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Around and About in West Chicago - 11 Apr 2013

Around and About

  • Jazz Band visit to Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany

  • 2013 Consolidated election

  • Public Library District’s “Live Out Loud!” Program

  • Annual Town Meetings on Tuesday, April 9th

  • Denial of Certificate of Appropriateness #12-20 for demolition of the Wiant House

              When 21 students from the Jazz Band at Community High School District 94 recently traveled to Taufkirchen (Vils), Germany, the Sister City of West Chicago, they discovered, “It is a small world after all.”

              Davis Steinbrecher, a senior, said, “My favorite part of the trip was being able to connect with the people of another culture and realizing how similar we are.”  He added, “Overall, I was very surprised at how few differences there actually were between the United States and Germany.” Antonia Lobocki a junior, agreed, mentioning the use of cellphones is prevalent among the youth in Germany also.

              One difference was driving. “In Germany, persons have to be 18 in order to drive. The kids carpool or rely on parents. They do use motor scooters.” Another difference she noted was that the families went shopping for food more often, like three to four times a week.  “The supermarkets are not as large. I noticed the refrigerator at my host family’s house was about half the size of ours.” Steinbrecher said, “The Germans are more traditional, in the deeper sense….However, they do tend to be more eco friendly-driving smaller cars and commonly using solar panels in their homes.” Both commented on how the Germans are more relaxed, less tense, and move at a slower pace.

              Although the Jazz Band students went on several tours alone, the German students joined them on the trip to Austria. “This was one of my favorite times. We all just laughed, joked and talked together,” said Lobocki. History is so entrenched in their culture, said Steinbrecher. “When we were in Salzburg, we saw the building that was the first restaurant there, dated 803.”

              One of the most positive aspects of the trip was staying with host families. “The experience of staying with a host family is so much better than staying in a hotel. We were able to enjoy their foods and really get connected,” said Lobocki. “Some were host families for the first time. It was a good experience for all of us. Staying with a host family, “really helped me understand German culture,” stated Steinbrecher.

              Through this trip, friendships were made. Steinbrecher said, “Even though we did not speak the same language, we all became great friends.”

              Steve Govertsen, Jazz Band Director, said, “This trip was amazing for all involved! Our students forged great relationships with their German host families. They had the chance to partake of another culture, and represented themselves, their school, their city and country very well. Our hosts could not have been more gracious! If the purpose of Sister Cities is to build bonds between nations and create a more global community, this trip certainly did that! Its success is in great measure due to the hard work of Christoph Puschmann and their wonderful organization in Germany!”

              In the same vein, Puschmann, the president of Sister Cities in Taufkirchen, said, “This trip was a great success for Sister Cities, but especially for the young people! It was refreshing to see how easy the students here and there were communicating and sticking together like they had known each other for ages. It was great to see this happen.  Also the music they performed was fantastic—a full house and long lasting applause was the proof for the high quality of the Jazz Band. We hope from the bottom of our hearts that this is the beginning of a new “age” in Sister Cities concerning a regular exchange between young people.”

              Melissa Birch, past president of West Chicago Sister Cities explained the organization formed a school committee several years ago, “and it was tasked with finding a better way to reach out to and include our local schools with the exchange program of WCSC, specifically to offer and exchange opportunity to other groups within the high school.” She added, “The School Committee encouraged this and Mr. Govertsen was the sole teacher to raise his hand and say, Yes, I want to do this.  It took a couple of years to put it into place.” Listening to Govertsen and the students discuss the trip at a recent WCSC meeting, Birch said. “It was a successful venture.”


              The votes are counted and the results are in for the 2013 Consolidated election.

              For the City of West Chicago, Ruben Pineda is mayor and Nancy Smith is City Clerk. Aldermen are Lori Chassee, First Ward; Don Earley, Second Ward; Laura Grodoski, Third Ward; Sandra Dimas, Fourth Ward; John C. Smith, Jr., Fifth Ward; Tyler Dameron, Sixth Ward; and John Banas, Seventh Ward.

West Chicago Park District Commissioners for the six-year term are Frank Lenertz and Edward “Ted” Pavlica III, and for the four-year unexpired term is Anthony Zaputil.

              West Chicago Public Library District trustees for the four-year term are Richard J. Bloom, Corrine M. Jakacki-Dattamo and Marcia T. Rubenstein, and for the unexpired two-year term is Frank J. Fokta.

              Community High School District 94 Board of Education members are Gary Saake, Rich Nagel, Dirk Gunderson and Renee Yackey.

              West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education members are Karina Villa, Juliann Pearson, Susan B. Stibal and Brenda Vishanoff.

              Benjamin School District 25 Board of Education members for the four-year term are Jack Buscemi, Vincent Engstrom, Anna Taylor and Dennis H. Peterson and for the two-year unexpired term is Jodi Krause.

              St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 Board of Education members are Jim Gaffney, Steve Spurling, Ed McNally and Corrine Pierog.

              College of DuPage 502 trustees are Katharine Hamilton and Joseph C. Wozniak.

              Wayne Township officers are Tom Arends, Supervisor; April Murphy, Clerk; and Martin McManamon, Highway Commissioner. Trustees are Joan Mruk, Mark Jatcak, Brandi Fike Ramundo and William Waghorne.

              Winfield Township officers are Dona Smith, Supervisor; Cliff Brown, Clerk; and John Dusza, Highway Commissioner. Trustees are Dave Tornga, Gerald Ruzicka, Mary Ann Manna and Don Voelz.

              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. Black serves on the Illinois Arts Council and is the recipient of the Prairie Area Reading Council Literacy Award. She is the author of books and articles in magazines. 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 Musical Theater Performance of “Honk” is at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, 2013 in the Alumni White Chapel at Wheaton Academy, 900 Prince Crossing Road. MTP is a WA class with an enrollment of mainly freshman students, who learn drama, dance and improv. “Honk” is a musical based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson. The book and lyrics are by Anthony Drew and the music is by George Stiles. Tickets are available at the door.

              “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.

              First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, honors Native Americans at its 10:00 a.m. worship service Sunday, April 14, 2013. Highlighting their rich heritage, the service includes prayers and music the Native Americans use in their Christian worship. Incorporated into the service are the symbolic use of the Circle, the Drum, the Four Sacred Directions and respect for Mother Nature. The special collection will be donated to the United Methodist Church Native American Ministry.

              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.

              Wayne/Winfield 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 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday.

              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 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 parents work. During its 30 year history, WAYS has provided individual, family and group therapy in English and Spanish, anger management and parenting classes and youth tutoring.

              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 the Winfield Township Highway Department building, 30W575 Roosevelt Road. Sign in begins at 6:30 p.m. The Wayne Township meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the Senior Center at the township building, 27W031 North Avenue.  Sign in 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, 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.

              Gallery 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

              The Board of Education of West Chicago Elementary School District 33 hosts a Town Hall meeting at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013 in the community room at West Chicago Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street, use Joliet Street entrance. The presentation topics are updates on the Middle School expansion and district finances. A question and answer period follows.

              As part of its 2013 “WeGo for Wellness” series, the West Chicago Public Library offers the program, “Mouth-Watering Mains,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. In addition to learning the techniques master chefs use, persons learn lunch and dinner recipes the entire family can enjoy. These include Lentils with caramelized vegetables, chicken baked with goat cheese, peppers and spinach, and Hearty, chunky bean soup.  Dave Esau, owner of Dave’s Specialty Foods in Mt. Prospect, teaches the class. He was the instructor at the Library’s program on breakfast meals March 21, 2013. He attended Dumas Pere l’Ecole de Cuisine in Glenview, while working at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago. He continued his studies with Michael Chabran, a Michelin-rated chef, in Lyon France. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4, to make a reservation.

              Local Music night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 19, 2013 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Performers are Rita Ruby, MT/Matthew Tinnon and Mike Felton. Visual artist is Brian Reis. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

              The West Chicago Lacrosse Club hosts its Eighth Annual “Wildcats Sticks and Stones Classic” Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21, 2013 at Cornerstone Lakes Park, 2199 Smith Road. Games start at 8:30 a.m.  There are 18 junior varsity and varsity teams from Wisconsin and the Chicagoland area, comprising more than 400 participants. There is no admission charge for spectators.

              Fraternal Order of Police West Chicago Lodge 85, in conjunction with the West Chicago Park District, hosts the Michael Browning Memorial Scholarship Run to Remember Saturday, April 20, 2013, beginning at Turner School, 750 Ingalton Street. Age categories for the 5K Run/Walk are 19 and under, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59 and 60 and above. The top three finishers in each age category, male and female, receive award trophies. On race day, registration and packet pick up is from 6:30 to 7:15 a.m.; race begins at 7:30 a.m.; and awards ceremony is at 8:30 a.m.

              The pre-registration fee is $25 and $18 for each additional family member in the same household, $30 on the day of the race. Entry forms are available at the Park District office, 157 West Washington Street or online at Proceeds benefit the Michael Browning Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to students pursuing a career in law enforcement/criminal justice. For more information, call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474.

              Browning grew up in West Chicago, and was a 1987 graduate of the high school. To reach his goal of becoming a police officer in West Chicago, he attended College of DuPage, majoring in Criminal Justice. He joined the West Chicago Police Department as a Police Cadet in 1989, which he retained until he took the oath of office as a police officer on August 25, 1991. His dream was short-lived as he was killed in the line of duty on April 20, 1992. Responding to the scene of crime in progress at a local car dealership, he was hit by an individual driving an automobile in the attempted theft.

              The opening day for the new exhibit, “Earth to Table,” at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, is from noon to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 20, 2013.  It combines the history of the gardens and farms of West Chicago with contemporary art that explores how plant life makes it to the dining tables in the form of food and decoration. West Chicago artist Anni Holm is curator of the artwork. There are many hands-on activities for children. The exhibit runs through Saturday, May 25, 2013. For further information, call the Museum at (630) 231-3376.

              State Representatives Mike Fortner (R-49), Kay Hatcher (R-50) and Tim Schmitz (R-94), in conjunction with State Senators Jim Oberweis (R-25) and Karen McConnaughay (R-33), host a Legislative Forum on Autism 7:00 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013 at the Batavia Public Library, 10 South Batavia Avenue. Speakers are Kathy Gould, Project Director, and Carla Oldham, Community Partner, from the Illinois Autism Training and Technical Association Project; Dr. Carrie Steiner from the Association for Independent Development; and Christopher M. Kennedy from Kennedy, Pierson and Strachan. For further information, call Maria Rook at (630) 293-9344.

              The Hall of Honor, established by the Board of Education of Community High School District 94, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the school, community and/or society. The selection of persons is based upon the individual’s achievement that went beyond personal benefit and benefitted District 94, the individual’s contribution was of a significant nature for the school, community or society and/or the individual’s contribution was recognized on a community, statewide or national basis.

              Because of the criteria, awards are not given on a yearly basis. In1994, the three awardees were Ron Benner, Ron Hansen and Lee Yunker. Others inducted were Helen and Wayne Fox in 1995, Vernon Jahns in 1999, Winifred Thomassen in 2001, Gail George in 2002, John DeLap in 2003, Dan Johnson and Sherry Bowne in 2011 and Wayne Kosek in 2012.

              The nomination deadline is Friday, April 26, 2013. Send letters of nomination to Dr. Moses Cheng, Principal; Community High School District 94, 326 Joliet Street. West Chicago, IL 60185.

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers a Youth Empowerment Project, which helps youth improve their social skills. This involves working toward understanding themselves, others and then engaging in positive interaction with adults and peers. The Social Skills Group meets from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays.

              Also, WAYS continues to offer on-going Systematic Training for Effective Parenting classes. The eight sessions teach parents to effectively understand children’s behavior, improve communication and set limits with consequences. A pre-class consultation appointment is required. Classes are from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Wednesdays.

              Both groups meet at Wayne Township, 27W031 North Avenue. For further information, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166.

                    Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Martin “Marty” Napoli Jr., who at the age of 67 passed away Tuesday, March 26, 2013.

              More than 700 persons attended the fundraiser for West Chicago officer Joe Stewart, which was hosted by Fraternal Order of Police West Chicago Lodge 85, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Best of all, the event raised more than $25,000 to help the Stewart family with medical and living expenses. Detective Robbi Peterson said, “I would like to personally say “thank you” to everyone who pitched in to make this event a success… It was a great turnout, great food and a great time had by all.” Officer Stewart was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, requiring a complete bone marrow transplant.

              History rode into town Wednesday April 3, 2013 when Canadian National delivered the 1956 Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway caboose to its new home in Reed-Keppler Park. Its location is on the west side of Turtle Splash Water Park parking lot, on the median between the lot and the drive through the park. The orange cupola caboose arrived not by rail, but by flat bed transportation from its location in Joliet.

              The husband of park district commissioner Kerry Lynn Hunter worked for the railroad and was aware Canadian National was offering a few of these cars as donations and arranged for the Park District to acquire one, explained park district executive director Gary Major. After more than a six-month process, the caboose arrived. Not only did CN donate the caboose, but also provided the transportation.

              The history of the EJ&E, nicknamed “The J,” traces its history in West Chicago back to 1888. The EJ&E, which existed until CN purchased it in 2009, was a feeder railroad rather than a cross-country one, transferring freight from one outlying Chicago community to another. According to the book, “A Brief History of an Old Railroad Town” by Frank Scobey, “The success of the EJ&E was predicated of its having factories located along its right-of-way as a means of generating freight traffic for the railroad.” This made West Chicago a desirable site for the location of new industries. According to Wikipedia, EJ&E “ceased operating passenger trains in 1907, but continued the services until 1909. During those two years, passengers were transported in the caboose.”

              Cabooses were coupled at the end of a freight train and were once used on all freight trains. They provided shelter for the train crew, whose responsibilities included the inspection of the train for problems such as shifting loads, broken or dangling equipment and hot boxes, according to Wikipedia. Conductors used the caboose for keeping records and handling business. West Chicago resident Phil Weibler, a retired engineer from Chicago & North Western Railroad, said, “Some cabooses were assigned to a particular conductor.”

              He explained that until the 1980s, freight trains were required to have a caboose. With the advance of technology, FREDS replaced them. The flashing, rear-end devices, attached to the end of the train, detect air brake pressure and other information, reporting this to the locomotive. He added some railroads still use cabooses, but mainly as shoving platforms, helping to push cars from point A to point B.

              No EJ&E stations remain in West Chicago. Its first depot went up in flames in 1894. The cause was thought to be from a spark of a passing engine, which lodged under the floor of the “$1,500 dollar frame station.” The station, located at the far end of West Grand Lake Boulevard, no longer stands. CN continues to use the tower located at West Washington Street. The personnel here control the signals. Similar, but not quite the same as traffic policemen, explains Weibler.

              CN announced the merger of EJ&E into Wisconsin Central LTD, another one of its railroad subsidiaries, December 31, 2012. According to Wikipedia, the “EJ&E effectively ceased to exist 124 years to the day it was founded.” Thus, the caboose located here is an integral and lasting part of the EJ&E history of the community.

              Approximately 70 persons attended the West Chicago Park District Soup & Bread event held March 28, 2013. In addition to diapers donated, cash contributions totaled $550, which went to the Neighborhood Food Pantry location in West Chicago.

              In the Friday, March 29, 2013 issue of the Daily Herald, the local sports section covered spring sports.

              In Scouting DuPage County Girls Soccer, top players listed were Andie Lazzerini from Community High School District 94 and Meredith Matson from Wheaton Academy.

              In Scouting DuPage County Girls Track, named top athletes from Community High School District 94 were Julia Caithamer–middle distance, Lindsay Sayner-middle distance and Sarah Triner-sprints and hurdles. Top athletes from Wheaton Academy were Gabby DeMerritt-sprints and jumps, Litzy Larson-sprints, and Jackie Smith-middle distance and distance.

              In Scouting DuPage County Boys Volleyball, the top player from Community High School District 94 was Trevor Slonek.

              In Scouting DuPage County Boys Track, Top Athlete named from Community High School District 94 was Tim Linhardt-middle distance. Named top athletes from Wheaton Academy were Matt Ruff-sprints and Noah VanDyke-middle distance.

              At its Thursday, February 21, 2013 meeting, the West Chicago Elementary School District 33 Board of Education unanimously approved the adoption of an all-day kindergarten beginning with the 2013-2014 school year. The option is only available in the Dual Language program at Gary School. Parents interested in this option need to register their child in the Dual Language program. The school day begins at 8:25 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. Half-day kindergarten continues to be an option in the Dual Language program. The board and school administration will be evaluating and monitoring the all day kindergarten program with the intention of expanding this opportunity to all District 33 schools in the future, as resources allow.  For further information, call Assistant Superintendent for Learning Karen Davis at (630) 293-6000.

              Ashley Bannon, a senior at Community High School District 94, is the PeaceBuilder of the Month for March. She credits her family for teaching her lessons about peace as they always resolve problems peacefully. To her, the meaning of peace is persons of different backgrounds shaking hands and agreeing to end the hate and suffering. Bannon’s favorite quote is from Sherlock Holmes. “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

              Her favorite school subject is Economics. She is an active member of the National Honor Society and volunteers as a student assistant, helping teachers. Upon graduation, Bannon plans to attend Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana and major in International business.

              At its Tuesday, April 2, 2013 meeting, the Community High School District 94 Board of Education approved the July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2015 contractual agreement with the West Chicago High School support Staff Association.

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