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Celebrating a heartfelt season of giving is the theme for this year's Frosty Fest which mirrors the charitable spirit of West Chicagoans during the holiday season and throughout the year. For the past three years, organizers of the event have included a cookie decorating activity at the Fox Community Center which raises funds for a local charity. Through generous donations of sugar cookies from Parra's Bakery and last year's matching funds from SBI-West Chicago, a total of $792 has been donated to Neighborhood Food Pantries' West Chicago location.


Unlike for-profit businesses, the food pantry relies almost entirely on the generosity of other businesses, churches and, most of all, the citizens of the community in which it is located. It's within this spirit of giving that a food pantry becomes more than just a place, but a community, with a life and a heart of its own.


The West Chicago Neighborhood Food Pantry is situated in a cinder block building adjacent to the parking lot of Real Life Church, 525 N. Neltnor Boulevard. Thanks to a generous donation from the Church, the pantry is now housed in a building that can afford five families shopping simultaneously, up from two families at its previous location.


Site Coordinator Ken Walker and Assistant Site Director Nancy Andrews welcome those who walk through the doors of the Neighborhood Food Pantries.

At the center of the operation is Site Coordinator Ken Walker. It's his job to make sure that the shelves are stocked with a variety of healthy food choices and that the facility receives necessary upgrades to keep pace with the needs of its clients. After 13 years and two sites, Walker is still passionate about the people who walk through the door and their need to feel welcome. "It's not just a food pantry," said Walker. "I probably know 70% of the clients by name. We're a family."


As with any business, facility maintenance is a continual work in progress. The building originally housed a church resale shop and, after sitting vacant for a number of years, needed repairs and appliances to support its new use. Generous donations from local businesses got the site up and running and included a walk-in freezer from Willow Creek Community Church, a walk-in refrigerator from Cadence Health, a new window from Pella Windows, and a furnace, air conditioner and duct work from Chris Mechanical.


Although future wish-list items include a site expansion for restroom facilities (currently located in the Church across the parking lot), office space and a clothing closet, other beautification projects are underway to brighten the space.  The West Chicago Community High School art classes donated large, wooden cut-outs painted as animated fruit and vegetable characters to decorate the interior walls while the West Chicago Garden Club is coordinating an outdoor landscape project for 2015.


Food donations continue to be accepted at various drop-off locations throughout the community and, during harvest season, many area residents donated fresh produce from their gardens. The West Chicago Public Library District donates non-perishables received during its annual "Food for Fines" program and 4 the People coordinates an ongoing food drive at City Hall and other area locations. The "Direct Connect" Program through grocers such as Jewel, Aldi, Walmart and Caputo's Fresh Market, provides direct donations of fresh produce and dairy products which volunteers distribute daily.


Monetary donations received from programs such as the West Chicago Park District's Soup & Bread Dinner, First United Methodist Church's Breakfast with Santa and others are used to purchase food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. According to Walker, they have eight times the purchase power through the Food Bank. Said Walker, "We can purchase eight boxes of cereal with a cash donation versus what it costs to purchase one box of cereal in a store."


Assistant Site Director Nancy Andrews encourages anyone with a passion for helping those less fortunate to volunteer. "It's not just a site, but more of a community. What we do here is lend an ear, in a non-judgmental way," said Andrews. She reminds us that the food pantry is not only available to those on food stamps, but is open to everyone. The site averages 560 families per month, fed two times per month. This totals 4,000 people, of which 2,500 are children.


Although the holidays are a time of giving, donations of time, talent and tender are gladly accepted at local organizations year-round. To volunteer or donate to the Neighborhood Food Pantry, contact Nancy Andrews at (630) 605-0887 or visit the site. An additional list of local charitable organizations can be found on the City's website under Residents/Community Links.  

Nov 2......................Daylight Saving Ends
Nov 4......................General Election
Nov 7......................Artist Reception
Nov 7  ....................Late Night at the
Nov 14 ...................Girls' Night Out
                                Art Class
Nov 21....................Local Music Night
Nov 22....................Art Share Saturday
Nov 27-28...............City Hall Closed
Dec 5......................Artist Reception
Dec 5......................Late Night at the
Dec 6......................Frosty Fest
Dec 6......................Public Art Dedication
Dec 12....................Girls' Night Out
                                Art Class
Dec 12....................Local Music Night
Dec 13 ...................Coffee with the
Dec 24-25...............City Hall Closed
Jan 1.......................City Hall Closed
Please note: November's Coffee with the Mayor has been cancelled.


Residents and visitors will enjoy some extra dazzle this year at the official tree lighting during Frosty Fest thanks to Joe Kramer and Kramer Tree

Specialists. The company, which generously donates decorations and installs them on the downtown Christmas tree each year, will be adding a 16" starburst tree topper for the 2014 holiday season. The tree lighting takes place at 4:30 p.m.



Nov 1...................Reading to Rover

Nov 5...................Vine Videos

Nov 8.................. Using Sign Language w/Babies

Nov 11................ Despicable Me Party

Nov 12.................Kids Computer Class

Nov 13.................Science Club

Nov 14.................Movie Mania (Lego Movie)

Nov 15.................Write Secret Messages

Nov 16.................Lego Block Party

Nov 19.................Lego Robotics

Nov 20.................Family Reading Night

Dec 6...................Holiday Open House

Dec 8...................Let It Snow!

Dec 9...................Movie Makers

Dec 13.................North Pole Holiday Village


For details visit,
or call (630) 231-1552.

Nov 22.................Free Throw Turkey Shoot

Dec 10.................Santa is Calling

Dec 13.................Breakfast with Santa

Dec 13.................Puppy Pictures with Santa

Dec 5...................Family Fitness Fun Night


For details visit or call (630) 231-9474.



General Election November 4, 2014











Mayor's Message     


I am pleased to announce that the fabulous new work of art for our historic downtown scheduled for installation later this month will be ready for its grand unveiling and dedication during Frosty Fest at 5:00 p.m. following the tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 6, 2014. Since August, West Chicago artist Anni Holm has been gathering digital images of community members' hands for an 8' (h) x 20' (w) photographic mural which will adorn the east façade of the City-owned building at 103 West Washington Street.


West Chicago artist Anni Holm (right) gathers participants to be photographed for the In this - together mural at a recent event. 
Almost 950 hands have been photographed since August at various community events and will be artfully arranged in the shape of two large hands reaching out towards each other in a symbolic gesture of the formation of relationships, new networks and the possibility of what comes next. This piece, which has been titled In this - together, seeks not only to represent togetherness, but also to promote the endless possibility of love, trust, support, security, and stability that exists in our community.


Anni is donating both her talent and time to the project while the funding for materials and installation for In this - together is coming from the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, the West Chicago City Museum and with assistance from WeGo Together for Kids and the DuPage Children's Museum.


The excitement for the finished project among participants is growing. According to Anni, the youngest participant was just three weeks old and the oldest was over 80 years old. It took Anni almost a month, and several attempts, to get her own two-year old son to hold still long enough to be photographed. 


Like our community, Anni points out the wonderful diversity among the hands she has photographed, hands that represent multiple generations, gender, cultures and ethnicities.





Ruben Pineda



Editor's Note: Calling all student writers in 1st - 6th grade. Enter the Frosty Fest Essay Contest today for your chance to ride on Mayor Pineda's horse-drawn carriage during the Frosty procession and then help him light the official Christmas tree in downtown West Chicago on Saturday, December 6, 2014. This year's topic If You Had to Give Frosty the Snowman Some Advice on Being Healthier, What Would You Tell Him? The deadline for submissions is November 19, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. Additional details may be found here.



City Services & Reminders




Don't forget to turn back the clocks by one hour on November 2, 2014 at 2:00 a.m. That's when daylight saving time ends and standard time resumes. Use the found time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  



Residents may dispose of an unlimited quantity of leaves through November 29, 2014 on their regularly scheduled garbage pickup day. No stickers are required for leaves; however, no other yard waste may be included.  All leaves must be placed in a "Kraft" yard waste bag that does not exceed 50 pounds when full. 


Please note: The Senior Leaf-raking Event is scheduled for Saturday, November 8, 2014. Volunteers are needed to assists seniors in the community who are unable to tackle the job of raking their leaves themselves. Please contact the Police Department at (630) 293-2222 to be added to the list of individuals and organizations who volunteer for this rewarding service project.




Yard waste collection will stop for the season at the end of November and will resume in April.  



Garbage collection for Christmas trees will take place during the weeks of January 5 and January 12, 2015, on regularly scheduled garbage pickup days. Trees must be free of all tinsel, garland and ornaments.  No stickers are required during this period. 



Free holiday light recycling is offered to local residents and businesses through the West Chicago Environmental Commission from November 24, 2014 - January 23, 2015. Strands of incandescent and LED holiday lights, and household extension cords in any condition may be dropped off at the locations listed below during normal business hours.


Drop-off Locations (subject to change)


  • Murphy Ace Hardware, 319 South Neltnor Boulevard
  • First United Methodist Church, 643 East Washington Street
  • West Chicago Public Library, 118 West Washington Street
  • West Chicago City Hall, 475 Main Street
  • West Chicago Water Treatment Plant, 1400 West Hawthorne Lane 


The lights and cords will be collected by Elgin Recycling (, stripped and recycled for their copper and plastic parts.



During the snow season, the City strives to ensure that all its roads are as safe as possible for motorists. As hard as they try, their efforts to keep the streets clear of snow and ice may be limited by the intensity of snowfall or cold conditions.


In accordance with City Ordinance, there is no parking on any City street if the accumulation of snow reaches two inches. When snow is in the forecast, please clear your car(s) off the street so snow removal equipment may do the job quickly and efficiently. When removing snow from your own driveway, please be courteous to your neighbors and do not push it to the street. If you have an elderly or disabled neighbor, please make well-being checks.




Head Start offers programs to help children learn and get ready for school. Enrollment is currently open for families who meet income guidelines or have a child with a disability or special needs. For locations and to learn more, call Metropolitan Family Services at (630) 784-4801.


Public Safety Matters  

 the car on which there was a snow after last snow storm



The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don't go out until the snow plows have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared and that you know how to handle road conditions. It's helpful to practice winter driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot, so you're familiar with how your car handles in such conditions. Consult your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.

Make certain that you have appropriate equipment in your car:

  • Blanket

  • Warm gloves and boots

  • Ice scraper

  • Flashlight

  • Bag of sand, kitty litter or salt / Ice Melt

  • Snow shovel

  • If you have a cellular phone, make sure it is charged before you head out to drive. (*Do not talk/text/read e-mail while driving. Use your phone for emergencies; even "Hands-Free" use of the phone can unnecessarily distract you in winter driving conditions.)

Driving safely on icy roads:

  • Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.

  • Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

  • Keep your lights and windshield clean.

  • Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.

  • Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.

  • Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.

  • Don't pass snow plows. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.

  • Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.  

If you get stuck:

  • Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.

  • Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

  • Use a light touch on the gas to ease your car out.

  • Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.

  • Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels to help get traction.

  • Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual first because it can damage the             transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.



cottage.jpg Although periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted far in advance, weather forecasts can sometimes provide you with several days' notice. Listen to weather forecasts regularly and check your emergency supplies whenever a period of extreme cold is predicted.  

If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one in the yellow pages of your telephone directory under "chimney cleaning".
Also, if you'll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.


The ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age. Older people are more susceptible to health problems caused by cold. If you are over 65 years old, place an easy-to-read thermometer in an indoor location where you will see it frequently. Check the temperature of your home often during the winter months.


Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze. To the extent possible, weatherproof your home by adding weather-stripping, insulation, insulated doors, and storm windows or thermal-pane windows. If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure they have access to unfrozen water.


The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. It provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:
  • Home energy bills
  • Energy crises
  • Weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs

LIHEAP can help those who qualify stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer through programs that reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. Consumers can visit Help for Communities and Families at to learn more about LIHEAP, including how to apply for assistance.  


Fox Valley Composite Squadron Breaks Guinness World Record® for World's Highest Paper Airplane Flight at 96,563 Foot Altitude


Congratulations to Fox Valley Composite Squadron, the local unit of the Illinois Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP), for (*unofficially) beating the Guinness World Record® of "Highest Paper Airplane Flight from a High Altitude Balloon" on Saturday, September 13, 2014. The paper airplane was launched from Kankakee, Illinois and achieved a dizzying altitude of 96,563 feet (18.3 miles straight up into the Stratosphere) - breaking the prior record of 89,591 feet - then safely landed, 82 miles away, Southwest of Rochester, Indiana.


Cadets and Senior Officers preparing the aircraft for launch. PHOTO CREDIT:

1st Lt. Gary Brown

The squadron started the project as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experience for their cadets (youths ages 12-18). The cadets completely designed and constructed the traditional paper airplane design - one recognizable by every grade-school child - made of paper board and measuring 30 inches in length, with a 14½ inches wingspan and weighing a total of 424 grams (1 pound). The paper airplane was also outfitted with a GPS tracking system, temperature sensors, barometric pressure sensor, flight computer, batteries, solar panel and HD video camera to record the entire historic flight. The aircraft was then tethered to a large helium weather balloon and launched to altitude, where the balloon burst and the paper airplane's flight computer cut itself away for its record-breaking flight. More details (including photos and videos) are available on the Fox Valley Composite Squadron's Near-Space Balloon Project website at:  


Fox Valley Composite Squadron - the local unit of the Civil Air Patrol - is located at DuPage Airport and is currently comprised of 41 Cadets and 49 Adult Members. These members volunteer their time and expertise towards Emergency Services, Aerospace Education and Cadet Programs. The Squadron meets most Fridays at 7:00 p.m. at DuPage Airport and welcomes anyone interested in learning more about participation to attend a meeting. A map to the meeting location and additional information about the squadron is available at   


*Formal designation pending application and corroborating evidence being officially vetted.  


City Museum 

132 Main Street - (630) 231-3376   

Late Night at the Museum

Date: Friday,  November 7, 2014

Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Artist  Rachel Weaver Rivera helps guests make Day of the Dead crafts.


Late Night at the Museum

Date: Friday, December 5, 2014

Time: 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Late Night features the Museum's afterschool art program with District 33.


New Exhibit!


Carrie and Clara Hayward, instrumental in the story of Oakwood Cemetery.

"25 Years of Telling Tales" celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Tales Tombstones Tell, the City Museum's cemetery walk through historic Oakwood Cemetery. Oakwood Cemetery was established in town in 1858 and tells the stories of many of our founding families as well as those who have immigrated to West Chicago over the years. The exhibit will focus on those families important to the story of Oakwood Cemetery, including the McConnells who donated the land on which the cemetery is located, and those families who served on the various Oakwood Cemetery committees such as the Haywards and Hills, among many more. The exhibit will also showcase the history of all three West Chicago Cemeteries. The exhibit will be on display through March 2015.

New Ornament

The Museum's new ornament has arrived. Stop by and pick up the Pioneer Locomotive, a reissue for  2014 in color! This was the first locomotive used by the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad which began operating west from Chicago in October of 1848. Tracks reached what would become known as Junction (now West Chicago) in November of 1849.  A year later, the newly created Aurora Branch Railroad borrowed the 10-ton engine to run its cars from Junction to Aurora.  The Pioneer was a second-hand Baldwin engine which remained in regular service until 1858, pulling a maximum load of seven cars. Since 1972, the Pioneer has been on exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.                     

2015 Banner Art Project 
The deadline is quickly approaching for the 2015 Banner Art Project. Those interested in submitting an application are asked to do so by December 12, 2014. Inspired by the City's Healthy West Chicago initiative, the Cultural Arts Commission has chosen A Picture of Health as the subject for next year's banner display which will be installed along Main Street. Applications are available here or at under Forms.  

Thank You 

Mexican Consul General Carlos Jiménez Macías (hand over heart) is introduced by Mexican Independence Day emcee Eduardo Fuentes (on left) on the Main Stage. Mayor Pineda (on right) looks on. Photo courtesy of School District #33.


Thank you to all those who supported this year's Mexican Independence Day Parade and Celebration through donations, time and talent.  The celebration of history and culture was well attended.  The City would like to thank Consul General Carlos Jiménez Macías for being part of our event.  The City and organizing committee look forward to making it a successful event next year. If you haven't already viewed photographs of the event, you may do so on the City's YouTube channel,


Gallery 200 logo
Gallery 200
200 Main Street - (630) 231-9550  
Gallery 200/STUDIO
203 Turner Court - (630) 231-9550

A Message to Gallery 200 followers:


Subscribers to the City of West Chicago Gallery 200 E-News who wish to continue receiving updates about Gallery 200 need to re-subscribe directly through the Gallery. Please contact (630) 231-9550 or email with "Subscribe to Gallery 200" in the subject line and your email address will be added to the list.


November Art Share Saturday - Watch and Wonder


November 22, 2014

Noon - 4:00 p.m.  

*Please note: There will be no Art Share Saturday in December 



Gallery 200 is honored to have resident artist Britta Renwick as Gallery 200's Art Share demonstrator on November 22, 2014. Innovative design and an amazing sense of whimsy, a great giggle and a gift for explanation and teaching - that's Gallery 200's own Britta Renwick. Curley-Cue, Loopy Loop, Rainbow Bubbles, Scribbles and Knots are just a few of the delightful and elegant pieces for which she's known.  Wielding her pliers which have names like needle nose, split ring, right angle, and round nose, Britta is just as at home with pop beads as with sterling silver and gold, and she intends to show you!  At Art Share Saturday, she will talk about her art and her design ideas and will demonstrate how to turn wire and beads into an amazing bracelet. If you'd like to create your own bracelet, there will be a small fee for materials, which may be paid at the time of the class. No registration is necessary.


Girls' Night Out Jewelry Classes 

November 14, 2014 and December 12, 2014

6:30 - 9:00 p.m. 


Photographer, artist, mom, and teacher, Britta Renwick, conducts the very popular Girls' Night Out Jewelry Classes.  Designs will incorporate the latest styles as seen in Switzerland during the summer of 2014. Costs vary based on the designs created and all supplies are included. To register, contact Gallery 200 at (630) 293-9550 or visit for further information.


November Featured Artist -  Meet Artist Mike Smith

Alien by Mike Smith

Opening Reception:  November 7, 2014

6:00 -  9:00 p.m. 


Mike Smith's photos are full of grace and sweetness. His subjects are the ugly and the old, and more often than not, those in a state of deterioration. An industrial shed with corrugated tin walls, paint flaking and peeling, is infused with the most wonderful light; his old storage cabinet is rusted over, icicles hanging, and you smile because, yes, it could be an alien. His photos re-open doors to the forties and the fifties - to the world when things got old and simultaneously lovely, revisiting the world without the permanence of plastic.

Gallery 200 is pleased to call him a member and resident artist. Mike's photography will be on display the entire month of November.


December Featured Exhibit  -  Wonderful & Wearable Art

Opening Reception:  December 5, 2014

6:00 -  9:00 p.m. 


Welcoming back an annual holiday favorite, Gallery 200 is pleased to showcase Wonderful and Wearable Art as the December Featured Exhibit of the month. Come in and meet the Gallery's talented fiber artists and jewelry makers. One-of-a-kind wonderful wearables, with distinctive items from the hands of our fiber and jewelry artisans, will be on display and available for purchase, as will exceptional and gorgeous holiday decorations. And you'll find the artwork of any of Gallery 200's member artists a unique source for fabulous holiday presents, whether for a loved one or for yourself! 


Business News

Brilliance in Business  

The City of West Chicago is proud to announce the winners of its annual business recognition program, the Brilliance in Business Awards. The coveted awards recognize businesses in five categories for innovation, creativity, sustainability, growth and community service. The following list outlines the specific award classification and the winning business. More information about the reasons these businesses were chosen may be found on the City's website under News. 

  • Economic Development Award - Haggerty Ford, 330 Roosevelt Road
  • Community Image Award - Synergy Builders, Inc., 850 Meadowview Crossing 
  • Community Service Award - ProPak Industries, 1099 Atlantic Drive 
  • Small Business of the Year - Changarro Restaurant,1400 S. Neltnor Blvd. #100
  • Green Initiatives Award - Loggerhead Deco, Inc., 1187 Hawthorne Lane

Important Numbers
City Council: 
Fire Administration
(630) 231-2123
Fire Emergency
Police Administration
(630) 293-2222
Police Response

City Administration
City Hall
(630) 293-2200

Ruben Pineda

Nancy Smith
City Clerk
Michael Guttman
City Administrator 
Ward 1 
Lori Chassee     (630) 231-8709 
James Beifuss   (630) 231-0584

Ward 2 
James Smith     (630) 231-1524 
Don Earley        (630) 231-3060

Ward 3 
Laura Grodoski  (312) 925-9241 
Alton Hallett       (630) 254-7112

Ward 4 
Al Murphy           (630) 231-4624  
Sandy Dimas      (630) 293-5170

Ward 5 
Kurt Meissner      (630) 231-9302 
John C. Smith, Jr. (630) 293-3802

Ward 6 
Rebecca Stout    (630) 293-7335 
Mark Edwalds     (630) 632-6670

Ward 7 
Matt Fuesting      (630) 762-1996 
John Banas         (630) 762-9762