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Deicke Home may be revived through non-profit organization

By Jane Charmelo

The now-closed Deicke Home for
residents with developmental disabilities
may get a breath of life as
one organization is eyeing the property
for redevelopment.
According to Eric Huffman, executive
director of the Over the
Rainbow Association (OTR), the
non-profit is considering the property
for use as residential apartments
for individuals with physical disabilities.
The Deicke Home, which closed
nearly three years ago due to lack
of operating funds, had 11 bedrooms
that housed two residents to a
room, Huffman outlined, adding that
OTR’s plan would involve creating
14 new single-occupancy units.
Huffman said Housing and Urban
Development, or HUD—which had
provided rent subsidies for Deicke
Home residents—contacted him
some six to eight months ago.
“They [HUD] really wanted to try
to preserve the units,” he related, and
hoped to enter into a similar agreement
with OTR, should the organization
be able to take over the building.
Huffman said he met with the Deicke
Home’s former director, Bruce
Thompson, to tour the building and
discovered, “The bones of the building
were in very good shape.”
He said that while OTR’s other
residential buildings typically have
between 30 to 40 units as the “deal,”
the Deicke Home has potential nonetheless.
The building, he continued,
would be “gutted” in order to build
the new bedrooms and enlarge them
for wheelchair access.
The showers and kitchen facilities
would also be reconfigured to
allow for wheelchairs, the director
added, saying that the elevator and
basement would likely remain pretty
much as they already exist.
The director said OTR is currently
building its 11th facility in Des
Plaines, slated to open in October,
emphasizing, “All our buildings are
completely barrier free.”
That effort was recognized by the
Urban Land Institute of Chicago,
which gave OTR its Vision Award,
in the affordable housing category,
for affordable, barrier-free housing
at Southwick Place in Matteson.
The apartments are designed “for
people with physical disabilities who
desire to live and are capable of living
independently,” the director described.
Huffman said he is encouraged by
the prospect of developing the new
facility here in Lombard. He realizes
“it hinges on community support,”
so OTR recently held a neighborhood
meeting to outline the organization’s
The director said some 25 to 30
residents attended, who he called
“very nice people.” He explained to
them that the building would be put
to “a use that’s very consistent” with
its former one.
Residents asked about landscaping,
Huffman recounted, adding
that the former workshop to the east
would be razed, and landscaping put
in its place.
He said that so far, there have
been no issues in other communities
where OTR residents live, adding
that in fact, “We’ve been a real asset
to the neighborhoods we’re in.”
In order to move forward, Huffman
outlined, OTR will meet with
the Village of Lombard Plan Commission
for a public hearing, after
which, the petition would move on
to the village board.
Additionally, OTR has applied to
the Illinois Housing Development
Authority to help provide funding
needed to proceed with the project,
Huffman noted.
HUD, he said, is willing to “take
over the agreement they had with
Deicke” to help subsidize rent for
residents who qualify.
The director mentioned that OTR
did a market study of the area, and
found, “You have a ton of people
who can use this housing.”
The public hearing will take place
Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the
Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson
St., Lombard.
For more information, call Community
Development at 630-620-
For more information about the
Evanston-based Over the Rainbow
Association, visit www.otrassn.org.

Lombard Town Centre gets grant approval from village board

By Jane Charmelo

At the Thursday, March 16, Village
of Lombard Board meeting, the board
considered a grant request from the
Lombard Town Centre (LTC), in an
amount not to exceed $12,500.
The purpose of the grant, according
to the LTC, is to help offset costs
for the Spooktacular event that this
year will take place on Saturday, Oct.
LTC’s new executive director,
Stephanie Schiszik, explained that the
Spooktacular, which was launched
11 years ago, is Lombard Town Centre’s
“signature event” that began as a
trick-or-treating event in Lombard’s
With over 4,500 attendees during a
four-hour event for families, this year
the LTC proposes holding the event
from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on a Saturday
instead of Sunday.
Schiszik said the purpose is “adding
in more experiences for adults of
all ages,” as well as increasing attendance
to between 5,000 and 5,500 visitors.
As for the basic logistics, St.
Charles Road would be closed between
Main Street to the East and
Elizabeth Street to the west, and Park
Street would be closed between Orchard
and Michael McGuire Drive.
While in the past, there was a $1
admission fee for children and adults
were free, this year the LTC noted that
there will be a $5 donation for adults
and children will be free.
There will be three entry points to
the Spooktacular, the director said.
However, “There will be provisions
to allow people access to businesses
even if they are not attending the
“This event is designed to support
the downtown business,” Schiszik
said, noting that there will be various
revenue sources from grants to sponsorships
to vendor fees, which she
commented is “a well-thought-out
“The plan has a certain amount
of flexibility in it so we can adjust as
needed as we go forward,” she stated.
Trustee Mike Fugiel, chair of the
Community Promotion and Tourism
Committee, said that the committee
reviews various applications for
grants but does not typically focus so
much on the logistics; rather, that issue
is addressed when it comes time
to request a special event permit.
He did say the original request
from the LTC was for $15,000, but
the committee was “uncomfortable
with that and took it down to $12,500
and that’s where we stand today.”
Fugiel also noted that before making
a recommendation to the board
whether or not to approve the grant,
the Community Promotion and Tourism
Committee requested more information
from the LTC pertaining to its
anticipated expenditures and revenues.
Trustee Reid Foltyniewicz asked if
that $12,500 included public works,
police and fire, to which LTC Board
President Chris Cholewa responded,
“That includes village safety, staging
[barricades] and waste management
services. That’s all.”
“Everything else we’re supporting
through the event ourselves,” she added.
Board President Keith Giagnorio
commented, “Pertaining to the businesses
that are down there, it’s very
important that there is communication
and those businesses fully understand
that it’s going to be a Saturday, all day,
all night; that there’s going to be no
traffic going down there.”
He added that there will be foot
traffic, and “hopefully there will be a
trade-off there.”
“Once we OK that, we’re on the
hook, too,” the village president said.
“We don’t want to disrupt the businesses,”
Cholewa emphasized. “We
want to increase [their] visibility.”
She reiterated that individuals who
wish to access the downtown without
participating in the Spooktacular will
be able to do so.
“We believe strongly in answering
any concerns before they could happen,”
Cholewa added. “The goal is to
give the information to people before
they have to come to us and ask the
Trustee Dan Whittington inquired
about parking behind Fairy Tales,
which the LTC president said would
be accessible.
Village Manager Scott Niehaus
clarified that the board vote was specifically
to address the grant request,
and that the special event permit, liquor
license, etc.—yet to be submitted—
would be reviewed and voted on
The board approved the grant request—
coming from Hotel/Motel Tax
revenues—with Trustee Robyn Pike
abstaining due to what she stated was
a commitment to the Spooktacular

In other business:

The Village of Lombard declared
Saturday, March 25, as Earth Hour
Day, from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
Since 2008, the village has participated
in the annual day in which lights
are turned off for that hour to conserve
electricity, reduce power plant emissions
of greenhouse gases and create
environmental awareness.
Last year over 7,000 communities
in over 170 countries participated in
Earth Hour, according to the village.

Breen’s 360-lid technology bill
receives unanimous House approval

With a unanimous showing of
support in the House of Representatives
last week, legislation sponsored
by State Rep. Peter Breen
(R-Lombard) that allows craft
brewing companies in Illinois to
utilize new 360-lid technology is
one step closer to becoming a law.
“These 360-lids are the newest
innovation in beer can technology,”
said Breen. “By essentially
removing the entire lid of a beer
can, an aluminum drinking vessel
is created that allows consumers to
better enjoy the aromas associated
with IPAs and other hoppy beers.
Fourteen states already allow this
technology, and the adoption of HB
2386 will allow craft brewing companies
in Illinois to remain competitive.”
According to Breen, the idea for
HB 2386 was brought to him by the
owners of Lombard’s Noon Whistle
Brewing Company, when they
discovered that the Environmental
Protection Act from the 1980s prohibited
the removal of any portion
of the top of a beverage can.
“Under this legislation, the
small aluminum tabs that posed a
safety hazard 30 years ago are still
banned,” Breen said. “This bill
simply carves out a narrow exception
for much larger 360-lids in the
craft brew industry.”
The bill now moves to the Senate
for consideration.

Civil War reenactment
demonstration March 30

The public is invited to join the
Lombard Historical Society and
members of Stanford’s Battery for
a sneak preview of the 2017 Lombard
Civil War Reenactment at the
Sheldon Peck Homestead, 355 E.
Parkside in Lombard, on Thursday,
March 30, from 2-6 p.m.
This living history demonstration
will show what camp life was like for
soldiers during the Civil War. Stanford’s
Battery is the host unit for the
Lombard Civil War Reenactment,
which will take place at Four Seasons
Park in Lombard on July 22 and
During that weekend, visitors
will have the chance to mingle with
Union and Confederate soldiers, visit
with Abe Lincoln, view a small skirmish
in the morning and larger battle
in the afternoon each day, experience
living history demonstrations, shop,
eat, and much more.
Friday, July 21, will be a repeat of
the historical society’s popular Civil
War Trivia night co-hosted by the
Helen Plum Library, in the main tent
from 7-8:30 p.m.
Follow the Lombard Historical
Society on Facebook or visit our
website to get more information on
the July reenactment. The Sheldon
Peck Homestead will also be open
to the public for tours the day of the
sneak peek.
The Lombard Historical Society
operates The Victorian Cottage Museum
at 23 W. Maple St., and the
Sheldon Peck Homestead at 355 E.
For more information on the Lombard
Historical Society, call 630-629-
1885 or visit lombardhistory.org.

Lisle woman accused of
forging petitions for seat
on COD Board of Trustees

DuPage County State’s Attorney
Robert B. Berlin announced
last week that Rafath Waheed, 61,
of Lisle, has been charged with
submitting forged petitions to earn
a seat on the College of DuPage
(COD) Board of Trustees.
On March 14, a $10,000 with 10
percent to apply arrest warrant was
issued for Waheed. On March 13,
Waheed turned herself in to authorities
and was released after posting
the necessary $1,000, or 10 percent,
of her $10,000 bond.
It is alleged prior to Dec. 19,
2016, Waheed collected signatures
on petitions for her to apply as a
candidate for the COD Board of
Trustees. It is further alleged that at
some point in time, Waheed made
photocopies of two completed signature
portions of the petitions and
then completed the candidate information
by hand.
Also, it’s further alleged that she
then notarized those petitions as
authentic. It is alleged that Waheed
then filed these petitions, along
with the originals, with the proper
COD authorities. Her alleged
scheme was uncovered during a
hearing on an objection that was
filed against her petitions.
“The bedrock of our entire system
of government is free and fair
elections,” Berlin said. “It is alleged
that Mrs. Waheed, in an effort
to win a seat on the COD Board of
Trustees, attempted to circumvent
one of the basic requirements for
candidacy—filing petitions with
the correct number of authentic signatures.”
In all, Waheed is charged with
two counts of forgery, two counts
of issuing a forged document and
four counts of perjury. All offenses
are a Class 3 felony.
Waheed’s next court appearance
is scheduled for April 12 in front of
Judge Liam Brennan.

Prairie Food Co-op earns award from FCI

Directors of Prairie Food Coop
recently attended a national
co-op conference in Milwaukee,
Wis., where the co-op received the
first-ever Cooperative Citizen Award
for “going far above and beyond to
share knowledge, experience, and
solutions with peer startups, contributing
significantly to the growth of
the overall food co-op startup community.”
The award was given by
Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) - a national
non-profit organization devoted
to helping food co-ops.
“The entire Prairie Food Co-op
team has demonstrated a combination
of generosity, dedication and
talent that makes them uniquely
qualified to share advice and best
practices with the co-op community,”
said Jacqueline Hannah, cooperative
development specialist with
In addition, Ownership Chair Jeremy
Nash was honored to present
two workshops at the conference.
Prairie Food Co-op co-founder
and President Kathy Nash said,
“This award is an amazing affirmation
of years of working hard to open
the first cooperatively owned grocery
store in DuPage county. We are
honored to be recognized by cooperative
experts as a strong, knowledgeable,
and well-organized group.”
Prairie Food Co-op is a Lombard-
based organization working to
open a full service grocery store that
will provide better access to locally
and sustainably produced food. Coops
rely on their community to show
support by purchasing “ownership”
shares of the business.
“Public interest in food co-ops is
at an all-time high,” reported FCI
Executive Director Stuart Reid.
“By owning and controlling their
own cooperative store, communities
are able to ensure stable access
to healthy food, provide meaningful
jobs and support local producers.
Food co-ops can become both an
economic anchor and a social hub
for the community.”
Over 638 residents of Lombard,
Villa Park, Glen Ellyn and surrounding
areas have invested in Prairie
Food Co-op. The board is currently
in lease negotiations on a site in
Lombard. Once the co-op has 800
owners, there is sufficient support to
move forward with signing a lease
and preparing for opening day.
“We would love to see our Lombard
area friends and neighbors join
the co-op,” said Kathy Nash.
Prairie Food Co-op will be a cooperatively-
owned and democratically-
operated full service grocery
store dedicated to strengthening our
local economy and creating a marketplace
for transparently labeled,
local, organic and sustainable food.
To learn more about Prairie Food
Co-op or to become an owner, visit
the Web site at www.prairiefood.