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A look back on Kane County’s most notable stories of 2021

As we get ready to close the book on 2021 and look forward to the new year, here’s a look back at some of Kane County’s biggest stories over the past 12 months, listed in no particular order.

One killed in fatal shooting at St. Charles nightclub

Trilogy Night Club and Lounge in St. Charles shut its doors in June – two months after first opening – after a fatal shooting.

Michael D.V. Carwell, 22, of the 1900 block of Bayview Lane, Aurora, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three felony counts of attempted murder and three felony counts of aggravated battery. He remains in custody in the Kane County Jail on a $3 million bond.

Trilogy had been located at 2051 Lincoln Highway in the Tri-City Center. About 2 a.m. June 27, Carwell allegedly approached 23-year-old Khalief McCallister, of Aurora, and the second victim in the parking lot in front of Trilogy. The pair had just left the establishment. Authorities said Carwell fired multiple shots from a 9mm handgun, killing McCallister and injuring three others.

Famed architect Helmut Jahn dies in a Campton Hills bicycle crash

Helmut Jahn, a world-renowned architect who designed the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago among other buildings, was killed May 8. According to the Campton Hills Police Department, Jahn rode through a stop sign at Burlington and Old Lafox roads and was hit by two vehicles that were going in opposite directions. He was 81.

Kane County’s first COVID-19 mass vaccination site opens

In March, Kane County’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site opened in the former Sam’s Club at 501 N. Randall Road in Batavia.

The Kane County Vax Hub in Batavia.

The Kane County Vax Hub in Batavia. (Sandy Bressner –

“The new vaccination site is going to vastly improve the ability of Kane County to vaccinate our citizens and workforce,” Kane County Board Chairman Corinne Pierog said.

The Kane County Health Department currently is seeking individuals to join the Medical Reserve Corps and volunteer to provide vaccines to the community at the Kane Vax Hub. Plans are for the facility to remain open through January.

Capacity restrictions lifted as state moves into Phase 5 of Restore Illinois plan

Large entertainment venues such as the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and RiverEdge Park and the Paramount Theatre in Aurora reopened this summer as a result of the state moving into Phase 5 of Illinois’ COVID-19 reopening plan. Restaurants and fitness centers opened without capacity limits. Moving into Phase 5 also resulted in a return to full in-person participation at public meetings.

Protests over mask mandate

Opponents of Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive order mandating that masks be worn indoors by all teachers, staff, students and visitors – regardless of their vaccination status – have spoken out at school board meetings and staged protests vocalizing their position.

In August, Pritzker had issued the executive order in the face of a surging number of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly transmissible delta variant. Along with the mask mandate, Pritzker banned school workers from buildings if they are unvaccinated against COVID-19 and refused to be tested weekly. Kane County Judge Robert Villa in September denied a request from Ferson Creek Elementary School second grade teacher Nicole Cournaya for a temporary restraining order to prevent District 303 from enforcing Pritzker’s order.

Carolyn Waibel resigns from St. Charles School Board, cites harassment

Citing “unrelenting harassment” by community members over her position on COVID-19 mitigation efforts, St. Charles School Board member Carolyn Waibel in October submitted her resignation. Waibel was first elected to the school board in April 2017 and was reelected this past spring.

Carolyn Waibel

Carolyn Waibel
(Photo provided/)

Waibel previously had said she believed the harassment began because of her stance on COVID-19 mitigation measures.

“Someone has harassed me in my face walking into meetings when I was on a walker, I’ve had dead animals thrown into my driveway, my house has been vandalized, I’ve been followed and videotaped in a grocery store shopping with my son, my home was broken into, my car was vandalized and these people continue to libel me,” Waibel said in addressing school board members the night of her resignation.

Batavia’s One Washington Place project scrapped

After several delays, The One Washington Place redevelopment project, a $50 million multi-use project that included residential, commercial and parking space, has been scrapped.

The proposed One Washington Place in Batavia has been scrapped.

The proposed One Washington Place in Batavia has been scrapped. (Image Provided/)

The city of Batavia on Wednesday received notice from Shodeen Group, developer of the proposed development planned to be built in downtown Batavia in 2022, that it was exercising its rights under the redevelopment agreement to terminate the project.

The current state of the inflationary economy, instability of markets and supply chain disruptions were issues cited as the basis for the difficult decision which comes after more than five years of struggles to bring the project online, according to a news release from the city of Batavia. Both the developer and the city had been making plans for a January groundbreaking when recent trends in the cost for materials and material shortages became insurmountable obstacles to moving forward, the release stated.

Completed Multi-Use Facility opens in Kane County

New coroner’s offices in the new $13.4 million Multi-Use Facility opened this year. The 57,940-square-foot building also houses the morgue, the sheriff’s emergency fleet storage, facility maintenance shops and offices and storage for records and equipment.

Thomas Summerwill pleads guilty to killing his mother

Campton Hills resident Thomas Summerwill admitted to being drunk the night he killed his mother with a baseball bat.

Thomas Summerwill

Thomas Summerwill (Photo provided/)

He pleaded guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter of a household member and received 48 months of probation and 200 hours of community service.

Audit reveals $58,211 spent on a private school education for one employee

Kane County Auditor Penny Wegman’s office published an audit of the county’s credit card use – known as p-cards or procurement cards – finding that $22,000 was paid as a perk to a single employee in 2020. Going back four fiscal years, she found that in total, $58,211 was spent on that employee to attend DeVry University. The Kane County Chronicle pursued the audit’s findings through public records requests, and found that Information Technologies Executive Director Roger Fahnestock directed the payments for one of his employees. County officials said Fahnestock did not violate any law or policy. As some records were denied, requests for review are pending before the Public Access Counselor.

Justice for Ludwig

Hal Phipps, husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps, shot and killed his neighbor’s dog, Ludwig. Supporters of the dog and its owner posted signs that read Justice for Ludwig and spoke out on social media.

Joe Petit with his surviving dog, Philo, at his Wayne home. Philo's brother and littermate, Ludwig was killed by a bullet, shot by Petit’s neighbor, Hal Phipps, husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps.

Joe Petit with his surviving dog, Philo, at his Wayne home. Philo’s brother and littermate, Ludwig was killed by a bullet, shot by Petit’s neighbor, Hal Phipps, husband of Wayne Village President Eileen Phipps. (Sandy Bressner –

An investigation by Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain and State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser found Phipps shot the dog in self-defense and no criminal charges were filed against him.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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