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The Homer Horizon 021518

6 | February 15, 2018 |

6 | February 15, 2018 | The Homer Horizon NEWS homerhorizon.com Homer 33C superintendent announces resignation Coglianese has led school district since being hired in 2014 Jessie Molloy Freelance Reporter The Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C community was informed recently of the resignation of Superintendent Kara Coglianese. Coglianese tendered her resignation to Coglianese the school board on Feb. 1, and her last day will be on June 30. In letters released to staff and parents this week, Coglianese called her time at District 33C, “One of the most rewarding experiences to my career, to-date.” Coglianese was hired by Homer 33C in 2014. She has previously worked as the assistant superintendent at Fremont School District 79 and as the director of learning at Wheeling School District 21, as well as superintendent of St. George Community Consolidated School District 258 in Bourbonnais, which was her most recent position prior to her tenure at Homer 33C. In her time at Homer 33C, Coglianese spearheaded the Preparing Future Ready Students initiative, which oversaw the 1-to-1 Chromebook program, the introduction of the school STEAM labs and the all-day kindergarten program. “The real focus is we moved our district from good to great,” Coglianese said in comments to The Horizon. “I was charged with the strategic plan, and because of the fantastic teamwork by everyone in the district, we have gotten it all done in three years, and we’ve already started to see our test scores go up. The entire school community has been extremely generous, committed and wholly focused on children.” The school board held a special meeting Feb. 6 to accept the resignation and begin the process of finding her replacement. “Kara has led us during significant changes at the district and has been a dedicated champion of our schools,” Board President Debbie Martin said in a written statement. “The board is grateful for her service to the school district.” After hearing presentations from two hiring firms at the special meeting, the board voted to hire the firm BWP & Associates to assist them in the search for a new superintendent. “Most school districts use search firms to help find new superintendents,” explained Homer 33C Communications/Public Relations Manager Charla Brautigam. “They are very well-networked. So, they take surveys in the district and talk with the board, and they solicit resumes. Eventually, they will narrow the field down to five or six choices and present them to the board. The board then conducts interviews and makes the final selection.” Coglianese did not give an official reason for her resignation in her official statement. “I’ve been seeing the conclusion of the strategic plan coming for some time,” she said. “I saw it coming together, and I wanted to be supportive of the board and give them enough time to find the next person.” While Coglianese addressed in her letter that her time at the district was “shorter than I imagined it would be” she said, “I think it’s time to go on to my next adventure.” Though Coglianese has not said what that “next adventure” will be, when asked, she replied, “I’ve got quite a few ideas. I’m going to wait and see which is the best option for me. “I can’t say enough how much I’ve enjoyed working with this community,” she added. “Not just the students and staff, but the parents and the partnerships we made with the village, as well. I’ll always have a very special place in my heart for Homer.” The board hopes to name the next superintendent by this spring, according to the written statement. Sheriff ’s Office issues warning about continual phone scams Police ask public to exercise caution with suspicious calls Submitted by Will County Sheriff’s Office The Will County Jury Commission has once again advised the Sheriff’s Office that several citizens have notified them that they have received calls from people who claim to be a deputy or deputy chief from the Will County Sheriff’s office. These individuals state that because the person did not show up for jury duty, they will need to pay a fine or a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The most recent reports that have come into the Sheriff’s Office are from local doctors who have informed us that the caller identifies themselves as Deputy Dave Adams. The fraudulent number is (815) 202-4023. Past numbers used by these scammers are (815) 733- 8238 and (815) 733-1909. These individuals threaten the person with being arrested if they do not go to their local store, purchase specific gift cards and call them back with the gift card numbers. These scammers are aggressive and even appear legitimate by using docket numbers and other legal terms in order to scare the person into believing them. The Will County Sheriff’s Office and the Will County Jury Commission want residents to be aware that they do not call citizens regarding jury duty no-shows or to threaten issuing an arrest warrant for any individual. Residents are asked to not fall victim to these individuals and their threats. Do not give out any personal information or agree to purchase gift cards or send money. Just hang up the phone. If anyone receives one of these calls, they can make a police report with the law enforcement agency that is under their jurisdiction. Visit us online at Homerhorizon.com TOWNSHIP From Page 4 was going to stop at 9 p.m. [Monday], and I say, ‘OK, we’re going to work until midnight,’ and then it snows until midnight, then we’re screwed because then we can’t get in at 4 a.m. because we need to rest.” After plowing, the next step in the effort to keep roads safe for travelers is salting. The Highway Department has 2,000 tons of salt in its salt storage dome and needs as much as 400 tons to salt all 150 miles of roads under its jurisdiction, DeVivo said. “We need 180 tons, minimum, but you put more salt than that on your tomatoes,” he joked. All Highway Department plows are outfitted with salt spreaders, but it is not effective to salt while snow is falling because that salt will simply be plowed away within a couple hours, DeVivo explained. “We’re not going to completely clear and [salt] down a road if it’s only going to last five hours,” he said. “We’ll salt hills and maybe intersections, but if you salt [during a storm], the plows will just push it into the ditch.” Motorists can do their part by exercising caution when driving in wintry conditions when roads can be slippery and visibility can be reduced. DeVivo noted that outside of the country’s major metropolitan areas, in places where snow falls as many as six months of the year, salt is not used and motorists drive on hard-packed snow from Thanksgiving through Easter , or however long snow is on the ground. “You get into a major metropolitan area, and people expect [salted] roads during an event — not after, during — and it just can’t happen; it’s unrealistic,” he said. Truck, accessories to be purchased In other Homer Township news, officials at the board’s meeting Feb. 5 voted unanimously to approve spending $41,547 toward a truck and accessories. The amount includes $34,823 for a 2018 Ford F350 XL and an attached snowplow, and $6,224 for a salt spreader to be installed on the truck. The remaining $500 is for running boards on a 2015 Ford Expedition. Committee chairpersons selected Officials also voted as to who among themselves will serve as Township committee chairpersons for 2018. The board voted unanimously to approve Homer Township Supervisor Pam Meyers recommendations for the posts: Linsey Sowa, Community/Special Events; Tom Fijan, Open Space Planning & Operations; and Ed Kalas and John Kruczek, Parks & Recreation; George Offord, Citizen & Special Needs Advocacy Committee. The board also voted to approve Lynn McGary and Karen Szynkowski as Township liaisons.

homerhorizon.com NEWS the Homer Horizon | February 15, 2018 | 7 Homer Glen mother thankful for outpouring of support for sick daughter YouCaring page surpasses financial goal of $15,000 in less than a week Jacquelyn Schlabach Assistant Editor The Cepkauskas family from Homer Glen has had a rough start to 2018. Their 2-year-old daughter, Emily, has been in the hospital for more than two weeks after being admitted to the ICU on the day of her birthday party Jan. 27 for having metapneumovirus. The virus produces symptoms such as wheezing, fluid in the lungs, difficulty breathing, fever and dehydration, all of which Emily experienced the days leading up to going to the hospital. It’s a common virus in children her age, but the main difference is that Emily was born with a heart defect, which means her heart has to work ten times more to fight off even the common cold. “It hit her really hard and really fast; she turned a bad corner pretty quickly,” Laurie Cepkauskas, Emily’s mother, said. A “fight” is something the Cepkauskas’ are unfortunately familiar with, as Emily has been in and out of the hospital since she was born. Fortunately, however, the Homer Glen community has joined in that fight with the family and has been behind them every step of the way. “It’s just overwhelming in the most beautiful way,” Cepkauskas said. As of press time, family and friends had donated $15,400 to the Cepkauskas’ through a YouCaring page online to help with medical expenses and getting the family back on their feet after this yet again difficult time. “There’s no words — it’s a bunch of strangers who just will message me checking up on her and praying for her,” Cepkauskas said. “It just restores your faith in humanity that people just care so much about a family they don’t even know simply because we’re in the same community, and it’s such a great feeling,” Cepkauskas said. The YouCaring page had a goal set of $15,000 and surpassed it in less than a week. Cepkauskas said that the family and friends who set up the donation page picked that goal, not thinking it would ever get that high. Whatever donations are left over after being allotted to medical and living expenses for Emily and the family will be given to the Ronald McDonald House. “I made an initiative called Project Little Red Wagon, where we give back to [Advocate Children’s Hospital], and we give back to Ronald McDonald House, so when we are doing well and we’re out of our slump, I do my best to pay it back, so I just want the community to know that I promise to continue to pay it forward once we are out of our unfortunate situation,” Cepkauskas said. “As a thanks, I’ll continue to pay it forward.” Emily was sick in the summer of 2016 and spent threeand-a-half months in the ICU at Advocate Children’s Hospital, most of which was on life support following two open heart surgeries. In 2017, Emily was in the hospital once a month for six months straight, and then again right before the holidays. She is currently on a non-invasive ventilator helping her breathe. On Feb. 7, doctors began slowly weaning her off the support every eight to 12 hours. The family and doctors hoped that Emily could return home in the next week, marking three weeks in the hospital. “This virus was just a very aggressive one,” Cepkauskas said. “Emily hasn’t been on this much breathing support since her last open heart surgery. This one was very scary. “Last week, I remember sitting there; I really didn’t know if she was going to make it. She was just so incredibly sick, and unfortunately our Down syndrome group that I’m a part of through social media and in our community, we unfortunately have lost three children this season due to viruses, and of course when you’re in that situation, your mind goes to the worse-case scenario, and I was thinking, ‘is my daughter going to be next?,’ and thank the Lord, she fought and she pulled through.” Cepkauskas said that Emily’s surgeon has been very involved the past couple weeks in terms of monitoring her to see how soon her next open heart surgery might have to be. “They’re just keeping a very close eye on her and they have a very low reserve how sick they’re going to allow her to get before intervening with another open heart surgery,” Cepkauskas said. The only thing keeping this Homer Glen family going is knowing that they have a whole community behind them, ready to help. “Unfortunately, Emily will always have struggles, and our family will always have struggles, but we have so much support and so much prayer and so many people in our corner that it just makes it that much easier,” Cepkauskas said. To donate, visit www. youcaring.com/emilycepkau skas-1081060. Homer Glen resident Emily Cepkauskas has recently been dealing with more medical issues, and a YouCaring page was started to help her and her family during the difficult time. Photos submitted The Cepkauskas family (left to right) Tyler, Marcus, Emily and Laurie, recently celebrated Emily turning 2.