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Around and About in West Chicago - 25 May 2011

Around and About
  • Community Memorial Day Ceremony
  • Western DuPage Women in Business
  • Touch-A-Truck
  • State of the City Address
  • Historical Preservation Awards

     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. The service, organized this year by American Legion Post 300, is comprised of members of the American Legion, its auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, its auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion.


     The ceremony includes the 21-gun salute and the laying of the red poppy wreath at the base of the monument. The Community High School District 94 band, under the direction of Steve Govertsen, provides the music with patriotic songs. The echoing sounds of “Taps” reverberate throughout the cemetery as two high school youths, Haley Soutar and Quentin Letts, play their trumpets. West Chicago Mayor Mike Kwasman is the keynote speaker. The moderator is Kevin Driscoll, Legion Post Commander. Reverend Shane Sterk, pastor at Faith Community Church, is the chaplain.


     At the May 17, 2010 City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Kwasman talked about the importance of the ceremony and the holiday, His words are as important and meaningful now as they were then. “Memorial Day is not just for picnics and parties. It is the day we remember those who are serving, those who have served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice—their lives. Some of us remember the parades and ceremonies from the past with veterans from the Spanish-American War and World War I. The older veterans now are from World War II. It is important that we keep the history of these heroes alive and continue the stories from generation to generation. They gave so much for our country; fighting for the freedoms we have today and for future generations. It is just a half hour out of your holiday to honor them and those who serve today.”


     Prior to the community service, members of the Legion and VFW visit Glen Oak Cemetery on Arbor Avenue, Calvary Cemetery on East Washington Street and St. John Cemetery in Winfield. They honor those who have served with the 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”


     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 6791 Poppy Fund and mail to VFW Post 6791, 431 N. Neltnor Blvd. West Chicago, IL 60185.


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AROUND AND ABOUT


     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 Jennifer Weigel of “Stay Tuned with Jen” presents “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.


     The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, May 26, 2011 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Share time is at 6:45 p.m., short business meeting at 7:15 p.m., followed by the program, “Herb Talk,” at 7:30 p.m. The speaker is Sandy Lentz, University of Illinois Extension master gardener. She writes a column on herbs for the Master Gardener quarterly newsletter. Lentz also is the president of the Friends of Oak Park Conservatory.


     Community High School District 94 Spring Band Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, 2011 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.


     Benjamin Middle School All School Picnic is at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 27, 2011.


     Game Day U.S.A. Stars and Stripes Memorial Day classic is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 27, 28 and 29, 2011 at Pioneer and Reed-Keppler Parks. Approximately 50 baseball and softball teams from Illinois and surrounding states participate in the tournament.


     “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. Weiss is the Director of Chasing4Life, an organization with the vision to change the way America views the issue of disaster preparedness. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4 to make a reservation.


     Community High School district 94 Creative Writing Club presents its third annual production of “Show Me Whatchu Got!” at 7:00p.m. in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. With the theme “Channel Surfing: From Apathy to Activism,” students perform their pieces of poetry, challenging the audience to consider their participation in society and to challenge the status quo. Special guests are HBO DefJam Poet Tim Stafford and the Naperville North Slam Team. The admission is $2.


     Wheaton Academy presents its Advanced Drama Show at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 27 and 28, 2011 in the Fine Arts Center, 900 Prince Crossing Road.


     For its summer schedule, the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street, is closed Sundays, beginning Sunday, May 29, 2011.


     Both the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, and the West Chicago Historical Society’s Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street, are participants in the “Passport to Adventure” program, which runs from Monday, May 30, through Monday, September 5, 2011. The program is for children ages 4 through 12, who receive stamps at each participating location. More than 50 museums and nature centers in DuPage and Kane counties participate. The current exhibit at the City Museum is “All Aboard” and the summer exhibit at the Kruse House Museum is “Cut.” Passports are available at both museums and in the youth services department at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street.


     “Whatever Strikes my Mood” is the exhibit for June at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. The featured artist is Joanne Kalchbrenner, who displays hand painted and etched glassware, jewelry and photography. The artist’s reception is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 3, 2011. Light refreshments are served.


     Touch-A-Truck, organized by the West Chicago Police Department and the West Chicago Park District, is from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 4, 2011, in the Turtle Splash Water Park parking lot at Reed-Keppler Park, Fremont and National Streets. Adults and children have the opportunity to sit in fire trucks, police cars, and road construction trucks. Also, there are give-away items and food at this free event.


     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. 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 www.westerndupagechamber.com. Call the Chamber office at (630) 231-3003 for more information.


     Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Margaret R. Johnson, who at the age of 70 passed away Sunday, May 15, 2011.


     The April PeaceBuilder of the Month at Community High School District 94 is Lorena Orizaba, a junior. She credits both her mother and grandmother with teaching her about peace. “They always taught me to respect everybody and everything and to treat others the way I want to be treated.” Her favorite song promoting peace is “Imagine” by John Lennon. Her favorite quote is “The difference between school and life is in school you are taught a lesson and then are given a test. In life you are given a test that teaches you a lesson.”


     West Chicago Middle School student Alyssa Lenning recently was selected as the Illinois Level 1 Finalist for Letters About Literature contest, a statewide reading and writing competition. For the contest, students write to an author whose work somehow changed the child’s view of the world or self. Lenning wrote to Jodi Picoult, author of “My Sister’s Keeper.” Her language arts teacher is Keith Johnson.


     Mayor Mike Kwasman gave his State of the City address at the Monday, May 16, 2011 City Council meeting. He mentioned many of the worthwhile developments that occurred in the last year.


     The City repaid the loan on the water treatment plant 10.5 years in advance of its maturity. “We realized substantial savings, over $4.3 million, for our customers through creative and strategic financial planning by calling the bonds issued for the construction of the plant” prior to maturity. He added, “Rather than jumping on the traditional route of debt refinancing, staff took the time necessary to develop and analyze an alternate approach, which resulted in the retiring of the bond debt.” This strategy provides the benefit of stable water rates over the mid-term.


     It means delaying non-essential water and sewer infrastructure projects for the next three to four years. However, the City planned for these with the purchase of land for two future water towers at deeply discounted prices. These water towers “will not only improve pressure and flow throughout the town, but also will ensure an ample water supply under drought or emergency conditions.”


     The 2011 budget “totals approximately $54.4 million, which is a decrease of 6.85 percent from the previous year. “Your City Council has decreased the General Fund budget for five years straight.”


     Recovery from the recession is a vital concern of government and West Chicago is no exception. “Sure signs of recovery include significant new development projects such a McCollister Trucking, US Plywood, Tampico Market, the new Ball Horticultural facility and Educare…and business expansions at Jel Sert, Aspen Marketing Services and Clariant.”


     The Community Development Department “has succeeded in identifying and citing nearly double the number of over-occupancy violations in the last several years” mainly in rental properties. “Higher compliance rates are resulting for property maintenance violations through the City’s in-house adjudication system…a model for other cities looking for an alternative to having the court system handle such matters.”


     Noting the importance of public safety, a noteworthy success for 2010 was the “27 percent drop in the overall crime rate from 2007 through 2010, a 17 percent decrease in violent crime and a 20 percent decrease in the rate of property crime since 2009.” Kwasman thanked the City council members and the staff for their hard and diligent work on tough issues, dedication and concern. “To the citizens of West Chicago, thank you for your continued encouragement and confidence in our administration.”


     Community High School District 94 hosted its annual Sports Festival for seventh and eighth graders from West Chicago Elementary School District 33, Benjamin School District 25 and Winfield District 34, all feeder schools to the high school. Activities included bowling, track, sand volleyball, dance, kayaking and badminton. The West Chicago Middle School team won the tug-of-war competition and Benjamin Middle School students won the sportsmanship award.


     Julie Gomez was the winner of the $1,780 Scholarship Raffle of the Foundation for Excellence of West Chicago Elementary School District 33. The amount of the scholarship is based upon the amount of tickets sold, with the foundation receiving 50 percent of the monies. The foundation uses the money for enrichment programs and other projects to enhance the quality of education and to provide students and staff extended learning experiences. Winner of the $500 savings bond from DuPage National Bank was Dick Ramey.


     West Chicago Elementary School District 33 students participating in the Illinois council of Teachers of Math competition did well. Schools from all over Illinois participated, including magnet and private schools. The test, based on Gifted Education math curriculum, was administered to fourth, fifth and sixth grade GATE math classes. Students competed individually and in groups.


     Sixty schools participated state wide in fourth grade. The results for District 33 are Indian Knoll School in second place, Wegner School in ninth place and Gary School in 13th place.


     The results for fifth grade students, in which 70 schools competed statewide, are Wegner School in sixth place, Indian Knoll School in 12th place, Pioneer School in 20th place and Gary School in 24th place.


     Sixty-nine schools competed statewide in sixth grade. The results are Indian Knoll School in seventh place, Wegner School in 11th place, Gary School in 15th place and Turner School in 25th place.


     At its spring get together, parents, students and staff of the Dual Language Parent Advisory Committee made large paper flowers to give to residents of West Chicago Terrace Nursing home.


     At the Monday, May 16, 2011 meeting, City Council approved ordinances regarding yard definitions and fences, political signs and window coverings and amending the code of ordinances, Chapter 9, and creating a new appendix to the code for a fee schedule.


     Yard definition included various front, rear and side yards. The ordinance included an amendment to limit the height of corner side yard fences adjacent to an improved right-of-way with the implementation of a visibility triangle, requiring the height to be no higher than four feet within 25 feet of an intersection. This makes it consistent with the front yard fence requirements.


     The political sign change makes the city’s regulation consistent with the one recently adopted by the State of Illinois. To comply with this, the ordinance deletes the requirement for removal of political signs within seven days after an election.


     The window covering amendment applies to storefront windows in commercial zoning districts and ORI district in regard to screening with materials that are not consistent with a typical commercial appeal for displaying their products or services.


     The primary purpose of the ordinance regarding fees is to move fee references/amounts throughout the City code to an appendix to make it easier for the customer to access. This does not include water and sewer fees, which will be done at a later date. The fee for a raffle license has been increased from $1 to $10. Most of the neighboring communities charge $25.


     Scott Marksberry, girls’ soccer coach at Wheaton Academy, is leaving to become head women’s soccer coach at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.


     Catholic Daughters of Americas, St. Mary’s Court 432, once again sponsored a children’s education contest. This year it was for the Religious Education Program at the Church. Carissa Mosier won first place at the local level and placed third at the State level.


     Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 held its installation of officers Saturday, May 14, 2011. Post officers are Steven Bennier, commander; Mike Zenisek, senior vice commander; Carl Dublo, junior vice commander; Rich Guyser, quartermaster; Paul Sticksel, adjutant; and Chuck Scheckel, chaplain. Others are Don Smith, officer of the day and three-year trustee; Rich Mastaler, surgeon; Ken Richardt, historian; Theo Moore, service officer; William Bridgeforth, judge advocate; Tony Lio, guard; Charles Schramer, two-year trustee; and Bob Gustafson, one-year trustee. Installing Officer was Mike Breyne, Past 19th District Commander.


     Auxiliary officers are Terry Adams, president; Pam Brugoto, senior vice president; Linda Sturk, junior vice president; Maureen Hayden, secretary; Terry Escobedo, treasurer; and Marie Nowak, chaplain. Others are Joyce Roman, conductress; Mary Nelis, guard; Sylvia Bulkley, three-year trustee; Pat Scheckel, two-year trustee; Dorothy Tugana, one-year trustee; and Nancy Smith, patriotic instructor. Installing officer was Bev Beyer, Illinois Department President.


     During the ceremony of the presentation of the Bronze Star for Valor Award to Joe Jedlovec Jr. at the First Division Museum at Cantigny, Saturday, May 21, 2011, Winfield Township Supervisor Dona Smith read a proclamation. It was from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declaring May 21, 2011 as Joseph V. Jedlovec Day in Illinois.


     Jedlovec, serving as a Staff Sergeant in the Vietnam War, under heavy fire, moved out on the battlefield to save a wounded comrade. Jedlovec is Winfield Township Road Commissioner.


     At the Monday, May 16, 2011 City Council meeting, Janet Hale, chairman of the West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission, and LuAnn Bombard, director of West Chicago City Museum, presented Historical Preservation awards to four homeowners. Frank and Evelyn Canabal were recognized for style appropriate restoration to their residence at 504 Claremont Street. The original owner of the circa 1895 Queen Anne style house was George Guild, a retired farmer and Commissioner of Highways and School Director. It probably was one of the first houses built in the Columbia Park division, which is bordered on the north by National Street, east by Ingalton Avenue, south by Grand Lake Boullevard and west by Arbor Avenue. The home is listed on the Illinois Inventory of Historic Structures.


     Barbara and Peter Laimins were recognized for compatible addition to the house at 559 Highland Avenue. The original owners of the Wilmore model Sears House built in 1931 were Emma and George Kremer. National Street was a gravel road at that time. The five-room bungalow-type design was considered one of the most popular All American houses. Conducting a citywide inventory of Sears’ kit houses in 2001, West Chicago was one of the first communities to do this.


     Keith Letsche was recognized for style appropriate restoration and additions, which include front screen doors, garage cupola and roof, at 215 East Washington Street. The original owner of the circa 1875 Italianate style house most likely was Dr. George W. Reynolds. William T. Reed bought the house in 1881, where it remained in the Reed family until 1953. At that time First Congregational Church purchased it for use as its parsonage until 1968. Reed operated a general store in 1876. He served as President of the Village of Turner from 1894 to 1896 and then as President of the Village of West Chicago in 1896 and from 1900 to 1902.


     Charles and Sharon Shelhamer were recognized for the sensitive addition of the garage to the home at 216 Arbor Avenue. The house, constructed of cream-colored Milwaukee brick, has design elements of both Gothic Revival and Italianate styles. The newly constructed garage is built with the same Milwaukee brick, and the custom made windows reflect the window styles on the house. The original owner most likely was Reverend Isaac Smith, pastor of First Congregational Church. Charles E. Norris, local undertaker, later purchased the house, where members of his family lived for forty years. The house is listed on the Illinois Historic Site Survey and Illinois Inventory of Historic Structures.



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

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