Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oct. 11: Cemetery Walk in Montgomery

Senior Presentation October 11th

At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 11th, the Historic Preservation Commission will present an indoor version of the Cemetery Walk for those who are unable to attend the event in the cemetery on October 5th. This indoor presentation on October 11th will take place in the Board Room at the Village Hall, 200 N. River Street.

The annual Cemetery Walk takes place in Riverside Cemetery. Guests are led through the cemetery in small groups to meet the fascinating “ghosts” of early pioneers and other residents of the cemetery as portrayed by costumed actors. This is not a scary event, but an opportunity to learn more about the lives of those men and women who contributed in various ways to Montgomery’s history.

This free presentation is being offered by the Village of Montgomery. There is no charge and the event is handicapped accessible. The monthly Senior Lunch and activity will begin at 11:00 a.m. after the presentation. There is a $4 suggested donation for the lunch.

For additional information on this event, please call the Montgomery Village Hall at (630) 896-8080 ext. 1227.

Oct. 31: Jewish Poet and Social Activist exhibit at AU

AURORA, Ill. — “Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience,” a national traveling exhibition opening at Aurora University on Oct. 31, traces the life, intellectual development, work and lasting influence of the Jewish poet and social activist.

AU was selected as one of 18 sites for the exhibit, which will run through Dec. 16 in the atrium of the Institute for Collaboration, 407 S. Calumet Ave. Three companion events — two lectures and a panel discussion — will be held in conjunction with the exhibit.

The display, open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, is free to the public. It includes informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of historical images and original works by Lazarus, including “1492,” “The Creation of Man,” and “The New Colossus.”

The exhibit is being sponsored by the AU Wackerlin Center for Faith and Action, and Phillips Library.

"One of the aims of the Wackerlin Center is to be a resource for education, dialogue and understanding concerning religious diversity, on campus and in the wider Aurora community," said Jonathan Dean, Assistant Professor of Religion and Wackerlin Center Fellow. "Emma Lazarus' is a powerful voice, from a Jewish background but with universal wisdom, helping us to reflect as a community on the issues of identity, religion, nationality and belonging."

Lazarus (1849-1897) was a fourth-generation American from a prominent Jewish family in New York City who is known for the iconic words of her 1883 poem, “The New Colossus,” engraved on a plaque now located in the Statue of Liberty Museum: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” In addition to her progressive work as a poet, Lazarus was a tireless advocate for justice and championed her most cherished causes: denouncing anti-Semitism, promoting Zionism, and training and educating refugees.

“Emma Lazarus: Voice of Liberty, Voice of Conscience” was developed by Nextbook, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Jewish literature, culture and ideas, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life. "Emma Lazarus" is also a book by Lazarus biographer Esther Schor, published as part of the "Jewish Encounters" series by Nextbook/Schocken.

The three companion events at AU are also free and open to the public:

· Nov. 3, 3:30 p.m.: Magda Brown, a Holocaust survivor from Skokie, will present “From Slavery to Freedom” in Crimi Auditorium, 407 S. Calumet Ave. She will describe coming to the United States as a Hungarian refugee and beginning a new life after World War II. In a November 2010 lecture at AU, Brown inspired a capacity audience with her chronicle of surviving stays at two Nazi concentration camps. Her story reflects many concerns and passions of Lazarus’ life and work. A reception will follow her presentation.
· Nov. 15, noon: “Emma Lazarus: A Passion for Justice” will be discussed in Crimi Auditorium by Victor A. Mirelman, rabbi of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest and chair at the Spertus Institute in downtown Chicago. An expert in the Sephardic Jewish community, to which Lazarus belonged, Mirelman will link her life and work to the quest for peace and human fulfillment.
· Dec. 7, 3:30 p.m.: A panel of AU faculty members will discuss “Emma Lazarus and Us” in Crimi Auditorium. Offering reflections on Lazarus’ legacy and its importance for today will be Rebecca Sherrick, AU President; Barbara Strassberg, Professor of Sociology; Donovan Gwinner, Associate Professor of English; and Jonathan Dean, Wackerlin Center Fellow and Assistant Professor of Religion, who will moderate. A question-and-answer session will conclude the panel discussion.

Call (630) 844-6866 or visit for more information.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sept 24: Civil War Encampment

AURORA - The Illinois Humanities Council Board of Directors has awarded
a $5,000 grant to the Aurora Public Library for the Fox Valley Reads
2011 program, which is offering programs and activities related to the
150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Among programs planned for the month-long Fox Valley Reads is a free
Civil War Encampment scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept.
24, at the corner of River and Benton streets in Aurora. The encampment
will feature a military dress parade, cooking demonstrations at the
commissary tent, a rifle fire demonstration, period music and children's

Fox Valley Reads, a partnership among six libraries located in the Fox
River Valley, has chosen the book "All Other Nights" by Dara Horn as its
centerpiece book for the 2011 commemoration of the Civil War
anniversary. Horn will speak at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at the Illinois
Mathematics and Science Academy in a program sponsored by Fox Valley
Reads. She will discuss her research into the Civil War and how she used
it to write "All Other Nights." A book signing will follow the

Fox Valley reads includes a number of other programs, including a
presentation where actors who portray the Lincolns discuss the Civil War
(2 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy); a
lecture by Aurora Historical Society Executive Director John Jaros on
the role Aurora and its citizens played in the Civil War (2 p.m. Oct. 29
at the West Branch of the Aurora Public Library); and Civil War
Storytime at the David L. Pierce Art and History Center. (4 p.m. Oct.

For a listing of all Fox Valley Reads programs, go to

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sept 24: Blessing of the Pets

AURORA, Ill.—Pet owners are invited to bring their dogs, cats, fish, snakes and other pets to be blessed at an Aurora church Saturday.

Fourth Street United Methodist Church, 551 S. Fourth St. in Aurora, will hold an annual “Blessing of the Pets” at 3 p.m. on the church lawn.

Rev. Deborah Tinsley Taylor, pastor, will officiate. She said, “God created the animals for the benefit of humankind it says in Genesis 2:18-20a. We are all creatures of our God and King. God has entrusted their creation into our care and stewardship.“

The service will include music, prayer, scripture reading, a meditation and the blessing.

Each pet owner will be invited to bring his pet forward to the altar. Rev. Taylor will ask the owner the name of their pet, what it is, and how long the owner has cared for it. Then she will bless the pet and the owner.

The service will close with a benediction. Call (630) 897-5257 for more information.

Sept 26: Free senior health fair at VNA

VNA Health Care will offer its popular Senior Wellness Fair on September 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. All members of the community are invited to attend this free event to learn about useful and important services offered to seniors in the greater Aurora area.

This year’s Senior Wellness Fair features: flu vaccines, free health screenings (including blood pressure, bone density, and Diabetes), information and presentations on community services, medication safety; and free giveaways and snacks. Seniors who present a valid Medicare part B card will not be charged for the flu shot; VNA will bill Medicare. All others pay $20 cash or check.

The Senior Wellness Fair will take place at VNA Health Care, 400 North Highland Avenue, Aurora on the second floor. No reservations are necessary; this is a free event open to all.

The VNA Health Center (also located in the 400 North Highland building) specializes in providing primary health care to seniors. Services include wellness care and annual preventative exams and screenings; treatment of chronic diseases and acute illness; laboratory (blood work); bone density testing; digital mammography; and pharmacy services.

VNA accepts new Medicare patients and is the only health facility in the greater Aurora area that offers special medication discounts through the new 340B Program of the federal government. By seeing a VNA physician, seniors can receive discounts on prescriptions drugs that are only available through VNA due to its status as a Federally qualified health center. This program can provide discounts of 50% or more. In addition, VNA Pharmacy offers $4 generic prescriptions.

For more information on VNA Health Care or the VNA Annual Senior Wellness Fair, or call 630.978.2532.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sept 25 ongoing: Free Music Together Classes

Music Together is coming to Our Savior Lutheran Church!
420 W. Downer Pl, Aurora, IL 630-897-5930 or 630-880-9570
Music Together® is an early childhood music and movement program for children from birth to 5 years of age. Classes are mixed-age, the perfect class for siblings, cousins, neighbors, and friends! Join us as we sing, dance, laugh, play instruments, and meet other young families in an informal yet thoroughly researched atmosphere.
Won’t you join us for our Free Demonstration Classes? Classes are 45 minutes in length and reservations ARE required, as we have a maximum number of 12 children in each class. Join us for one or all, but remember to call to hold your spot! Classes begin the week of September 25th.
Classes will be led by registered teacher, Ree Kline. Please call today so we can save a seat for your family! Kindly call 630-880-9570. See you soon!
Schedule of free classes:
Sunday 11:15-11:00 (a music together style Sunday School class with story time)
Monday 1:30-2:15
Wednesday 10:30-11:15 & 4:30-5:15
Thursday 9:30-10:15 -- full class
Friday 4:30-5:15
Saturday 11:30-12:15

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sept 16, 17 & 18: Fiestas Patrias

Fiestas Patrias brings the sound, culture and taste of Mexico to North River Street Park this coming Sept. 16th, 17th, and 18th. The three-day music festival will showcase a variety of international music acts, food vendors, and a carnival. Sunday, Sept. 18th will kick off with a parade, which will wind through downtown Aurora at 10 a.m. Extensive television coverage of the weekend’s events will be provided by the Chicago area’s largest Spanish-language TV network: Telemundo.

The festival series will be staged at North River Street Park and the parking lot immediately south of the park. The fiesta begins at 6 p.m. Friday evening, and runs until 10 p.m. Saturday’s festivities begin at noon until 10 p.m. The parade steps off at 10 a.m., Sunday at the corner of River Street and Benton Street; then to Broadway, Galena Boulevard, Stolp Avenue, Downer Place, and ending at Middle Avenue. The parade program begins at 9:15 a.m., and the reviewing stand will be situated on Downer Place. Festivities at the fairgrounds to start immediately after the parade until 10 p.m. Various genres of music will be performed throughout the weekend including: banda, mariachi, cumbia, tejano, norteno, and rock. A children’s amusement area will be featured, in addition to a carnival area complete with games and rides.

Admission to Fiestas Patrias Aurora 2011 is free. A $2 fee will be charged for festival attendees that are over the age of 21, and wish to purchase alcohol. The Aurora Police Department will coordinate the festival’s security efforts, and volunteers will make up the vast majority of the event staff. Anyone interested in becoming a Fiestas Patrias Aurora 2011 event volunteer, or for more event information, should contact Norma Vazquez, Executive Director at (630) 264-2422 or visit WWW.AHCC-IL.COM.

After a wildly successful 2010 Fiestas Patrias event, the Aurora Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AHCC) is proud to coordinate this year’s festival in partnership with the City of Aurora. “We are ecstatic about returning Fiestas Patrias to Aurora in September,” said Rene Cruz, President of the AHCC. “2011 is going to be bigger and better than last year; we want this to become an annually anticipated event for the Fox Valley area.”

“This fest will be like a taste of Mexico,” said Norma Vazquez, Executive Director of the AHCC. “Anyone that enjoys Mexican food will need to stop by and try a little bit of everything, Aurora is home to the best Mexican restaurants in the Chicagoland area.”

Tradition festival food fare of hamburgers, Bar-B-Que, etc… will also be available to festival goers.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oct 5: Riverside Cemetery Walk

The third annual Cemetery Walk in Montgomery’s Riverside Cemetery will be held on Wednesday, October 5th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Guests will be led through the cemetery in small groups to meet the fascinating “ghosts” of some of the early pioneers and other area residents that now occupy the cemetery. This is not a scary event, but more an opportunity to learn about the past from authentically costumed actors who will portray some of the people buried in the cemetery. Tours will begin near the corner of River and Taylor Streets on the south side of the cemetery about every 10 minutes, so visitors can arrive any time between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m. Parking is available along River Street and at the playground at the north end of Montgomery Park. Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes.

The Cemetery Walk is being planned by Montgomery’s Historic Preservation Commission. There is no charge for this event. In the event of rain, the Cemetery Walk will take place on Thursday, October 6th at the same time.

Volunteers are being sought to serve as guides to escort the groups through the cemetery. To volunteer or for additional information, please contact Debbie Buchanan at the Montgomery Village Hall at (630) 896-8080 ext. 1114.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept 9: Blackhawk statue dedication at WAHS

1937 West High Graduates Invited to Sept. 9 Blackhawk Statue Dedication

It was the Class of 1937 that gave the nickname “Blackhawks” to West Aurora High School. Now surviving members of the class are invited to receive special recognition at the dedication of a new statue of Chief Black Hawk at 9 a.m., Sept. 9, at the high school, 1201 W. New York St., Aurora.

The statue, a gift to the school from the Class of 1958, is a life-sized bronzed bust of Black Hawk sculpted by artist Gareth Curtiss.

Descendants of Black Hawk have been invited to participate in the dedication. Native American dance and drum groups are scheduled to perform.

A plaque in the West High gymnasium foyer commemorates the action taken by the Class of 1937:

"Chief Blackhawk with his tribe of Sac Indians once roamed these prairies of Northern Illinois, and for him Blackhawk Street was named. He was a valiant fighter always loyal to the interests of his people. It is proper, therefore, that we, the class of 1937, bestow upon our own valiant warriors, the athletic teams of West High School, the name of the Blackhawks. May they ever maintain the highest ideals of courageous actions, loyalty, and sportsmanship."

For more information on the event, contact Mike Chapin, Dist. 129 community relations director, at 630-301-5044 or

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sept 9: Art Opening at DLP

The works of three generations of artists with various creative talents come together for a new exhibit hosted by the Aurora Public Art Commission.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place to celebrate the start of the “Three Artists Entwined” exhibit. Patrons will be entertained by solo guitarist Tom Salvatori. Light refreshments will be served, and a cash bar will be available.

The family members delve into different artistic mediums, but their work is intertwined by family bonds and their travels across the globe. The artists include:

  • Helen Humay– She traveled the world during a time when it was uncommon for women to travel alone. Humay visited Japan, Singapore, China and Europe, and her pottery is a reflection of the different cultures she experienced in her life. Humay, 95, died in 2010.
  • Priscilla Humay – Developing an appreciation of art from her mother, she honed her drawing skills after being inspired by nature’s beauty. Priscilla Humay is an award-winning artist who lectures and teaches at universities, museums and the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Her work has found homes in private and corporate collections nationwide.
  • Anton Witek – Immersed in a family of artists, Witek has visited more than 30 foreign countries in search of cultural treasures. He uses the symbols he collected to create unique works of art to represent the traditions, customs and places he encountered during his travels.

Both the reception and daily admission to the gallery is free and open to the public. The exhibit will be on display from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday through Nov. 18. Off-street parking is available at the parking deck located at Downer Place and Stolp Avenue, and patrons can bring their parking ticket to the Aurora Public Art Commission Museum Shop to be validated.

For more information on the gallery, visit

Sept 15 & Ongoing: Home Energy Workshops

The City of Aurora is offering monthly seminars to help residents get the best return on their home’s energy efficiency and promote water conservation.

The first workshop series provides residents with information to help reduce their home energy costs, increase comfort and maintain the structural integrity of their home. The program is part of the City’s Aurora GreenWorks Community Education Workshop series and is funded by an U.S. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block federal stimulus grant.

Seminars will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on the following Thursdays:

  • Sept. 15, Customer Service Center, 3700 McCoy Drive;
  • Oct. 20, Fred Rodgers Community Center, 501 College Ave. (presented in Spanish only);
  • Nov. 10, Eola Road Branch Library, 555 S. Eola Road;
  • Dec. 15, Fred Rodgers Community Center;
  • Jan. 19, 2012, Aurora Police Department, 1200 E. Indian Trail Road;
  • Feb. 16, Fred Rodgers Community Center;

Another GreenWorks workshop series will focus on reducing water consumption to save money and protect the environment. Seminar topics will touch on how to conserve water, time and money in the backyard with water efficient landscapes, rain barrels and other green tips. Remaining sessions will be held from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Fred Rodgers Community Center and Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Customer Service Center.

Attendance at the seminars is free, but pre-registration is requested. To register, call Karen Zilly, Neighborhood Redevelopment Division Development Coordinator, at 630-256-3323. Registration also can be completed online by visiting, clicking on the “Community Services” tab, selecting the “Neighborhood Redevelopment Division” link and then choosing the “Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program.”

Future dates for both programs will be announced in the spring.

Sept 9: City Ceremony for 9/11

The City of Aurora is marking the 10thanniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks with a remembrance ceremony that will honor families who lost loved ones and salute the bravery of emergency responders during the tragedy.

The 9/11 commemoration ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at Aurora’s Central Fire Station, 75 N. Broadway Ave. Residents are invited to attend the event as towns across the country reflect on the 2001 attacks, the worst incident of terrorism on U.S. soil.

Highlighting the event will be Darien resident Tom Jones, who was in the World Trade Center’s South Tower for meetings in New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Jones will speak about his decision to leave the building as a precautionary measure after seeing the initial destruction from the plane hitting the World Trade Center’s North Tower, and his journey navigating his way to safety amid confusion and chaos from the building’s 61stfloor. He was in a crowded stairwell near the 36thfloor when the second hijacked airplane crashed into the South Tower.

“We felt the vibrations and the building shaking as we all steadied ourselves on the handrails,” Jones said. “That is when any thoughts that this was a false alarm went out the door.”

The ceremony also will honor the four Marines who attended Aurora high schools that died while serving our country in the War on Terror in Iraq. The soldiers included:

  • Captain Timothy Louis Ryan, 30, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron – 364 Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rdMarine Aircraft Wing; died 2003.
  • Lance Corporal Hector Ramos, 20, Company C, 1stBattalion, 3rdMarine Regiment, 3rdMarine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2005.
  • Private Edwardo Junior Lopez, 21, Company F, 2ndBattalion, 3rdMarine Regiment, 3rdMarine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2006.
  • Lance Corporal Jesse Dan DeLaTorre, 29, Headquarters & Service Co., 2ndBattalion, 7thMarine Regiment, 1stMarine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force; died 2007.

The Aurora Fire Department Honor Guard will perform a flag folding ceremony and present each family of the fallen soldiers with a flag.

The event will feature the West Aurora High School Madrigals performing the national anthem, East Aurora High School Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps leading the Pledge of Allegiance, bag pipes and a 21-gun salute. Mayor Tom Weisner, Fire Chief Hal Carlson, Police Chief Greg Thomas, Police Chaplain Father Jerome “Jerry” Leake and Fire Chaplain Gerald Rygh also will give remarks at the ceremony. Refreshments will be served following the event.

Parking for the ceremony is available behind the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway Ave., and the adjacent parking lots across the street on Broadway Avenue and New York Street. In case of inclement weather, the 9/11 ceremony will be moved inside the Central Fire Station Garage.

The Aurora Fire Department Museum will be hosting an open house following the ceremony to showcase a special 9/11 exhibit. Originally produced in 2001, “Ground Level: September 11-14” is comprised of more than a dozen photographs from New York City Sanitation employees Tom Pasquarelli and Vincent Piccolo and crane operator Steve Bova surveying the aftermath of destruction. The City’s Aurora Public Art Commission is loaning the exhibit to the Museum.

The Museum also will highlight how the 9/11 tragedy impacted Aurora. One display case spotlights Aurora firefighters responding to New York as part of a national rescue and relief effort while another section features mementos from residents grieving and reacting with a flurry of patriotism.

The “Ground Level” photos and 9/11 artifacts will be on display through Saturday, Oct. 1. The Museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. For more information on the exhibit, visit

Residents interested in attending the ceremony are encouraged to RSVP by calling the City’s Community Services Department at 630-256-3400.