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Plan in beginning stages for Mariano’s at former Kmart site
by Bonnie MacKay                                        
A vacant property along Roosevelt Road may find new life if a developer’s plan for the site is approved.
Last week, the Village of Lombard announced that Bradford Real Estate will be pursuing zoning and development approvals from the village for a new 74,000-square-foot grocery store at the site of the former Kmart store at 345 W. Roosevelt Road.
According to the village’s press release, the project will consist of the demolition of an existing vacant Kmart store, which has been closed since January 2013. The demolished building will be replaced with a modern prototype store that is focused upon meeting the grocery and convenience needs of the community.
The project needs to be reviewed through a public hearing process before the Lombard Plan Commission, which is scheduled for Monday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson Ave., Lombard.
Per plans dated April 14, which were submitted to the Village of Lombard in conjunction with the zoning petition, Mariano’s Fresh Market is the proposed use for the property, according to Lombard Village Manager Scott Niehaus.
According to Bradford Real Estate’s Web site, Mariano’s Fresh Market is one of Bradford’s many tenants. A list of Bradford Real Estate’s finished projects show completion of a Mariano’s in Westmont earlier this year; a Mariano’s in Lake Zurich in 2014; a Mariano’s in Wheaton, Harwood Heights and Frankfort in 2013; and a Mariano’s in Palatine in 2012.
Bradford’s Web site lists other tenants on a repeat basis as Walmart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Meijer, Kohl’s, Jewel, PetSmart, Walgreens, CVS, Vitamin Shoppe, Noodles & Company, Starbucks, Chipotle and McDonald’s.
The village press release stated that should the project be approved, it is anticipated that construction could start on the project later in 2016.
“The Kmart site has been a property that has been a resident concern. We look forward to working with Bradford on this high-profile project,” noted Keith T. Giagnorio, Lombard village president. “This project demonstrates that the village successfully partners with the development community to make desired projects a reality.”
According to the release, the May 16 public hearing is just the first step in the approval process and it is not a guarantee the project will move forward. Notable conditions that would still need to be satisfied include consideration by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) for roadway improvements to Roosevelt Road and the Roosevelt-Finley intersection.
Additionally, to facilitate the development and any required public improvements, the village will also be considering an economic incentive agreement. The agreement will be created over the next few months and would likely be considered concurrent with the final development approvals by the Lombard Village Board.
“The village’s economic incentive policy approved in December 2015 is an invaluable tool for major redevelopment projects that provide value to the whole community,” said District 4 Trustee Bill Johnston, chair of the village’s Economic and Community Development Committee. “This project is a testament to the village’s commitment in strengthening the local economy.”
The Lombard Village Board approved two economic incentive agreements on March 17, which were the first projects resulting from Lombard’s recently adopted economic Incentive Policy.
The first incentive agreement was with Sam’s West Inc., which will result in the development of a 135,000-square-foot Sam’s Club retail warehouse store at 611 E. Butterfield Road.

The second approved agreement was between the village and Bluestone Single Tenant Properties, LLC, which will construct a fuel station, as well as a companion 7,223-square-foot convenience store at the southeast corner of Route 53 and North Avenue.
When approved in March, those two projects were in their final design stages and a 2016 construction start was anticipated.
Lombard District 2 Trustee Mike Fugiel stated he’s “hopeful that the store will be an economic catalyst, as well as a welcome addition to the Roosevelt Road corridor.”


Robber hits Villa Park gas station
by Bonnie MacKay                                              
A lone subject, who apparently implied he had a gun, held up a Villa Park gas station on Saturday morning, April 30.
According to Villa Park Police Detective Sgt. Bill Lyons, the male subject entered the BP station at North and Villa avenues at about 9:37 a.m. and reportedly demanded cash.
Lyons said the subject allegedly displayed a knife, but implied he had a handgun. He allegedly demanded cash and removed the cash box from the business.
He fled on foot westbound from the business with an undetermined amount of cash.
The subject was described as a white male, approximately in his mid-20s with brown hair. He was wearing a white hoodie, with the hood up, a camaflouge coat and blue jeans.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Villa Park Police at 630-834-7447.


ATM removed during early morning heist at VP liquor store
by Bonnie MacKay                                              
An alarm activation summoned Villa Park police to a liquor store along North Avenue during the early morning hours of  April 26.
Police responded to Casa del Vino, 137 E. North Ave., at about 5:13 a.m., where they discovered damage to the store front.
According to Villa Park Police Detective Bill Lyons, unknown subject(s) removed the ATM from the liquor store.
Officers canvassed the area and attempted to recover video tapes from the surrounding area.
The ATM was located a couple of blocks away, minus an undisclosed amount of cash, according to Lyons.
On Monday, May 2, Villa Park investigators were following up on a number of leads.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Villa Park police at 630-834-7447.


Unidentified woman struck by train
An unidentified female subject was struck by an eastbound commuter train at approximately 11:26 a.m. on Monday, May 2, west of the Ardmore Avenue crossing in Villa Park.
Police and fire personnel responded to the area of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, between Princeton and Yale, according to Villa Park Police Detective Sgt. Bill Lyons. It was determined that the woman had apparently been walking the tracks before being struck by the train.
A representative from the DuPage County Coroner’s Office responded to the accident scene, where the woman was pronounced dead at 11:45 a.m.
According to a press release from the DuPage County Coroner’s Office, preliminary findings from an examination on May 3 showed the woman appeared to have died from massive traumatic injuries. The final cause and manner will be determined once toxicology findings are reviewed.
The subject is described as a white female, approximately 40 to 50 years of age, with very short, dark hair. She was wearing a black/silver top, black leather jacket, black pants, and black shoes and socks.
Anyone with information on the identity of the woman is asked to contact Lyons at 630-592-6117 or the DuPage County Coroner’s Office at 630-407-2600.
–Bonnie MacKay


Glenbard East closes theater season with ‘You Can’t Take It with You’
by Suzanne Bolur                                 
Glenbard East High School Theatre concludes the 2015-16 season with a laugh as it presents its production of the comedy “You Can’t Take It with You.”
 The play, written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, centers on the eccentric Vanderhof/Sycamore family. When “normal” daughter Alice invites her boyfriend and his prim and proper parents to her parents’ house for dinner, their two very different worlds collide.
As theater director Mr. Kaetzer explained, it’s a situation that should be familiar to audiences.
“I personally believe Kaufman and Hart are the forefathers of classic situational comedy,” he said. “The set is the living room and dining room combination. Let’s start listing how many sitcoms are set like that. From ‘The Odd Couple,’ to ‘The Cosby Show,’ to ‘Friends.’ There’s a normal character you can identify with and a galaxy of bizarre characters orbiting around them. Pick your sitcom. Every decade has it.”
Kaetzer said the comedy was chosen to balance out the fall dance show and the winter drama. It has been about 10 years since Glenbard East has done a Kaufman and Hart show and 22 years since they last did this play.
Back in the spring of 1994, Glenbard East presented “You Can’t Take It with You.” It was the last play directed by former theater teacher Fred Hoebel before Kaetzer started. Oddly, it wasn’t the first time Kaetzer just missed doing this play.
“The joke for me is, I love the show and it’s always been done right before I went to that school,” he said.
When Kaetzer was in eighth grade, his high school did the play. Then, Glenbard West High School did the play right before he was hired to teach there.
“It’s finally time,” he said.
Coincidentally, several other schools in the area have recently done the play as well including Glenbard South, Downers Grove North and Elmhurst College.
Auditions were held the first week of March and 61 students tried out. Kaetzer said auditions involved a lot of improv and he was looking for actors who could play a range of characters. He explained that some characters are onstage for pages without any speaking, so the actors needed to learn to be active characters even when they didn’t have lines.
“It’s fun but hard,” he explained. “What’s cool is you see these people who are off doing their own fun, wacky things. That’s what creates the mayhem and craziness, which is the basis of the humor in this play.”
 The play provided students an opportunity to study comedy. As Kaetzer explained, comedy is a lot of work and more complicated than people give it credit for.
“There’s a rhythm to understanding how to tell a joke,” he said, adding that students learned about framing a joke, timing, and pace.
Senior Joe Ruppenthal, who plays Mr. De Pinna, said his goofy character is completely different from the serious and dark characters he previously enjoyed playing, like Macbeth.
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had with a show,” he said, adding that he had free rein to experiment with his character. “He’s a loon. This role is fun and I feel comfortable when I go onstage.”   
Ruppenthal plans to attend Illinois Wesleyan University to study computer science and business, and hopes to be involved in theater.
Senior Maggie Joyce said she’s also had fun with her character, the bright and happy Penny Sycamore. Some of her previous roles include Olga in “The Three Sisters” and Mrs. Boyle in “The Mousetrap.” She said playing Penny has been rejuvenating.
“She’s a ray of sunshine,” Joyce said, adding that the role is very different from ones she’s previously played and that she’s grown as an actor over the years.
Her favorite part of playing Penny has been “having fun, making bold choices and not confining myself to the script.” She plans to major in acting at Illinois State University.
Senior Geno Schellenberger plays Grandpa Martin Vanderhof.
“He’s a great character,” said Schellenberger, describing him as wise and “the calm of the storm of the Sycamore family.”
 Schellenberger, who has appeared in numerous plays over the past four years, including “Our Town” and “Spamalot,” said his character is completely different from who he is in real life.
“I’m 18 years old and I’m very stressed, I’m the exact opposite of him,” he said. “Embodying that relaxed character has really leveled me as a person. It helps to think like Grandpa.”
Schellenberger said Grandpa’s motto is “doing what you love” and he tries to remind himself of that.
“We all can use a little Grandpa in our lives,” he added. Schellenberger plans to study business at the University of Illinois.
Senior Sam Batjes plays Ed, a goofball xylophone player, who is in love with Essie.
Batjes took intro to theater during his sophomore year and acting classes during his junior year. He said he fell in love with acting, which led him to audition and be cast in “Wii Dance Through the Night” and “The Three Sisters.”
For his role, Batjes got to learn how to play the xylophone, which he said he picked up quickly. He said he played a little bit of guitar, but never actually learned an instrument before.
“It’s a lot of fun to be in a comedy with friends,” he said, adding he plans to attend the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee to study film and possibly do some theater.
Senior Eden Dolinski plays Olga Katrina. Once a grand duchess in Russia, she is now a waitress. Dolinski described her as having a “grand, big personality.” Dolinski was in the school’s productions of “Beauty and the Beast” and “Our Town,” and was assistant director of “Spamalot.” This is the first time she’s played a character with an accent, which she enjoyed learning.
“It’s extremely difficult” she said, explaining that she learned the accent by watching YouTube videos. “Plus this character is so much fun to do.”
Dolinski plans to attend College of DuPage and then transfer to study expressive arts therapy.
Senior Alex Stratton plays ballet instructor Kolenkhov. Although a male role, Stratton is female and made the role her own. Stratton has been involved in theater since her freshman year. For her role in “The 39 Steps” she had to learn a British accent, and for this role, she had to master a Russian accent.
“I like learning accents,” she said. “I pick them up really easily.”
Stratton said she watched lots of YouTube videos, studying where the sounds were formed and how to roll her Rs. 
Stratton plans to attend College of DuPage to study communications.
Senior Maya Ogolini plays Alice, the most normal, level-headed member of her family. Ogolini has been involved in theater all four years including roles in “The Three Sisters,” “The Crucible” and “Macbeth.”
Ogolini said a lot of the roles she played are young, innocent and naïve, but her role of Alice is different. Alice is strong, level-headed and guides her family.
“She has the appearance of someone who’s still young and very innocent but she has a strength that I really like playing into,” Ogolini explained. She added that the most challenging part of her character is the over the top romantic aspect.
Ogolini plans to study screenwriting at DePaul University.
Junior Cassie Piper plays Gay Wellington, a drunk actress.
“So I’m acting as an actress,” she laughed.
Piper, who was in “The Three Sisters” and “Macbeth,” said she’s never played a drunk character before. She said Kaetzer advised her “try to not stumble.”
“A lot of people think that it’s all about tripping and falling over,” she explained. “But it’s really the concentration of doing everything right because you don’t want anyone to think that you’re drunk.”
Piper said she enjoys playing serious roles and found the comedy to be a bit challenging, due to the timing. However, she’s enjoyed working with such a funny cast and making jokes backstage.
“Also, I get to sleep for a lot of Act Two, so that’s kind of nice,” she joked.
Sophomore Chris Turner plays Paul, the father. He described him as middle-age with “a hop in his step.” Turner has been involved in theater since middle school. His older sisters were involved in theater at Glenbard East, and he knew he wanted to be as well. His first role was Patsy in “Spamalot.”
“The comedy is my favorite part but there’s more meaningful parts to it, too,” he said of the show, adding that he enjoys comedy because it comes naturally to him. He is looking forward to auditioning for future shows.
Senior Rachael Larson plays Essie Carmichael, an aspiring ballerina who loves to make candy. Larson has been involved in theater both onstage and backstage. She was in “Beauty and the Beast,” she did props for “The Crucible” and was costumes crew head for “Spamalot” and “Wii Dance Through the Night.”
Larson participated in a stage craft class, an independent study with four other students and Kaetzer. For their final project, each student took an aspect of the show and did the work. Kaetzer said much of the research and ideas are being used in the production.
Larson said she decided to audition for the show rather than work on a crew because she loved the character of Essie when she read the play.
“I really liked the characters and wanted to get onstage again because it’s a lot of fun,” she said, adding that she plans on studying psychology and sociology at University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh.
Senior Deven Majcan is props crew head for the show and also appears onstage as one of the G-Men. She’s worked on crews for other plays including makeup for “Macbeth,” scenery and sound for “The Three Sisters,” and sound for “Doubt.” This is her first time onstage.
 “It’s weird,” she said. “I’ve never been onstage so it’s interesting. It’s a lot of fun to be around the actors and the crew. They’re all really funny.”
Her responsibilities as props crew head include pulling props from the props room, making certain props and making sure props are in place backstage. She said the biggest challenge was that many of the props they had were too modern. The show was written in 1936.
Junior Sierra Innis is sound crew head. She was lights crew head for “The Mousetrap” and “The Three Sisters” and also appeared onstage for “Wii Dance Through the Night” as an ice princess, workout girl, and more.
This is her first time working on sound and she said she’s found it challenging but fun.
“It’s something I’ve never done before, and it’s another aspect of backstage,” she said, adding that she hopes to be a film director. “I’m trying to immerse myself in backstage and how things work.”
Innis said she enjoys working backstage, as well as performing onstage, adding that they are “different but fun.”
“Both are important parts of telling the story,” she explained. “If one isn’t working right with the other, it’s not cohesive.”
Innis said she might audition for the fall musical and hopes to be assistant director for a show. She said her favorite thing is watching a show come together.
“It’s like, ‘Yes, we got this,’” she said. “That’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
 “You Can’t Take It with You” runs tonight, May 4, through Saturday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7. For more information, call 630-424-6640.


RE/MAX grand re-opening to be held May 14
Amy Pecoraro, a local real estate broker, formerly of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and her husband, Mike, are now the new owners of RE/MAX Achievers in downtown Lombard.
“Mike and I are flying high with excitement about our new endeavor. We hope to bring the best real estate service available to our community,” said Pecoraro.
Their grand re-opening will be on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. held in their parking lot. There will be hot dogs and refreshments, a giant RE/MAX balloon, games and fun giveaways.
RE/MAX Achievers is located at 123 W. St. Charles Road, Suite 100, Lombard. For more information about Pecoraro or RE/MAX Achievers, visit www.achievers.illinoisproperty.com or contact 630-678-0300.

 
   
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