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Around and About in West Chicago - 17 Jan 2012

Around and About

  • Healthy Aging Seniors Program

  • West Chicago Garden Club

  • West Chicago Recycling Program of Holiday Lights

  • Winter Wonderland Party

  • ProActive Kids

              The City of West Chicago is seeking a qualified developer or other qualified party to rehabilitate the historic property at 151 West Washington Street, for retail, restaurant, commercial, office or cultural uses. The 1869 structure, known as the Joel Wiant house, is one of the best examples of Second Empire architecture in DuPage County and is listed in two historic surveys. It is located in the West Washington Street Redevelopment Project and the Turner Junction Historic District.

              The City’s Redevelopment Project area includes approximately 14 acres on the west side of downtown West Chicago that the city has acquired with plans for a new City Hall, new buildings for retail and commercial uses, plus off-street parking.  The historic district comprises Washington Street from the railroad tracks to Arbor Avenue; west side of Arbor to McConnell Street; Fremont Street from Main Street to McConnell; south side of McConnell; North Aurora Street; Main Street to Center Street; Turner Court; Galena Street from Main Street to High Street; and Center Street from Main to High Street.

              City Council approved the purchase of the building for $260,000 with an 11-1 vote at its October 2, 2011 meeting. Staff was directed to find a developer in six months. The City sought a qualified developer and extended the deadline for the RFQ to February 29, 2012. None were able to meet the RFQ requirements. The City then requested Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition of the building from the West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission.  COA’s are required for a landmark structure or landmark site located in an historic district. At its September 10, 2012 meeting, the Commission unanimously denied the request. A letter was sent to the City notifying them of the denial and the reasons for so doing. The City, as the applicant, had the choice to amend the original COA or request a public hearing. The City opted for a public hearing, which was held December 4, 2012. At the hearing, the City requested a continuance until Tuesday, April 16. The Commission agreed to this. The City also agreed to the installation of a protective tarp to shield the exposed parts of the roof from the environment and to issue a new RFQ by January 4, 2013.

              The RFQ, different from the previous one, can be viewed on the city’s website, or is available from the Community Development Department in City Hall, 475 Main Street. The statements of qualifications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, 2013. For further information, call John Said, Director of Community Development, at (630) 293-2200 extension 140, or email

              A group of citizens interested in preserving the historic structure has a website, It gives more information on the history of the building, the meetings and hearings.


              Members of the West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education will be available to meet with parents and community members from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 16, and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 17, 2013 in the meeting room at West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. They will answer questions, provide details and consider feedback regarding the current teacher negotiations. No presentations are planned. Persons also can submit questions via email to board members. The e-mail addresses are available on the district’s website,

              At the Thursday, January 10, 2013 West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education meeting, board president Chris Scheck said the board intended to implement its last contract offer to the Elementary Teachers Association of West Chicago unless a resolution between the two sides is reached in the next six weeks. Scheck explained  “For the implementation over impasse, the board directed Dr. Kathy Wolfe (Interim Superintendent) to send a letter to ETWAC letting them know we will vote on February 21 to implement the board’s last best offer.” The last offer of the board is on the district website. The major unresolved contractual issues are healthcare and salaries. The negotiating teams met January 3, 4 and 9, 2013 with a primary focus on healthcare, and did not come to a consensus.  No meetings have been scheduled to date. “The board hopes to continue discussion with the union, but no date has been set.”

              The two teams have been in negotiations for about 15 months. The board declared an impasse December 3, 2012. The ETAWC delivered an intent to strike December 21, 2012. Thus a walkout still is possible.

              Also at the meeting, board member John Haffner tendered his resignation. He was part of the negotiating team, more as an observer than an active participant. “He wanted to see how this worked. Dave (Barclay) and I are the principal negotiators.” He was hired as Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations for the District to replace Dr. Kathy Wolf, who entered her intent to retire before Superintendent Dr. Ed Leman suffered his massive stroke October 10, 2012, at which time the board named her interim superintendent. The opening was posted on the district’s website. Since it is “impossible” for Dr. Wolfe to handle both positions, the board opted to fill the assistant superintendent position now. “A plus to this is she will be able to offer some on-the-job training to John. Usually the new person hired assumes the position in July,” said Scheck. “He is very qualified for this position.” Persons can apply for this two-year unexpired term. “The board hopes to conduct interviews with candidates at the February 7 meeting.”

              Updates on negotiations or the possible teacher’s strike are available on the district website.

              Local Music night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2013 in Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are Keith Peters, Crystal Michels and Christian Beardsley.

              Peters is a spiritual Formation Guide of Fellowship at Faith Lutheran Church in McHenry. He believes the banjo is the greatest instrument ever made, which comes across as he plays bluegrass, “Iron and Wine” and “They Might Be Giants.”

              Beardsley is from St. Charles, plays the guitar and sings some of his original music.

              Open mic is at 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

              Leeina and Les Smith celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary, Saturday, January 19, 2013.

              Paul and Eileen Woodward celebrate their 62nd Wedding Anniversary, Sunday, January 20, 2013.

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services intergenerational event is from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday, January 21, 2013 at Wayne Township, 27W031 North Avenue. During the event, “Crochet Your Own Way,” senior citizens and youth share in teaching crochet.

              Also as part of its Healthy Aging Seniors program, WAYS presents the seminar, “Nutrition for Seniors,” from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Monday, January 28, 2013. The charge is two dollars. Reservations are required by Monday, January 21, 2013 and may be made by calling (630) 231-1776.

              “Mini Masterpieces” is the West Chicago Public Library District program at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Presenting the program is artist and teacher Christine Thornton. Persons can learn or improve their drawing skills by copying master artists throughout art history. Thornton begins with a presentation of the different categories of art: still life, portrait, landscape and abstract.  She then demonstrates how to begin a drawing. Having a choice of more than 150 reproductions, participants create their own small scale “Mini Masterpiece” in colored pencil. Materials are supplied.

              Thornton was a school art teacher and now is the owner of Art Studio, where she teaches art to children. She was the illustrator for “Heading to the Wedding,” a full-color 32 page picture book, written by Sara Shacter and published by Red Rock.

              Due to the class-size limit, registration is required. Call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4.

              Evelyn Canabal, West Chicago resident and owner of Professional Development Services, is the featured speaker at the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce luncheon, “It’s a Bold New Year!” It takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thursday, January 24, 2013 at Morgan’s Charhouse, 27W150 Roosevelt Road in Winfield. Canabal is well known for her dynamic and positive presentations. The charge is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. To make a reservation, call the Chamber office at (630) 231-3003.

              The West Chicago Garden Club meets Thursday, January 24, 2013 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Social time is at 6:45 p.m., brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and the program on pioneer gardens at 7:15 p.m. The speaker, Nancy Shumm-Burgess discusses pioneer women and their knowledge of gardens and flowers, including medicinal uses. She is a writer/photographer/lecturer on regional history. Her articles have been featured in the “Chicago Tribune” and she has been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Shumm-Burgess has presented programs on barns, wildflowers, local history and pioneers since 1997. She is the author of “Wisconsin Barns.”

              The Community High School District 94 Dance Production Performance is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, and Saturday, January 26, 2013 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.

              The last day for the City of West Chicago recycling program of holiday lights and extension cords is 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.

              With an emphasis on art and fun for a Girls’ Night Out, West Chicago artist Britta Renwick teaches three classes on basic jewelry making, “Be Creative and Feel Beautiful.”  Designs incorporate the latest styles as seen in Switzerland during the summer of 2012. The first class, Stretch Bead Bracelet, is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 25, 2013 at Galley 200, 200 Main Street. The charge is $20 and includes all supplies. To add to the enjoyment, participants can accompany Renwick to one of the local restaurants after the class to socialize and show off their new jewelry. To register, call the Gallery at (630) 293-9550.

              Shining Light and Children of Mary host a Winter Wonderland party from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, January 27, 2013 at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 1415 Lies Road in Carol Stream. The event includes dinner, entertainment, silent auction, 50/50 raffle and children’s activities.  Proceeds benefit Shining Light and Children of Mary. Shining light is a not-for-profit organization that provides educational and outreach services to families and individuals in the West Chicago area. Children of Mary is a special needs adult/teen group under the Diocese of Joliet. For further information, call Shining Light director Debbie Barnes at (630) 788-6382.

              ProActive Kids offers a free program for children ages eight to 14, who struggle with unhealthy weight. The eight-week program runs from Monday, January 28, through Friday, March 22, 2013 at New Life Bilingual Church, 464 Ann Street. All classes are taught in English. The executive director is Nicole Lynn Klinkhamer.

              The classes for children only are from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. During these sessions, a professional trainer teaches fitness exercises for forty-five minutes. The second part of the class is on lifestyle, covering such topics as body image and communication.

              Friday classes are from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and are for the families. These focus on fitness, lifestyle and nutrition. A nutritionist discusses various aspects of diet and healthy eating.

              For further information or to register, call (630) 681-1558 or email or visit the website

              Silvia, whose daughter attended the fall session, said there were many benefits to the PAK program. “My daughter has more confidence in herself than ever before. I am so happy PAK did that for her.  She now can talk more freely with others.” Prior to the classes, she was quiet and did not participate.  “My daughter likes the lifestyle part the best. She did get to know everyone in her group. Although she was one of the youngest there, she really was able to interact with the rest of her class. ”

              Silvia added, “As for the rest of the family, we have to say the fitness and nutrition classes were good. We had fun with the rest of the families in PAK and seeing everyone do their exercises. The kids showed the families what they had been working on during the week.” She received much good information during the nutrition part of the class. “I personally learned a lot about how reading the labels makes a big difference in our diet and the kinds of snacks that were a bad choice for us. PAK has been a great help to our family. We still have a lot to learn and accomplish, but with the help of our friends in PAK, I know we will reach our goal.” Silvia said, “It was a challenge at first to incorporate the fitness and nutrition at home. We had a totally different way of doing things and eating too! Now fitness is one of our routines and we have been more careful about what goes on our plates.”

              The mission of PAK, a not-for-profit organization, is for the advancement of child health and the reversal of the obesity trend, working in one community at a time. In addition to the West Chicago site, the organization has sites in Wheaton and Woodridge. The sites are sponsored through Forward DuPage, which received a grant through the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families Initiative from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

              The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission sponsors its Sixth Annual Community Banner Project Competition. The theme is “A Question of Balance.” The contest is open to artists with a West Chicago connection, either through residence, work or school, or currently living in the Chicagoland area.

              The artwork may be any media with no limitation to technique or subject matter. An independent juror will select 10 pieces of artwork. Each winning design is reproduced and featured in the 2013 West Chicago Banner Exhibition from May to September. All entries are due by Friday, February 1, 2013. Instruction sheets are available at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, or online at

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Fernando “Fred” J. Ianno, who at the age of 65 passed away Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

              With the passage of the referendum for the construction of a recreation center in Reed-Keppler Park, the West Chicago Park District has two major focuses at this time. Executive Director Gary Major said, “We are finalizing the design and program for the building and locating the exact location at the park.” The architecture will complement the park setting. “We are forecasting an August 1 groundbreaking. This could be altered based on the time to produce construction documents, but it will be close to this date.” This year the building of the center will have no effect on Railroad Days, “except Reed’s Place may be gone. Next year, it should not affect Railroad Days, but it may affect traffic flows in the park.”

              At Manville Oaks Park, the trail is 90 percent complete. “We are waiting for some interpretive signage and traffic bollards.”

              At this time, “Easton Park is going through a repurposing exercise, but the facility will be demolished at some point.”

              David Sabathne, CEO/President of the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, recently graduated and received recognition from the Institute for Organization Management program. This signifies his completion of 96 hours of course instruction in not-for-profit management.

              IOM is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and fosters individual growth through interactive learning and networking opportunities. Since its commencement in 1921, the Institute program has educated tens of thousands of association, chamber and other not-for-profit leaders in how to build stronger organizations, better serve their members and become strong business advocates.

              Reverend Sue Ebersold is the designated pastor at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ. This position is a new designation within the Fox Valley Conference.  Working part time, Ebersold completes interim tasks for one year and once this time period is over, she, the church council and conference minister meet to discuss whether the pastor should be called the “settled pastor.”

              Ebersold is not new to the congregation as she served as interim pastor prior to Reverend Denise Griebler serving as pastor. She is a graduate of University of Illinois receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and a minor in Women’s Studies. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston.

              Knights of Columbus, Father Gaffney Council 1555, of St. Mary’s parish sponsored a “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest, which was open to religious education students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Prizes were $10 to first place winners and $5 to second and third place winners.

              In the kindergarten age group Stephanie Alfaro won first place and Fabian Garfias won second place.  In the first and second grade category, Daniel Maldonado won first place, Jesse Sanchez won Second place and Salette Alfaro won third place.  For third and fourth graders, Gabriel Lamperis won first place, Jose A. Guerrero won second place and Jennifer Sanchez won third place.  In the fifth and sixth grade category, Ventura Garcia won first place, Nallely Maldonado won second place and Jennifer Sanchez won third place.  In the seventh and eighth grade category, Daniel Lamperis won first place, Yareli Reyes won second place and Emily Pietura won third place. The first place winners compete in the Joliet Diocese contest.

              Newly elected officers of United Methodist Congregational Women at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago are Roberta Kent and Karen Sanders, co-presidents; Becky Hall, secretary; Cathy Linegar, treasurer; Wendy Watts, vice president for program resources; Judy MacNerland, Lions Club lunch coordinator; and Erlaine Born, chair of committee on nominations.

              DuPage Airport Authority abated its 2013 tax levy by $500,000, bringing the total abatement since 2010 to $2.5 million. According to the press release, “In 1993, the airport levied $20 million in property taxes. This latest abatement lowers the Authority’s 2013 levy from $5.9 to $5.4 million.” The Authority “reduced its reliance on property taxes because of its success in generating increased revenues through hangar leasing, fuel sales and other airport-related activities.” Also, the Authority saved funds with the institution of solid procurement policies, elimination of middle management positions and implementation of rigorous cost controls. “The airport now produces a profit and is debt free.”

              A photograph by West Chicago resident Gib Van Dinen is featured in the Neighborhood section of the Sunday, January 13, 2013 issue of the “Daily Herald.” It is a picture of the festive scene through a water glass on the dining room table following Christmas dinner.

              The Kwasman Classic, sponsored by the WeGo Wildcat Special Olympics Club, was exciting from tip-off to the five-second countdown at the end. The score was West Chicago Police Department-33 and West Chicago Fire Protection District-31. The members of the Special Olympics team played with the policemen and firefighters for the first three quarters and the action was fast. The audience cheered equally for both teams - no favorites. The WeGo Steppers provided the half time entertainment. It is easy to see why they were first place winners in the DuPage Valley Conference Spirit Spectacular last year. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda was the honorary coach for the Police Department and Fire Deputy Chief Dennis Keefe was the honorary coach for the Fire District. Pineda said, “It was an absolute blast. I enjoyed being on the court with the kids and thank them for allowing me to participate as an honorary coach.”  Through the various fundraising activities of gate donations of one dollar or more, the 50/50 raffle and silent auction, the club raised more than $800.

              Another success for the club came about at the District Tournament Sunday, January 13, 2013. They won a silver medal.

              There was an objection to the petition filed by Debbie Culbertson for the four-year unexpired West Chicago Park District Commissioner in the April 9, 2013 Consolidated Election. The objection hearing was at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 12, 2013. The objection was sustained and her name will not appear on the ballot.

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