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Around and About in West Chicago - 29 Nov 2012

Around and About

  • Wonderful and Wearable Show and Sale

  • Annual Tree of Memory

  • “Keep the Wreath Red”

  • City Clerk Nancy Smith - Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

              The festivity of the holiday season begins Saturday, December 1, 2012.

             The West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street, is filled with the Sounds of Music during the “Holiday Cheer” Open House from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1, 2012. Providing entertainment are the Community High School District 94 Chamber Choir, under the direction of Brandon Fantozzi at 2:00 p.m. and the Wheaton Academy Kantorei, under the direction of Joel Visker, at 3:00 p.m. Special guest is Santa Claus. Holiday treats are served.

              Then the magic in the in the old silk hat of the famous snowman casts its spell at Frosty Fest in the historic downtown district from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The procession steps off at 4:00 p.m. from 540 Main Street and proceeds to the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street, the official site of the tree lighting ceremony. Participants are the Color Guard from Boy Scout Troop 33, West Chicago Police Department. West Chicago Fire Protection District, reindeer, members of West Chicago Public Library District Youth Adult Council on the City float, Frosty, Gingerbread Man, Cat in the Hat, and Community High School District 94 Wildcat mascot. Members of the City Council ride on the horse-drawn trolley. Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda and the essay contest winners ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Riding in the fire district’s antique engine, The General, are Santa and Mrs. Claus.

              The melodic voices of the CHS Chamber Choir fill the air with holiday tunes, providing the perfect aura for the official lighting of the community holiday tree and lights throughout the downtown area by the mayor and essay winners. The Villela family of West Chicago donated the 30-foot tree. Following the lighting ceremony, the doors to the Fox Community Center open at approximately 4:45 p.m. Inside the designated warming center, members of the West Chicago Rotary Club serve hot chocolate and members of the West Chicago Lions Club offer popcorn. The cookie decorating activity provides a creative and tasty touch, plus contributes to a worthy cause. The requested donation of one dollar benefits the Neighborhood Food Pantry.

              As the headquarters for Santa and Mrs. Claus, American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street, is a hub of activity. At 5:00 p.m. students in the West Chicago Park District School of Dance perform a variety of entertaining styles of ballet, hip-hop and more.  The Community Choir, under the direction of Jo Noonan, performs, bringing forth the spirit of the season with Christmas carols, sacred and secular songs at 5:30 p.m. Park District staff and volunteers lead the craft activities of making a button wreath ornament and coloring an advent calendar of Santa’s beard and gluing on a cotton ball to mark December 1. Pictures colored by students at Keppler Academy Preschool and after school groups at Wegner and Norton Creek schools, will also be on display.

              The twinkling lights cast the perfect glow on the outside activities for guests to visit the reindeer and their elf handlers, to hear the Victorian Carolers sing traditional Christmas songs and to watch renowned ice sculptor Joe Gagnepain portray his artistic talent using a chainsaw as a paintbrush to create a Gingerbread Man. Capturing the old-fashioned charm of the community, horse-drawn trolley rides travel on a luminaria lit route in the nearby historic residential neighborhood.

              The view of history continues at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street. The exhibit, “Rites of Passage,” focuses on the pivotal events, which are milestones on life’s journey, such as birth, graduation and retirement. A preview of the summer exhibit, “Sweet Home Chicago,” features some information on past and current local candy shops and manufacturers. The sweetness continues with the craft activity of a candy cane reindeer, plus in the historic vein, children can make a paper chain. West Chicago Sister Cities has a display of German ornaments and artifacts from the Sister City Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany. Persons can have a piece of community history with the purchase of the 2012 commemorative ornament featuring Oakwood Cemetery with its one-time iron arch denoting the cemetery’s name.

              Another gift giving opportunity presents itself at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. The Wonderful and Wearable Show and Sale features jewelry and fiber crafts. Handcrafted ornaments and the artwork of member artists also are available. Demonstrations include necklace artwork by Britta Renwick from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and watercolor Christmas cards by Buddy Plumlee form 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

              While strolling, persons have the opportunity to not only enjoy the decorated windows/storefronts of participating businesses, but also vote for their favorite.  Ballots and voting locations are the community center, City Museum and legion. Through a random drawing of all persons casting a vote, one winner receives a gift certificate from a local grocery store. Also all entries in the Gingerbread House contest are on display in the window of T.J. Maintenance, 113 Main Street.

              Through participation in Frosty Fest 2012, adults and children create a time of memorable experiences and return home with visions of sugarplums and gingerbread men dancing in their heads. Yet the magic of the season continues with a variety of activities and a giving spirit to those in need from a community with a big heart.



              WeGo Drama at Community High School District 94 presents a special evening of performances from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, November 29, 2012 at Barnes & Noble, 102 Commons Drive in Geneva Commons Shopping Mall. Kids arts and crafts activity is from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. with a performance of “The Grinch Stole Christmas,” by WeGo Drama starting at 6:30 p.m. A preview of their next presentation, “Frankenstein,” is at 7:30 p.m.  followed a Mic Night featuring the WeGo Creative Writing Club. A portion the sales of books, music, toys, movies, café products and gift items go to WeGo Drama. The offer is good at any Barnes and Noble Store on November 29, 2012 or online at from November 29 through Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Enter Bookfair ID 10893980 at the checkout. For further information, email Mark Begovich at or visit

              The West Chicago Park District, as part of the Bill George Football League, has three of its Wildcat Cheerleader squads participating in State competition Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1, 2012. Community High School District 94 cheer or pom squad, or former squad members coach the teams. They help the girls put routines together, practice with them twice a week and attend the games on Saturday or Sunday. Each team also has two coach Moms.

              The fourth grade squad took first place at the BG competition at Willowbrook High School. Team members are Alexandra Elizondo, Katie Janis, Tori Lambert, Jennifer Merino, Abby Rigert, Jackelyn Servin, Alexis Toran and Karissa Zafiriou. JR Coaches are Miranda Dann, Abby Ulett and Abby Janis. Coach Moms are Kathy Janis and Cindy Lambert.

              Both the fifth and sixth grade squads received first place at the BG competition at the Sears Center. Fifth grade team members are Juliana Arato, Alexis Cerda, Jamie Claussner, Allison Dattomo, Gabriella Digiulio, Ariana Elizondo, Anna Fortelka, Payton Foster, Perrie Gryniewicz, Josie Kotke, Sydney Milella, Ashley O'Donnell, Delaney O'Malley, Alexa Orlove, Naceli Recendez and Grace Turney. JR coach is Alexis Long. Coach Moms are Cindi Gryniewicz and Angela Spencer.

              Sixth grade squad members are Marissa Bartels, Elena Covello, Angelina Flores, Kayleigh Miessler, Madison Mitchell, Natalie Mitchell, Caroline Orr, Denise Perez, Anna Reitz, Alexis Shapiama, AnnaBelle Tomei, Ryleigh Trimble, Emma Tully and Valarie Walker. JR Coaches are Delaney Trimble and Olivia Vanderlie. Coach Moms are AnnaMarie Covello and Renee Orr.

              The fourth annual Wonderful and Wearable Show and Sale is the December event at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. It features the one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessory items by artisans Sue Weibler, Britta Renwick, Heide Morris, Cathy Linegar, Gwen Heins, Marge Hall, Lois Easley, and Beth Hinz. The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, November 30, 2012.

              Gallery Theater presents “Mr. Beasley’s Christmas Party” by Booth Tarkington at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performance times are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, November 30, December 1, 7 and 8, and at 3:00 p.m. Sundays December 2 and 9, 2012.

              The play is based upon the belief of David Beasley, that “Christmas time is the best time because it is the kindest time.” At the turn of the last century, a journalist new to a Midwestern state capital notices something funny going on at the charming house of his neighbor, Gubernatorial candidate David Beasley. Living with him is his young ward Hamilton, who has a menagerie of imaginary friends. Beasley’s nemesis, Simon Peck, has plans to ruin the chance for election of Beasley. However, not only does he learn something, but so do all the other guests at the Christmas party hosted by Beasley.

              The play is full of quick changes, sidesplitting antics and surprising twists as the actors weave the heartwarming tale that delights and entertains the whole family. The story is a pleasingly understated and optimistic romantic story, without an ounce cynicism, and told with a gentle touch.

              Cast members are Tom Viskocil, Dave Ramito, Wanda Jin, Mark Fortman, Carla Landowski, Don Thompson, and Kaden Libb. The director is Janet Gilleland.

              The ticket price is $9 per person, $8 for students and senior citizens. To reserve tickets, call (630) 234-5919 or email

              Coffee with the Mayor is from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, December 1, 2012 at City Hall, 475 Main Street.

              Christmas Memory house tours take place on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday through Tuesdays, December 1 to 4, and 6 to 10; Thursday through Sunday December 20 to 23; and Thursday through Monday, December 27 to 31, 2012 at Kline Creek Farm, 1600 County Farm Road.

              Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, hosts its sixth annual Kids’ Kraft Day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, December 1, 2012. The free and popular event is geared for children ages 5 to 12. Children make Christmas gifts and/or decorations. The creative time includes lunch. An added pleasure is parents have some time for shopping, running errands or possibly taking a well-earned nap. For further information, call the church office at (630) 231-8230.

              Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, begins its Christmas advent services at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, December 2, and ends on Sunday, December 23, 2012. The series is “Rumors of Another World,” focusing on the longings persons have for justice, spirituality, relationships and beauty.

              Following its 10:00 a.m. Sunday, December 2, 2012 worship service, First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, hosts its annual Baked Potato Brunch with all the fixings.

              The West Chicago Public Library concludes its participation in NaNoWriMo with a wrap up party at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, December 2, 2012 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Participants share experiences and thoughts as they discuss their finished product of a 50,000-word novel. Refreshments are served.

              After 37 plus years as a mainstay business on Main Street, Dominick’s Cucina & Pizzeria is closing its doors. The last day is Sunday, December 2, 2012. Per the message on Facebook:

Dear Customers:

              During the past few years, we have sadly been feeling the strain of the declining economy. We have continued to maintain our product and its quality to ensure we delivered the food you have come to know and love. Sadly, over the past six months we have come to the decision we can no longer keep our doors open. Most of you know, Dominick’s has been established in West Chicago for over 35 years. Our family purchased it in early 2000’s and we have tried to create a family friendly local restaurant. Over the past ten years, we have made many friends, watched families expand and little ones grow, and sadly lost people who had become part of our extended family. My dad and I appreciate all of the support that has been given to us and will truly miss the chaos of our crazy restaurant…. It has been a wonderful ride and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts that you have allowed us to serve you the past ten years.

Thank you, Jim & Gina

              Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1800 Joliet Street, begins advent services at 7:00 p.m. Sunday December 2, and ends December 23, 2012.

              The basketball game between WeGo Wildcat Special Olympics Club and Glenbard South is at 7:00 p.m. Monday, December 3, 2012 at Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. The club is designating this as Knights of Columbus Appreciation Night.

              Club president Dave Hemke explained that Dave Harms from the K of C at St. Mary’s parish (Father Gaffney #1555) “has generously reached out to our fragile club and offered his assistance in setting up opportunities to sell Tootsie Rolls as a way of raising funds to sustain our club. Our intent is to keep the cost to participate at no or a nominal cost for the athletes/students that want to participate. We also want the club to grow in a measured way by offering a variety of sports to attract these Special Athletes so everyone can benefit.” During his discussions with Harm, he asked if any member “actually experienced a Special Olympic Event.”

              The K of C members “diligently raise money, but do not enjoy the Special things that happen at a game.” To Hempe, one of most notable things is that spectators cheer for both sides, encouraging both teams. “So December 3 will be a big night for our club and I hope for the Knights of Columbus to experience an event for which they donate their time and effort to collect money.”

              WeGo Together for Kids Family Night, open to all families in West Chicago Elementary School District 33, is Tuesday, December 4, 2012 in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street, Door 5 (old main entrance). The theme is “Learning is Really Cool; It is “snow” much fun to read as a family.” The pizza dinner is at 6:00 p.m. with families bringing a fruit or vegetable salad to share. During this time, attendees visit the family learning stations with a chance to win prizes, and explore the WeGo Together for Kids partners’ resource tables. At 7:00 p.m. the Department of Learning provides information on the district’s new Language Arts curriculum and how it impacts children’s learning. Students receive a new book and learn a family reading activity. To make a reservation or for more information, call Sue Cox at (630) 293-6000 or email

              Township officials of Supervisor, Clerk, Assessor, Highway Commissioner and four trustees are up for election in the Tuesday, April 9, 2013 consolidated election.

              Established political parties in Wayne and Winfield Townships are holding caucuses for the purpose of nominating individuals to fill these positions on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.

              The Wayne Township Republican Caucus is at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, 2241 Route 59. Sign-in begins at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

              The Wayne Township Democratic Caucus is in the Arts & Crafts Room at the Bartlett Community Center, 700 South Bartlett Road. Registration is from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 8:00 p.m.

              The Winfield Township Republican Caucus is at American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street. Registration begins at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is at 7:00 p.m.

              The Winfield Democratic Party Caucus is at the Winfield Fire Department, 27W530 Highlake Road. It begins at 7:00 p.m.

              The public hearing before the City of West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at City Hall, 475 Main Street. The hearing is to consider the City of West Chicago’s appeal of the Denial of Certificate of Appropriateness #12-20 for demolition of the Wiant House, 151 West Washington Street. The 1869 Second Empire style home is in the Turner Junction Historic District.

              The Commission denied the City’s application for COA demolition. Persons wishing to voice their views may do so in person by attending the meeting, by telephone at (630) 231-3376 or by writing the Commission at West Chicago Historical Commission, 132 Main Street, West Chicago, IL 60185.

City Council approved the purchase of the building for $260,000 with an 11-1 vote at its October 2, 2011 meeting.

              A group of citizens interested in preserving the structure has a website, It relates some of the history of the house and background information on the hearing.

              Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, holds Christmas Advent Season Wednesdays, beginning December 5 and ending December 19, 2012. Soup suppers are at 6:00 p.m. followed by the worship service at 7:00 p.m. The theme is “Remember, Don’t Forget.”

              “I Am Rosie the Riveter,” is the West Chicago Public Library District program at noon, Thursday, December 6, 2012 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Historical storyteller Lynn Rymarz tells the story of Geraldine Holt Doyle, the image behind the iconic poster of Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It.” She also tells about some of the other real life “Rosies,” who stepped out of their traditional roles to go to work during World War II. Interwoven throughout the presentation is the parallel story of Millie Weber, a Jewish teenager from the ghetto in Poland, who worked in a factory to support the Nazi effort. Guests bring their lunch and the Library serves dessert and beverages of coffee and tea. For further information call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

              Participation is down for the Scripps Spelling Bee, but there still is time for children to sign up for West Chicago Elementary School District 33’s 2013 Spelling Bee and represent their schools. Students can participate in practice sessions to learn spelling bee procedures, share tips and make friends. The first WeGo Bees practice is from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 6, 2012 in the cafetorium at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. For further information or to volunteer email Maureen Navadomskis at or call (630) 596-3729.

              The United Methodist and Congregational Men and Women host the 14th annual Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the Methodist church, 643 East Washington Street. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, fruit and beverage. The ticket price is $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens, $3 for children 12 and under, and $20 for a family of two adults and three or more children under the age of 12. Pictures with Santa are $5. Proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Food Pantry in West Chicago. Tickets may be purchased at the door or call the church office at (630) 231-3344.

              The West Chicago Park District hosts a Breakfast with Santa from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012 at American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street. In addition to visiting Santa, children make a take home craft. Menu is pancakes, sausage, fruit, juice and coffee. The price is $5 for residents and $7 for non-residents; children under the age of two are free. To register, call the district office at (630) 231-9474.

              Norris-Walen-Segert Funeral Home, 132 Fremont Street, hosts its annual Tree of Memory ecumenical service at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, December 8, 2012. Officiating is Reverend Tim Mitchell, pastor of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago.

              Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill, 1200 West Hawthorne Lane, is holding its first annual Road Rally starting at 3:15 p.m. Saturday December 8, 2012. The fundraiser after the race begins at 7:00 p.m. and is held in conjunction with the West Chicago Police Department. The charge is $15 per person. The proceeds benefit West Chicago families in need of gifts for Christmas.  For further information, call (630) 293-6700.

              The annual Community Holiday Celebration, hosted by American Legion Post 300 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, is Saturday, December 8, 2012 at the Legion, 123 Main Street. Social time begins at 5:00 p.m., dinner is at 6:30 p.m. and the entertainment is at 7:30 p.m.  DJ Mike T keeps the evening rocking. Other action includes the 50/50 raffle and the ever-popular Mystery Raffle. The cost is $20 per person and $35 per couple in advance, at the door price is $25 per person and $45 per couple. Tickets are available at the legion.

              Fun and wacky are the words to describe the second annual Sing-Along, hosted by the Community High School Foundation Saturday, December 8, 2012 at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club, 2241 Route 59. Community High School District 94 Madrigal Singers, under the direction of Brandon Fantozzi, entertain the guests as they enjoy light refreshments.  A sing-a-long precedes the 7:00 p.m. showing of the movie classic “Holiday Inn.” Guests are encouraged to wear outrageous holiday sweaters and participate in the interactive screening of the movie.

             The charge is $25 per person. Call Jan Bedard at (630) 327-3868 for more information or order tickets online at the school’s website All proceeds benefit the Foundation.

              Once again, the West Chicago Park District has arranged a special telephone hook up with Santa Claus in the North Pole. He is calling boys and girls in third grade and younger from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 12, 2012. Parents need to complete call forms, which are available at the Park District office, 157 West Washington Street, or online at Completed forms are due by Monday, December 10, 2012.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Patricia Ann Perrin Quetsch, who at the age of 79 passed away Sunday, November 18, 2012.

              The West Chicago Fire Protection District promotes holiday decoration safety through the “Keep the Wreath Red” program. The wreaths are on display at all three fire stations, 200 Fremont Street, 1651 Atlantic Drive and 1800 Commerce Drive. Red bulbs on the wreaths are replaced with a white bulb if the cause of a fire is holiday-related. During the 26-plus years of participation in the program of the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the district’s wreaths remained red most of the time. Precautionary measures for a live Christmas tree involve checking the water level on a regular basis and placing it and other greens away from a heat source, with the latter step also applying to artificial trees and greens. Locate candles in safe locations, away from window treatments and evergreens. NEVER leave candles unattended in a room; keep them out of reach of children and pets. With the use of battery-operated flickering tea candles and tapers, persons still can have the warmth and festive aura in a safe manner.

              At the Monday, November 19, 2012 meeting, City Council approved downtown Rehabilitation Façade program funds in the amount of $4,507 for 129 Main Street and 111, 113 and 115 Galena Street. The funds are for tuckpointing, glass repair, painting and Vitrolite repair.

              Since the office of City Clerk is one of the municipal positions open in the Tuesday, April 9, 2012 Consolidated Election, City Clerk Nancy Smith wanted the Council and members of the community to be aware of her recent diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “My doctor said I could continue in this office and I want to. Yet I feel it is only fair for everyone to be aware of this. Someone now may want to run for this office. I want the council and the community to participate in the decision of me remaining as clerk and running for election.” With a show of hands, the Council and Acting Mayor Ruben Pineda unanimously voted for her to remain and run for office.

              The Social Studies and Civics programs at Community High School District 94 are receiving positive national attention.

              Teacher Mary Ellen Daneels was one of the presenters on a webinar hosted by the National Association of School Boards Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The session was called “Students Today, Citizens Tomorrow, Empowering 21st Century Citizens.” She served on a panel with Dr. Diana Hess, Senior Vice President and Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Dr. Charles C. Haynes, Director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center; and Ted McConnell Executive Director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools in Washington D.C. The webinar was broadcast live to administrators and school board members around the country.  It is archived for others to view on the NASB website,

              Appearing on the cover of “Social Education,” are students in CHS Community Leadership class from the mock Presidential election held in early October, which was cosponsored by the League of Women Voters and the DuPage Election Commission. They are featured in the article, “Should Schools Teach Students to Vote? YES!” by Dr. Hess. The article focuses on the importance of giving students opportunities to vote in school to simulate the actual voting experience and familiarize them with the process. The publication is the flagship journal of National Council for the Social Studies, and contains a balance of theoretical content and practical teaching ideas.

              Daneels attended the National Social Studies Conference held Friday, November 16 through Sunday, November 18, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. She was a presenter “about the great things CHS does in regards to civic education.” The program description for the presentation was “21st Century Citizenship—Innovative Practices for Today’s World: Come see how the Partnership for 21st Century Skills has teamed up with the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and NCSS to re-energize “citizenship” for the 21st Century.” On her panel of presenters were Michelle Herczog, Los Angeles County Office of Education, Downey, California; Helen Soule, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Washington, DC; Ted McConnell, Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, Washington, DC; and Susan Griffin, National Council for the Social Studies, Silver Spring, Maryland.

              With the large response from patrons in the LEGO Charity Challenge, West Chicago Public Library District placed in the top 200 libraries eligible to receive a donation of LEGO® and DUPLO® bricks. The Library recently received the toolkits of cutting-edge, early literacy programming that combines preschool books with a versatile collection of LEGO® and DUPLO® bricks. During the month of September, LEGO Charity and the Association for Library Service to Children partnered to celebrate and support local libraries through their “Read! Build! Play!” challenge.

              Remember to support our local businesses as they contribute to our community not only through taxes, but also through in-kind and monetary donations to churches, clubs, organization and schools. For news on local businesses, read my monthly column “Business Highlights” at

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