At the Monday, February 3, 2020, City Council meeting, Mayor Ruben Pineda presented the City proclamation celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the League of Women voters to members of the LWV of Wheaton. Member Jo Ann Kennaly thanked the City for the proclamation. “We look forward to the next 100 years, continuing to register, educate, and advocate for voters rights.”
The League was formed February 14, 1920, at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.This was six months prior to the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. The League was designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters by educating them about issues. From the beginning, it was nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing any political party or individual candidates. Today, there are members in more than 700 local, county and state leagues in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.
The LWV of Illinois, incorporated in March 20,1920, now is composed of more than 40 local leagues with almost 7,000 members. The LWV of Wheaton was incorporated in 1955 and has 100 members from Carol Stream, Warrenville, West Chicago and Wheaton.
Among meetings open to the public, the LWV of Wheaton hosts Civic Awareness programs in partnership with Cantigny Park on the third Thursday of the month and Livingroom Conversations on the fourth Monday of the month. During election times, the league also holds candidate meet and greet and forum programs. (Elsewhere in my column is information on these February events.)
With the Consolidated Election of Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in mind, the league plans to hold two workshops in regard to running for local office. Consolidated elections are for officials in municipalities, library districts, park districts and school districts. The petitions are circulated this fall and are filed in December.
The league also publishes voter guides and public policy research, such as “Making Your Voice Heard.” This publication discusses how to voice one’s concerns effectively about issues or concerns in the state and using the same principles to communicate with local government and leaders in Washington, DC.
Through the programs, special meetings on issues, encouragement of voter registration and the publications, the League of Women Voters encourages individuals to play an informed and active role in government. “Democracy is not a spectator sport. Active citizens do make a difference.” (www.merleburl.com)
AROUND AND ABOUT
The Winter Orchestra Concert, February Fiddle Festival, of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 Thursday, February 13, 2020, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Alexandra Wojciechowski is the director. The orchestra plays “Arabian Dreams,” “Wired,“ “Castle Lore,” “Celtica,” “Conquistador,” “Storm the Castle” and “This Is Me.” Leman Middle School Orchestra, under the direction of Janet Sikma, also is performing. Sixth grade is playing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and “Batman.” Seventh grade is playing a fiddle tune called “Cindy” and the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Eighth grade is playing “Mission Impossible” and “Arkansas Traveler.” (www.merleburl.com)
Gallery Theater, 129 Main Street, presents “Skylight” by David Hare. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, February 14, 15, 21, and 22, and at 3:00 p.m. Sundays, February 16 and 23, 2020. The ticket price is $18, $16 for senior citizens. To make a reservation, email GalleryTickets@gmail.com. visit the website www.gallerytheaterstudio.com or call (630) 234-5919.
This is a play about one who got away, and, perhaps, a relationship gone astray. On a chilly, fall evening in London, a restaurateur, Tom Sergeant, visits an old flame, Kyra Hollis, after having lost his wife to cancer. While Tom wished Kyra would teach at a university instead of in a high school in East Ham, he hopes that he can rekindle the affair they had ended three years ago after they were discovered by his then wife. This play explores the challenges and enlightenments of bringing two polarized worlds together.
Members of the cast are Heidi Swarhout, Mike Speller and Matt Hellyer. The director is Justin Schaller. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago resident Maureen Navadomskis is in the play, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at the Albright Theater, 100 North Island Avenue, third floor, in Batavia (there is an elevator). She plays the part of Madame Sapphia Spanella. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturday, February 14 and 15, 21 and 22, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 23, 2020. The ticket price is $20, $15 for seniors. To order tickets, visit https://albrighttheatre.com/ticketsseason-tickets.html or call (630) 406-8838.
Based on Truman Capote’s classic novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” tells the story of a young Southern-born writer, known to us only as Fred, who becomes infatuated with his Upper East Side neighbor: the beguiling, effervescent beauty Miss Holiday Golightly. As Holly pulls Fred into her world of spontaneous parties and luxury, he finds himself increasingly fascinated with this captivating woman. (www.merleburl.com)
Floral Market, 183 West Washington Street, holds a Valentine’s Workshop to celebrate with a special someone or friend at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, February 15, 2020. The cost is $85 per arrangement to create a fresh air succulent terrarium; this includes supplies and plants. Also the evening includes appetizers, wine, desserts and a photo booth. To make a reservation, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/valentines-floral-workshop-tic…or call (331) 240-2954.
Healthy West Chicago offers free Cooking Matters Family Cook Classes. They take place from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays, February 17, to March 9, 2020, in the Rockwell building of St. Michael’s Church, 108 Sherman Street. There are raffle prizes.The instructor is bilingual. Children age 7 and up are encouraged to participate. To make a reservation, call/text Carly Smitherman at (630) 230-6370 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne/Winfield Area Youth/Family Services has an Eat Out 2 Help Out fundraiser from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at Village Tavern, 291 South Schmale Road in Carol Stream. Twenty percent of one’s purchase is donated to WAYS for support of its services. Copy of the flyer is available on WAYS website, http://www.ways4change.org/fundraising_activities. Persons unable to attend the event, can purchase a gift card on the day of the event at the website of Village Tavern, https://www.villagetavernandgrill.com, and 20 percent of gift card purchase is donated to WAYS.
WAYS is a community not-for-profit Social Service Agency that provides family counseling, case management, addictions counseling, prevention programs for youths and adults, professional development and cultural diversity training for the residents and professionals of West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Wayne Carol Stream, Bartlett and Hanover Park. (www.merleburl.com)
WeGo Drama has a Benefit Paint Night at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 100 Grapes Tasting Room, 106 East Main Street in St. Charles. The charge of $25 includes all art supplies, light appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks. Wego Drama is representing the community, state, and United States as part of the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The World’s Largest Performing Arts Festival. Proceeds from this event assist with the expenses for this experience. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago resident Bill Whitney is the featured speaker of the program at the Bloomingdale Garden Club at 7:00 p.n. Thursday, February 18, 2020, at Cornerstone Faith Community Church, 118 First Street. He discusses bees.
West Chicago Police Department hosts an informational Neighborhood Watch Patrol meeting at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, 2020, at West Chicago Fire Protection District Regional Firefighter Training Academy, 320 Kress Road. This is for persons interested in doing a Neighborhood Watch group, starting one or finding out more about the program. Neighborhood Watch is about neighbors helping neighbors, extra eyes and ears for reporting crime and suspicious activity. It is a proven and effective way to reduce crime. (www.merleburl.com)
“Fraud and Identify Theft Education” is the one-hour program Wednesday, February 19, 2020, in the main meeting room at the West Chicago Public Library, 118 West Washington Street. The English session is at 6:30 p.m. and the Spanish session is at 7:30 p.m. Attendees learn how to identify potential scams and fraud, to protect themselves against identity theft and understanding the importance of securing personal information. The program also addresses some concerns about being the victim of identity theft. To make a reservation, call the adult services department at (630) 231-1552, extension 4. (www.merleburl.com)
League of Women Voters of Wheaton hosts a Candidate Meet and Greet and Forum for the 2020 primary election from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, 19, 2020, in the Cantigny Park Visitors Center, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. All candidates in races for the 6th Congressional District, DuPage County-wide Offices, DuPage County Board Districts 4 and 6, Forest Preserve District 5 and 6, State Representative Districts 42, 48 and 49, State Senate Districts 21, and all 18th Circuit Court judicial candidates are invited to this event.
The Meet and Greet for candidates in the primary election Wednesday, March 19, is in the restaurant. The forums for contested races are in the auditorium. The schedule is Democrats running for circuit court is at 5:30 p.m.; Republican candidates running for recorder at 6:00 p.m.; Democrats running for auditor at 6:30 p.m.; Republicans running for auditor at 7:00 p.m.and Republicans running for 5th Congressional District at 7:30 p.m. For further information, visit wheatonlwvil.org. (www.merleburl.com)
The Winter Band Concert of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 19, 2020, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. James Wallace is the director. TheConcert Band selections include Sousa’s “The Thunderer” and Charles Carter’s classic piece ‘Symphonic Overture.” Highlights for Symphonic Band include Sousa’s “Bride Elect,”Frank Ticheli’s “Shenandoah,” Alfred Reed’s “Rejoicing,” and selected movements from “Carmina Burana.”
Also the eighth grade band at Leman Middle School, under the direction of Brad Rathe, and Winfield Central School, under the direction of Bob Siemienkowicz, perform. The Leman Band is playing “Highland Legend” by John Moss and “The Avengers” by Alan Silvestri, arrangement by Robert Longfield. (www.merleburl.com)
West Chicago City Museum Historiography program, a non-fiction book reading group, is at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, February 20, 2020, in the museum, 132 Main Street. Guests can bring a lunch; dessert and a beverage are provided. The book to be discussed is “The Pioneers” by David McCullough. Copies of the book are available at the museum and library.
The book relates the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame hardship to build a community based on ideals that would become to define America. In the Northwest Ordinance there were three conditions of freedom of religion, free universal education and the prohibition of slavery.
McCullough is an American author, narrator, popular historian, and lecturer. He is a two time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian award. (www.merleburl.com)
In partnership with Cantigny Park, the League of Women Voters of Wheaton hosts a Civics Awareness program Thursday, February 20, 2020, in the McCormick House at Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road in Wheaton. Parking is free; tram service is available. To register, visit, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alice-paul-living-history-portrayal-to-honor-of-the-centennial-of-19th-tickets-88529246359
To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters, cake is served at 6:30 p.m., followed by the program, “Alice Paul: Living History.” Actress and scholar Leslie Goddard gives a portrayal of Alice Paul, an American suffragist, feminist, and women’s rights activist, and one of the main leaders and strategists of the campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits sex discrimination in the right to vote. An innovative and tireless worker, Paul arranged parades, organized the first picketing demonstrations outside the White House, lobbied politicians and endured imprisonment for women’s suffrage.After the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, which has yet to be adopted.
Goddard makes history come alive in a fun, inspiring and educational way through her presentations of lectures and performances of first-person programs. She holds a PhD specializing in American studies and United States history, as well as a master’s degree in theater and in museum studies. In addition to performing at schools, museums, libraries, businesses and conferences, she presented programs an Illinois Humanities Council sites, Questers International, WBEZ-Chicago Amplified and the Victorian Society in America.
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. (www.merleburl.com)
The Winter Choral Festival of West Chicago Community High School is at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, February 20, 2020, in Weyrauch Auditorium, 326 Joliet Street. Brandon Fantozzi is the Director. The Leman Middle School Eighth Grade Choir under the direction of Alexia Garcia also performs.
The A Cappella Chamber Choir selections include “The Parting Glass” and “The Wind and the Rain.” Mixed Chorus highlights include “My Romance” and ‘Wild Mountain Thyme.” Highlights for Women’s Chorale are “Anyone Can Whistle”and “Song of Miriam.” Concert Choir highlights are “In Virtute Tua Domine” and ‘Suliko.” Combined selections are “All that Hath Life and Breath” and “Guiding Light.”
West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission extended the deadline for entries to the Thirteenth Annual Community Banner Project Competition. The new deadline is Friday, February 21. The theme is “Home.” The artwork may be any media with no limitation to technique or subject matter. All entries must be original and created within two years of entry date. Each winning design is reproduced and featured in the 2020 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 and submitted via an online form, https://form.jotform.com/92166762392161. Call Rosemary Mackey at (630) 293-2200, extension 139, for more information.
Again the frigid temperatures are not going to deter West Chicago Police Detective Robbi Peterson from participating in the 2020 Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge Friday and Saturday, February 21 and 22. This is the third year he has committed to “be bold and cold” for 24 hours taking a plunge every hour into Lake Michigan. Peterson said, “While I’m getting cold just thinking about it, I’m excited to join this elite group of SUPER Plungers. To jump into the frigid waters, I have set a personal fundraising goal of $5,000 and I need your help to reach it! Any amount is greatly appreciated — it all goes to one “cool” cause and gets me that much closer to my icy dip. Best of all, your donation helps provide athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in Special Olympics programs and reveal their inner champion.” To help him meet this goal, persons can make donations at Special Olympics Illinois
Donations also can be made by check made payable to Special Olympics Illinois. In order for him to receive credit for donations, put the name Robbi Peterson in the memo portion of the check. Persons can either drop off the check or mail it to West Chicago Police Department, 325 Spencer Street, West Chicago, IL 60185. (www.merleburl.com)
As a side note, Officer Peterson was featured in an article on Special Olympics Illinois, including a picture. “Peterson started attending Law Enforcement Torch Run events in 2008 before eventually becoming the West Chicago Police Department’s LETR liaison. Finding inspiration at the LETR Kick-Off in early 2009, he and his daughter Taylor began taking the Polar Plunge. Participation among West Chicago police officers grew.” Then he also took part in the Super Plunge. This year almost 60 other individuals throughout Illinois are participating. Serving on the Super Plunge Committee, Peterson had the idea to give thanks and recognize Northwestern University, who unofficially host the event on the campus lakefront. Working with Haley Zimmerman, athletic trainer for Northwestern’s Women’s Volleyball team, the Assistant coach Kevin Moore has agreed to jump with the Super Plungers during an early evening hour of the event. Peterson said participating in Special Olympics Illinois event is so rewarding and “we make it fun also.” To read the article in full, visit https://www.soill.org/northwestern-university-to-lend-support-for-upcoming-super-plunge/?preview=true. (www.merleburl.com)
The West Chicago Community High School Dance Team hosts a Winter Dance Camp for boys and girls ages 3 to 14 Sunday, February 23, 2020, in the Dance Studio, 326 Joliet Street, Entrance C. For children ages three to eight the camp is from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. and the camp for youths ages 8 to 14 is from noon to 2:00 p.m. The camp includes a performance Wednesday, February 26. The cost is $25 for those registering in advance on line, https://westchicago.8to18,com, and $30 for those registering at the event. For further information email Laura Heavey email@example.com.
We Grow Dreams Greenhouse and Garden Center, a not-for-profit organization, hosts its 15th Annual Bowl-A-Thon from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, February 23, 2020, at Parkside Lanes, 34W185 Montgomery Road in Aurora. Persons bowl three games; there are prizes for various levels of achievement. Additionally, there is food, raffles and auction items. For further information, to register for the Bowl-A-Thon or make a donation, persons may drop by the greenhouse, 1055 West Washington Street, call (630) 293-0100 or visit the website http://www.bowlathon.net/event/we-grow-dreams-2020/. The green house provides job training and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The greenhouse mission is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives and to train and work in a supportive, safe and caring environment while producing and providing products and services to the community. In this pursuit, we honor the concepts of human dignity, respect, hard work, fellowship and friendship. For further information, call (630) 293-0100.
League of Women of Wheaton hosts its monthly Livingroom Conversations at 5:30 p.m. Monday, February 24, 2020, at Wheaton Public Library, 225 North Cross Street. This month’s topic is Immigration, which has become a flashpoint in politics. It is highly personal for a wide variety of reasons. This conversation is an opportunity to listen to each other’s experiences around this issue. Increased understanding can be a foundation for better relationships and even solutions.
The goal of Livingroom Conversations is to bring together local citizens together to discuss topics of mutual interest from multiple perspectives.
In February, both the display case and the wall in the Creative Corner at the West Chicago Public Library, 118 West Washington Street, highlights Black History Month. The display case features artifacts and pictures from past Black Parent and Teachers organization in West Chicago Elementary School District 33. These include KWANZA celebration, Poetry Slam and Black History Dance and at each event books that feature black and brown character. BPAT, formed in February 2018, is a group of parents and teachers that work together to organize and plan opportunities for Black students and families in District 33 to ensure all voices are heard. The vision is to improve academic achievement, build social and emotional security and showcase the gifts and talents among Black students and families. “The goal of BPAT is to promote equity, celebrate and acknowledge cultural identity, foster a secure and healthy environment for Black students in District 33.”Also the library has books representing iconic Black authors, celebrities, historical figures, and characters upstairs and downstairs. (www.merleburl.com)
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Ellen L. Voegtle, who at the age of 83 passed away Saturday, February 1, 2020.
Deepest sympathy is expressed to the family of George S. Davis, who at the age of 85 passed away Wednesday, February 5, 2020.
Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of Marie “Maja” Louise Knutsson, who at the age of 77 passed away Tuesday, January 28, 2020.
Ball Horticultural Company, 622 Town Road, and Wise Plastics Technologies, 1601 West Hawthorne Lane, are the recipients of Great Place to Work® Certification. Using validated employee feedback gathered with Great Place to Work’s rigorous, data-driven methodology, Certification confirms 7 out of 10 employees have a consistently positive experience at these two businesses, according to the press release. Ball Horticultural Company is a leader in all facets of horticulture. Its global family of breeders, research and development teams, suppliers, and distribution companies has a strong presence on six continents in 20 countries. Wise Plastics Technologies provides value-engineering and manufacturing excellence in custom plastic injection molding.
Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience and the leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue and increased innovation.
At the Monday, February 3, 2020, City Council meeting, City Clerk Nancy Smith administered the Oath of Office to John Jakabcsin as Ward 7 alderman, an unexpired term until April 30, 2021. He replaces Bonnie Gagliardi, who resigned September 2019. He and his wife, Deidre, his son, Eric and daughter, Bridget, have resided in West Chicago for 17 years.He said the reason he applied for the position of alderman was “My family has lived in West Chicago since 2003. As a longer-term member of the community, I feel an obligation to use my professional and educational skills to serve the City of West Chicago.”
He is an IT Executive. Jakabcsin received his Bachelor of Science in business Administration with a major in Computer information systems from Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pennsylvania. From Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, he received a Master of Science in Management Information Systems. He is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University in Evanston.
Civic activities in the community include working on a team, led by Dr. Ed Leman, to develop the referendum for the expansion of the Middle School. He also taught a six-week IT-based class at Wegner Elementary School, under direction of Jim Grothendick, who was the principal at that time. The class was for students and parents to learn basic computer skills, such as Word, Excel and Internet browsing. He presented the class in English and a Wegner teacher translated for some of the Spanish-speaking parents. Jakabcsin was a coach for many baseball and softball teams for the West Chicago Park District and travel organiations. He served as ex-officio member of Plan/Zoning Board of Appeals. (www.merleburl.com)
Among the winners at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards® were the New Beacon Impatiens from Pan American Seed, part of Ball Horticultural Company. Grown locally in California by the expert team at Kawahara Nurseries, the 22 Beacon White and Beacon Bright Red topiaries graced the limousine entrance where the stars arrived and down the stunning red carpet,
The Beacon Impatiens topiary consisted of two 12-inch hanging baskets and coco liners wired together with dozens of Beacon White Impatiens growing around the sphere. The red carpet installation included a 4-inch plastic pipe covered in fresh-cut lemon leaves, and flanged to a sturdy display base. Beacon Bright Red in 6-inch pots filled its pedestal and replicated the same red color as the iconic carpet. There was a total of 3,700 plants. (www.merleburl.com)
Kindness begins with one small act and can spread into all parts of life. This thought is brought to action in the Kindness Club at Turner Elementary School. Approximately 30 fourth and fifth graders meet during lunch time once a month. Lily Sullivan, Social Emotional Learning teacher, is the sponsor with assistance from fifth grade teacher Gino Barto. Sullivan said, “It really is a student led club. The students come up with the ideas.” The youths filled out an application on why they want to be in the club. “We had two students, known to be bullies, who wrote “we do not want to be bullies anymore.”
The youths hear about different projects and decide which one to choose. One project was collecting canned goods for homeless veterans. “I thought we would get around 100 cans. We received 500!”
Their latest project was making blankets for Wrapped in Love organization, which provides needed items, such as blankets, coats, other clothing, for the homeless. The students in Kindness Club, using blizzard fleece, “made five beautiful blankets.” Sullivan said, “The students work hard on the projects and enjoy it. They are so proud and feel good about being kind.” (www.merleburl.com)
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