Berwyn's Arts Blog
Monday, November 27, 2006
Berwyn CARES Meeting, Nov. 27, 2006
The next Berwyn Citizens Aligned to Renew Education for Students (CARES) meeting will be held Monday, November 27th at 7:30pm in the Berwyn Public Library.

Agenda items will include:

1. A review and discussion of the results of the two November 7th education referenda.

2. Forming a Latino Outreach Committee.

3. Update on teacher mini-grant projects.

Please attend and bring a neighbor.

Saturday, November 25, 2006
City Council Meeting, November 14, 2006
TIF monies were approved for a jewelry store at the corner of Grove and Stanley.

The Fire Chief had wanted more Deputy Fire Chiefs for the Fire Department, due to injuries, etc. This was defeated, which means, the current Deputy Chiefs will have to work their butts off. I voted for an extra Deputy Chief. Those voting against the extra Deputy Fire Chief were Ald. Chapman, Phelan, Lovero and Erickson.

The new contract with Waste Management is being finalized. The City will be assessing a 2% charge onto the finel cost for administration. In the past, this had been 3%.

The City Council, in a 6 to 1 vote, Alderman Chapman voting no, agreed to move forward with a new Fire Station on 16th Street, which is sorely needed. The City is getting a one million dollar grant from the state towards the new Station.

The City will soon be getting a new telephone system for all of its buildings, departments, etc. The go-ahead was given to the City to start negotiating with AT & T. We received many great proposals, so if AT & T does not work out, there are other companies to go with.

The Mayor attempted to appoint a new Director of Neighborhood affairs, but this was essentially tabled by sending it to the Administration and Budget Committee. The same thing happened with the interim Adminstrative Coordinator. So, when you see blight getting worse, this is because certain Alderpeople think that the Mayor can only appoint who the Alderpeople want; unlike the real world, where the CEO gets to handpick the people around him.
And, many things that the Administrative Coordinator did will now not get done. Can anyone say regress?

Alderman Erickson tried to stop the Computer Director from making a new City website. Luckily, the Computer Director can go on and finish the new website, which should be coming online in January, 2007. If anyone has ever seen the 8th Ward Alderman's website, you know that he is the last person to help build a website.

Alderman Phelan had a communication about Employee Conduct and the Alderman proposed having the Administration Committee have a trial concerning this employee, a matter that should never be made public. This "closed" hearing was set for Monday, November 27, 2006, but was inexplicably canceled on Thursday, November 23, 2006 by Alderman Erickson. Will this matter re-appear? I have no idea. Should it re-appear? Of course not.

The Police Chief tendered a proposed ordinance to crack down on loitering. I am hopeful this will become law soon. This was sent to the Ordinance and Resolution Committee.

Public Works is seeking two new employees.

That, essentially was the meeting. Please read the following:

First, the City will have a new Finance Director on or before January 3, 2007. She is coming from out of state, a CPA, and should finally stabilize the City's Finances.

Second, those that were interested in the bar hour ordinance, wherein bars would not be allowed to open at 6 am, read on. This matter came to an ignominious death. This matter was sent to the Ordinance and Resolution Committee, wherein matters are simply supposed to be drafted into ordinance form, and then sent back to City Council for a vote. Well, this did not happen. Thanks to Ald. Erickson and Ald. Brocato, this matter was simply tabled and left to die in Committee. This is cheap politics and just outright infuriating. I will never send anything to the Ordinance and Resolution Committee again. For the record, this has never happened before, at least not in the 18 months that I have been an Alderman.

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Housing Authority, ABC Meeting, 11-1606
Tonight at 7:00 p.m., there will be a discussion about Berwyn having a Housing Authority.

This event is sponsored by the All Berwyn Committee and should be quite informational.

The event takes place at City Hall.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Neighborhood Watch Meeting, 11-15-06
Hope everyone can read this. Get involved.

Neighborhood Watch

Block Captain Meeting
Wednesday, November 15th
7:00 pm

Police Station – Community Room
6401 West 31st Street

The Berwyn Police Department will be holding a “New Block Captain” meeting to go over specifics of the responsibilities of a block captain.

All block captains or residents wanting to know more about becoming a block captain are invited to attend this meeting. Learn what duties are performed by a block captain, what you should look out for, and information about when you should contact the police or other departments in the city. Forms, newsletters, window signs, block captain I.D. cards and other material will be handed out.

For more information please contact:
Jeanmarie Hajer
Director – Community Outreach
708-788-2660 ext. 290

Frank Cimaglia
Division Commander
708-795-5600 ext. 106

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Berwyn School District 100, Good News
This is a long posting. Read about the good things in our elementary schools.

Red Ribbon Week
October 21-29

Red Ribbon Week serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention and education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being the creation of drug free America. And, perhaps more importantly, Red Ribbon Week commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who died at the hands of drug traffikers in Mexico while fighting the battle against illegal drugs to keep our country and children safe.

D100 students will be given wrist bands to wear and will be involved in Red Ribbon school sponsored events throughout the week.

Literacy Volunteers

Did you know that South Berwyn has been cooperating with the Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County at Komensky to help English Language Learners? Literacy Volunteers highlighted the program in their fall brochure, “Literacy Lines.” Points from
the article are that researchers have found that as parents spend more time on literacy, the more they value education and the more they support their children’s learning. As the parent’s literacy improves, their children’s school achievement also increases. Parents become role models for their children; as
their children see them reading, they also want to read. Literacy Volunteers recently celebrated their 20th anniversary.

If you are interested in volunteering or want more information, please click on to

2006 Brain Bowl Participants

The District 100 Brain Bowl was hosted on Wednesday, October 18h at Irving School. Each elementary school sponsored a third and fifth grade team to compete in this exciting and challenging event. Congratulations to the following students who represented their schools:

Grade 3

Brandon Romero Julien Acosta
Stefan Buckley Karina Saucedo

Jonathan Mitchell Elijah Baez
Samantha Garcia Elizabeth Holakovsky

Anita Abraham Lindsey Lopez
Mark Emiliano Dylan Quadi

Patricia Soto Edgar Estrada
Christian Tovar Katherine Rodriquez

Erik Lewis Saul Rodriguez
Jacob Rosas Alexandra Vasquez

Sofia Calvillo Spencer Sisson
Juliane Milano Kristen Devereaux

Grade 5

Vance Nagel Lilly Mendez
Mariyam Torres Nikos Maniotis

Jeffery Benes Sandy Rodriquez
Leslie Saavedra Samuel Mejia

Desire’ Riley Gio Giron
Dan Hernandez Claudia Suavez

Alexis Bolociuch Anita Lane
Dominic Belcaster Daniel Hernandez

Stephanie Vasile Adolfo Garcia
Jenna Russell Kevin Faje

Cristina Diaz Samantha Annoreno
Ross Little Mike Cook

Results of our third grade competition

1st Place Emerson School
2nd Place Hiawatha School
3rd Place Piper School

Results of our fifth grade competition

1st Place Irving School
2nd Place Pershing School
3rd Place Piper School

Thank you to our fine judges for their participation to make this a success:
Joan Caulfield, Kathy Kroll, Katie Ashworth, Monica Mangiantini, Helen Hovanec, and Amanda Lichon.

Applause to Ms. Nicholson and Ms. Cowell for all of their coaching and hard work preparing our students for the competition.

School News


Emerson Elementary School and Heritage Middle School are working together to support literacy.
Through our Reading Buddies program, 8th grade students, along with their teacher, visit Emerson School daily on a rotating schedule to read to the Emerson students. The middle school students ask the elementary students questions that target reading skills, which benefits both the younger as well as the older students. We believe this collaboration will foster a partnership between the two schools.

Heritage Middle School

On Friday, October 6, Heritage students and staff held a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research. All students and staff were given the opportunity to wear jeans and a pink shirt. Staff members who did so donated $5.00 and students donated $1.00. We are proud to announce the fact that we raised $700!! We are also extremely proud of our students. Many donated a dollar even if they were still wearing their uniform!

We are also pleased to announce that two teachers from Heritage Middle School, Natalie Widaman and Jennifer Janek, have been accepted into the Get Energized! Professional Development Workshop Series at the Museum of Science and Industry. Through a series of five workshops, they will have the opportunity to explore the science of energy and discover ways to enhance their classroom practice and museum visits through expanded use of inquiry-based and hands-on/minds-on science. Included in this exciting program are a site visit from a museum educator, free field trips for both teacher’s teams, and loads of materials!
The Heritage and Freedom Middle School Bands joined forces to perform at the annual Houby Day parade on Sunday, October 1st, 2006. The band is made up of 85 seventh and eighth grade band students from both schools. Students practiced in the Heritage Middle School gym on the Thursday evening and Saturday before the event. Fifteen thousand spectators watched the parade this year from the community of Berwyn and Cicero. This was the 38th annual Houby Day parade and the 27th time the District 100 band has marched and participated in this event. Through the years, the parade has had many distinguished participants. Judy Baar Topinka was a member of the parade this year and at one time our past President, George Bush Sr. came to Berwyn to campaign at this community event.


At Hiawatha School, second grade has recently completed the first lesson in the new curriculum mapping for science, Bugs in Berwyn. We compared and contrasted insects and spiders. We also researched bugs and created a class book. In the book the children wrote about the bugs’ characteristics and drew and labeled the body parts. The students connected reading with science by using several nonfiction stories supplied by an IBL grant and school building funds.

The Hiawatha 3rd graders as part of their community unit in Social Studies, walked to the library and received a tour. One of the staff members did a read aloud. The students noted the City Hall, Fire Department, the Health Department, and Morton High School along the way. Students were excited to learn that these buildings are all a part of the community we live in.

Since our PBIS kick-off day, we have identified tardies as an area that we need to improve. We have a daily READY raffle. Students that are on time and in their seat at 8:30 are eligible to win a small prize. We have a month long contest called, “Race to 10” for entire classroom to participate in. Classes with no tardy students each day have their class name announced and receive a stamp on our board. Those who are able to get 10 stamps within 20 days, will receive an extra recess.

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Mrs. Percival’s fourth and fifth grade writing groups celebrated by creating "Famous Person Pyramids." In addition to summarizing the person's life, they thought of interview questions they might ask that person if they had the opportunity.
Ms. Sabri & Ms Benedetto’s class researched and created posters about famous Hispanic Americans and displayed them in the hallway. Mrs. Siegler arranged a beautiful display for the Día de los Muertos.


Piper's latest club is being initially called the College Club, but that name is still under development. This group of fifth graders is going to focus on games, puzzles, and brainteasers to stimulate thinking and creativity in solving problems in a variety of topics. The goal is to nurture higher level critical thinking skills that can hopefully begin to prepare students with confidence to welcome the challenges of advanced education.

We will meet for thirty minutes every Tuesday and Thursday. Some of the challenges will be faced and conquered in the classroom, in the gym, or on the playground. Others will be taken home to be shared with family members. Encouragement will be on-going in an attempt to get the students focused and keep them pointed towards the goal of planning on a completed college education. One of the activities of this club will be to take at least one field trip to a local four year college to get a first taste of the college atmosphere in order to further stimulate the dream of academic excellence in higher education.

Piper’s Fifth and First Grade Reading Buddies will be teaming up to participate in “Make a Difference in Day in Berwyn,” sponsored by Alderman Santiago Ramos. We will spruce up the area around Piper School and then travel the blocks around our neighborhood to make them sparkle. We will concentrate on the front lawns of our elderly neighbors by picking up litter and raking leaves. Thank you in advance to all of our good citizens who take pride in our neighborhood.

Freedom Middle School

Our 6A students were invited to a special after school workshop hosted by Mrs. Gilbert. They built model snap together cars. It was such a success that she plans on offering it again a few more times this year.

Decorated pumpkins can be found all over the school. Mrs. McDonough and Miss. Kranich have been decorating pumpkins after school with our 6th grade students. They held two special workshops to accommodate the number of students who wanted to participate.

Our 7A team has started a School Service Club. They have been working as volunteers in the library and office. In addition, they have also begun a Reading Buddy program and are reading to some of our ESL students.

Our 8th grade teams had a chance to visit Springfield. It was our first Fall trip to the State Capital. They were able to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum as well as Lincoln’s home and many other historic places in Springfield.

Finally, five students from Freedom Middle School participated in the 2006 Hispanic Heritage Art Contest, sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. The students researched a person of Hispanic descent that made a contribution to the community or their life. Then they created a portrait of that person and wrote an essay stating why they chose them. The students that took part in the contest are Ignacio Garcia, Karina Gonzalez, Ignacio Martinez, Yonathon Pina, and Eliot Rodriguez. These students put a lot of time and effort into this contest! Keep your fingers crossed, we have a great shot at winning!


Next spring Pershing School will be "Blooming with Beauty.” The students at Pershing School brought in packages of tulip bulbs for fall planting. The students then worked in groups to plant the bulbs around the outside of the school. Based on the amount of bulbs brought in, Pershing School should have a very colorful and plentiful tulip display next spring. Also, the last few Saturdays, principal Karen Grindle, staff members, students, parents, and community members have been working very hard with landscaping chores around the Pershing School grounds. We can't wait until next spring to see the results of this hard work.

The 2nd graders at Pershing have been busy learning about bats. They have learned about the many different types of bats, what they eat, and where they live. They have explored poetry writing by writing acrostic poems about bats. Students also researched their favorite bat and wrote expository paragraphs about them. Also, the students raised enough money to adopt bats from the Bat Conservation International. The students are busy spreading the word about how helpful bats are to our environment. They did a bat-tastic job!


Komensky’s Talent Show was again a huge success! The students who were involved worked extremely hard to improve their acts from the time of their auditions to the final product. The students themselves, some of which had the help of some excited parents, created every one of the acts. We had dancers, singers, gymnasts, rock stars, and even a First Grade karate expert! There are some budding stars in our midst, especially some young dancers who really have “the moves.” We had a large group of teachers participate in the show as the “Calendar Girls.” They were hilarious! The stage looked awesome, thanks to Tere Harr, which added some extra ambiance to the evening.

The Talent Show continues to be one of the most well attended events of the year, despite the fact that only a few students participate. It was wonderful to see parents and teachers supporting the performing arts, even if it was by dressing up as a human tree.

3rd Graders Learn About Bicycle Safety

Third Graders at Komensky Elementary School had a wonderful experience at Bicycle Safety. The students learned about bicycle safety rules of the road. After they listened to a presentation and watched a safety video they were able to apply what they learned in Safety Town. Students rode around Safety Town practicing signaling, crossing at stop signs and stoplights, crossing at railroad tracks, and reacting to road signs. They had a great time and learned a lot!


Weather for all

The students in Mrs. Jackson's 5th grade Science class have been learning all about weather. They have been studying weather instruments, air pressure, water cycle, and cloud formation. They even got to make a cloud and a tornado in a bottle. They created a meteorologist PowerPoint presentation to present the weather for the day and will be having a guest meteorologist, Ed Curran from CBS, come and talk to the class.

Letters to Iraq

The students in Ms. Kremer's 4th grade Social Studies class will be writing to a soldier who is being stationed in Iraq and will be his "pen pals" while he is there. The soldier is a personal friend of Ms. Kremer and the students are very excited about it. This activity makes social studies current events much more personal.

Operation Stars and Stripes

The students at Irving school are creating hand-made holiday cards (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Winter themed) to be included in care packages that are being sent by a group called Operation Stars and Stripes to people currently serving in the military. The holiday/end of the year care packages will also go to soldiers that have been wounded in battle and are recovering. They will be done with these cards by Thanksgiving vacation.

Parents please note:

November 7th

Election Day
Teacher Institute Day
School will not be in session

ABC November 16, 2006, Housing Authority
The All Berwyn Committee will be meeting on Thursday Nov. 16th, 7:00pm at City Hall.

The Topic will be “Does Berwyn Need a Housing Authority?”

There will be a guest speaker on the matter and should be very informational.
Everyone is encouraged to attend and stay after for post-meeting and refreshments!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
City Council Meeting, October 24, 2006
As part of giving businesses a license, the Mayor has asked to amend the current ordinance to include doing a routine inspection of food establishments. This was sent to the Committee of the Whole.

The Fire Chief has asked to have another Deputy Chief. This was deferred.

There was a request made by the South Berwyn Education Foundation to use Janura Park next year for a day and a half for a fundraiser to have a circus entertain everyone. The council approved this request.

A proposal by a citizen to privatize the Finance Department was sent to the Committee of the Whole.

A new rental licensing ordinance was sent to the Committee of the Whole. The ordinance would allow the City to make yearly inspections of apartment complexes.

Three new police officers were put on probationary status.

The Public Works Director has asked that a bonus be given to a Public Works employee. This was sent to the Public Work Committee.

The Harlem Avenue Train Station's bid was formally accepted. I hope that construction will begin soon.

There certainly was more, but these are the selected highlights.

Contact me at anytime at MarkWeiner1@Hotmail.Com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Berwyn CARES Fundraiser, November 4, 2006
CARES' first fundraiser, a concert by internationally acclaimed Justin Roberts(Www.JustinRoberts.Org) , is being held this Saturday at Fitzgerald's, at 11 am and 3 pm.

Some tickets are still available either by calling Susan at 708-484-0308 or by going to the CARES website at and hitting the link for the fundraiser and buying the tickets online.

Even if you do not have children, you should come, enjoy yourself and the music and give to a worthy cause. How can you beat $12.00 a ticket?

So, please help out Citizens Aligned to Renew Education for Students. We want to improve Berwyn's educational system.

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