West Chicago resident Phil Weibler, well-known photographer and railroad history buff, was the recipient of the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lake States Railway Historical Association at the organization’s annual meeting the last weekend of April in Baraboo, Wisconsin. He was recognized for his work in more than five decades in the collection and preservation of Rock Island Lines locomotive and rolling stock mechanical drawing and ultimate placement in the LSRHA in 2012. This honor came about from many years of collecting, preserving, appreciating the myriads of information and an understanding wife, Barb. Weibler relates how this began.
“Actually, this all relates to one of my previous lives. When I came off active duty with the Army in 1963, I went right back to work for the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (the Rock Island Lines, as in the song). I wiggled into a job as lead locomotive draftsman in the office of the Assistant Mechanical Engineer. We were on the second floor of a building squeezed in between the main shop buildings at Silvis, Illinois. In the mid-1950s someone from the Ivory Tower in Chicago told the AME to get rid of all the old steam locomotive drawings. Instead, he had the tin shop (the Shops could manufacture anything) make a flock of sheet steel tubes with lids, in which the rolled up drawings could be stored.
When the office was to be moved to Kansas City in 1966 we had to greatly reduce our holdings. A dump truck was parked under a second-floor window and we started heaving ‘stuff.’ I grabbed up some interesting stuff and took it home to Barb. A decision was made to take the tubes to Kansas City. About 1970, the Chief Mechanical Officer asked me what was in the tubes that were in the basement. I replied that they were obsolete drawings. He said, “Get rid of them.” At the end of each work day I would drag out half a dozen or so and load them in my 1955 Chevy wagon, take them home and stack them in my basement.
In 1972 I made the move to the Chicago & North Western Railway. They paid to haul all this ‘stuff’ up to West Chicago (along with a little furniture and the like). It then moved from a basement on Stimmel Street to a basement on Ingalton in 1976. Freddy had built a walk-in cooler in the basement. It was about the right size for the tubes.
Although I had possession of all this ‘stuff’ for forty years I did not feel that I owned it. Rather, I was the guardian and I was looking to put it all in a good home. The Barriger Library in St. Louis and the Kansas State Museum were checked out, but not until the Lake States Railway Historical Association became operational did I feel a good home had been found at last. It took three trips to Baraboo in a big van to get everything moved.”
However, the story does not end there. Weibler is still moving his collection to a new home. “This past weekend my good friend, Paul Schuch, and I delivered to Lake States 27 binders filled with steam locomotive and passenger car diagram sheets (sort of like floor plan drawings). The total was over 1200 sheets, and there still is more in the basement to be organized and moved to its new home. All of this is from the Rock Island Lines.”
The Lake States Railway Historical Association is dedicated to the Preservation of Railway History.The mission statement says, “The Association shall preserve and protect three dimensional artifacts (large and small), documentary, graphic, bibliographic and other relevant artifact collections. A principal focus of the collections shall be the Western Great Lakes Region of the USA during the 1880-1916 era. The Association is dedicated to the highest standards of collection, restoration, preservation and scholarship. It is committed to facilitating research, interpretation and publication from its collections.” Through the use of software programs, drawing, photographic, document, artifact, map and other historical material is accessible for the use of educators, restorers, authors, researchers, scale model railroaders and anyone interested in expanding learning about railway history. A priority of the Association is rescuing endangered collections and preserving them for the appreciation and education of future generations. In 2015, the association opened up a new 5,000 square-foot archives, research center and library complex. (www.merleburl.com)
AROUND AND ABOUT
New Life Bilingual Church sponsors Mulch Fest 2018, spearheaded by high school and college students. Sales are from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays, now through June 9, in the church parking lot, 468 Ann Street. They will have a booth at Blooming Fest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, in the historic downtown district. The mulches, provided by a local landscaper are premium and standard. The price for standard is $4 a bag and for premium is $5 a bag. The bulk price for standard is $34 a cubic yard and for premium $46 a cubic yard. Mushroom compost also is available at $4 a bag, $10 for three bags and $30 for ten bags.
Juan Chawuk is painting a mural on an 18-foot Jengo Tower through Friday, May 18, 2018, at Mexican Cultural Center-DuPage, 103 West Washington Street It will be presented at “El Palenque” during the DuPage County Fair and at the Mexican Independence Day celebration here. Persons interested in painting with him should visit https://www.facebook.com/MexicanCulturalCenterDuPage/ or call (630) 800-4554.
Chuck and Shirley Schramer celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary Thursday, May 10, 2018.
Community High School District 94 hosts a Retirement Celebration Open House from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. May 10, 2018, in the Commons at West Chicago Community High School, 326 Joliet Street. Retiring staff are Greg Hansen-26 years, teacher in the Physical Development Division; Kim Wallner-30 years, teacher/coach in the Physical Development Division; and Myrna Woodson-27 years, Deans’ Assistant. Community members are invited to join former students and retired staff as well as current students and staff.
Gala 33 Art Show of West Chicago Elementary School District 33 is from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, 2018, at Leman Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. Art students receiving a Superintendent Award were Gabrielle Wegner, a kindergartner from Currier School; Jacob Gajdam a second grader from Indian Knoll School; Alondra Alexa Bedolla Saucedo, a fourth grader form Gary School; Lyla Bauler, a fifth grader from Turner School; Tessa Banasiak, a fifth grader from Wegner School; Noelia Vargas, a fifth grader from Pioneer School; Fatima Nieves-MicAyala, a seven grader from Leman Middle School; and Brittany Saenz, an eighth grader from LMS. Art teachers are Linda Rooney and Kelsey Mangler from LMS, Jacqui Khatib from Currier School, Katie Yankowski from Gary School, Kirsten Snodgrass from Indian Knoll School, Christine Cintula from Pioneer School, Megan Czervionke from Turner School Lisa Miller from Wegner School and Jennifer Nagle from Early Learning Center.
In partnership with Cantigny Park, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton hosts a Civics Awareness program Thursday, May 10, 2018, in the McCormick House at Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. Social time is at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7:00 p.m.The topic is U.S. Supreme Court. A question and answer session follows. Complimentary coffee and dessert are served. Registration is required for the free program. To register visit www.wheatonlwvil.org.
Steve Schwinn, Constitutional Law Professor at John Marshall Law School, discusses major issues facing the US Supreme Court. Schwinn teaches, writes, speaks, and practices on issues related to constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, and human rights.
League of Women Voters of Wheaton includes West Chicago, Warrenville, Winfield, Wheaton and Carol Stream. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate, but whose purpose is to promote political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government.
West Chicago Community High School students Jeremy Belingon, Emily Pietura, Connor Thompson and Michael Sawicki are state champions in the Illinois Personal Finance Challenge held Wednesday, April 25, 2018, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This is the second time Belingon and Sawicki have won this title.
Under the guidance of their coach, Economics teacher Candace Fikis, the team competes Thursday and Friday, May 10 and 11, at nationals at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The competition features multiple rounds of challenges for students to solve. After two rounds of individual tests, the team is presented with a personal finance case study to determine how they would solve the situation and then defend their position to a financial expert. The last round is a team test to determine the top two teams, who then advance to a head-to-head quiz bowl competition for the national championship.
All students in Illinois are required to take a consumer education/personal finance course. The Illinois Personal Finance Challenge program provides a fun and competitive way to engage these students more fully in their learning, while assessing how well they are meeting the state mandate. IPFC is a program of Econ Illinois, a provider of economics and personal finance support for K-12 schools in Illinois. IPFC is designed to recognize students who demonstrate high levels of comprehension and application of personal finance concepts and skills, and reward teachers for outstanding practices in teaching personal finance courses. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Elementary School District 33 hosts its annual Mother’s Day Celebration Friday, and Saturday, May 11 and 12, 2018 in the cafetorium at Leman Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Performances by Mariachi Los Rayos de Leman Middle School, CODA and both students and staff groups in Ballet Folklorico are at 7:00 p.m. Other activities include food, book fair and storytime. The charge is $5 for adult and $3 for children. (www.merleburl.com)
With the assistance of residents, postal carriers are willing to carry an extra load Saturday, May 12, 2018. It is the 26th annual “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Persons place non-perishable food items in a bag by their mail receptacle. Items are donated to local food pantries or food banks.
Volunteers are needed to help with the planting of flowers in the garden beds in the historic downtown area from 8:00 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 12, 2018, and finishing with a pizza luncheon provided by the City of West Chicago. Persons should bring shovels/trowels and work gloves and meet at the Fox Community Center, 306 Main Street. Spearheading this activity are the service organizations of West Chicago Lions Club, the West Chicago Rotary Club and Kiwanis of West Chicago. To volunteer, register at www.givingdupage.org under Opportunities.
This community improvement project is a part of the partnership between the City and the West Chicago Park District, along with committee members, to work toward an America in Bloom designation. (www.merleburl.com)
Check out our local eating establishments for Mother’s Day specials Sunday, May 13, 2018.
Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers hour-long computer classes for senior citizens, 27W031 North Avenue. Not only do seniors learn basic skills, but also have the opportunity to socialize. The fee is $2. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (630) 231-7166. Beginner classes are at 1:00 p.m. Tuesdays. “Using Contact Lists in Emails” class is at 3:00 p.m. May 15, 2018.
The Spring Choral Concert of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Brandon Fantozzi is the director.
West Chicago Cheer Organization has a McCheer Night fundraiser from 6:00 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2018, McDonald’s, 89 W. North Avenue. A special cheer performance takes place at 7:00 p.m. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Public Library District hosts a Book Talk at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in the main meeting room, 118 West Washington Street. Author William Hazelgrove talks about his book, “Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago.” He also discusses topics related to organized crime in Chicagoland in the 1920s and 1930s. William Hazelgrove is the bestselling author of ten novels and three works of nonfiction. To make a reservation, call adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4. (www.merleburl.com)
The Spring Band Concert of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, 2018, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Performing are Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Symphonic Band Percussion Ensemble, and a couple of the high school chamber groups. The director is James Wallace.
Highlights include the Concert Band playing “Zacatecas,” a traditional march that is an important patriotic song of Mexico, Symphonic Band performs “American Civil War Fantasy” by Jerry Bilik and several compositions by Samuel Hazo and Eric Whitacre. Danny Weber, a senior, is featured in a performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” George Gershwin, arranged for piano and wind ensemble by Donald Hunsberger. Also there is the recognition of 19 graduating seniors in band and acknowledging the recipients of the band’s yearly awards.
West Chicago City Museum Historiography program, a non-fiction book reading group, is at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018, at the Museum, 132 Main Street. Guests can bring a lunch; dessert and a beverage are provided. The book to be discussed is “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West” by William Cronon. Copies of the book are at the Museum and West Chicago Public Library, 118 West Washington Street. Reservations are not required for this free program. For further information call the Museum at (630) 231-3376 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The author gives an environmental perspective on the history of the nineteenth century with his exploration of the ecological and economic changes that made Chicago America’s most dynamic city and the Great West its hinterland, Cronon shows a new sector of the national past.
The Spring Orchestra Concert of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Performing are the Chamber Orchestra, C-Choir, String Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra. Alexandra Wojciechowski is the director.
The Chamber Orchestra plays “Irish Legend” by Robert Kerr and Soon Hee Newbold. C-Choir performs “Solid Ground” by Break of Reality. String Orchestra plays “River Flows in You” by Yiruma, “Eine Kleine Natchmusik” by W.A. Mozart and “Mantras” by Richard Meyer. Concert Orchestra plays “Pirates Legend” by Soon Hee Newbold, “Gathering Storms” by Doug Spata and “American Reel” by Kirt Mosier. Symphony Orchestra performs “Hadyn Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major,” Schubert “Unfinished” and “Lyric Metal ”by Brian Balmages. Combined Orchestra plays “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.
As part of its Art of Relaxation series, the West Chicago Public Library District holds a Meditation workshop at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018, in the main meeting room 118 West Washington Street. Conducting the workshop is Markus Schramm, CEO of an international company and long time mediator. He discusses and demonstrates ways to replenish positive energy, let go of worry and connect with one’s spirit through meditation. To make a reservation, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4.
To heighten awareness and raise donations for the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics Illinois, West Chicago police officers participate in the 16th annual Dunkin’ Donuts “Cop on a Rooftop” event. It takes place from 5:00 a.m. to noon Friday, May 18, 2018, at three Dunkin’ Donuts businesses. Locations are 185 West North Avenue, 330 South Neltnor Boulevard, and 110 West Roosevelt Road. There is one police officer on the roof, one at the drive up and one inside. Persons making a donation to the Torch Run receive a free doughnut coupon. Persons donating at least $10 receive a Law Enforcement Torch Run travel mug and a coupon for a free medium coffee. Also on sale are Torch Run t-shirts and raffle tickets. The West Chicago Police Department hopes to raise at least $4,000. In honor of the Special Olympics athletes and police officers participating in the rooftop event, Dunkin’ Donuts donates $15,000 to the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run.
The event even has a local touch this year. West Chicago Police Detective Robbi Peterson was selected to represent all law enforcement, statewide in the Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on the Roof media campaign. The video, which he made with Special Olympics athlete Becky can be seen https://www.facebook.com/DunkinDonutsUS/videos/1649937661781093/?hc_ref=ARQurJ1He-FVNGUi4lc8Rfp2pUMBTBj0kHeqb_JmarKo4e5MozmYc7eI2EHaHELcnCU. Posters are located at Dunkin’ Donut locations throughout the state.
Sandy Nash, Director of Development-Torch Run/Special Olympics, explained that Peterson was nominated by his local Leg Leader. There are different legs for the routes on the Law Enforcement Torch Run. “Robbi has been a longtime supporter of the LETR and Special Olympics. He continues to go above and beyond for our athletes and serves as a leader within his department. We are very lucky to have him as a spokesperson for the Dunkin’ Donuts Cop on a Rooftop event.”
Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 21,300 athletes with intellectual disabilities and nearly 13,000 young athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities.
As a side note, the West Chicago Police Department received a plaque for its outstanding financial support of the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Illinois. Through various fundraisers and events, the amount raised was $16,497.58. Because of this, West Chicago Police Department will be lived on the back of official t-shirts. (www.merleburl.com)
The warm weather temperatures are just what the West Chicago Garden Club needed for its Plant Sale during Blooming Fest from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018. The perennials in the gardens of members popped through, providing a large variety of plants for shoppers to select. (www.merleburl.com)
During Blooming Fest, Garden Works Project holds a “Your Vegetable Gardening Questions Answered,” panel discussion from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, at its Resource Center, 103 West Washington Street. Persons from the community interested in serving on the panel should call Tina Koral at (630) 791-3003 or email email@example.com.The organization also is having an organic vegetable seedling sale during the Fest. To request specific seedlings, persons may pre-order now through Tuesday, May 15, at http://www.gardenworksproject.org/seedling_presale
Artéculture, under the auspices of West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, takes place from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, May 18, and throughout the Blooming Fest activities from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, at Kindred Coffee, 148 West Washington Street. Artéculture features work of local artists and those in the Chicagoland area.
The two-dimensional work such as paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, mixed medias, computer art, stained glass and fiber must be ready to hang. Preferred are framing with wire and eye hooks. Also sculpture and crafts are eligible for entry. The registration fee is $5 for each piece of work with a limit of two per artist. Proceeds support Commission sponsored art projects and programming throughout the year.
All artists must sign a Waiver of Responsibility for the artwork and a Hold Harmless Waiver for their participation upon drop off. Work must be delivered from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 17, at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street, and picked up from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Kindred Coffee.
Persons interested in exhibiting their artwork should visit https://form.jotform.com/80805854118156. For further information, or to arrange for different drop off and pick up times, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
WeGo Drama of West Chicago Community High School holds it Fourth Annual Plays-In-A-Day Fest at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street.
West Chicago resident Melissa Rivera, a senior art graphic design student at Elmhurst College, Is one of the 10 graduating art major students with artwork on display in the College Department of Arts 50th Annual Spring Capstone Art Exhibition. This exhibition requires students to create a body of work in their area of concentration, plan their exhibition and design the promotional materials for it. The exhibit is on display through Saturday, May 26, 2018, in the Founders Lounge and the Accelerator ArtSpace.
Madelyn Brotnow, a senior at West Chicago Community High School, is the Student of the Month for April 2018. She was selected for outstanding scholarship and her dedication to athletics and student activities.
She has been on High Honor Roll every semester and has a cumulative weighted Grade Point Average of 5.500. Brotnow is a member of National Honor Society, Foreign Language Honor Society, and is an Illinois State Scholar. She was nominated to the Illinois High School Association All-State Academic Team and earned an Academic/Athletic All-Conference.
Brotnow is a member of Student Council, serving as Senior Class President. She is student rep to the Board of Education. She also is a member of Health Occupations Students of America, a member of the band all four years and is a Student Ambassador. A student athlete, Brotnow played basketball, cross country, track and volleyball. Outside of school, Brotnow volunteers at Central DuPage Hospital in the gift shop, plus referees and/or keeps the books for the annual Special Olympics Basketball Tournament held at WCCHS. She is a lifeguard at a local pool.
Brotnow is enrolled at College of DuPage this summer to become an EMT. In the fall, she will attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for degree in biology, then on to graduate school to become a Physician’s Assistant. (www.merleburl.com)
Former West Chicago resident and 1998 graduate of West Chicago Community High School, Kirk Wallace Johnson, wrote his second book, “The Feather Thief.” It is a true crime story about Edwin Rist who stole 299 bird skins from the British Museum of Natural History in 2009. Of those stolen, only 174 were found in Rist’s apartment, and only 102 had their labels. Some were collected 150 years earlier. When on a fly fishing trip in New Mexico, he learned the story of the heist from his guide. Johnson then tried to locate the missing bird skins as without the label scientific information was lost. The story evolves around his search. The first Book Johnson wrote was “To be A Friend is Fatal; the Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind.” Currently, he is a senior fellow at the University of Southern California Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.
More than 50 students participated in the Fifth Annual Triathlon Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at West Chicago Community High School. This is a volunteer activity during physical education classes. It consists of eight laps in the pool, bike three miles on a stationary bike and finish with a one-mile run on the track. The overall champion was Teegan Cook with a time of 18:44. The female champion was Anna Fortelka with a time of 21:31. Anna is two-time champion.
After receiving a telephoned bomb threat, students, staff and faculty of West Chicago Community High School were evacuated Wednesday, May 2, 2018. West Chicago Police and members of the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and Canine Unitsed a search of the entire school for explosives. None were located. Also assisting were Wheaton Police Department, Warrenville Police Department, Winfield Police Department, West Chicago Fire Protection District, West Chicago C.E.R.T., West Chicago ESDA and dispatchers at DuPage Public Safety Communications. West Chicago Police detectives are currently working with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation traced the source of the threat to a residence in Scottsburg, Virginia. F.B.I. Agents conducted numerous interviews subsequent to the trace and continue to investigate. The incident remains under investigation. Updates can be found on the West Chicago Police Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/westchicagopolicedepartment/.
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