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Police announce extra seat-belt patrols during Thanksgiving

     As motorists hit the road to celebrate Thanksgiving, Illinois law enforcement will be working around the clock to make sure holiday travelers are buckled up and driving safely. The Villa Park Police Department is joining the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police to remind motorists to Click It or Ticket.
The goal of this high-visibility effort is to reduce motor vehicle crashes and resulting injuries and fatalities.
Correct seat-belt use is the most effective way to protect vehicle occupants. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the statewide seat-belt usage rate is at 93.8 percent.
“Wearing your seat belt is second nature for most,” said Villa Park Police Sgt. James Cihak. “We’re looking for the few Illinois motorists who skip this life-saving step.”
Drivers and passengers can expect a ticket from The Villa Park Police Department if they are spotted without a seat belt. Stepped-up patrols and seat belt enforcement zones went into effect on Nov. 17 and will continue through Nov. 27.
Last year, 11 people died on Illinois roads during the long holiday weekend from 6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to 5:59 a.m. the following Monday. Many of those fatalities could have been prevented with the click of a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s research indicates that proper seat-belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to severe injury by 50 percent.
“Click It or Ticket is a message we’ve used for years to warn motorists of law enforcement’s intention to issue citations to those who don’t buckle up,” said Cihak. “During Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the year, motorists on DuPage County roads can expect to be ticketed if they are unbelted or driving impaired or distracted.”
Statistics show that nighttime driving comes with an increased risk for injury or death. Evening hours account for a higher percentage of alcohol-related crashes, a higher percentage of fatalities and a lower percentage of occupants wearing seat belts. According to NHTSA, among passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2016 daytime crashes, 41 percent were unrestrained. Nighttime crashes show a significantly higher number of unbelted occupant fatalities at 56 percent.
“Whether you’re traveling across town or across the state this Thanksgiving, wear your seat belt. It’s one of the easiest ways to ensure you arrive safely,” Cihak said.
The Click It or Ticket enforcement effort is made possible by federal highway safety funds administered by IDOT.

Joyful Traditions takes place Dec. 2

     The Villa Park Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Joyful Traditions celebration from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. The event will take place near the Rugaard Gazebo, located along the Illinois Prairie Path near Ardmore Avenue and Park Boulevard.
The free family fun festival, which is co-sponsored by the chamber and the Village of Villa Park, features a tasting tent, a s’more station, horse wagon rides and a tree lighting ceremony. Children will be able to visit with Santa Claus in the gazebo. Members of the Willowbrook High School choir will sing Christmas carols.

Youth theater group performs holiday production Dec. 16-17

     The Saint Genesius Productions youth theater group will perform “The Story of Holly and Ivy” on Saturday, Dec. 16, and Sunday, Dec. 17, at Montini Catholic High School. Saturday’s show times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday’s performance begins at 2 p.m.
Twenty-five students from local Catholic grade schools and religious education programs have joined together to create this a holiday performance.
“The Story of Holly and Ivy” is about wishing. Ivy, Holly, and Mrs. Jones each have one powerful Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. Mrs. Jones wishes more than anything for a child.
Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is filled with the warm glow of Christmas spirit. The play has been adapted by Saint Genesius alumna Emily O’Brochta and Saint Genesius Artistic Director Sara Corkery from Rumer Godden’s classic children’s book by the same name.
Tickets cost $8 and can be purchased at the door, or ordered online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3172246.
To learn more, visit stgenesiusproductions.com.
Saint Genesius Productions, founded in 2010, was created to bring the experience of professionally produced children’s theater to Catholic grade school students throughout DuPage County. This volunteer-run youth theater group provides students in fourth through eighth grade with a performing arts education and the opportunity to appear in plays and musicals.

ALDI store reopens

The updated Villa Park ALDI store at 1630 S. Ardmore Ave., held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 16 to celebrate its reopening. Following the ceremony, the first 100 shoppers received golden tickets, with each ticket containing ALDI gift cards of various amounts. Earlier this year, ALDI announced it would spend nearly $180 million to enhance over 130 of its stores in the Chicagoland area. The other Villa Park ALDI store, located at 400 W. North Ave., reopened in September. Both village stores were closed for several weeks for remodeling. The new ALDI stores focus on fresh items and larger produce, dairy and bakery sections. The remodeled stores also include open ceilings, natural lighting and energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.