Brightness comes slowly as the days become longer, if only in small increments. Thus we prepare for the New Year, happily saying good riddance and farewell to 2020. Our future in the year of 2021 remains uncertain, but that is true with every year. There were positive happenings in 2020. More families and friends seemed to be playing board games, giving the video games a rest, keeping in touch with others became important, taking advantage of technology and gaining in knowledge in different fields, plus there are other positives that meant something special to each one personally..
Our best way to face the future is with more positive thoughts (not everything is bad), and most importantly, lighten up and laugh. Happy New Year!
AROUND AND ABOUT
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 North Oakwood Avenue, New Year’s Eve Masses are English at 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and Spanish at 6:30 a.m., New Year’s Day Masses are English at 9:00 a.m., Latin at 10:30 a.m. and Spanish at 12:30 p.m.
Free Christmas tree picky begins Monday, January 4, and ends Friday, January 15, 2021. All decorations must be removed from trees.
West Chicago Community High School Child Development 1 advanced students, and Brittney Bauer, child development teacher and Wildcat preschool director, host Wildcat Virtual Preschool, beginning Tuesday, January 5, and ending Wednesday, January 20,2021, via Zoom. Since there are four Child Development classes, dates and times change. It is for children 2.5 to 5 years of age. For further information or to register, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pGlqW6vPuZPBruA1sbHDEEvnsTSh2MAnze3HpBt3M2o/edit.
The program is free. It includes 30 minutes of developmentally appropriate activities for preschoolers, using physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language activities. (www.merleburl.com)
After taking a holiday break, We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center, 1055 West Washington Street, reopens Tuesday, January 5, 2021. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, from 9:00 to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sundays and Mondays.
The West Chicago Library is having a contest to showcase the art or photography talent of a West Chicago resident on its spring program guide. The contest is open to all ages and artwork can include all types of photography, traditional art and digital arr. The deadline for submitting artwork and entry forms https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=sY7WjQK2mUCU3XNvYyvx5AsvJ3XNM_ZElf8wTCOo7gJUMzVWREhKTjQzVlhGUE5YVUxZOUZPTUhNVi4u is at noon Friday, January 8, 2021. Persons submitting an entry form receive a confirmation email in which they are able to reply with their art or photo submission. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. (www.merleburl.com)
Now persons begin taking down the holiday decorations, which might include strands of incandescent and LED holiday lights that no longer work and/or extension cords no longer needed. There is a way to dispose of them in an ecological manner. The City provides the “green” answer with the offer of free recycling through Sunday,, January 17, 2021. The offer is open to residents, businesses, clubs, churches and organizations. Drop-off locations are City Hall, 475 Main Street; First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street; Murphy Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard; Water Treatment Plant, 1400 West Hawthorne Lane; West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street; and the ARC Center, 201 West National Street. The West Chicago Environmental Commission coordinates the program with Groot Waste Management.
Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill, 1200 West Hawthorne Lane, hosts its Twelfth Annual Turkey Bowl Charity Event Fundraiser at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, January 31, 2021. The charity this year is the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to fire safety, burn prevention, and supporting burn survivors. There are many prizes, give away items and a 50/50 raffle, The charge is $60 per four-person teams. Pre-registration is required. Teams must register at the bar or see a manager. The event is limited to 100 teams. For individuals not on a team, this is a fun event to watch and cheer on your favorite team. For further information call (630) 293-6700.
West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission sponsors its Fourteenth Annual Community Banner Project Competition. The theme is “Take Flight.” The artwork may be any media with no limitation to technique or subject matter. An independent juror selects the works of art. Each winning design is reproduced and featured in the 2021 West Chicago Banner Exhibition from May to September. An entry is comprised of up to 3 JPEG images at 72 dpi measuring (h) 7” x (w) 5”. All files should be numbered and named with the artist’s last name and first name. Ex.: 01Lastname_Firstname.jpg and submitted via an online form. All entries must be original and created within two years of entry date.
All entries are due by Monday, February 1, 2021. Information details are available at www.westchicago.org/art. Call Rosemary Mackey at (630) 293-2200, extension 139, for more information.
The DuPage County Health Department developed a dashboard to provide information on the total number of people, in DuPage County, who have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, the dashboard includes a map which shows the distribution of reported cases by municipality and is updated at 4:00 p.m. daily. DuPage County’s “COVID-19 Dashboard” is a one-stop-shop for all the information it offers including a town-by-town breakdown of cases. As of 4:00 p.m. Monday, December 28, 2020, there were 3,236cases and 26 deaths; this is the number from the beginning of track recording It is important to remember to follow the social distancing order, wear masks and wash hands.
A COVID-19 testing site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in a VNA Health Care Mobile at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road. There is no charge. Appointments are required and may be made at (630) 892-4355 or (847) 717-6455. A medical assistant now is at the site.DuPage County offers free COVID-19 testing at the DuPage County Complex, 421 North County Farm Road. The sites open from 7:00 a.m., to noon Monday through Friday. Since it is a drive-thru testing site, individuals give themselves a nasal swab test with instructions from staff
To keep residents aware of community COVID-19 updates, the City has posted West Chicago’s COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS CENTER on its website, www.westchicago.org. It is located on the upper left-hand side in red. Clicking on this, residents can see the latest information.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Donna H. Fuhrforth, who at the age of 56 passed away Sunday, December 20, 2020.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Cynthia Jean “Cindy” (Bancroft) Janaes, who at the age of 78 passed away Sunday, December 6, 2020.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Andrea Cortez, who at the age of 90 passed away Sunday, December 20, 2020.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Miguel Diaz Cortez, who at the age of 90 passed away Friday, December 25, 2020.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Noberto Lopez, who at the age of 49 passed away Sunday, January 27, 2020.
A photograph by West Chicago resident Sierra Koenig was featured in the Your Images Photography Contest in the Tuesday, December 22, 2020, issue of the Daily Herald. It was a picture of the morning sunlight capturing the vivid colors fall colors of the trees .
West Chicago Fire Protection District has a new Engine 7, which will be used at Station 7, 1080 Commerce Drive. The engine is staffed with a company office two firefighter/paramedics. The engine has a 1,500 gallon per minute pump, 750 gallons of water and a full compliment of paramedic equipment. Ferarra Fire Apparatus in Holden, Louisiana , built the engine and AEC Fire & Safety in Springfield delivered it. At this time fire district members are mounting it with equipment and radios. It will be in service some time after Friday, January 1, 2021. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Community High School English teacher Brian Turnbaugh created “Wegovox – Wildcat Podcasts,” which tells about alumni. Turnbaugh said, “This podcast is inspired by our alumni Wildcats who embody the spirit of “following their bliss.” Each episode explores the unique path these graduates took to find their success and leave the listener with pearls of wisdom they learned along the way.” To listen to the podcasts visit www.d94.org/wegovox. (www.merleburl.com)
The West Chicago Fire Protection District once again offered their professional and valuable experience is two recent experiences.
At approximately 10:00 p.m. Saturday, December 19, 2020, members of the Search and Rescue Strike Team responded to provide assistance to the Elmhurst fire and police departments in finding a missing person. The 78-year-old male had been missing since earlier in the evening. West Chicago Fire K9 Thor and handler Todd Baseggio along with the Riverwoods Fire K9 Irie and handler Vitale, started the search around 11:30 p.m. and tracked the six-hour old scent trail from a piece of the victim’s clothing. Weather conditions were 15 miles per hour wind and mid-30 degree temperatures. After trailing about one mile in darkness through a neighborhood, a park and crossing over a bridge over Salt Creek, the scent led to an area near Butterfield Road and Eldridge Park. A police officer then located the victim suffering from hypothermia in the brush near Salt Creek, Elmhurst paramedics transported the victim to the hospital. Two drone officers fro West Chicago also flew a drone with a thermal camera to assist in the search. (merleburl.com)
The West Chicago Fire Protection District companies along with communities from the West Suburban Fire Rescue Alliance, St. Charles Fire Department and West Chicago Police Department responded for an ice rescue at Bainbridge and Braemore Drive. Members from West Chicago Fire Station 5 arrived on the scene and found the victim holding a dog approximately 30 to 40 feet offshore, in the water and surrounded by ice. An Engine 5 member, in an ice rescue suit, entered the water, while supporting members threw ropes to the victim. The ice was too thin at the shore. The rescuer, breaking the ice, created a path to the victim. The patient was brought to shore and placed in an ambulance within 15 minutes of the arrival of the Station 5 members.
The victim was treated and transported to Northwestern Central DuPage Hospital. Rescuers from Engine 5 and Squad 7 went back in the water to rescue the victim’s dog. The dog was also brought to shore, treated and transported to St. Charles Emergency Veterinary Clinic for additional care.
The Station 5 members were able to provide the next level of care by recovering the victim’s personal items: which included his winter coat, cellphone, and other personal items. When the victim was released from the hospital, the family came to Station 5 to retrieve the personal items. They found the winter coat was washed and dried and the cellphone in a bag of rice being dried as well. Both the victim and the dog are recovering at home.
Staff from Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill delivered presents to the West Chicago Police Department These were for its fthree “adopted” families. Every year the business works with the West Chicago Police Department to make Christmas special for three deserving families in the community. Hawthorne’s provides the stockings and art supplies and patrons provide the creative art work plus make a monetary donation. The owner Lou Kopinski matches the contributions, with the money used to purchase presents off the lists of the three families.
Members of the Police department also received boxes of goodies from Wheaton Bible Church and pizza from Servpro of Kendall County and Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville. (www.merleburl.com)
At its Tuesday, December 15, 2020, meeting Community High School District 94 approved a contract in the amount of $194,520 for the purchase of 600 Chromebooks for the incoming 2021-22 freshman from CDW.
At the Monday, December 21, 2020, meeting, City Council approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the City of West Chicago and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150.
Also approved was a Text Amendment for Private Garage Condominiums. Per the Item Summary, “Abundant Investments, LLC, represented by Walter Lane, is proposing to develop the vacant 2.0-acre tract of land at the northeast corner of Roosevelt Road and Route 59 with luxury car condominiums. The petitioner intends to construct the five buildings containing a mix of one and two car garages. The concept of thes garages is to be a place for car enthusiasts to keep their vehicles, The development is not intended to be used to rent out units for self-storage, which is only permitted in the M Manufacturing District and as a Social Use. The text amendment defines the use of a “Private Garage Vehicle Condominium and includes such use as a Special Use in the B=2 General Business District.
Under New business, there was discussion of a Railroad Days contract. The West Chicago Chamber of Commerce had the contract for 2020, and had signed contracts and such for the event, but then COVID-19 prevented its occurrence. Council members did not want to spend money again on an event that might not occur. Staff presented the Chamber with a contract, which its board did not accept for several reasons. City Administrator Michael Guttman explained that the City is working with an unknown as the pandemic could cause the cancellation of an event.
The townships held caucuses for the Tuesday, April 6, 2021, Consolidated Election. In Winfield Township, the Republican slate is Supervisor, Nicole Prater; Clerk, Mike Guglielmi; Highway Commissioner, John Dusza; Assessor, Mark Malay; Trustees, Donald Voelz, Zachary Halley, Barbara Alekna and Michael Konewko. On the Democrat slate is Supervisor, Maury Goodman; Trustees, Judith M. Lukas and Shawn Patrick Hacker.
Due to time constraints, I did not have the full list of candidates filing for school elections in my column last week. There are three seats for the six-year term available on the DuPage County Educational Service Region Board of Trustees. Filing were John Gardner Huff, Marilyn A. Mencone and Paul McGowern. No one filed for the four-year unexpired term.
Candidates filing for the four four-year terms on St. Charles School District 303 are Katherine (Kate) Bell, Jim Stombres, Heidi J. Fairgrieve, Carolyn Waibel and Edward J. McNally.
Candidates filing for the three four-year terms on Elgin School District U-46 are Dawn Martin, Veronica Noland, Melissa Owens and LeJewel Crigler.
Steve Tinnes retired from West Chicago Park District in December, He was an employee for 38 years.
This is a good time to curl up with a good book. Here are a few with local connections.
Brian Tripp is the author of “Fate Weaver.” He is the nephew of Sue Tripp, an artist member at Gallery 200. The plot of the book is “Every thousand years, a tower of unimaginable power appears in the mortal realm. It’s said that whoever claims the throne inside will have the power to change the world in their image. This time, the tower appears at a moment when the gods find themselves locked in their own realms; their essence fading from the world. With the gods no longer in control, humanity finds themselves locked in a battle of survival with the hordes of monsters the tower has called to it. When all seems lost, three heroes stumble upon an ancient power that may just give them the strength they need to survive the onslaught and claim the power of the tower for themselves.” Set in West Chicago (turner Junction) and Wheaton.It has a five-star rating.
Ray Ziemer is the author of “The Ghost of Jamie McVay,” set in West Chicago and Wheaton.” The plot summary is “Brian Krueger has a lot of problems: The death of his grandfather and his father’s alcoholism have led to hard times and a move to a new town, where his nearest neighbor is a pyromaniac and a bully. Brian runs to escape his troubles, but it’s on the gravel jogging path that he encounters the ghost of Jamie McVay. Brian and his new friend, Sharon, investigate the ghost’s origins. Clue by clue, secrets are revealed as the teens discover the truth behind Jamie McVay’s quest for redemption. Along the way they must deal with teen issues such as school, sports, friends and rivals. Brian also struggles to reconcile with his father, while facing dangerous Pete the Pyro.”
Dennis Bartizal is the local author of seven books, which include “What I. Got Out of High School,” “Why Did the Turtle Cross the Road?” and “The Photon and the Dog-2019.” He has lived in the Chicago area most of his life. “My interests are varied. I love comedy, philosophy, and nature. My favorite authors include Franz Kafka, Stephen Jay Gould, and Mark Twain.”
Betsy Dudak, a resident of Warrenville, is the author of “Wanna Bet?” She was a 2020 Contemporary Romance Writers Stiletto Finalist.
Warrenville residents Judith and ColinWilkie, are the authors of “The Lost Shoe,” The children’s book “is a heartwarming tale that laces together the adventure of a Right Shoe that gets separated from his owner and Left Shoe. During his journey Right Shoe questions if he will ever be useful again. Experiencing a range of emotions from sadness to pure joy, Right Shoe continues to hope for the best. Feeling like a heel, he remembers there are some things in life that you have no control over so you should relax and go with the flow.” (www.merleburl.com)
My email address is merleburl;@earthlink.net.