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Around and About in West Chicago - 17 Nov 2010

Around and About
  • Thanksgiving
  • American Education Week
  • Local Music Night
  • Wildcat Preschool
  • Consolidated Election

     The giving spirit of the community abounds as various community organizations plan projects to help those less fortunate.


     Wayne Township has a Thanksgiving and Christmas Adopt-A-Family program to provide holiday meals for 160 families. General Assistance Director Juanita Martinez explained, “By ordering in advance, we are able to purchase the holiday meal boxes at the reduced price of $15 each from Northern Illinois Food Bank.” Once the advance order date is expired, the cost is $30 per box. With the generosity of donations from two local area organizations, money is needed for only19 Thanksgiving meal boxes. Monetary donations still are needed for the Christmas meals. The township also has a Christmas Mitten Tree where persons can select a child’s name to donate a gift. The information for the program is available on the township website, www.waynetwp.il.org. The township food pantry also needs donations of non-perishable food or money. “We really do get more bang for a buck as we are able to purchase foods from the food bank at a good monetary return,” said Martinez. “What you pay for one box of cereal in a grocery store we can purchase at least four for the same price.” Persons wanting to donate money should make a check payable to the Northern Illinois Food Bank and designate for Wayne Township Food Pantry. Martinez stressed the township’s appreciation of the donations of food and the organizations holding food drives. “These help us meet the needs of our clients. Although times are economically difficult for many, the generosity of the community is truly amazing.” For further information or to partake in the programs, call Juanita or Florence at (630) 231-7173.


     The West Chicago Police Department once again is working with the DuPage County Marine Corps League to collect toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program. Age groups are from infant to 16-year-olds and toys are donated to children in local communities. The time span for collection is now through Wednesday, December 22, 2010. The lobby of the West Chicago Police Department, 325 Spencer Street, is the drop-off location. West Chicago Police Sergeant Mike Zepeda is coordinating the program in the community and may be reached at (630) 293-2222.


     Winfield Township is entering the 22nd year of its “Adopt-A-Family” assistance program. Working in conjunction with Feeding Northwest DuPage, the township has 104 families enrolled. All registrants are screened for eligibility according to township guidelines. The “adoption” of a family involves providing a gift for each family member and a gift certificate for a holiday meal from a local grocery store. Township General Assistance Director Debby Juzwiak said, “Sponsors select the size family they want and then we make a match. Each family gives the township a wish list to help sponsors with gift ideas.” She added, “This year we are concentrating on food/grocery items and new clothing. Toys should be limited to young children, 12 and under.” Sponsors can be businesses, individuals, families, clubs and organizations. Although the goal is to have all families “adopted,” this is not always the case. Thus monetary donations or gift certificates are appreciated. Families not “adopted” receive gifts from “Toys for Tots.”


     “Ringing the Salvation Army Bell” is another volunteer program of giving at Winfield Township. Volunteers are needed for at least two-hour shifts between the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays November 27, December 4, 11, and 18, 2010 at Jewel Grocery Store, 177 East Roosevelt Road. The township acts as a Service Extension of the Salvation Army for the City of West Chicago, south of Hawthorne Lane and the Village of Winfield. To sign up for either program or more information, call Juzwiak from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 Monday through Friday at (630) 231-3592, Extension 104.


     State Representative Randy Ramey (R-55) holds his annual Winter Coat Drive from Monday, December 1, through Friday, December 31, 2010. Needed are new or “gently” used and clean coats or outerwear such as hats, gloves, mittens and scarves for adults and children. Drop off locations are Ramey’s district office, 1883 North Neltnor Boulevard, or the Wayne Township office, 27W031 North Avenue. Call his district office at (630) 876-0703 for more information.


     4 the People, a West Chicago-based community organization, continues its program to collect non-perishable food items, paper products, personal items and cleaning products for the food pantries in the community— Feeding Northwest DuPage, Wayne Township, New Life Bilingual Church and Crossroads Restoration Church. “At this time, our main concentration is for Feeding Northwest DuPage, which has the most clients, almost 1,000 persons per month. Their need is the greatest at this time, but we do periodic drops at the other pantries,” said City Treasurer Don Earley, who is the organization’s member responsible for collection and delivery. Collection sites are


  • City Hall, 475 Main Street
  • West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street
  • West Chicago Park District, 157 West Washington Street
  • Fitness Station, 103 West Washington Street
  • Winfield Township, 130 Arbor Avenue
  • Murphy Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard
  • State Bank of Illinois, 600 East Washington Street.

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     American Education Week is Monday, November 15 through Friday, November 19, 2010 and to celebrate West Chicago Elementary Schools have various activities planned. At Currier School, the principal Nancy reads to students in their classrooms. Indian Knoll School invites parents and relatives to visit. Pioneer School stresses Reading. Principal Gloria Trejo reads to students and the librarian gives each child a free book from the Reading is Fundamental program so they can participate in Family Reading Night. Also there is DEAR, drop everything and read, time for 15 minutes. Turner School invites parents to visit and each morning has announcements to emphasize the theme of “Great Public Schools.” At Wegner School, parents eat lunch with their children and promote wellness during the lunch recess. Parents also visit the classrooms and participate in various activities.


     At West Chicago Middle School, students in drama class write a short biography, which contains the educational background of a famous actor/actress or speaker; art class students create a watercolor postcard, inspired by the Impressionists, for a teacher who left a memorable “impression” on them; and home economic students write a note of appreciation and share a favorite recipe with their favorite adult. The seventh and eighth grade teams have various projects.


     The West Chicago Historical Society hosts its annual Volunteer Appreciation Night at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 18, 2010 at the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. West Chicago City Museum Curator Sally DeFauw is the featured speaker with the topic of “All Aboard!” Through the use of photographs, she highlights the new exhibit at the City Museum, which depicts the 13 new and old depots in West Chicago, of which some still remain standing, but often not in their original location. The public is welcome to attend the free program; light refreshments are served.


     The fall play at Community High School District 94 is “The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Abridged.” Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, November 18 to 20, 2010 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The play is a fast-paced romp through the comedies and dramas of William Shakespeare in a 90-minute time period.


     Members of the Reduced Shakespeare Company are James Alfaro, Pilar Bonilla, Josh Brown, Bailey Jagusch, Breana Kmiecik, Aaron Morden, Nadia Pelletier, Jeff Pierpoint, Tony Resendiz, Emma Roberts, Tori Snell, Anthony Soliven, Dan Stomper, Noah Strayve and Elena Tubridy. Crew members are Victoria Wilson, Melissa Metzger, Mikaela Kiel, Olivia Powrazek, Ellen Fitzgerald, Hannah Matin, Caitlin Kiel, Shannon Rogers, Alex Garibay, Bobby Ramos, Amy Tedeschi, Melinda Elmazi, Lauren Russo, Jessie Hansen, Jackie Letzter, Jessica Castro, Ashley Anderson, Mark Curiz and Jenny Tellez. Others are Kevin Hauber, Suzanne Molinaro, Dani Keller, Sarah Quealy, Cat Canestrelli, Nikki Smith, Connor Trimble, Jon Sanders, Braeden Austgen, Ryan Lakics, Ashley Bannon, Ben Stibal, Mariana Rodriquez, Paige Hennessey, Louie Boers, Greg Lyne, Shannon Rogers and Marco Garcia.


     The ticket price is $3 for students and $5 for adults.


     Local Music Night is from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, November 19, 2010 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are Mandy Rakow, Blue House-Roger Kotecki and Lyn Wilder, and Mary Lemanski. Since the age nine, Rakow has played the cello, and the guitar since the age of 12. She has been a songwriter since her young teens and also has written songs with her husband John.


     In October 2009, Rakow started Local Music Night, an event growing in popularity. “I believe sharing music brings people together and enriches the community.” Roger Kotecki, guitarist, and his daughter Lyn Wilder, singer, are the duo performers of Blue House. Kotecki not only serves as a member of the DuPage Forest Preserve Commission, but also is volunteer musician for the commission, performing at coffee houses in Naperville and Batavia. Wilder was in the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus.  Their performance is eclectic with Wilder’s preference for 1990s post, millennial folk and adult alternative music and Kotecki’s taste of music ranging from the 1860s to the 1960s.


     Lemanski is a singer, songwriter, and musician, whose original songs are a mix of alternative, pop, rock and dance. She received recognition for her songwriting by the Song of the Year Contest. Working widely in the music industry Lemanski currently is the Chicago Chapter Coordinator for Songsalive!, an in international songwriting organization.


     Open MIC begins at 8:30 p.m. Refreshments are served.


     Wheaton Academy presents “Least: the Shape of Your Story,” which features student works, at 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 19, 2010 in the Fine Arts Center, 900 Prince Crossing Road. This year, the performance is woven together by an original short story by Josh James Riebock, a 1997 academy graduate. He is the author of “My Generation: A Real Journey of Change and Hope.” The admission price of $10 includes the gallery of visual art. Tickets are available at the door.


     Coffee with the Mayor is from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 20, 2010 at City Hall, 475 Main Street.


     The last week of the City’s fall free leaf pickup program is on regularly scheduled garbage collection days from Monday, November 22, through Saturday, November 27, 2010, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. For the majority of residents, this is almost the same deadline for the last pick up of yard waste materials on garbage collection days. The official ending date is Tuesday, November 30.


     The All District Orchestra Concert for West Chicago Elementary School District 33 is at 7:00 p.m. Monday, November 22, 2010 at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street.


     Some of the local churches are holding Thanksgiving Eve services Wednesday, November 24, 2010 or Thanksgiving Day services Thursday, November 25, 2010.


  • The congregations of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, First Congregational Church and St. Andrew Lutheran Church hold a Thanksgiving Eve service at 7:00 p.m. at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road.
  • Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, serves a Thanksgiving Day breakfast at 7:30 p.m., followed by a short devotional gathering.
  • Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1S260 Joliet Street, holds its Thanksgiving Eve service at 7:00 p.m.
  • Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, Divine Service of Thanksgiving is at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 Oakwood Avenue, has an English Mass at 9:00 a.m. and a Spanish Mass at 10:30 a.m.

     There still is some room left in the Wildcat Preschool beginning Tuesday, November 30, and ending Thursday, December 16, 2010 at Community High School District 94. Morning sessions are from 8:55 to 10:25 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday and cost $50. Afternoon classes are from 12:20 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and cost $60. The classes are open to children between the ages of three and five. They must be potty trained.


     The program is run by students enrolled in Child Development classes and operates under the supervision of their teacher, Brittany Bauer. Preschoolers learn primary skills and enjoy social interaction. Persons interested in the program may reach Bauer by calling (630) 876-6377 or e-mail bbauer@d94.org. Application forms are available in the administrative office, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance H or online at the district’s website www.district94.dupage.k12.il.us.


     The consolidated election for officials in the City of West Chicago, West Chicago Public Library District, West Chicago Park District, West Chicago Elementary School District 33, Community High School District 94 and Benjamin School District 25 is Tuesday, April 5, 2011.


  • City positions open for four-year terms are one alderman seat in each of the city’s seven wards.
  • All seven positions are open in the library district; four positions are for four years and three positions are for two years.
  • The park district has three seats open for six-year terms.
  • There are three seats open in District 33 and these are for four-year terms.
  • In District 94 there are three positions open for four-year terms.
  • There are three seats open for four-year terms in District 25.

     Election packets are available during regular business hours at the respective taxing body locations. The first day for filing is during regular business hours Monday, December 13, 2010. The last date to file is at 5:00 p.m. Monday, December 20, 2010.


     Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Ruby Lee Bosch, who at the age of 57 passed away Tuesday, November 9, 2010.


     Deepest condolences are extended to the family of Robert H. Roth, who at the age 86 passed away Wednesday, November 10, 2010.


     Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Willard A. Kautz, who at the age of 83 passed away Thursday, November 11, 2010.


     Deep condolences are expressed to the family of Jake Carney, who at the age of 17 passed away Sunday, November 14, 2010.


     John and Sherry Stoffel celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary Thursday, October 7, 2010.


     More than 65 veterans, families, friends and neighbors attended the Community Veterans Days service Thursday, November 11, 2010 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791. The guests paid tribute to the veterans and to those persons currently serving in the armed forces.


     In his speech highlighting the 60th anniversary of the Korean War beginning June 25, 1950, West Chicago Mayor Mike Kwasman summed up the importance of each veteran and the sincere thank you that each of them deserve. “Veterans Day to us, the ones who did not serve, is one of the only ways, we as citizens can thank those that have served.”


     He stated the Korean War, “known to some as a conflict and some by a police action,” was again a time, “the United States came to the defense of a people; this time the aggressor was known as the red menace or communism….a war strategically waged by the best military professionals the United States had to offer, and only later was to become a political chess game and a war taken over by bureaucrats in Washington and the fairly new United Nations.” As in all wars “parents waited for their children to come home and children waited for their parents.” He added more than 480,000 troops were deployed and we lost 39,000 fathers, sons and daughters”—which today is “the entire population of West Chicago and Winfield.”


     Listening to the words, many in the audience related to wars of their generation. Kwasman recognized this aspect. “The wars of the past are past, and sadly, we all know there will be wars in the future, and again young men and women will take the oath to defend those who cannot defend themselves, or those who want to destroy all that we hold closely to our hearts. We again know that a veteran will take up the call, without any question.” On a personal note, I always feel so honored to be in the room with these heroes, who are so humble in acknowledging their service and sacrifice to our country and, at the same time, demonstrate their pride in our country and opportunity to serve. I watch the veterans, especially those from WWII, who are weaker in body, but still very strong in spirit, struggle to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, 21-gun salute and “Taps, ” but once on their feet, stand straight and tall, with a strong salute to the flag, the country and those who have served and are serving.


     Gianna Gato, dual-language kindergarten teacher at Gary School, participated as a panelist in the conference, “Illinois as a Trailblazer: Bilingual and Dual Language Learning Media and Research Convening Overview,” at DePaul University in Chicago. The conference focused on dual-language as a model for bilingual education in Illinois as a response to a state mandate stating public preschools are required to offer bi-lingual education to all three and four-year olds who do not speak English. Moderators were Dr. Paul Zionts, Dean of DePaul School of Education; Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum; Dr. Margaret Bridges, University of California; Claudio Sanchez, Education Correspondent for National Public Radio; and representatives from Chicago Public Radio, Education Week and Chicago Tribune.


     Sponsoring the event were New Journalism on Latino Children, Education Writers Association and Latino Policy Forum. Several education professionals from the Latino Policy Forum visited Gary School to observe the school’s dual-language program in May 2010. The information and observations were used in a case study by Dr. Bridges from the University of California at Berkley and Sara McElmurry, Communications Manager of the Latino Policy Forum.


     Six young women athletes, seniors at Community High School District 94, signed with Division I programs at colleges Wednesday, November 10, 2010. Emily Paschke signed for volleyball at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Signing with Eastern Illinois in Charleston was Meagan Radloff for soccer and Dane Sauer for baseball. Mary Connolly signed for softball with DePaul University. Kelly Dunn signed for swimming with University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Signing for cheerleader program at Baylor University in Waco, Texas was Keegan Johnson.


     At its Monday, November 1, 2010 meeting, West Chicago City Council approved an ordinance to authorize the acquisition of 122 Wood Street for the South Aurora Street Realignment Project appraised at the value of $150,000.


     Eighth grade students receiving West Chicago Middle School Students of the First Quarter Awards are Mario Rodriguez, Kevin Carrillo, Evelyn Almonte, Stephanie Mata, Giovanni Arellano, Bridget Lopez, Mae Elizabeth Gimre, Roberto Bejarano, Chris Moe, Josie Steinbrecher, Marcus Johnson, Angelica Munoz and Maria Romero.


     Seventh grade students receiving the award are Ezequiel Paniagua, Marcelina Gonzalez, Jesus Gonzalez, Brian Sanchez, Jesus Moreno, Alondra Padilla, Vicky Cantu, Jose Gonzalez, Lea Kerstein, Leydi Cortes, Araceli Cholula and Maria Robles.


     In the Exploratories category, which includes chorus, physical education, computers, home economics and art, students receiving the award are Mae Elizabeth Gimre, Kaitlyn Howard, Maricruz Robles, Isaias Flores, Colt Clegg, Jesus Moreno, Alexis Chavez, Horacio Perez, Katie Reitz and Brian Sanchez.


     Teachers nominate students to receive the awards each grading period. Criteria for the awards are demonstration of positive character, scholastic achievement/growth, community/school action and interaction and leadership within the middle school.


     More than 75 persons attended the Seventh Annual Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by 4 the People, Saturday, November 6, 2010 at Wheaton Academy. Through the telling of personal experiences, the guest speaker Troy Van Dyke, a member of Wheaton Bible Church, demonstrated how taking a detour often leads to another type of fulfillment in life. “As we go through life, we usually are on a comfortable, productive and safe route. I felt this way. I was married, working in the family business, earning a salary and owned a home.”


     But he came to an intersection in the road when he sensed there was more to life. About two weeks after a night of praying to God, a friend called and asked, “Do you want to go to Africa?” This trip opened up new paths and opportunities that continue to be a part of his life today.


     He saw the beginnings of an orphanage in Uganda and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Uganda Orphanage Relief Fund. The fund supports ministries who assist about 400-orphaned children with food, shelter and education. Knowing what he has experienced, VanDyke advised the audience, “Take a detour whenever you can.”


     Reverend Tim Mitchell, age 50, was appointed as pastor of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago. He will replace Reverend Steve Zeigler, who is retiring at the end of 2010. Mitchell, his wife Jody and their daughter Grace will move from Peotone to West Chicago around the first part of 2011. Mitchell graduated from Dubuque Theological Seminary nine years ago and was associate pastor for five years prior to that.


     Parth Shah, a junior, is the October PeaceBuilder-of-the-month at Community High School District 94. He credits his parents and high school for teaching him vital lessons about peace. “My parents made a point of always teaching me the right way of treating others with dignity and respect.” Shah said his history teacher Mr. Chisholm demonstrates a peaceful model as he “is nice to everyone and gives everyone an opportunity.” After graduation, he would like to attend college.


     Newly elected officers of West Chicago Sister Cities are Melissa Birch, president; Sandy Buckles, vice president; Eva Ferguson, secretary; and Dian Cracraft, treasurer. Others are Rudy Rust, historian; Uwe Gsedl, Liaison; and John Hugunin, member-at-large.



My e-mail address is merleburl@earthlink.net.

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