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Around and About in West Chicago - 31 Jan 2013

Around and About

  • America in Bloom

  • Scripps Spelling Bee

  • “Baby Shower for Haiti”

  • Municipal Aggregation Hearings

  • We Grow Dreams Greenhouse - Eighth Annual Bowlathon

              With his dedication and knowledge of horticulture, it is no wonder Jesse Felix, West Chicago Park District Superintendent of Parks, is the cultivating force of the community’s participation in the America in Bloom program. This is a national awards program that provides a framework for improving the quality of life in a community. Felix said, “It helps build community pride. It is more than a one-time competition, but one that continually evolves.” He added, “We are registered in the 25,000 to 50,000 population category,” with the boundaries including both the City of West Chicago and West Chicago Park District.

              He explained there are eight criteria used during the judging. These are tidiness, environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage, urban forestry, landscape, floral displays, and turf and groundcover.  “We are putting together a committee that will cover these areas.” This involves the participation of businesses, churches, clubs, homeowners’ associations, organizations and schools. “Some friendly competition could be involved. The more that participate the better.”

              Fundraising is part of the program, especially to cover costs when judging takes place. Housing and meal provisions are needed for the judges, when here in either July or August.

              The growth of community involvement leads to positive outcomes. To volunteer to serve on the committee or for more information, call Felix at (630) 293-6928.

              America in Bloom promotes nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants and trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.  The organization currently has 199 cities in 40 states.


              Participating in the Scripps Spelling Bee for the third year, West Chicago Elementary School District 33 is in the midst of its semi-finals. The one for fifth graders was Tuesday, January 29, 2013 and the one for sixth, seventh and eighth graders is Thursday, January 31, 2013. The District Final Bee is Thursday, February 7, 2013. All take place at 6:00 p.m. in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. Spectators are welcome to attend.

              The semi-final for third graders was Tuesday, January 23, 2013. The seven participating students were Rithvick Balantrapu from Wegner, Roshni Balantrapu from Wegner, Asa Kuharich from Gary, Swapna George from Wegner, Diego Mackintos from Currier, Favian Arroyo from Turner and Dario Strezo from Wegner. Winning the semi-final bee was Rithvick Balantrapu, who successfully spelled in seven rounds. His championship word was “conch.” Others qualifying for participation in the Final Bee contestants are Swapna George, Rithvik Balantrapu, Roshni Balantrapu, Asa Kuharich and Diego Mackintos.

              The semi-final for fourth graders was Thursday, January 24, 2013. Participants were Lily Cuka from Indian Knoll, Lola Browning from Turner, Chloe Johnson from Turner, Jaelynn Abdullah from Turner, Calista Connard from Turner and Madeline Mull from Indian Knoll. In the 10th round, Lola Browning won with the correct spelling of the word “suitable.” All the contestants qualified for the Final Bee.

              The top two spellers from the final bee are invited to participate in the DuPage Regional Bee with the opportunity to continue on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  For further information, email Maureen Navadomskis at

              The negotiating teams of West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education and Elementary Teachers of Association of West Chicago are continuing talks. One was held Tuesday, January 29, and the other is scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2013.  The last meeting between the two was January 9, 2013. The ETWAC issued an intent to strike on Friday, December 21, 2012. At its Thursday, January 10, 2013 meeting, the board said it intended to implement its last contract offer at its February 21, 2013 meeting. The major issues focus on salaries and healthcare.

              In its second of three exhibits aligned with schools, the display for the month of February at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, is an exhibition from the Department of Visual Arts at Blackburn College in Carlinville. The ten artists represent sophomore through senior art majors and faculty. Their artwork highlights various genres such as photography, drawing, painting, digital media and ceramics. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, February 1, 2013 and includes entertainment and the serving of light refreshments.

              The local connection with the college is West Chicago resident and well-known artist Fredericka Howard. She received her Associate of Arts degree from the college in 1954. “Not only do persons have the opportunity to view the artwork of the seven students and three professors, but it allows the college a venue to showcase its art department in the Chicago area,” said Howard.

              Late Night at the Museum also takes place at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, in conjunction with the reception hours.

              The United Methodist and Congregational Women hold a “Baby Shower for Haiti” at its Saturday, February 2, 2013 meeting at First United Methodist Church building, 643 East Washington Street. The light breakfast is served at 9:30 a.m. followed by a video on Haiti, “Perspectives on a Living History.” Donations needed for the layette kits are receiving blankets, cloth diapers, diaper pins with the plastic safety caps, baby wash cloths, Onesies, layette nightgowns, infant sleepers and baby sweaters that are open in front. All items must be new. The meeting is open to all women in the community. Call the church office at (630) 231-3344 for more information.

              The selected film for the West Chicago Public Library District Focus Movie Discussion Group is quite appropriate for the date of Saturday, February 2, 2013. The featured 1993 movie is “Groundhog Day,” directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliot. The showing of the PG-rated comedy film is at 1:00 p.m. in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Following the screening, attendees discuss the film. Light refreshments are served. To make a reservation, call the Library’s adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4.

              The West Chicago Park District holds free Softball Winter Training Clinics for boys and girls ages 7 to 14 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sundays in the Field House at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance C. The dates for next month are February 3, 17 and 24, 2013. The clinics cover development, fielding, hitting and pitching. No pre-registration or attendance at all sessions is required. For further information, call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474.

              If you are looking for some place to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2013, check out some of the local establishments for their special promotions and activities.

              There are two required public hearings scheduled regarding Municipal Aggregation, which allows the City of West Chicago to bundle residential and small commercial business accounts and to seek bids for a lower cost. The hearings take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday, February 4, and February 18, 2013, prior to City Council meetings. After the passage of the referendum at the General Election Thursday, November 6, 2012, the City has drafted a Plan of Governance and Operations, detailing how the City will administer the program. After the hearings and the Plan of Governance and Operations are adopted, the City will seek bids from electric suppliers and present a contract to the council.  After the awarding of a contract, the selected vendor sends two letters to each account giving them the opportunity to opt out by signing and returning the letter to the vendor.

              Community High School District 94 offers swimming lessons for persons age four and older and at different ability levels. These are six-week sessions with half hour classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Class times are from 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. and from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., beginning February 5 and ending March 21, 2013. The fee is $60 per student. To register or for more information, call either Nick Parry at (630) 876-6296 or email or Nicole Cleveland at (630) 876-6296 or email

              WeGo Together for Kids Family Night, open to all families in West Chicago Elementary School District 33, is Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street, Door 5, which is the old main entrance. The theme is “Learning to Make Great Decisions; Respond to your Child’s Social and Emotional Needs with Confidence.” The pasta dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. with families bringing a fruit or vegetable salad to share. Until 7:00 p.m. families play classic board games and visit resource tables.  Then Ruth Cross, the District 33 Social and Emotional Initiative Coach, holds a class to instruct parents how to teach their children to make great decisions. This class is in English. Ivonne Gines, Behavioral Health Community Clinician in the DuPage County Health Department, presents the same class in Spanish. Children work on kindness projects. To make a reservation or for more information, call Sue Cox at (630) 293-6000 or email

              As part of its recognition of Black History Month, the West Chicago Public Library District presents “Concert Oba” at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Professional storyteller Oba William King provides an evening of entertainment with stories, folk tales, songs and music. His program celebrates African-American heritage, demonstrates cultural tradition and encourages cultural diversity by interweaving stories and poetry with rhythm and song. He is the recipient of many awards including the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award in Traditional Folk Arts and the prestigious National Association of Black Storytellers Liars Contest. In 2008, he won the Black Theater Alliance award for best lead male actor for his portrayal of Louie in “Louie and Ophelia at ETA Theatre. He is an Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar. To make a reservation for the event geared for all ages, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4.

              West Chicago City Clerk Nancy Smith is hosting the dinner meeting of the Municipal Clerks of DuPage County Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at Tango Argentina, 147 West Washington Street.

              West Chicago Sister Cities meets Thursday, February 7, 2013 at Pal Joey’s Restaurant, 440 East Roosevelt Road. Dinner and social time is at 6:00 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7:00 p.m. The speaker is Nora Wessels, who teaches German and is the sponsor of the German Club at Community High School District 94. She also facilitates the exchange program between the high school and the Simon-Marius Gymnasium in Guzenhausen, Germany. This year, the high school hosts the German students from mid-March to the first of April.

              The West Chicago Public Library District is the site of two entertaining programs, Thursday, February 7, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street.

              “Bookplates for Lunch” is the program at noon. It highlights Cornelia (Neltnor) Anthony, a prominent woman in the history of West Chicago, and her extensive collection of bookplates, which she donated to the library. Barbara Alvarez, adult services librarian, presents the program with pictures of the bookplates, plus photographs and newspaper articles of the Neltnor/Anthony family, provided courtesy of the West Chicago City Museum. The Anthony home was located at the property on the southwest corner of Route 59 and East Washington Street, where Egg Yolk Café is now. The collection includes those of Charlie Chaplin, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan. Bookplates evolved from simple inscriptions to printed woodcuts attracting world-class artists and illustrators, especially from around 1890 to 1920. Alvarez also introduces the database on the Library’s website, where patrons can view and research the bookplates from their homes. Guests can bring their lunch; the Library provides beverage and dessert.

              The third showing in the West Chicago Public Library District series, “Great Movies Made from Amazing Books” is at 6:00 p.m. The featured film is “The Wizard of Oz,” based on the novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum. The 1939 movie was notable for its use of special effects. Who can ever forget the flying monkeys and the wicked witch of the West? The favorite movie snack of popcorn is served. Registration is not required.

              For information on either of these programs, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4.

              The West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education meeting of Thursday, February 7, 2013 begins at 7:30 p.m., one half hour later than usually scheduled.

              In her second class on jewelry making, “Be Creative and Feel Beautiful,” West Chicago artist Britta Renwick instructs attendees on making a double-strand crimp necklace. The Girls’ Night Out class takes place at 7:00 p.m. Friday, February 8, 2013 at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street, followed by social time at one of the local restaurants. The charge is $20 and includes all supplies. To register, call the Gallery at (630) 293-9550.

              We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center host its Eighth Annual Bowlathon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, February 10, 2013 at Brunswick Zone, 1555 West 75th Street in Woodridge. Persons bowl three games with prizes for various levels of achievement.

              Also there is a Grand Raffle for three prizes. First prize is a one-week stay in the Sea Glass Inn at Palencia, Belize. Second prize is a one-week stay in private home at Bald Head Island, North Carolina. Third prize is a three-day, two-night stay in a two-story villa at Grand Bear Resort in Utica. The ticket price is $10 or six for $50.

              The greenhouse provides job training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. For further information or to register for the Bowlathon and/or purchase tickets, visit the website or call (630) 293-0100.

              The Foundation for Educational Excellence of West Chicago Elementary School District 33 holds its annual Valentine Bowl and Charity Auction Saturday, January 9, 2013 at Bowling Green Sports Center, 243 West Roosevelt Road. Appetizers and charity auction begin at 8:00 p.m. and bowling starts at 9:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per person and includes appetizers, shoes and three games of bowling. There are six persons on each team. Application forms are available at District 33 schools and on the district website For further information, call Scott Fank at (630) 293-5712. Proceeds benefit the foundation and the local school’s Parent Teacher Organizations.

              The West Chicago Park District monthly senior citizen gathering is at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, February 14, 2013 at Easton Park Community Center, 840 East Washington Street. The planned activity is Valentine’s Day Bingo. Guests bring a dish to share and a complete place setting; the district supplies the ham. Reservations are due Thursday, February 7, 2013 and may be made by calling (630) 231-9474.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Eugene Swiech, who at the age of 88 passed away Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Mabel Touhey, who at the age of 87 passed away Sunday, January 27, 2013.

              The Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics sponsors a math competition throughout the schools in the state. It consists of three contests in which students compete as individuals and as teams. Students solve “process/story” problems. Competing in the three contests were students in the Gifted and Talented Education math clusters of West Chicago Elementary School District 33. At the completion, two fourth grade teams, two fifth grade teams and all sixth grade teams finished in the top ten.

              For fourth grade, forty-seven teams competed. The results for District 33 schools are Gary/Currier-7th, Indian Knoll-10th, Wegner 12th, Pioneer-13th and Turner-22nd.

              Fifty-nine teams competed in the fifth grade category. Results for the district are Wegner-3rd, Gary/Currier-6th, Indian Knoll-12th, Pioneer-14th and Turner-21st.

              Out of the 55 teams competing in sixth grade, the district results are Indian Knoll-2nd, Pioneer-7th, Gary/Currier-8th, Turner-9th and Wegner 10th.

              I am sorry to say that Changarro Cucina, owned by Ricardo Santos, has closed its doors. The restaurant, located at 1400 West Roosevelt Road, received great reviews for its Brazilian/Mexican cuisine from the Daily Herald and patrons. Andy Patel, who owns the property, is keeping the site open as a Mexican restaurant. He retained the same cooks.

              Once the proposed merger between Naperville-based Edwards Hospital & Health Services and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare is completed, Pam (Kuhl) Davis, a 1967 graduate of Community High School District 94, will become the CEO of the new health system. She currently holds the position of President/CEO at Edwards. The news release stated the merger has a potential for $1 billion revenue with more than 50 locations across of service area of more than 1.7 million residents. Between the two health systems, there are approximately 7,600 employees and more than 1,680 physicians on staff. The hospitals face a review process with certain aspects of the merger subject to federal and state regulations.  Once approved, the merger could take place mid-2013.

              In memory of two members who passed away, Bernice McFarland and Irene Muilenburg, the West Chicago Garden Club donated “Restoring American Gardens: an Encyclopedia of Heirloom Ornamental Plants” by Denise Wiles Adams and “The Hypertufa How-To Manual” by Claudia F. Brownlie to the West Chicago Public Library District.

              Twenty-seven students from West Chicago Middle school traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration.  Accompanying them were teachers Karen Botkin and Miguel Hernandez and parent Laura Their. The students had reserved spaces on the Capital lawn and in front of the Grant Memorial. They received 12 tickets from Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and 20 tickets from the National Painters Union. They attended the parade and a gala.

              Students also toured and visited memorials, monuments and museums, including Mount Vernon, Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. Josh Bowen and Jessica Meissner laid a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

              At its Monday, January 21, 2013 meeting, City Council passed a resolution extending the lease for a one-year period with the West Chicago Park District for the building at 103 West Washington Street.

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