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Around and About in West Chicago - 29 Dec 2009

Around and About
  • School Christmas Projects
  • New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Church Services.
  • New Year’s Wienie Roast Party
  • St. Andrew Lutheran Church Occupancy Permit

        Through the truly giving spirit of staff and students at our local schools, many families and individuals had a brighter holiday season.
        Currier School staff participated in a “giving tree” for needy families in the school. The students had a penny drive for raising money to bake cookies for the fire and police departments plus making cards for the firefighters and police officers.
        In lieu of annual holiday staff party, Early Learning Center staff opted to donate the celebration money to needy families and staff members.
        Gary School also had a “giving tree” with staff buying gifts for either a child or a family.
        Students and staff at Indian Knoll School collected items for the hat and mitten tree, toys for the Humanitarian Service Project and books, magazines, and personal hygiene articles for overseas service personnel.
        After reading an article in “Home and Garden” magazine about Support Trees for the Troops, staff at Pioneer School participated in this project. The donation of $30 provides as Christmas tree for military families separated for the holidays. A $50 donation buys a tree and an ornament that says, “Thanks for Serving Our Country.” The staff donated enough to purchase at least four trees. Three first grade teachers conducted a collection of change to buy something for children in need through World Vision. Through their donation of $174, they bought one goat, 2 chicks, five fruit trees, tow soccer balls, two ducks and seeds. World Vision is a not-for-profit charity organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
        The staff at Turner School adopted several families, giving them clothing. Also they did a collection for a former student who recently lost her mother.
        Wegner School Student Council organized a “Toys for Tots” collection. Staff purchased gifts for students in need.
        West Chicago Middle School staff purchased gift cards for families in need. Students helped collect canned good for local food pantries.
        Staff at West Chicago Elementary School District 33 provided needs and gifts through the Reach for the Moon Foundation. The not-for-profit organization assists children primarily in Illinois and its focus is to help provide “Basic Needs” for children.
        The students at Community High School District 94 were involved in many projects of giving.
        WeGo Beyond Committee, comprised of staff members that go beyond the classroom to search for ways to have the school involved in the community, tackled ways to assist Feeding Northwest DuPage food pantry in West Chicago. Through the food drive, organized by Student Council, SkillsUSA, Key Club, Art Club and Smith Family Foundation, the food pantry received more than 1,500 items, plus $2,025 in monetary donations.  When Ken Walker, site manger at the food pantry, mentioned he liked to give gifts to families using the facility, WeGo Sharks collected hundreds of toys. [High school senior and editor–in-chief of the school newspaper “Wildcat Chronicles” wrote a story and took photographs of students delivering items to the food pantry and also sent me a copy. To view the article in its entirety and photographs, visit the website posted December 21, 2009.]
        Showing their support for the troops, students compiled more than 60 special “WeGo Care Packages,” for soldiers who graduated from the high school.  Advisory class students collected items such as beef jerky, hard candy, books, socks and magazines. Community Leadership class students solicited donations from businesses and community groups to sponsor the cost of shipping the care packages. Various organizations p
        Also Community Leaderships classes sponsored a “change drive” and toiletry collection to benefit the local P.A.D.S. shelter at First United Methodist and First Congregational Church.
        The school is in its fifth year of “WeGo to Africa Project” to help students obtain an education in war torn Angola. Thus far students have raised more than $1,000 to build another school in Angola.
        Members of the high school Future Business Leaders of America participate in the Winfield Township “Adopt-A-Family” program. They purchased and wrapped the gifts for each of the six members of their “adopted family,” plus provided a gift certificate from a local grocery store for a holiday meal.    
        With some of the money received from LifeSource for the blood drive held in November, the Key Club purchased gift for children and donated these to Humanitarian Service Project to distribute. Members also helped the “WeGo Beyond” committee to collect paper products and lunch change to give to Feeding Northwest DuPage food pantry in West Chicago They sang carols and gave handmade holiday decorations to residents of Franciscan Courts. Also a smaller segment of the members participated in “Feeding My Starving Children,” packing foods to be shipped to Haiti.”    
        In School District 25, included among the giving projects of students at Evergreen Elementary School were the collection of toys for the Carol Stream Fire Protection District, collection of non-perishable foods for Humanitarian Service Project and donation of coats and boots for children to the Jewel Grocery program.  Students entertained residents of Brighton Garden Assisted Living Center with songs of the seasons, plus giving each a small gift.
        Benjamin Middle School students held a toy drive for Humanitarian Service Project. Residents of Wood Glenn Nursing Home in West Chicago and Rosewood Nursing Home in St. Charles enjoyed the musical entertainment of the students.
        St. Mary’s Parish School the students and families continued the annual Advent Angels program, which has been in existence for more than 10 years. Receiving a wish list, each school family purchases a gift to give one of the residents of West Chicago Terrace and personally delivers the gifts to each resident. Brightening the gift-sharing occasion, residents enjoy the Christmas carols sung by the students.
        At Wheaton Academy, the National Honor Society organized a food drive to benefit Northern Illinois Food Bank. The proceeds from the annual Christmas Coffeehouse, sponsored by Literary Journal and International Café, went to the school’s Moyo project, a high school in Zambia. Students also were able to purchase Christmas gifts from Ten Thousand Villages, a not-for-profit organization that assists Third World artisans in selling their work in the United States, and thereby giving them the means to support their families. Focusing on the theme, “Christmas Around the World,” there were performances by international students from Zambia, Indonesia and India.


        Some of the local churches are holding New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day services.
        Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1S240 Joliet Street, New Year’s Eve service is at 5:00 p.m.
        At St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 North Oakwood Avenue, the New Year’s Eve Mass in English is at 5:00 p.m. and the Spanish Mass is at 6:30 p.m. The New Year’s Day English Mass is at 8:00 a.m. and the Spanish Mass is at 10:30 a.m.
        Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, New Year’s Eve service is at 7:00 p.m.

        The City holiday tree collection takes place on regularly scheduled garbage pick up days beginning Saturday January 2, and ending Friday, January 15, 2010. Stickers are not required, but trees must be free of tinsel, garland and ornaments.

        West Chicago Park District Senior Citizen social gathering is the annual New Year’s Wienie Roast Party at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, January 14, 2010 at Easton Park, 840 East Washington Street. Wieners are supplied and guests are asked to bring a dish to share and a complete place setting. There is no charge for the fun event. Reservations are due by Monday, January 4, and may be made by calling the district office at 630 231-9474.

        Western DuPage Women in Business is hosting a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Thursday, January 21, 2010 at Cantigny Golf Course, 1S151 Winfield Road. The speaker is Jennifer Weggeman, certified Compass coach. The charge is $25 for Members and $35 for non-members. Reservations are due by Thursday, January 7 and may be made by calling the chamber office at 630 231-3003.

        “Super-couponing with Jill Cataldo” is the West Chicago Public Library District meeting at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 13, 2010. She discusses ways to maximize grocery savings and purchase hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for just pennies. To make a reservation, call the library adult services department at 630 231-1552, Extension 4.

        Summer weather is in the forecast, although a little distantly, and this is brought to light as Turtle Splash Water Park season tickets go on sale Monday, January 4, 2010 at the West Chicago Park District office, 157 West Washington Street.

        Condolences to the family of Nancy Ann Todd, age 70, who passed away Monday, December 21, 2009.

        Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Nicholas K. Brown, who recently passed away at the age of 43.

        Condolences to the family of Bruce Marlowe, age 69, who passed away Tuesday, December 22, 2009. He was a lifelong resident of West Chicago.

        Ice and snow during the holidays created some challenges for persons traveling far and near. Thus, kudos to West Chicago’s salt and snow plow crews.  They worked diligently and for long periods of time to keep the streets as clear as possible.

        St. Andrew Lutheran Church received an early present with the occupancy permit for its sanctuary by the City Wednesday, December 23, 2009. Thus, the congregation was able to celebrate its Christmas Eve services in their church at 155 North Prince instead of Indian Knoll School. The church has been holing services in the school since a fire destroyed most of the church structure in September five years ago.

        Working with Operation Warm, West Chicago Rotary Club provided new coats to children in the community, 88 went to School in West Chicago Elementary School District and St. Mary’s Parish School and the remaining 34 went to Wayne Township, which was participating in a coat drive. With a matching grant, the club had a total of $2.100 to purchase the coats from Operation Warm. This not-for-profit organization purchases coats of various sizes, styles and colors from manufactures and then distributes them to children in need. The involvement of local organizations helps to ensure the needs of children in the community are met. Helping deliver the coats were West Chicago Rotary Club President Maria Camis, her children and some of their friends.

        West Chicago Artist Fredericka Howard was featured in the Sunday, December 20, 200 issue of ”Daily Herald.” The article highlighted her contributions to the promotion of art and artists in the West Chicago community and the honor of being the recipient of a 2009 Studs Terkel Humanitarian Service Award from the Illinois Humanities Council.

        West Chicago Public Library District had a 65 percent increase in donations for its Holiday Giving Tree. This year $119 was collected and in 2008 the amount was $65. Monies collected are used to purchase books for Project Hope, a West Chicago Elementary School District 33 preschool literacy initiative to put books in the hands of at-risk children.

        At the Monday, December 21, 2009 meeting City Council approved the $50 million budget covering the time period from January 1 through December 31, 2010. City Treasurer Don Earley explained the budget is a financial plan and guide, forecasting revenue and expenditures. “The City departments and staff continue to meet the challenges of this difficult economic period and all have a wonderful attitude. We continue to offer high level services and not laying off persons. As many of the surrounding communities are forced to do.” Reasons for having a good fiscal position include a reduction in operational costs, meeting reserve requirements, and identification and implementation of new revenues. Earley said.  “Also there have been no new taxes.”

        Although there was much publicity about the snafu on the Polar Express event in Glen Ellyn, the Polar Express rides sponsored by the West Chicago Park District were successful and fun for all involved. Superintendent of Recreation Jodi Krause said, ”The Metra crew was fantastic, rally getting into the spirit of the event.”


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