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Around and About in West Chicago - 16 Aug 2012

Around and About

  • Neighborhood Food Pantries

  • Leaving the DuPage Valley Conference

  • City Crack Sealing Program

  • Mortgage Relief Project

  • Smith Road Quiet Zone Improvement Project

              Not only undergoing a name change, Neighborhood Food Pantries, previously Feeding Northwest DuPage, recently moved to a new location, 525 North Neltnor Boulevard. This is the building behind Crossroads Restoration Church, and at one time was The Ark, a resale shop of First Congregational Church. The new site provides more workable space than its previous home at St. Mary’s parish. There is a separate area for storage of food and another area for the pantry clients to select their food. “We now can have five to six persons choose their food items at one time, before it was only two or three,” said site Manger Ken Walker. This is in reference to the philosophy that it is more beneficial and practical to let families choose their own foods. The site has reference guides for the amount of food allowed per person, depending on the size of the family. During the summer months, the site serves approximately 556 families. There is an increase during the winter months due to seasonal occupations of persons needing to use the facility.

              The layout will gain even more space with the purchase of a walk-in refrigerator, made possible with the $5,000 donation from Cadence Health. “This will provide the best storage of refrigerated food, reducing the number of refrigerators in the “shopping” area from three to one,” he explained.  One item on his wish list is a walk-in freezer, reducing the need for four freezers.

              However, before the move, several other building requirements were necessary. One was a new roof, provided by Gus Exteriors in Bloomingdale. “The company only charged us for the materials, but not the labor.”  The City of West Chicago provided a furnace from the building at 145 West Washington Street, the site of the Santo Maria’s Italiano Ristorante. This was saved from the demolition.

              Next on the list is a bad news-good news tidbit. Bad news is the theft of the air conditioning unit. “The thieves just snipped the wires and removed the entire unit.” Upon hearing of this plight, Chris Mechanical in West Chicago is donating and installing a new furnace, air conditioner and ductwork. On the energy saving front, Pella Windows and Doors replaced a drafty 7' x 5' foot window.

              Costco donated an arbor to create an entryway to the newly laid sidewalk leading to the front of the pantry. The company also donated a playhouse for the playground area on the church property. Walker said the grounds area is another plus of this location. “The children have a place to play, while their parents ‘shop.’ At the other location, I worried when I saw the children run across the street to the field.” The parking lot makes it easier for deliveries and users of the pantry. This is definitely a plus as the local Jewel on Roosevelt Road just donated nine cases of produce and 41 cases of frozen food. Walker explained, Jewel Stores still donate to the Northern Illinois “Food Bank, but now give first to the local food pantries.”

              Adding to the complications of the move was the storm Saturday, July 1, 2012. Since the pantry was without electricity for at least four days, “We lost 1,400 pounds of food.”  Thus, Walker has another item for his wish list—a generator.

              Persons may drop off food or monetary donations at the on-site location. Walker is in the process of setting up a post office box. For further information, call the site at (630) 293-4958 or Walker’s cell telephone at (630) 877-1002.

              4 the people, a West Chicago area-based community organization, continues its program to collect non perishable food items, paper products, personal items and cleaning products for Neighborhood Food Pantries and Wayne Township. Collection sites are City Hall, 475 Main Street; West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street; West Chicago Park District, 157 West Washington Street; Winfield Township, 130 Arbor Avenue, Murphy Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard; and State Bank of Illinois-West Chicago, 600 East Washington Street.



              It is time for the community pep rally at the Third Annual Wildcat Sports Festival Friday, August 17, 2012 in Memorial Field at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. The festivities, showcasing the school’s fall athletic programs, begins at 4:30 p.m., and ends with the varsity football scrimmage at 8:30 p.m.

              The event includes athletic scrimmages, Corn Boil by Looten’s Steam Engine, team recognition, raffles, concessions and the Wildcat Marching Band.  Boosters Club sells Spirit Wear.

              Recognition of teams takes place in the stadium. Cross Country Girls Send-off is at 4:30 p.m. Girls Tennis is at 5:00 p.m. Cross Country Boys and Girls Tennis is at 5:30 p.m. ATI Concussion presentation is at 6:00 p.m. Team recognition for Girls Swim and Boys/Girls Golf is at 6:30 p.m. Pom and Cheer recognition is at 7:00 p.m. At 7:30 p.m. is Volleyball recognition and at 8:00 p.m. is Booster Club recognition.

              Although most activities take place in the stadium, several take place in the pool or Bishop Gym. At 4:30 p.m. Girls Swimming is in the pool area. In Bishop gym are Freshman Volleyball at 5:00 p.m., Sophomore Volleyball at 5:30 p.m., JV Volleyball at 6:00 p.m. and Varsity Volleyball at 6:30 p.m.

              Stadium activities include Freshman Soccer at 4:30 p.m., Freshman Football at 5:00 p.m., JV II Soccer at 5:30 p.m. and Sophomore Football at 6:00 p.m. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the Wildcat Marching Band plays three songs, “Star Spangled Banner;” the school song, “We’re West Chicago;” and its opener for the season, “Estancia.”  JV I Soccer is at 7:00 p.m., JV Football is at 7:30 p.m. and Varsity Soccer is at 8:00 p.m.  The Varsity Football Scrimmage is at 8:30 p.m.

              There is no entrance charge for the fun family and community involvement event. This is the perfect way to support the school’s athletic programs. High school athletic director Doug Mullaney said, “Would love to see everyone there!”

              Community High School District 94 Administration once again considers leaving the DuPage Valley Conference. This time the focus is on a move in the immediate future to the Metro Suburban Conference. A Community Forum takes place during two sessions scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 17, 2012 in the high school Commons, 326 Joliet Street.  The administration will provide its rationale and information regarding this move and is asking for feedback from the community.

              Other schools in DVC are Glenbard East in Lombard, Glenbard North in Carol Stream, Naperville Central in Naperville, Naperville North in Naperville, West Aurora in Aurora, Wheaton North in Wheaton and Wheaton Warrenville South in Wheaton. High schools in MSC are Elmwood Park in Elmwood Park, Fenton in Bensenville, Illiana Christian in Lansing, Ridgewood in Norridge, Riverside-Brookfield in Riverside, Timothy Christian in Elmhurst and Glenbard South in Glen Ellyn.

              Local Music Night is at 7:00 pm. Friday, August 17, 2012 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Musicians are Jenn Gunn and Mandy Rakow. As part of the visual art segment, the work of Bartlett photographer Nate Matthew is on display. Open mic is at 8:30 p.m. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

              As part of its 10:00 a.m. worship service Sunday, August 19, 2012, First United Methodist Church is holding a Hymn Sing. The church location is 643 East Washington Street.

              Water’s Edge Bible Church holds it worship service at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, August 19, 2012 in the pavilion near Turtle Splash Water Park in Reed-Keppler Park, 129 National Street.

              The 2012 City Crack Sealing Program begins Monday, August 20, 2012, with an approximate completion date of Friday, August 31, 2012. Locations in the order to be done are Conde Street (Joliet Street to Neltnor Boulevard), Allen Avenue (Geneva Street to south end of Allen Avenue), Barber Avenue (Conde Street to Spencer Street), Wilson Avenue, Parker Avenue (Spencer Street to Geneva Street), Spencer Street (Joliet Street to Clayton Street), Hawthorne Lane (west of Powis to Arbor Avenue), Fremont Street (National Street to Washington Street)) and National Street (Arbor Avenue to Fremont Street). At the Monday, July 16, 2012 meeting, City Council approved awarding the contract to SKC Construction Company in an amount not t exceed $53,300.63.

              Educare of West DuPage, 851 Pearl Road, hosts a Community Open House. Times are from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday, August 23, 2012. There are self-guided tours with Educare staff on hand to provide information and answer questions.

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers several computer opportunities for senior citizens.

              In a six-session class, seniors learn computer basics such as Word, Excel, email and Internet. The first session is from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, 2012. The cost is $2 per session.

              The Senior Club provides the opportunity for seniors to become more socially involved while learning computers as a resource. The first meeting is from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Thursday, August 23, 2012 and has a charge of $2.

              Both are held at the Wayne Township building, 27W031 North Avenue. Pre-registration is required and may be made by calling (630) 231-7166.

              The annual DuPage County Republican Day is from noon to midnight Thursday, August 23, 2012 at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club, 2241 Route 59.  Check-in begins at 11:00 a.m. The Barbeque Buffet is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The cost for golf is $150 per person, $600 for a foursome. The barbeque buffet only is $50 per person. Social hour begins at 5:00 p.m. The program, awards presentations and raffles are at 7:00 p.m. The keynote speaker is Scott Romney, brother of Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. For further information, call Meaghan Olsen at (630) 752-9679 or visit the website

              The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, August 23, 2012 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Social time is at 6:45 p.m. with a brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and the program at 7:15 p.m. The speaker is Mel Zaloudek, a landscape consultant. His topic is “The Shaded Garden.” Meetings are open to the public.

              We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center, 1055 West Washington Street, hosts an Electronic Recycling Event from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, August 25, 2012. For a list of acceptable items, visit the website For more information call Laurie Staple at (630) 293-0100.The greenhouse mission is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and to train and work in a supportive, safe and caring environment, while producing and providing products and service to the community.

              State Senator Tom Johnson (R-48), State Representative Mike Fortner (R-95), State Representative Darlene Senger (R-96) and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin are hosts for the Mortgage Relief Project outreach event from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (registration ends at noon) Saturday, August 25, 2012 in the Auditorium at the DuPage County Government Center, 421 North County Farm Road in Wheaton. The project is part of the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network established by Governor Pat Quinn. Persons can learn about programs to help lower mortgages, avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. Documents persons should bring are 2010 and 2011 tax returns, two months of recent pay stubs, budget of household expenses, documentation of other income, recent utility bills, profit/loss statement for six months if self-employed. Even if persons cannot supply all the documents at this time, they still can meet with a HUD-certified counseling agency or their lender.  To register or for more information call (800) 532-8785 or visit

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Robert G. Westrom, who at the age of 87 passed away Thursday, August 9, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Douglas A. Buethe, who at the age of 65 passed away Saturday, August 11, 2012.

              Two young men, Peter Thompson and Tyler Mowry, come from different places and with different goals, but both find a niche at the West Chicago Public Library District.

              Although he was born in Chicago, Peter Thompson considers West Chicago his hometown. Moving here at age 12, he quickly found his way to the library, finding it one of his favorite places to satisfy his love of reading. At the age of 16, he applied for a job at the library and was hired as a Page in 2004. After graduating from Community High School District 94 in 2007, he continued working at the library and in 2008 moved into his current position as a Youth Services Assistant. “I have been incredibly fortunate. As my life changed and I needed higher employment, there always has been a place for me to grow at the West Chicago library.”

              Wanting to further his education, he enrolled in the Library Technical Assistant program at College of DuPage. During this three-year-period, he has completed all the courses except for the Practicum, the part of a course consisting of practical work in a particular field. Thompson finishes this in the fall and will receive his LTA at the end of this year. Reaching this benchmark and having the stability and satisfaction his current position provides, he plans to remain at the library for “quite some time.” he added, “I love what I do, being able to guide people not only to the information they need, but also to the stories and worlds they will explore and grow to love.” However, he does plan to continue his education, “sooner rather than later,” for a Bachelors degree in Information Technology, his other passion.  Thus, in a way, his career at the library “is also helping me take footsteps towards something new.”

              On the other hand, Tyler Mowry traveled a much longer path to the library, which included a house renovation. He was born and raised in Texas. Traveling northward, he attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. He received Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in Spanish and Philosophy. Then Mowry veered on a southern route to Bogota, Columbia, where he lived and worked for approximately a year and a half.  A northern move took place when he attended Chicago Theological Seminar, receiving a Masters degree in Religious Studies. This time period also included a westward residence when he moved to West Chicago to help friends renovate a house.

              With the move here, he applied and was accepted for the position of a Circulation Clerk. “I was led here by my love of the library and the need for a job that would fit in with my school schedule.” The proximity of the library to the house being renovated also played a role in his choice of working at the library. “The house is in the Historic Washington Street area and a two mere blocks from the library.”

              Although “the library is wonderful, it is not my career path,” he said. His educational focus is on Biblical Languages and Hermeneutics, which is the art and science of text interpretation. Pending the completion of paperwork, Mowry will be taking advanced Hebrew and Greek classes in the spring at Malone University in Canton, Ohio. His long-time career goal is to teach Hebrew Bible courses at the collegiate level. Recognizing his “talents do not lie in home renovation, I learned a lot in the process. My talents are mostly academic and musical in scope.”

              Newly elected officers in American Legion Post 300 are Mike Westerhausen, commander; Kevin Driscoll, junior vice commander; Bill Katsoolias, sergeant-at-arms; John Hugunin, finance officer; Chuck Scheckel, chaplain; and Bill Birch, historian.

              At the Monday, August 6, 2012 meeting, City Council approved the resolution to approve the contract in the amount of $124,911.85 to Geneva Construction Company for the Smith Road Quiet Zone Improvement Project. This consists of resurfacing and widening Smith Road at the Canadian National Railway crossing for the purpose of installing a raised concrete median. This is part of the City-wide Quiet Zone Establishment with CN. A provision in the City’s Voluntary Mitigation Agreement with the Grand Trunk Corporation specifies that CN be required to reimburse the City for this amount. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda said this brings West Chicago close to the completion of projects for establishing a Quiet Zone, “and maybe, we really can have quiet.” Many of us agreed, especially as some train engineers just seem to lay on the horn, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

              State Representative Mike Fortner (R-95) hosted his Sixth Annual Summer Reading Club. This year it was held in partnership with West Chicago Public Library District and its Youth Summer Reading Program. When children signed up for the library’s program, they were asked if they also wished to participate in Fortner’s club. If so, they received a flyer and a “Bicycle Rules of the Road” handbook. Youths were required to read eight books. Upon completion of their book list, they submitted it to the library and, in turn, received a coupon for a free ice cream cone Saturday, July 28, 2012 at Tastee-Freez. This coincided with the library’s day for a free day at Turtle Splash Water Park.

              Blue skies and a gentle breeze provided the perfect backdrop for more than 2,000 persons attending National Night Out festivities Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at Reed-Keppler Park.  West Chicago Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Tony Quarto said, “This is my first year for organizing this and what I am most excited about is the 30 volunteers who stepped forward to help.” He added, “Everyone seemed to have a good time. We covered a lot of things on safety and crime prevention through the demonstrations and information booths.”

              After the West Chicago Police Department Color Guard presented the colors, Carol Stream resident Lauren Melnick sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” As a survivor of a brain aneurysm, she is a co-founder of Step for Hope, a 5K Run/Walk to raise awareness, provide education to increase early detection and to help support individuals and families who have been affected by a brain aneurysm through the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. The second annual race is Saturday, September 22, 2012 at the Ross Ferraro Town Center, 1022 Fountain View Drive.  Registration is at 8:00 a.m.; race time is at 9:00 a.m. In addition to the race there are raffles, prizes and a post-race celebration. The cost is $25. For further information, visit the website www.step.orgforhope.

              West Chicago Police Chief Laz Perez and West Chicago Fire Protection Chief Bob Hodge greeted the crowds. In his welcoming comments, Perez said, “West Chicago has one of the lowest crime rates in DuPage County and this is due mainly to the cooperation between the residents and the police department and working together.”

              Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda said, “This is a great festival and I thank all the volunteers. Have a safe and wonderful time at our National Night Out.” Elected officials attending were Aldermen Becky Stout, Nick Dzierzanowski, Nan Connelly, Kurt Meissner, Russell Radkiewicz and Al Murphy; City Clerk Nancy Smith, City Treasurer Don Earley, West Chicago Park District Commissioner Gary Major and District 6 DuPage County Board Member Dirk Enger.

              As a side note, Quarto is celebrating his 28th year with the police department. Questioned about the acknowledgement of this longevity, he said, “I get an extra cookie at snack time.”  

              During the storm Saturday, July 28, 2012, six more trees fell in the central part of Reed-Keppler Park. From the July 1, 2012 storm, the park district lost 163 trees at this park. The Friends of West Chicago Parks Foundation is spearheading a grass roots effort to replace the trees. Funds raised are for the purchase of trees, especially the oaks. The replacement cost for an oak tree is $500. Donations of any amount of money are welcome. Forms are available at the park district office, 157 West Washington Street or on line at For further information call Major at (630) 231-9474, extension 107 or email

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