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Around and About in West Chicago - 22 Nov 2012

Around and About

  • Adopt-A-Family Program

  • 2012 Wildcat Turkey Classic

  • Upstate Eight

  • Frosty Fest

  • Elgin, Jolliet & Eastern Railway caboose

              The holiday season is quickly approaching, and as in the past, the giving spirit of the community abounds as various organizations sponsor projects to help those less fortunate.
              Wayne Township offers several options for its Adopt-A-Family program. Persons can purchase a meal and a gift for each member of the family, purchase gifts only or donate a toy. “This allows persons to do what they can financially to give to those who need it,” said General Assistance Director Juanita Martinez.  “We have 200 families on our list.” Another program involves the purchase of a Christmas meal for a family. The township purchases them from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Each boxed meal has a frozen turkey, side dishes, desserts and beverages for eight persons. Donors pay the cost of $30 per box.
              Also there is a virtual mitten tree and actual tree with names of children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities.  Donors can either visit the website or the township office, 27W031 North Avenue. Persons then purchase a gift, wrap it and bring to the township. “We are grateful to the community for the assistance of meeting our needs.”  For information, call Martinez at (630) 231-7173.
              The West Chicago Police Department once again is working with the DuPage County Marine Corps League to collect toys for the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program. The age groups are from infant through 16 years of age. All toys are donated to children in the local area communities. Drop off unwrapped toys, no stuffed animals, during regular business hours now through Friday, December 21, 2012 in the police station lobby, 325 Spencer Street.  For further information, call police sergeant Mike Zepeda, who coordinates the program in West Chicago, at (630) 293-2222.
              Winfield Township enters its 24th year of its “Adopt-A-Family” program. Working in conjunction with Neighborhood Food pantry, the township has 96 families enrolled, and to date, 60 are “adopted.” All registrants are screened for eligibility according to township guidelines. The “adoption” of a family involves providing a gift for each child age 14 and under, and a gift certificate for a holiday meal from a local area grocery store. “Sponsors select the size family they want and then we make a match. Each family gives the township a wish list to help sponsors with gift ideas,” said township general assistance director Debby Juzwiak. Sponsors can be businesses, individuals, families, clubs and organizations. Although the goal is to have each family “adopted,” this is not always possible. Thus, “monetary donations and gift certificates are appreciated.” Families not “adopted” receive gifts from “Toys for Tots.” To adopt a family or for more information, call Juzwiak at (630) 231-3591.
              4 the People, a West Chicago area-based community organization, realizes the importance of keeping the shelves well stocked at local food pantries, especially during the holiday season. The organization collects non-perishable food items, paper products, personal items and cleaning products. 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, 600 East Washington Street.

              The weeklong 2012 Wildcat Turkey Classic continues now through Saturday, November 24, 2012 at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. There are no games on Thanksgiving Day. Varsity games are in Bishop Gym. Sophomores play in the small gym. Basketball teams competing are West Chicago, Addison Trail, King, Marmion Academy, Geneva and Lake Zurich. Game times on Wednesday are at 5:00 p.m., 6.30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Game schedule for Friday and Saturday is 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. West Chicago plays the last scheduled time each day. The daily cost is $5 for adults, and $3 for students and senior citizens.
              The Wildcat Booster Club holds a Holiday boutique from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday, November 24, 2012 in Room 197. The sale includes clothing items, jewelry, home décor, seasonal items, and stocking stuffers. Gift wrapping service is available.
              Some of the local churches hold services Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 21, or Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2012.
              Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1800 Joliet Street, Thanksgiving Eve service is at 7:00 p.m.
              St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road, Thanksgiving Eve service is at 7:00 p.m., followed by a pie fest.
              St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 North Oakwood Avenue, has an English Mass at 9:00 a.m. and a Spanish Mass at 11:00 a.m. Thanksgiving Day.
              Trinity Lutheran Church 331 George Street, Thanksgiving Eve service is at 7:00 p.m.
              With the holiday season upon us, the onset of decorating begins in earnest. What does one do with the non-working strands of incandescent or LED lights? The City of West Chicago has the “green” answer by offering free recycling for holiday lights and extension cords from Friday, November 23, 2012 through Friday, January 25, 2013. The offer is open to residents, businesses, churches, clubs and other organizations. Drop-off locations are Murphy’s Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard; City Hall, 475 Main Street; First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street; West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street; and West Chicago Water Treatment Plant, 1400 West Hawthorne Lane. The West Chicago Environmental Commission coordinates the program with Elgin Recycling, which collects these items to strip and recycle for their copper and plastic parts. The company is a full service scrap metal business serving the area for more than 30 years. Last year, 1,199 pounds were collected.
              The West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, is closed Saturdays, starting November 24, 2012 through March 31, 2013.
              The six-piece Dixieland jazz band, Mad Monks, joins the congregation of St. Michael’s United Church of Christ at the 9:30 a.m. worship service Sunday, December 25, 2012. The church location is 400 West Washington Street.
              The final week of free leaf pick up is from Monday, November 26 through Friday, November 30, 2012 on regularly scheduled garbage collection days. This also is the last week for yard waste collections.
              On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Upstate Eight notified Community High School District 94 that it was unanimously accepted into the conference. The two divisions in the conference are Valley and River. CHS would be in the Valley Division with the other member high schools of East Aurora, Bartlett, Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley, South Elgin and Waubonsie. This only would be for the 2013-2014 school year. For subsequent school years, the Upstate Eight will be realigning their divisions based upon competitiveness, geography and size. The school board formally will act on this at its Tuesday, November 27, 2012 meeting.
              The fourth annual Wonderful and Wearable Show and Sale is the December event at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. It features the one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessory items by artisans Sue Weibler, Britta Renwick, Heide Morris, Sandy Miles, Cathy Linegar, Gwen Heins, Marge Hall, Lois Easley, Lew Achenbach and Beth Hinz. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, November 30.
              Gallery Theater presents “Mr. Beasley’s Christmas Party” by Booth Tarkington at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performance times are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and  Saturdays, November 30, December 1, 7 and 8, and at 3:00 p.m. Sunday December 2, and 9, 2012.
              The play is based upon the belief of David Beasley, that “Christmas time is the best time because it is the kindest time.” At the turn of the last century, a journalist new to a Midwestern state capital notices something funny going on at the charming house of his neighbor, Gubernatorial candidate David Beasley. Living with him is his young ward, who has a menagerie of imaginary friends. Beasley’s nemesis, Simon Peck, has plans to ruin the chance for election of Beasley. However, not only does he learn something, but so do all the other guests at the Christmas party hosted by Beasley.
              The ticket price is $9 per person, $8 for students and senior citizens. To reserve tickets, call (630) 234-5919 or email
              Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts its sixth annual Kids’ Kraft Day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1, 2012. The free and popular event is geared for children ages 5 to 12. Children make Christmas gifts or decorations. Lunch is served.
              The West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street, will be filled with the Sounds of Music during the Holiday Cheer Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1, 2012. Providing the entertainment are the Community High School District 94 Chamber Choir and the Wheaton Academy Kantorei. The special guest is Santa Claus and holiday treats are served.
              Frosty Fest is from 4:00 to 7:00 Saturday, December 1, 2012. Activities include the procession, official community tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus, horse-drawn wagon rides, reindeer, crafts and entertainment.
              New this year is the Gingerbread House Contest. The three entry divisions are children from ages 5 to 12, teens from 13 to 19, and adults age 20 and up. All entries must be registered between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street.  Judging starts at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, November 29, 2012 in the meeting room and the public is invited to attend. Judges are Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda, West Chicago Crime Prevention Police Officer Tony Quarto, West Chicago Fire Protection Chief Bob Hodge, Mark and Lori Davis. All entries will be on display during Frosty Fest on December 1, 2012 at T.J. Maintenance, 113 Main Street. Rules and entry forms are available at City Hall, 475 Main Street, or on line at
              Benjamin School District 25 Board of Education has a vacancy due to the resignation of Jan Bedard. The board seeks applicants for this position. The appointment would last through April 2013. Persons interested should send a letter of interest to Tamara Mastroianni, President, Administration Center, 28W250 St. Charles Road, West Chicago, IL 60185. Applications are due by 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, 2012. The appointment is scheduled to be made at the Monday, December 10, 2012 meeting.
              WeGo Together for Kids Family Night, open to all families in West Chicago Elementary School District 33 is Tuesday, December 4, 2012 in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street, Door 5 (old main entrance). The theme is “Learning is Really Cool;” It is “snow” much fun to read as a family. The pizza dinner is at 6:00 p.m. Families bring a fruit or vegetable salad to share. During this time, attendees visit the family learning stations with a chance to win prizes, and explore the WeGo Together for Kids partner resource tables. At 7:00 p.m. the Department of Learning provides information on the district’s new Language Arts curriculum and how it impacts children’s learning. Students receive a new book and learn a family reading activity. To make a reservation or for more information, call Sue Cox at (630) 293-6000 or email
              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Phillip James Dunn, who at the age of 84 passed away Friday, November 2, 2012.
              The Parks and Natural Resources Division of Illinois Parks and Recreation Association recently named West Chicago Park District Superintendent of Parks Jesse Felix, Professional of the Year.
              Park district executive director Gary Major explained Felix was nominated for the honor by another member of the association, “not us, which acknowledges Jesse’s ability to work with other districts and as a resource for various facets of managing park lands. When the July 1 storm destroyed many trees in Reed-Keppler Park, Felix received assistance from other park districts and other volunteers once he put out the call for help.” After the storm, Felix looked at the natural disaster and sought “other opportunities to add facets that did not exist before.” Major added, Felix has a broad range of knowledge regarding horticulture, preservation and land use.  
              Felix said, “I was surprised and moved by the recognition. I just try to do my best. This is a team win as we all work together. He added that realizing he had an impact on the conservation and horticulture within other districts “means a lot and is important.”
              Named as Commended Students in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship program are Community High School District 94 students, Timothy J. Linhardt and Samuel A. Rylowicz. Around 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are recognized for their exceptional academic promise. These students place among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2013 competition by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
              A photograph by West Chicago resident Jessica Golden was featured in the Monday, November 12, 2012 issue of the “Daily Herald” newspaper. Her focus was on her two sons waiting for trick-or-treaters at their front door.
              West Chicago Middle School recently held its quarterly “Outstanding Students of the Quarter” award ceremony. Each grading period, teachers nominate students in each grade and exploratory classes to receive this award. Exploratory classes include art, chorus, computer, home economics and physical education. Selection is based upon participation in school activities, conscientious schoolwork, class participation, positive attitude, willingness to help others and good citizenship.
             Eighth grades students recognized were Guadalupe Perez, Ruby Romero, Juan Valencia, Zitziqui Alvarez, Savannah Santiago, Brian Ratcliffe, Oscar Sanchez and Lesly Romero.
              Seventh grade students recognized were Katie Gramit, Brandon Magana, Maddie Simanois, Brandon Morss, Mario Huerta, Dany Gaeta and Jonathan Gonzalez.
              Students from Exploratory classes recognized were Britney Prebis, Emily Pietura, Ruben Fernandez, Brisa Rubio, Yamilex Rodelo, Dariya Walz, Nayeli Miguel, Jonathan Gonzalez, Zachary Stefan, Garrett Hosticka, Joselyn Urbina, Daniel Lamperis and Joel Aparicio.
              The Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Community Treasures program, Thursday, November 15, 2012. The Chamber recognized individuals from West Chicago, Warrenville and Winfield for their continuing and selfless voluntary efforts for the benefits of their communities, making them a better place to live and play. Persons in West Chicago recognized were LuAnn Bombard, Duane Gill, Kathleen Sayvon and Steve Usedom. Those recognized from Warrenville were Rita Dolan, Lance Haack, Jeanne Hoffer, Jim Salek, Enid & Maury Weisner and Colin Wilke. Persons from Winfield recognized were Chuck Beggs, Jinny Faesen, Marge Hall, Deb Moran, Tim Morris, and Patti Weber.
              A bit of West Chicago railroad heritage is now on permanent display at Reed-Keppler Park. Canadian National Railway donated an Elgin, Jolliet & Eastern Railway caboose to the West Chicago Park District. CN moved the caboose from the Joliet location to the west side of the Turtle Splash parking lot in the median between the lot and the drive through the park, south of Keppler Academy (scout cabin).
              In the Regional Business Report of the Daily Herald’s November 17, 2012 “Business Ledger” issue, the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce was highlighted. It featured interviews with CEO/President Dave Sabathne and chairman Joe Buchholz. Also, there were interviews with three chamber business members, Darrell Holmes of Pro-Pak Industries in West Chicago, Jim Salek of Premiums Plus Promotional Products in Warrenville, and Tom Saylor of Winfield Fuel and Material.
              This is a continuation of actions taken at the Monday, November 5, 2012 City Council meeting.
              Council approved the acquisition of a vacant parcel located on West Washington Street for the amount not to exceed $14,000, which includes the price of the real property and payment of back due taxes and penalties. This is the parcel of land where one sees train buffs taking photographs and videos of trains. City Administrator Michael Guttman explained the City of West Chicago is working on a Quiet Zone on the Elgin, Joliet & Elgin railroad tracks, which the City currently has on the Union Pacific tracks. “However, train engineers are still required to blow their horns when pedestrians are within a short distance from the tracks, and when train aficionados camp out on this parcel, it falls within the area that the horns must be blown - thereby negating the affect of having a quiet zone.  Once purchased by the City, proper signage will be installed and the area will be landscaped to deter people from hanging out on this parcel.”
              Council approved the continuation of using the services of B & F Technical Code Services for the next two years with essentially the same agreement, but with a revision to the format. The City retained B & F in 2006, and the services of the company include building plan review, building inspection and code enforcement. The difference now is in the additional responsibilities assigned to B&F, such as more presence at the Department of Community Development counter to assist in customer service for technical questions and increased communication to better coordinate duties and to document completion of tasks.
              Council also approved a funding agreement for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Railroad Days festival with the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce. This includes, at a minimum, a four-day carnival, two musical acts both on Friday and Saturday nights, a fireworks show, a beer tent on Friday and Saturdays and a parade on Sunday. It also provides that the City and Chamber would share revenues in excess of costs associated with the beer tent and the carnival. Although the agreement is similar to the 2012 contract, there is one exception. The Chamber requested a redistribution of the sponsorship money to mitigate its risk in obtaining higher quality musical entertainment and a strategy that facilitates growth of the festival during the three-year cycle. The redistribution would see 50 percent of sponsorship profit going to the Chamber and 50 percent of sponsorship profit being reinvested into the current year festival. In the event of sponsorship revenue in excess of $25,000, 25 percent would go to the City. Also, due to the cancellation of the 2012 fireworks display because of drought conditions, the 2012 fireworks will be carried over to 2013 and the money budgeted for the 2013 display will be reinvested into the 2013 parade and entertainment.
              Council passed an ordinance creating a new Class B-5 liquor license for indoor recreational facilities and to grant this type license to Finish Strong Indoor Complex, 551 West Roosevelt Road. The stipulations are the serving only of beer and wine, consumption of liquor only in the lounge area, admittance in the lounge area is limited to persons age of 21 and over unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, and dispensing and delivering of beer and wine must be in cups of soft and lightweight materials.
              An ordinance on a third quarter budget amendment passed. One facet involved the $100,000 of seized finds. Guttman explained, “The City receives a percentage of cash seized on drug busts in which our officers participate.” The federal government advised the City that it must start spending its federal share immediately. This is about one-third of the total. A planned project for 2013 was the replacement of the mobile data terminals in all of  the police vehicles. This purchase is eligible for the seized funds and the work can be done this year with the budget amendment of $95,000. “The time frame between receiving and spending the funds is not known, but there needs to be activity in the federal account at least once every three years. The criteria is very broad and is typically used for equipment purchases of some kind for the members of the police department.”  Another segment involved a sales tax rebate of $300,000 to Volkswagen. Guttman said, “In 1995, the City entered into an Economic Incentive Agreement with Frontier Dodge (now Volkswagen of America) to rebate a portion of the sales tax that business generates. It took VW quite some time to file the paperwork, but everything is in place.”  On the revenue side the ordinance included a reduction in the amount of $110,000 budgeted for tow charges. Guttmann explained the City has a $585 administrative tow charge imposed when the driver of a vehicle commits certain offenses, such a DUI. There are several reasons the City is collecting less money from this source. “First, the State changed the law that limits the City's ability to seize vehicles (needs to now be tied to a community care function); the City is not encountering as many unlicensed drivers and the items for which the City can tow are more restrictive.” He added, “For example, before the rulings by several appellate courts, if someone was arrested for driving under the influence, driving without a license, or any of the other 18 items listed in the City Code, the City had the ability to tow the vehicle without exception. Now, however, if an officer pulls a driver over for one of the listed offenses and the driver parks his vehicle legally and his companion has a valid license, or he can get someone to pick up his vehicle in a "reasonable" amount of time, the City can no longer tow the vehicle.”
              Council passed a resolution of agreement of Operation of West Chicago City Museum, City of West Chicago/Phalen Consulting (Sara Phalen). The items summary states, “With the impending retirement of Museum Director LuAnn Bombard, staff began discussing options of how to best staff the museum. One alternative was to contract out the daily oversight of the museum operation. Sara Phalen indicated an interest in assuming the contractual role. The agreement requires the contractor to serve as Director/Curator, including having responsibility for the museum’s historic education programs, summer passport program, exhibit/display procurement and coordination, and maintenance and digitizing the museum’s collection.” Also the contractor is responsible for the recruitment, training and supervision of volunteers. One responsibility in the agreement is for the contractor to provide leadership, coordination and supervision for volunteers averaging 25 hour per week. From January through March, the museum is to be open to the public 12 hours a week from noon to 4:00 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The remainder of the year, the hours are from noon to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Hours are extended for special events such as Blooming Fest and Frosty Fest. The working budget for this agreement is $70,200, of which $30,000 is for the contractual director and $20,000 for contract support staff such as an educational coordinator or collections assistant. “The City will save more than $100,000 by contracting for this service versus the two person staffing arrangement currently in place.” The City will maintain ownership of the museum and its three ancillary buildings. The item summary states, “This transition allows for the smoothest transition possible in the wake of Bombard’s retirement….Phalen, with her background at the Museum, is best qualified to handle this transition.” Bombard has served the Community for 26 years. Phalen, either as an employee or independent contractor since 2006, has worked in all areas of the institution, is educated and professionally trained in the management, oversight, operation and direction of museums and not-for- profit entities.
              American Education Week was Monday, November 12 through Friday, November 16, 2012. West Chicago Elementary District 33 schools had a variety of activities. These included principals reading to classes, students writing about or illustrating the importance of schools, students writing thank you notes to present or past teachers, school staff and others who helped them during the school years, staff sharing stories about teachers who impacted their lives and parents visiting the schools.
              At Pioneer School, students received a free book and at the conclusion of the week, students, teachers and staff participated in an all-school “Drop Everything And Read” time for 15 minutes.
              At West Chicago Middle School, one teacher had her students brainstorm the best qualities of teachers and then they “created” the perfect teacher from this information.
              The Parent Teachers Organization at Currier School honored teachers with the provision of a warm dinner between parent/teacher conferences. Members of the District 33 Board of Education sent cheese and cracker trays and fruit to all the schools Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The Boosters Club at Community High School District 94 provided a Staff Appreciation Breakfast  on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.
              This also was School Board Appreciation Week. Parent Teacher Organizations had students from each school present a card and gift to West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board members, who are Chris Schreck, Julie Pearson, Dave Barclay, Brenda Vishanoff, Sue Stibal, John Haffner and Gil Wagner. Board members of Community High School District 94 are Kathe Doremus, Gary Saake, Ruben Campos, Rich Nagel, Kevin Kotche, Dirk Gunderson and Tony Molinaro. Benjamin School District 25 board members are Cyndy Ciolino, Anna Taylor, Jack Buscemi, Gregg Lemkau, Tammy Mastroianni and Dennis Peterson.

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