January was awards month in the Kane County state's attorney's office, which honored three employees for their commitment to public service in 2009.
Assistant State's Attorney Marzenia Vandeburgt was named Prosecutor of the Year alongside administrative assistant Janet Halsey, who was named Employee of the Year, and Assistant State's Attorney Tom St. Jules, who took home the Ace of Spades Award.
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Vandeburgt, an immigrant from Poland who came to the Chicago area several years ago with limited English skills, got her start in Kane County in the DUI division in 1997 and became first chair in the child support division in 2000. A former prosecutor in downstate St. Clair County, she now supervises a staff of 14 lawyers, paralegals and support staff, in addition to representing the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services in child-support matters.
Halsey, a native of the area, is celebrating her 40th year as a Kane County employee. She came to work in the circuit court clerk's office in 1970 and held a variety of positions before becoming an administrative assistant in Judge Allen M. Anderson's courtroom, which is one of the busiest.
"Both of these employees, as well as all the others in the Kane County state's attorney's office have not received a pay increase since December 2007," State's Attorney John Barsanti said in a news release. "But that has not stopped them from giving the citizens of Kane County all they can."
The Ace of Spades Award for St. Jules was for being "best litigator" of 2009. A graduate of West Aurora High School and an Aurora native, St. Jules was selected based on the number of trials he completed and the complexity of the cases, among other factors, officials said. He tried 33 misdemeanor cases in 2009.
More awards: Four North Aurora police officers also received pats on the back last month at the North Aurora Lion's Club's annual awards banquet.
Sgt. Joseph DeLeo was named 2009 Police Officer of the Year for his attention to DUI enforcement, problems with gangs and violence at a local bar, and a local burglary. Officers Doug Kitner and John Kerlin also were recognized as nominees for the award.
The 2009 North Aurora Lion of the Year Award went to Officer Robyn Stecklein, an 11-year employee who now works with local community groups as a crime prevention officer, officials said.
Correction: Last week's item about a suspicious vehicle that turned up in Kane County should have said the car was found at Owens Road and Main Street in Kaneville Township. Police initially said the vehicle was near Elburn, which is several miles away.