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Around and About in West Chicago - 04 Apr 2013

Around and About

  • Family & Consumer Science Night

  • Keepers Community Garden

  • Fried Chicken Luncheon with the West Chicago Police Department

  • Literacy DuPage

  • Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services 30th Anniversary Annual Luncheon
    and Silent Auction

  • House Fire on the 2400 Block of Alamance Drive

              For the fourth consecutive year, Community High School
District 94 received a 4.00 Financial Profile Score from the Illinois
State Board of Education. Only nine of the 42 districts in the county
have a similar record. Statewide only 144 districts out of 865 received a
4.00 this year, which represents 16 percent of all districts, explained
board vice president Gary Saake. “In addition, we have maintained the
highest level of designation of ‘Financial Recognition’ for the past 10

              CHS has other positive statistical data.  It
ranks in the top one third of DuPage County with a graduation rate of
94.2 percent. State wide the rate is 82.3 percent and nationwide it is
78.2 percent. The drop out rate has decreased from 1.9 percent in 2008
to 1.0 percent in 2012, putting CHS in the top third in DuPage County
for the least number of dropout students. The state average is 2.5
percent. The average number of credits earned by students has increased
from 24.66 in 2008 to 26.52 in 2012. The number of students
participating in extra curricular activities and athletics has increased
from 43 percent in 2007-2008 to 50.65 percent in 2011-2012. The
enrollment in Advanced Placement courses has increased 43 percent from
last year, which is largely due to an expansion of AP offerings and
weighted grades. The number of AP exams passed has increased by 59
percent in the same time period. Energy usage is down 25.88 percent for
the period of December 2012 through February 2013. Saake provided the
statistical information.


The Social Studies department of Community High School District 94 and
the League of Women Voters of Wheaton host a Candidates Forum Wednesday,
April 3, 2013 at the high school, 326 Joliet Street.

The Meet-and-Greet for candidates in School Districts 25, 33 and 34
takes place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Learning Resource Center. Lisa
Willuweit, Humanities Division Head, said she plans to introduce the
candidates formally once during the hour.  “The meet-and-greet format is
very informal, with school board candidates available for

              The forum for Community High School
District 94 candidates is at 7:00 p.m. The forum for West Chicago
Mayoral candidates is at 8:00 p.m.

explained the high school and mayoral candidates each participate in a
forum moderated by the League of Women Voters in Weyrauch Auditorium.
“Audience members will submit questions to League volunteers, who will
present them to the moderator.  Forum procedures follow the League of
Women Voter guidelines.”

              State Representative Mike
Fortner (R-95) and State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-25) host the annual
Senior Fair from 10:00 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 4, 2013 at American
Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street. Various agencies, businesses,
organizations and taxing bodies provide information on legal, financial,
medical, assisted living and home health care services. Persons
attending have the opportunity to win door prizes and enjoy the
nutritious refreshments.

              “All That Jazz” is the West
Chicago Public Library District program at noon Thursday, April 4, 2013
in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street.  The program features
Tom Cash, a musician for more than 25 years.  He plays and sings many
styles of music including swing, jazz, gospel, rock and blues. He
utilizes a 12-string acoustic guitar and a Taylor 6-string guitar for
finger picking songs. Persons attending can bring their sack lunch; the
Library provides beverages and desserts. For more information, call the
adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

Community High School District 94 holds its annual Family &
Consumer Science Night Thursday, April 4, 2013 in the Commons, 326
Joliet Street, entrance H.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the program
begins at 7:00 p.m. “Family and Consumer Sciences night is an overall
showcase of the FACS courses offered at Community High School. Each
class within our department participates in a wide variety of lessons
and learning activities, which demonstrate and promote life skills,”
said teacher FACS teacher Meghan Klein.

              At 7:00 p.m.
“Wedding Planners” (emcees) deliver the opening welcome. Decorations in
the room and tables highlight this year’s theme, “April Love.”

              In the fashion show segment, Fashion Technology students model clothing they sewed in class.

Singing songs are children from the high school’s preschool, organized
and taught by students in Childhood Development classes.

The highlight of the evening is the Mock Wedding. The “bride and groom”
are Olivia Vanderlei and Alex Starkey. There are six bridesmaids and
six groomsmen. The DJ’s and wedding party are students in Contemporary
Life classes. Cookies and punch, made by students in Food 1 classes, are
served to the “wedding guests.”

              The admittance
charge is $3. Also there are raffles for the wedding cake and party
cakes baked by students in Food 2 classes. Raffle tickets are 25 cents
each. The proceeds from the admissions and raffle ticket sales go toward
the SkillsUSA scholarship fund. Other teachers assisting are Brittney
Bauer, Klein and Patty Clifford, plus Marc Wolfe, Information &
Technology Division Head.

              As part of its WeGo for
Wellness series, the West Chicago Public Library District offers “Nia”
at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West
Washington Street. This is a fusion movement program combining dance
arts and martial arts, and the centered feeling of the healing arts.
Persons attending should wear comfortable clothing and shoes. To make a
reservation, call the Adult Services Department at (630) 231-1552,
extension 4.

              “As We See It” is the exhibit for the
month of April at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. The display, the fourth
in the series of art education exhibits, is from the College of DuPage
Photo X Club and highlights a collection of artwork from 14 artists
representing students, alumni and local photographers. The club began in
2010 as an extension of Photo Exhibition, a course taught by part-time
COD faculty member Mary Dew.

              The artists’ reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2013.

Late Night at the Museum at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main
Street, coincides with the artists’ reception. “Rites of Passage,” the
current exhibit at the Museum, closes Saturday, April 6, 2013. The
highlight Friday is the display of commencement programs and cards.
Persons are encouraged to bring their West Chicago graduation materials
to add to the display and the Museum’s collection.

Starting Saturday, April 6, through Saturday, December 28, 2013, the
Museum resumes Saturday hours of noon to 4:00 p.m.

For the third year, Keepers Community Garden is renting plots for
persons or groups to grow vegetables for either themselves or to share
with the community. In addition to Keepers Garden, other organizers are
St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, People Made Visible and the
Contreras Gabriel Project. Organizers provide rain barrels. The cost for
a 7-foot by 7-foot plot is $20 and the cost for a 17-foot by 7-foot
plot is $30. The plots are on the north side of West Washington Street,
across from the church located at 400 West Washington Street. The Work
Day set aside for preparing the gardens for the growing season is at
10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013. On the same day, there is an Organic
Gardening class at 9:00 a.m. in the Rockwell Building, 108 Sherman
Street. The charge is $5. To register for for the class or for more
information, email

Fraternal Order of Police West Chicago Lodge 85 hosts a fundraiser for
one of its own, Officer Joe Stewart.  The Spaghetti Dinner takes place
from 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 6, to 2:00 a.m. Sunday, April 7, 2013 at
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, 431 North Neltnor Avenue.

Stewart, an officer in the West Chicago Police Department for more than
five years, was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, requiring a complete
bone marrow transplant. Prior to this, he served in the U.S. Marines
Corps. He and his wife are the parents of a seven-month old boy.

The ticket price is $12 in advance for adults, $15 at the door; $8 in
advance for children ages 4 through 12, $10 at door; and no charge for
children age 3 and under. The price includes entry into the drawing for
one of the three cash prizes of $500, $250 and $100. Other activities
include musical entertainment by a DJ, raffles, silent auction and 50/50
raffle. All proceeds go toward Stewart’s medical expenses and to assist
his family with living expenses.

              Persons unable to
attend, but wanting to make a donation can make checks payable to FOP
West Chicago 85, writing J Stewart in memo/note. The mailing address is
West Chicago Police Department, Attn: Detective Robbi Peterson, 325
Spencer Street, West Chicago, IL 60185. To purchase tickets, make a
donation or for more information, call Peterson at (630) 293-2222.

The Mission Team at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago hosts
a Pasta Bowl fundraiser at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the
church, 643 East Washington Street. Various “chefs” from the church
supply the pasta and sauces. The mission team supplies the salad, garlic
bread, desserts and beverages. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for
children and $20 for families.

              The West Chicago Park
District senior citizen monthly social gathering is Thursday, April 11,
2013. The popular Fried Chicken Luncheon with the West Chicago Police
Department is at 11:30 a.m. at the Police Station, 325 Spencer Street.
The Police Department supplies the chicken and guests bring a dish to
pass. Reservations for the free event are due Friday, April 5, 2013 and
may be made by calling the Park District at (630) 231-9474.

The West Chicago Public Library District’s “Live Out Loud!” program
features stories to make persons laugh themselves to health. It begins
at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 11, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West
Washington Street. Professional storyteller Sue Black weaves a tapestry
of amusing stories. She charms audiences with her warmth and creativity
through the telling of original and traditional stories from around the
world. To make a reservation for this family-oriented program, call the
Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

Gallery Theater presents “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Joe
DiPietro. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 12
and 13, 2013 and at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2013 at Gallery
200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court.

              The comedy involves
Nick, a single, Italian-American young man from New Jersey, and his two
sets of overbearing grandparents. Upon hearing of his promotion and
plans to move to Seattle, Washington, the grandparents begin a campaign
to keep him local. This includes a dinner invitation to the lovely and
single Caitlin O’Hare, as bait.

              Members of the cast are Gail Cannata, Mark Fortman, Laura Dewitt, Ginny Lennon, Carl Zeitler and Howard Raik.

              The ticket price is $9. Seating is limited. For reservations call (630) 234-5919 or email

The West Chicago Public Library District hosts a film tribute to the
late Mayor Mike Kwasman at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 14, 2013 in the Fine
Arts Center at Wheaton Academy, 900 Prince Crossing Road. The movie is
“To Kill A Mockingbird,” which debuted 50 years ago. The book, written
by Harper Lee, was a favorite of Kwasman’s. Prior to the film screening
and book discussion, his wife Crystal gives a brief introduction. Light
refreshments are served. There is no charge for the program, but seating
is limited. Tickets are available at the Library, 118 West Washington
Street, or City Hall, 475 Main Street.

Kids offers a free program for children ages eight to 14, who struggle
with unhealthy weight. The next six-week program begins Monday, April 15
and ends Friday, June 7, 2013 in St. Francis Hall at St. Mary’s Church,
140 North Oakwood Avenue. The classes for children only are from 4:00
to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. During these sessions, a
professional trainer teaches fitness exercises for 45 minutes. In the
last 45 minutes, the classes focus on lifestyle, covering such topics as
body image and communication. Friday sessions for the families are from
4:00 to 6:00 p.m., focusing on fitness, lifestyle and nutrition. The
nutritionist discusses various aspects of diet and healthy eating. For
further information or to register, call (630) 681-1558 or visit the

              The mission of PAK, a
not-for-profit organization, is for the reversal of the obesity trend,
working in one community at a time. In addition to the site here, there
are four other locations. The program is sponsored through Forward
DuPage, who received a grant from Healthy Kids, Healthy Families
initiative from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The executive Director is Nicole
Lynne Klinkhamer.

              Literacy DuPage, a not-for-profit
community-based organization, provides free customized tutoring for
adults. The six-session volunteer training for tutors takes place from
6:00 to 9:00 p.m. April 15, 17, 24 and 29, 2013 and May 1 and 15, 2013.
The $25 fee is waived for this series because of a grant received from
the West Chicago Lions Club.  To register or for more information, call
Literacy DuPage at (630) 416-6699 or visit their website

Area Youth/Family Services celebrates its 30th Anniversary at the annual
Luncheon and Silent Auction at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at
the Wayne Township building, 27W031 North Avenue. The luncheon, catered
by Augustino’s Rock and Roll Deli, is served at noon. The ticket price
is $15. There also is a raffle for various gift items.  The raffle
ticket price is $1 each or $5 for six. To purchase raffle tickets or
make a luncheon reservation, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166 from 9:00 a.m.
to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

              The silent auction features more than 30
baskets that have a value ranging from $30 to more than $200. Some of
the items in baskets are gift cards from restaurants, salons, boutiques
and local merchants. Many are theme-related. Persons unable to attend
can call a week before the event to receive a bidding list and put in a
bid in advance.

              Proceeds support the WAYS day camp
program to provide scholarships for children in need. More than 25
percent of the campers are from families below the poverty level and 50
percent are from struggling families, who need a safe, healthy camp
while their parents work.

              Every year, townships in
Illinois hold their Annual Town Meetings on the second Tuesday in April.
However, this year, due to the Tuesday, April 9, 2013 Consolidated
Election, the annual Town Meetings take place the third Tuesday, April
16, 2013.  The Winfield Township meeting is at 7:00 p.m. at Winfield
Township Highway Department building, 30W575 Roosevelt Road. The Wayne
Township meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Center at the township
building, 27W031 North Avenue.

              “Films in Focus,” the
West Chicago Public Library movie discussion group, is at 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 13, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington
Street. The featured film is “Lilies of the Field” starring Sidney
Poitier and Lilia Skala. Light refreshments are served. Reservations are
not necessary. For further information, call the Library adult services
department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

public hearing before the City of West Chicago Historical Preservation
Commission is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at City Hall, 475
Main Street. It is a continuance of the public hearing held Tuesday,
December 4, 2013. The purpose is for the commission 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.

              Persons wishing to voice
their opinions may do so in person by attending the meeting, by calling
(630) 293-2200, extension 158 (Jeff Harris) or by writing the
Commission at City Hall, 475 Main Street, West Chicago, IL 60185.

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.

Theater holds auditions for its final show of the season, “Give My
Regards to Broadway, ” at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, April 16 and
17, 2013 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performance dates are
Friday, May 31, 2013, Saturdays, June 1 and 8, and Sundays, June 2 and
9, 2013. Auditions consist of cold readings from the script. The cast
roles for the musical comedy are Dick Foster, the director; Eddie
Cowles, a “Donald O’Connor-type” pianist; Betty, the Virginia belle in
the chorus; Mona Monroe, the Broadway star; Mary Collins, an aspiring
actress; Legs Ruby, the bookie; Mugsy, a gangster hit man; Babs, Mugsy’s
moll; Donald Harper, “Harvard man;” and several chorus girls. For
further information, email gallery

Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Rick Belle, who at the
age of 48 passed away Friday, March 29, 2013.

Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Mabel Robertson, who at
the age of 99 passed away Monday, March 25, 2013.

12:24 p.m. Thursday, March 28, 2013, West Chicago Fire Protection
District firefighters responded to a house fire on the 2400 block of
Alamance Drive in the Cornerstone Lakes subdivision. Deputy Chief Dennis
Keefe said the fire was extinguished around 2:30 p.m. “The heavy smoke
made it a little more difficult to combat.” Fourteen other fire
departments assisted. “We perceived the house as a total loss.” The
cause of the fire is unknown and it is under investigation by the DuPage
County Fire Investigation Task.  The Martino family, which includes
four children ranging in ages from 13 to 21, plus their two dogs and
cats, are staying at the home of a relative.

Neighbors responded to the family’s needs with the distribution of
flyers requesting gift cards, cash donation, dog food, cat food and
other incidentals to assist the family. Persons wanting to contribute
should call Dawn at (630) 513-5304 or Bonnie at (630) 584-5093.

Sunshine and blue skies were the ideal conditions for the American
Legion Post 300 Annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday, March 30, 2013. Within a
three-minute time span, there were no eggs left on the ground. Winners
of the specially marked eggs in the 1 and 2-year-old age group were
Aaron Kaptur and Grasiela Rodriguez; in the 3 and 4-year-old age group
was Caleb Velazquez; in the 5 and 6-year-old age group were Itzel
Barrera and Delanney Zulauf; and in the 7 and 8-year-old -age group were
Latham Weibel and Natalie Doyle.

              Governor Pat Quinn
recently appointed West Chicago resident and former State Senator
(R-48) Tom Johnson to a position on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board,
which reviews parole cases. Prior to serving as senator from 2011 to
2013, he served on this board for five years. Johnson was appointed to
the senate in 2010 to complete the term of Randy Hultgren, who was
elected to represent the 14th Congressional District. When appointed
senator, Johnson said he hoped upon finishing the two-year stint to
serve on the board again. “I truly enjoyed working on criminal justice. I
never felt so fulfilled in my life.”  Johnson served as Illinois State
Representative from 1993 to 2003.

                 Shining Light
moved to St. Mary’s Parish Center, 140 North Oakwood Avenue. Hours are
9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Felix, West Chicago Park District Superintendent of Parks, and Phil
Graf, owner of Graf Tree Service and West Chicago resident, presented
“Experiencing a Natural Disaster” at both the Illinois Park and &
Recreation Association Conference in January and the Great Lakes Park
Training Institute in February. They discussed the July 1, 2012 storm
and how they dealt with it.

              Sam Rylowicz, a senior
at Community High school District 94, is the Student of the Month for
March. His academic accomplishments include a National Merit Commended
student, an Illinois State Scholar, a Voice of Democracy qualifier,
DuPage Valley Conference Academic All-Conference in Football and Tennis,
a Wildcat Scholar Athlete and Honor Roll student.

In athletics, Rylowicz was a member of the football team for four years,
serving as team captain this last season and earning an Honorable
Mention All-Conference. He also was a member of the tennis team for four
years, serving as team captain for the last three seasons and earning
Most Valuable Player Coach’s Awards.

              He was a peer tutor in the Student Resource Center and volunteered through the Community Leadership class.

Upon graduation, Rylowicz plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, majoring in Physics and continuing his
football career. Eventually he hopes to earn his Ph.D. and become a
college professor.

              Plans for the new recreation
center of the West Chicago Park District continue to move forward. The
location decided upon is the lighted ball field next to the Keppler
Academy Preschool, across from the area used for Railroad Days,
explained park district executive director Gary Major.  Although Reed’s
Place was a possible location, “It basically was a place holder until
the site was fully evaluated.”

              There were several
problems with the Reed Place site. The water level is very high compared
to the new location, leading to “possible challenges with excavation.”
Part of the site is in the flood plain, requiring “remediation of
sorts.” Other factors involved the location of utilities being further
away, not effectively using shared parking from Turtle Splash Water Park
and the soil was a little sandy. Major said, “The lights on the current
ball field will be relocated to another field.”

Currently the district is working on the completion of the floor plans
and elevations from the outside.  “We are anticipating an August
groundbreaking and to open in Fall of 2014.”

West Chicago Lions Club recently donated $2,000 to Children’s Organ
Transplant Association for the support of Owen Payton, a seven-year old
West Chicago resident who needs a heart transplant. The family is trying
to raise money to cover out-of-pocket expenses such as some
prescriptions, co-payment for appointments and in-patient stay costs.
Working through COTA, the goal is to raise $60,000. COTA is a national
charity dedicated to organizing and guiding communities in raising funds
for transplant-related expenses. Through the selling of t-shirts, wrist
bracelets, individual contributions and fundraisers, $43,418.40 has
been raised thus far. To donate or for more information, visit the

              Approximately 155
persons attended the Winfield Township Open House Saturday, March 9,
2013. Items collected were 40 pairs of glasses, two cell telephones, six
grocery bags of food, six boxes of newspapers and six U.S. flags. These
were distributed to the appropriate organizations.

Members of West Chicago Sister Cities hosted a social time with the 12
exchange students from Simon Marius Gimnasium in Guzenhausen, Germany on
March 26, 2013 at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ. They are
staying with the families of German class students at Community High
School District 94. They gave two short presentations about their
hometown and Germany. The students said that, although West Chicago is
much larger than Guzenhausen, our train station is much smaller. 
Highlights of their visit include sightseeing in Chicago, trying
American food and shopping. Sister Cities secretary Kathy Hummel said,
“They were very amazed by Woodfield Shopping Mall because they have
nothing like it in Germany.” CHS and Simon Marius Gimnasium have
partnered in the German Exchange Student program since 1981.

The newly elected officers of American Legion Post 300 Corporation are
Jim Opaczewski, president; Bob Frommert, vice president; and John
Hugunin, treasurer/secretary. Other members of the board are Melissa
Birch and Kevin Driscoll.

              Twenty-four parents of
students at Community High School District 94 graduated from the Parent
Leadership Academy Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The DuPage County Regional
Office of Education developed and presented the program for Hispanic
parents to assist them in in learning the knowledge and skills needed to
successfully navigate the American Educational system, monitor their
children’s education and assume leadership roles in their communities.

Teaching “Sit in the Driver’s Seat” course is Dr. Lourdes Ferrer. As a
Hispanic immigrant, educator and parent, she understands the issues
Hispanic parents face. Conducting extensive research into the underlying
reasons for the lack of achievement on the part of Hispanic students,
she incorporates her findings into the basis for this program. She holds
the following degrees: Bachelor of Science in Education, Masters in
Science in Research, Measurement & Evaluation and a Doctorate in
Education in Leadership. Her 30 years of experience include teaching
mathematics at middle, high school and university levels; community
development in Latin American countries; district level administration;
school, district and state staff development; educational consulting;
and educational quantitative and qualitative research.

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

My email address is


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