The faculty lounge at West Chicago Community High School was buzzing with conversation at the annual Business Professional Association and Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce Breakfast program. The highlight of the breakfast is the exchange of ideas, questions and answers between the members of both groups. Marc Wolfe, WCCHS Division Head of Career& Technical Education, said, “There was a great turnout of students and chamber members and the morning is an excellent experience for the BPA members.”
BPA president Michael Sawicki said, “We glean information from the businesses on what it takes to be successful. It is fun and I enjoy the networking. I talked to five chamber members, who all were in different fields. Robert Osornia, a high school senior, said, “The breakfast was fun. I enjoyed interacting with the business people, learning about their profession and how they have an impact on the community and their backgrounds.” Attending for the first time were Bethany Bayci and Adrian Marquez, employees of the City of West Chicago. Bayci is Special Events Coordinator and Marquez is Community Outreach Specialist/Latino Ombudsman. Marquez commented on “how the youth wanted to be involved in their own experiences. They were interested in internships, even unpaid.” Bayci said, “I was impressed with the students’ thoughtful questions during the breakfast small groups and networking component.”
Following the breakfast, the program was held in the Learning Resource Center, where students in business classes joined BPA and chamber members. In the past, it was held the auditorium. Sawicki said he liked this location as it “was more conducive to interaction between the panelists and the students.” The main point of the panel was to share the winding road they may have taken to get to where they are today. The panelists were WCCHS alumnus Shaun Crawford, owner of Cloud Cover, Inc., and Alyssa Miller from Fermilab. Cloud Cover, Inc. is an IT Services company. Fermilab is America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. The moderator was David Sabathne, President/CEO of the Chamber.
Sabathne said, “Fifty percent of the jobs that exist today will not exist in 20 years, fifty percent will not drive or have a car. Persons must continue to learn how to learn.” Crawford said, “I did not have a lot of money, married young, became a single father and had different jobs. I really was not focused. Working in a printing shop, I gained computer experience…Found out I really liked it… Whatever you do, you must have a passion about it.”
Miller agreed about really liking what you do. “I always had an interest in science, majoring in physics, but not really certain what I wanted to do” It was visit to Fermilab that set her on a career choice. “I knew I wanted to work with the accelerator.” Both stressed, “It is important to learn something all the time.”
Sawicki said, “The panelists demonstrated their own experiences, and different paths…myriad ways to accomplish such by having proper education and training. All jobs can change drastically and preparing for this. Technology is constantly evolving.” Osornia said, “I liked the overview of what they do in regular day…Mr. Crawford ending up owning his own company, shows anything is possible if you put your mind to it.” Bayci said, “It was interesting to learn more about the paths that led the key note speakers to where they are now. I only wish we learned a little bit more about they actually do in their day to day work.”
Summing up the program, Wolfe stated, “The panel of speakers made an impression on students and gave them outstanding tips on what it takes to be successful into today’s business. world.” (www.merleburl.com)
AROUND AND ABOUT
Remember to check out our local establishments for New Year’s Dining and parties.
St. Michael’s United Church of Christ, 400 West Washington Street, holds a Christmas Hymn Sing at its 9:30 a.m. Sunday, December 31, 2017, worship service.
On New Year’s Day, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 140 North Oakwood Avenue, has an English Mass at 9:00 a.m. and a Spanish Mass at 10:30 a.m.
Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services offers hour-long computer classes for senior citizens at Wayne Township, 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. “Attaching Photos to Emails or Texts” class is at 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
Note the time change for City Council meeting. It takes place at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
“Under Construction” is the exhibit during January 2018 at Gallery 200, 103 West Washington Street. It features digital photography by Judith Horsley and highlights the mundane to the majestic. The artist’s reception is from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Friday, January 5. Refreshments are served.
Kevin Lubbers, Athletic Director at Wheaton Academy, submitted his resignation, effective Friday, January 5, 2018.
St Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road, host a Blood Drive from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sunday, January 7, 2018. To make an appointment, please call Jessiy at 630-408-4030 or go online at www.heartlandbc.org. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.
The evening Adult Education Program of Community High School District 94 offers several tuition free classes. The District received state and federal grants that allow students to attend these classes at no cost. For further information, call (630) 876-6580.
One class prepares students for the General Equivalency Development Exam. Registration takes place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 8, 2018, at West Chicago Community High School, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance B. Classes are from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, January 10.
Also offered are classes in English as a Second Language, Citizenship Preparation and Spanish General Education Development classes. The classes are Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. starting Wednesday, January 10. Registration is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, January 8, at WCCHS, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance H.
Healthy West Chicago and Common Threads once again join together to offer free cooking lessons. The five-session class is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays from January 10 through February 7, 2018, in the Rockwell Building, 108 Sherman Street. To register visit https://www.eventbrite.com/o/healthy-west-chicago-amp-common-threads-16056354187. There also is a link on the Healthy West Chicago Facebook page. The after-school program engages students in a global exploration through healthy meal preparation. With the support of community volunteers and a trained chef instructor, students from third to eighth grade expand their nutritional knowledge and world-view as they learn to follow a recipe and prepare a low-cost, healthy meal. (www.merleburl.com)
The West Chicago Park District monthly social outing for senior citizens is at noon, Thursday, January 11, 2018, in the ARC, 201 West National Street. On the menu is Cheese Ravioli with vodka sauce. Guests bring a dish to share and a complete place setting. The theme is “Get Around, Get Around…How to Get Around.” Sarah Blair, Mobility Outreach Coordinator with the Regional Travel Authority, discusses accessibility features on CTA, Pace and Metra, cost, safety tips and a free “travel training program.” Reservations are required by Friday, January 5, and may be made in person at the ARC or online at www.we-goparks.org.
The West Chicago Park District holds a Watercolor class from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fridays, starting January 12 and ending February 16, 2018, at the ARC, 201 West National Street. Students learn the aspects of color, composition and value. The teacher is Pat Helbig from the Community School of Arts in Wheaton. Supplies are included in the cost of $12 for residents and $15 for non-residents. To register stop in at the ARC or online at www.we-goparks.org.
The Brush for Art classes are made possible through a grant from the JCS Fund of the DuPage Community Foundation. It is for individuals 55 years and older and allows the district to offer different art programs at a reduced rate.
Dean Klapatch, pastor of Glen Arbor Community Church, holds his fourth “Build Your Own Drone” class starting January 2018. The orientation class is at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, January 13, at the church, 204 Church Street. This is an informational session. He is a radio control enthusiast and FAA certified drone pilot. Parents and their children learn how drones work, all the science behind them, and build a 450 mm drone and learn to fly it. It is a six-week class followed by three flying lesson. There is a $250 charge for the class. For further information, call (630) 890-7161.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Neil Sullivan, who at the age of 66 passed away Sunday, December 17, 2017.
At the meeting Monday, December 18, 2017, City Council approved the amount of $2,454.72 to install a new internally illuminated channel letter wall sign at Green Smoke Vape & Tobacco, 200 South Neltnor Boulevard, Unit 200. This qualifies for the Downtown Facade Grant Program.
Also approved was a contract in the amount of $32,137 to Marcott Enterprises, Inc. of Villa Park for the procurement of coarse and aggregate material delivered of FY 2018.
With a 12-1 vote, Council agreed to waive competitive bids and award a contract in the amount of $126,019 to Alaniz Landscape Group, Inc. for the 2018 Right-of-Way Maintenance Program, which consisted of 105 properties in 2017. Miguelle Alfaro, owner of Alaniz, submitted a letter offering to hold his 2017 unit prices for FY2018. Ward 1 Alderman said he felt that there should be bids unless there is a compelling reason not to do so. “This puts everyone on the same playing field.”
Approved was a four-year Engagement Letter with Lauterbach & Amen, LLP for auditing services beginning with FY2018. Annual audit fees are $40,000, $41,000, $42,000 and $43,000 for the respective four years. As a side note, the City received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its comprehensive annual financial report.
Council approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement with International Union of Operating Engineers-Local 150.
Also approved was the decrease of Class A-1 and Class C-1 Liquor Licenses. The Mr. A’s Liquors located in the Villa’s strip center closed this month; Mr. Papa’s, 129 West Roosevelt Road, is not renewing its liquor license.
Council adopted the 2018 Annual Budget. “The 2018 Annual Budget totals $44,854,700 which is a decrease of 7.12 percent as compared to the 2017 Budget, as amended; specifically, the General Fund reflects a decrease of 4.90 percent as compared to the 2017 Budget, as amended,” explained City Administrator Michael Guttman. Mayor Ruben Pineda commended and thanked the staff for its diligence on the budget.
Council also approved the 2017 tax levy for 2017. The item summary states that the total 2017 tax levy request has been projected for FY2018 budget at $3,530.900.15 This proposal represents a 2.1 percent increase over the prior year tax levy, which is due to drastic funding cuts imposed by the State of Illinois and also due to an increase in costs for City operations and to provide services.
In the last game for 2017, the WeGo Wildcats Special Olympics team won the game against Glenbard South with a score of 40-27. Club president Dave Hempe said, “The team played great tonight in all facets of the game. This was the best game we played. Very exciting, So now a break and on to a new year.”
At the Tuesday, December 19, 2017, meeting the Community High School District 94 Board of Education approved two bids involving Phase 1 construction projects to be completed during the summer of 2018. One contract for the amount of $6,977,500 was awarded to L J Morse Construction Company of Aurora. Board president Gary Saake said, “L J Morse was the contractor for the science wing renovations, and they did an excellent job so we are pleased to have them back as the low bidder for this project. There were eight bids received, and several were very competitive.” The contract for the amount of $285,510 for bleacher replacement in both gyms and pool by Interkal, LLC of Kalamazoo, Michigan was approved. “Both projects are being funded by the proceeds of the referendum bond sale.” The remaining Phase 1 project is the renovations of the tennis courts and will be awarded in January.
Through its “Warm and Fuzzy” project, the West Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 85 collected around 300 items of winter outerwear of coats, gloves, mittens, hats and scarves. These were donated to the Neighborhood Food Pantry prior to Christmas. Detective Robbi Peterson and Community Service Officer Lisa Eichinger delivered the items to the Neighborhood Food Pantry.
For those wondering why KFC/Taco Bell was closed Tuesday and Wednesday, December 19 and 20, 2017, it was due to a fire alarm system malfunction, explained Luis Martinez, West Chicago Business Development Coordinator.
Benjamin School District 25 was awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Chicago Tribune. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Energage, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement.
Holding a stocking charity drive for the fifth year, Hawthorne’s Backyard Bar & Grill “adopted” two underprivileged families in the community to purchase gifts for through the West Chicago Police Department. Throughout December its customers decorated stockings and put cash donations in them. The owner Lou Kopinski matches the amount to buy presents for the families. This year the total donation was $3,300. Michelle Fortman and Lauren Fank shopped and wrapped the presents. West Chicago Police Department Social Services Coordinator, Rosie Valencia, coordinated the gift distribution to the families in need. Andres Perez and Franco Langan at Pheasant Run donated rooms for a very special outing for the two families. (www.merleburl.com)
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