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Around and About in West Chicago - 21 July 2010

Around and About
  • Becky Koltz, Director of Community Relations for West Chicago School District 33
  • Summer Morning Camp at the City Museum
  • “Annie”
  • West Chicago National Night Out Against Crime and Drugs
  • “The Secret Gardens of the Kruse House”

     It was with mixed emotions Becky Koltz, Director of Community Relations for West Chicago School District 33, submitted her resignation effective Friday, July 30, 2010. “I have enjoyed the people and involvement in education, but I have the offer of a wonderful partnership opportunity to open a licensed in-home care giving business.”

     Although Koltz served as director for 11 years, her involvement in District 33 is much longer. “I served as president of both Lincoln and Gary School PTO’s.” Dr. Ed Leman, district superintendent, described his first encounters with Koltz. “I came to West Chicago 17 years ago as the principal of Gary School. At that time there was a community issue brewing around the closing of Lincoln School.” Koltz was the mother of three school age children attending Lincoln School and “she was actively opposed to the closing of her children’s school. She came to meetings, expressed her views articulately, passionately and respectfully, and ultimately accepted the fact that Lincoln School was sold to District 94.”

     Her children became students at Gary School, which she had attended as a child. Leman said, “True to Becky’s character, she did not let defeat slow her down. She became involved and in no time became PTO president.”

     Noticing her commitment and energy, members of the district board of education recruited her to run for a seat on the board. Upon winning the election, “Becky was a quick study and brought thoughtful and community-wide insight into school board decision making,” stated Leman. Koltz, said, “I was able to see the viewpoints of all involved, wanting the best for the students.” She served on the board for four years.

     Leman said, “During this time of service another of Becky’s assets became very apparent. She knows everybody. In turn, they know and respect her.” Thus, when the district needed to develop its community relations/communications effort, and “the insights Becky could provide into the thinking and culture of West Chicago were invaluable, she was the obvious choice.”

     Koltz developed the district newsletter, “The Link,” into a valuable communication publication, published four to five times a year. She also brought in the auto-dialer telephone system, distributing important messages quickly. Her contribution to the district’s web presence includes the information e-board and key communicators network, which relays messages to West Chicago and media outlets quickly.

     Her involvement in the community encompasses projects within and outside of the district. She worked with the West Chicago Lions Club for the annual teachers’ luncheon and peace banner program at the club’s pancake breakfast. “Becky also has been the right arm of the Foundation for Educational Excellence for District 33,” stated Leman. Her assistance in communication and decision-making has been invaluable for Leman and Dr. John Hennig, the previous district superintendent. She is a member of the high school alumni association. “It is difficult to know the extent and influence of Becky’s help and involvement across this community. She is a treasure,” added Leman.

     To Koltz, the best part of her position was “having the opportunity to know the families in West Chicago. The children are our greatest asset and promise for the future. People are passionate about children.”

     The memories and experiences will remain with Koltz as she prepares for a new experience in her life. Wayne Sills, a local businessman and member of the Community High School Education Foundation, approached her two years ago about the business opportunity. With the knowledge of the approaching district referendum in April 2009, Koltz felt she could not leave the district at that time. Discussions continued and “I made the decision to move forward with this opportunity.”

     The offices of HomeCare Services of DuPage, located in Glen Ellyn and serving persons in DuPage County, suburban Cook County and Eastern Kane County, will open Monday, August 2, 2010. With her mother’s illness, Koltz learned the importance of matching the needs and concerns of the patient and caregiver and of communication. Her work with the district and community highlight the magnitude of people-to-people relationships and understanding


     St. Andrews Golf & Country Club and Pumpkins for A Cure host the Third Annual Golf “Fore” A Cure Friday, July 23, 2010. All golf foursomes are filled. However persons still can purchase dinner tickets, which include the meal, certain name brand beverages, entertainment by Rock n’ Soul Danny Campos, raffles and a live auction featuring Sayre & Jones Auctioneer. Social time begins at 4:00 p.m. and dinner is at 6:00 p.m. The price for the dinner is $40. One of the sponsors of the event is the Sons of the American Legion Post 300. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Call Ron or Michelle at (630) 231-3100 or e-mail to make reservations. The golf course is located at 2241 Route 59.

     West Chicago Sisters Cities Movie Night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2010 at City Hall, 475 Main Street. The movie, Sissi: The Fateful Years of the Empress,” is part three of the trilogy of Elisabeth of Bavaria. Sissi finds the affection of Count Andrasy too intimate and experiences the frustration of court life in Vienna. Persons can enjoy this segment even if they did not see the first two parts. In addition to the historic aspect, the film highlights the scenic vista of the alpine area. Refreshments are served. For further information, call John Hugunin at (630) 231-3311.

     Local Music Night is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2010 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Featured musicians are Keith Peters, Valerie Gordon and Old Toby. Also, there is an open MIC session and refreshments. Gallery 200 is open until 8:00 p.m., giving persons the opportunity to view the artwork of local artists.

     Family Fun Night is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 23, 2010 at Turtle Splash Water Park in Reed-Keppler Park. The free event includes swimming, games and snacks.

     The second Bags Tournament is Sunday, June 25, 2010 at the West Chicago Park District Fitness Station, 103 West Washington Street. There are two players per team, with a 16-team maximum. Times for age 55+ is 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.; age 18 to 29 is 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.; age 13 to 17 is 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.; and age 30 to 54 is 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. To sign up, call the Fitness Station at (630) 293-5620.

     The second Summer Morning Camp at the City Museum, 132 Main Street, is from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 28, 2010. Activities and games, based on the prairie are geared for youths age five to 13. There is no charge for the program, but children are encouraged to bring snacks and a beverage. To make reservations, call the Museum at (630) 231-3376.

     The West Chicago Park District hosts the Midwest National Championships Baseball tournament from Wednesday, July 28, through Saturday, July 31, 2010 at Reed-Keppler Park.

     “Annie” is the West Chicago Park District Community Theater production. Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 29 and 30, and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2010 in the Weyrauch Auditorium at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. Persons viewing the Railroad Days parade saw and heard part of the talented 50-member cast on the Park District float. The director is Jamee Keeney, a sixth grade teacher at Turner School and is co-director of the school’s annual sixth grade musical.

     Speaking ensemble cast members are Chris Simanonis as Mr. Bundles, Payto Gryniewicz as Apple Seller, Ben Skipor as Dog Catcher, Nicholas Amodeo as Assistant Dog Catcher, Maureen Navadomskis as Officer Ward, Jamee Kenney as Star-to-be, Rosemarie Nolazco as Mrs. Pugh, and Sami Lauf as Mrs. Greers. Others are Maureen Navadomskis as Johnson, Chris Simanonis as Wacky, Raven Ringe as Ronnie Boylan, Sami Lauf as Connie Boylan, Zandra Starks as Bonnie Boylan, Lisa Jorstad as Kaltenborn, Rosemarie Nolazco as Ickes, Chris Simanonis as Perkins, Dan Bovey as Hull, and Caitlin Riermaier as Morganthau.

     Orphan ensemble cast members are Natalie West, Marianne Keil, Havanah Frampton, Marissa Bartels, Lexxie Sliger, Josie Kotke, Leah Matalone, Kaitlyn Howard, Annie Navadomskis, Morgan Currigan, Mirari Cadenas, Molly Howard, Clare Cerny, Perrie Gryniewwicz, Mari Hockett, and Zandra Starks. Others are Delaney Ringe, Emily Carroso, Annabella Jorstad, Paloma Alvarez, Alice Fichter, Abigail Lundblad, Emi Hockett, Raven Ringe, Josie Steinbrecher, Samantha Michiels, Jenny Montenegro, Melissa Morales, Sarah Denning, Katie Skifano, Ashley Tijerina, and Anna Fortelka.

     Cast members in the Singing ensemble for non-orphan scenes are Caitlin Riermaier, Caitlin Kiel, Leah Matalone, Nicholas Amodeo, Annie Navadomskis, Morgan Currigan, Payton Gryniewicz, Kaitlyn Howard, Zandra Starks, Annabella Jorstad, Molly Howard, Alice Fitchter, Josie Steinbrecher, Samantha Michiels, Jenny Montenegro, Melissa Morales, and Rachelle Kates. Others are Rich Nagel, Chris Simanonis, Ben Skipor, Sami Lauf, Payton Gryniewicz, Dan Bovey, Rosemarie Nolazco, Chris Simanonis, Zak Kates, Lisa Jorstad, Annabella Jorstad, Raven Ringe, Mari Hockett, Emi Hockett, Sarah Denning, Ashley Tijerina, and Maureen Navadomskis.

     The ticket price is $5 in advance and $7 at door. Tickets are available at the Park District office, 157 West Washington Street.

     Like last year, there are several popular pre-event activities planned for the 21st annual West Chicago National Night Out Against Crime and Drugs, which takes place Tuesday, August 3, 2010 in Reed-Keppler Park. The West Chicago Police Department and West Chicago Park District present these events.

     Beginning at dusk Friday July 30, 2010, police officers lead a flashlight walk from the Turtle Splash Water Park parking lot to Diamond 1 for the Movie in the Park, “Cloudy, with a Chance of Meatballs.”

     From 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2010 is the “Splish Splash Crime Prevention Bash” pool party at the water park.

     Members of the police department and West Chicago Fire Protection District meet on the field at 7:30 p.m. for a competitive and fun game of softball at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, August 1, 2010.

     Community High School District 94 Education Foundation is holding a “Chair”ity Auction at its annual Autumn Flame fundraiser Saturday, September 25, 2010. Artists and crafters are encouraged to submit embellished, decorated, and/or painted chairs for bidding. Fifty percent of the bid goes to the artist and 50 percent to the foundation. The deadline for submitting paperwork is Friday, July 30, 2010 and the deadline for turning in chairs is Tuesday, August 31, 2010. The forms and rules are available online at, under the picture. For further information, call Gail Eckl Daniels at (630) 293-9099.

     As an extension of its special exhibit, “A Prairie Primer,” the West Chicago City Museum offers guided tours of the West Chicago Prairie. The second tour is from 10:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, July 31, 2010. With their knowledge of the316–acre-site, members of the West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group explain the habitat, ecology, and importance of prairie management and identify the large variety of fauna and flora. Group size is limited to 15. To make a reservation, call the Museum at (630) 231-3376.

     The West Chicago Garden Club and West Chicago Historical Society once again sponsor the third annual “The Secret Gardens of the Kruse House” to cultivate interest in history and heirloom horticulture. The free event takes place from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, August 1, 2010 at the Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street. Garden Club members conduct tours of the garden. The club works to enhance and maintain the grandeur of the gardens, which reflect the 12-year collaboration of the garden club and the society. In the early afternoon, the historical society docents give tours of the 1917 home. The special exhibit is “Tools of the Trades.” Refreshments are served. Parking is available at City Hall, 475 Main Street, and in the Metra parking lot.

     Also during the same time period, the Garden Club is hosting a Posy Mosey Garden Stroll, tours of five gardens that were in the 2009 Wonderful Gardens of West Chicago Competition, sponsored by the Garden Club. Programs and maps for the tour are available at the Kruse House.

     One garden is on a large suburban lot, featuring trees and shrubs planted in honor of each grandchild, a small garden railroad and a large variety of plantings.

     Four gardens are on a cul-de-sac in the Woodboro Townhouse complex. The gardens were started 11 years ago, giving a park-like setting to the area. Garden highlights include a waterfall and pond, and unique garden ornamentations. For further information, call (630) 293-4953.

     Heide Morris is conducting a coil clay bowl class at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner. The two-part class is construction of the bowl at 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 4, 2010 with the glaze portion at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 11, 2010. The class is geared for persons ages 9 and up, with a charge of $20 for both classes. Class size is limited to six. To enroll, visit the Gallery, 200 Main Street; call (630) 293-9550; or online

     Literacy DuPage is holding a six-week Tutor Training Series at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. The sessions are from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. August 2, 5, 12, 19 and September 2, 2010. Tutors must be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate and fluent in English. They receive a comprehensive instruction, preparing for both Basic Literacy and English as a Second Language instruction. Upon completion of training, tutors meet with their students for two hours a week, at a convenient time and location for both. The $25 fee covers a portion of the cost of materials. To register or for more information, call (630) 416-6699.

     Sincere sympathy is expressed to Sharon Lemon and family. Her mother, Arbutus Watson, passed away Monday, July 19, 2010 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

     More than 300 persons participated in voting for the People’s Choice Award at the 17th annual Fine Arts Fiesta held during the 37th annual Railroad Days festival. There were 49 entries and 76 pieces of artwork. Winners of Fine Arts: 2-D, Sculpture are Paul Nemejc, 1st place with “Spring Encounter” (gouache); Nemejc, 2nd place with “Garden Guest” (gouache); and Michael Canton, 3rd place with “Lost City” (spray paint). In Fine Arts: Photography winners are Uwe Gsedl, 1st place with “Tastee-Freez Reflection; Phil Weibler, 2nd place with “Christmas Evening at St. Mary’s;” and Gsedl, third place with “Window Light.” Winners in the student category are Molly McGhee, 1st place with “Monarch Butterfly” photograph; Alexis Long, 2nd place with “Mountain Lion” (acrylic); and Jessie Hansen, 3rd place with “Lakeview” (photograph). In the craft category winners are Dianne Gage, 1st place with “Blue Damsel” (beaded doll); Dorothy Andrews, 2nd place with “Sampler Quilt’ (quilt); and Becky Hall, 3rd place with “America the Beautiful” (art quilt).

     Sixty-four persons participated in the Railroad Days 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the West Chicago Chamber of Commerce and West Chicago Park District. West Chicago resident Evan Morgan was the 5K Overall Winner with a time of 16:27.4.

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