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Around and About in West Chicago - 18 May 2011

Around and About
  • Blooming Fest
  • District 33 Art Show “Gallery 33”
  • Dual-Language Program, “Celebrating Our Heritage”
  • Wayne Township Annual Recycling Event

     In its 11th year Blooming Fest continues to blossom into an event that is fun for all ages. It takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011 on Main Street in the historic downtown district. The theme this year is “The Art of the Garden.”

     In addition to the West Chicago Garden Club’s popular plant sale, there are garden-related craftsmen, vendors, food booths, children’s activities, Corvette Club Car Show and entertainment. Members of Boy Scout Troop 21 serve a pancake breakfast from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the American Legion Post 300 hall, 123 Main Street. The menu is pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, milk, coffee and orange juice. The price is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and children age 4 to 12 and free for children three and under. Proceeds are to replace troop tents and equipment, which were ruined in a flood.

     The plant sale, in its 14th year, is under the big tent by the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. On sale are annual and perennial plants, trees, shrubs and rose bushes. Plant Chairman Tom Fessler said, “We have 2,200 plants and a bigger variety this year. There are fewer annuals, but more variety in the perennials and ornamental grasses. We also have increased the amount of vegetables. These include tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins. Most of our plants come from the gardens of members and are adjusted to our environment. All are at bargain prices.” He added, “We do have an area for shoppers to pick up their plants.”

     Other non-for-profit groups are Friends of West Chicago Library selling used books, Community High School District 94 Education Foundation with information on its “Sit and Set” Autumn Flame fundraiser, West Chicago Historical Society selling mugs and mini crocks and West Chicago Sister Cities selling raffle tickets for mixed planters. Friends of West Chicago Parks Foundation have a silent auction for crabapple trees, rosebushes and hanging baskets. 4 paws 4 U 4 Ever have rescued dogs and puppies for adoption. Offering information on their organizations are West Chicago Prairie Stewardship Group and World Relief-DuPage. First United Methodist Church has coffee, iced tea, recycled and reused items. St. Andrew Lutheran Church has water and dog treats. The People Made Visible Booth is active with the artXposium and the two Danish artists-in-residence, Stine Marie Jacobsen and Gitte Bog. Jacobsen shows the film project on which she worked with youths in West Chicago to produce. More information on this appears in another section of my column. Bog, the 2010 West Chicago artist-in-residence, sells “West Chicago Cookbook of Fusion Food,” which contains a series of truly West Chicago inspired recipes. Anni Holm, co-founder, director and curator of People Made Visible said, “This book “tastefully” describes our diverse community and provides an opportunity to meet, greet and eat our way to each other, from the comfort of our own kitchen.”

     Mayor Mike Kwasman and other city officials are on hand to answer questions and chat with residents at the City of West Chicago’s booth. Also on hand to answer garden and yard questions are Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service. Members of the West Chicago Environmental Commission distribute CFL bulbs and information on the Adopt-A-Highway program and recycling. SCARCE members not only offer recycling information, but also a hands-on-recycling project, which is a favorite of both adults and children.

     Near the City Museum, there are children’s games organized by the West Chicago Park District. These are Gnome Knockout (bowling), Ring Around the Roses (ring toss), Blue Bird Pitch (beanbag toss) and Blooming Buckets (Bozo buckets). Inside the Museum, children can make colorful butterflies. Also, persons can view the latest exhibit, “All Aboard” and attend a reception for the Banner project winners. The West Chicago Library District is on hand to highlight youth and adult programs at the Library and other services offered.

     Depicting the importance of art in the community, the banners with the theme “Motion, The Way Things Move,” adorn the Main Street lampposts from Washington Street to Wilson Avenue. Nineteen artists designed the banners. Ballots are available for the People’s Choice selection at the Museum and Gallery 200.

     At Gallery 200, Heide Morris, Lois Easley, Marge Hall and Sue Weibler offer artwork demonstrations. Persons can enter a drawing for artwork donated by Gallery 200 members. Two of the featured artists for May, Debby Juzwiak and Susan Ericson, are on hand to discuss their photographic art. Both Fredericka Howard and Paul Nemejc, members of Gallery 200, have booths to promote and sell their artwork.

     The entertainment scene has expanded to two stages. The main stage located near the plant sale provides a range of talent. Entertainment begins at 9:15 a.m. with West Chicago Zumba Fitness. The melodic voices of the Wheaton Academy Kantorei resound at 10:10 a.m. The Numbers are on stage at 10:55 a.m. followed by 3 in Counting at 11:45 a.m. Music abounds with the songs by the West Chicago Chamber Choir and Pueri Cantores at 12:30 p.m. Tango Argentina Club dancers show the intricate steps of various dances at 1:30 p.m. Mike Berry entertains with song and guitar at 2:15 p.m.

     The Local Music Night Stage, organized by Mandy Rakow, is located near Gallery 200. Starting at 9:00 a.m. Roger Kotecki performs an eclectic mix of music from the 1960s through the 1970s. Evan Konc takes the stage with story-type songs at 9:30 a.m. The unique sound of Brynn Mawr blends with the cello and mandolin music of Katelyn Cohen at 10:00 a.m. Audience participation is required for Stine Marie Jacobsen’s performance at 11:40 a.m.

     She refers to it as the “Battle of Air.” The contest involves four contestants sitting in front of a “boom box,” each of which has a different song. She explains, “On the count of three, all participants take a deep breath and hold their breath as long as possible.” This also involves holding noses closed with index fingers and thumbs and with the other hand pushing the play button. “When you can’t hold your breath any longer, release your air, let go of your nose and quickly stop the playing of the song on your boom box. Remain seated until all participants have stopped.” There is a prize for the winner. Call Jacobsen at (630) 440-4159 to join in the fun competition.

     On stage at noon is Raman Sachdev, a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer, who lyrically moves from pensive to comedic tones. At 1:00 p.m. Von Angel merges the genres of folk and blues music, with Latin American overtones. The final act at 2:00 p.m. is First Star Destiny, a four-piece band with a long range of sounds from neo classical to Led Zeppelin genres.

     No festival is complete without food and there is plenty to savor the hungry appetites of Blooming Fest attendees. Wheaton Academy Grill once again offers hamburgers, brats and hot dogs. Din Hua Asian Cuisine serves egg rolls, chicken fried rice, vegetable Lo Mein and sesame chicken. On the menu at Sonia’s Inc. are Italian beef, curly chips and fries, gyros, chicken tenders and lemon shake-ups. Another vendor is Little Jimmy’s Italian Ice. Snacking good food pops up at Toni’s Kettle Corn. Restaurants open are Coco Loco and Dominick’s Cucina & Pizzeria.

     West Chicago area business participating are Bob’s Salt & Feed, Fina Boutique, Daniel and Associates Real Estate, Evalina’s Boutique, Main Street Family Dentistry, State Bank of Illinois, Lifetime Behavioral Health, Chiro One, Cardinal Fitness, North Avenue Dental Associates, Aarrow Health Care, Royal Polish, Kramer Tree Specialists, Sonny Acres Farms, We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center and Sam’s Honey Bees.

     Due to road construction, enter the downtown area via Route 59 and Main Street. There is free parking at City Hall, 475 Main Street, or the Metra parking lot across from City Hall. Free shuttle bus service is available.



     Through the collaboration of the West Chicago City Museum, West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission and People Made Visible, Stine Marie Jacobsen is the artist-in-residence for a three-week period. Since her arrival here Monday, May 2, 2011, she has been working on a film project, “Film Club” with a youth group at the West Chicago Library District. The youths range in ages from 13 to 17. In the film, the youth will use very few movements.

     Jacobsen explains, “The film is shot in one day in a “one-hour long” shot, no cuts and no sound. There will be an underlying sound. The teenagers do their own storyboards and together we figure out the choreography.” The project is a critical paraphrase of “Breakfast Club” by John Hughes in 1984. For a long time, “I have worked with Hollywood representation and its limitations. She added, “As in the fictional field within the representative film system, society as well as films easily become an outright rejection of truth and its ideologies, restrictive and repressive and therefore should always be discussed and re-defined.” Discussing this with the teens, Jacobsen engages them in a performance in which they react with their own interpretations of what can happen in a detention scene.

     The teens “have been so much fun and energetic and have some great ideas.” You may have seen them as they did some “shoots” at various locations in the community. Jacobsen herself has been walking, running and bicycling throughout West Chicago. She said, “It is a good community. Everyone seems so friendly.” Those meeting Jacobsen agree she has enthusiasm and a good sense of humor, which is apparent in many of her projects. Although Jacobsen is based in both Copenhagen and Berlin, at the present she spends most of her time in Berlin. Her experiences in art, education, traveling and writing are reflected in her projects.

     Wheaton Academy, 900 Prince Crossing Road, holds its Art Show at 6:00 p.m. and Academy Awards at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

     West Chicago Elementary School District 33 art show “Gallery 33” is from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Thursday, May 19, 2011 in the Educational Service Center, 312 East Forest Street. Artwork of students throughout the district is on display. Visitors also have the opportunity to cast their vote for their favorite ceramic cupcakes made by West Chicago Middle School eighth graders. Voting for their favorite based on the theme, craftsmanship and creativity, students selected the top three on display.

     The annual Art Show at Community High School District 94 is on display from Wednesday, May 18, through Friday, May 20, 2011 in the Administrative Conference Room, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance H. Open houses for the public are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 19 and 20, 2011. Student artwork includes photographs, paintings, drawings, computer graphics, ceramics sculptures and 3-D projects. Selected pieces are for sale in a silent auction, in which half of the proceeds are donated to charity. Art and Photography teachers are David Exner, Megan Dulkinys and Mike Conroy.

     Community High School District 94 Spring Orchestra Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday May 19, 2011 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.

     To heighten awareness and raise donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois, West Chicago police officers are participating in the annual Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on a Rooftop. It takes place from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2011 at the Dunkin’ Donut location of 185 West North Avenue. One police officer will be on the roof and other officers will be at the drive-in window and in the store lobby to collect donations. Persons making a donation receive a free donut.

     Norton Creek Elementary School, 2033 Smith Road, hosts its annual Family Fest from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2011.

     Community High School District 94 Music Boosters present “Spring Fling: A Tribute to Big Bands, Swingin’ on the Moon,” Friday, May 20, 2011 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The 85-year old auditorium is transformed in a 1940s dance club. Instructors teach Swing dance lessons from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Jazz Band and Chamber Choir perform from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Refreshments are served and also there is a 50/50 raffle. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Proceeds are for musical scholarships and the purchase of new stereo equipment.

     Gary School presents its Dual-Language Program, “Celebrating Our Heritage,” at 6:00 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2011 in the gymnasium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street.

     Ellie Clare is one of the six local academy singers performing in “Broadway Best,” under the direction of Michael Sobre, instructor at Fox Valley Repertory Performing Arts Academy in Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 21 and 22, and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 22, 2011. The cost for tickets ranges from $12 to $15. To reserve tickets, call (630) 584-6242.

     The artXposium, a multi-media event, is from Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22, 2011 in Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad depot, 134 Turner Court, and Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. This is the first session of the semi-annual program.

     Local Music Night participates in the opening reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are 51 Strings, John Keeney and Algebro. 51 Strings is a husband wife duo: Jake Muzzy plays the cello and Hannah Muzzy plays the harp. West Chicago resident John Keeney is a teacher, storyteller, artist and musician. Algebro (Thom Cathcart) is a guitarist whose music portrays his southern roots with Chicago flair.

     Saturday hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 4:00 p.m. Featured artists are Lewis Achenbach, Lise Haller Baggesen, Gitte Bog, Bill Brandt, Andrew and Julia CopperSmith, Bastien Desfriches Doria, Diana Gabriel, Stine Marie Jacobsen, Virginia Lemarche, Mark Osterman and Mark Sheehan.

     The West Chicago Public Library District and People Made Visible present “Animal Kingdom,” a photographic exhibit by Havey Hanig Saturday, May 21, through Thursday, June 30, 2011 in the Library adult services department on the second floor, 118 West Washington Street. The photographs in the display reflect Hanig’s humorous depiction of the suburban animal kingdom. He is known for his quirky photo documentary style. Not only was he a featured artist in the 2010 West Chicago Community Banner Art Project, but also is featured in the 2011 project. His work also has been on exhibit in various regional gallery and museum exhibitions since the 1970s and in the Q-section of the “Chicago Tribune” newspaper. In 1965, Hanig received a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

     Wayne Township holds its annual Recycling Event from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011 in the township parking lot, 27W031 North Avenue. Donated items go to various organizations or businesses. Items acceptable include eyeglasses and hearing aids; faded and torn American flags; fire extinguishers; propane tanks; bicycles; scrap metals such as washers, dryers, pots, pans and lawn furniture; ink jets and cartridges; pet towels, crates, carriers, baskets, leashes and water dishes; car and sump pump batteries; electronics and household batteries. Items not acceptable include paints, hazardous materials, air conditioners and refrigerators. Call Cindy at (630) 231-7140 for more information on acceptable and non-acceptable items.

     Armed Forces Day is from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday at Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. Joe Jedlovec, Jr., Winfield Township Road Commissioner, receives the Bronze Star for Valor during the award ceremony at 1:00 p.m. near the Spirit of Youth Statue behind First Division Museum. Forty-three years ago Jedlovec was a Staff Sergeant, engaged in combat in the Vietnam War. Under heavy fire, he moved out on the battlefield to save a wounded comrade. The lieutenant in charge submitted a request for commendation. Due to an administrative oversight, the medal was not awarded to Jedlovec in a timely manner. Learning of this oversight, the officer worked to rectify this. Cantigny does not charge an admission or parking fee on Armed Forces Day.

     West Chicago Park District annual Spring School of Dance Recital, “I Dreamed…I Danced,” is at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011 in Weyrauch Auditorium at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. Ticket price is $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 for more information.

     Relay for Life of West Chicago/Warrenville is from 6:00 p.m. Saturday, May 21, to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Community High School District 94. Following the opening ceremony is the Survivors/Caregivers Victory Lap. Providing he is able to attend, the honoree is a five-year old survivor. The dinner reception for survivors and a guest takes place around 7:00 p.m. Scheduled are two speakers—one a caregiver and one a survivor. The Luminaria Ceremony is at 9:00 p.m. Closing Ceremony is at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. For further information, call Janeen Barloga at (630) 932-1141 or e-mail at

     Reverends John and Faye Buttrick lead the 9:30 a.m. worship service Sunday, May 22, 2011 at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, 400 West Washington Street. They relate their personal experiences and reflections on Israel and Palestine.

     Two gardens in West Chicago are in the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, May 22, 2011. They are featured in the Western Suburbs tour, which includes five gardens located in Inverness, Barrington Hills, Bartlett and West Chicago. Both Billie Childress and Lou Horton are members of West Chicago Garden Club.

     Childress Garden-Glenelg, a five-acre parcel, is located at 29W735 Ingalton. Numerous mature red and white oaks and a majestic pair of cottonwoods define the bones of the garden. Understory and specimen trees such as lindens, ornamental crabapples, maples, redbuds and beech provide the depth of the perennial gardens, brick patios and flagstone paths. However sun shines on a one-half acre cattail wetland.

     Acorn Hollow, a little over one acre, is located at 1N735 Ingalton Avenue. The property is dominated with almost two-dozen mature oak and hickory trees. The many island and border beds are dominated by more than 275 cultivars of well-grown hostas. Serving as the backbone for the hostas and dozens of types of perennials are magnolia, viburnums, hydrangeas and flowering trees. The charge is $5 per garden and reservations are not necessary. For further information visit,, under open days schedule.

     The West Chicago Middle School Chorus Concert is at 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 23, 2011 in the gymnasium, 238 East Hazel Street.

     Benjamin Middle School Band/Choir Concert is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, 2011 in the large gym, 28W250 St. Charles Road.

     Western DuPage Women in Business, comprised of Western DuPage, Winfield and Wheaton Chambers, presents its fourth annual “Road to Success Seminar” from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2011 at Hilton-Lisle, 3003 Corporate Drive. The keynote speaker is Jennifer Weigel of “Stay Tuned with Jen.” Her presentation is “Making Your Dreams Come True.”

     Following lunch and the presentation, there are three sessions of which guests choose two to attend. West Chicago resident Evelyn Canabal, owner of Professional Development Services, leads “The Path to Personal Success.” Traci Reuter, a member of International Field Board, discusses “How to Develop Powerful Relationships.” Social media evangelist Tracey Wik, Vice President of Leadership Development at Arthur J. Gallagher, talks about “Harnessing Social Media to Generate Local Business.”

     The cost is $39 for chamber members and $49 for non-members. Call Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce at (630) 231-3003 to make reservations.

     “Inside the Storm” is the West Chicago Public Library District program at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2011 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Eddy Weiss, disaster preparedness educator and storm chaser, discusses severe weather safety, Illinois Weather history and storm chasing in the United States. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4 to make a reservation.

     Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce holds its annual “Swing into Summer” golf outing Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club, 2241 Route 59. Registration is at 9:30 a.m., tee off at 10:45 a.m. and dinner and awards at 4:00 p.m. The cost includes 18-hole scramble with cart, on-course lunch, and dinner and awards. The fees for early registration due Thursday, May 26, 2011 are $600 for a foursome, $150 for an individual and $50 for dinner and awards only. Late registration fees are $700 for a foursome, $175 for an individual and $75 for dinner and awards only. The registration form is on the Chamber website Call the Chamber office at (630) 231-3003 for more information.

     The annual Community Memorial Day ceremony is at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 30, 2011 at the Sailors and Soldiers Monument in Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Avenue and York Street. This year, members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 and its Ladies Auxiliary are in charge of the Buddy Poppy program, which benefits disabled veterans who make the red paper poppies. They are selling the poppies from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 27, and from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 28, 2011 at State Bank of Illinois, 600 East Washington Street. Persons also may contribute to this fund by making a check made payable to VFW 6071 Poppy Fund and mail to VFW Post 6791, 431 N. Neltnor Blvd.

     The Galena Street road improvement project, originally scheduled for mid-May, is expected to begin around the first of June according to Rob Flatter, West Chicago Director of Public Works.

     Members of Catholic Daughters of the Americas, St. Mary’s Parish, attended the CDA State Convention Friday, May 6, through Sunday, May 8, 2011 in Urbana. West Chicago Resident Trini Cantu was elected State Regent and former resident Judy Schuster was elected State Treasurer. These are two-year terms.

     West Chicago Elementary School District 33 hosted its annual Retirement and Recognition Social Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Retiring faculty and staff are Dr. Vicky Zanillo, Assistant Superintendent, Department of Learning, with 17 years; Kathy Sugino, teacher/psychologist at Turner School, with 23 years; Gerlinde Janowski, Early Learning Center teacher, with 16 years; Josie Martinez, Indian Knoll teacher, with 26 years; and Susan Wing, Learning Library Center/teacher at Turner School with 14 years.

     Also recognized were persons employed by the district from five to 35 years. Kathleen Meyer from Indian Knoll celebrates 35 years; and Janet Stimson from West Chicago Middle School celebrates 30 years. Twenty-five year employees are Andrea Farnham at Gary School, James Modlinski at West Chicago Middle School and Janett Brickett at Currier School, Pamela Granbery at Wegner School and Peggy Molitor at Turner School.

     At the Tuesday, May 10, 2011 West Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners meeting, board secretary Melissa Medeiros administered the oath of office to the newly elected board members: KerryLynn Hunter and William Spelman. Diana Gunderson was not present. Elected officers are Frank Lenertz as president and Don Voelz as vice president.

     Friends of the West Chicago City Museum held its annual meeting Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Newly elected officers are Peggy Krauch as president, Keith Letsche as vice president, Becky Hall as secretary and Nancy Smith as treasurer.

     Eldra and Ronald Rakow celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, May 12, 2011.

     The participation was good at the seventh annual We-Go Run, sponsored by Parent-Teacher Organizations of West Chicago Elementary School District 33. There were 95 in the one-mile Run for youths, 149 participants in the 5K Run and 33 participants in the 10K Run. No count was available for the kid’s dash.

     West Chicago resident Karyn Daniels was one of the mothers featured in the article “Tribute to Motorcycle Moms” in the Sunday, May 8, 2011 issue of “Daily Herald” newspaper. She owns a 2006 Suzuki LS650.

     The third annual Wellness Walk in West Chicago Elementary School District 33, sponsored by WeGo together for Kids, was Friday, April 29, 2011. Participating were students, staff, administration and community leaders, who walked more than 22,000 miles. This was short of the goal of 24, 901 miles, which is one lap around the world, but tallies are still trickling in.

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