Merriment and jubilation set for all corners of downtown area by Bonnie MacKay Santa’s arrival in downtown Lombard Saturday afternoon is just one of a multitude of family activities slated for the afternoon and evening of Saturday, Dec. 7. Santa is set to arrive, via fire truck, at 3:30 p.m. His arrival this year is earlier in the day than in previous years. Children are invited to sit for professional photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus for a nominal fee. The photos will be provided by Randall Bullen Photography. At 5:15 p.m., Santa will be assisting Lombard Village President Keith Giagnorio as he lights the village Christmas tree along St. Charles Road, near Main Street. Also making an early appearance in downtown Lombard will be Mrs. Claus as the Lombard Chamber of Commerce has arranged for Mrs. Claus to share stories with attendees young and old between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the Lombard Town Centre office, 6 S. Park Ave. Lombard Town Centre will be launching the day’s activities with live performances of scenes from the Nutcracker Ballet. The scenes from this traditional Christmas favorite will be presented from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the windows of different downtown businesses. Also on hand to get residents into the Christmas spirit will be members of the Glenbard East Madrigals, who will be part of “Christmas at the Library” at the Helen Plum Library, 110 W. Maple St. The Madrigals, garbed in Renaissance-style costumers, specialize in English Renaissance madrigal music, which they play on period instruments. The group will be performing throughout the evening from 6 to 8 p.m. and everyone is invited to stop by the library for some Christmas music. Joining the festivities this year is Lombard Bible Church, 111 S. Park Ave., which will be offering hot beverages to attendees, who may be waiting for or returning from a free horse-drawn wagon ride. Both the church and the Lombard Historical Society, 23 W. Maple St., will provide warming spots for wagon riders. The wagon rides will be given from 6 to 8 p.m. and participants will be invited to sing Christmas carols as they ride up and down Park Avenue. If you are longing to do a little singing of your own, why not stop by the Maple Street Chapel, Main and Maple streets, where a sing-along is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. The sing-along will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Lombard Historical Society’s Victorian Cottage, 23 W. Maple St., will be open, so drop by for a “Candlelight Christmas Tour” from 6 to 8 p.m. The special tour will give participants a chance to glimpse back in time and see what Christmas Eve would have been like during Victorian times. Calling cards for the 15-minute tours will be available at the cottage’s Carriage House, located to the rear of museum. Jinglebell Jubilee is sponsored by the Lombard Chamber of Commerce, Lombard Park District, Lombard Historical Society, Helen M. Plum Memorial Library, Maple Street Chapel, Lombard Town Centre and the Village of Lombard. For additional information, contact Bridget Doyle, the village’s communication coordinator at 630-627-5718.
Toys and baby items sought for upcoming LFD toy parade by Bonnie MacKay Christmas is just around the corner and the Lombard Fire Department will be holding its 13th annual toy parade. Lombard firefighters are busy collecting toys and seeking donations. They are looking for donations of new, unwrapped toys for infants through age 14, as well as baby supplies. According to Lombard Firefighter/ Paramedic Ben Speck, one of the parade organizers, the parade will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, from Lombard Fire Station One on St. Charles Road.
The fire vehicles will head south on Main Street and firefighters will be collecting toys on the west side of Main Street. The firefighters and vehicles will make their way south to the corner of Main and Wilson (Glenbard East), where they will make their last pick-up along the parade route before heading to Yorktown Center. The firefighters will be collecting new, unwrapped toys along the parade route, as well as baby supplies such as formula and diapers. Other items such as gift certificates for young teens are also being sought. The items collected will benefit the Teen Parent Connection, the Outreach House and the Lombard/Villa Park Food Pantry. Speck said the fire truck should be arriving at Main and Wilson at about 11:15 a.m. before leaving for the mall. In an “Ultimate Stuff the Sleigh” event, everything collected by Lombard firefighters will be dropped off at Yorktown to “stuff the sleigh.” Shoppers can stop by the upper level near Carson Pirie Scott, where there will be festive entertainment. Some suggested gift items include books, dress-up costumes, sports equipment, stuffed animals, educational toys, dolls, board games and toddler toys. For babies, donations of diapers, baby wipes, baby soap and diapers (newborn to size 6). Donations (including cash or a check made payable to Firefighter Local Union 3009) may be dropped off at Fire Station 1, 50 E. St. Charles Road or Fire Station 2, 2020 S. Highland Ave. Collection bins have also been placed at the Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson. A collection bin for toys is also available at Schroeder’s Ace, 837 S. Westmore. Questions may be directed to the fire department at 630-620-5736.
LFD offers tips on how to ‘Keep the Wreath Red’ by Bonnie MacKay In keeping with a tradition of more than 25 years, the Lombard Fire Department tradition has hung a wreath on each fire station as part of the “Keep the Wreath Red” campaign during the holiday season. The program was started by former Lombard Firefighter Jim Plunket back in 1987 and was designed to emphasize fire safety during the holiday season. The firefighters place wreaths, lit with all red bulbs, on each of the village’s two fire stations on the day after Thanksgiving. The object of the program is to keep the wreaths lit with all red bulbs until New Year’s Day. Each time there is a fire related to the holidays, a red bulb will be replaced with a white bulb. Passersby can see the wreaths on both stations and will know that the department has reached its goal if all bulbs remain red, indicating a safe holiday season. The following are tips provided by the fire department that residents can do to keep the season safe this year: •Keep the tree stand filled with water. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. •Keep the tree, wreaths and all holiday decorations away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, space heaters, candles or heating ducts. •Keep candles out of the reach of children and never use candles to decorate a Christmas tree. •Check electrical cords for any cracks before using them. Connect no more than three strands of mini strings and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. •Turn off all holiday lights when going to bed or when leaving the house. •When using a fireplace, make sure there is a fire screen in place, don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and burn only seasoned firewood. •After any holiday entertaining, check wastebaskets and furniture for smoldering cigarettes. •Make sure your home has at least one working smoke detector on each floor and that everyone knows how to exit in case of an emergency. •Make sure that all exits are kept unobstructed. For assistance with fire safety information, call 630-620-5750.
Village coordinates tornado relief effort The Village of Lombard is collecting items and encouraging donations to offer relief to victims of the deadly EF-4 tornado that hit central Illinois on Nov. 17. The damaging tornado reportedly had winds ranging from 166 to 200 miles per hour. According to the mayor of Washington, Ill., an estimated 1,000 homes in the community sustained damage. Donation items for residents affected by the tornado can be dropped off at one of three collection sites through Friday, Dec. 6. Items will be delivered to the Washington area by the Lombard Fire Department and staff from partnering group International Village Apartments. Collection sites include Lombard’s Fire Station 1, 50 E. St. Charles Road; Fire Station 2, 2020 S. Highland Ave.; and the main office of International Village Apartments, 1300 S. Finley Road. According to the Peoria Journal Star, the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce said monetary donations are a high priority and can be dedicated to one of three established relief funds: the City of Washington Relief Fund, the Rotary of Washington Foundation Fund and the Washington High School Fund. Checks can also be mailed to Morton Community Bank at 721 W. Jackson St, Morton, IL 61550. The Washington Rotary Foundation Fund is also accepting credit card donations. Call the bank at 309-284-1365 to make a credit card donation to the Rotary Foundation Fund. A list of donation items was also provided by the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce. Items being collected in Lombard include baby formula, diapers, wipes, sippy cups, pacifiers, portable playpens, baby clothes, pillows, blankets, water and pet food, coats, boots, shoes, scarves, gloves, new underwear, socks, toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, hand sanitizer, plastic totes, lightweight plastic shelving, lightweight stackable shelving units, plastic utensils, cups and plates, reading glasses, contact solution, contact cases, denture products, Depends, first aid kits, sewing kits, pain relievers, cold medicine, duct tape, extension cords, power strips, phone chargers and black markers. Lombard’s Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Howell said the fire department will make sure donations from the community are properly delivered to the area affected by the tornado. “We are grateful to work with our residents, community partners and neighboring fire departments to collect and deliver these much needed supplies to the communities in central Illinois affected by last week’s severe weather events,” Howell said. Public works Director Carl Goldsmith said his department has extended an offer to commit personnel and equipment, such as dump trucks and loaders, to Washington for clean-up and relief. Goldsmith said Illinois Public Works Mutual Aid Network reported Washington has not requested additional resources from Lombard but will be assessing conditions over the next few operational periods. “We will continue to stand at the ready to assist as needed,” Goldsmith said. Earlier this week, Village President Keith Giagnorio sent a letter to Washington’s mayor, Gary Manier, city council members and residents. Giagnorio extended sympathy on behalf of the village and extended an offer to help with relief efforts as needed. “It takes strong leadership and determined residents to rebuild after such a disaster,” Giagnorio wrote. “We have no doubt that you and your community will rebuild and this tragedy will bring everyone even closer than you already are.” Questions regarding the collection can be directed to Communications Coordinator Bridget Doyle at 630-620-5718 or email@example.com.
Firefighter/paramedic to appear on WGN When Lombard Firefighter/ Paramedic Bob Hopper isn’t out on a call, he’s likely serving up a hot meal for the Gold Shift at Fire Station 1. As a favorite chef among his station colleagues, Hopper was recently encouraged to submit one of his popular recipes to a cooking segment on WGN News. At no surprise to his friends, one of Hopper’s most-requested meals was chosen to air on live TV this December. Hopper and his famous “Firehouse Cheesesteak” will be on WGN News’ midday segment “Lunchbreak” with Dina Bair, set to air sometime around 12:40 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. Hot sandwiches are a favorite lunch item at the station, Hopper said, especially in the winter months. The famous recipe is comprised of green peppers, onions, thinly sliced beef, mozzarella cheese, steak seasonings, soft white hoagie rolls and a touch of mayonnaise. While he joked about being a “culinary sandwich artist,” Hopper admits his sandwich is an easy recipe that will impress a group—whether it’s for lunch, dinner or a tailgate. “I think the sandwich tastes like there was more time involved in it than there really is,” Hopper said. “It’s just a tasty, hearty sandwich. It really hits home.” According to his station colleagues, Hopper’s other famous firehouse recipes include chili, double baked potatoes, a frozen peanut chocolate banana pie and buffalo ranch chicken wraps. And, this Thanksgiving, Hopper was in charge of stuffing the turkey for Fire Station 1. He planned to fill the bird with stuffing made from White Castle sliders. While all the on-duty firefighters at Fire Station 1 agree that he’s one of their best cooks, Hopper said there’s still friendly pressure to please the crowd. “If you mess up a meal at the station, you’re on the hook for pizza,” Hopper said. “I always keep $100 on hand just in case.” Hopper’s Firehouse Cheesesteak Sandwiches Ingredients: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan 2 large yellow onions, chopped 2 large green peppers, chopped Steak seasoning blend (Montreal steak seasoning works) 2 lbs. lean beef tenderloin or sirloin (I use London broil), sliced thin 2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, from the deli counter, sliced thin 6 soft Italian sandwich hoagie rolls, 6 to 8 inches long each, split lengthwise Mayonnaise Directions: Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add onions and peppers and season with steak seasoning blend. Cook onions and peppers, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until onions are soft and caramel in color. Cook thin sliced steaks until brown but not crisp. When the meat is browned, just before you remove from heat, sprinkle them with steak seasoning. When all of the meat is cooked, add peppers and onions, then add cheese. Allow cheese to melt and mix together. Put a light covering of mayonnaise on rolls. Add meat to rolls and serve.