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Around and About in West Chicago - 15 June 2011

Around and About
  • West Chicago City Clerk Nancy Smith
  • Movie Night at the Parks
  • Pioneer Park Splash Pad
  • West Chicago Elementary School Summer Lunch Program
  • Teen Parent Connection

     “I feel it is a privilege and an honor to serve in this position,” said West Chicago City Clerk Nancy Smith, as she discussed her 20 years in this position. Elected to this position in April 1991, she has held this office longer than previous city clerks. Smith has served with four mayors—Paul Netzel, Steve Lakics, Michael Fortner and Michael Kwasman.

     Running for an elected office was the last thing in Smiths’s mind when she and her husband Don moved to West Chicago in 1988. Yet, it is because of the move, she became involved. “Alice Minaga was our realtor, plus was the City Clerk.” Later Minaga resigned because of moving to Colorado and former Mayor Netzel named Ann Stockton to the position of clerk. When it was time for the election, Alderman Tom Merrion suggested Nancy run for the office. He told her, “It is rather innocuous position in the sense you are a non-voting member of the City Council. You have to type and take minutes basically.” Because of her experience in the military service and government, “I knew I qualified for those duties. I decided to go for it.” During her three years in the Army, Smith was secretary/stenographer in the Army War Room at the Pentagon. Her career in the government sector included leadership positions.  “After the military lifestyle, this was a good way establish some roots into our hometown.”

     Not only did she not have any competition in the first election, she has had none in any election. Not knowing the exact duties of the clerk’s office, Nancy attended the seminar for newly elected clerks and later became an active member in the Municipal Clerks of DuPage County, in which she was elected to several offices, including that of president. “It is an on-going educational process.”

     The scale of change includes the advancement of typing minutes on an old manual typewriter at home to having a computer at City Hall for minutes, recording documents and official records. This increases the efficiency and facilitates the dissemination of information, she explained.  Nancy has tried to reach the point in the minutes of not having too little or too much information, giving the “pulse” of what occurred in a very accurate manner. “These are the City minutes, a part of the history of the town. They must be accurate.” Her attention to this detail is evident in the fact there are very few corrections to the official minutes. Although not an official duty, Nancy usually gives the invocation at City Council meetings. “I try to invoke something that will make people think about the day, season or event, and most importantly, keep it short.”

     As the city clerk, Nancy also is local election official for the City, which includes attending seminars to keep up with the changes that constantly are enacted. “Local government is the bedrock of American democracy.” Conveying the importance of local government to the younger set, Nancy often leads tours for schoolchildren at City Hall. When Mayor Kwasman is in his office, “he gives a short talk, answers their questions and lets them sit in his chair. They love it.” As the Official Keeper of the City Seal, Nancy puts the official seal on their programs at the end of the tour.

     There is much more work involved in the office of City Clerk than meets the eye, “but I love it, enjoy the challenges and especially meeting and talking with the people in the community.”

     However her commitment to West Chicago does not end with her elected office. Nancy assists in many other volunteer endeavors. As a member of West Chicago Sister Cities, she was the representative for the City at Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany for the initial agreement and the 10th Anniversary. She was the first woman Commander of American Legion Post 300 and is active with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 Ladies Auxiliary, in which she has held several positions including that of president. She chaired the Sesquicentennial Committee and along with Don, is co-chairing the committee for the commemorative ceremony of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. She serves as a docent at both the West Chicago City Museum and West Chicago Historical Society Kruse House Museum


     The West Chicago Elementary School District Board of Education meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m., Thursday, June 16, 2011.

     Local Music Night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 17, 2011 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are Adam James Sorensen, Scott and Hannah Koetje and Marion St. John.

     Through his music, Sorensen paints sonic pictures of his life in New York City, Salt Lake City, Edinburgh and Berlin from the perspective of his Chicago childhood. The songs reflect his life’s journey. His voice has a warm strength that conveys an honest fragility. A new record with producer Evan Brubaker is scheduled for release this summer.

     Koetje’s are a father and daughter duet. Their faith was tested in the past four years when Jeanette, Scott’s wife and mother of their two daughters, had a brain aneurysm rupture June 3, 2007. Jeanette now has returned to her work as a third year resident emergency room doctor at Cook County Hospital. Through this time, Scott created songs of love to and for God to thank Him for the healing miracle.

     Singer/songwriter Marlon St. John brings his eclectic and idiosyncratic songs to the forefront during a performance. He appears frequently with songwriters Kris Nichols and Mark Zeus. He has opened for performers such as Leon Redbone, Delbert McClinton, Marsha Bell and the late Jimmy Rogers. St. John has appeared with Cries and Whispers, Borrowed Time, Mark Zeus’ ThunderBoltz and Moco Magana. He wrote the scores for Beth Huntley’s “The Wake of Jamie Foster” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Among the various venues at which he performs are Two Way Street Coffee House and Abbey Pub.

     Open MIC begins around 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

     The West Chicago Park District presents Movie Night at the Parks at dusk Friday, June 17, 2011 on Diamond Field 1 in Reed-Keppler Park. The movie is “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.” The plot concerns a group of earth children helping an alien botanist return home. There is no charge, just bring chairs, blankets, snacks and bug spray.

     Coffee with the Mayor is from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 18, 2011 at City Hall, 475 Main Street.

     John Showalter of West Chicago is one of the 75-juried artists featured in “Art in Bloom” at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 18, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, June 19, 2011. His genre is precision custom woodturning. To see samples of his artwork, visit the website Other activities at the fine art festival are demonstrations, a large mural project for children, food and music by R-Gang and Classical Blast. Admission is free with paid parking of $5 per vehicle.

     With the completion of the Pioneer Park Splash Pad, the West Chicago Park District hosts a celebration with a picnic from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2011. The short dedication/ribbon cutting takes place at 11:00 a.m. The district provides hot dogs and chips. Guests can enjoy a variety of backyard games and inflatables.

     Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, host Family Game Night at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2011. Dinner is “Build Your Own Burger” and guests bring a dish to share.

     First United Methodist Church, 643 East Washington Street, holds its 10:00 a.m. worship service outdoors in the area of the future sanctuary, Sunday, June 19, 2011.

     For Father’s Day, the West Chicago Park District is offering “Dad’s Day Out” Sunday, June 19, 2011. Dads accompanied by one paying child have free admittance.

     For the second year West Chicago Elementary School District 33 offers a Summer Lunch Program from Monday June 20, through Thursday, July 28, 2011 in the lunchroom at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street, entrance at the upper east side of the building. The time is from noon to 12:30 p.m. weekdays, but is closed Monday, July 4, 2011. Persons do not need to call in advance. The free lunch is available to all West Chicago children under the age of 18. The menu includes a sandwich, vegetable, fruit, dessert and milk.

     The program does not use district funds. It is a federally subsidized program facilitated by the Northern Illinois Food Bank. NIFB is a sponsoring organization of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program which is administered by the Illinois State Board of Education, explained Marjory Lewe-Brady, project director of District 33 WeGo Together for Kids. The program not only “offers a healthy lunch to children, but also offers food support to families, who also may be having a hard time financially.”

     Call Sue Cox at (630) 231-6000, Extension 231 for further information.

     To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of West Chicago Printing Company, Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce sponsors an Open House from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at the printing company location, 131 Fremont Street. Photographs and memorabilia are on display. Light refreshments will be served. Also marking the company’s 100th Anniversary are banners on poles in the downtown district, which are on display through December.

     Avalon Quartet presents “An Evening with Beethoven” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, 2011 at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. The quartet is one of the country’s leading ensembles. Formed in 1995 at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, they participated in Isaac Stern’s Chamber Music Workshop at Carnegie Hall in 1997. He then invited the Avalon quartet to perform in the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Encounters in Jerusalem and presented the ensemble’s Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, Extension 4 to make reservations.

     The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, June 23, 2011 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Share and social time is at 6:45 p.m., short business meeting at 7:15 p.m. and program at 7:30 p.m. The speaker, Dave Wanniger from Beaver Creek Nursery, discusses hydrangeas. The meeting is open to the public.

     West Chicago Sister Cities hosts its second annual Mayfest dinner Saturday, June 25, 2011 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard. Social hour begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. The menu is garden salad, bratwurst with grilled onions, autumn chicken breast, boiled potatoes, red cabbage, rolls and dessert. Schuhplattler Verein “Edelweiss,” a dance group, will perform traditional Bavarian folk dances. The group, founded in 1914, is the oldest club (Verein) of this type in North America.

     Ticket price is $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $7.50 for children ages three to 12 and free for children age two and under.  Proceeds directly support the 27 guests from sister city Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany, visiting West Chicago from Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 11, 2011. To reserve tickets call Melissa Birch at             (630) 231-0128 or e-mail

     Friends for Fortner (State Representative Mike Fortner, R-95) host the fifth annual Golf Outing Monday, June 27, 2011 at Prairie Landing Golf Course, 2325 Longest Drive. Registration is at noon, shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. and dinner and awards at 6:00 p.m. The price is $200 per golfer, $650 for a foursome, and $100 for dinner only. Deadline for registration is Wednesday, June 22, 2011. For further information, e-mail event and fundraiser coordinator Amy Koltz at or call (630) 768-0951.

     The West Chicago Park District along with Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce hosts a Railroad Days 5KRun/Walk at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 9, 2011, starting at Turtle Splash parking lot in Reed-Keppler Park. The fee is $20 with funds to benefit the Feeding Northwest DuPage. Although persons may register on the day of the race, those registering by Friday, June 18, 2011 receive a t-shirt. Call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 to register.

     During Railroad Days, the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission sponsors the 18th annual Fine Arts Fiesta Friday, July 8, through Sunday, July 10, 2011 in the Scout Cabin at Reed-Keppler Park. The exhibit is open to artists with a West Chicago connection through residence, employment or school. Categories for the non-juried show are Crafts, Fine Arts-Photography, Fine Arts-Two-dimensional/Sculpture, and Students. The charge is $5 per entry with a limit of two entries. Application forms are available at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street; City Hall, 475 Main Street; Gallery 200, 200 Main Street; or online at, under forms. Artists bring their completed application and artwork from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, July 7, 2011 to the Scout Cabin in Reed-Keppler Park.

     Mexican Independence Day celebration is from noon to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, September 18, 2011 in historic downtown West Chicago. In addition to parade participants, the committee is seeking artists, crafters, business and food vendors. Applications are available at, under forms. For further information call Valeria Lopez at (630) 293-2200, Extension 170 for further information.

     Community High School District 94 in cooperation with the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission presents the “Sit or Set” art auction at its annual Autumn Flame fundraiser to be held Saturday, September 24, 2011. Artists can submit any piece of artwork on an object on which one sits or sets something. Guests bid on the individual art pieces at the auction. Fifty percent of the proceeds benefit the foundation and the other 50 percent goes to the artist. Applications are available on the high school website Applications are due by Monday, August 15, 2011 and art pieces are due by Wednesday, August 31, 2011. Call Gail Eckl Daniels at (630) 293-9099 for further information.

    Teen Parent Connection needs volunteers to provide hot meals for teen parents and their children at the West Chicago location. Volunteers supply food and beverage for 10 to 12 families. The meal for the weekly group session is from 9:15 to 10:00 a.m. Wednesdays in June and July at West Chicago Church of Christ, 350 East James Street. Group Services is a core component of Teen Parent Connection’s Family Strengthening program, which offers an opportunity for adolescent parents to socialize and discuss child development, parenting skills and connect to community resources with the help of a Parent Group Facilitator. Call Group Services Coordinator Courtney Simek at (630) 790-8433, Extension 307 for more information or to volunteer.

     Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Isabel J. Malatia, who at the age of 95 passed away June 11, 2011.

     Remember to patronize the businesses on Washington Street during the road construction project. It may be a bit more challenging, but remember these businesses are an asset to our community.

     Since it is summer vacation and children are out of school, more children are playing outside. At the Monday, June 6, 2011 City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Kwasman reminded drivers to slow down and be alert. “If there is a ball in the street, there most likely is a child running to get it.”

     Three students tied or broke district records in the running long jump event at the 13th annual West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Track Meet. Alexander Berg, fourth grader at Indian Knoll School, jump was 11 feet, 6 inches. Tying the 2006 record was Shane O’Connor, a sixth grader at Wegner School, with a 15-foot jump. Bailey Lelito, a sixth grader at Indian Knoll School, jump was 12 feet, 2 inches.

    At the Monday, June 6, 2011 meeting, City Council approved amending the fee schedule for the purpose of revising several fees and additional fees. One involved a utility connection fee. As the request to connect to City water and utilities is becoming more common, a permit fee for this service now is $100, comparable to the fee to disconnect. Another involved a historic landmark designation fee. When a homeowner requests the City to designate a property as a local historic landmark, staff processes the application with research, conducting of a public hearing, and preparation of reports and ordinances. To offset the cost of considering a property for landmark designation, the fee now is $200. There was no fee prior to this. Other fee changes included above ground tanks, range hood (commercial), spray booth fee, work in the right of way and easement encroachment agreement.

      The recipient of the West Chicago Lions Club scholarship was Megan Gossen.  Athlete scholar was Brian Bennet.

     Local athletes were recognized in the Friday, June 10, 2011 issue of “Daily Herald.” Named to the All-Area Baseball Team is Trevor Swaney, a junior at Wheaton Academy. Dane Sauer, a senior at Community High School District 94, is an honorable mention.

     Named to the All-Area Softball Team is Mary Connolly, a senior at CHS. Jessica Wood, a junior at CHS, is an honorable mention.

     Named to the All Area-Girls Soccer team are Meagan Radloff, a senior at CHS, and Crystal Thomas, a junior at Wheaton Academy. Ally Witt, a junior at Wheaton Academy is an honorable mention.

     Honorable mentions for the All-Area Boys Volleyball Team are Leo Bartyzel, a senior at CHS and Jeremy Lenich, a senior at Wheaton Academy.

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