Friday, August 31, 2007

Market's Close

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Milt Westlake, owner of Norway Farms Produce in Norway, Ill., reaches to pick up a box for packing some of his eggplants, peppers and corn after a full day of selling produce at the DeKalb Farmers’ Market on Thursday. A 12-year veteran of the market, Westlake thought his day had gone relatively well. “It was a decent day,” he said. “This is a good market.”

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The JV

The members of the jayvee cheerleading squad at Sycamore High School are not your grandparents' cheerleaders.

“We try to throw out the best tricks we have to show people we're not just silly little girls in skirts.”

The one who made that statement, SHS sophomore Megan Hampson, 15, knows the pain and sacrifice of being a cheerleader.

As one of 12 members of the Sycamore jayvee cheerleading squad that defeated four other teams this summer at the Universal Cheerleading Association camp held at Northern Illinois University, she has her eyes on the prize.

That prize - awarded because of the team's success during the camp - is a trip to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on New Year's Day. Each girl going on the trip is asked to raise $700 to fund expenses, according to team coach Julie Sgarlata. Funding will not be available through the school, since the team will not be performing as representatives of SHS.

Sgarlata, in her fourth year as coach of the 18-member jayvee team, is in charge of making the girls, and one boy, into a cohesive unit. Her goal is to have the individuals on her team transform from, in her words, someone who complains to someone who is a responsible athlete.

The Illinois High School Association recognized cheerleading as an official sport three years ago, and the jayvee squad practices as much as any other team at the high school. Members average 10 hours per week, according to Sgarlata, and with each successive year, the expectations for the squad of freshmen and sophomores continue to increase.

“Everyone's got higher expectations this year,” Hampson agreed. Her goals for the squad are for each individual to do his or her best, and, as sophomore Olivia Fair, 15, chimed in, “not complain.”

Chronicle photo and story ERIC SUMBERG

Monday, August 27, 2007

Corn Fest

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Corn Fest opens on Saturday in downtown DeKalb after flooding caused officials to cancel the festival's opening on Friday night.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG From left, Shelly Muskeyvalley, Meagan Gunther and April Anderson of the Northern Illinois women's track team serve hot roasted ears of corn at the DeKalb Kiwanis trailer. The worst part? "You can't touch your nose because it has butter on it," said throwing coach Dave Jennings.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Round Lake's Bryan Byrne, 29, gives a kiss to his girlfriend Niky Brecheisen, 25, Saturday afternoon on Third Street. Brecheisen, a former Northern Illinois student, was visiting DeKalb for the first time since she left NIU in 2003. "We're just happy," she said of being at Corn Fest with her boyfriend.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Though they came for the car show, Eli, 4, left, Sam, 8, center, and Beth Krane, recent transplants to Oswego from the state of Washington, thoroughly enjoyed Corn Fest, especially the food. "This is some of the best corn we've ever had," said Beth Krane.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Where once the DeKalb Kiwanis corn roaster stood, a pile of discarded corn sits in a puddle on near Second Street in downtown DeKalb after Corn Fest closed up shop for the weekend on Sunday night. Lincoln Highway was scheduled to be open for traffic by 10 p.m. Clean up efforts by the city of DeKalb on Lincoln Highway are to begin again on outlying streets tomorrow morning with a goal of being completely finished by noon on Monday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pigskin Preview, High School Edition

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The cover of the Daily Chronicle's 2007 Pigskin Preview for high schools was assembled using Polaroid instant snapshots from the pre-season practices of DeKalb and Sycamore High Schools.

Floods Ravage DeKalb

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Bruce Bickner (from left), Brian Bickner and Lance McGill work to start a generator to help clear the knee-deep water that flooded the basement of the home of their friends Mort and Ann Carrel on Friday afternoon on Fairmont Drive in DeKalb. After consecutive rainstorms raised the Kishwaukee River to its highest levels in about two decades, area residents were looking for some relief. “Hopefully the worst is over,” Brian Bickner said.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The overflowing Kishwaukee River and a flooded section of land on Hillcrest Drive are separated by the surface of the Kishwaukee Kiwanis pathway on Friday evening. Northern Illinois University meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste said Friday's flood is one of the top two worst floods for the area, and could still set the record. It's the worst flood since July 2, 1983, when waters crested at 15.80 feet, he said. The river crested Friday at 15.24 feet, he said.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Storming DeKalb

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Lisa Lubbers of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, a parent of two Northern Illinois students, sprints toward the entrance of Neptune Hall on the campus of Northern Illinois during a downpour on Thursday afternoon. NIU move in day was interrupted multiple times by rain storms that brought flooding and property damage to the DeKalb County region.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG With tornado warning sirens blaring across campus, Nolan Davis, the assistant director of Northern Illinois' Neptune Hall, gives instructions and information to students, parents and others gathered in a common area in the building on campus Thursday.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG A car throws water into the air at the flooded corner of Cambria and Grand Drives in DeKalb on Thursday evening. Local residents said that water began inundating the roads in the Summit Enclave neighborhood from a drainage pipe that runs under Greenwood Acres Road around 4:30 p.m.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Brian Kim, 22, of DeKalb, leaps over a puddle that separates two larger bodies of flood water in the Summit Enclave neighborhood of DeKalb on Friday morning. Kim, whose car was trapped in a puddle on Thursday night for four hours, was walking around the area to scout out the least treacherous to get his car to his house.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Small Surprise

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Tom Kronas, 32, of DeKalb, holds the inch-long scorpion that he found, alive, on his bathroom floor Tuesday night at the Star Apartment complex on Aspen Road. After a minute-long struggle in which large amounts of wasp killer were used, "It was not happy," said Kronas, the anthropod assassin called the biology department at Northern Illinois and two exterminators, all of whom said they had no recollection of scorpions in northern Illinois. His best guess? A stowaway from some of the southern or western-based students returning to college this week.

Back to School

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Glenn Pulido, 6, who lives in the Neucort Lakes subdivision, runs Wednesday morning toward the bus that will take him to Cortland Elementary School.

CORTLAND - Dale Zimora's and Fernando Guzman's brand-new shoes matched this morning.

The 6-year-old boys like to do things together, said Vulce Zimora, Dale's mother.

“Last year it was the Spiderman shoes and the Spiderman backpacks,” she said as she waited for Bus 19 with her son and a few other Chesebro Elementary students in the Neucort Lakes subdivision in Cortland this morning.

Today is the first day of school for the nearly 6,000 students who attend the 12 schools in the DeKalb School District. For students who take the bus to school, it was a morning that signaled the transition from the languid days of summer to the routine of the academic year.

Glenn Pulido, 6, waited at his house on East Clover Avenue in Cortland with his mother, Yadira Gonzalez, and his grandmother Carmen Perez. His first day of first grade just a short ride away, Glenn scampered to the yellow bus when it pulled up to the corner.

His favorite part of the ride? “Looking out of the window,” he declared.

“He just likes riding on the bus,” Gonzalez said. “He's going to big school now, he thinks. He's going to be there all day.”

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG With the school bus to Chesebro Elementary School coming around the corner in the Neucort Lakes subdivision in Cortland, Dale Zimora, 6, gets a goodbye kiss from his mother, Vulce Zimora, before his first day of first grade. Joining the pair at the stop were (from left) Valerie Berroli, 6, Fernando Guzman, 6, Maria Guzman and Jacqueline Guzman, 4.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lots of Corn

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The hazy evening light Tuesday kisses a field of corn that stretches to County Line Road from the Wiltse Farm on Route 38 in Maple Park. The 2007 corn crop yield for Illinois will be the second-highest it has ever been at 178 bushels per acre, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Threshing Bee

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Butch Bureggert of Peotone, Ill., catches some shut eye between his fork lifting responsibilities for the saw mill demonstration on a warm and muggy Sunday afternoon at the Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee sponsored by the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Roland Hartman of Aurora, left, and Ken Perrin of Princeton, friends for over forty years, share a laugh while chatting near Perrin's five Huber Model B tractors. Attendees at the Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee since 1985, the two friends meet at the Taylor Marshall Farm to catch up, but each has his own ulterior reason for coming. "I come here to check out everything, " said Hartman. "He comes out here mainly for tractors."

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Bill Karl of Maple Park leans against his tractor as he watches Kevin Cork, left, of Burlington, Ill., and Karl Koehling of Lee, Ill., thresh wheat into a 1928 Minneapolis thresher on Sunday afternoon at the Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee sponsored by the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hittin' Time

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The sun was shining and the helmets were cracking during Northern Illinois’ practice as linebacker Jason Cruikshank (47) knocks the helmet off running back Mike Thornton in a tackling drill on Friday at Huskie Stadium.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Monster Truck Accident

Daily Chronicle Coverage

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG A monster truck driven by George Busca flies over several cars during a demonstration Thursday afternoon in downtown DeKalb. The event was sponsored by the NAPA Auto Parts store on Sixth Street.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG An unidentified man runs toward the truck as it careens out of control and heads over the Sixth Street train tracks north of Lincoln Highway.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Moments after a monster truck driven by George Busca that had been performing a car-crushing demonstration Thursday in downtown DeKalb rolled through the crowd, an unidentified woman points toward the train tracks north of where the truck veered out of control.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG First responders tend to 26-year old Amy List and her four-year-old daughter Krista who were seriously injured when the truck drove through the crowd.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG George Busca, driver and owner of the monster truck, leans against a wheel of his vehicle as emergency personnel talk with witnesses.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Threshin's 'a Comin'

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Don Kocher of St. Charles slides under a 1920s-era International corn sheller Saturday to attach a chain to its chassis so the vintage machine can be towed by Jim Maynard of Genoa and his son Joey, 8, with their Oliver 1850 tractor during clean up day for the Sycamore Steam Show and Threshing Bee in Sycamore. The festivities will feature steam engines, gas engines, gas tractors, threshing, parades and more and will run Thursday through Sunday.

Peace, from DeKalb

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Peace activist Alicia Knigge of the DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Justice went to Washington, D.C., in July to take part in Cities for Peace Day, a gathering of residents and local government officials from about 300 cities throughout the country. Knigge delivered an anti-war resolution passed in January 2003 by the DeKalb City Council to officials in the federal government.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Once and Real Miss Illinois 2007

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sally Grippo of DeKalb lets out a yelp of laughter after she asked a woman, Susan Howard, whom she mistakenly believed to be Miss Illinois 2007 to autograph a picture of the beauty queen's likeness before the DeKalb Park District’s Friday Family Movies in the Park at which the real Miss Illinois, Ashley Hatfield, 22, was scheduled to speak.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Urged on by his father, Phil Grippo, 4-year-old Jacob Grippo tentatively approaches Ashley Hatfield, Miss Illinois 2007, for an autographed picture Friday night at Hopkins Park in DeKalb. Despite Friday being her first appearance ever in DeKalb, Hatfield heard a lot of questions she has been asked before. Miss Illinois 2007 laughed as she recounted the usual suspects.

“Is that crown real?”

“How much is it worth?”

And, “Would you sell it on eBay?”

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Everything in its Right Place

In early August, Northern Illinois University's Davis Hall can be a quiet building.

Summer school is drawing to a close, and casually dressed faculty members work in relative peace. On the second floor, Anirudh Battini, 22, a native of Hyderabad, India, efficiently alphabetizes maps.

Lots of maps.

On any given day, Battini can sort around 400 of what he estimates are roughly 200,000 maps and 40,000 atlases housed by the map library, which is part of Founders Memorial Library.

He finds solace in the relative quiet and organizational harmony of the map room.

“I just like keeping things organized,” he said. “Everything's messed up when the students leave; getting things back is good.”

During the school year, he works with four other library employees. When he came to the United States in January, he did not expect to be able to find a job on campus, something that he says is a rarity in India.

Chronicle article and photo ERIC SUMBERG

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Blind Faith Leap

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Cody Varga, 14, of DeKalb dives off the diving board Wednesday afternoon into the pool at the Hopkins Park Aquatic Center in DeKalb.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Heat Wave in DeKalb

My first assignment as a staff photographer at the Daily Chronicle in DeKalb, Illinois

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Marc Davidson, 34, of Minooka takes a water break Tuesday while sealcoating the parking lot of Sycamore United Methodist Church. The crew from Davidson Sealcoating and Striping of Minooka was in day two of the job, and the feeling among the crew was that the heat was both friend and foe. “That’s when it goes on the best,” employee Dan Davidson said.