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Around and About in West Chicago - 02 May 2013

Around and About

  • Reigning Cats and Dogs

  • Second Annual Honor Flight Fundraiser

  • Ninth annual We-Go Run

  • Annual 80 and Over Community Celebration

  • 10th Annual Citywide Collection

              In its sixth year, the Community Art Banner Competition, sponsored by the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, highlights the works of 11 artists. The theme for this year is “A Question of Balance.” Selecting the winners were independent jurors Diana Gabriel and Mario Contreras from the Contreras-Gabriel Project. Their project serves as a creative platform for audiences and arts, a shared vision of increasing appreciation and accessibility of art in our culture.

              Winning artists are Rebecca Hall-“Geocentered,” Lewis Achenbach-“Spaces Between Smallest Places,” Kathryn Lentz-“I’m OK, Man,” Mark Anderson-“Jester,” James Rakow-“Fruit and Vegetable,” Judith Horsley-“Life in the Balance,” Sylvia Mosier-“Born to Ride,” Rachel Weaver-Rivera-“Passing Through,” Craig Wassel-“Symmetrical Balance,” Anne Frantzen-“Document Me,” and Harvey Hanig-“Tree.”

              The banners are displayed from mid-May through September on light poles along Main Street in the historic downtown area. Persons have the opportunity to vote for their favorite banner for the People’s Choice Award, which is presented at the end of summer. Ballots are available at City Hall, 475 Main Street; Gallery 200, 200 Main Street; and the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street.

              To honor the winners in the banner competition, an artists’ reception is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. during Blooming Fest, Saturday, May 18, 2013 at Gallery 200.

              Other Blooming Fest activities at the Gallery include a drawing for local artwork donated by Gallery 200 members, and demonstrations. Achenbach is on hand to answer questions and discuss his exhibit from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Artist Buddy Plumlee presents a Mozaics demonstration from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Artist Marge Hall demonstrates the creation of a realistic oil painting, using a photograph as the model.


              Beginning Wednesday, May 1, 2013, there are new hours at the Fitness Center, 103 West Washington Street. They are 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday.

              As part of its WeGo for Wellness series, the West Chicago Public Library District presents the program, “Nutritious Noshes,” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Under the tutelage of Chef Michael Maddox, attendees learn how to make quick and tasty treats for the whole family to enjoy. He is the former owner/chef of Le Titi de Paris in Arlington Heights. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4, to make a reservation.

              “Prestissimo, Prisiosismo” is the exhibit for the month of May at Gallery 200, 200 Main Street. The collection of paintings by Lewis Achenbach consists of various musicians as seen and heard in intimate clubs throughout Chicago. He captures live jazz performances in a unique style of art, which he calls “documentary painting.” Achenbach works with charcoals and acrylic paints, as they are the media that lend themselves to rapid drawing and are immediately portable after performances.

              During the artist’s reception from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2013, Achenbach offers the opportunity for attendees to witness the demonstration of a live painting of the entertainers. The musicians are Kelsey Schmidt and Rachel Schuldt and vocalist Kate Reeder. Light refreshments are served.

              The West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street, hosts “Late Night at the Museum” during the hours of the artist’s reception. To complement the exhibit, “Earth to Table,” the Museum has garden crafts for Mother’s Day. Guests can make decorations for flowerbeds and decorate small flowerpots. Children’s activities of the exhibit include planting corn the old-fashioned way and coloring a flower to add to the Museum’s garden wall.

              The sounds of music come through harmoniously at two programs in the Fine Arts Center at Wheaton Academy, 900 Prince Crossing Road.

              The Spring Choral Concert, “All Creatures of Our God and King,” is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 3, 2013. Groups performing are Concert Choir, Men’s Ensemble, Women’s Chorale, Kantorei and Musical Theater Performance.

              The Spring Instrumental Concert is at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, May 4, 2013. Performing groups are Concert Band, Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Band.

              Faith Community and La Casa de la Misericordia Women host their annual Spring Luncheon at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 4, 2013 in the Mission Center, 910 Main Street. The charge is $3 per person. Call the church office at (630) 231-8230 to make a reservation.

              The West Chicago Historical Society Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street, opens for the 2013 summer tour season.  Hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturdays, beginning May 4, and ending September 28, 2013. The special exhibit is “Reigning Cats and Dogs…and Bunnies Too.”  Not only is it a pun on words, but also demonstrates how pets sometimes rule the lives of their owners. Items on display include figurines, art, clothing, dishes and books. Some are from the Kruse House collection and others are on loan from persons in the community. For further information, call Joan Conkright at (630) 231-2321.

              The DuPage Veterans Foundation hosts the Second Annual Honor Flight fundraiser to honor World War II and Korean War veterans and raise funds for one flight for WWII veterans to fly to Washington D.C. It takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 4, 2013 in the Calamos Hanger at DuPage Airport, 2700 International Drive. The event includes lunch, era music, historic war vehicles and airplanes, and a silent auction. Steve Sanders, co-anchor of WGN-TV Midday News, is the emcee. The fundraiser is dedicated in memory of West Chicago Mike Kwasman, who was a driving force in organizing the fundraiser until his death a year ago.

             The price is $30 in advance, $40 at the door and $20 for children under 12. All WWII and Korean War veterans and active duty military are free. To order tickets or make a donation by mail, make the check payable to DuPage Veterans Foundation, and mail to the foundation, P.O. Box 299, Wheaton, IL 60187. If ordering tickets, indicate how many and include your address. To order on line, visit the website For information, call (630) 614-4533 or (630) 668-2050, or email

              Proceeds benefit Honor Flight Chicago, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization developed to give WWII veterans a day of honor by flying them to Washington D.C. to view the war memorials. The DuPage Veterans Foundation, a 501c3 organization, was established in 2011 to honor and support the men and women who served in the armed forces, recognizing the special needs of DuPage County veterans and providing fundraising efforts.

              The ninth annual We-Go Run, sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Organizations of West Chicago, begins at 8:00 a.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013 at Community High School District 94 Memorial Field, George and Wood streets. The race includes a 5K run/walk, a 10K run, a one-mile run for youths from ages six through 14 and a 10-yard Kid’s Dash for children ages 8 and under. Registrations fees for the 5K and 10K are $21 in advance and $26 on race day. The fee for the one-mile run is $1 for District 33 students, $4 for all other youth and $8 on race day. There is no charge for the Kid’s dash, but pre-registration is required.

              The top overall female and male runners and the top three finishers in each age group receive an award.  Dash participants receive ribbons and goodie bags.

              Registration forms are available at the district schools, the district office at 312 East Forest Avenue and on line at the district website, click on WeGo Run.

              The West Chicago Park District, in cooperation with American Legion Post 300 and the Legion Auxiliary, hosts the annual 80 and Over Community Celebration from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013 at the Legion Post, 123 Main Street. They also are honoring Terry Klingberg for his 24 years of service to the district as the driver of the senior citizen transportation service offered through an intergovernmental agreement between the Park District and Winfield Township.

              Due to DuPage National Bank closing its parking lot for a not-for-profit organization to use, there are several changes this year. The back door to the legion will be locked; entry is only through the front door on Main Street. Free parking is available at the Metra lot, 508 Main Street. The Park District is providing shuttle bus service from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 for information.

              The May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary, sponsored by Catholic Daughters of America, is at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, May 5, 2013, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 North Oakwood Avenue. Following the service, the serving of light refreshments takes place in St. Francis Hall.

              West Chicago’s 10th annual Citywide Collection takes place on regularly scheduled garbage pick up days, beginning Monday May 6, and ending Friday, May 10, 2013. Using eight “refuse” stickers, residents can dispose of an unlimited amount of acceptable items. Helpful hint—affix your stickers to your 35 or 95gallon garbage cart or to something that is definitely a throwaway item. Otherwise, you may see your stickers “walk away.” For a list of acceptable items, call Michelle Baldino at (630) 293-2255 or visit the City’s website at, under Public Works.

              Also the City’s brush pick-up program begins Monday, May 6, 2013.

              Community High School District 94 hosts a Welcome reception for Dr. Douglas Domeracki, the incoming superintendent. It takes place from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2013 in the Learning Resource Center, 326 Joliet Street, entrance H.  He replaces Lalo Ponce, who is retiring effective June 30, 2013.  Domeracki currently is the superintendent of the school district in Cuba City, Wisconsin.

              “Make and Take: Mother’s Day Container Garden” is the program at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in the meeting room at the West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street. Attendees create a container arrangement. The instructor is Peggy Garvin from Garvin Gardens in South Elgin. There is a $20 materials fee. Call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4, to make a reservation.

              Training Plus and Professional Development Services in partnership with the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce offers a series of leadership development programs to enhance skills, build confidence and strengthen leadership ability. The six monthly sessions focus on “Bold New Moves for Leaders - Training to Meet Today’s Workplace Needs.” The second series is from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. Thursday, May 9, 2013 in the Chamber Training Lab, 306 Main Street. The second series, “Confronting Conflict in a Positive Way,” focuses on teaching persons to turn conflict into a win/win situation. The charge for each session is $59 for member and $69 for non-members. To enroll, call Lolly at (630) 945-5805 or the Chamber at (630) 231-3003.

              The West Chicago Park District monthly social for senior citizens is at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 9, 2013 in the community center at Easton Park, 840 East Washington Street. Park District board president Frank Lenertz shows his cooking talents with his specially prepared lasagna. He also presents an update on the new recreation center. Guests bring a dish to pass and a complete place setting. Reservations are due by Thursday, April 3, 2013 and may be made by calling the district office at (630) 231-9474.

              The West Chicago Public Library District hosts the program, “Severe Weather Basics,” at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 9, 2013 in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Steve Gottlieb, Director of the West Chicago Emergency Service Disaster Agency, and members of his team present the program, focusing on storms. Topics include the difference between a watch and a warning, what to do when the siren sounds and best places to take shelter. To make a reservation, call the Library adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.

              The drama club at Community High School District 94 presents the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with lyrics and music by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbert. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 9, 10 and 11, 2013 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.

              Set in ancient Rome, hilarity and chaos rule as Preudolus, a slave, tries to obtain his freedom. Full of slamming doors, mistaken identities and zany antics, this sidesplitting evening of “comedy tonight” complements the club’s season theme of “Any time, Any Place.”

              Members of the cast and crew are Braeden Austgen, Natalie Farrell, Kyle Foehner, Luke Jaconis, Antonia Lobocki, Aaron Morden, Ben Nelson, Elizabeth Panicali, Liz Ramos, Daniel Stompor, Sydney Weiss, Ashley Anderson, Dayna Bantz, Raynne Belingon, Heather Belingon, Robert Bradley, Jeana Brown, Cassie Ciardullo, Ethan Cuka, Maegan Daniels.

              Other members are Elyssa DiRaddo, Jackie Fabiszak, Abram Fernandez, Charles Fortner, Daniela Garcia, Gabriela Garcia, Isabel Garcia, Marco Garcia, Mae Elizabeth Gimre, Jessie Hansen, Gaby Hernandez, Anica Hosticka, Jasmine Juarez, Joshua Keilhack, Hanna Keller, Marianne Kiel, Mikaela Kiel, Jackie Letzer, Farrell Lewis and Stephen Lewis.

              Rosemarie Luther, Tara Lyne, Caitlin Manspeaker, Melissa Metzger, Josué Muñoz, Rachel Pekel, Alora Pradel, Raven Ringe, Kristin Rysell, Natalie Sehweil, Ben Skipor, Zandra Starks, Andrew Steininger, Katie Steininger, Kiara Walker, Brenden Walsh, Gilary Valenzuela and Noah Watkins are other persons in the cast and crew.

              Also in the company are Josh Brown, Jon Butler, Cat Cannestrelli, Sarah Dalla Costa, Melinda Elmazi, Lindsay Fiegle, Serafina Guizzetti, Matthew Loftus, Whitney Marin, Pierce McGlynn, Olivia Powrozek, Lauren Russo, Sasha Slivinski, Sarah Szremski, Allison Wagner and Natalie Wagner.

              The ticket price is $8 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased online as or at the door.

              With the assistance of residents, postal carriers are wiling to carry an extra load Saturday, May 11, 2013. It is the 21st annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Persons place non-perishable food items, paper products, cleaning products and/or personal care items in a bag by their mail receptacle. Items are donated to local food pantries.

              The West Chicago Park District hosts the Community Garage Sale on May 11, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Turtle Splash Water Park parking lot. The space rental charge is $20 for residents and $30 for non-residents. There is no charge for not-for-profit groups. Participants are responsible for their own tables and chairs. Registration is required and may be made by calling (630) 231-9474. The deadline to apply for a space is Friday, May 3, 2013.

              The West Chicago Park District annual Bark Bash is from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 11, 2013 at Wiggly Field Dog Park in Reed-Keppler Park. Activities include exhibits, contests and raffles. Annual permits are available for purchase.

              Proceeds from Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill annual Golf Outing Saturday, May 11, 2013 benefit West Chicago Boy Scout Troop 33. Call (630) 293-6700 for information.

              The Community High School Spring Orchestra Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Barbara Sue (Browne) Collins, who passed away Sunday, April 21, 2013.

              Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Juanita O. Trejo, who at the age of 68 passed away Thursday, April 18, 2013.

              Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Caitlyn Phillips, who at the age of 13 passed away Friday, April 26, 2013.

              Landmark Illinois named the Joe Wiant House, located at 151 West Washington Street, to its annual Ten Most Endangered Historic Places list during a press conference held on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in Springfield.

              In the release, Bonnie McDonald, President of Landmarks Illinois, said, “This is one of the oldest structures in West Chicago and a rare example of Second Empire architecture in the county (DuPage). We hope the city will withdraw its demolition request of the local Historic Preservation Commission and seriously consider all available options in order to save this wonderful building for productive future use.”

              Also stated in the release was a brief background of the building. The house represents the height of the history of West Chicago “as a major railroad junction” and for nearly a century, important local families lived in the house.

              “Owned by the City, it lies on the edge of a 14-acre parcel slated for mixed-use redevelopment, including a large-scale city hall and police station. The West Chicago Historic Preservation Commission and residents want the City to make a stronger effort to protect this vibrant piece of local history and to insure its inclusion in downtown redevelopment plans.”

              The City Council approved the purchase of the building for $260,000 with an 11-1 vote at its October 3, 2011 meeting. Staff was directed to find a developer in six months. The City sought a qualified developer and extended the deadline for the RFQ to February 29, 2012. None were able to meet the RFQ requirements. The City then requested a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition of the building from the West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission.

              COA’s are required for a landmark structure or landmark site located in a historic district. The historic district comprises Washington Street from the railroad tracks to Arbor Avenue; west side of Arbor to McConnell Street; Fremont Street from Main Street to McConnell; south side of McConnell; North Aurora Street; Main Street to Center Street; Turner Court; Galena Street from Main Street to High Street; and Center Street from Main Street to High Street.

              At its September 10, 2012 meeting, the Commission unanimously denied the request. A letter was sent to the City notifying them of the denial and the reasons for so doing. The City, as the applicant, had the choice to amend the original COA or request a public hearing. The City opted for a public hearing, which was held December 4, 2012. At the hearing, the City requested a continuance until Tuesday, April 16, 2013. At this meeting, another continuance was granted until Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

              The list, which focuses attention on sites that are threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance insufficient funds or inappropriate development, also included seven other endangered historic properties as well as two thematic groupings. “The sites named to the list are all exceptionally important to not only local residents, but also to the local economy,” said McDonald.  “By calling attention to the potential for their reuse and revitalization, we are encouraging job creation and economic development across Illinois – something everyone can support.”

              The release explained that since the inception of the list in 1995, “more than a third of the listed properties have been saved, less than a quarter have been demolished and the rest are in varying stages between being continually threatened and rehabilitated.”

              Gary Elementary School is one of the approximately 60 schools statewide participating in the annual TECH 2013 for the Information Age event on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield. Amy Heavey, Gary School dual language teacher, and three of her students demonstrate the use of technology in the classroom. The students are third grader Gloria Gonzales, fourth grader Dylan Borja and sixth grader Audrey Miller. Their presentation demonstrates how technology is integrated in order to support English Language Learners and Spanish as a Second Language learning in dual language classrooms.

              The purpose of TECH 2013 is to raise awareness of the critical role technology plays in preparing students to succeed in today’s world, and to show the need for increased funding for classroom technology. It is a not-for-profit initiative presented by Illinois Computing Educators, and is supported by a broad range of education and business organizations.

              The first annual Michael Browning Memorial Scholarship Run Saturday, April 20, 2013 was a success. A total of 93 persons registered for the event.  The overall race winner was David Zeisler from Gurnee with a time of 17:58.7.  Proceeds for the scholarship fund totaled approximately $3,000.

              More than $7,000 was raised for the Wheaton Academy Haiti Project at its Mr. WA performance held Saturday, April 20, 2013.

              Recipients of Promoting Awareness of Wildcat Success for the month of April are Cristina Hurtado from both Special Education and the Math & Science Division, Eric Voytas and Anna Kalin from the Math & Science Division, Daniel Alvarado, Ella Gsedl and Mateo Carrasco from the Language Arts Division, Michael Cortez and Juan Mendez from the World Languages Division, Cassandra DeLaurie and Kathy Landazuri from the Physical Development Division, Michelle Franch and Katelyn Zastrow from the Information & Technology Division, Mayra Garcia from Special Education, Josh Keilhack and Lauren Russo from the Humanities Division, Jennifer Medina and Mike Langhammer from Support Services. These students, nominated by teachers from the different divisions, demonstrate excellence in the areas of learning, living and/or leadership.

              Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services expanded its year-round tutoring program with the addition of a new tutor, Lyssa Liotta. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, is a certified teacher with experience in tutoring students in grades 6 to 8. She also facilitated youth programming in several area schools.

              The last Soup & Bread event for the year, hosted by the West Chicago Park District, was successful. Approximately 60 persons attended Thursday, April 25, 2013 and donations totaled $610. For the three events, the amount raised was $1,680, which was donated to the Local Neighborhood Food pantries.

              The Spring Blood Drive for the Life Source Blood Bank, sponsored by the Interact Club at Community High School District 94, went very well. Advisor Gavin Engel said there were 131 donations. The total amount of donations for the fall and spring blood drives was 284.

              Remember to support our local businesses as they contribute to our 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

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