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Around and About in West Chicago - 17 May 2012

Around and About

  1. Coffee with the Mayor

  2. Benjamin Middle School Relay Recess

  3. District 94 Jazz Concert “Spring Fling,”

  4. “Rockin’ Oldies Tribute Show & Dance,”

           In its 12th year, Blooming Fest continues to blossom and grow into an event that is fun for all ages. Due to its popularity, the hours are extended by two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2012 in the historic downtown district. Highlighting the new activity of a dog contest, the theme this year is “My Pet Rocks.”

           Activities include the popular West Chicago Garden Club Plant Sale, garden-related craftsmen, vendors, food booths, children’s activities, Corvette Club Car Show and entertainment. Boy Scout Troop 33 begins a little earlier with the serving of a Pancake Breakfast starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at noon in American Legion Post 300 Hall, 123 Main Street. The menu is pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, milk and orange juice. The cost is $6 per person and no charge for children under the age of three. Proceeds are for the purchase of equipment for the troop.

           The Chicago Corvette Club “Wheels” exhibit and children’s activities take place on Fremont Street.

           The plant sale, in its 15th year, is under the big tent on Galena Street. Among the plants available are annuals, perennials, vegetables, trees and shrubs. There are more than 2,000 plants. Plant committee member Linda Fisher said, “Most of our plants are from the gardens of members and are acclimated to this area.” Plants are at bargain prices. Club members are on hand to answer questions. Also, there is an area for shoppers to pick up their purchased plants.

           Other not-for-profit groups participating are Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church & Preschool has information on its programs, First United Methodist Church of West Chicago promotes recycling and the Shoeman Project, American Legion sells raffle tickets, West Chicago Environmental Commission with environmental, recycling and rain barrel program information, Community High School District 94 Horticultural Club and the Transition Center sell plants and flowers. 4 Paws 4 U 4 Ever has rescued dogs and puppies for adoption, Feral Fixers have cat toys, Knights of Columbus Council #1555 has information pamphlets, Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago is distributing free books, and West Chicago Sister Cities sells raffle tickets for planters. Friends of West Chicago Library give out bubbles for children and sell used books, and Gallery Theater has information and promotional material. SCARCE promotes recycling and has a hands-on recycling project, a favorite of both adults and children. Among the several projects at the People Made Visible booth are ArtXposium and the sale of the “West Chicago Cookbook of Fusion Food” by Gitti Bog, who was the Danish Artist-in-Residence in 2010. Persons also have the opportunity of meeting the current Artists–in-Residence, Heidi Hove and Jens Axel Beck. The ArtXposium also has an activity at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, May 18, 2012 and fest hours on Saturday. The public creates and completes an interactive art project at a TASK party, which involves working with a variety of materials and having a constantly changing sculptural-like piece.  

           The monthly Coffee with the Mayor takes place at the City of West Chicago’s booth. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda and other city officials are on hand to answer questions and chat with residents. Free “Goodie Bags” are available. Also on hand to answer questions are Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

           Near the Central Main Street location, the West Chicago Park District has a Moon Jump inflatable, the West Chicago Public Library District booth gives wild flower seed packets, plant-able bookmarks, and Hacky sacks, and the West Chicago City Museum has a children’s craft, making flower magnets.

Inside the Museum, 132 Main Street, persons can view the “Rites of Passage” exhibit, which highlights the pivotal events in the lives of individuals.

           Inside Gallery 200, art is in the forefront. Persons can enter a drawing for artwork donated by member artists. Cheryl Mahowald displays a special sculpture, “Soul Sister,” made of flowers and created by members of Women’s Wisdom. Sue Weibler holds a sale for her jewelry. Watercolorist Kristine Plum, featured artist for the month of May, is on hand to discuss her work from noon to 2:00 p.m. Her exhibit is “Horse and Garden.” Buddy Plumlee gives a watercolor painting demonstration from noon to 2:00 p.m. A reception for the winning artists of the banner competition is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. The 19 banners with the theme “America—Who We Are” adorn Main Street lampposts from Washington Street to Route 59. Ballots are available for People’s Choice selection. After Blooming Fest, ballots also will be available at the City Museum and City Hall. Fredericka Howard sells fine prints and drawings at her booth.

           Entertainment is divided into two categories. The morning schedule features local groups and the afternoon schedule features Local Music Night performances. Dan Czuba is the emcee.

           Community Choirs perform at 9:00 a.m. The Wheaton Academy Kantorei takes the stage at 10:00 a.m. The West Chicago Park District Zumba fitness class demonstration is at 10:40 a.m.  Demonstrations by the park district School of Dance & Class are at 11:15 a.m.

           Starting at noon is Cassandra Vohs-Demann, whose original songs focus on love, loss, self-reflection and dreams. The presentation by Colleen and Dustin, the duo of West Park, ranges from delicate to hand clapping and foot stomping music, beginning at 12:45 p.m. The TriTone Sax Trio performs at 1:30 p.m., playing a range of music from Bach and Mozart to Metallica and Johnny Cash. Ellus Bellus comes on stage at 2:30 p.m. with Eian O’Brien and Brennan Wells playing and singing their original creations. At 3:15 p.m. Wacky Keys, a local area trio, offer a variety of Hawaiian tunes and other exotic fare. Performing at 4:15 p.m. Into the Real, with their diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, play some folk, rock and Americana tainted with a bit of jazz.

           The “My Pet Rocks” contest involving dogs as contestants begins at 3:00 p.m. Categories are Largest Dog, Longest Tail, Smallest Dog, Shortest tail, Dog with biggest ears, Dog with most spots, Cutest dog, Most unusual, Best owner/pet look-a-like and Best dressed. Presenting the ribbon prizes for first, second and third place winners are the judges Scott Westlake of Bob’s Salt & Feed, Leigh Casino of Hightails Hideaway and Lea Deaton of Natural Healing Whole Dog Wellness. Applications are available on the Park District’s web site, Persons also can register from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on the day of the event at the park district booth.

           Food is an important part of any fest and the vendors at Blooming Fest serve a variety of foods to whet the appetites of many. Wheaton Academy Grill once again offers hamburgers, hot dogs and soda. Din Hua Asian Cuisine serves egg rolls, chicken fried rice, vegetable Lo Mein and sesame chicken. On the menu at Lily Pads are lemon shake-ups, flavored teas and coffees, walking tacos, popcorn and candy. Another vendor is Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice.

           West Chicago area businesses participating are West Chicago Chiropractic, Sonny Acres Farm, Inc., We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center, Kramer Tree Specialists, Royal Polish, Sam’s Honey Bees, Evalina’s Boutique, Fina Boutique, American National Home Healthcare Inc., State Farm Insurance-Jason Dederich, Main Street Family Dentistry, Kumon Math and Reading Center of West Chicago, and Daniel and Associates Real Estate.

           While strolling in the area, notice the Sidewalk Art created my members of Girl Scout Troop 50386 and the flowers planted by members of Boy Scout troop 33.


           The West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Art Show is from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2012 in the district Education Service Center, 312 East Forest Avenue. The artwork of the students will be on display for a year.

           Benjamin Middle School students hold a Relay Recess, an abbreviated version of the American Cancer Society’s national signature activity, Relay for Life. They are joining in the fight against cancer by raising money and walking the school track Friday, May 18, 2012.The Relay Recess program provides cancer prevention and education information and raises funds for the American Cancer Society. It provides an opportunity for students, teachers and families to celebrate and remember those loved ones touched by cancer.  Teachers Danielle DeChristopher and Melissa Mantia are Relay Recess coordinators. The money raised by the Benjamin School students is donated in the name of their school to the Relay for Life event in June at Carol Stream.

           Community High School District 94 Jazz Concert “Spring Fling,” hosted by the Music Boosters, is Friday, May 18, 2012 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. It is more like a Swing Dance, as the stage is cleared and turned into a dance floor. It portrays the era during the 40s and 50s when the auditorium was the only large space in the school where dances were held.

           Dance instructions are from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. The jazz band and chamber choir perform and guests dance from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. The dancing continues to recorded swing music from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. Refreshments are served. The charge is $5 per person. Proceeds are for the support of music scholarships and the purchase of new music.

           Coffee with the Coach is at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, May 19, 2012 in the Community High School District 94 cafeteria, 326 Joliet Street, entrance H.  Joe Bicker is the new Varsity Football Head Coach.

           Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts Junk from the Trunk Sale from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2012. Individuals and families sell various items such as clothing, books, knick-knacks, household items and furniture at separate sites in the church parking lot.

           To celebrate the opening of its new 18-basket disc golf course at Kress Creek Farms located at 30W150 Wilson Road, the West Chicago Park is hosting Disc Golf Mania from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Sunday, May 20, 2012. Activities at the event include a ribbon cutting, disc golf tips and demonstrations. The course is open daily and there is no charge to play.

           Community High School District 94 Spring Band Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 21, 2012 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The director is Steve Govertsen. There is no charge and it is open to the public.

           The West Chicago Middle School Chorus/General Music Concert is at 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 21, 2012 in the gymnasium, 238 East Hazel Street. The theme is based on a day in the life of a middle school student. The program features small groups, soloists and bands. Songs include “Monday, Monday,” “Lazy Song” and “You Belong to Me.”

           Community High School District 94 Spring Choral Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, 2012 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.

           The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, May 24, 2012 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Social time is at 6:45 p.m., brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and program at 7:15 p.m.  The program is “Alternatives to Invasives” presented by Colleen Graudens and Tony Koch.

           American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street, hosts an evening of fun, “Rockin’ Oldies Tribute Show & Dance,” Saturday, May 26, 2012. Mike Valentine and the Valentine Singers provide an interactive show as they perform the songs of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dion, Bobby Darrin, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, The Buckinghams and more. Cher comes on stage through impersonator Ginger Ling. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., pizza served at 6:00 p.m. and entertainment is at 7:30 p.m. Ticket price is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For information, call (630) 231-2112.

           The Legion Hall is used for many community events and the Legion needs some financial assistance. Attending the event, you can contribute to a worthy cause and have fun at the same time. The post celebrated its 93rd anniversary March 15, 2012.

           The annual Community Memorial Day ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 28, 2012 at the Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Avenue and York Street. This year, the members of the American Legion Post 300 and the Ladies Auxiliary are in charge of the Buddy Poppy program, which benefits disabled veterans who make the red paper poppies. They are selling the poppies from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26, 2012 at Jewel-Osco, 117 East Roosevelt Road; State Bank of Illinois, 600 East Washington Street; and Walgreen’s, 125 North Neltnor Boulevard. Persons also may contribute to this fund by making a check payable to American Legion Post 300 Poppy Fund and mailing to American Legion Post 300, P.O. Box 28, West Chicago, IL 60185-0028.

           The West Chicago Park District hosts an AARP Drivers Safety Course from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31 and Friday, June 2, 2012 at the Park District office, 157 West Washington Street. The class is designed to raise drivers’ awareness of the effects of age as well as refreshing driving skills. The charge is $15 for residents and $18 for non-residents. Reservations are due by Thursday, May 24, 2012 and may be made by calling (630) 231-9474.

           Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Nancy A. (Rakow) Lange, who at the age 77 passed away Tuesday, May 2, 2012.

           Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of George Federighi, who at the age of 89 passed away Wednesday, May 9, 2012.

           Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Bernice McFarland, who at the age of 88 passed away Saturday, May 12, 2012.

           The cloudy skies and occasional rains did not dampen the spirits of the special guests at the 35th annual 80 and Over party, sponsored by the West Chicago Park District, American Legion Post 300 and the Ladies Auxiliary Sunday, May 6, 2012.  More than 80 persons attended with 49 persons in their 80s and 10 in their 90s.

           Recognized as the person with the most grandchildren was Mary Nelis with 23, and the person with the most great-grandchildren was Dick Truitt with 18.  Louie Mayer from Sandwich, Illinois travelled the longest distance. Ken Richardt was the person who lived in West Chicago the longest, a life-long resident for 93 years.

           At the age of 95, Evelyn Marschinke was the oldest woman present.  Four men at the age of 93 were the oldest ones present. They were Armin Klug, Lee Kjeldsen, Ken Richardt and George Tugana.

           Attending from the park district were Commissioners Frank Lenertz, president; Bill Brauer, Kerry Lynn Hunter, Jim Jones, Bill Spelman and Don Voelz, and Park District Director Gary Major.  From the city was Nancy Smith, City Clerk.

           Members of Boy Scout Troop 33 assisted at the DuPage Veterans Foundation’s fundraiser Saturday, May 5, 2012. Approximately 1,000 persons attended to honor World War II veterans and help raise money for Honor Flight Chicago. One thing I noticed at the event was how proudly the veterans stood, although not as straight due to age. They deserved each round of applause they received and, of course, our thanks.

           Three Community High School District 94 students received first and second place honors at the 2012 Walk This Way High School Art Exhibition at College of DuPage. COD faculty juried the artwork. Senior Irene Casimiro won first place recognition for her sculpture based on Frida Kahlo. Receiving a second place award was junior Alan Thiede with his smoke-fired sculpture. Taking second place was junior Mei-Li Hey for her sculpture based on an optical illusion of M. C. Escher’s. The students are in the Ceramics 2 class taught by Megan Dulkiny.

           The Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics sponsors a math competition with three contests held throughout the school year. Students in West Chicago Elementary District 33 Gifted and Talented Education math clusters participated as individuals and teams, giving answers to process/story problems.

           The sixth grade class from Wegner School placed first out of 57 teams. The Indian Knoll class placed 14th, which is a First Honors Ranking.

           Competing against 56 teams in the fifth grade contest, Wegner School placed fifth, Gary School placed eighth and Indian Knoll School placed 13th, which is a First Honors ranking.

           The fourth grade contest involved 61 teams with Wegner School taking fourth place, Gary School taking 8th place and Indian Knoll School taking 10th place.

           Richard Paret, a senior at Community High School District 94, is the Student of the Month for April. During his four years, he has been a scholar athlete and this year was named to the DuPage Valley All-Conference Soccer team. Paret was on the varsity soccer team for three years and was team captain this year.

           His activities outside of school include participation in the Chicago Fire Development Academy and Inter F. C. Soccer Club. During the summer he volunteers as the assistant soccer youth coach for his church.

           Upon graduation, Paret will continue his education and soccer career at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. He plans to major in Accounting.

           Newly elected officers of American Legion Post 300 Corporation are Mike Westerhausen, president; Jim Opaczewski, vice president; John Hugunin, treasurer; Bob Frommert, Sons of American Legion representative; and Melissa Birch, Ladies Auxiliary representative. The post now has a website

           Recipients of Promoting Wildcat Success for the month of April are Andres Cuautle and Joel Griffin from the Physical Development Division, John Draughon and Tara Lyne from the World Languages Division, Jesus Duran and Jazmin Medina from Mathematics & Science Division, Matthew Ellis and Josue Munoz from the Language Arts Division, Oscar Espinoza from the Humanities Division, John Gallegos and Shannon Rogers from Support Services, Kurt Gravit and Michael Liberg from the Information & Technologies Division. These students demonstrate a commitment to excellence in their classrooms, school and/or community and are recognized for their leadership and good work. Teachers from the different divisions nominate the students.

           At the Monday, May 7, 2012 meeting, City Council approved the reappointment of John Keeney to the Cultural Arts Commission with his term ending in April 2016.

           The Council also approved a film production request. For a class project David Rivera, a student at DePaul University, plans to use locations in the city to film scenes in a short movie he is producing. The filming takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 25 and 26, on Kammes Court and Sunday, May 27, 2012 on Easton Avenue, south of Blair Street.

           The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus awarded the City a $20,000 Emerald Ash Borer Grant for Urban Restoration. It is funding assistance to plant new parkway trees in locations where Ash trees were removed.

           The Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company has made an application with the State of Illinois for financial assistance from the Grade Crossing Protection fund to replace the existing George Street pedestrian-rail grade crossing with a pedestrian-rail underpass structure. The EJ&E’s detailed cost estimate for the underpass construction is $552,235. The State has agreed to fund 60 percent of the project with EJ&E being responsible for the balance of the cost. EJ&E will have two years from the date of the Illinois Commerce Commission’s approved order to complete construction. In order for the ICC to enter an appropriate order for construction and funding of the project, the State requires all parties involved to enter into an agreement. The Council approved the resolution for the agreement.

           At the May 8, 2012 meeting, the West Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners elected officers. Frank Lenertz is the president and Diana Gunderson is vice president.

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