Page 1

MAY 2017



SPECIAL SECTION: Women in Business PAGE 35

Author insights with teenage novelist Sarah Natale PAGE 12

CONCERT BUZZ Local music venues’ summer headliners PAGE 64



Think Rain onyour WeddingDay is BadLuck? your engagement ring could be



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Editor's Note As a writer, novice photographer and someone who delves into acrylic painting every now and again, I have a deep appreciation for the arts and the artists who dedicate so much of their time and creative energy to their craft. To be an artist, it takes sacrifice. It takes fortitude. It takes work – hours and hours of work – often done alone with no guarantee that anything will become of it. In honor of all of you artists and artenthusiasts, this issue is dedicated to you. In our Arts & Entertainment issue, we’re spotlighting a young talent, Prairie Ridge High School graduate Catherine Lasak, a ballet dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. In “Dance Dreams” on Page 8, Lasak shares with us the fiercely competitive world of ballet and her journey to the professional stage.

jams at the Raue Center. Don’t miss this month’s 4th Fridays art event at the Starline Factory in Harvard. Four stages of live music and rubbing elbows with talented regional artists sounds like a great way to spend an evening out (see Page 18). In this issue, we’re also spotlighting the courageous, compassionate and committed women who help create a better tomorrow for the local community. To meet the Women of Distinction class of 2017-18, turn to page 25. The May issue also is home to our Women in Business special section (beginning on Page 35). Get inspired by the local entrepreneurs and professionals who have built businesses and served the community. Thanks for reading,

For you music lovers, we’ve got our fingers on the pulse of the local music scene, highlighting the headlining acts coming through McHenry County (and beyond) this summer. Also find out when you can witness a weekend dedicated '70s and '80s throwback

Kara Silva, Editor

Published by Shaw Media 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 Phone: 815-459-4040 Fax: 815-477-4960

GENERAL MANAGER Jim Ringness 815-526-4614 DIRECTOR OF NICHE REVENUE Sherri Dauskurdas 630-427-6263 EDITOR Kara Silva 630-427-6209

on the


Prairie Ridge High School graduate Catherine Lasak turned down New York's prestigious Juilliard Academy for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Find out what's next for the local ballerina in "Dance Dreams," on Page 8. Photo by RON MCKINNEY


DESIGNER Carol Manderfield 630-427-6253 CORRESPONDENTS Kevin Druley, Kelsey O’Connor, Jonathan Bilyk, Yvonne Benson, Allison Manley, Melissa Riske, Women in Business profiles by Kelli Murray PHOTOGRAPHERS Ron McKinney, Nancy Merkling, From Me 2 You Photography

McHenry County Magazine is available by subscription for $24 a year. If you would like each month’s edition mailed to your home, send payment information and address to McHenry County Magazine, 7717 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 or via email at subscriptions@

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INSIDE ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT 8 DANCE DREAMS Homegrown ballerina strives for professional stage

12 THE WRITE LIFE Teen turns school assignment into published novella ‘The Kiss of Death’



Broadway actors to join local music ensemble during Huntley High School performance

Raue Center to present weekend dedicated to ’70s,’80s tribute groups


Broadway actors to join local music ensemble during Huntley High School performance


Treehouse glamping a throwback to childhood





Local woman builds career in biomedical illustration Starline’s 4th Fridays events feature regional artists for evenings of connection and creativity



Top spots for celebrating supermom Sunday

BUSINESS & CIVIC 25 WOMEN OF DISTINCTION Introducing the class of 2017-18


60 BOOK NOOK Entertaining spring reads

62 ARTIST SHOWCASE Algonquin artist Jeanine HillSoldner shares an oil-on-canvas piece, entitled 'City View from the Fountain, Chicago’

64 SUMMER ENTERTAINMENT A roundup of this summer’s headlining shows coming to a venue near you

66 CALENDAR OF EVENTS See what’s happening in McHenry County this May!

35 SPECIAL SECTION: Women in Business

51 HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS How an HSA can help your retirement savings

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A year ago, Catherine Lasak was fairly certain of two things: She would be studying ballet under the tutelage of some of the world’s best dance instructors, and she would be in New York. While the first came to pass, the second did not, as Lasak – by a turn of events she did not foresee in the spring of 2016 – opted to pass up studying dance at New York’s prestigious Juilliard Academy and, instead, chose to study dance on the Pacific coast in the Professional Division program at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle – or PNB, as Lasak and other dancers know it. “I thought I just wanted to be in New York, but when the chance came up to study [at PNB], I had to take it,” Lasak says. “PNB is one of the best companies in the world, and definitely one of the best in the U.S It actually means a whole lot more to be [at PNB], from the perspective of the dance world.” In 2016, Lasak, then a senior at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, was among a handful of dancers from across the country selected by Juilliard to be admitted to the arts school’s ballet dance program. However, in the months that followed, Lasak also was accepted to participate in the summer internship program at PNB, during which students auditioned for the chance to be among 17 female dancers admitted into the company’s first-year Professional Division – a specialized training program created to prepare dancers for the rigor of professional dance.

-Continued on page 10

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-Continued from page 9 In August, Lasak, now 19, accepted PNB’s invitation into the two-year program, and – in the fall – she entered the whirlwind of the program. “I knew this was a competitive field, but I’ve always dreamed of being a professional ballet dancer, and I knew these two years would be my window of opportunity,� Lasak says. “I’ve asked myself, ‘Is this really worth all the work, all the risk? Should I have just gone to school?’ “But now I’m on the brink of my dream.� The program is rigorous. Lasak says that classes run throughout the morning, with performance rehearsals following in the afternoon and into the evening. Dancers also perform in PNB productions. Lasak notes that dancers performed in more than 40 stagings of “The Nutcracker� around Thanksgiving and Christmas. And dancers are currently learning parts for the PNB’s annual Professional Division showcase, titled “Next Step.� During her down time, which is quite rare, Lasak says that she enjoys the sights in and around Seattle and the Puget Sound. But the constant training and performing has fatigued her, at times. She particularly felt it around the holidays, when the dancer’s schedule did not permit her to return home. “It’s nice living on your own – kind of fun,� she says. “But I do miss homecooked meals and my family.�



“You have to focus on yourself, and try not to compare yourself to the others. You have to keep in mind you only have your own strengths, your own weaknesses.�

– Catherine Lasak, Prairie Ridge High School graduate and dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle

Lasak says the talent level at PNB has challenged her, as all of her fellow students “are pretty incredible.� “Everyone here is top caliber, even at this young age,� Lasak says. “And all of us here are very competitive.� All of the dancers are vying for a chance, at the end of their two years of the Professional Division program, to be chosen for perhaps one to three openings in PNB’s company, which tours in the U.S. and internationally.

“Next year, the company is going to Paris,� she says. “PDs (Professional Division students) don’t get to travel,� Lasak adds, with a sigh and a laugh. Should “PDs� ultimately not land one of the coveted PNB company posts, Lasak says that the dancers can often find work elsewhere, in other leading U.S. or international ballet companies. Other “PDs� have gone on to dance professionally in Washington, D.C., Miami, Kansas City, Salt Lake City, Austin, and Calgary, Alberta, Canada, among others, she says. “But we all want to get hired here, at PNB,� Lasak says. With so little separating the dancers physically, Lasak says that she has to focus on maintaining a productive mindset. “You have to focus on yourself, and try not to compare yourself to the others,� Lasak says. “You have to keep in mind you only have your own strengths, your own weaknesses. You have to try to stay on your own path.�

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The write life Teen turns school assignment into published novella ‘The Kiss of Death’ By YVONNE BENSON

Can you imagine being a published novelist as a teenager? Nineteen-year-old Sarah Mondello can. The Crystal Lake resident, who goes by the pen name Sarah Natale, became an author of historical fiction after an assignment given by her creative writing teacher took on a life of its own. “I probably would not have attempted a book-length historical fiction on my own, but it was an assignment in Jerry Thiel’s senior creative writing class at Crystal Lake Central High School,” she says. “The end-of-semester project was to write a seven- to 10-page historical fiction short story, but my passion for the time period and excitement during the research process drove me to go above and beyond that requirement.”

Photos provided

Mondello ended up writing “The Kiss of Death” – a story about a distantly royal young adult living in 14th century London during the outbreak of bubonic plague. Having an intense curiosity about the subject and a love of writing were resources to Mondello, but there were some challenges – one of which she chose. “I asked Thiel for advice on whether to choose the 14th- or 17th-century 12 | MAY 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


outbreak of plague for my project, and he recommended the 17th because it would be easier to find information on the time period,” she says. “However, I ultimately chose 1348 because I wanted the challenge.” “It WAS harder to find information on it, but, when I did, it was more rewarding,” she adds. Mondello’s own tenacity is something that she built into her protagonist Elizabeth Chauncey. “This is a period of growth for her amidst a time of strife, and she is a survivor,” Mondello says of the character. “I admire that trait in a character, as I would in real life. In some ways she is like me: She knows what she wants, has a clear plan to get there and is willing to make sacrifices to do what needs to be done in order to make the best of things.” When she was 17 years old, she wrote the book. When she was 18 years old, “The Kiss of Death” won a literary award from the Woodstock Fine Arts Association. “I was offered a contract with a publisher on Christmas Eve … and I signed with Kellan Publishing,” the young author says. When Mondello was 19 years old, her book was released. Although her website hints at a sequel, she says that her current focus has been on sharing her experience as a young author.

“The end-of-semester project was to write a seven- to 10-page historical fiction short story, but my passion for the time period, and excitement during the research process, drove me to go above and beyond that requirement.” – Sarah Mondello, Crystal Lake Central High School graduate and published author

“With an educational connection to literature, history and biology, my book has roots in the classroom – and not just because it was written in one,” she says. Mondello made sure that her book could be used by teachers and students in the classroom. “I developed a stand-alone educator guide correlated to Common Core Curriculum national education standards,” she says. “My guide has been a helpful resource for McHenry County teachers.”

“I’m pursuing majors in creative writing and public relations, with a minor in graphic design,” she says. Mondello (Sarah Natale) also does local speaking engagements where she has a prepared presentation and enjoys talking to other young, budding writers. u For more information about “The Kiss of Death” by Sarah Natale, visit

Mondello has one year left as a student at Drake University.

Lakeside Arts Park at the Dole Where Art Meets History

YEARS Lakeside Legacy Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.455.8000

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Internally artistic Local woman builds career in biomedical illustration By KEVIN DRULEY

Caitlin Rausch reminisces blissfully about her formative days in art, when “my mom would just give me crayons, and I’d be good for the afternoon.”

a freelance biomedical illustrator, it takes shape in projects pertaining to anatomy, biology and physiology. She works from her home in Lake in the Hills, and aspires to one day operate her own firm.

Rausch maintains that persistence nearly two decades later. She has to, considering the way her To accomplish that feat would advance a career medium and subject matter have vastly evolved. arc that ostensibly began during Rausch’s junior year at Crystal Lake South High School. A simple, “I definitely have to make sure that my stuff self-made greeting card for her ailing grandfather is really clean and not scary for anybody,” she offered a hallmark of Rausch’s burgeoning talent, says, “and make sure that there isn’t anything that’s going to freak somebody out. … Even when at least in the eyes of one nurse.


something is really cleaned up in bright and happy colors, it’s still, you know, a painting of a stomach or something that people just aren’t used to seeing.”

Rausch says she depicted what she called a “happy pancreas” in a bid to influence her grandfather’s medical condition. She thought nothing of it. Here’s why:

Art takes many forms. For Rausch, who works as

“The pancreas kind of looks like a piece of


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chewed-up gum,” she says. “I just put a smiley face and a Band-Aid on it and told him to get well soon.” The cartoonish details notwithstanding, a nurse saw the illustration and marveled at its technicality, suggesting that Rausch might consider a career she didn’t know existed until then. In 2016, Rausch earned a bachelor’s degree in medical illustration at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Her studies at Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design also required Rausch to take pre-med courses through Michigan State University’s Grand Rapids Research Center.

-Continued on page 16

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-Continued from page 15 Rausch has remained in touch with her roots through it all. For her final illustration project in college, she consulted Rene Kasischke, her former high school teacher, about creating an updated and more applicable cat dissection guide for Advanced Placement biology students at Crystal Lake South.

“It’s digital and it’s really easy to make edits; it’s not like waiting for paint to dry,” Rausch says. “And then (clients) get back to me and let me know if anything needs to be changed.”

Whereas Rausch consulted available anatomical models for various college projects, she often taps into other resources these days. Sometimes, she uses cadaver photos for source material. Other times, she watches surgery videos on YouTube.

And when she notices less-than-optimal reception on the surface, Rausch considers the source and smiles.

Rausch also uses computer software that allows her to rotate a three-dimensional image of a human, creating the ability to see various organs from unique angles. She typically paints most of her professional work digitally, via Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

“You definitely have to imagine that you’re just a member of the public, who’s not used to seeing dead bodies and stuff like that,” she says.

Photos provided

Kasischke and Rausch collaborated online, sharing ideas and feedback, and the school district published the new guide in the fall of 2016.

Rausch illustrates other things, namely animals, and has showcased that work at galleries and libraries.

49th ANNUAL Mark Your Calendars! FALL DIDDLEY® 2017 Sat., October 14th • 9am - 5pm Sun., October 15th • 9am - 4pm Boone County Fairgrounds Belvidere, Illinois

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MIXED MEDIA, MONTHLY Starline’s 4th Fridays events feature regional artists for evenings of connection and creativity By KELSEY O’CONNOR | Photos by NANCY MERKLING


arvard’s 4th Fridays is an art event like no other. The recurring event allows visitors to connect with regional artists in a variety of ways, including a juried art exhibit, juried photo contest, solo exhibits by featured artists, vendors and open artists studios. All of this combined with a beautiful, historic setting creates a truly one-of-a-kind show.

“We’re a unique art experience,” says local photographer Nancy Merkling, creator and producer of 4th Fridays. “Whether people come from Los Angeles, New York City, downtown Chicago or even Harvard, they’ll say ‘I’ve never been to an art event like this before.’”

grand finale in October. Each show features an array of exclusively regional artists who are hand-selected by a jury. Featured artists span mediums and can include ceramic, sculpture, fiber art, acrylic painting, oil painting and more. There’s also a separate submission process 4th Fridays occurs monthly from January through for photographers. Visitors can expect to see between 40 and 100 different artists each August, with a month off in September and the month. One of the most unique aspects of the event is that it gives local artisans a chance to meet other creative people and broaden their artistic horizons. “We know that the creative process for artists is one that’s a social process,” says Merkling. “You don’t become inspired and grow and move forward if you’re autonomous. We connect artists with other artists.” It also gives community members a chance to connect with these artists. All artists who have work featured at the show will be on-site during the event. Resident Starline artists will also be hosting open studios that allow guests to interact with the creators and experience the creative process first-hand. “Everyone is welcome here and the energy is really good,” says Merkling. “Relationships are built that would have never happened, and




“You don’t become inspired and grow and move forward if you’re autonomous.”

When To Go & What to Know

– Nancy Merkling, director of 4th Fridays they continue to build because it’s a regular event.” The event regularly draws anywhere from 600 to 1,000 attendees from around the country. The finale in October can bring in as many as 1,200 to 1,600 people. Along with an abundance of art, visitors can enjoy two cash bars, appetizer tables and four stages of live music.

MAY 26 JUNE 23 JULY 28 AUGUST 25 OCTOBER 27 TIME: 6 to 9 p.m. COST: $10 for adults, and children ages 17 and younger will be admitted free with a parent

takes up three blocks and comprises three floors. “The building offers a beautiful backdrop,” says Merkling. “It’s a very eclectic environment.”

4th Fridays are held on the fourth Friday of the month from from 6 to 9 p.m. Starline Factory is located at 300 W. Front St., No. 204, in Harvard. Admission is $10 at the door for adults. Kids 17 and younger will be The event, which first began in 2011, admitted free of charge with a parent. is held in the restored Starline Factory For more information about 4th near the heart of Harvard. The venue Fridays, visit



Blast from the past

Raue Center to present weekend dedicated to ’70s and ’80s tribute groups The Raue Center for the Arts will present “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Blackwater Magic” – two nights in May dedicated to performances by renowned tribute groups. For both shows, tickets start at $20 and may be purchased online at or via the Box Office at 8 815-356-9212 or in person at 26 N. Williams Street in downtown Crystal Lake. ‘GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN’ FRIDAY, MAY 19 Singer-songwriters Lisa Rock and Sari Greenberg will bring the sing-and-dance-along songs of the ’80s to the stage in “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at 8 p.m. Friday, May 19, at the Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake. “Girls Just Want to Have


Fun” features songs from all the iconic bands of the era and new twists on favorite 1980s hits. Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Culture Club and Duran Duran will all be featured. Each song will be performed in front of a fourpiece band. The perfect show for a girls’ night out, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” encourages crowds to wear neon and bust out the hairspray and big hair for an ’80s-filled night of fun. ‘BLACKWATER MAGIC’ SATURDAY, MAY 20 For one night, the Raue Center for the Arts will bring together six musicians and two veteran tribute bands for a double-bill tribute. Bands Supernatural and China Grove will bring the music and live performances of Santana and the Doobie Brothers to downtown Crystal Lake in “Blackwater Magic.” The show will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20.

acclaim, with its faithful renditions of radio hits, such as “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va,” and wild jams, such as “Jingo” and “Soul Sacrifice.” Supernatural has shared the bill with legendary artists like Aerosmith, Grand Funk and Greg Allman. With musicianship, authentic recreations and high-energy performances, Supernatural creates quite an experience. China Grove is a Doobie Brothers tribute band whose repertoire spans the many styles and decades of the legendary group. From “China Grove,” “Takin’ it to the Streets,” the bluesy “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman” and the Grammy Awardwinning pop hit “What a Fool Believes,” China Grove will blaze through a set of memory-jarring hits with stunning accuracy.

Supernatural is a Santana tribute band that has carved out a following, and critical


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MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH Top spots for celebrating super-mom Sunday

■ RETRO BISTRO 83 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake

Florida Crab and Shrimp Cake at Retro Bistro Photo provided

Retro Bistro in Crystal Lake just started offering weekend brunches as of April 22. The restaurant, which opened last June, offers a Champagne Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for $25 a person. Featuring a unique blend of French bistro classics and contemporary fare, Retro Bistro’s brunch features items like Florida Crab and Shrimp Cakes, Homemade Brioche Apple French Toast, Grilled Scottish Salmon and Fresh Strawberry Shortcake. Drink specials include Champagne, mimosas or Retro Bloody Marys for $7, and unlimited Champagne for $15. For Crystal Lake reservations, call 815893-4465. ■ PORT EDWARD’S 20 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin Port Edward’s in Algonquin will host its Champagne Brunch Buffet from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mother’s Day. Made-to-order eggs benedict, Canadian snow crab legs, oysters Wisconsin cheeses, paella, crème brulee and bread pudding are just some of the items found in the brunch buffet. Reservations can be made by calling 847-658-5441. ■ BRUNCH CAFÉ 414 South Route 31, McHenry 935 Route 22, Fox River Grove 12270 Princeton Dr., Huntley With locations in McHenry, Fox River Grove and Huntley, this contemporary breakfast and lunch cafe features well-known items such as blueberry bliss cakes and berry explosion waffles, and more savory fare like the avocadotopped breakfast quesadilla, sausage patty sliders and potato skins filled with scrambled eggs, ham, peppers and cheddar cheese. The café, which was voted “One of the Best” in the “Best of the Fox” contest, offers mimosas and bloody Marys. Visit 22 | MAY 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

■ BENEDICT’S LA STRATA 40 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake Voted best breakfast in the Northwest Herald’s “Best of the Fox” contest, Benedict’s La Strata in Crystal Lake serves breakfast and lunch from French Herbal Goat 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A fitting spot for Mother’s Cheese Salad at Day brunch, the restaurant’s menu features Retro Bistro specialty coffee drinks; fresh beignets; an Photo provided Apple, Bacon and Brie Omelet; Smoked Salmon Benedict; Ms. Cindy’s Door County cherry-stuffed ■ PUBLIC HOUSE OF WOODSTOCK French toast and more. Call 815-459-6500. 101 N. Johnson St., Woodstock ■ TONY’S CAFÉ

1030 S. McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake Tony’s Café in Crystal Lake, voted “One of the Best” places for breakfast in the “Best of the Fox” contest, has an outdoor patio and menu items like banana bread French toast, stuffed waffles, stuffed potato pancakes, 10 varieties of skillets, burgers and club sandwiches. Call 815-477-8118


Public House, located in the old courthouse on the Historic Square in downtown Woodstock, will host a Mother’s Day brunch. Ordinarily, breakfast is only served on Sundays, and the restaurant features menu items like Schnitzel and Waffles, Lobster Benedict and Crème Brulee French Toast. Check for more information or to make a reservation, call 815-337-6060.

Tap, Taste, & Enjoy... Freshly Pressed 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oils & Flavored Olive Oils Aged Balsamic Vinegars from Modena, Italy Gourmet Sauces, Spices & More! Over 40 Oils and Balsamic to choose from Gifts for any occasion, including personalized labeling for your next event

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68 N Williams St Crystal Lake IL 60014 815-459-6457

Restaurant & Cantina


Serving the community for over 30 years!


Sun - Thurs 11-9 Fri & Sat 11-11

Delivery & Catering Available Country Corners Shopping Center 230 W. Virginia Rd., Crystal Lake

Best of Fox winner for Best Mexican Restaurant and Margaritas



Apple Creek Flowers Your Mother’s Day Headquarters! Offering unique floral arrangements, beautiful indoor plants, and exclusive gifts & decor. Serving McHenry County and beyond! 207 North Throop Street Woodstock, IL 60098 (815)338-2255



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Introducing the 2017-18 Women of Distinction By MELISSA RUBALCABA RISKE | Photos by FROM ME 2 YOU PHOTOGRAPHY


everal years ago, McHenry County Magazine began a tradition of honoring women who have offered their talents to the community. They have created nonprofit organizations, commanded local advisory boards, participated in volunteer opportunities outside of their own workplaces and, most of all, continue to lead by example. Each year, we solicit nominations from community leaders, local business professionals and our own readership. And, through this

process, we discover that our communities are full of inspiring women. This month, we continue the tradition with McHenry County Magazine’s Women of Distinction class of 2017-18. We’re introducing our honorees in this issue, paying tribute to them at a luncheon May 10, and – in each month that follows – we will tell the complete story of every one of these outstanding local residents.

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CAPTAIN CAROL LEWIS THE SALVATION ARMY Captain Carol Lewis is the executive director and corps officer for the Salvation Army, a position that combines ministry as well as the task of managing administrative and social services for The Salvation Army of McHenry. In her role, Lewis provides ecumenical services, such as leading a worship service and bible study, while also coordinating emergency disaster services, programming and fundraising.

As superintendent for Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, Kathy Hinz brings leadership and experience to the district’s nine elementary schools and two middle schools. Prior to her role as superintendent, she was an assistant superintendent, director and a school psychologist. Hinz is a role model to many. Beyond her role in the district, she makes time to serve the community through advisory boards, including the YMCA Board of Directors and the McHenry County Mental Health Board. She also is a graduate of the Leadership Greater McHenry County.

ELIZABETH KESSLER MCHENRY COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT Elizabeth Kessler is the executive director of the McHenry County Conservation District. She has been at the helm of the district for more than 10 years. In her role, she guides a small, dedicated staff to protect and maintain more than 25,000 acres of open space. With her leadership comes the responsibility to protect the land for current and future generations. Kessler aims to lead by example, inspire others and set high standards. She promotes outreach and education and also volunteers time with the Chicago Wilderness – a regional alliance that works for preservation and improvement of nature.

She has been a commissioned officer for almost 15 years, and she works with leaders from the community to support the mission and ministry. Through the Salvation Army, she provides assistance to residents of McHenry through meal services, summer camps, school supply drives, toy drives and the food pantry.

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Kathleen Caldwell, ACHT The WHEE Strategic Leadership Program ™ is an exclusive, one of a kind, world-class program that focuses on strategic career and business building that helps you increase your confidence, creativity and innovation. Through your participation, you will be renewed and inspired intellectually, physically, financially and emotionally! In The Wealthy, Healthy, Energetic Edge Strategic Leadership Program You Will: - Receive superior education, coaching and mentoring to become a highly sought-after “Thought Leader” and Subject Matter Expert. Finally – get paid what you’re worth! - Overcome the blocks, stress, frustration and procrastination that have been holding you back from the success, health and wealth you want and deserve! - Enjoy a makeup and group wardrobe consultation from an image stylist. Get your “Mojo” and swagger back! Re-invent yourself from the inside out! - Be supported by a global network of innovative and successful WHEE Board of Directors that will champion your success. - Renew your enthusiasm, optimism and confidence in yourself and your future! Finally, connect your mind, body, heart and career! And so much more… NOTE: The number of participants is limited and WHEE programs fill quickly. This program will not be offered at this investment level in the future. Bring a “colleague/buddy” fee reductions are available.

WHEE Strategic Leadership Groups Are NOW Forming In Chicago, Chicagoland and Iowa The investment for the six-month Strategic Leadership Success Program is $ 2,500. (Pay In Full and Payment Plans Are Available) About Kathleen Caldwell, ACHT, CEO of Caldwell Consulting Group, LLC and founder of the WHEE Network & Institute. Kathleen is described by her clients as “energetic, strategic, encouraging and focused on results,” and has more than twenty years of experience in business strategy, leadership and organizational transformation with global clients. She is a highly-respected business and health coach, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist and has received numerous awards and honors including a Women of Distinction, Congressional Award of Excellence and many

Kathleen hosts an Executive Briefing with John McDonough, others. She co-authored, CEO, of The Chicago Blackhawks. Blueprint for Success with

the late Dr. Stephen Covey and Dr. Ken Blanchard. Kathleen is a graduate of Florida State University, Coach University, Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Hypnosis Motivation Institute and the Wellness Institute. In applying WHEE strategies to her own life, Kathleen is also a certified Zumba® instructor, fitness and high-performance enthusiast and has completed two 26.2 mile marathons. For More Information And To Register Contact: Kathleen Caldwell at 815.206.4014 or WWW.WHEENETWORK.COM Find us on

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ISABELLE LINKLATER THE ASSISI ANIMAL FOUNDATION Isabelle “Lee” Linklater is the founder and executive director of the Assisi Animal Foundation in Crystal Lake. She and her mother created the no-kill animal shelter nearly 30 years ago. Linklater, a former Chicago schoolteacher, found a new calling: dedicating time and energy to the wellbeing of animals. The road to creating the animal shelter wasn’t easy, but the challenges didn’t stop the pair from pursuing their dreams and working to save the lives of animals. She has helped thousands of animals find their forever homes.

Jean Marie Saidler is founder and principal of JMS Marketing, Inc., which provides businessto-business marketing. Her business, based in Crystal Lake, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. One of Saidler’s first clients was Columbia Pictures when it came to Woodstock for the filming of “Groundhog Day.” Prior to starting her business, Saidler was the executive director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. Along with her work, Saidler is a member of the Governing Council of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and its Community Health Committee. She devotes time to a number of local organizations serving the community, including the Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers, the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois.

JILL DINSMORE JA FRATE, INC. Jill Dinsmore is president of transportation, trucking and railroad company JA Frate, Inc. in Crystal Lake. As a company leader, Dinsmore steers her work to support the community and, in particular, to provide support to military organizations. In years past, the company has sponsored the Patriot Run of McHenry County, The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Toy Drive and the food drives to support the Crystal Lake Food Bank. Dinsmore is a graduate of the Leadership of Greater McHenry County and a board member of the American Community Bank. She is a leader in the community, at her job and in her busy home, too.

Linklater is a positive role model in the community and promotes humane, loving treatment of animal companions.

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KATE CURTIN HUNTLEY COMMUNITY RADIO Kate Curtin is the director of programming for Huntley Community Radio, which is a community-oriented, volunteer-run nonprofit. Curtin works tirelessly to support the goal of the station, keeping the community informed while providing interesting programming. Curtin, who led a distinguished career on the stage and in other theatric roles, continues to use her talents to entertain by cohosting a comedy show on the radio. Each year, she also devotes many hours to supporting the community through a variety of programs and fundraisers.

Kathie Comella is the president and executive producer at the Woodstock Musical Theatre company where she works to bring stellar performances to the community. Throughout her vast career, she has worn many hats. She has been an artistic director, a stage manager, makeup designer, scenic painter, costume coordinator and an actress, too. She has devoted countless hours to her work away from the stage through roles on community boards, including one with the Woodstock Opera House Community Center, Inc. Whether she was reading holiday stories to children at the Opera House during the Christmas season or coordinating a special fundraiser, Comella is known for her warmth. She brings fun and enjoyment to everything she does, and does it with a smile and a hug.

KIM LOEWE KIERA CONFECTIONS For small business owner Kim Loewe, work can be sweet. She is the owner of Kiera Confections in McHenry. Yet, managing a successful business is just part of Loewe’s story. She is an advocate for small businesses and the community. Whether she is donating cupcakes for a local fundraiser or making time to create events and collaborate with other small business owners, Loewe works tirelessly to give back to her community and its residents. She is involved in several local organizations. She is the president of the McHenry Downtown Business Association and an advocate for the community.

When Curtin lends her time, she often goes above and beyond, taking on leadership roles and engaging those around her.

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Celebrating women who make a difference.

BMO Harris Bank is proud to be a presenting sponsor of "Women of Distinction in McHenry County." Your achievements inspire us – and make our community a better place to live, work and grow.

BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC

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NANCY ROOZÉE MCHENRY COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND MUSEUM In many ways, Nancy Roozée is one who works to keep history and tales of the past alive.

MARY MARGARET MAULE CRYSTAL LAKE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE As president of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce, Mary Margaret Maule is diligent, dedicated, savvy and excited to help businesses thrive and grow. She enjoys the ability to help businesses big and small in the community. She is a graduate of the Leadership of Greater McHenry County, using the program as a way to further her understanding of the community. Outside of work, she dedicates hours to making a difference in her community. She is a board member for CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for children, and is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of veterans.

For several years, she managed The Crossroad Merchant, an antique store in McHenry. It was while working there that she was invited to help at the Heritage Fair auction and, in 2013, she became the office manager for the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum. In her role – she fills many roles, actually – she is always willing to help as needed, whether that involves creating flyers, managing the museum store or coordinating the quarterly newsletter. And she utilizes her creativity and her passion, especially when she is designing a display at the museum.

NANCY WENZEL WORKING WORLD STAFFING SERVICES Finding the right job is never easy and, yet, Nancy Wenzel is determined to always find the right candidate for the position. Wenzel is president of Working World Staffing Services, a business started by her mother. From data entry to clerical work, Wenzel worked her way up through the company. She is professional, honest and inspires those around her. Additionally, she serves as president of the Education to Empowerment, a program to support a local college student with financial support and mentorship. She dedicates her time to several local groups and organizations, bringing her enthusiasm and leadership as a board member and volunteer.

Whether through volunteer or paid positions, Maule finds a way to make a positive impact on the lives of many.



Dr. Alicia Ragni

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine


lifelong resident of McHenry County, Dr. Alicia Ragni left the area briefly to pursue her goal to become a veterinarian through studies at University of Illinois. She is one of the founders and owners of Companion Animal Specialty & Emergency (CASE) Hospital, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Dr. Ragni was on staff at the inception of the business in 1997 when it was known as Animal Emergency of McHenry County. Serving as Director of Medicine from 1997 until 2005, she stepped back to enjoy more of her first love: clinical medicine. She enjoys the challenges of emergency and critical care medicine, as well as helping her furry patients and their owners during times of need. In recent years, veterinary medicine has become a profession pursued by a growing number of women. In keeping with this trend, CASE Hospital currently has a largely female staff. Located in Crystal Lake at the corner of Pingree and Rakow Roads, the 10,000 square-foot facility serves referring veterinarians and their clients from a multi-county region. CASE Hospital supports local veterinary clinics with specialized services, equipment, and 24-hour care.

For cases that aren’t necessarily an emergency, specialists at the hospital deliver: internal medicine, integrated medicine, dermatology, and advanced surgery services by appointment. Surgery is provided through a partnership with Veterinary Specialty Center and Dermatology is provided through a partnership with Midwest Veterinary Dermatology. Adding to the advanced services offered at CASE is the only animal CT (Computed Tomography) machine in the county. With this technology, CASE Hospital can assist with diagnosing diverse and complicated conditions in concert with family veterinarians and other specialists. For integrative services (rehabilitation), CASE Hospital offers two underwater treadmills, a land treadmill, chiropractic, acupuncture, and laser treatments. These advanced services help to complete the circle of care that CASE Hospital offers as it partners with the family veterinarians, furry patients, and their families. Dr. Ragni and her colleagues have a reputation for treating their patients as they would their own pets. Excellent medical care, cutting-edge services, and empathy for all involved.

Dr. Alicia Ragni

1095 Pingree Road, Suite 120 Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815-479-9119

Jennifer Johnson


Executive Vice President and Financial Advisor/Exemplar Financial Network

ennifer Johnson is driven to help people. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in psychology and worked, for a time, in the social service industry. Her ability to connect people and problem solve led her – in 1998 – to Exemplar Financial Network, a comprehensive wealth management firm.

In fact, searching for the best possible solution to help clients reach their goals is part of the Exemplar experience. She and her team are dedicated beyond the initial financial plan, and will continue to review a client’s financial situation annually, helping them stay up to date on changes in the investment world and provide educational tools as necessary.

Currently, she has a pivotal role within Exemplar’s leadership team, developing strategies that keep the company in the forefront of the financial planning business.

Additionally, Johnson and the other Exemplar advisors don’t separate tax planning and financial planning because they must complement each other for the best outcome for their clients. Johnson embraces each day as unique and looks forward to the opportunity to solve problems, learn new things and express her creativity.

Though her career path changed from social services, her desire to help others did not. The Iowa native credits her mentor, president and founder of Exemplar Financial Network, Dave Hubbard, in developing her passion to help others achieve their full potential. Johnson sees every day how hardworking business owners are so focused on finding new markets, creating sales and executing promises they often neglect their personal financial goals. She finds it very rewarding to work with business owners to help them develop a path to financial independence.

As a business professional, who also has a family, she understands customers who may be buying their first home, starting a new business, putting children through college, planning for retirement or leaving a lasting legacy. She feels blessed to be part of the Exemplar team who are sounding boards to listen to clients dreams and guide them toward their vision of the future.

Securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

Exemplar Financial Network

413 East Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake 815-459-4550

Victoria M.Summers Executive Director Academy of Dance

Courtney Kramer Petrocci Artistic Director/ Summers Academy of Dance


onsidered a state-of-the-art dance center, Summers Academy of Dance staffs more than 20 teachers who possess expertise in more than 16 different styles of dance.

Executive director Victoria Summers has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and knows that students have a tendency to approach a love of dance from different angles. Her academy offers three different tracks to accommodate this need. Summers believes that the life skills that one acquires from dance provides the tools needed to serve one well during his or her whole life. Whether it’s working with dancers on the award-winning Summers Dance Crew, the pre-professional concert dance company or the aerial silks and cirque techniques, Summers and artistic director Courtney Kramer Petrocci enjoy being part of a young dancer’s journey. “It is an inspiration to see our dancers gain self-confidence, determination and see who they become onstage and beyond,” Summers says. To continue to help students who may need the service, the academy now offers financial scholarships to help keep dancers learning. For women looking to open their own business, Summers offers this piece of advice: “You do not know how much you can accomplish or how much success you will have unless you try.”

Sherry McGowan Director

Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services


herry McGowan understands the meaning of being a servant leader. For more than six years, she has created a caring culture at Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services, which provides customized in-home care for individuals 18 years old and older who need help with meals, light housekeeping, transportation, errands, dressing, personal care, medication reminders, laundry and more. Visiting Angels continues to serve McHenry County residents and recently expanded into the greater Barrington and the Lake Zurich area. As a working woman who has experienced her own journey of care with her parents, Sherry McGowan enjoys encouraging and educating families in similar challenging situations. With a heart for the work and a commitment to providing customers with dependable service, she continues to be a model to those in her organization. Her formula for success seems to work, as Visiting Angels was recently awarded the 2017 Provider of Choice. Sherry McGowan, Director,

Summers Academy of Dance

5186 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake 815-47-0033 36 | MAY 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE

Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services 815-479-0312w BUSINESS & CIVIC

Mary Meyn

Owner/Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed


ours & Meyn, Simply Designed is a retail home furnishings store and design studio. Meyn has been working her design business for more than 10 years, and opened the retail store seven years ago. Everything created in Yours & Meyn – from the furnishings to the customer care – is unique because she understands that every customer is unique.

Meyn loves meeting new people, bringing a room to life through her designs and creating beautiful furnishings for her customers. She gathers inspiration from her customers who visit the store and the beautiful homes in which she works. As a business professional, she advises women to find something they love to do, and learn to balance the people and things that make them happy every day.

Yours & Meyn, Simply Designed

33 N Williams Street, Crystal Lake 815-455-2500

Debbie J. Thompson

President/Thompson Spring Grove Funeral Home


t was a personal experience that introduced Debbie Thompson to the need for compassionate care for others at a time of profound loss. To help fulfill that need, Thompson decided to return to school to embark on a new career path in mortuary science. She graduated from Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, and then – with more 15 years of experience in the funeral service industry – opened Thompson Spring Grove Funeral Home in 2014.

Since the purchase of the former Spring Grove Funeral Chapel, and its subsequent renaming, there has been a flurry of activity and remodeling to make the space feel comfortable and home-like. She is involved in every aspect of her business and personally attends to all of the events requested by the families, from the first phone call to the last prayer – and beyond. As a funeral director, she understands traditional services work well for many people, but some families want a final life event to reflect the uniqueness of their loved one. Thompson is committed to listening to the wishes of the families and provides meaningful life tributes. In

fact, she works with the family on the personalization of a service to honor her client’s loved one. While making a positive difference during the worst time of someone’s life is rewarding, her biggest challenge lies in the 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year work schedule. Though sometimes it’s difficult to plan her personal schedule – and the potential to miss events is always present – knowing that she is making a difference in people’s lives and being available to help people in need is very inspiring to her. Thompson is surrounded by a strong support system of her adult children and their families. She also continues to work with colleagues Mark and Nancy Justen, owners of Justen Funeral Home, who provide her with unwavering encouragement. She is also a member of the local chambers of commerce and of St. Peter’s Catholic Church of Spring Grove, serving as a Eucharistic Minister. Ultimately, Thompson is grateful to have been given the responsibility of creating meaningful experiences for families to remember and honor their loved ones.

Thompson Spring Grove Funeral Home Celebrating Lives & Healing Hearts 8103 Wilmot Road, Spring Grove 815-675-0550

Pamela Althoff


Illinois State Senator, 32nd District

amela Althoff has served as a member of the Illinois State Senate since March 2003. During that time, she has championed legislation to increase open space, expand the agricultural industry and promote improved statewide economic growth.

She is dedicated to her constituents and is a proponent of improving Illinois’ business and job climate, obtaining equitable education funding reform, tax reform and senior health issues. She serves as the Senate Republican Caucus Chair as part of the Senate Republican Leadership, holds the position of Minority Spokeswoman for the Revenue and Licensed Activities and Pension Committees and serves on the Executive Appointments, Labor, Transportation and Telecommunications and Info Technology committees. What she likes most about her job is working with and for the people. “I am inspired by the people I work for – my constituents,” Althoff says. “Hearing the stories and concerns of my constituents makes me want to work even harder for them. … Knowing what I do affects them and their lives gives me drive to do my best.”

Illinois State Senate

5400 West Elm, Suite 103, McHenry 815-455-2500


Samantha Wagner

Co-owner/Minuteman Press


amantha Wagner had been working periodically in the family business since she was a teenager, but that job became a full-time position in October 2014. As Minuteman Press’ promotional products and wedding invitation specialist, and the head of finance, Wagner enjoys working with customers on new and exciting projects. She also loves being able to bring a smile to a client’s face when delivering a product or saving the day when she delivers on a client’s needs. As a small business owner, Wagner is always seeking to advance the company’s business goals, and isn’t afraid to reach out to other successful people in the business community for advice.

Ultimately, the company slogan – “We Design, Print and Promote … You!” – is indicative of how Minuteman Press strives to exceed its clients’ expectations every day.

Minuteman Press

835 Virginia Road, Suite G, Crystal Lake 815-477-2700


Glenda Miller

McHenry County Treasurer


arvard resident Glenda Miller has been a dedicated public service in local government for 22 years and currently serves as McHenry County Treasurer. Prior to her work as treasurer, she was employed for more than 20 years in the banking industry, and brings that knowledge and experience to her duties as county treasurer. Meeting and helping the taxpayers of McHenry County is a role in which she is well suited, and she strives to ensure taxpayer money is safe and carefully invested for a good return and for the future of the county. Miller says that it’s the public service aspect of the job that inspires her most. For anyone looking to get into local government, Miller says that education and professional experience is key.

McHenry County Treasurer’s Office 2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock 815-334-4260

Lori Hills, Lynda Walsh, and Michele Walsh Owners/ Shay For You and Your Home


hay For You and Your Home, a family-owned boutique, offers its clientele stylish and affordable clothing, home accents, furnishings and a personal shopping experience. Owners Lynda Walsh, Lori Hills and Michele Walsh make sure the lifestyle shop is up to date with the latest trends in women’s fashion, as well as what’s new for the home. The trio love being part of the Crystal Lake community and they feel the shop has been blessed with an amazing clientele. The owners find inspiration through the joy of their customers when they spot something fun and stylish in the shop.

While opening the retail shop was a big leap four years ago, it has been a very rewarding experience for the owners who refused to let the challenges stand in their way of success.

Celina Perlberg

Practice manager and RN/Vein Specialists of Illinois


s the practice manager for Vein Specialists of Illinois, Celina Perlberg RN, combines her clinical knowledge with the business practices of human resources, accounting and information technology, as well as governmental, insurance and financial regulations, to guide the practice into providing the best experience for its patients. While challenging, she finds learning the business side of the practice has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her eight-year career with Vein Specialists of Illinois. During her time at the practice, she has been inspired daily with stories told by her patients who have had to overcome so much in their lives. She enjoys hearing patients’ stories about how they were able to return to an activity that they love because they no longer experience pain in their legs, or how they overcame insecurities and were able to put on a pair of shorts for the first time in years. She would advise other women professionals to align themselves with people who share their core values regarding the heart of the business. She feels one of the reasons Vein Specialists of Illinois has been successful is because every member of the staff believes that providing patients with the best care is the most important part of their jobs.

Vein Specialists of Illinois

Shay Boutique

30D N. Williams St., Crystal Lake 815-444-6460

795 Ela Road, Suite 115, Lake Zurich 1670 Capital St., Suite 500 Elgin 847-852-4194



Stephanie Ormsby

Owner/Wear Did U Get That


ince fashion is Stephanie Ormsby’s first love, it makes sense that she has worked in the retail business for more than 30 years. Her women’s boutique, Wear Did U Get That, specializes in outfitting women according to their body type and lifestyle.

Ormsby loves helping women find the perfect outfit no matter their age or their size. Wear Did U Get That carries sizes XS-3X and specializes in current trends that are comfortable and affordable. Ormsby lives for a challenge. So, when customers come in saying they can’t find anything to wear, she steps up and helps them select something that puts a smile on their faces and makes them feel beautiful and special. To find business success, she advises other women professionals to give 150 percent to their dream and to their customers.

Wear Did U Get That

66 N. Williams Street, Crystal Lake 815-455-7500

Molly Clough

Co-owner/The Player’s Bench Music Store


Molly Clough has worked in many of the retail shops along Williams Street in Crystal Lake, and she always dreamed of owning her own store. In 2014, Clough and her husband, Jason Erlenborn, bought The Player’s Bench Music Store, bringing her dream to life.

The store offers instruments, accessories, sheet music, music lessons, instrument repairs, and band rental. But of all of the facets to the business, the lesson students are what Clough enjoys most about her business - “it is exciting to see them grow and develop their musical skills.” It’s motivating, she says, to work in an industry that contributes positively to the community by changing people’s lives through music. As a woman who knows what it’s like to pursue an entrepreneurial passion alongside a full-time job, Clough encourages women professionals to jump in when it comes to bringing their business idea to life because there may never be a perfect time to start.

The Player’s Bench Music Store 87 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake 815-459-8614

Mary Batson

Owner/Out of the Box


ary Batson is inspired every day when she walks through the doors of her gift shop, Out of the Box. She has created a welcoming and friendly atmosphere in her shop by focusing on finding unique products at affordable prices to delight her customers.

Batson loves seeing her customers leave with a smile on their face because they feel like they’ve found the perfect thing. Happy customers and the relationships she shares with them are what motivate her. Being a people person and someone who enjoys helping others is who she is and that works well with her philosophy of do what you love, do what fulfills you, and make a difference whenever you can. Out of the Box

71 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake 815-444-7446





be true to


Mary E. McClellan

McHenry County Clerk


s the chief election authority, the McHenry county clerk, Mary E. McClellan, provides a myriad of voter and candidate services and administers McHenry County elections in an unbiased, accurate, efficient, fair and timely manner.

The clerk’s office also maintains vital records – such as birth, marriage and death certificates – public filings, tax and real estate services, and is in charge of recording the McHenry County Board proceedings McClellan has been the county clerk for three years, and she had spent 14 years as assistant state’s attorney. The most inspiring part of her job is “the everyday challenge of serving the public and being the best I can be for them,” she says, adding that breaking the glass ceiling in a profession as a women in a man’s field also has been challenging. “I was raised to be dedicated,” she says. “It is with this virtue that I serve McHenry County.” McClellan is living proof that hard work and dedication are paramount to success. After moving to McHenry in 1989, she went back to school, graduating with an associate’s degree from McHenry County College and went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business. After realizing she had a desire to study law, she applied and was accepted. She worked full time and attended classes in the evenings, all while being a dedicated mother and wife. “It took me over 10 years to finish school,” she says. “My story is that when you commit to something, anything is possible. It is this type of commitment that I offer the people of McHenry County.” If she had to offer a piece of advice to other women professionals, it would be: “Always be true to yourself; there is no substitute for hard work and dedication.”

McHenry County Clerk Office

2200 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, IL 60098

Kay Bates

President/McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce

K Jennifer Elizabeth Falbo

Owner, Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

Sarah Ashley Sobel

ay Bates has been working in the chamber of commerce industry for 21 years, and she never grows tired of seeing how the chamber can help guide new businesses toward success, resulting in a strong business community.

They work hard to continue satisfying generations of customers with their cuisine and find inspiration as they watch children in the community grow up before their eyes.

Bates works alongside members guiding them to consider the McHenry Area Chamber as an advertising tool to use for growing their businesses. Whether chamber newsletters, networking opportunities or creative advertising, Bates encourages her members to expect a rate of return for their involvement with the chamber.

“We are so embracing and caring about our community [and] our customers. We love them,” says Sobel.

She loves seeing businesses succeed.

To offer even more opportunity to serve members of the community, Pablo’s is now offering catering services and front-door delivery.

“I love the entrepreneur,” she says. “These are the risk-takers in our business community; these are the folks who make local economies move!”


CFO, Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

or more than 30 years, Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant has been serving delicious food generation after generation. A family-owned business, Jennifer Falbo and Sarah Sobel are a mother-daughter team who fully embrace their customers and the Crystal Lake community.

Falbo and Sobel thrive on the challenges of running a restaurant and appreciate the hard work of their amazing staff. If the duo had to offer any advice to women looking to start their own business, they say that though it is stressful, the hard work you put in is worth the payoff. “You lose sleep; you are now doing 50 things on top of another 50 things at one time,” says Sobel. “Embrace the challenge. It gets easier. The payoff, just to see how much you grow as a business person [and] woman – and for your business – is quite spectacular!”

Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant

230 W. Virginia St., Suite 300, Crystal Lake 815-455-7398



If she had to offer advice to someone looking to open his or her own business, she says that it’s imperative to “make certain you have support at home, and a few dollars in the bank before taking the risk of starting your own company.” McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce

1257 N. Green St., McHenry 815-385-4300

Pictured: not in order Neelie Kruse, CTC, Owner Margaret Merz, Gail Timmer, Shobha Mirchandani, Kathy Kadlec, Jessica Kruse, Jan Calahan, Kay Light, Chloe Kadlec, Cheryl Krueger


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LuLu’s Wiggin’ Out

OfďŹ ce Mascots: Diego and Murphy Not pictured: Dana Prichard, Maureen Brommel, Ursula Mata, Michelle Mackey, Jamie Jones

The Team of Cary Travel Express


n award winning travel agency, the team at Cary Travel Express is passionate about sharing their extensive knowledge on travel destinations with clients. The Cary Travel Express professionals have many years as industry experts and are inspired each day by the excitement of their customers and the energy of the office!

The team believes women business professionals should follow their dreams and surround themselves with great co-workers who share the same professional passions.

The group of agents at Cary Travel Express are a knowledgeable and well-traveled group who enjoy helping customers plan a variety of trips from a destination wedding and honeymoon to family and group getaways. This year marks the 28th anniversary of opening the doors of the travel agency. The team’s dedication, passion for travel and helping clients plan their dream vacations have helped Cary Travel Express earn numerous awards over the years, most recently the Apple Crystal Award from Apple Vacations for best travel agency sales out of the Chicago Gateway.

63 N.Williams St., Crystal Lake, IL 815-356-9900

Cary Travel Express

9 Jandus Road, Cary 847-639-3300 SM-CL0408501




Nancy Merkling (right) and Janet Kay Photographers/Nancy Merkling Productions


A photography buff since she was 11 years old, Nancy Merkling utilized her artistic talents in the graphic design industry as well as freelance portraits over the years before opening her current portrait and fine art studio in 2002.

Merkling’s business covers portrait, wedding, event, commercial and fine art photography. She loves creating beautiful art, and watching people fall in love with it. “Having a career in the art world has its yin and yang, but I seriously love that being creative in most every detail of what we do is not just encouraged but rarely capped,” she says. “Brainstorming and problem solving sessions are the perfect balance of challenge and fun.” Regarding owning her own business, Nancy says that it’s difficult to get something started as an entrepreneur, and there are no shortcuts. “Be sure to learn what you need to learn and give yourself time to learn it,” she says, adding that it’s gratifying to see your ideas become reality. “Just be the very best version of you that you can be.” Today, the business has two locations and includes group photography workshops, one-on-one mentor

programs and the popular 4th Friday Art Events at Starline Factory in Harvard. After working as colleagues together for eight years, local photographer Janet Kay recently joined the team as new lead photographer. “Our photography division just took a giant step forward with brilliant art photographer Janet Kay joining our team,” Merkling says. Kay ran her own photography business for eight years and will also be added as an instructor to the Nancy Merkling Productions workshops, later in 2017. The workshops incorporate a blend of technical art with an emphasis on individual attention. The 4th Fridays events that Merkling produces, which take place nine times a year, bring in 600-1000 people each event. The event showcases emerging regional artists in a juried event, spotlights a featured solo artist and more. (See page 18 for more details.) Merkling says that the 4th Fridays events at Starline Factory are like no other art experience you’ve ever encountered. “Classy, fun and for anyone; it’s a night out you will return to.”

Nancy Merkling Productions

2 Locations: Starline Factory, 400 W. Front St., Harvard The Dole Mansion, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake 815-347-8535

Vanessa Baker

Owner/Fast Forward Marketing


anessa Baker has owned Fast Forward Marketing for four years, but has worked in online advertising for more than 20 years. Her company helps small businesses with digital marketing services, social media management, SEO management, small website projects, videos, press releases and more.

Baker feels honored that much of her business has grown from referrals from her clients and friends. Much of her own success derives from her belief that you must work for it, and that nothing is just handed to you. One of the things she enjoys about her job is that every day is different. Baker received the Best Under 40 Award from Shaw Media Business Journal in 2014 for her accomplishments and community service, and received the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Presidential Award of Excellence in April 2014, which honored her commitment to the chamber.

Fast Forward Marketing Crystal Lake 815-451-5230

Davenport Family Funeral Homes

Seated: Kim Nordin, Lisa Davenport Standing: Kelly Hartley, Peggy Woods, Kate Romutis, Jennifer Valentine Not Pictured: Kristen Garrett


he motto of family-owned and operated Davenport Family Funeral Homes is “Serving Families as We Would Want Ours Served.�

The funeral home is unique in that all of the funeral directors, except for owner Jack Davenport, are women. They are in different stages of life, from celebrating marriage and young children to focusing on their careers as independent women or sending children off to college and facing an empty nest.

In an industry that was male-dominated 30 years ago, today more than half of the students graduating from mortuary college are women. As one might expect, the Davenport funeral directors have pursued this profession because of their desire to help others during a difficult time. Like so many women business professionals, one of the biggest challenges is successfully balancing family commitments with a career in an industry that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In keeping with its motto, the families that Davenport serves respond well to the female funeral directors because they are nurturing and caring. Co-owner and funeral director Lisa Davenport feels blessed to have such an amazing staff of women serving the families who need their services.

Davenport Family Funeral Homes

419 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake 815-459-3411



Sue Dobbe-Leahy

Dan Swinson Photography

Judith Svalander



ten-year career as a professional ballet dancer that included the Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark, took Judith Svalander from McHenry, Illinois to glamorous places and stages. Returning to McHenry County, 45-years ago, she opened Judith Svalander School of Ballet. Her goal continues to be to providing the northwest suburbs with dance training that would allow any desiring, talented, dedicated dancer to find their way to the world.

Thousands of students have followed in Judith’s footsteps. Dancers of hers have developed careers in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as from New York to San Francisco. Beyond the many success stories in dance, musical theater and drama, Svalander’s life’s work has given students the necessary tools to succeed as lawyers, CEOs, doctors, small business owners and extraodinary citizens. Judith knows that passion and energy beget more passion and energy. This defines her school and her life’s work, making it even more vibrant today that it was 45-years ago. “This isn’t something that I do; the creative process comes through me and opens a connection to higher consciousness,” says Svalander. “Teaching ballet is an honor, a calling and an undeniable force – like breathing. I love what I do every day!” Ms. Svalander recommends other business owners keep the fire and passion alive for their business. “Others will be inspired by you. Ballet is art built upon passion, dedication, discipline, talent and spirit. I encourage everyone to learn about ballet whatever their stage of life – it will enhance their appreciation for art, music, physical expression and magic!” Raue Center for the Arts will host Judith Svalander School of Ballet on May 25th from 6:30-7:30 pm. The free workshop will include performance by advanced dancers to introduce ballet and an opportunity to meet and speak with Ms. Svalander

President/ Dobbe Marketing & PR, Inc. “You gotta make some noise!” Sue Dobbe-Leahy says about the business she knows best – marketing. “Making noise is about strategic communication,” explains the president of Dobbe Marketing & PR, Inc. “A critically examined brand, image and message, targeted to the proper audience will generate results.” Dobbe Marketing was founded in 1989 after Dobbe-Leahy gained years of experience with corporate leaders. Offices have been located in Historic Downtown Crystal Lake since 2004. Brand evolution for either new business or existing is the focus of the firm. After three decades in operation, Dobbe Marketing has developed brands for cities, schools, retail, commercial, industrial and professional services as well as nonprofits. In addition to branding, her firm provides marketing plans, media programs, public relations, websites and integrated media strategies.

Judith Svalander School of Ballet

83 E. Woodstock Street Crystal Lake, IL 60014 815-455-2055



Dobbe Marketing & PR, Inc. 104 Minnie St., Crystal Lake 815-459-5447

Elizabeth La Spisa-Kline, RTT

Lead Radiation Therapist/Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Midwestern Regional Medical Center


orking and walking side-by-side with cancer patients is second nature to Elizabeth La SpisaKline. Her experience goes well beyond her training at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Roosevelt University, and she has helped thousands of patients at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern). La Spisa-Kline’s foundation of caring is about personal connections. This was learned early after losing both her younger sister and mother to leukemia more than 20 years ago. The heartbreaking experience galvanized La Spisa-Kline’s motivation to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. And for the past five years at CTCA® at Midwestern, she’s done just that. At CTCA®– a landmark in cancer care that combines innovative conventional medical treatments with evidenceinformed integrative oncology services to deliver wholeperson care for adults battling cancer – La Spisa-Kline found a way to give back so much of what cancer has taken away.

It is the belief that she is both helping her patients battle cancer and making a difference in their lives that brings her absolute joy. The hospital she serves is Magnet Recognized® – ranked among the top centers in the nation for nursing excellence – has earned accreditation by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, and holds accreditation by the American College of Radiology in radiation oncology and multiple imaging modalities, including mammography, CT, PET, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and MRI. As a business professional, La Spisa-Kline advises women to maintain strong relationships with colleagues, mentors and industry peers. Only after acquiring necessary leadership skills, including an understanding of how to lead with kindness and compassion, does La Spisa-Kline recommend making the management leap. La Spisa-Kline feels blessed as she reflects on her career, which has been abundantly rewarding and has offered many opportunities to work with experts in the field of cancer care. For all of the people helping to win the fight against cancer every day, including patients, their caregivers and aspiring or established medical professionals, her final words of advice are to never give up hope. Miracles happen; she sees them every day.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® at Midwestern Regional Medical Center 2520 Elisha Ave., Zion 800-950-2822


Gentiana Halimi

Co-Owner/Cosmetology and Spa Academy

Susan M. Kirby

Managing Member/Associated Electrical Contractors, LLC


or 15 years, Susan Kirby had been controller for Associated Electrical Contractors before she became a co-owner in 2015. Managing Members Tony Schnulle and Guy Seeman share ownership responsibilities with her. The commercial, industrial and residential electrical contractor company provides services for northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and the Chicago area. Working with quality people at AEC is one of the most enjoyable aspects of Kirby’s job, and she is proud that AEC has a reputation of quality service, reliability and excellent caliber electricians. Her greatest challenge was the decision to purchase the business, but, once she decided – and changes were made to insure financial viability – she found the process very rewarding. She sees the hard work and dedication of the employees every day and believes the AEC team is the best in the region. Kirby advises other women looking to achieve professional success to have the nerve to ask for what they want, and then step up and do their absolute best once an opportunity comes their way. In addition to her work at Associated Electrical Contractors, Kirby also is involved in Rotary Club of Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers, Woodstock Professional Women and the Construction Financial Management Association.



Associated Electrical Contractors, LLC

319 Lamb Road, Woodstock 815-337-6600



osmetology and Spa Academy is the oldest beauty school in McHenry County. It offers knowledge for a career in cosmetology, esthetics and barbering. The staff and instructors of this family-owned business strive to provide students with the tools necessary to launch their careers upon graduation. Gentiana Halimi has nearly 16 years of salon and education experience. She loves watching students succeed and finds providing them an education to start their career is very gratifying. Halimi finds the beauty industry self-rewarding, and she believes that what you get out of a business is what you put into it. When she sees the students’ thirst for education, it only motivates her to learn more and become a stronger leader.

Cosmetology and Spa Academy

700 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake 815-455-5900

Amber Larsen

Owner/Amber’s Art Place


mber Larsen spent more than 20 years as an art specialist in District 47, and has owned her own art studio for more than 10 years. She teaches her students – from children to adults – the process of creating art, which allows for each person to find his or her inner artist, while also experience problem solving techniques to take out into the world. Larsen finds her inspiration in witnessing students experience something new, and offers plenty of opportunities for students to find their creativity through a variety of classes, workshops and summer camps.

Amber’s Art Place

9243 S. Rt. 31, Lake in the Hills, Il. 60156 815-404-6520

Our Lifestyle at


Senior Lifestyle, A FAMILY OWNED COMPANY, is committed to creating environments designed to delight our residents and their family members. Our dedicated team of professionals bring our mission and core values to life. We invite you to visit and SEE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOURSELF.





Retirement Planning

815-459-6800 Crystal Lake - Vernon Hills As Fiduciaries it is our responsibility and constant goal to always put our clients’ interests above our own!

Professional Guidance Personal Attention Financial Clarity Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake, IL 60014-2225 and 977 Lakeview Parkway, Suite 150, Vernon Hills, IL 60061-1476. Dorion-Gray is not affiliated with Securities America companies.

Health savings accounts How an HSA can help your retirement savings With PATTY LORIS One of the benefits of a high-deductible health insurance plan is the opportunity to open a health savings account. Contributions to a HSA are made directly from your payroll and can be made by the employee, your employer or both. Many employees enroll in an HAS because they like the tax savings HSA’s provide. You, as the employee, can receive a triple tax break: Contributions are tax-deductible, assets grow tax-free and distributions are tax free if you use your funds for qualified medical expenses. If an employer makes contributions, they are not taxable to the employee. The IRS determines the inflation adjusted HSA contribution limits annually. CONTRIBUTION AND OUT-OF-POCKET LIMITS FOR HSA AND HIGH DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLANS ANNUAL LIMIT














Health savings accounts can provide a great opportunity for retirement savings. An individual/family can fund their HSA’s on an annual basis and, instead of spending the money annually on current qualified medical expenses while working, they can save the money and use it for retirement medical expenses. When planning for retirement, health care is the one expense retirees typically don’t think will cost as much as it does. Health savings accounts can provide the extra funds you will need to pay for your health care in retirement. There is one caveat of which all retires must be aware regarding health savings accounts and Medicare. If you enroll in Medicare at age 65, you must stop contributing to your HSA six months prior so you avoid a tax penalty. The reason is that when you enroll in Medicare at age 65, Medicare retroactively enrolls you for the previous six months. One way to avoid this penalty is to instruct the Social Security Administration to not retroactively enroll you in Medicare for the past six months. u For more details, visit For more information on Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, call 815-459-6800.

HSA distributions are tax free if they are used to pay for qualified medical expenses, such as: • The costs of diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of disease. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentist and other medical practitioners. • Qualified long-term services and long-term care insurance • Continuation of Coverage required by Federal law (i.e. COBRA) • Medicare expenses, but not Medigap • Retiree health expenses for individuals age 65 and older *See IRS Publication 502 (2016) for more details.

Distributions made from your Health Savings Account for any other purpose than qualified medical expenses are subject to income tax and a 20 percent penalty. The 20 percent penalty is waived for distributions made by individuals age 65 and older and in the case of death or disability.

Patty Loris, MBA, CFP, Wealth Advisor at Dorion-Gray Retirement Planning, Inc. located at 2602 IL Route 176, Crystal Lake Il 60014-2225. Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/ SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. Dorion-Gray is not affiliated with Securities America companies. Consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.




Buick brings its compact SUV back to the stage with safety, style and technology


he 2017 Buick Encore lives up to its name, bringing with it the size and safety features that made the 2016 model popular, while boosting the offerings this year in its use of technology and its overall style. Step into the new 2017 Encore, and you’ll find premium materials, carefully sculpted appointments, and a quiet, spacious cabin. The newly styled interior includes a 4.2-inch diagonal Driver Information Center and 8-inch diagonal color-touch screen display, giving the driver complete control and information at a glance. Whether traveling through tight spaces or crowded streets, the maneuverable Encore fits perfectly, allowing drivers the comfort and performance of an SUV without feeling overwhelmed by its size. A sculpted front fascia and grille flow smoothly to the rear of this compact SUV, giving it a sleek, sculpted look sure to turn heads as it turns corners. But it’s more than simple styling. The 2017 Encore also boasts a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety, thanks in part to an impressive 10 standard airbags and a bevy of available advanced safety technologies. And speaking of technology, Encore has it! Control your media with ease from an 8-inch diagonal color touch screen. An available built-in 4G Wi-Fi Hotspot† lets you stay connected, even on the go. And when you use the Buick IntelliLink† system with compatible smartphone integration, you can stay in touch with work and family while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Cleverly appointed and starting at $22,990, the 2017 Buick Encore offers all you need and more for an active daily lifestyle.

Gary Lang Auto Group provides more than 30 years of automotive experience with friendly, knowledgeable, low-pressure sales associates. With over 1,000 new and used vechicles to choose from and seven new car brands across 22 acres, Gary Lang also features financing options for all budgets and credit ratings. See what the Gary Lang Auto Group can do for you with a test drive today!

1107 S. Rte 31, McHenry • 815-385-2100

May is Water


Turn to Dolphin Swim Club this summer for:

* Fun & safety preparation *Week-long camps—Register now!



Sound advice may save you hundreds!

At Dolphin Swim Club:

* Your first lesson is always free * We offer lessons for ages 4 months to adult DOLPHIN SWIM CLUB


since 1984

50% OFF!* Your First Month of Lessons


Helping Honeymooners

Redeem this coupon for

Cannot be used with any other discounts. Register before 6/30/17.


1142 N Green St • McHenry 815-385-6900



at Dolphin Swim Club of Crystal Lake

825 Munshaw Ln Crystal Lake, IL 60014 (847) 854-1300 www MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE | MAY 2017 | 55

Wooded Bliss Treehouse glamping a throwback to childhood By KEVIN DRULEY


ust as “spork” unites “spoon” and “fork” and “smog” connects “smoke” and “fog,” there is the recently combined word known as “glamping.” Merriam-Webster has yet to take the liberty of defining it, so take it from Linda Clark, director of sales at

AMENITIES: BBQ/grill; refrigerator; bunk beds; kitchen; electricity

“It is a fusion of ‘glamorous’ and ‘camping’ to equal ‘glamping,’” Clark says.


ACTIVITIES: Biking; hiking; canoeing; horseback riding; fishing; kayaking WHAT'S NEARBY: Mohican Stake Park; Pro Football Hall of Fame (55 miles); Royal Docks Brewing Company (55 miles); The Ohio Statehouse (75 miles); Columbus Clippers baseball (75 miles)

The industry has grown significantly in the past few years, spawning a collection of websites that help WHERE: Grubville, facilitate property rentals throughout the nation and Missouri worldwide. CONTACT: “Rather than pitching your own tent, and bringing or a sleeping bag, and cooking your own food, many of the spots that you would glamp at today provide COST (per night): Starting at $159 you with those things,” Clark says. “So, you walk AMENITIES: Air conditioning; air mattress; BBQ/grill; into your beautiful tent, and you have a nice bed board games; cell service; coffeemaker; hammocks; – like you would find in a hotel – and wonderful, 400-thread-count sheets. You have all the creature and swings. comforts of music in your suite and wonderful ACTIVITIES: Fishing; hiking; meditation; lighting, whether it be solar or from light bulbs. photography; walking And a lot of the glamping places … have wonderful WHAT’S NEARBY: John G’s Bier Deck (30 miles); chefs.” Meramec Caverns (35 miles); Schlafly Bottleworks Clark calls a particular subset of glamping “kind of (38 miles); St. Louis Cardinals baseball (55 miles); the rage right now” for its ability to marry nostalgic City Museum (55 miles) childhood memories with modern accoutrements. Remember that pal growing up who had a treehouse in the family backyard? Well, adult treehouses are bigger and better, and you can even stay the night in one without Mom and Dad performing regular check-ups. If you’re looking for a new kind of getaway this summer, glamping in a treehouse fit for adults fits the bill. “It is trendy,” Clark says, “but I think it’s definitely here to stay.” Here’s a look at a trio of treehouse destinations in the Midwest:

■ LUXURY TREE HOUSE PARADISE WHERE: Glenmont, Ohio CONTACT: or glampinghub. com COST (per night): Starting at $195

■ TREE HOUSE NEAR SHAWNEE NATIONAL FOREST WHERE: Karbers Ridge, Illinois CONTACT: or COST (per night): Starting at $185.50 AMENITIES: Air conditioning; BBQ/grill/coffeemaker; fire pit; heating; refrigerator ACTIVITIES: Archery; bird watching; boating; canoeing; climbing; fishing WHAT’S NEARBY: Shawnee National Forest; Southern Illinois Miners baseball (46 miles); The National Quilt Museum (50 miles); Paducah Riverwalk (50 miles); Purple Toad Winery (50 miles)

Stars of the stage

Broadway actors Martina Sykes and Clifton Oliver to join local music ensemble during Huntley High School performance The Jackson 5 and The Temptations, as well as new Broadway stars Martina Sykes and Clifton Oliver will join local music ensemble Project Two Music for a performance material from artists like Stevie Wonder, Little Eva, The Shirelles, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. at Huntley High School at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24. The performance will include selections from Broadway musicals, such as “Jersey Boys,” “Motown the Musical” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.” Project Two Music was formed by Huntley High School graduates in 2009. Each year, the group returns to Huntley High School to present a show for the community. Sykes started singing in church at the age of 5 and later graduated from the musical theater program at The Pinellas Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has since been on Broadway in “Motown the Musical,” and she has been featured on a CD recording with Tituss Burgess.

Huntley High School is located at 13719 Harmony Road in Huntley. Tickets are currently available online for $20. For tickets and information, visit www. projecttwomusic. com.

Returning to the Huntley stage by popular demand, Clifton Oliver is a Broadway veteran actor. He has recently starred as Berry Gordy in “Motown the Musical”; Simba in “The Lion King”; Fiyero in “Wicked”; and Benny in “In the Heights (opposite Jordin Sparks). The 90-minute show will feature hits from a slew of favorite artists, such as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,

Clifton Oliver Martina Sykes



You’ll feel at home here Senior Living Community

Photos provided

Visit us at For more information, call or visit us online.




Book Nook


Since my early childhood, my parents stressed the significance of art and the joy it can bring. We attended musicals and plays at Drury Lane, admired the art at the Art Institute of Chicago and had a seemingly endless list of movies that we checked out from our local library. I’m lucky to have grown up in the Chicago area, as its rich arts and entertainment scene is among the best in the country, but sometimes the best way to enjoy the arts is by curling up with a good book. Here are some artsy and entertaining spring reads:

■ ‘LIFE IN MOTION: AN UNLIKELY BALLERINA’ By Misty Copeland Misty Copeland, the first black principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, isn’t misleading us with “Life in Motion’s” subtitle, “An Unlikely Ballerina.” Every step of Copeland’s artistic journey – as well as her athletic journey – was fraught with problems. From her beginnings as a 13-yearold ballet prodigy from a poor family, Copeland faced critics who disapproved of her body type, her ability and her skin color, and the criticism continued into her professional career. Despite the long list of forces that could have prevented her success, Copeland never ceases to express gratitude to the people who helped her along the way. What could have been a bitter memoir about a difficult childhood and tumultuous career turns out to be a hopeful story about how dedication can make dreams come true. ■ ‘BEL CANTO’ By Ann Patchett Within the first few pages of “Bel Canto,” we learn that the vice president of an unnamed South American country is hosting an international high-society birthday party for Katsumi Hosokawa, an opera-loving businessman and potential financial ally.

Allison Manley was born in Georgia and raised in Island Lake. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in creative writing. She loves opera, craft beer, and (of course!) reading.


The party stops short when a large group of armed terrorists, protesting the government’s regime, take the home – and everyone in it – OUT & ABOUT

hostage. Among the hapless partygoers are Gen Watanabe, Mr. Hosokawa’s translator who falls in love with one of the rebels, and Roxane Coss, a famous opera singer whose talent and passion for music inspires the rebels and the hostages to find the good in their dreary situation. After months of negotiations, the line between hostage and terrorist blurs as the characters come to respect, admire and love each other. Fitting with the story’s themes, “Bel Canto” has an operatic quality to it – both in terms of the dramatic story and the lyrical prose. ■ ‘TRANS: A MEMOIR’ By Juliet Jacques “Trans: A Memoir” might seem like a surprising choice for the arts and entertainment theme, but Juliet Jacques’s book is as much about the impact art had on her life as it is about her experience as a trans woman. From stories about Jacques’s early affinity for local English independent rock bands and commentary on the state of soccer to analyses of how the transgender experience is represented in feminist theory and legislation in the United Kingdom. The book sometimes feels less like a memoir and more like an elegant critical view of contemporary culture through a trans lens. Jacques shows the good and the bad behind the power of arts and entertainment. While art sometimes helped her heal from painful experiences (or at least distract her from them), movies and shows that featured trans characters too frequently portrayed trans people in a negative light. “Trans” explores

Apartment Style Living We specialize in serving seniors 65 years and older of all income levels! controversial and complex ideas about gender identity, but the writing is never difficult to understand; it feels like you’re having a deep conversation, but over coffee with a long-time friend.

Heritage Woods of McHenry, your affordable assisted living community in McHenry Features:

■ ‘THE KISS OF DEATH’ By Sarah Natale Sarah Natale’s debut novella, “The Kiss of Death,” is a wellresearched glimpse into life in Italy at the start of the Black Death. Elizabeth, a 16-year-old girl living in mid-1300s London, is the eldest daughter of a successful middle-class craftsman, with a crush on Matthias, her childhood friend. Her dreams of a happy future are shot, however, when the bubonic plague makes its way to her city, her neighborhood, and eventually, her home. As we see one sad turn of events after another befall Elizabeth, “The Kiss of Death” asks what do you do next when you’re at risk of losing everyone you love?


Helpful services arranged to make your days fulfilled and comfortable • On-going health monitoring and nursing assessments • Assistance with activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, personal hygiene, grooming, getting to and from activities and dining • Medication set-up, reminders and assistance

• Three restaurant style meals daily plus snacks • A range of interesting and varied programs & events • Assistance with transportation needs • 24 hour staffing by Certified Nursing Assistants • Dakim Brain Fitness Center

Common Areas:

Places to go, things to do, all with convenience in mind • Lounge Area • Spacious Dining Room • Private Dining Area • Library & TV Lounge • Activity Room

• Beauty/Barber salon • Exercise Room • Outdoor Patio • Resident Laundry

To Learn More & Schedule a Visit,

Call Jenneen 815-344-2690 w 4609 W. Crystal Lake Rd. McHenry, IL 60050


Gardant Management Solutions



Community Building Coldw Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group (formerly Honig-Bell) is committed to our clients, comm agents and community. agent


Coming this summer... Comin brand new state-of-the-art A bra estate center is being real e built on Elm Street to better serve you for years to come.

Algonquin artist Jeanine Hill-Soldner works full time in her Crystal Lake studio at the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park. The artist’s grandfather gave her a set of oil paints at age 12 and, by the age of 15, she was accepted as a student in the painting studio of Florida artist Lanier Densmore, setting the foundation for her lifelong passion for art.

VisitUsUsatatOur OurTemporary TemporaryLocation Location Visit

Hill-Soldner is an award-winning, nationally-recognized artist with more than 30 years of art exhibition and teaching experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in art education from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in art education from the University of Illinois. She has taught art to people of all ages, and now she is focused on her studio work, exhibitions and commissions. “My passion for art grows every day as I find more depth and richness to discover in the continuous evolution of my creative process,” she says.

814B814B N Front St.St.(Route 31),McHenry McHenry N Front (Route 31), (815) 385-6990 (815) 385-6990 •


Hill-Soldner’s oil paintings are considered representational and rich in content related to people, places and things. “I am inspired by the changing visual fragments of everyday life,” Hill-Soldner says. “My work captures the fleeting moments of human interactions." Her work has been widely exhibited in both group and solo shows in galleries and museums. She also is the founder of the “Portraits of American Veterans Project,” which she will exhibit in the National Veterans Art Museum in the fall. uTo view more of Hill-Soldner’s work, visit

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To submit an entry to Artist Showcase, email artwork, title of piece, name and village of residence of artist, a two- to three-sentence description of the piece, short bio and artist photo to, subject head “Local Artist Submission.”

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To view the complete summer lineup of events, visit




McHenry County (and the surrounding communities) has an enviable line-up of summer shows that are sure to attract locals and visitors alike. Here is a roundup of some of this summer’s headlining acts coming to a venue near you:

By Yvonne Benson 64 | MAY 2017 | MCHENRY COUNTY MAGAZINE


BARRINGTON The Sanfilippo Estate is home to a large collection of automated music machines acquired by the Sanfilippo family. Their foundation hosts multiple concerts, charity events and tours to raise money for various causes. Part of its collection includes the world’s largest theatre organ on which some of their concerts are performed. • Dave Wickerham (Organist) MAY 20 • Jelani Eddington (Organist) JUNE 17 • Richard Glazier (Pianist) JULY 15

Genesee Theatre

203 N. GENESEE ST. WAUKEGAN 847-782-2366 The Genesee Theatre originally opened in 1927. It closed in the ’80s and underwent a renovation that cost over $20 million. It reopened in 2004. Now it is home to some of the area’s best shows. • Todd Rundgren MAY 3 • Scotty McCreery and guest Jamie Lynn Spears MAY 11 • Under the Streetlamp with guest The Northwestern Undertones MAY 12

u The Harp Twins AUG. 5 • Ken Double (Organist) and Skip Stine (Trumpet) AUG. 19 OUT & ABOUT

p Barenaked Ladies MAY 16

p Olivia Newton John MAY 17 • Blood, Sweat & Tears with guest Allen Stone MAY 18

Woodstock Opera House

• Jackie Evancho MAY 19 • The Cornerstones of Rock MAY 20

p Christopher Titus MAY 5

• A Night of Symphonic Rock JUNE 1

• Mud MAY 6

• Tim Allen (comedy) JUNE 23

• Irish House Party MAY 11-12

• Dave Koz & Larry Graham JULY 11

• 3 Blonde Moms MAY 13

• Happy Together Tour AUG. 24

• Girls Just Want to Have Fun MAY 19

Raue Center for the Arts

26 N. WILLIAMS ST. CRYSTAL LAKE 815-356-9212 The Raue Center of the Arts is a luxurious theatre that features many kinds of performances, ranging from stand-up comedy to concerts and Broadway productions.

121 VAN BUREN ST. WOODSTOCK 815-338-4212 www.woodstockoperahouse. com/operahouse

• Blackwater Magic MAY 20 • Spring Concert – Chicagoland Voices MAY 22 • Artful Women – Susanna Rich JUNE 11 • Lucy’s Comedy Café JUNE 23

Besides being a lovely building with many shows (even more than what’s listed here), the Woodstock Opera House has more amenities than a usual theater. One standout is Stage Left Café, which provides concessions before, during and after performances. The café is large enough so that guests can sit at small tables and sometimes view intimate performances. The employees and community are lauded as friendly and passionate about their opera house.

• Guys and Dolls JUNE 30 – JULY 23

p Red Rose Ragtime Band MAY 6 • A Man and his Prostate MAY 7 • American English: The Tribute to the Beatles MAY 19 • The Words and Music of Neil Diamond & Dean Martin MAY 20 u Kim Simmonds & Savvy Brown JUNE 2 • Cinderella JUNE 10-11 • Neil Simon’s Rumors JUNE 16-25



MAY 2017


WILD, WILD WEST FOOD AND WINE PAIRING WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 12 WHERE: Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Campus 2710 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock Explore the west through the wines of Chehalem Winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon. Chehalem makes sustainability a priority in the farming of its vineyards and the making of its wines. The wine reception will include passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a five-course dinner paired with wines from this winery. The cost to attend is $80 a person. For more information, call 815-338-1032 or visit SPRING WINE WALK WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 12, and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 13. WHERE: Downtown Richmond, along Main Street and Broadway During the Richmond Spring Grove Chamger Spring Wine Walk, attendees can explore the scenic historical charm of Richmond while stopping at 10 featured locations to indulge in wines paired with light bites. Tickets include a wine glass, swag bag and complimentary bottle of wine. Check-in will be at the Gazebo on Broadway and Main (Rt. 12), in downtown Richmond. Limited tickets are available. For tickets, visit

TAKE ME FISHING WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, May 20 WHERE: Turtle Island - Lake in the Hills Grab your tackle box and a parent for a morning of fishing. Pictures of all of the days catches will be taken, and there will be a prize for the biggest catch. Snacks will be provided. Register at www. THE 49TH ANNUAL FAIR DIDDLEY WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21 WHERE: Historic Woodstock Square The Fair Diddley Craft show will feature a variety of crafters, food and art. The event will take place rain or shine. Limiting parking is available. Shuttle buses will be available to take patrons to and from the Woodstock Square. Shuttle buses will have a pick-up from the west end of the Government Center parking lot and drop-off at the corner of Calhoun and Johnson streets, just outside the Woodstock Square. Shuttles will run every 10 minutes. There is no fee for the shuttle service. For more information, visit www.mhrl. org/fairdiddley.html

paperback and children’s books, DVDs and CDs. Proceeds will go to the Friends of the McHenry Public Library to help fund library programs and services. On Sunday, May 21, there will be a $5 bag sale. 30TH ANNUAL LITTLE ANGELS PLEDGE RUN WHEN: 9 a.m. Sunday, May 21 WHERE: Woodstock Harley-Davidson 2235 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock Sponsored by the Elgin Area Organization of Motorcycle Riders, in partnership with Woodstock Harley-Davidson, the annual event benefits Little Angels – a nationally recognized residential facility in Elgin for children and young adults with severe disabilities and complex medical needs. The first bike out will be at 10:45 a.m. and the last motorcycle out will be at 11:30 a.m. The post-ride party will be from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The Pledge Run is one of Little Angels’ largest fundraisers, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the residents of Little Angels. For more information, visit

SPRING USED BOOK SALE WHEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 20, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 21 WHERE: McHenry Public Library Warehouse 809 N. Front St., McHenry The Spring Used Book Sale will feature hardcover,

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