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Around and About in West Chicago - 31 May 2012

Around and About

  • Summer Reading program “Eat-Move-Read”

  • Second Annual Summer Reading Trophy Challenge

  • Touch-A-Truck

  • Wayne Township Recycling and Reuse Event

              The shade from the trees and a gentle breeze on a hot day provided a pleasant setting for the 350 plus persons attending the annual Community Memorial Day service at Oakwood Cemetery. The veterans and members of the Ladies Auxiliaries from American Legion Post 300 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 stood proudly, while those attending honored both the living and deceased soldiers. The moderator, American Legion Post 300 Kevin Driscoll, said more than 1,346,000 men and women in the armed forces sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. “They gave their all…for the destiny of our nation and our freedoms.”

              Members of the Legion and VFW presented the colors and executed the 21-gun salute. Dorothy Tugana from the VFW Auxiliary and Down Chorobik from the Legion Auxiliary placed the patriotic beribboned wreath at the base of the Sailors and Soldiers Monument. Community High School District 94 Band, under the direction of Steve Govertsen, played “The Star Spangled Banner” and a medley of patriotic songs. The poignant sounds of “Taps,” played by high school trumpeters, Ben Stibal and Quentin Letts, reverberated throughout the cemetery. The American flag by the monument was at half-mast in honor of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

              Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda, the keynote speaker, gave a brief and meaningful speech about remembering those who are serving in the armed forces and those that have died, serving our country.

              “It is never over. Tours of duty may end, but the pain of loss endures. Conflicts emerge, new missions become necessary and the cycle continues. The brave men and women who answer the call to duty deserve our nation’s utmost respect and gratitude.

              By the time our last remaining troops returned from Iraq in December 2011, nearly 4,500 of their comrades lost their lives during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. We continue to lose American heroes every day in Afghanistan and in military training accidents and missions around the world. The loss to their families, friends, fellow service members and country is permanent. Some were only teenagers and most of those killed were under the age of 25. In the eyes of their loved ones, they are forever young.

              Yesterday, I attended the return of one of our fallen soldiers, Infantryman Samuel Watts, from Wheaton, IL. He served with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team and the 82nd Airborne Division. He joined the Army July of 2010 as an Infantryman and attended training in Fort Benning, Ga. This was his 1st deployment to Afghanistan. His awards include the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry’s Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

              I mention Infantryman Watts today; because this is the reason we are here. To remember our fallen, to give them the recognition and respect they deserve. Remembering our fallen once a year is not enough. The widows, widowers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children remember EVERY DAY. The empty seat at the dinner table, the smaller gathering on Thanksgiving, and the voice of a loved one heard only as a distant memory are constant reminders that they are gone.

              Earlier this month, at West Chicago’s DuPage Airport, close to 1,000 of us gathered to honor and celebrate all of our veterans  – those who died, and those who made it home - through an event sponsored by the DuPage Veterans Foundation. Some of those in attendance served in WWII, one of them was at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day where so many of his comrades lost their lives. The Foundation plans more such tributes in the future as a way to continue to show appreciation and pride for our military personnel.

              From the American Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism, one million American men and women have made the Supreme Sacrifice. They died so that we could continue to cherish the things they loved ---God, country and family. I am sure many of you here know someone or know of someone that is serving in our Military at this present time, at home or abroad, protecting our Country and defending our freedom. My nephew, Sergeant Edward Pineda, West Chicago Graduate, class of 2003, has served five tours so far—One in Iraq, Four in Afghanistan. As the proud soldier that he is, he has made the decision and sacrifice to defend this Country and to continue to give us the right to live freely. Let’s continue to pray that my Nephew and this Generation makes it home safely.

              We are gathered here on Memorial Day - to honor the memory of our fallen warriors who have given everything for their country. Memorial Day is not about picnics and parades—although, there is nothing wrong with enjoying and celebrating our American way of life. But Memorial Day is really about remembering those who made our way of life possible.

              May God bless them, and may God bless America.”


              The Summer Reading program “Eat-Move-Read” at the West Chicago Public Library District is underway. As a partner in the Illinois Library Association’s iRead program, the Library features a series of programs and events, highlighting the topic of healthy eating and lifestyle choices.

              Of course, one of the main components of the program is independent reading. Adults have the chance to receive iReaders and other prizes. In addition to grand prize drawings, teens, upon completing their reading goal, receive a free book. Children receive a book and a free pass to Turtle Splash Water Park.

              The Parent Teachers Organizations of West Chicago Elementary School District 33, West Chicago Public Library District and Winfield Public Library District have teamed up to present the second annual Summer Reading Trophy Challenge. The District 33 school with the most students participating in their local library-reading program wins the trophy.

              With emphasis on physical fitness, the Library hosts lawn parties from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesdays from June 6 through July 25, 2012 except for July 4. Outdoor games run the gamut from Bean Bags to Shuffleboard.

              From now until Saturday, June 30, 2012 the exhibit, “In the Air,” by West Chicago photographer Joe Weibler is on display on the second floor at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. People Made Visible sponsors the exhibit of the 11 aerial photographs through its ArtXposium program.

              To heighten awareness and raise donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois, West Chicago police officers are participating in the annual Dunkin’ Donuts “Cop on a Rooftop.” It takes place from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012 at the Dunkin’ Donuts located at 148 W. North Avenue.  One police officer will be on the roof and other officers will be at the drive-in window and in the store to collect donations. Persons making a donation receive a free doughnut.

              Dan Crabtree, College and Career Counselor at Wheaton Academy, is a guest panelist on the WMBI program, “In the Market,” at 4:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012. The topic is “The Value of a Christian Education.” Janet Parshall is the host of the call-in talk show, which is FM 90.1 on your radio dial.

              “Perception” is the exhibit for the month of June at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. The soft pastel paintings of featured artist Heide Riemann Morris highlight her inspiration from her travels and personal interests. The artist’s reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012. Light refreshments are served.

              West Chicago resident Anni Holm is the curator of a new exhibit opening at Water Street Studios, 160 South Water Street in Batavia. One of the exhibited artists is Gitte Bog, who was the Danish artist-in-residence in 2010 in West Chicago. Her project was “West Chicago Cookbook of Fusion.” The opening reception is from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012.  The exhibit continues through Saturday, September 8, 2012.  For further information, call Water Street Studios at (630) 761-9977.

              An eighth grade graduation party is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012 at Turtle Splash Water Park. It is free for all graduating eighth graders from West Chicago, Winfield and Benjamin Schools with a school ID.

              Community High School District 94 graduation ceremony is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012 at College of DuPage. There are approximately 480 graduates. The student speaker is Adam Costa, selected by the senior class.

              Touch-A-Truck, organized by the West Chicago Police Department and West Chicago Park District, is from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 2, 2012 in the Turtle Splash Water Park parking lot at Reed-Keppler Park, Fremont and National streets. Adults and children have the opportunity to sit in trucks and vehicles from the West Chicago Police and Public Works departments, West Chicago Fire Protection District, West Chicago Park District, Winfield Township, DuPage County SWAT Team, C.H. Hager Excavating, Kramer Tree Specialists, Plote Construction, Groot Industries, and Canadian National Railroad. Others participating are AA Conte & Sons, Gary Spielman Plumbing, Golf & Busse Towing Service, West Chicago Post Office, A.B.T. Towing and DuPage Topsoil. Providing nourishment are Scooby’s Red Hots with hotdogs, Augustino’s Rock and Roll Deli with Italian Ice, Franco’s with fried dough, police department with popcorn and Jimenez Grocery with water. There also are giveaways and free drawings with items donated by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #85, law offices of Belmonte & Marquardt, and Dan Jimenez from State Farm Insurance. Tony Quarto, the originator of this event said, “It grows bigger each year. I have businesses calling up to the last minute wanting to participate. It is fun and popular with both adults and children.”

              Wayne Township Recycling and Reuse event is from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 2, 2012 in the township parking lot, 27W03 North Avenue. It takes place rain or shine. Collectible items are fire extinguishers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, propane tanks, car/sump pump batteries, working and non-working bicycles, electronics, household batteries, cell phones, eyeglasses, inkjet/LaserJet cartridges, pet items and tattered American flags. Goodwill items for recycling are old and unusable shoes, clothing, sheets, towels and blankets. Goodwill items for reuse are lamps and toys. Call Cindy at (630) 231-7140 for more information.

              Artist Buddy Plumlee offers a watercolor class from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays, June 2, 9, 16 and 23, 2012 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Subjects covered are watercolor basics such as setting up a paint box, understanding color and basic painting techniques. Projects are landscapes, still life or individual subjects based upon the student’s interests. The class is open to persons age 12 and up and at all skill levels. The charge is $20 per session. For additional information and a materials list, call (630) 876-1264 or email To register call Gallery 200 at (630) 293-9550.

              Wheaton Academy’s commencement is at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, June 3, 2012. There are 139 graduates.

              The monthly brush pick up begins Monday, June 4, 2012.

              Wheaton Academy faculty members Steve Willemssen and Brenda Vishanoff, a West Chicago resident, and graduating senior Michelle Suh join professional Korean concert pianist Trudy Jin in an open recital at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012 at the Windsor Auditorium, 124 Windsor Park Drive in Carol Stream. Suh, who plays the oboe, accompanies her mother, Jin. Music instructor Willemssen, instrumental music teacher, plays the piano along with director of admission Vishanoff on the French horn. Works include four-hand piano music by Mozart and Strauss, a horn-oboe-piano trio and a horn solo. The recital is open to the public and admission is free.

              Gallery Theater conducts two workshops at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Script writing sessions are at 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays, June 5, 12 and 19, 2012. This is an opportunity for writers to work together, whether it concerns a play already written or have a plot line, but not developed any further. The goal is to interact with others in a nurturing atmosphere and learn firsthand how an audience might react. Guidelines are available to insure concise critiques within the meeting time frame. The fee is $15.

              The Scene Study Workshop is at 7:00 p.m. Thursdays, June 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2012. This is geared toward persons wanting help with a monologue or playing a certain type of character. Persons may either select a scene they have not performed before or be assigned a scene, working with a small group of peers. There are guidelines for encouragement, not criticism and an acknowledgement of Sanford Meisner’s technique, “To live truthfully under given imaginary circumstances.” The fee is $60.

              To register for the workshops, email

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services hosts an intergenerational event, “Line Dancing,” from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, 2012 in the Wayne Township building, 27W031 North Avenue. Senior citizens and campers from the WAYS Summer Camp teach each other some dance moves and learn how dance styles have changed and remained the same over the years. Refreshments are served. For further information, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166.

              The fourth and last of the series “Cooking Around the World” is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, 2012 in the meeting room at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. Chef Daniel Hersovic demonstrates Latin American cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and authentic flavors. To make a reservation, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552.

              The West Chicago Public Library offers First Aid and CPR Certification from noon to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, June 9, 2012 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago teaches this program. Participants who successfully complete the session receive certification cards valid for two years. Attendees must be able to read and comprehend at a sixth grade level or higher. To make a reservation, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 3.

              The United Methodist and Congregational Women host a musical dinner at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, June 9, 2012 at the church, 643 East Washington Street. The performance follows dinner and then dessert is served. The musical production, starring members of the church choir and the community is “Godspell.”

              Upon hearing the choice of the musical, members of the women’s  group looked at foods listed in the Bible and decided a Mediterranean dinner was perfect.  “There are some deviations as we wanted to represent the story of feeding 5,000 people with loaves of bread and fish,” explained member Judi Horsley. On the menu is a pate in the shape of a fish served with bread as an appetizer and Greek salad. The entrée is Burek, a beef and filo dish made in Dalmatian Coast countries and turkey with couscous and mixed vegetables. A date, fig and nut snack is on the tables during the performance. Dessert is Pineapple Angel Food Cake with whipped cream.

              The ticket price is $12.50 per person and $6 for children ages five through twelve. To make reservations, call the church office at (630) 231-3344.

              The West Chicago Historical Society hosts its second annual Spring Tea fundraiser at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, June 10, 2012 at the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. On the menu are salad, scones, finger sandwiches, desserts and tea. In addition to the light luncheon, there is a silent auction and program.

              The program is “Regretting Mr. Wright: Mamah Tells Her Own Story.” Mamah Bouton Borthwick was the female companion of Frank Lloyd Wright. She was brutally murdered in August of 1914 at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, the home she shared with Wright. Portraying Borthwick, Ellie Carlson presents the interpretation of a modern woman living in a still very Victorian world. According to Carlson’s website, the portrayal “touches on issues not appropriate for children.”

              The ticket price is $15 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling Sara Phalen at (630) 473-0268 or email

              The Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce holds its annual “Swing into Summer” golf outing Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at Prairie Landing Golf Course, 2325 Longest Drive. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. Tee time starts at 8:00 a.m. Banquet and awards is at 2:00 p.m. The fee is $150 per individual, $600 for a foursome and $50 for banquet only. The registration form is online at the Chamber website For further information, call the Chamber office at (630) 231-3003.

              The West Chicago Park District monthly senior citizen outing is a Turtle Splash Pool Party at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14, 2012. It takes place in the water park birthday party area and after lunch, guests can swim. Persons bring a summer dish to share and a complete plate setting. Reservations are due by Thursday, June 7, 2012 and may be made by calling the district office at (630) 231-9474.

              As she retires after 29 years at Evergreen Elementary School in Benjamin School District 25, principal Jean Peterson speaks enthusiastically about her career. As a teacher for nine years, she taught first, second and fourth grades. Her next position was assistant principal for two years and principal for 18 years.

              Peterson has mixed feelings about retiring. “I am happy to have more time to spend with my family and my husband, who retired three years ago. However, I will miss the interaction with the children.” She added, “If I am having a bad day, I visit a classroom and my mood improves. Children are so innocent, a sponge for learning.”

              Reflecting back over the years, Peterson has many memories, which include the staff, the parents, the families and the children.  Children in kindergarten do not really think to the future. “When they heard I was going to retire, they think it should happen now!” They question her. “Why are you still here?” At the last presidential election, one student asked, “Why do we need to have an election for president? We already have one—you.”

              Peterson said, “Our staff is dedicated and hardworking, each working to bring out the best in the students.” Having the same goals, we complement one another.”

              “The community is very supportive. A great education for their children is important.” Peterson explained, “I have had parents say that after checking around, they moved into their home because of the good reputation of our school district. We stress positive learning experiences.” She added, “The district and community support for good education shows when the students from here enter West Chicago High School. They do well, participate in many activities, receive recognition and awards.”

              One of the main changes Peterson has seen is “The high expectation we have of children and want them to quickly get a handle on the Student Achievement tests for third graders. On one hand it is productive and gives many academic offerings. Yet sometimes, I think some of the social and emotional offerings are missing. We need to let children be children. You seldom see children playing outside now.” Another change involves the family. “With the economy, often both parents have to work and this is tough on families. They run out of time.”

              As principal, Peterson thinks on how many children have touched her life. “I keep it personable and often not only know the names of the students, but also the names of their siblings. Being at this school has been a wonderful experience.”

              Having a little more time when she retires, Peterson said, “One of the first things I want to do is clean my closets.” Yet, she admits, with a laugh, the task probably will not get tackled right away. Listening to her slate of activities, one can easily believe this. “I want to sit back and rest a little, play golf, read, bicycle and spend some time with my 4 wonderful grandchildren.” She also wants to “keep a hand in education, and perhaps do some projects in the district.” In the fall she, her husband and one daughter are taking a 12-day trip to Norway, Denmark and Sweden “I think they timed the trip so that I would not miss being here for the start of the school year.”

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offer summer tutoring, which provides an excellent opportunity for students to prepare for the next academic school year. The WAYS tutors work not only with students who are struggling, but also with students looking for enrichment throughout the summer. The charge is $25 per hour with scholarships available.  Tutor sessions are at the Wayne Township building, 27W031 North Avenue. For further information, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166.

              Participating in the United Methodists Communications “Change the World” campaign, members of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago have set a goal to collect at least 5,000 pairs of new and used shoes for the Shoeman Water Project. The project has two parts.

              The shoes are sold to exporters, who, in turn, sell them at discounted rates to help create micro-businesses in communities where no trade exists. These businesses then sell the shoes to persons who need foot protection from diseases and parasites. With the money from the exporters, the Shoeman Water project buys drilling rigs and water purification systems for poor countries such as Haiti and Kenya.

              Persons with shoes to donate can put them in the Groot garbage bins at the front entrance of the church, 643 East Washington Street. For further information, call the church at (630) 231-3144.

              Retiring faculty from Community High School District 94 are Bruce Donash, physical education, health and driver’s education with 25 years; Michael Koulas, special education with 17 years; and Peggy Peach, cooperative work training & tech prep coordinator with 27.6 years.

              Catholic Daughters of America, St. Mary’s Court 432, once again sponsored a children’s education contest for the youths in the Religious Education program at the church. Division 1 is for youth in fourth and fifth grades; division 2 is for youths in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, division 3 is for youth in ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades and division 4 is for adult CDA members.

              At the local area, first place winners in Art were Esteban Nunez, division 1; Louis Culloton in division 2; and Leslie Nunez in division 3, and second place winner was Brian Culloton, Division I. First place poetry winners were Charlotte Culloton, division 2, and Sylvia Mosier, Division 4, and second place winner was Emily Pietura, division 2.  At the state level taking first place was Leslie Nunez in Art and Sylvia Mosier in Poetry. Second place winner in Poetry was Charlotte Culloton.

              The West Chicago Garden Club was one of the many garden clubs in Illinois that collected seeds for the Friends of Sheltered Children in Kenya, a small organization that cares for orphaned, destitute and abandoned children, many who are HIV positive. The seeds are for a garden the organization hopes to plant on newly acquired land in order for the children always to have food.

              Named to the Daily Herald newspaper DuPage County Academic Team honorable mentions were Payton Bayless and Jeffry Pekosh, seniors at Community High School District 94, and Rachel Jagrowski and Caitlin Koehler, seniors at Wheaton Academy.

              During the public participation portion of the City Council meeting Monday, May 21, 2012 there was an award presentation and a small talk by the artists-in-residence.

              Janet Hale, Chairman of the West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission, presented the 2012 Historical Preservation Award to the St. Vincent DePaul Society for its building at 213-215 Main Street.  “They worked with the City of West Chicago in the restoration of the façade, hiring skilled contractors to preserve and save one of the historic and architectural gems of West Chicago,” said Hale.

              Harlow Belding built the Classical Revival Style building with Art Nouveau detailing in 1927 for a cost of $45,000. The architect was Robert H. Salisbury of Wheaton. An article in the November 24, 1927 issue of the West Chicago Press stated, “According to the plans, this will undoubtedly will be the most imposing structure in the City.”

              The building has a unique terra cotta façade with sculptural texture.  The classical styling is evident on the ornate window crowns which feature painted urns, center shields and floral scrolls. The shield decoration is repeated at the center roofline, where it is graced by three fleur-de-lis. Two end panels have shields with soft draping folds and tassels below.

              Mell & Mell opened on the first floor in 1928 and remained in the building until 1962. Aunt Polly’s Bakery also was in the building from 1928 through 1946. Illinois Bell leased the second floor as a telephone exchange in 1928. St. Vincent DePaul Society resale store moved into the building around 1982.

              Accepting the award was Bill Thomas, General Manager of St. Vincent DePaul Society resale stores. He said, “We have a commitment to the community to recognize its history.”

              City Museum Director LuAnn Bombard explained the criteria for the award. “The Commission reviews projects from the last year that demonstrate a significant commitment to maintain the integrity of the structure and also maintaining the historic integrity of the streetscape.”

              Heidi Hove and Jens Axel, the Danish Artists-in Residence, explained their projects. Hove said, “We worked with the city’s slogan, “Where History and Progress Meet,” on the first project, an archeological dig.” This took place in an empty lot across the street from St. Michael’s United Church of Christ on West Washington Street. “There was a lot of gravel to dig through before we reached soil and found things.” The display, which has some of the items collected and a description of the dig area, is on the second floor of the City Museum, 132 Main Street, until Thursday, June 28, 2012.  The second project was “Be Remembered.” This involved selling raffle tickets at Blooming Fest for a tree to be planted with a small, engraved plaque at Reed-Keppler Park. Winning the raffle were West Chicago residents the Herbst family. The dedication ceremony was in the afternoon Saturday, May 26, 2012. The third project was working with the campaign slogans of different presidents.

              Also at the meeting, City Council approved an amendment to Chapter 10 clarifying weed control provisions and revising procedures for notices and liens in accordance with state statutes. Although natural landscaping was allowed, it was prohibited from front yards. The amendment now treats natural landscaping areas the same as other ornamental plantings. However, natural landscape areas are not permitted to become unmanaged or overgrown. The areas cannot encroach on sidewalks or adjoining property. In the natural landscape areas common weeds and turf more than eight inches high is prohibited. A permit is required for natural landscaping areas over 5,000 square feet.

             With an 11-2 vote, City Council approved the use of 114 Chicago Avenue by Set Fee Initiatives for filming. Voting against it were Ward 2 Alderman Ron Monroe and Ward 7 Alderman Nick Dzierzanowski. At the previous council meeting, David Libby of Set Free initiatives requested a stay of demolition for three months for filming three scripts he wrote specifically to be set in the house. The City purchased the house from the Bank last year. Since “the cost of renovation to make it rental property far exceeded the amount of demolition as well as the rent the City would receive over the mid-term, staff was directed to demolish the house,” according to the item summary. With Libby complying to stipulations set forth after meeting with City Administrator Michael Guttman, the proposal for approval was placed under the unfinished business portion of the May 21 meeting. Filming takes place from May 20 through August 20, 2012.

              Community High School District 94 Girls Softball team won the Illinois High School Association Geneva Regional with a score of 2-1 in 13 innings Saturday, May 26, 2012. Next they participate to the Lake Park Regional.

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