace Superintendent Charlie McCormick when McCormick retires in 2010. Schuler has served as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the past three years.
“I am recommending him to you with a lot of pride, a lot of pleasure and a lot of confidence,” McCormick told the board on Jan. 12. “We are very, very comfortable that we have an internal candidate and do not need to do a search.”

—February—

View our complete February 2009 archive >>

Maple Park struggles to fill the ranks
The village of Maple Park struggled with staffing its police department. During a Feb. 3 meeting, the board voted down a motion to accept two police officers to be part of a pool of candidates for future employment, and it tabled a motion to hire another officer under a probationary period.
Then-board and Police Committee member Kathy Curtis said the committee never met to discuss the results of background checks on three officer candidates, and therefore could not vote in favor of hiring any officers to help the short-staffed department.
“We’re in a very serious situation in regards to employees for the Police Department,” then-Police Committee Chairman Erl Pederson said at the time. “We don’t have enough people to go around. We have one officer in charge, and we have one policeman who can give us time.”

Gierke to join PanthersGierke to join Panthers
Kaneland High School senior Lindsay Gierke on Feb. 4 signed a letter of intent to join the University of Northern Iowa Panthers track program in the fall.
“It’s a lot less pressure, but keeps me motivated because I’m going to a good school,” Gierke said. “I met some of the girls on the team and they’re really nice.”

Metra to double the size of parking lot
Metra announced in early February that it intended to pursue a plan to double the size of the parking lot at the Metra station in Elburn, due to the heavy use of the station.
“The Elburn parking lot has filled up very quickly. The demand is there and we’re very happy it has met our expectations,” Metra project engineer Andy Roth said.

—March—

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Cagers win tourney
The Kaneland Cagers 5th Grade Black team wrapped up its season by sweeping five games in the Grayslake Feeder Basketball Tournament held Feb. 27 through March 1 enroute to becoming tournament champions. The Cagers won the championship game 35-17 against the Highland Park Giants. The team finished the season with a 27-9 record. Bottom row: Jake Marczuk, Ross Cortino, Ryan David, Austin Vickery, Austin Kintz. Top row: Tanner Van Horn, Mitchel Groen, Dylan Vaca, Jake Gomes, Nick Soucie.

Pair of Elburnites named Hometown Heroes
A pair of Elburn residents were named 2009 Hometown Heroes in March by the Fox River Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Dr. Laura Lemke and U.S. Army Cpl. Kevin Lamb received the recognition due to their outstanding actions on behalf of others. Lamb received the Military Hero Award, and Lemke was recognized with the Medical Hero Award.
Lamb received a U.S. military medal of valor for his actions on Feb. 22, 2007, in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. That night, he helped as a grenadier to clear an enemy stronghold after lead forces suffered mass casualties. According to the Army, he reacted “with the aggression and discipline of an experienced combat veteran.”
Lemke administered life-saving chest compressions and CPR during the Elburn Days festival to a man who was stricken with a heart attack and had no pulse. When she heard that a man had collapsed in the parking lot at Lions Park, she said she “handed off (her) baby and ran” to the victim. She remembers his 3-year-old daughter watching from the back of the family’s car.

—April—

View our complete April 2009 archive >>

Emotional season-opener
As reported in the April 2 edition of the Elburn Herald, covering the KHS baseball season-opener: This opening day was unlike any other, for bittersweet reasons.
There were smiles and tears throughout Thursday’s contest between Kaneland and Burlington Central on the diamond, as Kaneland fans and players remembered Jeff Malewig and Blake Denton, who died in a car accident in December.
Before the contest, a moment of silence was observed, KHS coach Brian Aversa led Jeff’s father Tom out to the left field wall where a plaque with Jeff’s number 41 is now placed. The foul poles are now adorned with “BD” and “JM.”

Voters pick new village leadership
Area voters elected two new village presidents, as well as choosing one incumbent. In Elburn, David Anderson was elected as Elburn village president; and in Maple Park, Kathleen Curtis defeated incumbent Ross Dueringer. Sugar Grove voters gave incumbent village president Sean Michels a victory over challenger Perry Clark.

Willey ends tenure as village president
Serving as Elburn Village President since 1997, Jim Willey presided over his final Elburn Village Board meeting on April 20 before stepping down. He had decided months earlier not to seek re-election.

—May—

View our complete May 2009 archive >>

New chief in Elburn
The Elburn Village Board voted 4-2 to appoint Steve Smith as the new Elburn police chief. Smith replaced Jim Linane, who had held the post since 2001.

FBI investigates pipe bomb near railroad
The FBI offered a $5,000 award for information regarding a pipe bomb explosion that had been dropped into the signal house near the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad tracks in Sugar Grove.

KHS boys track wins sectional
The Kaneland High School boys track team earned a sectional title on May 22 at the Freeport Sectional. The team also sent representatives from seven separate events to the state final held at Eastern Illinois University.

In memory of Andie
The Kaneland community mourned the loss of a high school student, senior Andie Christoffel, who passed away May 25th due to injuries sustained after being struck by a train the night before he was set to graduate on May 24.
“He was incredibly compassionate and had an amazing gentle spirit,” said Diane McFarland, Kaneland High School Assistant Principal.

Goodbye WSC
The Kaneland School Board voted unanimously on May 26 to leave the Western Sun Conference starting with the 2010-11 school year. The board also voted 6-1 to join a newly formed conference that includes schools to the west and south.

—June—

View our complete June 2009 archive >>

Lack of funds means no Day in the Park
The Elburn Chamber of Commerce announced in early June that it would not hold the annual Day in the Park festivities in 2009, due to a shortage of sponsorships and event funding. The event had been held in every year since 1997, and culminated in a fireworks display.
“We regretfully decided to pull the event. We waited as long as we could, hoping for a last-minute donation,” Chamber President Bill Brauer said at the time.

Elburn’s Hastert runs
for Congress

Elburn resident Ethan Hastert told the Elburn Herald on June 5 that he intended to run for Congress, representing the 14th District.
Hastert, a Republican and son of former District 14 Congressman and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, said he had been considering entering the race for the previous few months.
“In talking to people in the district, I found that many of them share my disappointment in what is coming out of the Democratic Congress, including an unprecedented level of spending,” Hastert said.

Richards named KC Elementary Teacher of Year
Kaneland John Shields Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Anna Richards was named Kane County Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Richards, in her 18th year of teaching, has been teaching fourth grade at John Shields for eight years.
“I can’t think of a better job,” she said. “Every day is a new day, and it is just a joy to be with the students. They’re delightful little people.”

—July—

View our complete July 2009 archive >>

Musical monks
A Tibetan cultural event featuring the monks of Drepung Gomang monastery took place July 17 at the Elburn & Countryside
Community Center. The event, featuring traditional Tibetan ceremonial music and movement, was part of the monks’ U.S. tour to demonstrate the artistic accomplishments of Tibetan culture and to raise money for the monastery.

Anderson earns Delnor’s Bartel Award
The Delnor Health Care Foundation announced that Elburn village president David Anderson was the 2009 recipient of the Bartel Award. Each year, the Bartel Award is given to an individual who demonstrates extraordinary support of, investment in and involvement with Delnor Health System and its affiliates.
Anderson was recognized for his years of service on many hospital committees and boards and overseeing the capital campaign that raised $10 million to support the hospital’s 100,000-square-foot expansion.

—August—

View our complete August 2009 archive >>

Camping fun
Great Lakes Leadership Campus, 526 N. Main St., Elburn, hosted approximately 90 campers from Michigan, Wisconsin and the Chicago area, as well as a ministry team from Kentucky, during a week-long retreat for fun and fellowship. Activities included a water slide on Aug. 1 on the sled hill at the property, which is owned by the Church of God Great Lakes Region and the site of the 1897 Stewart Mansion.

New library building
impresses at open house

1,243 visitors attended the Sugar Grove Public Library’s grand opening of its new building on Aug. 8.

Major golf tourney comes to Sugar Grove
Tens of thousands of spectators converged in Sugar Grove to watch the 2009 Solheim Cup, an international professional ladies’ golf tournament.

—September—

View our complete September 2009 archive >>

No video gambling
in Elburn

The Elburn Village Board became the first local government body in the area to ban video gambling in bars and clubs within its jurisdiction when the board voted 4-2 to prohibit the activity on Sept. 8. The vote was in response to the state’s decision to permit the activity statewide in July.

Marching band earns honors
The Kaneland High School marching band’s hard work paid off on Sept. 26, when it took first place in its class, as well as best percussion, best color guard and best overall effect in a marching band competition held in Rockford.
The seventh annual Phantom Regiment Band Fest featured a total of 10 bands in the northern Illinois area. Not only did the Kaneland band win recognition in its class by size, but Kaneland came home with the second-highest score overall.

Kaneland Krier
recognized for excellence

Every spring, high school journalists across the nation rush to send their stories into Quill and Scroll, the international high school journalism honor society. Every September, the judges’ booklets come back. This September brought another honor to the 2008-09 Kaneland Krier: the International First Place award.
“This honor is for everyone on the staff. More than 80 students worked on the paper throughout the year, but it’s especially (an honor) for the 17 editors who worked tirelessly to write, produce, design and edit the paper,” said Cheryl Borrowdale, Krier adviser.

—October—

View our complete October 2009 archive >>

Parents push for study
of grading scale

The Kaneland School Board received feedback from more than a dozen parents attending a board meeting about the district’s grading scale. The group of parents wanted the district to begin studying in 2009 a possible adjustment to the scale, rather than wait a year as the district originally planned.
The current scale uses a 7-point scale—for example, a grade of A is based on scores from 93-100—rather than a 10-point scale used by many school districts in the area.
After a parent petition with 703 signatures asked for the study to occur this year, the School Board voted to do so in a 5-1 vote.

Library seeks
operating funds

The Sugar Grove Public Library District Board decided in early October to approve a referendum request for more operating funds. If the referendum passes on Feb. 2, 2010, this would bring the rate to .20% of a home’s equalized assessed value.

Kaneland faces $3 million deficit
The Kaneland School District, faced with a reduction in property tax income and cuts in state funding, projected a $3 million deficit in next year’s budget. Given the magnitude of the deficit, school officials said in an October board meeting that “nothing is off the table.”
“We can’t cut $3 million with books and pencils,” Kaneland Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.
Last year’s budget cuts, which officials described as $750,000 in low-hanging fruit, will make this process even more difficult.

—November—

View our complete November 2009 archive >>

Sugar Grove village
president runs for senate

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels announced that he would run for state Senator in the 25th District. He has served as village president for the past 10 years.

Kaneland asks teachers
to renegotiate

The Kaneland School District administration asked the teachers union to renegotiate their contract ratified the previous year to help address the district’s projected $3 million deficit for next year.

Kaneland X-country takes 5th at state meet
On an unseasonably warm day for early November, the Kaneland High School boys cross country team etched itself into the record books once again, placing fifth in the class 2A state finals in Peoria, Ill.
The finish bettered last years’ eighth-place finish, and was the highest finish for the Knights since 1999, when they placed second in the class 1A field.
Led by junior Trevor Holm, the team featured a 36-second split between their lead runner and junior Grant Alef, Kaneland’s fifth and final scoring team member—a historic feat according to head coach Chad Clarey.

Marcusson named
citizen of year

Elburn resident and founder/director of Lazarus House Darlene Marcusson was given the 2009 Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year Award by Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez.
Marcusson, of Elburn, received the award during a ceremony on Nov. 12 for going above and beyond the call of civic duty. Perez said that Marcusson is the embodiment of the Roscoe Ebey award and a model for others to follow.

—December—

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The holidays were in full effect with Santa, horse-drawn rides and plenty of sweets the first weekend of December, with the Elburn Christmas Stroll (left), Holiday in the Grove (center) and the Christmas in Kaneville (right) events all taking place.