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Around and About in West Chicago - 24 Aug 2011

Around and About

  • Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 65th Anniversary with an Open House

  • West Chicago Sister Cities Host Oktoberfest Dinner

  • Historical Society Hosts Annual Ice Cream Social and Silent Auction

  • West Chicago Public Library Recycling

  • 46th Annual New Teachers Luncheon

              The Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 celebrates its 65th Anniversary with an Open House from noon to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, August 27, 2011 at the VFW Hall, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard. The public is invited to join in the celebration. Refreshments are served.

              The Auxiliary, with 30 charter members, started August 28, 1946 with the installation ceremony in the gym at Lincoln School, which was located on Geneva Street. Betty Plane was the first president. Two original charter members still in the Auxiliary are Fern Watson and Shirley Whennen. Lillian Richardt Hahne was the second president and served as Fifth District President from 1953 to 1954. She was the sister of Leon Richardt, after whom the post was named. He was the first serviceman from West Chicago to lose his life in World War II.

              Their first meeting was October 1 in the Kindergarten School on Fremont Street, which now is the location of West Chicago Fire Protection District.  They met there twice a month until June of 1947, when they moved the meeting location to the Masonic Hall on West Washington Street. To help cover the $7.50 charge per meeting, the Auxiliary members raffled a cake at each meeting. Fundraisers included bakes sales, bazaars, food booths and Bingo at carnivals.

              Remembering hospitalized veterans was and continues to be an important aspect of the Auxiliary activities. Starting in 1948, they held parties at Elgin Hospital with Pat and Gordon Klingberg often providing entertainment.  

              By October 1949, the women were able to help the Post with the purchase of three building bonds totaling $1,300. Other activities that year included sponsoring a Soap Box Derby and serving Chili after high school football games.

              Although the building of the post clubhouse was not finished, the auxiliary held its first meeting in the bar room in February 1950. In 1951, they served the first banquet for the VFW Bowling League. Following closely upon the Post and Auxiliary parade and dedication of the flag pole on August 12, 1951 was the parade and burning of the mortgage ceremony in September 1952.

              In 1957, the Auxiliary received the first citation for having their colors in the Department Encampment Parade in Chicago. Watson and Whennen carried the colors in the five-mile parade.

              Not daunted by the fire that destroyed the post building in 1962, members of the Post and the Auxiliary rebuilt and were meeting again in May 1963. While the building was rebuilt, the Auxiliary met in the basement at West Chicago State Bank, which is now the site of the West Chicago Park District. The Auxiliary helped with the funding for the addition built on the south side of the building in 1973 and participated in the burning of the $80,000 mortgage in 1987.

              The auxiliary presented American flags to various groups such as the Youth Center, Girl and Boy Scout troops, Historical Society, West Chicago Library, Police Department and schools. They continue to provide fruit baskets to homebound veterans and auxiliary members, veterans in hospitals, plus members of the police department and fire district on special occasions. Throughout the years and now the auxiliary assists various groups through monetary and in-kind donations.

              Programs in which they are involved include membership, Americanism, cancer aid and research, hospitals, veterans and family support and the school programs of Voice of Democracy and Patriots’ Pen. The membership of the Auxiliary now numbers 94 with Terry Adams serving as president.



              The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, August 25, 2011 at Faith Community Church. Sharing time is at 6:45 p.m., short business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and program at 7:15 p.m. The program is “Unusual & Seldom Used Perennials” presented by Joannie Rocchi. She is the perennial plant specialist and retail perennial manager from the Growing Place in Aurora. The public is welcome to attend.

              United Methodist and Congregational Women host their annual Salad Luncheon at noon Saturday, August 27, 2011 in the Methodist church building, 643 East Washington Street. Guest speaker Jane Rubietta discusses “Triumph in Transitions: Powerful Choices in Powerless Places.”  She is the author of 11 books, one of which is “Come Closer: A Call to Life, Love and Breakfast on the Beach.” She and her husband, Reverend Rich Rubietta, co-lead Abounding Ministries. The event is free and open to all women in the community. Call the church office at (630) 231-3344 to make a reservation.

              The last day of the exhibit honoring the 100th Anniversary of West Chicago Printing Company is Saturday, August 27, 2011 at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street. In addition to photographs, there are old type cases used in printing, including a large California case. The family-owned business spans four generations. The current owners, Bruce and Steve Treudt, are the great grandsons of the original owner, William Treudt.

              First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, holds a picnic after its 10:00 a.m. worship service, Sunday, August 28, 2011.

              After serving for more than 35 years as a full time firefighter for the West Chicago Fire Protection District, Lieutenant Ronald Konen retires effective August 31, 2011. He joined the department August 1, 1976 and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1980. His retirement reception is from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 30, at Station #2, 1651 Atlantic Drive.

              As summer approaches an end, the colorful banners with the theme “Motion: The Way Things Move” adorning the poles in the downtown district will soon be coming down. Persons still have the opportunity to vote for their favorite to receive the “People’s Choice Award.” Not only does the winning artist receive a gift certificate for Gallery 200, but one of the persons who voted for the winning banner in 2011 also receives a certificate.  The last day for voting is Thursday, September 1, 2011. Ballots are available at City Hall, 475 Main Street; Gallery 200, 200 Main Street; and the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street. The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission sponsors the banner project, which is in its fourth year.

              The special community commemorative program, “Remembering 9/11: A West Chicago Observance,” is at 6:00 p.m. September 11, 2011 in the Memorial Garden in Reed-Keppler Park. The garden is near National Street between Fremont Street and Arbor Avenue. Plans include the reading of stories from persons in the community, who share their memories of 9/11. Essays should be 250 words or less; only first names and last initials of writers of selected essays will be read. To submit a story of memory, mail to Rosemary Mackey, West Chicago City Hall, 475 Main Street, West Chicago, IL 60185, or e-mail The deadline is Friday, September 2, 2011.

              Entertaining 29 guests from Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany and wanting to give residents of the community the opportunity to meet them, West Chicago Sister Cities hosts an Oktoberfest dinner Friday, September 9, 2011 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 hall, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard. Social hour is at 6:00 p.m. and dinner is at 7:00 p.m. On the menu is cucumber salad, roast pork loin with mustard sauce, lemon basil chicken breast, potato salad, corn and soft pretzels. Jimmy & the Bavarians provide the musical entertainment. The highlight of the evening is the performance by the Gebensbach Trachten Verein Schuplatter dance group. Ticket price is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. To reserve tickets, call Melissa Birch at (630) 621-0128 or e-mail

              The West Chicago Historical Society hosts its annual Ice Cream Social and Silent Auction from noon to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, September 10, 2011 at the Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street. Ice cream, choice of cake or pie and beverage are included in the $4 ticket price. This is always an enjoyable event.

              The West Chicago Park District offers “Saturdays in The Park,” a program designed to increase physical activity in children to combat adult obesity. It is geared for children ages 5 to 12.  The first session is from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 3, 2011 at Turtle Splash Water Park. All other sessions are in the gym at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. Participants are divided into age appropriate groups and must wear gym shoes. A healthy snack is served. Each child receives an informational packet of daily activities at the end of each session. The registration deadline for this free program is Friday, August 26, 2011. To register, call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474.

              Now through the end of the September, the West Chicago Public Library District is collecting cell phones and batteries from flashlights, cell phones, laptops and watches to deliver to DuPage County School and Community Assistance Recycling Composting Education facility in Glen Ellyn. Organizing the collection for SCARCE is the Library’s Green Team whose members are a staff person from each department. Their mission is to make the staff and library more environmentally friendly.

              Although we still are enjoying the shade provided from the leaves in the trees, before long, the leaves will be falling. West Chicago Youth are in the midst of planning the annual leaf raking in the yards of senior citizens. The scheduled date is Saturday, November 5, 2011. To have your yard raked or to volunteer for raking, call youth coordinator Chris Holguin at (630) 918-0299 or e-mail

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Mary Jane Court, who at the age of 83 passed away Wednesday, August 10, 2011.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Nyssa Walker, who at the age of 25 passed away Friday, August 19, 2011.

              In addition to the donations of food, Feeding Northwest DuPage is in need of monetary donations. With a 25 percent cut in its budget, Feeding Northwest DuPage is feeling the pinch both in purchasing food through the Northern Illinois Food Bank, where the majority of the food is bought, and also providing emergency assistance. Ken Walker, Site Manager, explained, “The majority of our food, including meat, is purchased through the food bank. We get more bang for the buck, about 25 cents on a dollar.” He added, “The economic downturn has reduced the amount of donations we receive from regular sources such as businesses, churches and organizations. The St. Mary’s site serves residents in Winfield Township. To donate, make checks payable to Feeding Northwest DuPage , in the memo section designate St. Mary’s site and mail to St. Mary’s Church, 147 Oakwood Ave., West Chicago, IL 60185. Also, persons may drop them off at the site on 163 Garden Street during pantry hours from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday.

              Since I walk quite a bit, I have noticed one change since Stage 2 started on Washington Street. The eastbound traffic drives faster than the westbound traffic did.

              West Chicago Lions Club hosted its 46th Annual New Teachers Luncheon Thursday, August 18, 2011 at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club. Lions Club President Laz Perez said, “We welcome the new teachers. You are the ones who truly shape our futures through our children. We are here to support you.”

              Introducing the teachers to the community, City Clerk Nancy Smith gave a brief history of the community, described the various taxing bodies, the businesses, the chamber, clubs, organizations, museums and events. She said, “The luncheon for new teachers is unique to West Chicago. We are proud of our community and one that values education.”

              The Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce provided welcome and informational packages for the teachers. Included in the bags were packets, certificates and small gifts from various chamber members.

              Dr. Phil Erhardt, Superintendent of Benjamin School District 25, introduced Benjamin Middle School principal Joe Salmieri and Evergreen School principal Jean Peterson. New teachers and administrators to Benjamin Middle School are Melissa LaMantia, assistant to the principal; Jessica Ericson, reading teacher; Michelle Fiorini, learning media center teacher; and Angelica Maul, fifth grade teacher. At Evergreen School, the new teachers and administrators are Sarah Keysor, assistant to the principal; Daniel Baker, fourth grade teacher; Nina Colao, half-time kindergarten teacher; and Josh Karis, half-time technology teacher.

              West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Superintendent Dr. Ed Leman said, “This is always an enjoyable luncheon and a nice way to introduce the new teachers to the community.” Administrative staff attending was Wegner School principal Jim Grothendick, Pioneer School principal Gloria Trejo, Currier School principal Nancy Cordes, Gary School principal Rocio Fisher and West Chicago Middle School principal Pat Roszkowski. New teachers at Currier are Christine Ross, first grade bilingual, Neal Golyshko, sixth grade teacher, and Elizabeth Jones, music teacher. New teachers at Gary are Megan Jones, second grade dual language, and Paul Reyes, fifth grade dual language. Patricia Rodriguez is the new preschool teacher at the Early Learning Center. New to the Middle School are Allison Zabelin, music, Nicholas Duda, language arts; Melanie Thomas, English as a Second Language. Trinidad Alvarez is the school psychologist at Pioneer and Turner.  Ashlye Vaugn is the fourth grade-sheltered teacher at Wegner and Joanne Brumbaugh is the sixth grade-sheltered teacher at Pioneer.  Barbara Clark, District Associate Superintendent Human Resources & Professional Learning, explained, “Sheltered Instruction is intended as a transition for students between self-contained bilingual classes and general education classes, all in English.” These classes are taught in English by a specially trained teacher, “nationally-recognized research based Sheltered Instruction Operation Protocol. The teachers are able to provide second language support as needed in instruction.”

              Community High School District 94 Superintendent Lalo Ponce said, “We have talented and great new teachers joining our staff.” New administrative staff members are Allister Scott, Math & Science Division Head; Ashley Meyers, Special Education Coordinator; David Pater, Dean of Students; Mary Howard, Language Arts Division Head; Sandy Pampuch, Special Education Coordinator; and Sarah Ludwig, superintendent’s secretary. New faculty members are Allison Zabelin, orchestra teacher; Andrew Dailing, English teacher; Breda Murphy, English and Academic Skills Center teacher; David Pammer, school counselor; Elizabeth Cox, special education teacher; Ericka Richardson, Spanish teacher; and Jennifer Grenchik, speech and language pathologist. Others are Jorge Bustamante, art teacher; Melissa Biles, Spanish teacher; Nicole Osborne, English teacher; Nora Wessels, German teacher; Regina Haka, family and consumer science teacher; Susan Hollinger, science teacher; Roberta Felfle, social studies teacher and Susana Pichardo, school psychologist.

              Because of a scheduling conflict, Wheaton Academy staff was unable to attend. New at Wheaton Academy are Scott Broman, business teacher; Michelle Dwyer, science teacher; Steven Gallaher, assistant athletic director/math teacher; Brittany King, English teacher; Haley Martin, English teacher; Sean McCallum, art teacher; Dan Nicholas, social studies teacher; Ben Panner, Bible teacher; Leah Rinker, Spanish teacher; Catherine Tilly, part time art teacher; Dave Underwood, Bible/health teacher; and Jen Underwood, part time English teacher.

              Starfish Aquatic Institute gave a 5-Star Certificate of Excellence to the lifeguards and staff of the West Chicago Park District Turtle Splash Water Park. This was in recognition of their compliance to proactive aquatic safety and risk management standards. SAI was established in 1999 with the sole mission of reducing drowning and saving lives through the development of risk management and competency-based training programs complemented by exemplary service and cost-effective support.

              Through a partnership between the West Chicago Police Department’s Neighborhood Resource Centers and B. R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County, more than 100 children in the Town & Country, Main Park and Riverwoods Apartment complexes participated in the pilot program Camp Hope. The youths went to Pioneer Park for baseball, soccer, football and splash pad activities. Daily outings included Brookfield Zoo, Museum of Science and Industry and Centennial Beach in Naperville. There was a cook out on the final day at Town & Country.

              Working with the Parent Teacher Organizations in West Chicago Elementary School District 33, Shelley Campbell, youth services department staff member at the West Chicago Public Library District, participated in the school district’s “Reading Under the Trees” program. Reading at the various locations in June, she promoted the Library’s summer reading program, which included a traveling trophy competition. “The traveling trophy was a new incentive and spirit of competition for school-age children to sign up and keep reading. Participation in library summer reading programs is proven to prevent the “summer slide” that so often erodes children’s reading levels.” Gary School is the winner. “They had a record breaking 39.5 percent of their students sign up for the program this year.” Campbell added, “We had 1,138 children sign up for the reading program, a new record, a 20 percent increase over last year. From this number, 691 children completed the program; each receiving a free book and ticket to the carnival the Library held Saturday, July 30.”

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