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Around and About in West Chicago - 02 Jan 2012

Around and About

  • Consolidated Election Candidate Information

  • ETWAC Strike Notice

  • Library District Winter Reading Program

  • Free General Equivalency Development Class

              The last day for filing for the Tuesday, April 9, 2013 consolidated election was Wednesday, December 26, 2012. The following is the information on those who filed.

              Positions open in the City are mayor, clerk and one alderman from each of the seven wards. Since three persons filed simultaneously for the mayoral position and three for the Ward 2 aldermanic position, a lottery for placement on the ballot took place Friday, December 28, 2012. Coordinating the lottery was City Clerk Nancy Smith. Deputy Clerk Valerie Lopez pulled the numbers and Civil Engineer Robert M. Skerke was the witness. The candidates for mayor appear on the ballot in the following manner: Wayne Woodward, Ruben Pineda (acting mayor), Nicholas Dzierzanowski, and Robert Wagner. In Ward 2, the order on the ballot is H. Ronald Monroe (incumbent), Don Earley and Rosalinda Delgado. Nancy Smith filed clerk. Incumbent Lori Chassee filed for alderman in Ward 1. In Ward 3, Laura Grodoski filed. Incumbent Sandy Dimas filed for alderman in Ward 4. John C. Smith Jr. (incumbent) filed for alderman in Ward 5.  Tyler Dameron filed for alderman in Ward 6. Filing for alderman in Ward 7 was John Banas.

              Although eight individuals pulled packets for the three positions open on the West Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, only four filed for candidacy. For the six-term positions Frank Lenertz (incumbent) and Edward “Ted” Pavlica III filed. Anthony Zaputil (incumbent) and Debbie Culbertson filed for the four-year unexpired term.

              The West Chicago Public Library District has three four-year positions and one unexpired two-year position open for the Board of Trustees. Those filing for the four-year terms were Corrine M. Jakacki-Dattomo and incumbents Richard J. Bloom and Marcia T. Rubenstein. Incumbent Frank J. Fokta filed for the unexpired two-year term.

              In West Chicago Elementary School District 33, there are four four-year positions open on the Board of Education. Since four persons filed simultaneously Monday, December 17, 2012, a lottery for placement on the ballot was held Friday, December 27, 2012. Conducting the lottery was the District Local Election Official Gayl Zuardo. Christine Wells pulled the numbers. Dr. Kathy Wolfe and Debbie Greninger served as witnesses. The candidates appear on the ballot in the following order: Chris Scheck (incumbent), Juliann Pearson (incumbent), Susan R. Stibal (incumbent), Brenda Vishanoff (incumbent) Karina Villa and Antonio Villa Jr.

              Community High School District 94 has four four-year positions open for the Board of Education. Candidates filing were Gary Saake (incumbent), Rich Nagel (incumbent), Christy Lauf, Dirk Gunderson (incumbent), Mike Wheeland and Renee Yackey.

              In Benjamin School District 25, there are four four-year positions open and one unexpired two-year term on the Board of Education. Those filing for the four-year terms were Melissa West, Jack Buscemi (incumbent), Vincent Engstrom, Anna Taylor and Dennis H. Peterson. Jodi Krause (incumbent) filed for the unexpired two-year term. Since West and Buscemi filed simultaneously, there is a lottery for placement on the ballot at 9:00 a.m. on January 2, 2013.

              For the Board of Education of St. Charles Community Unit District 303 there are four four-year positions open. Filing were incumbents Jim Gaffney, Steve Spurling, Mike Vyzral and Corrine Pierog. Others were Jim Conro, Edward McNally, Nancy Muzzey and Richard Leidig.

              There are two six-year terms open for the Board of Trustees at College of DuPage. Those filing are incumbents David Carlin and Joseph C. Wozniak, plus Ed Austin, Dan Daily, Frank Flores Jr., Katharine Hamilton, Mike Lanners, Judith Pokorny and Amanda Ward.


              The negotiating teams of the West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education and the Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago scheduled meetings to resume talks with a federal mediator Thursday and Friday, January 3 and 4, 2013. The major unresolved contractual issues are healthcare costs and salary increases.

              The ETWAC delivered an intent to strike notice to the district Friday, December 21, 2012. This set in motion a 10-day notice period after which teachers are legally permitted to strike, which means teachers could strike Monday, January 7, 2013, the first day of school after winter break. However, the scheduled sessions could deter strike action until a scheduled ETAWC meeting January 9, 2013.  According to the district press release issued December 21, 2013, “detailed guidelines and procedures will be provided to parents via the district’s emergency notification system, email, regular mail and posted on the district’s website,”

              In the event of a strike, the West Chicago Park District offers childcare for West Chicago Elementary School District 33 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. The times for the two scheduled sessions are from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Wegner School, 1180 Marcella Lane. The cost is $80 for each child per session. The limit is 100 children.  A free breakfast and lunch is provided through the school district food program. Children must bring a water bottle and peanut-free snack each day. Registration is required; no drop-ins are allowed. For further information or to register, call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 or view the website

              The West Chicago Public Library District begins its Winter Reading Program, “The Book Was Better,” Saturday, January 5, 2013. The reference is to a book upon which a movie was based. Although billed as a children’s Kick-Off party, “The Wizard of Oz” is a classic that appeals to all ages. On hand at the event from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. are some of the favorite characters. Activities include crafts and refreshments.

              First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, holds a Hymn Sing during its 10:00 a.m. worship service Sunday, January 6, 2013.

              The last week for free Christmas tree pick up begins Monday, January 7, 2013 on regularly scheduled waste collection days. Trees must be free of all tinsel, garland and ornaments.

              As part of the Adult Education Program of Community High School District 94, the free General Equivalency Development class is from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Registration and classes begin Monday, January 7, 2013 at the high school, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance B. The class prepares students for the GED exam. As the district receives federal and state grants, there is no charge for the class. Call (630) 876-6578 for further information.

              The first in the West Chicago Public Library District series “Great Movies Made from Amazing Books” is at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, January 10, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. The featured film is “The Help,” based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. It is rated PG-13. Registration is not required. For further information, call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

              “South Elgin Advanced Photography Exhibit” is the display during the month of January at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. Students in the high school advanced photography class present works that represent them both technically and conceptually as artists. This is highlighted through their mastery of both traditional darkroom techniques and contemporary digital processes. Alyse Tesche, a new member of Gallery 200 and Elgin South Elgin High School student, coordinated the display with her teacher. The artists’ reception is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, January 10, 2013.

              WeGo Wildcat Special Olympics Club holds the Kwasman Classic at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Bishop Gym at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. Teams are members of the West Chicago Police Department and West Chicago Fire Protection District. Members of the Special Olympics team play with the firefighters and policeman for the first three quarters.  The crowd favorite, WeGo Steppers, perform at half time again this year.

              The event was held for the first time last year featuring the West Chicago Police Department and a small contingent from the Winfield Police Department, explained club president Dave Hempe. It is named after Mayor Mike Kwasman, who passed away April 22, 2012. “He was the driving force and expressed the spirit to get our fledgling club restarted.”

             As the game is the main fundraiser for the club, the charge is one dollar or more as a donation.  “The club is supported by the high school, but not in a financial way. We strive to keep the club affordable to students with Special Needs.”

              West Chicago Elementary School District 33 once again participates in the Scripps Spelling Bees, which take place at the end of January 2013.   Maureen Navadomskis, who organizes the bees, needs one pronouncer and two judges for each of the five spelling bees held at 6:00 p.m. in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. The third grade semi-final is Tuesday, January 22; the fourth grade semi-final is Thursday, January 23; the fifth grade semi-final is Tuesday, January 29; and the sixth, seventh and eighth grade semi-final is Thursday, January 31, 2013. The final bee is Thursday, February 7, 2013.

              Pronouncers receive the official word lists in advance in order to practice reading each word and each alternate pronunciation. They keep the bee moving along and have the responsibility of making certain each student receives a fair chance to hear the words pronounced properly in order to do the best in spelling the word.

              Judges make certain the students are pronouncing the word correctly and listen to the students spell the word, writing down each letter the students say. Then the two judgers confer with each other to determine whether the student spelled the word correctly. It is necessary for judges to read the rules in advance to make certain that they are being followed as closely and fairly as possible. “West Chicago business owners, community members, library, police & fire department staff, we would love to have you come help out and support our kids! ”

              For further information or to volunteer, email Navadomskis at or call (630) 596-3729.

              Wildcat Preschool at Community High School District 94 begins Tuesday, February 26, and ends Wednesday May 29, 2013. The morning sessions are from 8:55 to 10:25 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday. The cost is $60. Afternoon sessions are from 11:20 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. The cost is $190. The preschool is open to children between the ages of two and a half and five, who are close to being potty trained. The children not only learn primary skills, but also enjoy social interaction.

              Students enrolled in Child Development run the program under the supervision of teacher Brittney Bauer in the Family and Consumer Science Division and apply the skills they have learned about the various stages of child development.

              For more information, call Bauer at (630) 876-6377 or email at Applications are available in the administrative office, 326 Joliet Street, entrance H, or on line at

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Robert P. Dierking, who at the age of 82 passed away Tuesday, December 25, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Duncan Miles McLeod, who at the age of 69 passed away Friday, December 28, 2012.

              Laughter and smiles were very much in evidence Saturday, December 22, 2012 at the Neighborhood Food Pantries located in the building behind Crossroads Restoration Church. Through the generous donations of various organizations, there were more than 500 toys distributed. The Jewel Food Stores in West Chicago and St. Charles donated more than 100 holiday meals. Helping Santa (Loren Busted, church elder) were Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda, Ward 1 Alderman Lori Chassee, Melissa Birch and Rosalinda Campos. Also assisting in the merriment of the “organized chaos” were members of the church. On a side note, the church does not charge the pantry rent or for utilities.

              Recipients of Promoting Awareness of Success for the month of December are CJ Gulbro and Brayan Beltran from the Humanities Division, Emelio Estrada and Rocio  Mendoza from the World Languages Division, Anthony Martin and Emily Lawrence from the Physical Development Division, Carolina Padilla and Judith Colunga from the Information & Technology Division, Daniel Stomper and Janell Castro from the Language Arts Division, Isaac Rocha and Odette Benitez from the Math & Science Division, Aaron Umberger and Erik Santana from the Special Education Division and  Jessica Lopez, Omar Montoya and Jose Alvarez from Student Services. These students, nominated by the teachers from the different divisions, demonstrate excellence in the areas of learning, living and/or leadership.

              After five years of research, Wheaton Academy implements its 1:1 Technology Initiative beginning in the 2013-14 academic year. During the past five years, teachers received increased technology training and added computers for student use.  The school is now at a 3:1 student-to-device ratio.

              The cost of the program is more feasible than it was just a couple of years ago. With the decreasing prices of computer devices the academy can implement the Initiative through charging parents a yearly fee of $200. This covers insurance, tech support, applications, year-round use of the device and training for both students and parents.

              WA Principal Steve Bult said, “The number one reason we are implementing the 1:1 initiative is that we desire to make learning an even more relevant experience for our students. They are living in a very technological age, and we want them to be prepared for that, not just in their ability to use technology, but to use it well.”

              Shining Light NFP received an anonymous $5,000 matching grant. The not-for-profit organization empowers women and families through education and outreach. Persons wanting to donate monies to help match funds can either go to the website or mail to Shining Light NFP, 111 Fremont Street, West Chicago, IL 60185.

              At the Monday, December 17, 2012 meeting, City Council approved the 2013 Annual Budget. City Administrator Michael Guttman said, “The budget totals $45,841,600, which is a decrease of 13.26 percent as compared to the 2012 budget, as amended and excluding the debt service funds; specifically the General Fund reflects a decrease of 4.95 percent compared to the 2012 budget, as amended.” City Treasurer Don Earley said, “There are no tax increases and no new fees.  We have not increased the number of employees and still provide the same services to the residents.”

              Also approved was the 2012 Property Tax Levy of $3,424,000 for General Corporate Purposes. Although there is no increase over the prior year, “the estimated 2012 tax rate is estimated to slightly increase by approximately $.0444,” according to the item summary. “The final resulting tax rate has a direct correlation to the final equalized assessed valuation for Wayne and Winfield townships, and as a result may vary slightly from the projected rate of .5455.” Also included in the summary were projections reported by the two townships. “Wayne Township is projecting a 7.57 percent decrease in assessed value and $114,180 additional assessed value in new construction. Winfield Township has reported a 9.51 percent decrease in assessed value and $2,686,730 additional assessed value in new construction.”

              Council approved a first amendment to the economic incentive agreement with Haggerty Ford. The agreement approved in 2007 said the City would rebate 75 percent of the general sales tax, up to $1 million to reimburse the company for capital expenses incurred with upgrading the old Schoenthaler’s Buick dealership to Ford’s standards and build a body shop. According to the item summary, the upgraded building is complete at a cost of about $752,000, leaving only $248,000 for the body shop. The estimated cost of the body shop is $1,170,000, leaving a $900,000 gap. The Haggerty family requested the City increase the incentive gap on the original agreement to $1.9 million. With the agreement that additional assistance is warranted, the City retains a larger percentage of the existing sales tax beginning in 2016; it was 25 percent. The agreement also includes that the company provide a discount on non-warranty repair and body shop work, which the City’s contract mechanics cannot perform. It also was noted that Haggerty Ford’s sales are outperforming the original projection, “such that instead of the initial determination that it would take 10 to 11 years to rebate the $1 million and the City keep 100 percent of the sales tax collected, it now looks like such could be done in seven to eight years.”

              Council approved a contract with Operations Management International, Inc. for the management of the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant during the fiscal years 2013 through 2017, for a 2013 fiscal year amount not to exceed $2,700,000. The City privatized its Water Treatment Plant operations in 2008 with Council approving a five-year contract with OMI to perform various tasks and duties, including, but not limited to management of the plant.

              Remember to support our local businesses as they contribute to our community not only through taxes, but also with in-kind and monetary donations to churches, clubs, organizations and schools. For news on local businesses, read my monthly column, “Business Highlights,” at

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