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Around and About in West Chicago - 23 Aug 2012

Around and About

  • Electronic Recycling Event

  • Resignation of Bill Spelman

  • Recreation Center on the Ballot

  • Small Business Open House

  • Camp Hope

              Working with the philosophy  “Inside every problem lies an opportunity” by Robert Kiyosaki and “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity” by John D. Rockefeller, West Chicago Park District Superintendent of Parks Jesse Felix has similar thoughts about Reed-Keppler Park. “The best way to look at our natural disaster that occurred July 1, 2012 is to look at it as an opportunity to add facets to the park that did not exist before.”

              More than 150 trees were lost. At a cost of $180 per tree, the total replacement cost is $27,000. Through the Friends of West Chicago Parks Foundation efforts in its grass roots fundraiser, $1,986.16 has been raised as of August 13, 2012 and is enough for 11 trees. Persons can donate to this fund at the district office, 157 West Washington Street, or on the website

              A top priority is the continuation of clean up along with the maintenance of all the parks. This involves preparing the affected park sites for public use by pruning trees, removing trees and keeping the forest floors clean. With the replacement of trees lost, another option opened is continuation of diversification in the keeping and maintenance of an urban forest. “We must keep in mind we are planting for future generations to enjoy.”

              Yet the main thrust is a focus on opportunities growing with the loss of fifteen percent of the shade in the park. One such plan involves developing display beds along National Street. “The landscaped beds at Turtle Splash have always had positive comments.”

              An option involving the younger set is the design of a display that promotes nature in children’s lives. “This would help us accomplish our mission through Chicago Wilderness of fighting nature deficit disorder.” The design would involve “Planting Pockets” around the playground. There are studies showing the combination of manufactured equipment and nature “enjoy the highest use by children and families.”

              Another idea is the design of a simple labyrinth, with two entrances leading to the center.  In the center would be a tree with a bench around it. Crystal Kwasman, the wife of the late mayor Mike Kwasman, wants to donate the tree in his memory. “Here people can sit quietly to converse or meditate.” The benches in the Memorial area are used frequently, Felix mentioned.

              There are several opportunities for bringing art into the park. One involves the feasibility of a carver creating faces in some of the trees that have been topped. “The Chicago Park District may lend some art promoting awareness of the urban forest.” Ball Horticultural Company may lend some artwork. Another possibility is having the loan of artworks from a sculptor in Batavia. “Some of his work currently is on display in the St. Charles Park District.”

              Removal of the existing landscape around the north and south parking lots on Arbor Avenue would open up the area for viewing the park landscape. Of course with the loss of shade from the canopy of the trees, there are more open areas to establish turf. The combination of all these pursuits could assist with the park district taking the lead in bringing and promoting the America in Bloom program to West Chicago.  Through the program, “We could demonstrate the importance of ornamental horticulture and its effect on a community.”


              The annual DuPage County Republican Day is from noon to midnight Thursday, August 23, 2012 at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club, 2241 Route 59.  Check-in begins at 11:00 a.m. The barbeque buffet is from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The cost for golf is $150 per person, $600 for a foursome. The barbeque buffet only is $50 per person. Social hour begins at 5:00 p.m. The program, awards presentations and raffles are at 7:00 p.m. The keynote speaker is Scott Romney, brother of Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. For further information, call Meaghan Olsen at (630) 752-9679 or visit the website

              The West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, August 23, 2012 at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street. Social time is at 6:45 p.m., brief business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and program at 7:15 p.m. The speaker is Mel Zaloudek, a landscape consultant. His topic, “The Shaded Garden,” focuses on making use of shady nooks in gardens. He is a botanist and former instructor in the horticultural department at Triton College in River Grove. Meetings are open to the public.

              The West Chicago Police Department conducts a roadside safety check this coming weekend Friday, August 24 through Sunday, August 26, 2012. It is part of an annual statewide enforcement effort to make communities safer around the Labor Day holiday. The safety check will be used to detect persons operating motor vehicles without safety belts, with defective equipment, driving without a license, having no proof of insurance or are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

              Coffee with the Mayor is from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, August 25, 2012 at City Hall, 475 Main Street.

              We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center, 1055 West Washington Street, hosts an Electronic Recycling Event from 9:00 a.m. to noon, Saturday, August 25, 2012. Some of the acceptable items are computer monitors, computers and accessories, televisions, printers, toner/ink cartridges, stereos, radios, telephones, household batteries, microwaves and small household appliances. For a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable items, visit the website For more information call Laurie Staple at (630) 293-0100. The greenhouse is a not-for-profit corporation providing training and jobs for individuals with disabilities.

              State Senator Tom Johnson (R-48), State Representative Mike Fortner (R-95), State Representative Darlene Senger (R-96) and DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin are hosts for the Mortgage Relief Project outreach event from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (registration ends at noon) Saturday, August 25, 2012 in the Auditorium at DuPage County Government Center, 421 North County Farm Road in Wheaton. The project is part of the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network established by Governor Pat Quinn. Persons can learn about programs to help lower mortgages, avoid foreclosure and keep their homes. Documents persons should bring are 2010 and 2011 tax returns, two months of recent pay stubs, budget of household expenses, documentation of other income, recent utility bills, profit/loss statement for six months if self-employed. Even if persons cannot supply all the documents at this time, they still can meet with a HUD-certified counseling agency or their lender. To register or for more information call (800) 532-8785 or visit

              As part of its 40th Anniversary celebration, the West Chicago Park District offers fitness classes for just 40 cents from Saturday, August 25, through Friday, August 31, 2012 at the Fitness Station, 103 West Washington Street. Classes include Zumba, Pilates, Cardio Kickboxing, Vinyasa Yoga and ZumbaAtomic. For further information call (630) 293-5620.

              St. Mary’s Parish hosts the 2012 webcast series of Reverend Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who is internationally renowned as an international speaker and writer. The next featured series is at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, August 25, and again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in the Parish Center, 147 North Oakwood Avenue. The topic is “Linage,” Father Rohr’s seven spiritual themes. The cost is $5 and includes light refreshments.

              At its Tuesday, August 14, 2012 meeting, the West Chicago Board of Commissioners with a 5-1 vote accepted the resignation of Bill Spelman and the writing of a letter thanking him for his service to the District. Commissioner Don Voelz cast the dissenting vote. Spelman’s letter of resignation submitted Thursday, August 9, 2012 did not state a reason for resigning. Executive Director Gary Major said, “Bill expressed his support of the park district and the upcoming referendum.” Spelman was elected Commissioner in the April 2011 Consolidated Election.

              The board needs to fill the vacancy for the nine-month term ending May 2013. Applications are available at the district office, 157 West Washington Street. Completed applications are due Tuesday, August 28, 2012. The board hopes to seat the approved candidate at its Tuesday, September 11, 2012  meeting. The seat for an unexpired four-year term will go to election in the April 2013 Consolidated Election. For further information, call the office at (630) 231-9474.

              The commissioners also voted unanimously to put the proposition of building a recreation center on the ballot in the Tuesday, November 6, 2012 General Election. The question will read “Shall the Bonds of the West Chicago Park District, DuPage County, Illinois, in the amount of $15,500,000 be issued for the purpose of constructing, building, furnishing and equipping a recreation center?”

              The proposed recreation center has been downsized to 65,000 square feet, focusing more on indoor and physical fitness opportunities. It features a walking/jogging track, area for seniors, multipurpose gymnasiums, fitness area and dance studios. With its location in the area of Reed’s Place in Reed-Keppler Park, the center is near the recreational facilities such as Turtle Splash Water Park, Wriggly Field Dog Park, nature trails, playgrounds, picnic pavilions and athletic fields.

              Gallery Theater holds audition for the Fall production “Murder by the Book,” at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 28, and Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court.

              The play is a comedy/mystery with a cast of four men and six women. The actors portray persons impersonating the famous writers Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Sir Author Conan Doyle, Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Bronte, Louisa May Alcott, Agatha Christie and Mary Shelley. The other female role is that of the maid. The age range is from mid-twenties and upward. Auditions consist of readings from the script and an optional one-minute monologue.

              Performance dates are Friday through Sunday, September 12, 13, and 14, 2012. For further information, call (630) 234-5919 or email

              WeGo Drama at Community High School District 94 begins its 2012-13 season with a premiere of the Tony and Oliver winning play “Red” by John Logan. The evening of entertainment, which is the New Directors Showcase, also includes three short one-acts. These are “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen,” “Not My Cup of Tea,” and “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon.” The plays highlight the season’s theme, “Any Time, Any Place,” the sharing of different time periods and different places. The performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, August 30 and Saturday, September 1, 2012 in the Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. There is no charge, but there is a suggested donation of $10.

              “Red” a one-act play, takes place in the 1950s New York studio of the artist Mark Rothko as he works on a series of paintings with his young assistant. The play looks at the world of realities. CHS is the first high school in the nation to perform the play.

              “Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen” is by Tennessee Williams and explores a relationship trying to survive during the depression. “Not My Cup of Tea” by A. F. Groff is a dark-comedy about an eccentric family with murder on their minds. The witty satire, “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” by Donald Zolidis, is about the silliness of all fairy tales.

              New directors are Cat Canestrelli, Josue Munoz and Daniel Stomper. Drama/English teacher Mark Begovich also directs. “Red” scenic design and technical direction is by Chris Jensen. Lights and sound are by Jim Anderson.

              The West Chicago Park District hosts a Teen Advisory meeting for youths under the age of 15 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at the district office, 157 West Washington Street. Recreation Coordinator Kathy Burke spearheads the meeting to find programming that appeals to teens. For further information call (630) 231-9474.

              Glen Arbor Community Church, 204 Church Street, hosts a Small Business Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, September 15, 2012. It is a way to introduce residents to businesses in the community and its church. The church at this time is seeking businesses to participate. These include accountants, attorneys, blacktop, concrete, plumbers, electricians, home remodelers, window cleaning, HVAC, painters, handymen, landscapers and home party representatives. There is a $25 booth charge. The church also is having bake and craft sales. For more information or to register for a booth, call the church at (630) 293-5989 or email

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Lawrence Evert “Larry” Hall, who at the age of 69 passed away Friday, August 10, 2012.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Faith E. Krumin, who passed away Friday, August 17, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Henry Watson, who passed away Sunday, August 19, 2012.

              For the West Chicago Public Library District, its 2012 Summer Reading Program. “Eat-Move-Read,” was a huge success, breaking the record for the number of participants. Registering for the program were 1,200 youths and 566 adults. Children who completed their reading goals enjoyed an afternoon of fun at Turtle Splash Water Park. For teens and adults meeting their reading requirements, there were drawings for prizes, which included an I-Pod Touch, e-readers and gift baskets.

              Camp Hope, a partnership between the B. R. Ryall YMCA of Northwestern DuPage County and West Chicago Police Department’s Neighborhood Resource Centers, recently served 50 youth from the Main Park and Riverwoods Apartments. During the weeklong event, the youth participated in sports and activities at Pioneer Park.  On daily outings, the youths visited Xtreme Trampoline, Wheaton Bowl and Studio Move Grill. Town and Country was the site of the cookout for the final day. Camp Hope wants to continue programs for the youths during winter, spring and summer breaks. For further information, call Lulu Holguin at (630) 918-6105.

              Students in the Community High School District 94 Bridge 8.5 Program recently interviewed 13 members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791 and the Ladies Auxiliary for the Veterans History Project sponsored by the Library of Congress. Participating in the project were veterans from World War II, Vietnam, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq. They were Robert Gustafson, Christine Seagrave, Donald Smith, Charles Schramer, Charles Scheckel, Patrick Leon, John Klingberg, George Tugana, Richard Guyser, John Johnston, Kenneth Beardsley, and Kenneth Richardt.  Nancy Smith represented the Ladies Auxiliary.

              It was a meaningful project for teachers, students and veterans. Gustafson, a CHS graduate and Vietnam veteran, explained the participation by the veterans. “The kids are the next generation. Any opportunity to share experiences is a privilege.”

              Social studies teacher Mary Ellen Daneels said, “Our school mission statement promotes learning, living and leadership. The Veterans History Project allowed students to learn about these attributes from members of their community that embody them the best, our veterans. What an opportunity to learn from those who lived history.”

              “Participating in the interviews of our local veterans has inspired me to contact family and friends who are veterans. It is important that we always remember those who have paid the price for our freedom,” said English teacher Nick Kempski.

              CHS senior Fagalde, who serves as a facilitator for the program, said, “Interviewing the veterans was an interesting experience because we were able to hear the stories first hand instead of a classroom setting.” She also mentioned it was interesting to hear the difference between those serving in WWII and those in Iraq/Afghanistan.

              The 40 participating students enjoyed learning about the personal experiences of the veterans. John Fitzgerald said, “Fighting a war 70 years ago was so different.” Some of the changes are due to technology, making it easier for servicemen to communicate with family and friends. John Gutierrez said, “Mr. Leon told us that the last time he served, he was able to use Skype.”

              To prepare for the interviews, the students visited the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park. Preparations also included an interdisciplinary study of the question, “Who paid the price for the rights and privileges I have in my community?”

Bridge 8.5 is a summer transition program for incoming freshman at the high school. Students can earn their first high school credits while learning about the new school culture and applying academic skills to real world issues.

According to the Veterans History Project website, the Library of Congress “collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.”

              In the Local Sports section of the Saturday, August 18, 2012 issue of “Daily Herald,” there is an article on Scouting DuPage County Girls Golf. Community High School District 94 is named as one of the top area teams. Listed as top athletes on the high school team were Katie Becker, Tessa Dittman and Hanna Netsingha. The coach is Mike Cain, who launched the team in 1996. The team finished fourth last year in the DuPage Valley Conference, which was the best finish a West Chicago team has had.

              West Chicago Elementary School District 33 brings KAGAN into its classrooms through training of more teachers in the program. In the summer of 2011, 40 teachers participated in a professional learning initiative for pre-K through eighth grade students, and implemented the strategies in their classrooms the past school year.  Because of the positive feedback, the district plans to have all teachers trained in the implementation of KAGAN structures. This summer, Superintendent Dr. Edward Leman and 80 teachers participated in the training.

              Leman explained, the training amounts to keeping a high percentage of students active in learning instead of one student at a time raising a hand to answer questions.  “It involves students dialoging about content.”  He added, its purpose is making students active participants in their learning and not passive recipients of information. “Engagement ensures that learning content gets processed by the students’ brains, which causes the content to stick, have meaning, and be applied to new situations. These strategies create a more democratic classroom” which in turn build healthy classroom environments with less problems leading to more efficiency and higher achievement.

              Classrooms using KAGAN structures are busy places. There is much movement and interaction, which are based on learning objectives. One activity uses inside-outside circles. “Students arrange themselves into two circles, one inside the other. They face a partner and interact with each other according to a particular prompt.” This could be a discussion of a review question, reaction to a news item or the development of a prediction about a science experiment or the evaluation of opinions in solving a problem. Asking why or how, the students mind is engaged in content. “Students get to move and get to talk.”

              Leman said, “This is particularly good for students who are learning English,” giving them the ability to verbalize academics in English. With the KAGAN structure, “50 percent of the students are speaking about content and 50 percent are evaluating what their partner is saying.”

              An important strategy of the KAGAN program is grouping students at their desks. Students are grouped in four’s with an occasional group of five, mixed in their abilities and strengths, explained Leman. Students can interact as a group, with their shoulder partner, with their face partner or do round robin depending on the task. “Activities are timed, require materials and require an end product.” Since there is a rotation of responsibilities within a group, there is participation by all. “There are no dominant students who do everything, and no one gets to sit back and let the others do the work”

              Sitting in on the training, Leman said, “I believe these skills will make our classrooms much more effective and efficient places to learn. I want to show the staff my commitment to this training…Watch for the good results!”

              Some persons noticed extra activity in town Saturday, August 18, 2012. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda explained at the City Council meeting, Monday, August 20, 2012. “Two boys were missing, a 13-year-old who is autistic and has Down syndrome, and his five-year-old cousin.” The boys were last seen riding their bikes on Pomeroy Street. An emergency station was set up at the high school parking lot on Wood and Stimmel streets. More than 60 persons were involved in the search. In addition to the West Chicago Police Department, other respondents were members of West Chicago Fire Protection District, Warrenville Fire Protection District and Wheaton Fire Department, CERT and ESDA, DuPage, Kane and Cook County Forest Preserve Districts. Also, a Homeland Security Helicopter took part in the search. Approximately five hours later, the boys were located at Penske Truck Rental on North Avenue. “The boys were eating pizza. At first the employees thought the boys belonged to some of their customers,” said Pineda.

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