McHenry County News Briefs

Chronicle Media Staff

The Quarry Cable Park & Grille at the Three Oaks Recreation Area will be renamed Dock’s on the Water when Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen takes over operation.



New group offers support to crime victims


McHenry County residents who have lost someone to crime will be able to turn to people with the same experiences. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office has formed a support group, which will bring together survivors who can relate with similar thoughts and feelings.

Members of the group will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of every month starting April 6. It will be run by Jen Ahrens, a retired police officer with 30 years of experience in the field. One goal of the new effort is to provide a safe and supportive environment for survivors. For information, call the State’s Attorney’s Office at (815) 334-4159.





Two veteran teachers are Golden Apple finalists


Two teachers from McHenry County schools are finalists for the 2017 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Jane Szybowicz, from Fox River Grove Middle School who is spending her 21st year as a fifth grade teacher, and fourth-grade teacher and 15-year veteran at Lotus Elementary School Maureen DeVoss are among the 33 finalists named for their teaching expertise by Golden Apple, a leading nonprofit committed to celebrating and developing great teachers who make life-changing differences in the lives of students.

The awards recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society. This year’s finalists were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations, and represent 4th-8th grade teachers throughout Chicago and suburbs.

The finalists will experience a final round of review and classroom observations prior to the selection and announcement this spring of the 10 teacher award recipients. Golden Apple’s selection committee is comprised of college and university professors, educational consultants, administrators and former Golden Apple Award recipients. Committee members utilize industry and research-based professional standards to identify teachers who exemplify the best of the teaching profession.

Golden Apple also has announced 10 finalists for the Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award. This award honors the exemplary performance and excellence in school leadership of a principal or head of school from the Chicagoland area. Jeff Prickett, principal at Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake, is among the 10 finalists.





Foundation gives teachers grants for projects


Huntley Community School District 158 teachers have received more than $4,500 in grants from the District 158 Education Foundation. Awards included a $1,500 grant to Marlowe Middle School and an $870 grant to Heineman Middle School for a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and an $800 grant to Huntley High School STEM for the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science workshop. Martin Elementary School and Leggee Elementary School also received grant money.

The foundation received 15 grant applications for projects totaling $38,985. Applications that were not selected for funding have been placed at so donors can help.

The foundation was established as a nonprofit in 2003, and serves to support District 158 teachers. Funding for grants and other programs comes from annual fundraising events and through donations, which can be submitted to District 158 Education Foundation, 650 Academic Drive, Algonquin, IL 60102.





Retirement home to close its doors


The Harvard Retirement Home will close its doors in the spring when its owners retire.

Harvard residents Bill and Kathy Schack have had long careers caring for the elderly. They opened the 16-bed home 34 years ago, and have seen between 225 and 250 residents. The facility now has 10 residents.

They will put the building up for sale. The historic home – built in 1866 – is one of Harvard’s oldest buildings and has served numerous functions over the years, including a church, a movie theater, an opera house and the former Harvard Memorial Hospital.





Determination pays off for spelling bee winner


Serena Huberty is the embodiment of the adage: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

The 13-year-old Serena was determined this year to win the 2017 McHenry County Spelling Bee after being a runner-up last year. She succeeded March 8 when she correctly spelled “uvula,” which is defined as a fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the throat. The eighth-grade student from Richard Bernotas Middle School in Crystal Lake now advances to the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will take place May 28 to June 3 in Washington, D.C.

Tagan Gizel of Parkland School in McHenry is the county contest’s first runner-up, and Giuliana Ramirez from Heineman Middle School in Algonquin is the second runner-up.



New leadership of restaurant at waterboarding park


A well-known restaurateur will operate the restaurant at the wakeboarding park at Three Oaks Recreation Area.

The Crystal Lake City Council has approved an agreement allowing Zak Dolezal, owner of Duke’s Alehouse and Kitchen, to operate the restaurant at The Quarry Cable Park & Grille, which opened last year. The new eatery will be called Duke’s on the Water and will serve feature burgers, sandwiches and salads. It is expected to open in early May.

Under terms of the agreement, Duke’s will pay the wakeboard park a monthly rent of $3,500 during the operating months of May through October, 5 percent of which will go to the city, according to city records. The city also will get 5 percent of all gross revenues generated by Duke’s food and beverage sales.