Approximately 150 persons attended the poignant Veterans Day Service Saturday, November 11, 2017, at American Legion Post 300. Julia Doggett, chaplain of the American Legion Auxiliary offered the invocation and benediction. Geri Rethford, a junior at West Chicago Community High School, and James Wallace, band director at WCCHS, played the National Anthem. Ben Huber, a member of the WCCHS Choir, sang “America, The Beautiful”. Members of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6791presented the 21-gun-salute, followed by the echoing sounds of “Taps,” played by Rethford and WCCHS junior Gavin O’Keefe. Ken Walker, site manager for Neighborhood Food Pantry in West Chicago, accepted the presentation of the $500 donation made by the legion.
There were tears in many eyes during the Remembrance Table presentation by members of Rolling Thunder, an organization devoted to the cause of Missing In Action and Prisoners of War. “Time heals all wounds, but time does not heal wounds for the POW/MIA. Persons not remembering them become complacent. We are committed to the unaccounted for brothers and want to ensure that all who served their country come home.”
The round table has place settings for members of the five armed services, Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The chairs are empty. The white tablecloth symbolizes purity, the salt sprinkled on the plate is for the tears shed by the families, the slice of lemon is for the bitterness for those left behind, the inverted glass that the missing are not here to partake, the red rose shows the families love and the red ribbon is for the hope all will be returned to their family and country. Remember!
Mayor Ruben Pineda gave the keynote address.
“On this 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, I’d like to say thank you to my friends at the American Legion Post 300 for inviting me to say a few words to convey the City’s deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country; those sitting in this room, those presently serving; and those who have gone before us and now rest in cemeteries here and across the nation. Today is a day to celebrate and honor each and every one of them.
The American Legion reminds us today, Veterans Day 2017, that fifty years ago, gratitude was in short supply among many segments of the American public. Heroes returned from Vietnam and were discouraged from wearing their uniforms in public places due to the disrespectful actions of some protestors and others who disagreed with policies that were set by the nation’s leaders of the day.
Now fast forward to 2017 and we see similar, misdirected expressions of political discontent among some of our fellow Americans toward what we should all find sacred — that the men and women who stand behind the flag of our great nation have willingly underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless service to that very flag.
Our veterans have all given something of themselves to this country, and some have given all – laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear. It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service to this country is appreciated, that we are united with them, and that we may be faithful stewards of the freedom they have secured for us.
Peacetime or wartime, all veterans have taken an oath of their willingness to offer their lives to defend our constitution and country. When war is necessary, America’s military men and women always come forward and put their country first.
Think about this, just five years after liberating two continents in the Second World War, our military again answered the call in Korea, where 35,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice so others could be free. Generations later, they served in places like the Persian Gulf, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq.
And speaking of a couple of those areas, my Nephew, Staff Sergeant Edward Thomas Pineda, class of W.C. High School 2003, performed 6 tours, 1 in Iraq & 5 in Afghanistan. Today I am proud to announce, for the 1st time, that he is now a Veteran. He made it home safe. He did join the National Guard though. He continues to protect.
Today, men and women in uniform are providing humanitarian aid and rescuing victims of natural disasters. Some serve in war zones and risk their lives on a daily basis. Some are Reservists and some are in the National Guard. And while each takes pride in their branch of service, when an enemy threatens, or a mission surfaces, they join together as one family and meet the challenge. That is what veterans do. Country first.
Certainly, there are many outward ways in which we can acknowledge our gratitude through our actions and words; we must continue to help veterans and their families by providing services and programs that assist them with the many issues and invisible wounds that they deal with as a result of their service.
Yet, let us not forget the simplest, most humble way to convey the eternal debt we owe — a direct thank you for their unwavering service to our country, our flag and the people of this great nation.
Let us find every opportunity to do so.”
AROUND AND ABOUT
The West Chicago Lions Club holds a coat drive now through Thursday, November 30, 2017. Drop off boxes are located at both Republic Bank locations, 101 Main Street and 105 West Roosevelt Road; City Hall, 475 Main Street; West Chicago Park District ARC, 201 West National Street; FNBC Bank & Trust, 600 East Washington Street: Water’s Edge Bible Church, 209 South Oakwood Street; Ball Horticultural Company, 622 Town Road; and The UPS Store, 1879 North Neltnor Boulevard. New and slightly used, clean coats are needed for distribution to local families.
The WeGoWildcats Special Olympics basketball game is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 16, 2017, in Bishop Gym at West Chicago Community High School, 326 Joliet Street. They play St. Charles East High School. Their first game, playing against Glenbard North “was a rough one,” said club president Dave Hempe. “We ended up losing 50-34. The team needs to work on their ball handling and shooting skills. It was a fun game to watch as the score at halftime was 22-18, the athletes had fun and did try hard.”
The West Chicago Park District hosts a free Rules of the Road class for persons age 50 and older at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at the ARC, 201 West National Street. An instructor from the Office of the State Secretary teaches the course. To make a reservation, drop in at the ARC or online at www.we-goparks.org.
West Chicago City Museum Historiography program is a non-fiction book reading group. The discussion group meets at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 16, 2017, at the museum, 132 Main Street. Guests can bring a sack lunch; dessert and drinks are provided. The book under discussion is “Unbroken: An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive” by Laura Hillenbrand. Call the museum at (630) 231-3376 for further information.
WeGo Drama at West Chicago Community High School presents “We Will Rock You: School Edition” by Ben Elton at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, November 16, 17 and 18, 2017, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. The ticket price is $8, $5 of students. Tickets are available on line at www.wegotheatre.com or at the door. WeGo Drama President Ricky Gieser, said, “I truly enjoy the fact we are the one premiering this show in Illinois.”
The show is a jukebox musical telling the story of two revolutionaries as they try to save Rock in a dystopian world and features more than 20 Queen songs. These include “Under Pressure,” “I Want To Break Free,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites The Dust.”
The company of actors and crew are Abby Carr, Ryan Castiglia, Kenneth Correa, Andres Espinoza, Delaney Flynn, Megan Gee, Ricky Gieser, Sammy Incrocci, Nora Zamora, Grecia Bahena, Nathan Bradley, Andrew Brady, Emily Carroso, Marcos Correa, Vanessa Coss, Zoe Genebe, Alexia Gountanis, Megan Kordik, Noemi Lara, Garrett Martin, and Evy McLean.
Others are Audrey Miller, Flora Nei, Ahley O’Donnell, Rachel O’Donnell, Gavin O’Keefe, Jeri Rethford, Ryan Schweihs, Paola Suarez, Leah Wheatley, Jyle Walsh, Noah Zieche, David Brown, Lilly Hansen, Rob Hansen, Nathan Hiltner, Leo Johnson, Abbie Lundblad, Neve Ryan, Madysen Simanonis and Connor Thompson.
Mark Begovich is the director. Scenic Design and Technical Direction is by Chris Jensen. Vocal Direction is by Brandon Fantozzi. Choreography is by Lora Vodicka. Costume design is by Lauren Roark and hair and make-up design is by Jamie Elza.
Original vocal score is by Mike Dixon, Brian May, and Roger Taylor; and original orchestrations by Steve Sidwell. The school edition is prepared by Stuart Morley. (www.merleburl.com)
We-Go Community Theater Fall Junior Production, hosted by the West Chicago Park District, presents “The Lion King Experience, Jr.” Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, November 16, and Friday, November 17, and at noon Saturday, November 18, 2017, in the cafetorium at Leman Middle School, 238 East Hazel Street. The ticket price is $9 at the door.
During the fall, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton and Cantigny Park, present a series of programs focusing on the theme of civic awareness. The third and final program, “Money in Politics: How Much is Too Much?” is at 7:00 p.m. November 16, 2017. Guests meet at the Visitor’s Center, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. and then are transported to the McCormick Museum for the program There is no charge for the program and parking is free. Registration is limited to 100 attendees per event. Advance registration is required and may be made at http://www.wheatonlwvil.org/civics-awareness.html#news.
Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, presents practical tools for keeping up with the fast-paced world of political money in Illinois.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. The League of Women Voters of Wheaton serves the people of Wheaton, Winfield, West Chicago, Warrenville, and Carol Stream.
Cantigny Park, part of the Chicago-based Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is the 500-acre Wheaton estate of Robert R. McCormick (1880-1955), long-time editor and publisher of the “Chicago Tribune.”
Gallery Theater Studio, 129 Main Street, presents “Miracle on South Division Street” by Thomas Dudzik. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, November 17 and 18 and at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, November 19, 2017. The ticket price is $16 and $14 for seniors. To make reservations, call (630) 254-5919, email GalleryTickets@gmail.com or through the website www.Gallerytheaterstudio.org.
Cast members are West Chicago residents Maureen Navadomskis and Gail Cannata, Kas Hesek and Mike Greenstone. The director is Carolyn Larsen.
City Clerk Nancy Smith and I went to see the production, found it delightful and humorous. (www.merleburl.com)
Debi Inch Piano Studio is doing a play-a-thon to raise money to send care packages to the men and women on the USS New York, which is scheduled for deployment in February 2018. There are 35 departments on the ship. The students are requesting sponsorships for a pledge of $1 to $5 per extra practice during the week of Thanksgiving, Sunday, November 19 through Saturday, November 25, 2017. Inch will buy goodies with the money and the students will write thank you notes and pack the boxes in December. Her son Billy is the weapons officer on board. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago Police Department sponsors Operation “Warm and Fuzzy” for winter clothing such as coats, scarves, mittens, gloves, hats and boots for those in need. It takes place Monday, November 20 through Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Persons can drop off new or gently used items in the specially decorated Christmas boxes at West Chicago Police Department, 325, Spencer Street; and Dunkin’ Donuts, 330 South Neltnor Boulevard; the ARC, 201 West National Street.
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. “Texting On Smart Phones” class is at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 22, 2017.
West Chicago Public Library District, 118 West Washington Street, Food for Fines ends Wednesday, November 22, 2017. During this time period the library accepts donations of non-perishable food in payment for fines. One item equals one dollar in forgiven fines, up to a maximum $6. This is not applicable to charges for lost or damaged materials or collection agency fees. Patrons not owing fines also may contribute to the food drive. The proceeds benefit the Neighborhood Food Pantries site in at Real Life Church campus, 525 North Neltnor Boulevard. Call access services at (630) 231-1552, extension 2.
Several of the local churches hold services Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday, November 22, or Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, 2017.
On Thanksgiving Eve at First United Methodist Church of West Chicago, 643 East Washington Street, there is a soup dinner at 6:00 p.m. The mission and devotional service is at 6:45 p.m.
St. Andrew Lutheran Church, 155 North Prince Crossing Road, Thanksgiving Eve service is at 7:00 p.m. followed by a pie fest and fellowship.
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. Thanksgiving Day.
Trinity Lutheran Church, 331 George Street, Thanksgiving Eve service is at 7:00 p.m. (www.merleburl.com)
For those planning on eating out Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2017, check the local restaurants for buffet and dinner specials.
With the holiday season upon us, the onset of decorating begins in earnest, which includes the discovery of strands of incandescent and LED holiday lights that no longer work and finding a way of ecological disposal. The City provides the “green” answer with the offer of free recycling for the holiday lights and extension cords from Friday, November 24, 2017, through Tuesday, January 19, 2018. 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 Elgin Recycling, which collects these items to strip and recycle for their copper and plastic parts. The company is a full service scrap metal business serving the area for more than 30 years. In both 2015 and 2016, 602 pounds were collected.
Residents may see fuzzy-faced police officers in November as some members of the West Chicago Police Department are currently participating in the No Shave November campaign to heighten awareness for cancer research. Those participating donated $25 to the campaign to forego shaving for the month as approved by Chief Mike Uplegger. Anyone wishing to donate to the No Shave November campaign can make their donation in person or by mail to West Chicago Police Department, 325 Spencer Street, West Chicago, IL 60185. Checks should be made payable to No-Shave November. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 85 will match monies raised by police officers and contributions made by the community up to $500.
Registration for the City of West Chicago’s 2017 Frosty Fest 5K Run/Walk is open online at www.raceroster.com/14012. The event takes place Saturday, December 2, 2017, starting in Turner Court. Packet pick up and registration is at 7:30 p.m. and the race begins at 8:30 a.m. The free Kids Fun Walk for children age 10 and under begins at approximately 9:30 a.m. Age groups are 11 to 14, 15 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 to 69 and 70 and over. The top three overall male and female participants receive awards, plus the top three male and female in each age category receive awards. The fee is $25 for residents, $30 for non-residents, $10 for students. Registration deadline is Friday, December 1. Kids Fun Run participants receive a Finisher’s ribbon. For further information, call Special Events Coordinator Bethany Bayci at (630) 293-2200, extension 176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of James Garza, who at the age of 69 passed away Monday, November 6, 2017.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of Alice Pegel Stuart, who at the age of 49 passed away Friday, November 10, 2017.
It was not the sound of falling leaves, but the sound of falling raindrops during the Senior Leaf Raking Project Saturday, November 4, 2017. Despite this fact, 25 volunteers from West Chicago Community High School (teachers, Horticulture and Interact Clubs), Noble Wolf Estates, West Chicago Park District Boy Scout Troop 532 and individuals managed to rake 18 of the 22 yards. It was a stop and go period when lightening and thunder appeared on the horizon. Groot Industries-West Chicago picked up the bagged leaves from residences and Menards in West Chicago donated the bags. (www.merleburl.com)
Despite the rain, the first “smash & trash” for the composting of Halloween pumpkins, co-hosted by the First United Methodist Church and the West Chicago Environmental Commission Saturday, November 4, 2017, was a success. Approximately 100 pumpkins went into the dumpster supplied by Groot Industries. Assisting were volunteers from the Green Disciples of FUMC. United Methodist Men, Cub Scout pack 68 in Warrenville, and Boy Scout Troop 21 from West Chicago. (www.merleburl.com)
Community High School District 94 Board of Education members Gary Saake, Kathe Doremus, Ruben Campos and Susan Gillespie recently were recognized with Master Board Member Designation by the Illinois Association of School Boards. This year seven new Master Board members were recognized county-wide. Rich Nagel was recognized last year. Keith Kotche was recognized as a Level 1.
Board members accumulate points for attending and presenting at various conferences, division meetings, and legislative leadership programs. A designated number of Master Board Member points are assigned to each event, activity or position. Upon obtaining 200 points, persons are designated as a Master Board Member. To maintain the designation, Board members must attain at least 40 additional points per year.
Lisseth Hernandez, a senior at West Chicago Community High School, is the Student of the Month for October. She was selected due to her academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities.
Hernandez has been on Honor Roll or High Honor Roll every semester during her four years and has a cumulative weighted Grade Point Average of 4.859. She is a member of National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. Currently she is enrolled in AP Calculus and AP Spanish Literature; as a junior she took AP Physics and AP English Language.
She is a member of Student Council and serves as a Student Ambassador. Hernandez also is a member of the Math Team, WeGo Global, Compass, and the Women’s Council. She served as a Bridge Summer School student leader for incoming freshmen, and helped to run the yearly dodgeball tournaments and Latin Fever.
Hernandez is active outside of school, volunteering for the West Chicago Park District, Immanuel Food Pantry, and events at Gary Elementary School. Hernandez has a part-time job as an after school counselor at a local elementary school and works as a camp counselor during the summer.
After graduation, Hernandez plans to attend a four-year university to pursue a career in nursing. (www.merleburl.com)
Under Reports by Committee at the Monday, November 6, 2017, meeting, there was an ordinance amending Animal Control and Care. The amendment was: No person shall permit at any time his animal to “make disturbing noises, including but not limited to, continued and repeated howling, barking, whining, or other utterances causing unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is being kept or harbored.” During the discussion, Ward 2 Alderman Heather Brown said she felt the ordinance was too vague as to time and other considerations. A motion ensued to send the ordinance back to the Public Affairs Committee. The motion passed with a 10-3 vote. Voting against it were Ward 1 Alderman Lori Chassee, Ward 3 Alderman Al Hallett and Ward 4 Alderman Melissa Ferguson. Chassee, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee, later explained, “The intent [of the ordinance] is compliance…This was a tool to use to make contact, assess the situation and seek voluntary compliance.”
Also under Reports by Committee were three ordinances dealing with the City of West Chicago Roosevelt/Fabyan Tax Increment Redevelopment Plan and Project. These were tabled to the Monday, December 4 City Council meeting. City Administrator Michael Guttman later explained, “The City is working with the school districts on performance benchmarks for the new TIF District, if approved by the City Council.”
Third grade students from Gary and Pioneer schools enjoyed the fifth annual “Dare to Scare” event hosted by the Learning Resource Center and Language Arts department at West Chicago Community High School Thursday, October 26, 2017. The five stations of activities included face painting by the Art Club members, spooky spider craft by LRC staff, two Halloween Happenings by Advanced Child Development classes, and, at the final station, student authors read their original Halloween stories. There also was a candy guessing game and snacks. LRC Media Specialist Donna Leahy and WCCHS Language Arts Division Head Mary Howard coordinated the event
In the Scare Your Peer contest, the winning story was “A Thousand Deaths” by sophomore Owen Mantz. There were 64 entries for this category. The winning story in Scare A Third Grader Contest was “The Witch” by senior Kea Fox. In this category, there were 62 entries. Senior Efrain Aguilar won the award for best story-telling performance.
The student volunteers were Ashley Aguilar, Efrain Aguilar, Emma Albrecht, Catherine Barrett, Drew Brady, Joanna Cadena, Sabrina Calabrese, Denice Carrett-Munoz, Nicholas Castelluccio, Gabe Chase, Katlyn Crowe, Lizbeth Cruz, Steven Demma, Patricia Fernandez, Rebecca Flores, and Kea Fox.
Others were Jesus Garcia, Karla Gonzalez, Michelle Gonzalez, Jackelyn Hernandez, Andrea Huerta, Elisa Littleton, Giselle Martinez, Brianne Melendez, Berenice Mendez, Kyra Meyer, Samantha Mitchell, Vanessa Montenegro, Leslie Montoya, Jessica Morrow, Karina Paramo and Kiersha Preston.
Also volunteering were Jimmy Quechol, Sophia Radice, Sean Renwick, Kaitlyn Riley, Kaylee Rojas, Lizbeth Romero, Anna Sanchez, Jackie Schmidt, Jocelyn Suarez, Sofie Szczesny, Leonor Tecuapetla, Christina Trigueros, Elizabeth Valerio, Evelyn Valerio, Veronika Zenteno and Cynthia Zetina.
At the meeting Monday, November 6, 2017, City Council approved an agreement between the City of West Chicago and Ball Horticultural Company for the Adopt-A-Highway Program covering the maintenance of the right-of-way of Roosevelt Road between Town Road and Washington Street
Also approved were several contracts for the Water Treatment Plant. One was for the amount of $332,405 for purchase of rotary hydrated lime to Mississippi Lime Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Another was for the amount of $$53,040 for the purchase of liquid sodium hypochlorite to Alexander Chemical Company of Peru. Also there was approval for the amount of $37,500 for the purchase of liquid carbon dioxide to MacCARB, Inc. of Elgin.
Council approved a contract for the purchase of up to 1,500 tons Thawrox Deicer at the price of $67.99 per ton delivered, to Compass Minerals America, Inc. of Overland Park, Kansas.
There also was approval for the amount of $73,464 for custodial services to the six City-owned and maintained facilities to Open Works of Rosemont. The buildings are City Hall, Police Department Station, Water Treatment Plant, Metra Station, City Museum and Grandlake Boulevard facility.
Regarding the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, Council approved a 10 year contract with renewable five-year terms for professional services related to the management and operation of the City’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant to Operations Management International, Inc. The item summary states, “In 2008, the City privatized its Water Treatment Plant Operations and City Council approved a five-year contract with OMI to perform various tasks and duties… In December 2012, Council approved another 5-year contract during fiscal years 2013 through 2017…OMI’s staff has managed, operated, monitored and maintained the WWTP on a continuous 24-hour per day, seven day per week basis. OMI pays all costs incurred with normal operations…document and provide all maintenance and performance activities” plus meeting requirements and reports required by the NPDES and USEPA.
Council approved the discontinuation of requesting individuals and businesses to submit Alarm User permits. Neither DU-Comm nor the West Chicago Police Department need the information nor want to store it… DU-COMM can receive the necessary information from the alarm company when they call to report alarm activations and the police department can receive the information from DU-COMM.
Choir/music teacher Melissa LaMantia and fifth grade teacher Danielle DeChristopher of Benjamin Middle School recently were recipients of an EcoLabs Vision for Learning grant. Their All the School Is a Stage grant provides funding for an enhanced lavalier sound system for students to present information learned on stage in front of their peers. It is designed to enhance self-confidence and public speaking skills, addressing twenty-first century college and career readiness standards.
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