Six chickens summering at museum provide eggs, education and entertainment by Bonnie MacKay A special events permit issued by the village has made it possible for six young “chicks” to summer in Lombard. The chicks, a Turken Naked Neck chicken named Chickadee; Sicilian Buttercups named Sissy and Daisy; a Highland Cross named Mabel; a Golden Laced chicken named Victoria; and Chickadee, an unknown variety, are spending the summer at the Lombard Historical Society’s Victorian Cottage, 23 W. Maple St. Their “vacation” in the suburbs was made possible by the generosity of Walnut Acres Family Farm in Walnut, Ill., where the chickens reside. Having chickens at the museum is the brainchild of Alison Costanzo, Victorian coordinator, who said she wanted to do more “off the grid” programs at the Victorian cottage. She related that the Victorian cottage is a drop-off site once a month for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) meat and eggs from Walnut Acres and she approached them and asked “to borrow” the chickens. “It’s a great partnership,” she related. According to Walnut Acres Family Farm Web site, the home grown meats include range-fed beef, pork, chicken, turkey and eggs. The meats are free of hormones, antibiotics and animal by-products. They offer options from CSA shares to freezer meat. CSA shares are dropped off at the Victorian Cottage on the fourth Saturday of the month. According to Natalie Gacek, executive director, a group of volunteers built the chicken coop and a separate roaming pen for the chickens. “There is a large number of volunteers on a daily basis,” she said, adding that the chickens need to be let out, fed and put to bed at night. Gacek said the chickens have different personalities and interact with the volunteers. “It became a really great community project,” Costanzo said, adding that all the activity around the chickens has brought some life to the Victorian. “A lot of people think they’re cute,” she quipped. One of those who shares Costanzo’s sentiments about the chickens is Allison Landsberger, who volunteers with feeding, cleaning up after and putting the chickens to bed. She is assisted by her two young children, who Landsberger said look forward to going to care for the chickens. The volunteers are “paid” with the fresh eggs they collect. On Monday, the Landsberger “crew” both woke the chickens up in the morning and returned in the evening to put them to bed. In the morning, volunteers let the chickens out, make sure their feeding and drinking utensils were clean, fill the utensils with food and water, and collect eggs, if any have been laid. Instructions provided for volunteers also asks volunteers to watch the chickens to make sure they look active and healthy and are feeding normally. Volunteers also are to be on the lookout for any signs of damage from predators. Volunteers return in the afternoon to make sure the bedding is dry, clean the coop and change the water so the chickens have fresh water throughout the day. In the evening, although the instructions relate that the chickens will normally return to the coop to roost of their own accord, volunteers check in on the six chicks once again. Evening chores include checking to be sure the chicks have fresh food and water, removing any wet bedding and locking the chickens inside the coop for the night to keep them safe from predators. Landsberger said her family found two eggs in the morning and two when they returned to put the chickens to bed. “Mabel heard us and came out the door,” Landsberger said. “She a good chicken and listens to what you say.” Costanzo said Mabel is her daughter’s favorite chicken and that she interacts with the children. “I’m spoiled with these fresh eggs,” she related to her husband. “I need chickens.” Landsberger, who grew up in Indiana and spent time on her aunt’s farm, has found that helping with the care of the chickens at the Victorian cottage has been an educational experience for her children. Most of the project has been funded through donations from the food to building the chicken coop, Costanzo related. “Darrel Haake helped with the majority of building, there were donations of lumber and one volunteer ‘volunteered’ her husband,” she said. “It’s a labor of love from the community.” “The kids are super excited to meet the chickens,” Costanzo said of the volunteer and visitors who bring their children to the museum grounds. “But, like with any pet, it’s really about taking care of them.” She added that you do not need a rooster to have eggs, so no rooster is crowing at the crack of dawn. “It’s such a benefit,” Landsberger said about the chicken project at the Victorian cottage. “It’s too bad there is such a negative connotation [about backyard chickens], she said.
Lombard voted down having backyard chickens in 2010. However, earlier this year Downers Grove approved keeping hens in the backyard as long as the neighbors approve. The Victorian Cottage, 23 W. Maple St., has been holding Drop-in Chicken Crafts this summer at the Carriage House behind the museum. Drop in today between 1 -5:30 p.m. to find out, “What Does the Chicken Say?” The event on Wednesday, Aug. 6, “Stuff a Wild Chicken” is $5 per person. The chickens, which arrived in Lombard in mid-May will be returning to the farm on Aug. 16. For more information about the chicken project at the Victorian Cottage, visit www.lombardhistory.org or call 630-629-1885. For more information about Walnut Acres Family Farm, visit www.walnut4meat.com.
Mosquitoes pesky, but health department lists risk level at zero by Bonnie MacKay Summer is in full swing and outside activities and events are the order of the day. However, unwanted guests often put a damper on the activities at this time of year. According to Dave Gorman, assistant public works director, the recent wet weather is very good for floodwater mosquitoes, which go from egg to adult in three days. The pesky Aedes vexans mosquitoes do not carry West Nile Virus. These mosquitoes, which can even breed in damp grass, are not easily abated. Additionally, Gorman related that spraying for these and other species of mosquitoes is minimally effective and expensive, and can be problematic for those with respiratory problems. The Village of Lombard contracts with Clarke Mosquito for abatement services. The program targets larvae in all open waters and street basins, as well as in backyard catch basins and areas with poor drainage. This program is aimed directly at the Culex species of mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus. Gorman explained that the Culex mosquitoes are larger than the pesky Aedes vexans mosquitoes and the Culex species only breed in standing water. They take longer to breed and go from egg to adult in seven days. “They are only active at dusk and dawn,” Gorman explained. As part of the village’s abatement program, Clarke monitors and then treats 4,320 public street catch basins and 350 private backyard basins with time-release larvacide pellets and briquettes. Larger, hard-to-reach open areas are surveilled and treated by helicopter. Gorman reminds residents to eliminate standing water on their property, cover or chlorinate pools and change bird bath water twice a week. Clarke recommends the use of insect repellent, covering bare skin or staying indoors. The DuPage County Health Department’s Web site provides visitors to the site with a Personal Protection Index (PPI) each day on its Fight the Bite page. A check of the Web site on Tuesday, July 22, found a PPI with a zero risk level, saying that it is off season, the mosquitoes are not active and the climate is not favorable for the Culex species. The PPI on the health department’s Web site may be viewed at dupagehealth.org/ftb. Residents may contact the Clarke Hotline at 800-942-2555 to ensure their catch basin is on the list or to obtain information on mosquito abatement.
Early morning garage fire causes over $150,000 damage At approximately 8:45 a.m. on July 16, the Lombard Fire Department responded to a reported garage fire in the 600 block of North Grace Street. Although the garage was detached, it was completely involved with fire when firefighters arrived on the scene. Fire damage extended to the single-family home, as well as another neighbor’s house to the north. Two vehicles, two motorcycles and a boat were also damaged, according to the Lombard Fire Department. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Damage to structures and property is estimated to be more than $150,000. Lombard firefighters were assisted by Oak Brook and Villa Park fire departments and Addison and York Center fire protection districts.
Kruser named new library director The Helen M. Plum Memorial Library Board of Trustees has selected Barbara Kruser as the next director of Helen M. Plum Memorial Library. Currently, the assistant director for Niles Public Library, Kruser will assume her new role on Monday, Aug. 18. Kruser felt her strong point in her previous position was working with staff and getting them the training they needed to do their job in the best possible way. She created two new departments while working at Niles Library and prides herself on great staff communication. “The board of trustees is responsible for ensuring we hire the best person for this position and that the person possesses great leadership abilities and ideas to lead our library forward in this changing environment,” said Virginia Carlson, Helen Plum Library board president. “With today’s announcement, we feel we have found the right person for the job.” Of her new position, Kruser said, “I am very excited about coming to work for the Helen Plum Library. I have many close friends who live nearby. I really felt I clicked with the board and staff.” Kruser’s career at the Niles Library began in 1989. She was hired as a reference librarian and worked her way up to assistant director in 2009. Kruser has also represented the library on the Niles Chamber of Commerce board, serving last year as its president. Kruser will take over for longtime library director Robert Harris, who will retire on Aug. 15, after 25 years of service. The Helen Plum Library staff members are passionate advocates for literacy and lifelong learning. For more information, call 630-627-0316 or visit helenplum.org.
Seven individuals face drug charges following multi-agency drug sting DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Jack Riley and Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall announced Friday, July 18, that felony drug conspiracy and sales charges have been filed against seven individuals as the result of a four-month-long investigation into an alleged drug ring operating out of a Naperville apartment complex. The charges are the result of a coordinated effort between the state’s attorney’s office, the Naperville Police Department, the DEA, DuMeg (DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group), the Illinois State Police and the FBI. The following individuals are accused of dealing heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. They were taken into custody without incident the morning of July 17 and appeared in bond court on July 18. Those charged are: •Bernice Coleman, 53, of 400 E. Bailey, Naperville •Jerome Powell, 61, of 400 E. Bailey, Naperville •Tretepfone Pryor, 21, of 400 E. Bailey, Naperville •Kortney Martez, 32, 514 Kiowa, Naperville •Antonio Ervin, 25, of 1387 S. Glen Circle, Aurora •Paris Miller, 19, of 23504 W. Winston Ave., Plainfield •Mack Jones, 56, of 1426 S. 10th Ave., Maywood Judge Elizabeth Sexton set bond for Coleman and Powell at $1 million each. They have each been charged with one count of calculated criminal drug conspiracy, a Class X felony. Sexton set bond for Pryor and Martez at $50,000. The two men have each been charged with one count of delivery of cannabis, a Class 3 felony. Sexton set bond at $300,000 for Ervin and $200,000 for Miller. They have each been charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a non-probationable Class 1 felony. Each of the aforementioned defendant’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 29. Jones has been charged with one count of calculated criminal drug conspiracy, a Class X felony. His bond has been set at $1 million. “While we have made progress in our fight against heroin and other dangerous street drugs, the charges against these defendants confirms that we still have more work to do” Berlin said. “With this in mind, I would like to stress that this investigation continues and I anticipate the filing of further charges before we conclude. I would like to thank all of the agencies involved for their hard work and cooperation not only on this case, but for their ongoing efforts in ridding our streets of dangerous narcotics. I would also like to thank assistant state’s attorneys Audrey Anderson and Jennifer Lindt for their work in preparing strong cases against the defendants. “As I have said previously, heroin is not just an inner-city problem. It’s here in Naperville and it’s in your community, too. Our top priority is dismantling these drug trafficking organizations, who peddle their poison in our communities,” said Riley. “But we can’t do it alone. We need parents, teachers, coaches and faith-based practitioners to get involved and do their part too.” “These successful efforts directed at persons in the drug distribution business involved the cooperation of many law enforcement agencies and have resulted in Naperville being a safer community today,” added Marshall.
Civil War re-enactment at Four Seasons July 26-27 The Lombard Historical Society will host the fourth annual Sweet’s Civil War Re-enactment at Four Seasons Park in Lombard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27. Sweet’s Civil War Re-enactment will feature both Confederate and Union soldiers recreating military campsites, military drills and demonstrations, cannon fire during an 11:30 skirmish and a 2:30 battle, Civil War-era music and games, and other living history activities. Stanford's Battery and the 8th Veteran Reserve Corps (VRC) are co-hosting this event. Stanford’s Battery is a seasoned re-enacting unit that has been performing in regional events and parades for many years. They interpret a Confederate battery unit from Mississippi and have several cannons in the unit. In the past they have been invited to be part of local and regional re-enactments and one of their cannons was featured in the movie “Glory.” Stanford’s is always looking for Civil War history enthusiasts to join its ranks. The 8th Veteran Reserve Corps is a new living history group that is associated with the historical society and portrays soldiers, prisoners and women-folk who were associated with the 8th VRC or the “Invalid Corps.” The unit interprets men and women who were encamped at Camp Douglas, Chicago, under the command of Col. (later General) Benjamin Sweet. Sweet moved to Babcock's Grove, renamed Lombard in 1869, and was one of the founders who platted this town in 1869. The 8th VRC is open to anyone 15 and older who is interested in reenacting the Civil War. Other units attending the event include: Austin’s Battalion Company A, Battery G, Missouri Guerrillas, 45th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, 64th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Kentucky Calvary, Co. D, 3rd Tennessee Co. D, 1st Michigan Engineers & Mechanics, 9th Virginia Cavalry & McGregor’s Battery and the 154th Tennessee Infantry. Saturday’s activities include living history activities, a skirmish at 11:30 a.m. and battle at 2:30 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln and a lantern tour of the camps (registration required). Sunday’s activities include living history activities, a skirmish at 11:30 a.m. and a battle at 2:30 p.m., Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, raffle award ticket pulled, dance instruction and much more. The event is free and open to the public; there is a suggested donation of $5 per person with proceeds benefiting the Lombard Historical Society. Sutlers will be selling Civil War-themed souvenirs at the event and food trucks will be available for the purchase of lunch and snacks. For more information, call 630-629-1885 or visit www. lombardhistory.org.