Saturday, September 29, 2007

DeKalb downs Batavia

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb's Cassie Sablich, left, Jen Clark, center, and Rachel Raynor exult after a point in the first game of DeKalb's
25-16 18-25 26-24 victory over Batavia on Thursday evening at DeKalb High School.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb's Kourtney Ikeler dives for the ball in the first game of the Barb's 25-16 18-25 26-24 win over Batavia on Thursday evening.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG A small, but vocal, minority of DeKalb fans pushed for the inclusion of Jaclyn Moloney to play for the Barbs.

Flood Relief Comes to Sycamore

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park owner Frank Santoro (left) discusses the problems and stresses he and his tenants, including Mark Clucas (right), have dealt with since the park flooded Aug. 23 and 24. On Wednesday, President Bush declared DeKalb County a federal disaster area, the same designation the region received after severe flooding in 1996. Santoro would like funding to move his park, which is near Sycamore, from the floodplain in which it lies. “I don’t think we should be living in an area of this circumstance,” he said.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Mark Clucas, 51, kneels to point out where he took the insulation that was ruined in last month’s flooding from the bottom of his mobile home in the Evergreen Village Mobile Home Park near Sycamore. “It’s a very difficult situation,” he said.

Lifelong Learning

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The basics of conversational Spanish had the class of professor Diego Pascual-Cabo (left) laughing and mixing in English with Spanish during an introductions exercise Wednesday afternoon in the first of eight classes being offered to senior citizens by Kishwaukee College and held at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center. Carolyn Camp (center left) talked with Donna Petersen while Brad Pietens laughed during an attempt to converse with JoAnn Skabo.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Eight senior citizens are enrolled in a conversational Spanish class at Oak Crest DeKalb Area Retirement Center in which students will learn the basics of the language, including skills such as how to introduce oneself, from a native Spanish speaker.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sycamore Stays Unbeaten

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Members of the Sycamore Spartans undefeated volleyball team huddle before taking on visiting Glenbard South on Tuesday afternoon at Sycamore High School.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore outsider hitter Lauren Evans spikes the ball through Glenbard South's Victoria Helle, left, and Amanda Fisch in the second game of the Spartan's 25-13 26-24 victory over the Raiders on Tuesday evening at Sycamore High School.

'It's the Best Damn Haircut in Town'

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Gary Hiland, owner and operator of Headlines Barber Shop on South Fifth Street in downtown DeKalb, smiles as he chats with Sam Berkes while cutting Berkes’ hair Tuesday afternoon. Hiland’s father, Bob, started a barber shop in 1952. Since then, Bob, Gary or both Hilands have enjoyed keeping DeKalb residents’ hair trimmed. “I know a lot of people don’t like going to work,” said Hiland. “I enjoy going to work.”

Hiland's Haircuts

DeKALB - The DeKalb High School letter jacket is in there. So is the Kishwaukee Archers T-shirt, the “Jailhouse Rock” album cover and the Hamm's Beer signs.

Headlines Barber Shop on South Fifth Street is a trip into DeKalb's past. Its owner, Gary Hiland, is a sucker for that kind of stuff.

“I'm a real nostalgia buff,” he said.

Hiland, 60, has been cutting hair in DeKalb since the early 1970s. His father, Bob, started Bob's Barber Shop on North Second Street in 1952. They have worked separately and together; at one point, they ran a men's hair styling shop called Sir's, on First Street.

Some of his customers are his dad's friends, and some were just kids when he started cutting hair and are now grown with children of their own.

“In this business, you get to know an awful lot of nice people,” said Hiland. “To me, that's rewarding.”

As one might expect, being a barber has its ups and downs. Having no paid vacations balances with being able to take an unpaid vacation whenever the feeling strikes, for instance.

Sometimes, however, the benefits aren't necessarily financial.

“I'm surrounded by everything I really like,” Hiland said.

The shop is a monument to Hiland's varied tastes and talents. A mounted largemouth bass and heads of white-tailed deer hang from the walls. Pictures of hot rods, another of his passions, are proudly displayed behind the barber's chairs. An acoustic guitar sits in a case on one side of the room, ready for some bluegrass music when the moment is right.

The building that Headlines occupies used to be a Western Union office, Hiland said.

“This used to be the bad side of town,” he said. “Now there's more progressive things going on on this side of town than the other.”

Hiland feels no remorse about doing what he loves to do in the town where he and his extended family have grown up.

“It's still a good place to live, a good place to work,” he added. “No regrets.”

His client, Sam Berkes, joked with Hiland during a haircut. He apparently felt similar about his choice to let the barber work his magic.

“It's the best damn haircut in town,” he said.


Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Kathryn Hendrickson of Fairdale holds her two dogs, Angel, a schnauzer, and Buckwheat, a Chihuahua mix, in the driveway of her home Monday afternoon. Buckwheat, whom Hendrickson calls Bucky Boy, was the first dog adopted for free under TAILS Humane Society’s HomeBuddies program, which provides animals, along with their food and veterinary care, to qualified Meals on Wheels participants. “These dogs have a lot of love to give,” Hendrickson said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

G-K Falls

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Genoa-Kingston's T.C. Holterhaus hauls in a pass from quarterback Chris Wilkins in the fourth quarter that he ran to the goal line to set up the Cogs' second touchdown to pull within one point of the Winnebago Indians...

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG ...but on the game's decisive play, Genoa-Kingston kicker Brad Hayes, left, was forced to scramble to pick up a botched snap on a point after attempt as holder Ethan Menges looked upfield to pick up blockers. Hayes' throw to the endzone was incomplete...

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG ...and the Genoa-Kingston Cogs chance at an undefeated season were crushed as they fell 14-13 to Winnebago.

Sycamore Falls

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore quarterback Nick Anderson scrambles for yardage during the Spartan's opening drive for a touchdown during the first quarter of the Spartan's 37-14 loss to Geneva on Friday night at Sycamore High School.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Geneva’s Phillip Birschbach (left) leaps to break up a pass intended for Sycamore wide receiver Josh Howells in the second quarter of Friday night’s game at Sycamore. The Spartans suffered a 37-14 loss to the Vikings to fall to 2-3 on the season and 1-2 in the Western Sun Conference. Sycamore heads to Rochelle next week for another Western Sun showdown.

Are They Coming For You?

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Lisa, photographed to preserve her identity due to an ongoing investigation into her case of identity theft, had around $1,000 stolen from her in a period of three days after a clerk at a retail store on Sycamore Road in DeKalb copied down her debit card information. "At first I was hysterical," said Lisa. "I feel robbed. I need that money to survive."

Flags and Fifth Graders

The Parade of Flags
Fifth-graders celebrate diversity
By Eric Sumberg | Staff Writer

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Littlejohn Elementary School fifth-graders Dee Dee Delgado, 10, center left, and Corinne Herrera, 10, hold on to their flag as the wind picks up around Huskie Stadium before they participated in the eighth annual Parade of Flags on Friday afternoon.

DeKALB - If they weren't holding a flag, chances are they were smiling and waving instead.

More than 500 area fifth-grade students, teachers and volunteers either attended or took part in the eighth annual Parade of Flags on Friday at Northern Illinois University.

The participants - who helped carry about 170 flags - marched their way down Lucinda Avenue on the NIU campus, adding another colorful chapter in the history of the event meant to celebrate the diversity of NIU and the DeKalb County populace.

Students from 82 countries are attending NIU this semester from all corners of the earth.

“I think it's a great representation of both the schools and the college itself,” said Brian Powers, the father of Cortland Elementary School fifth-grader Sarah, 10. “We can learn from each other.”

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG More than 500 area fifth-grade students, teachers and parents marched down Lucinda Avenue on the campus of Northern Illinois University in the eighth annual Parade of Flags.

The event did have a strong educational component. DeKalb schools Superintendent Paul Beilfuss asked the children to take off their right shoe to find in which country it was manufactured. Hands shot up here and there for countries such as the United States and England, but many were enthusiastically waved when he asked about China.

His lesson?

“As the world gets smaller, you're going to be contributors to that world,” he said. “You are girls and boys of the world.”

Zak Fitzenreider, a fifth-grade teacher at Wright Elementary School in Malta, said his students have been talking in the classroom about acceptance and equality.

“This is a really good way to bring that into what we're teaching,” Fitzenreider said. “It's not something they grab onto overnight. We'll revisit it when we study the civil-rights movement in March or April.”

For the students who made the trek from Huskie Stadium to Martin Luther King Commons, the day was a fun break.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Meghan Petrie, 10, a fifth-grade student at Malta Elementary School, carries her flag into the rows of planted flags behind Martin Luther King Commons.

“I liked marching with the flags,” said Anna Butler, 10, from St. Mary Catholic School in DeKalb. “There's a lot of countries I've never seen.”

Spartan Pride II

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore outside hitter Amanda Johnson extends to spike the ball past Batavia's Katie Rueffer in the first game of the Spartan's 25-17 25-16 victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday evening at Sycamore High School.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Batavia's Katie Rueffer dives over her teammate Kristin Hoffman in a failed attempt to save a point during the second game of the Bulldog's loss at Sycamore.

Spartan Pride I

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore's BJ Kroeger soars above a crowd of defenders to get his head on a corner kick in the first half of the Spartan's 4-1 victory over Batavia on Thursday afternoon at Sycamore High School.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Batavia midfielder Josh Barnes, left, and defender Jordan Carey grab on to and jump around Sycamore captain Brad Horton in the first half. Horton was not to be contained this afternoon as he tallied a hat trick in the Spartan's victory.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Show of Support

Students raise awareness of Jena Six
By Eric Sumberg | Staff Writer

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Monique Shelton, 20, a sophomore at Northern Illinois University, addresses a crowd who gathered on the campus's Central Park to show their support for the Jena 6, a group of African-American teenagers who have been arrested in connection to an alleged assault on a white teenager in Jena, Louisiana, in December of 2006.

DeKALB - There may have been only around 20 students in attendance.

There may have been just a few other students paying attention to what participants were chanting across a largely empty Central Park on the campus of Northern Illinois University.

But for those Huskie students gathered Wednesday afternoon to rally in support of six black teenagers who were arrested in connection to an alleged assault on a white teenager in Jena, La., that didn't matter.

“Regardless of how many people are here, it is important to us,” said Samuel Davis, president of the Black Student Union. “This is going on, and we're out supporting it.”

The rally on campus was held to lend support to those black teenagers, now known as the Jena Six. One of the six, 17-year-old Mychal Bell, was to be sentenced Thursday for aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit that crime. Last week, an appeals court overturned his conviction and remanded the case to juvenile court.

Bell is one of six black students at Jena High School charged in an attack on a fellow student, Justin Barker, and one of five originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. The charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at Jena High School.

The racial animosity flared about a year ago after a black student sat under a tree that was a traditional gathering place for whites. A day later, three nooses were found hanging from the tree. There followed reports of racial fights at the school, culminating in the December 2006 attack on the white student.

In spite of the appeals court's decision in the Bell case, prominent leaders in the black community have called for a massive rally in the town Thursday, and anywhere from 1,000 to 40,000 people are expected to attend. Other Jena Six members also are facing charges.

John Hardy, above, president of the NIU chapter of the NAACP, felt something needed to be done locally to show support for the cause.

“There still is prejudice and discrimination that we try to bring to light,” he said.

On Thursday, the NAACP will join with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Nation of Islam on a walk from Central Park to the Martin Luther King Commons beginning at 6 p.m.

For a generation of young people who grew up in the shadow of their parents' participation in the civil-rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, a galvanizing issue such as the Jena Six seems to have struck a nerve on campus.

“People want to be involved, to capture that essence as it used to be,” Davis said. “It's there, but they just want to be inspired.”

“We're not going to stop supporting them until justice is served,” added Vennessa Jones, 21, a junior.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Nature comes to Kishwaukee

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Monarch butterflies rest on a pine tree branch on the campus of Kishwaukee College. Kishwaukee was certified in 1996 as the only college certified in all six categories of the Audubon International cooperative sanctuary program.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Kishwaukee College horticulture instructor Pete Leuzinger, left, stands with students as they watch the release of about 20 Northern Bobwhite quail into the restored prairie near the main campus buildings on the college campus on Wednesday morning. Kishwaukee is certified as a cooperative sanctuary by Audubon International and has released 40 birds into the wild in this year alone. "We want everyone to perceive this property as an asset to the community," said Leuzinger. "This is an island of diversity."

Dekalb v Sycamore: Volleyball Time

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The members of the DeKalb Barb varsity volleyball team gather for a huddle after the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before squaring off against cross-town rival Sycamore at Chuck Dayton Gymnasium in DeKalb on Tuesday night.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore junior Sam Thrower spikes the ball, one of six kills she had on the night, in the second game of the Spartan's 25-11 25-16 victory over DeKalb.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Spartan volleyball players, from left, Diane Kasper, Caitlin Johnson and Sam Thrower celebrate a point in the second game of Tuesday night's match.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG They may have lost the volleyball match against Sycamore, but DeKalb High School senior David Hicks held a sign to remind Spartan fans of the Barb's football victory over Sycamore at Huskie Stadium two weeks ago.

DeKalb Wins, the World Rejoices

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb's Keith Hendley, 20, follows through on his game-winning goal in the second half of the Barbs' 2-1 victory over Plainfield North on Monday afternoon at DeKalb High School.

The DeKalb Invite

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb High School freshmen cross country runners Kody Montavon, 14, left, leans on Matt Phanenbecker, 14, as they stretch before running the 3-mile course at DeKalb High School against Genoa-Kingston for the DeKalb Invitational on Monday afternoon.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Members of the DeKalb High School cross country teams break off of the line at the start DeKalb Invitational race against Genoa-Kingston on Monday afternoon at DeKalb High School. The meet featured a 2-mile middle school race which drew nearly 150 runners from eight area schools and a varsity-level race against Genoa-Kingston. DeKalb dominated the coed meet from start to finish. "We stuck together as a team and it worked out really well," said senior Matt DeBall, 17.

Natural Selections

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb artist Kimberly Mullarkey stands on a ladder to hang a piece of art for her show "Natural Selections: Artwork by Kimberly Mullarkey" which opens on September 14th at the Nehring Center for Culture and Tourism in downtown DeKalb.

Learning with Dyslexia

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Listening, rather than reading, is the preferred method for Rachael Spencer, 25, a senior at Northern Illinois University, to acquire information due to her severe dyslexia. Spencer uses programs provided by Northern Illinois to scan documents and have them read back to her. "If I'm not listening, I don't remember anything," said Spencer.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Rachael Spencer, 25, stands in the elevator of the Health Services building after dropping off a number of exam accomodation forms at the Center for Access-Ability Resources on Wednesday morning. Spencer, who suffers from dyslexia, takes her exams at the center where she is given extra time to listen, rather than read, her tests.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Rachael Spencer, 25, smiles as she raises her hand to vote for a business model in Dennis Barsema's seminar at Northern Illinois University on entrepreneurship and innovation on Wednesday morning. Spencer must put in hours of extra work and preparation because of her severe dyslexia as she takes classes toward her graduation scheduled for May of 2008. She does not, however, use her communication disorder as an excuse for mediocrity, "A lot of people I know are happy to be C students. I'm not."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wilee Sees Something

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Wilee, a 1-year-old Labrador retriever, perks up at a passing distraction Tuesday afternoon as his owner, Ben Landsee, 24, reads a text on early Aztec history on his porch on North Fourth Street in DeKalb. Landsee is a native of Muscoda, Wis., and just started his first year as a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. He is studying Latin American history, specifically the role of race and language in the Mexican Revolution. “We sit out here a lot,” Landsee said. “He likes to lay in the sun, even when it's hot.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DeKalb Commemorates 9/11

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Members of the DeKalb Fire Department, joined by DeKalb Police Department and city employees, bow their heads Tuesday during a Sept. 11 memorial service at Fire House 1 in DeKalb. Approximately 40 people attended the event, which included a speech by Fire Chief Pete Polarek, a blessing from Fire Department chaplain Arra Garab and the playing of taps by firefighter Sean Freeman.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG DeKalb Fire Department Captain Jim Zarek, an 18-year veteran in DeKalb, speaks with a reporter about his experience in New York City in the days following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Hotdogging with the Wienermobile

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Travis Evans, 6, of Sycamore, stands in front of the Wienermobile as he nervously fingers his shirt while trying to sing the “Wiener Jingle” for the “Sing the Jingle” promotion Monday afternoon in front of the Wal-Mart on Sycamore Road in DeKalb.

Oh, I Wish...

After two weeks at Hot Dog High, 40 hours of driving training from a retired Madison, Wis., police officer and periods of time in eight Midwestern states since June, Betsy Brenner and Emily Volpini rolled into Wal-Mart on Sycamore Road on Monday afternoon.

Their goal? To spread the gospel of the Wienermobile.

“It's like driving any normal 27-foot long hot dog,” said the 22-year-old Brenner, who is known in the corporate world as a hotdogger and by the nickname Bologna Betsy. Volpini - who is 22 and from Lexington, Ky. - goes by Pickle-Em.

Oscar Mayer's hot dog shaped automobile - there are six on the road at any given time - has been the vehicle, literally and figuratively, by which the company runs its “Sing the Jingle” promotion.

Any person of any age can step up to the microphone and be videotaped singing one of three songs, “Wiener Jingle,” “Bologna Song,” or “Spanish Wiener Jingle.” Contestants then become eligible to be included in an Oscar Mayer commercial.

Or they can perform what they please. Jamie Hoxsey, 4, of Lee, showed off her dance moves and then sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” before shuffling off with her mother, Kim Hoxsey.

The hotdoggers have been on a northern Illinois swing in recent days, hitting Chicago suburbs and Belvidere before parking in DeKalb. Their next stop is the Wisconsin Dells, where they will spend five days.

The women will work together until January, at which point they will switch partners and switch from covering the Midwest region to another geographical area.

Volpini said that Oscar Mayer hires a particular type: “Someone who loves the Wienermobile as much as the company does.”

Debbie Goleas was perhaps as excited about the Wiener-mobile as the hotdoggers were. She followed the car from Blain's Farm & Fleet and was the first person to sing.

She didn't think her chances of making the final commercial were very good, but, “It's something I've always wanted to do,” she said.

She wanted to do it so much, she called her husband, John, and they sang a “Bologna Song” duet.

Would their daughter, who attends the University of Illinois, be embarrassed by her parents' meat-based crooning?

Not a chance.

“I just called her. She's all excited,” Debbie Goleas said.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Nation's Best Karaoke Singer

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Michael Griffin of Brookfield belts out "September" by Earth Wind and Fire at the open mic karaoke at Starbusters in DeKalb on Wednesday night. Griffin is leaving in early September to compete at the Karaoke World Championships in Thailand as the United States' male representative after winning the national crown in Cincinnati in early August. "I'm proud of my accomplishments, but I still smile when I say it," said Griffin of his title.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Michael Griffin holds his tuba as he laughs with fellow members of the Northern Illinois University wind ensemble during a recent rehearsal at the school at which Griffin is a graduate student in music education. Griffin, who will represent the United States that Karaoke World Championships in Thailand, is the son of an opera and a gospel singer and says of his achievements, "I'm not trying to do the American Idol thing."

Pumpkin Pessimism

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Mark Yaeger, owner of Yaeger’s Farm Market in DeKalb, walks toward his truck parked at the edge of his 11 acres of pumpkins. About one-third of Yaeger’s crop, including the pumpkins shown here, is most likely ruined from the effects of too much water during the growing season. “The vines are rotting, the fruit is rotting,” Yaeger said. “There’s hope, but we need to stay dry.”

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Season: The Game

Part II: The Game

The third week of the season means Sycamore and DeKalb battling in their annual grudge match at Huskie Stadium. This year, DeKalb ended a seven-year losing streak with a thrilling 28-21 victory. This is that day in the eyes of the Sycamore Spartans.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The Walgreens on Peace Road showed its school spirit with a display sign urging on the Sycamore Spartans before their game against the DeKalb Barbs on Friday afternoon

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore High School junior Kim Peary, 16, paints the legs of fellow Spartan fans in the parking lot outside of Huskie Stadium on Friday night.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore quarterback Nick Anderson prepares himself to head on to the field for pre-game warmups before the Spartan's annual game against DeKalb on Friday night.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Marching bands from both DeKalb and Sycamore High Schools took the field to play the national anthem before the start of the annual match up of the Barbs and the Spartans.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore's Brett Gulke tackles DeKalb's Steve Karasewski for no yardage gained on a Barb punt return in the first quarter.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore Spartans quarterback Nick Anderson evades a tackle by DeKalb's Conor Legorreta in the second quarter.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore coach Joe Ryan runs onto the playing field at the end of the second quarter of his team's game against DeKalb to protest a Sycamore fumble return for a touchdown that was ruled a dead ball.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore fans cheer their team after a Spartan touchdown in the fourth quarter evened the score with DeKalb at 21-21.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG The DeKalb Barbs race across Huskie Stadium to greet their fans seconds after defeating the Sycamore Spartans 28-21, their first victory against Sycamore since 1999.

Chronicle photo ERIC SUMBERG Sycamore Spartans coach Joe Ryan approaches his team to address them following their 28-21 loss at DeKalb on Friday night. “We can't come into a game and make as many mistakes as we did and not have this result happen,” Ryan said.