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Around and About in West Chicago - 12 June 2013

Around and About
           After two continuances - one requested by the City and one requested by the commission - the public hearing before the West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission took place before a large crowd and lasted for a little more than five hours on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.  The purpose was for the commission to consider the City’s appeal of the Denial of Certificate of Appropriateness #12-20 for demolition of the Wiant house, 151 West Washington Street. City Council approved the purchase of the building for $260,000 with an 11-1 vote at its Monday, October 2, 2011 meeting. The 1869 Second Empire style house, the only one in DuPage County, is a contributing structure in the Turner Junction Historic District and is within the City’s 14-acre West Washington Street Redevelopment Project. With the demolition request by the City, the preservationist organization Landmarks Illinois listed the house as one of the 2013 ten most endangered historic places in Illinois.

           Although the two architects testifying, George R. Matocha, president of Matocha Associates and Sean Gallagher, owner of Gallagher Associates, had different outlooks, the two agreed the structural elements of the building are sound.

           Gallagher, who was hired by the commission, said, “The building is architecturally and structurally sound, ‘a little tired and forlorn,’ but functional and usable.”

           On the other hand, Matocha, hired by the city, said, “There is exterior and interior damage to the building, which would cost $937,972 to bring up to code and renovate. Prior to this, the City had estimates from two businesses, one for interior costs and the other for exterior costs, which totaled around $550,000. Questioned about the disparity in costs, City Administrator Michael Guttman explained Matocha had more time to prepare an estimate and this was one of the reasons the City requested a continuance at the December 4, 2012 hearing.

           For both continuances, the City issued a Request for a Qualified Developer; the conditions were somewhat different for each one. Although the asking price was one dollar, the response was negligible. John Said, West Chicago Community Development Director, explained that several developers who toured the building did not think it was cost effective and would not be interested in undertaking the project. However, there is one applicant who still maintains an interest.

           Jean Follett from Landmarks Illinois felt the house should be part of a development plan of the entire 14-acre site and not a stand alone project as being done now.  “The house is an amazing piece of history. No one has anything like this.” She added, “There is potential…working and including it with a Master Plan for the redevelopment, not on a stand alone basis.” In addition to seeking grants, which are small monetarily, she suggested looking for other funding options such as a private/public development.

           Reviewing the testimony and comments from the professional experts and public at the hearing, the commission will discuss and, most likely, make a recommendation on it at its meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 which takes place at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall, 475 Main Street.





AROUND AND ABOUT





           The West Chicago Park District special event is Food for a Swim on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at Turtle Splash Water Park in Reed-Keppler Park. Persons donating three canned goods receive free entry to the water park. Items are donated to a local food pantry.



           National Flag Day is Friday, June 14, 2013. Remember to proudly display the flag at your home and/or business. Persons with faded or tattered flags can take them to the American Legion Post 300, 123 Main Street, or to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791, 431 North Neltnor Boulevard. At a later date, there is an official flag burning ceremony.

           In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation of establishing a national flag day to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.  On that date, the congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with 13 white stars in a circle of blue and 13 red and white stripes, which represent the original 13 colonies. Each of the stars in the flag of today represents the 50 states in the United States. Flag Day did not become official until President Harry Truman signed the legislation in 1949.



           The new exhibit, “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital,” opens Friday, June 14, 2013 at the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street. This is a traveling exhibit from the Elmhurst Historical Museum, which is certain to pique one’s appetite. The tasty display includes numerous artifacts, photographs and other documentary items about the candy makers. Some of these are Snickers, Lemonheads, Butterfingers, Cracker Jacks, Frango Mints, Fannie May and Brach’s candies. A smaller exhibit depicts some of West Chicago’s own sweet producers.

           In conjunction with the exhibit, the Museum hosts the program “Chicago’s Sweet Candy History,” presented by Leslie Goddard, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2013. For most of its history, Chicago produced about one-third of the nation’s candy and has called itself the Candy Capital of America since the turn of the century. She discusses some of the history behind the candies and what made Chicago such a powerful location for candy makers. Goddard is the author of “Chicago’s Sweet Candy History.” Book sales and signings are available after the presentation. Seating is limited. To make a reservation, persons can call the Museum at (630) 231-3376 or email museum@westchicago.org.



           Women of Faith at Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, host a garage/parking lot sale from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013.



           People Made Visible hosts Local Music Morning for children and their families at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013 on the lawn at St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, 400 West Washington Street. The entertainment includes a sing-along followed by a picnic. Attendees should bring their own chairs and a picnic lunch; beverages and desserts are provided. For further information, email info@peoplemadevisible.com.



           The West Chicago Library District hosts a Father’s Day Cookout from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, 2013 on the Library lawn, 118 West Washington Street. The fun time includes craft activities for children, grilling demonstration for adults and food. Adults also have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a set of grilling tools.



           Beginning Sunday, June 16, 2013, Resurrection Anglican Church, 100 Wycliffe Drive, has a class from 9:00 to 9:40 a.m. on the study of Genesis. It includes the teaching of reading basic Hebrew. Genesis is “Beresheet” in Hebrew. The class is open to everyone. For further information, call (630) 231-1775.



           Dad’s Day Out is the special event Sunday, June 16, 2013 at Turtle Splash Water Park in Reed-Keppler Park. The admission for Dad is free with one paying child.



           The West Chicago Public Library District, in partnership with Northern Illinois Food Bank, sponsors a free summer lunch program for children up to the age of 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday in the meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. The program runs from Monday, June 17, through Friday, August 23, 2013. No registration or proof of income is required. Lunches are served on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last.

The program goal is to fill the gap for students who receive free or reduced-price lunches at their schools during the academic year, but might go hungry when school is not in session.



           Faith Community Church, 910 Main Street, holds its Vacation Bible School from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 17, through Friday, June 21, 2013. The theme is “Go fish—Gotta Move,” with a curriculum designed to give children a biblical understanding of what it means to be a Christian and walk with God. It is geared for children age four through sixth grade. To register, call the church office at (630) 231-8230, at the church on June 17, 2013 or print the registration form from the church website http://www.faithchurchwc.org.



           The Civil Service Commission meeting is rescheduled from Tuesday, June 11, to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, 2013.



           The West Chicago Library District offers an evening of fun with monthly Lawn Game Nights during the summer. The first one takes place from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, 2013. In the event of bad weather, indoor activities are available.



           Community High School District 94 hosts five Meet with the Athletic Director sessions during the summer. The first one is at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, 2013 in the Commons, 326 Joliet Street, entrance H. CHS Athletic Director Doug Mullaney discusses the plans for the school’s movement into the Upper Eight Conference. The meeting includes a power point presentation to introduce the participating schools and the by-laws pertaining to all schools, sports and activities.



           The West Chicago Parks Foundation hosts its fourth annual “Funds for Fun” Golf Outing Friday, June 21, 2013 at Prairie Landing Golf Course, 2325 Longest Drive. The shotgun start is at 8:00 a.m.; lunch and awards are at 11:30 a.m. The charge is $150 for individuals, $600 for a foursome, and $30 for lunch only. This includes continental breakfast, 18 holes of golf, a shared cart, lunch and a sleeve of golf balls. Proceeds benefit the foundation’s scholarship program to provide recreational opportunities to low-income qualifying families in the district’s community. Deadline for registration is Friday, June 14, 2013. Registration forms are available at the Park District or online at www.we-goparks.org. Call the Park District office at (630) 231-9474 for further information.



           Local Music Night is at 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2013 at Gallery 200/STUDIO, 203 Turner Court. Musicians are Youngest Son, Roger Kotecki and Jeff Elbe. Tom Phelan is the visual artist. Open mic is at 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.



           Bloomapalooza Porch and Container Tour and Contest are part of the Community Project, America in Bloom of West Chicago, sponsored by the West Chicago Park District. The tour takes place from 9:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 6, 2013. Community partners are the West Chicago City Museum, the West Chicago Garden Club, People Made Visible and We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center.

           Both homes and businesses located in West Chicago are eligible to enter the contest for their container gardens and porches. All entrants receive a 10 percent off coupon from We Grow Dreams Greenhouse. The registration deadline is Monday, July 1, 2013. Registration forms are available at the West Chicago Park District, 157 West Washington Street; the West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street; and online at www.we-goparks.org.

           Persons touring can pick up tour maps at the City Museum on the day of the event. Upon completion of the tour, persons can cast their vote for their favorite container and porch at the City Museum.

           America in Bloom is a national awards program that provides a framework for improving the quality of life in a community. The judging is based upon eight criteria, which includes tidiness, environmental awareness, community involvement, heritage, urban forestry, landscape, floral displays; and turf and groundcover. Superintendent of Parks Jesse Felix explains, “The program helps build community pride. It is more than a one-time competition, but one that continually evolves.”

           During West Chicago’s first year of competition, American in Bloom officials Jack Clasen, Chair of the Contest Committee, and Jim Sutton, Display Designer for Longwood Gardens, visit the community in early July. The community is registered in the 25,000 to 50,000-population category.



           Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Dominic DeNava, who at the age of 83 recently passed away.



           Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of David James Wilde, who at the age of 49 passed away Sunday, June 9, 2013



           Daniel Stompor, a senior at Community High School District 94, is the Student of the Month for May. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Foreign Language National Honor Society, named an ISAC 2013-2014 Scholar, was a Thomas J. Watson Scholar and a Voice of Democracy finalist.

           Extracurricular activities include Drama Club, Band, Speech Team, Film Club, Student Ambassadors and Choir. Leadership roles were as president of Drama Club and Film Club, and secretary of Choir. Outside of school, he volunteers at his local church during community events and assists as a counselor at a summer camp for middle school students.

           Upon graduation, Stompor plans to attend Northwestern University in Evanston, majoring in Radio, Television and Film. He wants to pursue screenwriting and film production, and possibly acting.



           At the Illinois Sister Cities conference held in Rockford, Illinois, West Chicago resident Uwe Gsedl received an award for the West Chicago Sister Cities newsletter.



           The paper-shredding event, hosted by the West Chicago Environmental Commission, went very well. A total of 106 cars/customers went through the collection area in the parking lot at City Hall. Tim Wilcox, Street Superintendent and staff liaison to the commission, said, “Volume went down after the noon hour, but between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., we averaged about one car every two minutes.” The total amount shredded was 11,820 pounds or 5.91 tons.



           Nick Doukas, a junior at Community High School district 94, is the recipient of the PeaceBuilder Award for the month of May. He is recognized for his academic achievement and his desire to help struggling students.

           To Doukas, peace means, “Something that can be looked at on a global scale, but also on an individual scale. When people are peaceful, and you get them at ease, then world peace follows.” Although Doukas has many role models for peace, the person that stands out most is anatomy teacher Dr. Hank Murphy. “He truly cares for his students and wants them to succeed.” His favorite music involving peace is “The Wall,” an album by Pink Floyd.

           He participated in Cross Country and Track teams and is currently employed as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Turtle Splash Water Park. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Loyola University in Chicago.



           Winfield Township started offering the Coast2Coast RX card 20 months ago. In this time period, participants had a net savings of $116,012.12, which represents an average savings of 63.8 percent for people using the card. The number of members utilizing the card is 167 with the number of net claims totaling 2,109.  An individual who uses the card said on a prescription for an antibiotic, “I paid $15. It would have been $67. This was the biggest savings I have had.”

           The RX card is a free prescription drug card that covers individuals and family in a household. Not only is the card beneficial to those who are without insurance or underinsured, but it also is advantageous to those with good insurance. It may cover some medications not covered in the policy, not covered for pre-existing conditions or the cost in comparison pricing may be lower with the use of the card.

           More than 60,000 drugs are in the formulary and more than 59,000 pharmacies are in the network. Other than prescriptions, the card offers savings for some dental, hearing and vision expenses, plus prepaid lab and imaging tests. There also is a discount for diabetic supplies. The card may be used for pet prescriptions. Keep in mind that the card is not an insurance card. Cards are available at the township office, 130 Arbor Avenue.



           Andy Patel, owner of Changarro Mexican & Brazilian Fusion Restaurant and Mr. A’s Liquor & Wine emporium, is the new member on the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.



           West Chicago Emergency Services Disaster Agency recently distributed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather alert radios to all the public schools in West Chicago. This is a part of the process to receive Storm Ready® certification from the National Weather Service. The certification program helps communities to save lives from the effects of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness.

           The City purchased the radios with a grant from the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association. The NOAA weather alert radios provide an important method of receiving warnings and are activated when the National Weather Service sends out a warning or watch. The City recommends that all homes have one of these radios.



           Participating in the United Methodist Communications “Change the World” campaign, members of First United Methodist Church of West Chicago set a goal to collect at least 5,000 pairs of new and used shoes for the Shoeman Water Project. Since its inception about a year ago, they have collected more than 4,000 pairs of shoes. Students from Lane Technical & College Preparatory donated 700 pairs and students from Community High School District 94 donated more than 350 pairs.

           The Shoeman Project has two parts. The shoes are sold to exporters, who in turn, sell them at discounted rates to help create micro-businesses in communities where no businesses exist. These businesses then sell shoes to persons who need foot protection from diseases and parasites. With the money from the exporters, the Shoeman Water Project buys drilling rigs and water purification systems for poor countries such as Haiti and Kenya.

           Persons with shoes to donate can put them in the Groot garbage bins at the front entrance of the church, 643 East Washington Street. For further information, call the church office at (630) 231-3144.



           At the Monday, June 3, 2013 meeting, City Council approved a contract for the 2013 Main Street Tunnel Improvement Project for the amount of $669,763.50 to Mack Construction Corporation of Tinley Park. The project includes removal and replacement of Portland cement concrete ramps, sidewalk and retaining walls, sheet piling with cast-in-place facing, damage structure adjustments, tunnel and path lights, brick paver installation, and restoration and landscaping. The project must start Monday, June 17 and be completed by Monday, August 12, 2013.

           Also approved was an ordinance to eliminate the commuter parking lot daily rate parking fee for handicap spaces.

           Council approved a contract for the 2013 Street Maintenance (resurfacing) Program for the amount of $388,800 to Orange Crush of Hillside. The program contains milling and resurfacing for approximately 1.22 miles of roadway at Bainbridge Boulevard between Lehman Drive and Smith Road; Camden Boulevard between Lehman Drive and Smith Road; Lehman Drive between Bainbridge Boulevard and Foxfield Drive, and the City’s portion of Foxfield Drive west of Lehman Drive. In addition, sections of asphalt on Ingalton Avenue between Washington Street and James Avenue are to be patched/resurfaced.

           In response to an increase in the theft of metal and electrical supplies in the last 18 months in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Will counties, Council passed an ordinance requiring the licensing of junk dealers and peddlers. Among the items included are collection times only between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and the prohibition of parking junk vehicles in residential districts.

           Another ordinance passed was the licensing of mobile food vendors, which includes the stipulation of operating hours between 10:00 a.m. and sunset.

           Council also passed an ordinance to adopt and amend the 2012 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code and provides amendments that mirror the State Statute that became effective January 1, 2013. The statute states that municipalities cannot have less stringent requirements than the State. Most are primarily for new construction. Among the requirements are increased insulation values for buildings and windows. Thus, window replacements now require a building permit. Also required are whole house ventilation systems and programmable thermostats. A minimum of 75 percent of all light bulbs in permanently installed fixtures must be high-efficiency.

           Laura Barron was appointed to the Environmental Commission for a term ending 2016.



           My email address is merleburl@earthlink.net.

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