The annual Community Memorial Day ceremony is at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29, 2023, at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Avenue and York Street. The service, organized this year byAmerican Legion Post 300, is comprised of members of American Legion Post 300, its Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Auxiliary. VFW and Legion member Kevin Driscoll is the moderator. Julia Doggett, chaplain of the American Legion Auxiliary, gives the opening and closing prayers. Mayor Ruben Pineda is the featured speaker. The ceremony includes the 21-gun salute and the laying of the wreath at the base of the monument. West Chicago Community High School Band, under the direction of Marissa Janiszewski, plays a patriotic medley. The echoing sounds of “Taps” reverberate throughout the cemetery as the two WCCHS seniors, Aaron Ruszczak and Connor Zentner. play. Prior to the community ceremony, members of the Legion and the VFW visit Glen Oak Cemetery on Arbor Avenue, Calvary Cemetery on East Washington Street, and St. John Cemetery in Winfield. At each stop, they honor those who have served with the 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”
American Legion Post 300 Auxiliary distributes poppies in before and after the annual Community Memorial Day service.The poppy is a symbol of remembrance. “In Flanders Field” is a poem frequently quoted durning Memorial Dady events. In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the poem after seeing poppies growing in battle-scarred fields. It was originally published December 8, 1915.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
AROUND AND ABOUT
- The program at the West Chicago Public Library is “Biomimicry: Looking to Nature to Solve Today's Problems.” It takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in the main meeting room, 118 W. Washington St. Discussion topics include how a kingfisher improved a high speed train, a gecko helped astronauts, and hedgehogs helping reduce the chances of discussions. To make a reservation, visit https://wcpld.info/, under calendar. https://merleburl.com
- West Chicago Garden Club meeting is Thursday, May 25, 2023, at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 N. Prince Crossing Road. Social time is at 6:45 p.m., short business meeting at 7 p.m. and the program, “Envisioning Garden Design,” at 7:15 p.m. The meetings are open to the public.
- The speaker Liz Omura, horticulturist at CantignyPark, Se is in charge of designing, planting and maintaining the beds in the Idea Garden. She shares her approach on how she designs garden space at Cantigny and in her home garden. Among the ideas are functional uses, mood and sensory aspects. https://merleburl.com
- First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, opens a special exhibit, “65 Years,” Saturday, May 27 and ending Saturday, November 11, 2023. It consists of 465 artifacts arranged in surprising ways. The objects are presented in a countdown format, acknowledging Cantigny Park’s 65th year, and combines history storytelling and innovative curation. Some of the artifacts are on public display for the first time. The objects are organized into 17 categories, with emphasis on soldiers’ personal stories.
Visitors learn about the original museum, housed in the former horse stable that is now the Cantigny Visitors Center. When opened in 1960, two years after the park, it was called the Cantigny War Memorial Museum of the First Division. The present-day and much larger First Division Museum opened in 1992 and received a major renovation in 2017.
- West Chicago Public Library is closed on Sundays starting May 28 through September 3, 2023.
- College of DuPage offers English as a Second Language at West Chicago Community High School, 326 Joliet Street. Approximately 30 percent of tuition is federally funded under WIA Title II. ESL testing dates at the high school are at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023. Classes are 6:30 to 9:40 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Class begins Monday,June 5. https://merlecom
- West Chicago Park District hosts an official ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Splash Pad at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at Pioneer Park, 479 W. Forest Ave. A Popsicles and ice cream are available for guests.The Splash Pad is open from 10 a.m. to dusk daily from June to September. https://merleburl.com
- West Chicago Park District offers free Public CPR/AED/First Aid Training Thursday, June 1, 2023, at the ARC, 201 W. National St. The training is from 4 to 8 p.m. The class is for persons age 15 and over. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, the course gives attendees the knowledge and skills needed to help save a life. Pre-registration is required at https://www.we-goparks.org/adult-programsA certification card through the American Safety & Health Institute may be purchased for $35.
- The City of West Chicago hosts its annual Paper Shred and Medical Disposal Event from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 3, 2023, in the Metra Parking lot, 508 Main St. The City partners with the West Chicago Environmental Commission, SCARCE, DuPage County Sheriff’s Office and DuPage County.
There is a limit of 10 standard office-sized boxes for paper shredding; persons also can use plastic bags. The bags and boxes are not disposed of on site. Accurate Document Destruction provides the shredding.
The DuPage County Sheriff’s Department accepts expired or unused medications and vitamins, placed in a zip-lock bag and Medical sharps including syringes, epi-pens, lancets, and needles.All collected sharps are to be placed in a thick plastic container, such as a laundry detergent bottle, securing the lid with tape. Inhaler canisters , not the holders, are acceptable.
Persons can also recycle used American flags, eye glasses and hearing aids. Persons can pick up their pre-ordered rain barrel(s). https://merleburl.com
- West Chicago Police Department and West Chicago Park District host Touch a Truck 2023 from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, June 3, 2023, in Reed-Keppler Park. It takes place among the roadway between Zone 250 and Wiggly Field. Youth and adults have the opportunity to explore, discover and climb on a variety of cars and trucks including big rigs, police cars, fire engines and tow trucks. The first half hour from 9 to 9:30 a.m. is sensory friendly time; there will be no flashing light and no loud noises/sirens. https://merleburl.com
- Wayne Township Electronic, Recycle and Shred Event is from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 3, 2023, in the Township building parking lot, 27W031 North Ave. Electronic items include computers, laptops, monitors, printers, circuit boards, servers, scanners, hard drives, projectors, cables/wires/power supplies, keyboards, mice, TVs, stereos, VCRs, power tools, appliances, gaming systems, cameras, exercise equipment, phones, microwaves, coffee makers, Christmas lights and metal. Some items have a charge. The costs are $20 each for televisions, $19 tube CRT monitors, $5 each for microwaves, $5 per piece for exercise equipment. Cash or checks made payable to Midwest Computer Recycling. Other items include tattered American flags, eyeglasses, large batteries, textiles. For paper shredding, there is a limit of five “Jewel/Grocery” sized plastic bags-no boxes. For further information, visit http://www.waynetwp-il.org/home. https://merleburl.com
- The West Chicago Park District monthly social gathering for senior citizens is at noon Thursday, June 8, 2023, at the ARC, 201 W. National Street. The theme is “Get Fit.” Following a healthy lunch , the district’s certified instructor teaches some chair Yoga. There is a $10 charge. Reservations deadline is Friday, June 2, and may be made at https://www.we-goparks.org/special-events.
- West Chicago Park District hosts the Wandering Tree Estate Tour Thursday, June 15, 2023. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. After touring the botanical gardens, attendees view the expansive outdoor train layouts. Following this is a tour of the Harvey Silets Memorial Chicago Model Railroad Museum, which has O-scale trains running through a replica of the City of Chicago. Some of the familiar sights are Union Station, the Chicago Skyline, the underground L subway system and Millennium Park. This also could be a fun trip to take with grandchildren, age 6 and over. The charge is $40 per person, lunch is not included. Registration deadline is Tuesday, June 6, and may be made at https://www.we-goparks.org/adult-programs.
SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES
- We Grow Dreams Greenhouse & Garden Center, 1055 W. Washington , extends its May hours for the next couple weeks, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Monday.through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 6 p.m. Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Individuals from the business planted the flowers in the downtown historic garden beds.https://merleburl.com
- Sonny Acres Farm, 29W310 North Ave., is now open for 2023. In addition the garden center is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.are rides, giant jumping pillow, Sonny Express train open from 10 to 6 p.m SaturdayMay 27. Then Sunday, May 28, same hours Our Kitchen opens. The business is open from 11 a.m. to 6 palms Sunday, May 27. The special hours for Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;Our Kitchen opens at 11 a.m. For further information, visit https://sonnyacres.com/. https://merleburl.com
- In the Daily Herald’s 2023 Readers’ Choice, St. Andrew Golf & County Club, 2241 Route 59, was a top pick for the best public golf course. It is one of Chicagoland’s favorite 36-hole courses for outings, leagues, permanent tee time and daily play. There are two championship 18 hole courses, four banquet rooms for weddings and parties, an outdoor wedding ceremony area, and a top rated 32 acre Practice Center. https://merleburl.com
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 Monday, May22, 2023, there were11,935 cases and 67 deaths; this is the number from the beginning of track recording.
- Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Patricia Ann Yanko, who at the age of 86 passed away Friday, May 12, 2023.
- Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Gene A Stoddard, who at the age of 64 passed away Thursday, May 11th, 2023.
- Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Susan Joy Atkinson, who at the age of 71 passed away Dec. 17. 2023.
- Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Bill Fawell, who recently passed away.
- Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Dolores (Dee) Lellios , who at the age of 88 passed away Tuesday, May 9, 2023.
- Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Harold T. Andrews, who at the age of 90 passed away Tuesday, May 16, 2023.
- Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of José Armando Roldán Orellana, who at the age of 85 passed away Thursday,May 18, 2023.
- Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Frances Ann Mains, who at the age of 89 passed away Friday, May 23, 2023.
- Sincere sympathy is expressed to the family of Manuela C. Ferrer, who at the age of 83 passed away Thursday, May 18, 2023.
- The Leman Middle School Spring Mariachi Concert is at 6 p.m. in the cafetorium, 238 E. Forest Ave.
- Maritsa Romero, a senior at West Chicago Community High School, is the Student of the Month for April 2023. Her selection was due to academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
She was on the regular or high honor roll all four years, earning a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.980. She is a member the of Foreign Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society where she has received the Merit Award. She also received the Blue Ribbon Award for Outstanding Effort in Mathematics and the Seal for Biliteracy.
She volunteers with organizations such as Northern Illinois Food Bank and Feed My Starving Children, plus at Turner and Currier schools holiday events, distributing food to their families. She has been an Ambassador, a member of Student Council, a member of Pep Club and is one of the captains on the Badminton team.
Upon graduation, Romero will attend Illinois State University in Normal, majoring in Elementary Education-Bilingual/Bicultural Education. https://merleburl.com
- Stephanie G., a fourth grade student at Wegner Elementary School, applied for and received a grant from a not-for-profit organization,One Tree Planted. She used the money to plant a tree at Wegner School. Stephanie, and a student representative from each grade at Wegner School, gathered to plant the tree, with some help from Rita Balgeman, a D33 board member, and Jamee Kenney, principal. https://merleburl.com
- The Community High School District 94 Educational Foundation awarded five grants in 2023; the funding through May, 2023 was $269,602.70. These are registration fee for the National Fall High School Journalism Convention, $2125; purchase of Camera and Recording Equipment for the Journalism Program, $4597.70; dissolved oxygen probes for Environmental Science classes, $1971.20, seal-shaped cookies for World Languages Department Seal of Biliteracy Celebratory Breakfast, $400.00; and Magnetic whiteboard; x-y coordinate grids for Math Department, $1257.90. The Foundation promotes educational excellence by funding teacher-initiated grants. These program enhancements go beyond the core curriculum by providing students both enrichment and in-depth study at all levels of secondary education.
- Candace Fikis, a Government and Economics teacher at West Chicago Community High School, attends the Supreme Court Summer Institute in June in Washington, D.C. After a highly competitive application process, 60 teachers were selected to participate this year. The Institute, open to teachers in the fields of law-related and civic education, is co-sponsored by Street Law, Inc. and the Supreme Court Historical Society.After attending the summer institute, teachers are available to present workshops on teaching about the U.S. Supreme Court, and to meet with media to discuss how the new skills and information apply in their classrooms.
The Institute offers teachers the opportunity to study recent Supreme Court cases in detail and learn innovative teaching methods for conveying this information to students. Well-known Supreme Court lawyers, reporters, scholars, and educators are among the speakers and instructors for the Institute. A recent evaluation of the Supreme Court Summer Institute found that, after the program, teachers who attended felt much more confident discussing controversial issues and Supreme Court cases in their classrooms, discussed Supreme Court cases and used interactive teaching strategies more frequently and gained critical knowledge about the U.S. Supreme Court. https://merleburl.com
- Boys' Track team at Leman Middle School had an amazing showing at its sectional meet Monday, May 15, 2023, with several students qualifying to compete at the state meet in Peoria. Eighth grader Miguel B. took first place in the 400m and 800m runs and will compete in both events. The seventh grade 4x100 relay team of Kadin A., Obi C., Gus Z., and Micah S. won third place and are state qualifiers.The eighth grade 4x100 relay team of Cesar M., Miguel B., Noah C. and Aiden N. also took third place and qualified to compete. Seventh grader Obi C. took first place in both the 100m and 200m races and will compete in both of these. Eighth grader Isaiah S. won second place in the 110m hurdles and will compete. Both eighth grader Noah C. and seventh grader Gus Z. will compete in the high jump.Noah was the sectional champion in this event. https://merleburl.com
- One-hundred-sixty Leman Middle School students were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.The National Junior Honor Society elevates a school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship and helps middle-level students develop the knowledge and skills to become well-rounded student leaders in their school, community, and beyond. NJHS chapters operate in all 50 states and schools around the world, engaging and serving more than one million students.
COMMUNITY MEMBERS HIGHLIGHTS
- Rita Kitching celebrates her 100th birthday Saturday, May 27, 2023.
- West Chicago resident Tatum Keene is the recipient of the Northern Illinois Gold Award Scholarship. Each year, through an application and interview process, Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois awards scholarships to registered, graduating Girl Scouts who have been actively involved in Girl Scouting during their high school years. These girls have committed to furthering their education, demonstrated their understanding of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and live by those values. https://merleburl.com
- Heather and Jack Niziolek celebrated their 30th Wedding Anniversary Saturday, May 13, 2023.
- Former West Chicago resident and West Chicago Community High School graduate Dr. Heather L. Horsley achieved tenure with promotion to Associate Professor, Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University in Fresno, California. She is the daughter of Judith and Michael Horsley. https://merleburl.com
ODDS AND ENDS
- Metra announced upcoming schedule changes for both the Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West lines, with changes taking effect on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.To view schedules, visit https://metra.com/lines-schedules-maps-stations.
- Postal carriers were toting more than mail bags Saturday, May 13. 2023. Since it was the Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive, they also were picking up the bags of donations of nonperishable foods from residents and businesses. Volunteers also helped with the collecting. The letter carriers of West Chicago and Winfield Post offices participated, delivering the donations to the Neighborhood Food Pantry, 123 Fremont St. West Chicago delivered 1,740 pounds;Winfield delivered 1,250 pounds.NFP director David Patricoski said, “This fills about four or five ballots and we thank the postal carriers for the donations.” Since 1993, the Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger® Food Drive has been the U.S.’s largest one-day drive, held annually on the second Saturday in May. .https://merleburl.com
- West Chicago made it into the book “100 Things to Do in Illinois Before You Die” by Melanie Holmes. She writes about the opportunity to work on an 1890s-era farm at Kline Creek Farm.“Her book provides an extensive bucket list for the Prairie State.” Holmes is the author of “The Female Assumption,” “A Hero on Mt. St. Helens” and “Manteno,” and is a recipient of a 2014 Global Media Award from the Population Institute. She is also a speaker, educator, and freelance writer. https://merleburl.com
CITY OF WEST CHICAGO
- There is one position open on the West Chicago Environmental Commission. The committee meets at 7 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month. The purpose of the Environmental Commission is to research, discuss and recommend to City Council various environmental programs and policies that would facilitate the protection and improvement of the environment, efficient management of natural resources, promote a sustainable community, and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the city. Applications are available at https://westchicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Boards-and-Commissions-Application.pdf.
- The West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission has two vacancies.Meeting s are at 7 p.m.the first Thursday of each month. Members support cultural arts events and activities. The Commission coordinates the annual Art Banner Exhibit and Commission is currently in the process of developing a Cultural Arts Master Plan to plan and organize future events and activities within the community.. Applications are available at https://westchicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Boards-and-Commissions-Application.pdf . For further information email email@example.com.
- The West Chicago Historical Preservation Commission has one vacancy. Meetings are at 7 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each monthThe commission advises on many aspects of historical preservation on sites in the community. For more information and to apply, visit https://westchicago.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Boards-and-Commissions-Application.pdf.
- At the Monday, May 15, 2023 meeting, City Council approved a Planned Unit Development amendment with deviations at 1865 N. Neltnor Blvd., in Mosaic Crossing. This is to redesign an existing drive-through for a proposed fast-service restaurant, Tropical Smoothie Cafe. The Item Summary states, “In addition to the drive through, the establishment will have indoor service and seating.
Also approved was the cancellation of two 2023 Ford Escape Hybrid vehicles from Bob Ridings Ford in Taylorville and authorized the purchase of two 2023 Ford Escape Vehicles from Haggerty Ford in the amount of $65,889 and authorized the City Administrator to contract with a third-party to install the necessary appurtenances /equipment for those two vehicles for an estimated cost of $6,000. The Item Summary stated, “The entire auto industry is facing unprecedented times as it relates to supplies and Inflationary pressures. In general vehicles are in short supply everywhere….A representative from bob ridings informed the City that Ford had not assigned vehicle numbers to the City’s ordering there is no definitive time frame as to when the order might be processed.”
Council approved the appointment of Thomas F. Cherrington and Nazrec Diane Williams to the Environmental Commission for the unexpired terms ending April 2015.
- Mayor Ruben Pineda expressed that the state of the City is "as strong as ever" as he drew comparisons of the City's current status to that of a "high-powered and laser focused locomotive" during his State of the City Address Monday, May 15, 2023. He shared highlights about the City’s infrastructure, local economy, status of the City’s workforce, and community highlights including updates on public safety, communications and upcoming special projects.
“Significant upcoming projects include the resurfacing of 2.7 miles of multiple City streets as part of the City’s Roadway Rehabilitation Project, the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Technology Boulevard, the final stages of the environmental remediation on West Washington Street and the painting of the Fremont Street Water Tower.” He thanked State senator Karina villa for securing grant funds for the last three items.
“Each of these projects are currently at various stages of the review process by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity staff and we are eagerly awaiting the needed documentation to proceed. I do need for residents to understand that the City cannot spend any money on these projects until the Grant Agreements are in place, or else we will not be reimbursed. That is the sole reason why the Fremont Street water tower remains in the condition it is.”
Mayor Pineda also talked about the City thinking ahead and investing in its technological infrastructure and some of the improvements to be completed this year. These include “new security cameras around City facilities to ensure members of the public are safe and our facilities are free of vandalism and an update to our monument sign on Illinois-59 and Main Street to ensure messages from the City are larger and more easily read.
He outlined the growth in the business community and the positive changes coming to the downtown area. “I’d like to begin by saying, that much like our infrastructure, the state of West Chicago’s economy is as solid as it has ever been.”…It’s important for me to highlight that there is lot work that goes into maintaining our City’s infrastructure as well as guiding the development of our business community.”
“As I close this evening, I’d like to strongly emphasize to all of West Chicago and all of those in this room - that the State of this City is as strong as ever. The City is on its way to great things, and we have the solid infrastructure and economy, along with an amazing workforce and community to ensure that we can go wherever we want to go.”
The full transition of the State of the City address is on the City’s website, https://westchicago.org/. https://merleburl.com
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