Courier News Latest news from Courier News Online en-us (Editor) Courier News 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Plenty of talking points in Kane animal abuse case ]]> Lead story image

Not that I’m an expert at writing about animal neglect cases, but this one does seem to be getting a bit hairier than normal. The story made big headlines at the end of February when Kane County authorities said they discovered dead and emaciated animals at the Mini Zoo Crew farm in Hampshire Township. And those stories went to video at 6 and 10 on March 11 when TV crews joined us print folks on the premises of this petting zoo off Route 20. There, scores of animal activist volunteered their time to remove the horses, miniature donkeys, alpacas, llamas … ]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 11:36:20 -0500 <![CDATA[ Backers of funding program for disabled in Kane say defeat at polls still put issues front and center ]]> Lead story image

In the end, pocketbooks won out over hearts Tuesday at the polling booths. Despite the organized efforts of the high-profile “Show You Care Kane” group that included many civic leaders, more than 60 percent of voters said no in the referendum that would fund services for developmentally disabled adults by raising taxes about $55 per year for the average Kane County homeowner. Still, after conceding defeat, Show You Care volunteers remained optimistic that at least a dialogue has been opened about how serious this issue is. According to Lynn O’Shea, executive director of the Association for Individual Development, Illinois ranks … ]]> Thu, 20 Mar 2014 02:25:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ President’s task force: Role models  for nation are here in Fox Valley ]]> Lead story image

When President Obama announced last week the creation of “My Brother’s Keeper” task force, he began forcing the eyes of the nation to look toward solutions in helping boys and young men of color reach their potential. And in doing so, that focus could shift right here to Kane County, where for years, mentoring groups and initiatives for black and Hispanic youth have been thriving and truly changing lives. Without question, one of the most feted is the Boys II Men club in Aurora that has been flourishing for the past 12 years under the charismatic leadership of its founder, … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 06:10:10 -0500 <![CDATA[ From New York to Vegas to Fox Valley ]]> Lead story image

From banking to babes, there are some impressive headlines coming out of the Fox Valley recently in big business and entertainment. Sugar Grove resident Jim Gibson leaves for Las Vegas this week, where on Saturday he will host the Las Vegas International Model Search that he also created and produced in conjunction with the MGM Grand and its new $120 million Hakkasan restaurant and club. Tough job if you can get it — right, guys? Gibson, a friend I met years ago when I wrote a story about him proposing to his wife, Naperville dentist Chiann Gibson, has been a … ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 06:19:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ A century ago, a brutal murder put Aurora in the spotlight ]]> Lead story image

On Feb. 16, 1914, a century ago today, a pretty young Aurora woman was brutally murdered in St. Nicholas Cemetery, within yards of her parents’ Ohio Street home and less than 20 feet from a large stone monument that bears her photograph and now marks her final resting spot. Judging from the old yellowed newspaper headlines, it had to be one of the most sensational crimes in the early 20th century. With good reason. Theresa Hollander was only 20 when her father Louie found her bloodied body near a shed in the cemetery directly across the street from the Hollanger’s … ]]> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:29:53 -0500 <![CDATA[ DENISE CROSBY: Attack puts spotlight on coyote problem ]]> Lead story image

My first thought was heart attack. “Are you OK?” I calmly asked my husband, who’d just returned from hauling out some garbage and was bent over the kitchen table inhaling huge chunks of air. “It’s adrenalin,” he gasped. “I just went at it ... with a coyote ... in the driveway …” So OK, that wasn’t quite the response I expected, but I sure as heck was relieved I would not have to call 911. Or would I? “A coyote!” I shrieked when it finally registered what he’d said. According to the story, as told by the man formerly known … ]]> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 06:16:22 -0500 <![CDATA[ Referendum could pit ‘heart vs. pocketbook’ ]]> Lead story image

This is the second part of a column looking at the March referendum in Kane County asking voters whether they want a tax increase to raise money to help the developmentally disabled. Judy Flaherty says her life did not change for the worse when she gave up a promising career to devote her days to the care of her developmentally disabled son Mark. “It just changed for the different,” the Aurora mom said. But like any mother who is the primary caregiver for a child, she worries incessantly about who will take care of her son, now 33, when she … ]]> Tue, 11 Mar 2014 06:20:49 -0500 <![CDATA[ First responders this winter ‘exhausted’ and ‘frustrated’ ]]> Lead story image

We’ve all done our share of whining about the winter, but imagine how difficult January has been for emergency responders in the Fox Valley. “The wear and tear on our deputies and equipment has been hard,” confirmed Lt. Pat Gengler, when I called the Kane County Sheriff’s Department to check on road conditions earlier this week. “With the snow, wind and cold, it’s been a never-ending cycle … they are pretty battered.” Det. Scott Koster used the word “exhausted” when he described the Kendall County sheriff’s staff who, from Sunday night to Monday morning, had to rescue about a dozen … ]]> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:35:26 -0500 <![CDATA[ Schools working overtime to keep ahead of Old Man Winter ]]> Lead story image

The father was not complaining. He just wanted to know if I’d received similar concerns. His son, he told me, a student at West Aurora High School, did not want to go to school recently because “some of the classrooms were blowing cool air instead of heat.” The teen, he added, struggled with allergies that often made him more vulnerable to changes in extreme conditions. And this weather certainly fits that description. When I contacted the school district, Public Relations Coordinator Mike Chapin said he was not aware of any issues with frigid classrooms, but assured me the district monitored … ]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 06:17:07 -0500 <![CDATA[ DENISE CROSBY: Volunteers needed more than ever at local charities ]]> Lead story image

We’re only a couple weeks into 2014, but the holidays are already a fading memory — leaving us with the not-so-merry task of reducing credit card debt and eggnog pounds. And our post-yuletide morose isn’t made easier by the polar vortex that dropped by after the new year like unwelcome house guests who also brought their three dogs. While we all try to deal with end-of-year excess, local not-for-profits are struggling with a different kind of “holiday hangover.” As usual, volunteers turned out in droves from Thanksgiving through December, eager to spread peace on Earth and good will toward men, … ]]> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 06:38:12 -0500 <![CDATA[ Aurora cop set to guard ‘most  dangerous people in the world’ ]]> Lead story image

Scott Carter comes from a long line of proud military men, including his father Harold, a retired Aurora police officer who served in combat in Vietnam, and his grandfather Harold Sr., who spent six months in a German prison camp during World War II. So it’s no surprise that Carter, a cop himself for 22 years in Kane and Kendall counties and now serving in Aurora, decided in 2010 to join the Army Reserves. It’s also no surprise that when the 43-year-old Plano man found out last June his unit, the 339th Military Police Co. out of Davenport, Iowa, was … ]]> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 06:13:46 -0500 <![CDATA[ In search of some cold hard facts ]]> Lead story image

Everyone, and everything, was struggling Monday with inhumane temperatures that hit the negative double digits. Even my house was groaning in protest, making strange popping noises when I awoke to let me know these conditions were dire. Which made me wonder who in their right mind would venture out into this weather unless they absolutely had to. And why? It’s no surprise even my car was making all sorts of weird sounds as I backed it out of the garage in my quest to answer those questions. First, I needed some gas, since I’d read just that morning about the … ]]> Sat, 08 Feb 2014 06:22:14 -0500 <![CDATA[ Daughter tries to deal with parole of her father’s killer ]]> Lead story image

As we looked back on the Faces of 2013 over the past month, one of the more compelling in my mind is that of Suzanne Potts, a young mother who is working hard to bury the pain of her childhood in Kendall County. Potts contacted me from her home in Virginia in the spring of last year to ask for help in her crusade to keep a killer behind bars. Dennis Orr, a Lake Holiday man sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 murder of her father, Plano businessman Joe Tucker, was scheduled to go before an Idaho parole … ]]> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 06:16:04 -0500 <![CDATA[ DENISE CROSBY: After 15 years, authorities offer closure to mother of murder victim ]]> Lead story image

It was in May, close to the 15th anniversary of her son’s murder, that I wrote about Leticia Ruiz, who had lost almost all the childhood memories of Carlos Lamas because of a stroke she suffered soon after her oldest child’s death. But despite that memory loss, and her ongoing battle with liver cancer, 52-year-old Ruiz was not about to give up on her quest to bring the man charged with this murder to justice. That man, Carlos Perez, had already been deported to Mexico for unrelated reasons when he was charged five years ago with the 1998 murder, and … ]]> Fri, 27 Dec 2013 09:49:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ After trek across Illinois, road for Army captain leads to Hollywood ]]> Lead story image

In that six-day walk from his Oswego hometown to his alma mater at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Brian Andries had a lot of time to think about what road he’d travel once he ended this fundraising trek for USO Illinois. The 25-year-old former Army captain who raised thousands of dollars in that April walk after returning from Iraq soon headed to Hollywood, where he’s been building an impressive resume that no doubt will lead to even more adventures. Now in the process of joining the Screen Actors Guild, Andries tells me he’s already landed speaking roles in multiple web … ]]> Sun, 26 Jan 2014 06:15:32 -0500