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Around and About in West Chicago - 15 Nov 2012

Around and About

  • Brief Synopsis of City Council Meeting

  • Search for a Superintendent

  • “Adopt-A-Sailor” Program

  • Annual Christmas Sale & Luncheon

  • Puente del Pueblo, Bridge of the People

              This is a brief synopsis of some of the many actions at the November 5, 2012 West Chicago City Council meeting.

              Boy Scout Troop 33 presented the Opening Flag Ceremony.

              Part of the City’s 2012 Brilliance in Business Awards presentation included a commemorative video highlighting the accomplishments of the five winning businesses. Robb Emmett of Win/Win Productions produced, directed and edited the video. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda presented the awards. Recipients were Sims Recycling Solutions, 1750 Hawthorne Lane, for Green Initiatives, Chiquita Food Market Plaza, Roosevelt Road and Joliet Street, for Community Image, Bob’s Salt & Feed, 126 Wood Street, for Small Business of the Year, Daniel and Associates Real Estate, 465 E. Roosevelt Road, for Community Service, and DuPage Airport Authority, 2700 International Drive, for Economic Development.

              Council approved the contract for the Route 38 Water Main Relocation Project to Swallow Construction Corporation for an amount not to exceed $164,370. The project consists of the relocation and installation of approximately 745 lineal feet of 12-inch diameter ductile water main pipe and appurtenances located along Roosevelt Road between Kautz Road and Technology Boulevard. The relocation needs to be done in advance of the Illinois Department of Transportation Route 38 realignment and Kautz Road bridge construction project.  The City will be reimbursed for costs, including engineering services, under a separate contract.

              Council awarded a professional services contract to Thomas Engineering Group, LLC for various professional engineering services during fiscal years 2013 through 2017 for an amount not to exceed $4,599,311.72.  In 2008, the City privatized its Engineering Department and on March 3, 2008 City Council approved TEG to perform various engineering tasks and duties. Over the past 5 years, the TEG staff has performed design and construction engineering assignments for roadway reconstruction, underground utility improvements, roadway resurfacing, sidewalk maintenance programs, streetscape projects, and has represented and defended the interest of the City on multiple occasions and meetings. The company has served as program manager of 35 major municipal assignments in the City; performed design services for more than $9 million of municipal improvements and oversaw more than $21 million in total construction costs; assisted the City with seven successful grant applications since 2008; and acquired more than $2 million of federal aid for use on capital improvements throughout the City.

              Also approved was the authorization of the Mayor to execute an Illinois Commerce Commission Stipulated Agreement 1682 defining payment obligations and construction timeline for certain improvements related to the George Street Pedestrian Rail Underpass Project. On May 7, 2012, the Council approved Stipulated Agreement 1610 and forwarded to the ICC. However, the agreement was not executed by the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company and has since been revised, causing the need for a new agreement.  Although the current stipulation agreement 1682 is similar to the previous one, it is revised to include an updated project cost of $807,360; the previous construction costs were estimated at $552,235. The State has agreed to fund 60 percent of the project with Grade Crossing Protection Funds with the EJ&E being responsible for the remaining 40 percent. Once construction is completed, the City will be responsible for long-term maintenance. The City also will be responsible for ancillary constructions costs such as the off-site pedestrian path between Ann Street and George Street. This will be part of a separate agreement at a future date.

              Part of the agreement with Grand Trunk Corporation and the establishment of a Quiet Zone involved the relocation of South Aurora Street and the vacation of South Aurora Street crossing of the EJ&E line upon completion of the project. However, since the right-of-way was established circa1860, the staff of both the City and the railroad had difficulties as to who has the jurisdictional authority to vacate. Since the City utilities remain in the right of way, this brings up the requirement for the establishment of easements and could create maintenance issues. With this in mind, City Council approved the first amendment to the memorandum of Agreement with GTE. It removes the phrase “close and vacate” and replaces it with “physically close from use by vehicles or pedestrians.” Also “the City agrees to ever forebear and refrain from seeking the reopening or establishment of a roadway or pedestrian at-grade crossing at the former South Aurora Street grade Crossing.”

              Council approved the appointment of Aaron Hannemann to the Plan Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals for an unexpired term ending April 30, 2014.

              I will have more on actions taken by the City Council in my Wednesday, November 21, 2012 column.


              As part of the process in the search for a superintendent of Community High School District 94 to replace Lalo Ponce, who retires at the end of June 2013, BWP and Associates holds interviews with focus groups to develop the profile for potential candidates. The meetings take place Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in the board meeting room, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance H. The schedule is from 2:30 to 3:00 p.m. for business and community members; from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for student council officers in the Commons area; from 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. and from 4:30 to 5:00 for teachers, faculty members and support staff; from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. for feeder district board members and administration; from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. for parents and community members; and from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m. for an open forum. BMW offers an online survey for persons unable to attend, but who want the opportunity to give input. The survey will be posted on the school website

              The basketball game for The WeGo Wildcat Special Olympics Club is at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in Bishop Gym at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. The team plays U46-Elgin. The club is honoring the West Chicago Park District for its serious and quiet support, not monetarily, but through resources the club does not have, explained club president Dave Hempe.

              Coaches this year are Dirk Gunderson, Dick Doremus, Katie McCall, Diana Gunderson and Kylie Gunderson.

              To kick off the basketball season, the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Class at Community High School District 94 presents the school’s Wildcat version of Midnight Madness at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in Bishop Gym, 326 Joliet Street. In addition to the participation of the Boys, Girls and Special Olympics basketball teams, the evening of fun includes the Cheerleaders and Pom Pons.

              The night of Madness involves student “fan-fun” events such as Dribble Knockout, Sticky Buns, Teacher Karaoke, 3-Point Shooting, Musical Chairs and Obstacle Course, plus CHS club activities with prizes awarded to participants. Master Stage Hypnotist Robinn Lange, “America’s premier comedy hypnotist,” provides the entertainment.

              Ticket price is $4. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

              WeGo Drama at Community High School District 94 presents the military drama, “A Few Good Men,” by Aaron Sorkin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 15, 16 and 17, 2012 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.  Ticket price is $8 for adults and $5 for students.

              Fitting in with the season’s theme, “Any Time, Any Place,” the drama relates the story of the court martial of two enlisted Marines accused of murdering a fellow soldier. The Naval lawyers, entrusted with the case, uncover a high-level conspiracy behind the crime and struggle with the problem of how to “handle the truth.” The play focuses on the issues of honor, dignity and the value of human life with in the framework of the U.S. military.

              Members of the cast are Braeden Austgen, Kyle Foehner, Luke Jaconis, Aaron Morden, Ben Nelson, Daniel Stompor, Amber Anderson, Ashley Anderson, Dayna Bantz, Ady Bejarano, RJ Bradley, Jeana Brown, Teaya Brown-Stacker, Cassie Ciardullo, Marc Cuiriz, Elyssa Di Raddo, Jackie Fabiszak and Abram Fernandez.

              Others are Isaac Fernandez, Charles Fortner, Marco Garcia, Jessie Hansen, Gaby Hernandez, Marianne Kiel, Veronica Kruthoff, Ryan Lakics, Edlyn Leon, Jackie Letzer, Farrell Lewis, Stephen Lewis, Diana Lopez, Rosemarie Luther, Tara Lyne, Jessie Martinez, Melissa Metzger and Tanika Moore.

              Also taking part in the drama are Edith Muñoz, Josué Muñoz, Alora Pradel, Raven Ringe, Natalie Sehweil, Ben Skipor, Andrew Steininger, Zandra Starks, Conor Trimble, Brenden Walsh Josh Brown, Cat Cannestrelli, Sarah Dalla Costa, Amanda Dishey, Lindsay Fiegle, Matthew Loftus, Olivia Powrozek, Lauren Russo and Sarah Szremski.

              Mark Begovich is the director with assistance by Maggie Haas. Scenic Design and Technical Direction is by Christopher Jensen with Lights and Sound by Jim Anderson.

              In conjunction with the play, WeGo Drama sponsors an “Adopt-A-Sailor” program. The inspiration for the program arose while learning more about the U.S. Armed Forces, and receiving a generous donation from the Thrift Shop at Great Lakes Naval Base. Working through Molly’s Adopt a sailor,, the club has been assigned a 15-member helicopter squadron stationed on the USS Stennis.

              The club seeks donations of microwave food, non-perishable snack food items, saltwater taffy, cookies, wet wipes, stationary, greeting cards and international phone cards; entertainment items include playing cards, magazines and iTunes gift cards. Also welcome are monetary donations to defray the costs of shipping. The deadline for donations is Saturday, December 1, 2012. For further information, email Maggie Haas at or visit

              Local Music Night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, November 16, 2012 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are Adam Sorensen, Rita Ruby and Roger Kotecki.

              Sorensen is a singer/songwriter. His songs reflect his life’s journeys, as they continue to shape and define his music. His album, “Midwest,” was recorded in Forgiveness Studios with alt-folk producer Evan Brubaker.

              Not only has Ruby taught and performed in the Chicagoland area, but also across the United States and internationally. She delivers her blend of vintage country and southern gospel with heartfelt passion. Audiences chuckle as she relates some her life stories during performances.

              With his vocal and guitar music, Kotecki performs an eclectic mix of music from the 1860s to the 1970s. Along with the melodies and lyrics of folk, country and pop rock tunes, he sings and plays some of his own creations.

              Featured visual artist is West Chicago resident Chris Grodoski, an art teacher at Franklin Middle School in Wheaton. He recently received the 2012 Illinois Middle School Art Educator of the Year Award from the Illinois Art Association.

              Open mic is at 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

              Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, hosts its annual Christmas Sale & Luncheon from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 17, 2012. There are Christmas crafts, used treasures, handmade crafts and a bake sale, plus various vendors. The luncheon is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On the menu are Sloppy Joes, salads, chips, dessert and beverage.  The cost is $6.50 for adults and $3.50 for children age 10 and under.

              As part of the National Novel Writing Month program, the West Chicago Public Library District hosts the “Midway Party” at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, November 17, 2012 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street.  The writing goal for the participating authors is 28,336 words. At this event, persons share experiences and thoughts. Light refreshments are served.

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services host Special Event Days for children when school is not in session. There are two sessions for Thanksgiving vacation Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, November 19, 20 and 21, 2012. The first session is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a cost of $15 each day.  The extended session hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with a cost of $30 each day. Reservations are due Monday, November 12, 2012.

              The intergenerational event is from 10:00 a.m. to noon Wednesday, November 20, 2012. Senior citizens and youth play Bingo. There are prizes.

              WAYS offers a Teen Group from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays. It is geared for youth ages 13 through 16 needing help to cope with various issues, such as emotional, addiction, self-injury, school, and family. Before attending the on-going sessions, parents and youth are required to have a pre-group consultation.

              All three activities take place at Wayne Township, 27W031 North Avenue.  For further information on the programs, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166.

              The last day of the West Chicago Public Library District “Food for Fines” program is Wednesday, November 21, 2012.  During this time, the Library accepts non-perishable food items in payment for overdue fines. One item equals one dollar in forgivable fines up to a maximum of $6. Patrons not owing fines can also contribute to the food drive. The proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Food pantry in West Chicago.

              West Chicago Rotary Club fundraiser is a citrus sale of red ruby grapefruit or interior naval oranges. The price is $30 per case for grapefruit and oranges, $15 for a half case. Deadline for ordering is Friday, November 23, 2012 with delivery scheduled for the week of December 10, 2012. Proceeds go toward high school scholarships, local charitable organizations and other community needs. For further information or to place an order, call Mary Ann Manna at (630) 222-1202. At a recent meeting, the Rotary Club presented a check for $250 to Literacy DuPage. The club serves hot chocolate at Frosty Fest and sponsors the Interact Club at the high school.

              The Women’s Ministry of Water’s Edge Bible Church hosts its Annual Christmas Tea at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, December 6, 2012 at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, 2241 Route 59. The theme is “The Wondrous Gift.” Geneva resident Rhonda O’Brien is the featured speaker. She writes for Tyndale Publishing House in Carol Stream, which publishes Christian fiction, nonfiction, children’s books and other resources, including Bibles in the New Living Testament. The menu is high tea with sweets and finger sandwiches. Ticket price is $13. To order or for more information on this popular event, call the church office at (630) 231-1210.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Darlene A. Hall, who at the age of 71 passed away Sunday, November 4, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Patricia “Pat” A. Fleming, who at the age of 90 passed away Saturday, November 10, 2012.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of JoJo Weber, who passed away November 2, 2012.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Kyle T. Loftus, who at the age of 20 passed away Saturday, November 10, 2012.

              Katie Krone, a senior at Community High School District 94, is the recipient of the PeaceBuilder Award for the month of October. She credits her best friend Anna with teaching her lessons about peace through her positive attitude.

              Krone explains her outlook on peace. “It is hard always trying to be nice to someone or smile, but if it helps to make someone’s day better, make it happen.” A song she loves is “One Day” by Jewish rapper Matisyahu, who has an influential role in her development as a person.  Her favorite quote is “Don’t judge me because my sins are not your sins.”

              Krone is in Chamber Choir and on the Math Team. She is a volunteer at Mount St. Joseph’s home for the disabled. Upon graduation, Krone plans to attend Colorado Christian College in Lakewood and major in forensic psychology with a minor on vocal performance.

              More than 300 persons attended the West Chicago Lions Club Breakfast Sunday November 4, 2012. Winning $282 in the 40/60 raffle was Joe Schneider. Boy Scout Troop 33 assisted with serving and busing tables. Guests at the breakfast voted for their favorite posters submitted by students ages 11 to 13 for the International Lions Club Peace Poster contest. The theme was “Imagine Peace.”  The three top winners are sixth grade students. Winning first place was Giselle Salinas, number 19, from Pioneer School; second place was Maheen Khan, number 29, from Wegner School; and third place was Angelina Flores, number 38, from Indian Knoll School. Special Mention winner was Ibrahim Useinovski from Wegner School. Lion Dan Czuba explained, “He deserves this for his great attitude and spirit. His poster was misplaced and not available for the entire judging period.”

              West Chicago resident Katie Wichert was the first place winner at the fourth annual Prime Burger House and Elgin Community College burger competition at the Grand Victoria Casino Friday, November 9, 2012.  Her entry, Kelly Jo Burger, will be featured on the Prime Burger menu for a year. Wichert’s prize is a $2,000 scholarship to ECC.

              As the featured speaker at the 4 the People Prayer Breakfast Saturday, November 4, 2012, Reverend Chris McElwee, pastor of Wheaton Local Impact at Wheaton Bible Church, related the correlation of the church moving from its long time location in Wheaton to the location here and the expansion of its ministry in the local community. It began with the question, “If we ceased to exist, would anyone care or notice?” The answer was not a resounding yes, leading to a search for what could be done to make a difference.

              The first step began in 2005 with the formation of CareFest, which is a day when members of the church volunteer services in the community.  The first year they worked at Pioneer school with planting, mulching and painting and now has grown to include all eight schools, plus expanding to other communities such as Carol Stream and Glendale Heights with more than 1,000 volunteers. However, the momentum for a ministry grew with the donation of $100,000 from an anonymous individual, opening the path to a ministry in West Chicago.

              This led to the formation of the Puente del Pueblo, Bridge of the People, at Timber Lake Apartment Complex. Matthew McNeil is the director who coordinates the program with staff and volunteers from the church membership. Other staff members are Lelia Salazar, Wil Franco, Irene Owens, Nena Silva and Rachelle Wistrand. The ministry initiative includes Iglesia del Pueblo. There are 2,000 residents living in the apartment complex, which is part of Northridge Holdings Inc. Realizing the benefit for both the management and the residents, the company president Glenn Muller set aside two apartments for the ministry programs.

              After school programs for 1st through 6th graders are at Wegner School and for 7th, 8th and 9th graders at the complex.  Included in this program is homework assistance and academic skill building enrichment opportunities, such as arts and sports.

              There are several programs for adults.  One includes case management with assistance for financial guidance, public benefits, immigration and employment. Spanish Literacy helps adults who cannot read or write by teaching in their native language, which makes it easier for them to succeed in the English as a Second Language classes that also are offered.

              Helping to make the ministry a success is the cooperation shown by all parties involved. McElwee said, “This community works together and cares. I am surprised that more communities do not follow West Chicago’s example.”

              Voters approved the City and Park District referendums.

              With the passage of the City’s referendum question on municipal aggregation, which allows the City of West Chicago to bundle residential and small business accounts and to seek bids for a lower cost, there are several steps that need to occur before seeking bids. “The next steps include the City creating a Plan of Governance for how the program will work, holding two public hearings, allowing residents time to opt-out of the program should they so choose, and then seeking bids to find the lowest cost source of power,” explained City Administrator Michael Guttman. After the City awards a contract, the vendor will send two letters to each account giving them the opportunity to opt out by signing and returning the letter to the vendor,” he added. Thus, any calls or letters you now might be receiving from companies are not part of the aggregate program.

              With the passage of the West Chicago Park District referendum for the recreation center at Reed-Keppler Park, the next step is to work with the architect and construction manager to complete construction documents in order for project bidding to begin in a few months, explained district executive director Gary Major.  “We also must work with the City in determining scope and code requirements.”

              The community Veterans Day service took place Sunday, November 11, 2012 at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791. Steve Govertsen, band director at Community High School District 94, played “Taps.” The featured speaker was Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda. The following is his speech.

              “Welcome to today’s Veterans Day observance. It’s an honor to be speaking with you on such an important occasion, that of paying tribute to our service men and women and remembering the sacrifices of their duty in defending our country.

              We remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication. They are our heroes and we thank them for their bravery and service. These men and women assembled here today, and those who are here in spirit, come from all walks of life, but they share fundamental qualities: courage, pride, determination, selflessness, patriotism and dedication to duty and integrity–all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.”

              Asking the veterans present to stand, he said, “Thank you for answering the call to duty. You have made our armed forces the most respected in the world.”  He then asked family members of service members to stand. “We know you have lived through difficult times and often carried the heavy load of keeping the home fires burning. Thank you for the sacrifices you have made.”

              Since the first shots at Lexington and Concord were fired and our Revolutionary War began, American men and women have been answering the nation’s call to duty. Millions of Americans have fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedoms and way of life. Today our troops continue to make the ultimate sacrifice, and even as we lose servicemen and women, more Americans step forward to say, “I’m ready to serve.” They follow in the footsteps of generations of great Americans.

              My nephew, Sergeant Edward Pineda, West Chicago Graduating Class of 2003, has served five tours so far, one in Iraq, four in Afghanistan. The proud soldier that he is has made the decision and sacrifice to defend his Country and to continue to give us the right to live freely. Let us continue to pray that my nephew and all American soldiers make it home safely.

              Veterans Day, originally called Armistice Day, was designated as a day to celebrate the end of World War I. The First World War ended November 11, 1918 and the legislation that created Veteran’s Day was, and I quote, “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.” As time went on and we engaged in further conflicts during World War II and Korea, veterans’ groups lobbied for a change.

              Rather than honoring the armistice and only those who served in World War I, the holiday would now honor all veterans from every war and conflict the United States had encountered. We’ve honored our troops and their service and sacrifices ever since.

              Today, people throughout the country will gather together to remember, to honor, and to pay gratitude to those who have served our country. Our gathering is just one small spark in the flame of pride that burns across this nation today and every day. It is a way for us to say, “We remember.” From the soldiers who shivered and starved through the winter at Valley Forge to those crouched in the muddy trenches of France, to the platoons that patrolled the hazy jungles of Vietnam and the young men and women covering the mountains of Afghanistan, we remember and honor you all.

              Thank you for attending today. God bless you and your families, God bless our troops, God bless West Chicago and God bless the United States of America.”

              At noon, Boy Scout Troop 33 conducted an official flag burning ceremony at American Legion Post 300.

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