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Around and About in West Chicago - 20 June 2013

Around and About
           Referring to the July 1, 2012 storm, the West Chicago Park District continues to follow the philosophy of John D. Rockefeller. “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” With the loss of trees in Reed-Keppler Park, the district saved the wood in good condition from the 196 oak trees. Ray Meyers, former resident of West Chicago and owner of a woodworking business is Batavia, “helped us find a source, who could work with the wood,” explained park district directory Gary Major.

           Through Jeff Perkis from ITT Technical Institute, the creation of a memorable art class evolved. The project for the six-month course was to create furniture from the oak wood. From this commission, the students created 30 pieces of furniture, plus some knick-knacks and jewelry. The furniture includes tables and small chairs.

           As a fundraiser for the Friends of West Chicago Parks and one other charity to be determined, these items will be available for the public to purchase during the West Chicago Railroad Days festivities, Thursday through Sunday, July 11-14, 2013 in Reed-Keppler Park. In addition to purchasing some items, persons can purchase raffle tickets and participate in a silent auction for other pieces.

           Prior to the sale, some pieces will be on display at various locations in the community.


           West Chicago Elementary School District 33 once again hosts the Summer Read Under the Trees program now through Thursday, August 8, 2013. The program is geared for children ages preschool through sixth grade. An adult must accompany the child. Children attending receive a free book. Volunteer readers are District 33 staff and community members. The schedule for times and locations is on the school website,

Sponsorship is by the Anne E. Barrett Memorial Reading Endowment through the District 33 Foundation for Educational Excellence.

           The West Chicago Library District, 118 West Washington Street, hosts two Destination Storytimes.  The first one takes place at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, June 20, 2013 at Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. The second one is at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2013 at Egg Yolk Café, 100 South Neltnor Boulevard.  A ticket for each storytime event must be picked up prior to the event; the Cantigny ticket includes free parking for the day. Call the youth services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 3.

           In conjunction with the new exhibit, “Sweet Home Chicago: The History of America’s Candy Capital,” the Museum hosts the program, “Chicago’s Sweet Candy History,” presented by Leslie Goddard at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 23, 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

           The Game Day USA West Chicago Keppler Classic is Friday through Sunday, June 21 to June 23, 2013 at Reed-Keppler and Pioneer parks. Participating are 50 baseball and 21 softball teams from Illinois and surrounding states.

           St. Mary’s Parish hosts a farewell party for Reverend Matthew Nathan, its associate pastor, and Sister Maria and Sister Rocio on Friday, June 21, 2013 at Resurrection Parish Hall, 30W350 Army Trail Road in Wayne. The buffet supper is from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by dancing and music until 9:00 p.m.

           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 Elbel. Tom Phelan is the visual artist.

           Youngest Son Steve Slagg grew up playing hymns on the piano and listening to rock radio on a portable boom box. Through a songwriting blog, he self-releases his music. His full-length album is “All Saint’s Day.”

           Kotecki, vocalist and guitarist, performs eclectic music from the 1860s through the 1970s. His melodies and lyrics of genres range from the Golden era standards to folk, country and pop tunes, plus some of his own creations.

           The music of Elbel is suitable for rock and roll fans of all ages, as he draws stories from everyday life with intelligence, wit and heart. Good humor is part of the mix in his act. Some of his songs are the soul-stirring “Miracle Rain” and freewheeling “Radio Flyer.”

           Phelan is a photographer, focusing on nature and landscape scenes. He states one of his goals is to document the changing Midwestern landscape, the places and objects “on the verge of disappearing, both literally and figuratively, from our collective consciousness. These include farms, barns, tractors—the variety of objects associated with rural life in Illinois.”

           Open mic is at 8:30 p.m. Light refreshments are served. There is no charge, but donations are welcome.

           Due to an unforeseen circumstance, Local Music Morning for children and their families was rescheduled. It now takes place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 22, 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 at 11:30 a.m. Attendees should bring their own chairs and a picnic lunch; beverages and dessert are provided.

           Michoacán Fest takes place from 11:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, June 23, 2013 at St. Mary’s Parish, 140 North Oakwood Avenue. The event includes Mass, food, crafts, music and art exhibit. Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl performs at 2:30 p.m.

           West Chicago resident Alexandrea Guzman, a singer, is among the top 30 finalists in Suburban Chicago’s Got Talent, sponsored by the “Daily Herald.” She performs in the first preliminary round of 15 participants at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, June 23, 2013 in the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 West Campbell Street in Arlington Heights. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling (847) 577-2121 or online at The winner of the final completion receives an expense-paid trip to audition for the NBC reality competition, “America’s Got Talent.”

           Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, holds its Vacation Bible School from 9:00 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, June 24 to June 28, 2013. It is geared for children age three through sixth grade. The theme is “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The charge is $10 for first child, $5 per additional sibling, $20 maximum per family. To register, call the church office at (630) 231-1175 or online

           The second of the five Community High School District 94 Meet with the Athletic Director sessions is at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, 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 Garden Club meeting is Thursday, June 27, 2013 at the Kruse House Museum, 527 Main Street. Social time is at 6:45 p.m., short business meeting at 7:00 p.m. and program at 7:15 p.m.  “Yogurt, Vinegar and Lawn Care” is the topic by the featured speaker, Bill Scheffler. He is the owner of Pure Prairie Organics and has five greenhouses in West Chicago.

           Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services hosts its intergenerational event at 1:00 p.m. Friday, June 28, 2013 at Wayne Township, 27W031 North Avenue. The senior citizens teach the youth in the WAYS summer camp program to play Bingo. Fun prizes are awarded. For information, call WAYS at (630) 231-7166.

           The West Chicago Library Districts hosts “Rock Around the Clock Sock Hop & Car Show” from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29, 2013 on the lawn, 118 West Washington Street. The celebration of the fabulous 50s includes music, dancing and contests. The Hula Hoop contest is at 1:00 p.m.; Twist dance-off is at 2:00 p.m.; best-dressed award is at 2:30 p.m. Classic 50s and 60s cars and hot rods are featured in the car show with the Best Car in the Show award ceremony taking place at 2:30 p.m. To reserve space for the car show, persons should call Nicole Handley in the youth services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 3, or email

           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; West Chicago City Museum, 132 Main Street; and online at

           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.

           West Chicago Railroad Days 2013 is quickly approaching. The festive event takes place from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, 2013. The parade theme is “We Have a Dream.” Registration forms are available on the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce website,, under festivals.

           The Mexican Independence Day Parade and Celebration, sponsored by the City of West Chicago, takes place from noon to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, September 15, 2013 in the historic downtown district. The committee at this time is searching for artisans, vendors, food vendors and parade participants. Persons interested should call Valeria Lopez at (630) 293-2200, extension 170.

           Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Joyce L. Senne, who recently passed away.

           Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Sally Elizabeth Phillips who at the age of 74 passed away Thursday, June 13, 2013.

           Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Ricardo “Rick” Cantu, who at the age of 51 passed away Monday, June 17, 2013.

           The Gary School Science Club held its Science Fair Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Taking first place was fifth grader Nathan Shwatal with his project that determined the amount of vitamin C in various foods. Second place winner was fifth grader Madeline Shwatal; her project concerned sight in humans versus animals. The winner of third place was fourth grader Emily Ayala for her project on disseminating the color combinations that go into various black markers.

           The club, offered to students in fourth through sixth grades, takes place after school with Gary School staff and parents organizing and volunteering. This year, 64 children were in the club and 43 participated in the fair. In addition to various activities, guest scientists visited to speak and work with the children. The students worked on their projects during club, at home and with teacher volunteers before and after school or during lunchtime.

           Recipients of Promoting Awareness of Wildcat Success for the Month of May are Brina Berger and Denys Robles from Special Services, Julia Caithamer and Esteban Perez from Language Arts Division, Elvia Castillo, Katie Krone and Rucha Naik from Special Education, Paulina Gomez and Isaac Rocha from Humanities Division, Miguel Hipolito and Dung Vu from Math & Science Division, Alex Leal and Vincent Wandasiewicz from Physical Development Division, Carolyn Meissner and Bria Williams from World Languages Division and Ricky Nguyen from Information & Technology Division. These students, nominated by teachers from the different divisions, demonstrate excellence in the areas of learning, living and/or leadership.

           At its Tuesday, June 4, 2013 meeting, the Community High School District 94 Board of Education approved a Communications Specialist position, reporting to the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services beginning July 1, 2013.  Currently it is for 10 hours a week.  Also approved was the purchase of a Mitel VOIP system for a contract price of $161,279.79 with Telco Innovations Group of Itasca. The telephone system will be installed during the summer.

           Wheaton Academy recently hired several new coaches.

           Brad Thornton, former Wheaton College football player and assistant football coach at Evangelical Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee, is the new English teacher and interim football coach.

           Hired as an assistant varsity coach and full-time teacher is Brad Musso, a coach for wide receivers and defensive backs for four years at Westminster Academy in St. Louis, Missouri. He was an All-American wide receiver at Wheaton College and is the son of the Chicago Bears’ former running back Johnny Musso.

           West Chicago resident Ward Rau, a former football player and wrestler at Wheaton Academy, is the head coach for the sophomore football team. For 14 years he served as head coach for freshman football and varsity assistant for the football program at Community High School District 94.

           Geof Weisenborn, head coach for the men’s lacrosse program at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, is the new full-time Director of Performance and Boy’s Lacrosse coach. In the position of Director of Performance he will teach courses in health and athletic performance, plus directing year-round performance training to all WA athletes.

           In the June 7, 2013 issue of the “Daily Herald,” Marissa Gagliano, a junior at Wheaton Academy, was named to its All-Area softball listing.

           Named to its All-Area Boys volleyball listing were Trevor Slonek, a senior at CHS, and Tim Robbins, a senior at Wheaton Academy. Named as an honorable mention was Tom Becker, a senior at CHS. Andie Lazzerini, a senior at CHS, and Abby Olson, a junior at Wheaton Academy, were honorable mentions to the All-Area Girls Soccer listing.

           After 37 years, West Chicago resident Sylvia Mosier retired from West Chicago Printing Company.

           With the election of aldermen in the Tuesday, April 9, 2013 Consolidated Election, new appointments were made to the standing committees. Meeting for the first time since the election, the Infrastructure Committee elected Ward 1 Alderman Jim Beifuss as chairman and Ward 5 Alderman John Smith as co-chairman.

           Ward 1 Alderman Beifuss was elected vice chairman of the Development Committee.

           The Tuesday, June 11, 2013 broadcast of NBC Nightly News featured the 80th Anniversary of Drive-In theaters, highlighting Cascade Outdoor Theater. It is one of the 400 remaining ones in the nation.

           West Chicago resident Debra Hodgett was featured in the Neighbor section of the Monday, June 17, 2013 “Daily Herald.” She is one of the seven co-authors of the book, “Tri-Mom: Swimming, Biking and Running Through Motherhood.”

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