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Around and About in West Chicago - 23 Nov 2010

Around and About
  • “From Our Kitchen to Yours”
  • “Wonderful and Wearable”
  • Third Annual Kooper’s Kandy Kane Mishap
  • Frosty Fest
  • Holiday Tree at the Fox Community Center

     There are several venues available to purchase memorable Christmas gifts with a West Chicago slant.

     Friends of the City Museum of West Chicago are selling two commemorative ornaments and a community calendar. The price for the ornaments is $8 each and the price for the calendar is $10. All are available at the City Museum, 132 Main Street. For information, call the Museum at (630) 231-3376.

     One ornament is St. Michael’s United Church of Christ in honor of its 140th Anniversary. The church at 400 West Washington Street was built in 1870 and is the city’s oldest remaining original church structure. The bell tower, steeple and 1,050-pound bell were added in 1890; changes made in 1911 were the addition and replacement of the plain windows with the arched stained glass windows.

     The second ornament is the West Chicago Fire Protection District’s “The General” fire engine in recognition of the two new fire stations at 1651 Atlantic Drive and 1080 Commerce Drive. The fire engine arrived in West Chicago in 1934 from the General Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Missouri. It had a 113-pound-horsepower, six-cylinder engine capable of speeds up to 70 miles an hour. The primary driver of the truck was Dickie Kruse. It was retired from service in 1960. The General now is used in parades, as the source of transportation for Santa and Mrs. Claus during Frosty Fest, and the provision of fun rides for children and adults during the fire district’s Open House in October.

     The 2011 Community Calendar theme is “History of Schools in West Chicago.” Working with old and new photographs, West Chicago resident and photographer Uwe Gsedl designed the keepsake collectible of historic images of West Chicago schools.

     For the chefs in your life, there are two new cookbooks with a local flavor available.

     The United Methodist and Congregational Women of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago published “From Our Kitchen to Yours.” It has 249 recipes including appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. The cookbook also marks the 130th anniversary of the women’s organization. In the 1800s the women of the two churches worked together to form the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, donating a fountain to the town in 1887. The fountain was restored and rededicated in 1997 and is now situated in the plaza at 126 Main Street. The price of the cookbooks is $10 each; sale proceeds benefit local, national and worldwide relief programs. Call the church office at (630) 231-3344 to place an order.

     St. Michael’s United Church of Christ has published “Just Desserts,” filled with yummy and delicious recipes. The price is $10. Call the church office at (630) 231-0687.


     Noble Fool Theatricals presents “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.” Two alternate groups of girls play the Methodist Singers. Eleven-year-old Megan Graal of West Chicago is a member of one of the groups. Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays now through December 18, 2010; 2:00 p.m. Sundays through December 26; 2:00 p.m. Thursdays, December 2, through December 23; and at 2:00 p.m. Friday, December 24. Ticket prices range from $29.50 to $39.50. To order tickets, call (630) 584-6342 or visit

     With the holiday season quickly approaching, which brings the onset of decorating, the City of West Chicago offers free holiday recycling for strands of incandescent and LED lights, and extension cords beginning Friday, November 26, 2010. Drop off locations are at Murphy Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard; West Chicago Park District Fitness Station, 130 West Washington Street; City Hall, 475 Main Street; Police Department, 325 Spencer Street; and Water Treatment Plant, 1400 West Hawthorne Lane. Signs are posted with directions to the blue holiday light recycling containers. Persons may drop off their lights and cords at all locations through Saturday, February 19, 2011. The City sites accept these until Friday, March 25, 2011. Elgin Recycling collects the items to strip and recycle for their copper and plastic parts. The business is a full service scrap metal recycling company serving the Chicagoland area for 30 years.

     The Sidewalk Outreach Ministry of Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts a Winter Coat Drive from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 27, 2010. Either new or gently used and clean coats for adults and children are needed. These will be donated to the local PADS organization at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago.

     Joe Jenks joins the congregation of St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, 400 West Washington Street, at the 9:30 a.m. worship service Sunday, November 28, 2010. He is an international touring performer, songwriter, entertainer and educator, performing in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, coffee houses and schools. He is known for his unique merging of musical beauty, social consciousness and spiritual exploration. Following the 10:00 a.m. worship service Sunday, November 28, 2010, First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, hosts a potluck lunch and family craft time.

     Entering into the advent season for Christmas, Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, has a Soup Supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by a worship service at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 1, 2010.

     Future Business Leaders of America at Community High School District 94 present its annual variety show at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, December 2, 2010 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The theme is WeGo Shores. Advisor Mia Wirth explained, “The students announcing the acts base them on the television show, “Jersey Shores.” The youths are being very creative.”

     Evergreen Elementary School, in Benjamin School District 25, holds its annual Holiday Bazaar, Friday, December 3, 2010. The school is located at 1041 Evergreen Drive in Carol Stream.

     Ten artisans present “Wonderful and Wearable,” during the month of December at Gallery 200. They are Heide Morris, Sue Weibler, Joanne Kalchbrenner, Cecily Herby, Marge Hall, Gwen Hines, Cathy Linegar, Britta Renwick, Laura Nicholson and Cheryl Mahowald. Handcrafted items include jewelry, knitted and crocheted hats and scarves and purses. This is the perfect place to shop for the one-of-a-kind gift of art. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, December 3, 2010. Light refreshments are served.

     Life Source is holding a blood drive from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 4, 2010 at Veterans of Foreign Wars, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard.

     Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts its Fifth Annual Children’s Christmas Craft Workshop from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, December 4, 2010. The free event is geared for children age five through 12.

     The West Chicago Park District holds its Third Annual Kooper’s Kandy Kane Mishap at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, December 4, 2010 at Reed-Keppler Park. Children ages three to 12 search for Kandy Kanes of Kooper, the elf. This fun time does not require pre-registration.

     Noble Fool Theatricals Youth Ensemble presents “Alice in Wonderland” at Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage, 4051 North Avenue in St. Charles. Among the cast members is Ashley Tijerina of West Chicago. Performances are at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, December 4, 11 and 18; 10:30 a.m. Friday, December 10; and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 19, 2010. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $12 for children age 12 and under. To order tickets call (630) 584-6342 or visit

     Craft Saturday at the West Chicago City Museum is from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. during Frost Fest December 4, 2010. The craft is making a beaded Christmas wreath.

     Frosty Fest is Saturday, December 4, 2010 beginning with a puppet show from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. The rest of the fun activities are from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. with the majority of them taking place in the historic downtown district. These include the Frosty Procession, Grand Tree lighting, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, ice sculpture, live reindeer, horse-drawn sleigh rides, crafts and games, local entertainment and art demonstrations.

     The holiday tree at the Fox Community Center has a true community spirit this year. Knowing the 35-foot spruce tree on her property on National Street needed to be removed because of its size and proximity to the house, lifelong resident Jean Day, age 89, decided it would be perfect for the community Christmas tree. Her historic roots include her brother Willis (Chic) Gladding, who was the mayor from 1957 to 1961, and her late husband Royal, known to everyone as Mike. He was the owner of Day’s 66 Service Station on the northeast corner of East Washington Street and in 1969 he was named Citizen of the year. Their two sons are John and Skip, who both reside in West Chicago. Jean and Mike were married 32 years before he passed away at the age of 59.

     The spruce grew with the family. According to Jean, the tree was small and scrawny when first planted on a lot in 1974 and was moved twice before being firmly established at the family home. Wednesday, November 17, Kramer Tree Service removed the tree. Because of space constrictions at the community center, only the top 20 feet was used. After loading the tree on the truck, Kramer’s transported it to its destination. Members of the West Chicago Police Department and West Chicago Fire Protection District provided the escort. Keeping it in the family, Jean’s grandson, Jason Day, a lieutenant for the fire district, was among the personnel assisting. Kramer’s gift to the community includes the transport, installation and decoration of the very special tree.

     The West Chicago Park District has arranged for a special telephone hook up with Santa Claus in the North Pole. He is calling boys and girls in third grade and younger between 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 8, 2010. Parents need to complete call forms, which are available at the Park District office, 157 West Washington Street, or at schools. The deadline for turning in the forms is Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 for more information.

     The West Chicago Public Library District hosts Canterbury Carolers Concert at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 8, 2010 in the program room, 118 West Washington Street. The ensemble, dressed in the authentic clothing of the era, sing traditional carols, all composed before 1870. To enjoy the harmonious evening, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4, to register.

     The West Chicago Park District sponsors its Third Holiday House Decorating Contest. Judging categories are most tactfully done, most Griswold-like and most creative. Entries are limited to the first 25 homes registered and are located in the Park District boundaries. The registration deadline is Friday, December 10, 2010 with judging on Thursday, December 16, 2010. For further information or to register, call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474.

     The West Chicago Park District Wildcat Youth Cheerleaders 103/118 pound Bill George Youth Football League fifth and sixth graders won a bid to the Illinois Recreational Cheerleading Association State Competition. It takes place Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, 2010 at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates.

     Mark these two events on your calendar for Saturday, December 11, 2010. Moms in School 12th annual Breakfast with Santa is from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street.

     The annual Holiday Community Celebration, co-hosted by American Legion Post 300 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, is at 6:00 p.m. at the legion hall, 123 Main Street.

     Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Gerald Rataj, who at the age of 68 passed away Tuesday, November 16, 2010.

     The 133-pound Gold West Chicago Wildcats Football team in the Bill George Football League won the Super Bowl with a 6-0 score against the Downers Grove Panthers, Saturday, November 13, 2010 at Benedictine University in Lisle. West Chicago Park District Athletics Supervisor Joe Urban said, “The Panthers were a very good team. We scored with 2:02 left to play in the game.” Team members are Jake Paler, Robert Eckler, Fernando Villa, Luis Ramos, Camden Meade, Stevie Gutowski, Michael Otzwirk, Jacob Urban, Matt Gedritis, Colin O’Kasick, Peyton Seidler, Mike Campos, David McDonell, Joe Rudman, Danny Lazzerini, and Blake Fialk. Head coach is Joe Urban and assistant coaches are Doug Lazzerini, John Gedritis and Brian Barry.

     At the Monday, November 15, 2010 City Council meeting, West Chicago resident Marianne King was recognized with a proclamation honoring her for her dedication to the arts and service on the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission. She was one of the original appointees to the commission when it was established in 1993 and served through 2009, and was the first chairman. She helped organize the annual Fine Arts Fiesta, and supported the creation of Gallery 200. Her entry in the art banner competition was one of the selections this year.

     Thanking the City for its recognition, King expressed her appreciation to Mayor Mike Kwasman for his support of the arts and bringing about the existence of the Gallery to share the artwork of the many talented artists with the community. She credited fellow artist Fredericka Howard for her major assistance in the promotion of artists, plus working on projects and the enjoyment of serving on the Commission together.

     “LuAnn Bombard (museum and cultural arts director) has been stupendous and brilliant with her support throughout the years.” King added, “It was a pleasure to serve on the Commission. Let’s keep the ball rolling!”

     With the approval of the referendum for Middle School expansion, West Chicago Elementary School District 33 is moving forward—municipal bond sale completed by December 2010, work with the architect begins by the end of November 2010, construction-bidding process begins in spring of 2011 and construction begins in summer 2011. Current third graders will be the first group of sixth graders to enter the middle school in 2013.

     Fifth grade students at Gary school collected more than $200 in donations for Honor Flight, a not-for-profit service organization that sends WWII veterans and terminally ill veterans to see the national memorials in Washington D.C. Attending the school’s Veterans Day Assembly Thursday, November 11, 2010 was West Chicago resident and WWII veteran Chuck Scheckel, who is actively involved with the organization.

     Winfield Township Republican Central Committee unanimously endorsed State Representative Mike Fortner (R-95) for appointment to the 48th State Senate District, which will be left vacant when U.S. Congressman-elect Randy Hultgren (R-14) takes office in January.

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