This Week’s Meetings



The below information has been provided by Mike Barbour,  Veterans and Seniors Advocate Naperville Township and the Naperville Joining Forces Team.  Excellent work done by these folks on behalf of our veterans.

Naperville Responds for Our Veterans
Pat Bowler                                                                                        630.276.7567
The organization assists veterans in need by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and coordinates the process of repairing, building and donating homes.
Naperville Township (Veterans Advocate)
Mike Barbour 630.240.1645
There are 60,000+ Veterans in DuPage County and 12,000 to 14,000 Veterans in the Naperville area.  As a result of those numbers the Naperville Township Supervisor and Trustees felt it was imperative to create a means to assist that Veteran population.  The Veterans and Senior Advocate Office is here to assist veterans and their families in applying for federal, state, and local veterans benefits.  There is no fee or charge of any kind for this service. Many veterans are not aware that the government provides medical care, education assistance, employment services, pension and disability compensation, burial and memorial assistance and an array of other services. If a veteran’s discharge papers have been lost or destroyed, duplicate papers can be applied for. This office is a concierge service for Veteran. There are some area the Veterans Advocate may not be able to help but will contact the Veterans Administration, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the DuPage County Veterans Assistance Commission or the VFW and American Legion State Service Officers
Naperville Township (General Assistance)
Millie Rodriguez                                                      630.355.2786
General Assistance and Emergency Assistance; financial assistance services for basic maintenance needs, such as food, utilities and/or shelter.  Must meet financial and non-financial requirements.
Information and Referral Services
Salvation Army emergency financial assistance
Lisle Township
Jim Vondran                             630.968.2087 X 11
Lisle Township offers general assistance, transportation programs, counseling (employment, youth and family, bereavement and/or referrals to provide Veteran-specific counseling, Job Club, food pantry, passport acceptance processing and referrals to best help the needs of Veterans and their families.
York Township
John Morrissey                         630.220.1560
York Township offers referral assistance to federal, state and local agencies
Veterans Assistance Commission of DuPage County
Steve Fixler 630.407.5655
Temporary emergency financial assistance for veterans and their families: VA medical transportation, vehicle repairs, food/family essentials, burial expenses, referrals/advocacy assistance, mortgage or rent payments, utility payments, work/home related expenses, and emergency prescriptions.
DuPage County Vet Center
Patricia Wasisco,                        630.585.1853
Dale Anderson                  
Vet Centers are community based and part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible Veterans in order to help make a satisfying post-combat adjustment.
Vet Centers offer free services to eligible Veterans and their families.  These services include: Individual Counseling, Community Education, Couple and Family Counseling, Employment Counseling, Job Referral, Liaison with VA Facilities, Referral to Community Agencies, Sexual Trauma Counseling, and Spouse/Significant Other Support…
College of DuPage: Veterans Services Department
Robert Wiseman                                         630.942.4037
Assist Veterans in utilizing their military educational benefits to pay for school
Military Resource Club
Scott Stratton                             630.652.8504
Established in 2008, the DeVry Military Resource club assists with the transition from combat to college through administrative, academic and peer veteran support. This student-led club meets monthly at the Addison campus of DeVry University, hosts relevant external service providers, provides updates to veterans programs and promotes social and memorial events on-campus and in the community. The DMRC is an award winning chapter of the Student Veterans of America.
Naperville CARES
Maria McTarnaghan                                      630.369.0200
For residents of Naperville or members of a Naperville congregation, the CARES Emergency Assistance program provides direct financial assistance and also collaborates and coordinates funding with local congregations, social service and government agencies to pay for basic needs such as rent, utilities, child care, car payments or care car insurance.  For Naperville residents, members of a Naperville congregation or those working with a DuPage County social service agency, CARES also has a Car Program which provides reliable transportation by repairing vehicles donated by community members and providing them to eligible household that lack critical transportation to get to work or repairing client-owned vehicles of those individuals who are working or actively seeking employment.
City of Naperville Fair Housing Advisory Commission
Anna Straczek                                                                 630.305.53.13
Naperville’s Fair Housing Advisory Commission plays an important role in discouraging illegal and unethical housing practices by promoting and encouraging fair housing for all. The commission works to ensure that all people have a fair and equal opportunity to purchase, own, lease or occupy housing within the City of Naperville without discrimination on basis of race, familial status, physical or mental handicap or disability, military status, sexual orientation or legal source of income.  The commission also hears complaints from those who feel they have been discriminated against.  For more information on the commission to file a complaint, visit the City’s website at
Naperville Homeowners’ Confederation
Bob Fischer, President       630.369.4831
The Naperville Area Homeowners’ Confederation serves our community by providing the means to foster communication between member associations, homeowners, and government officials.  Through this communication, networking, and neighbors-helping-neighbors, the Confederation is the vehicle through which we as homeowners and residents, can stay abreast of community affairs and generate a positive influence on our area’s future.  Specifically for veterans, we can provide a communications resource to area homeowners associations through our website, newsletter, monthly meetings, and more.  For more information, visit the Confederation website at
Naperville Senior Home Sharing
Wendell Gustafson                   630.407.0440 X11
For those 62+ we offer shared living in residential homes with 5-6 other seniors.  Included is a private bedroom and shared use of all common area of the home and outside amenities.  A staff member lives in the home, cooks three meals every day for all residents, can provide medication reminders upon request, and keeps a watchful eye and ear on residents when in the home, which is usually about 20 hours per day. Our Resident Life Director visits regularly (usually weekly) to meet with residents and help solve any issues that may arise in the home or with any changing needs of the residents. Additionally, volunteers work with residents and the needs of the home to enhance the quality of life for residents and keep the place looking great. 
Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans
Kim Pawl                                                      630.871.8387
The Shelter offers transitional housing, affordable housing, supportive services for veteran families and the Freedom Commissary.
VFW National Home for Children
Mike McGrath                            630.420.9820
The VFW National Home for Children serves as a living memorial to America’s veterans by helping our nation’s veterans and military families during difficult times. The National Home was founded in 1925 as a place where families left behind by war could remain together. Families who need a fresh start can live in the safe and peaceful environment of the campus community for 1-4 years and benefit from numerous community supports, including professional case management services, on-site licensed child care, life skills training, tutoring and other educational services, as well as recreational and community service opportunities.
Loaves and Fishes
Jane Macdonald                             630.355.3663
Loaves and Fishes provides food, public benefit assistance, job search support. Computer classes, financial literacy classes, income tax preparation, emotional support, and other services as need to veterans and their families.
DuPage County Vet Center
Patricia Wasisco,                        630.585.1853
Dale Anderson                  
Vet Centers are community based and part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The goal of the Vet Center program is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach, and referral services to eligible Veterans in order to help make a satisfying post-combat adjustment.
Vet Centers offer free services to eligible Veterans and their families.  These services include: Individual Counseling, Community Education, Couple and Family Counseling, Employment Counseling, Job Referral, Liaison with VA Facilities, Referral to Community Agencies, Sexual Trauma Counseling, and Spouse/Significant Other Support…
Community Career Center
Kimberly White                        630.961.5665
Services available for Veterans and their families: Job Search assistance in the form of one-on-one career counseling topics including resume critique, LinkedIn, profile critique, mock interviewing assistance, networking skills building, etc. Job seekers can also attend workshops, networking and accountability groups and use the on-site workstations equipped with the latest versions of software (Windows 8 and Office 2013) and tutorials.
WorkNet DuPage
Jim Fergle                                  630.955.2040
WorkNet DuPage is a grant funded program that offers job search services; Job Search workshops, Job Club, and grant (scholarship) funding of occupational training and connected services.
Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
Alfonso Rios, VSO                               630.495.9460
Marcus Woodard, VSO                      630.690.9449
Wesley Yi (DuPage Vet Center )        630-585-5372
Services available for Veterans include federal and state Veterans benefits (VA compensation, pension, health benefits, veterans care, education benefits, state Veterans I.D. cards, referral to VA readjustment counseling, and others)
American Legion-Department of Illinois
Wayne Macejak                            312.980.4266
The American Legion Service Officer offers assistance filing claims with the VA. The American Legion also supports other organizations’ Job Fairs, supports youth through Jr. High Essay and Speech events as well as the High School Oratorical Scholarship Contest. With a strong membership we have a larger voice in Washington to support and protect our Veterans benefits. We support our Wounded Warriors through “Operation Comfort Warrior”, and push Congress to protect Tricare to make it more viable and affordable for our Veterans. Through our National Emergency Fund, we provide financial assistance to members impacted by natural disasters.  We support American Legion baseball, Boys State and Girls State for our youth. As one of the founding authors of the GI Bill we want to ensure protection of our Veterans Rights for higher education insuring all student-veterans should be allowed in-state tuition.  We provide tuition assistance via our Legacy Scholarship Program for children of military personnel who lost their lives on duty after 9-11.  Our Legion Riders drive the fundraising for this program. We fight to protect our flag from any desecration.
VFW Department of Illinois Service Officer
Barry Walter                                    312.980.4284
The VFW Service Office staff works with field offices of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and County Veterans Assistance Commissions throughout the State of Illinois to provide professional quality assistance and advice at no charge to Veterans and their families.
AllenForce: All Veterans All Eras
Donna Sebok, CTRS                                                                  847.372.1092
All services focus on giving back to veterans and their families through community health, fitness and recreation.  The nationally administered Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies program is available for those who have been injured.  The SheForce program is available for all women directly impacted by the military and the VETANK program loans an all-terrain chair out to injured veterans which allows for hunting, fishing, paintball, outdoor adventures either at an event or on their own.  We also have community training programs for those working with veterans and many annual recreation programs for all veterans injured or not or all eras.
Illinois Department of Employment Security
Cornel Thomas    630.495.5781
IDES offers veterans assistance to employment, coordinates training and development workshops, creates employer forums and co-ordinates job fairs.
Connected Warriors
Dana Fish                                       630.418.0244
Free yoga classes for active military, veterans, their families, friends and support systems.  Classes are great for beginners and most poses can be adapted to a chair, if needed. For those looking for a physical challenge, this class can provide that as well; focusing on breathing, balance, strengthen and stretching.
Team Red White and Blue
Beth Young                                       630.276.6756
Team Red, White and Blue’s mission is to help veterans reintegrate with their community through social and physical activity.  Team RWB volunteer leaders coordinate weekly group athletic activities, monthly social events and frequent volunteer opportunities to give area veterans a wealth of opportunities to get involved.
Operation Support Our Troops America
Deborah Rickert                                      630.971.1150
The initial mission of OSOT American has expanded well beyond its inception. In addition to continued shipment of Comfort Packages to deployed troops, the organization now conducts seminars for families of fallen service members, and provides support for families of deployed troops, resources for veterans in transition, support for deployed military members and financial assistance for veterans in crisis through the Allen J. Lynch MOH Foundation.
Dryhootch of America
Leah Lockett                                           312.292.8661
Dryhootch of America offers peer mentor group meetings, peer mentor one-on-one meetings and an alcohol and substance free gathering place.
360 Youth Services
Angie Mickalak                              630.717.9408 X115
360 Youth Services provides individual and family counseling including services for high-risk youth, community mentoring program for girls and boys are 12-18, educational groups and workshops including positive choices, positive voices and social confidence groups, parenting education and support including positive parenting seminar series, and transitional housing for homeless young adults ages 18-24.
Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital
Kerry Thomas, Social Worker         708.202.4487
Hines VA Hospital offers primary extended and specialty care on-site at our 147 acre campus in Hines, IL. Specialized clinical programs include Blind Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury, Neurosurgery, Radiation Therapy and Cardiovascular Surgery. The hospital also serves as the VISN 12 southern tier hub for pathology, radiology, radiation therapy, human resource management and fiscal services.
Hines VA Hospital also provides primary care and mental health services at six community based outpatient clinics (CBOC) in Elgin, Kankakee, Oak Lawn, Aurora, LaSalle and Joliet.  There is also a vast array of mental health services that are offered at the hospital, including the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center, Health Care for Homeless Veteran Program, Trauma Services, Addiction Treatment, OIF?OEF/OND Case Management Program, and Tele-psychiatry.
Veterans and their families also have access to supportive services through Caregiver Support, Community Nursing Home, Home and Community Based Services and Home Health Aide.
Women Veterans Program (Hines VA)
Diane Shearod                                     708.202.2075
The Hines Women’s Health Center, completed in 2010 is a state-of-the-art center that has been nationally and locally recognized as being a premium facility.  It boasts an aesthetically designed welcoming environment that is also highly functional in caring for the specific needs of women Veterans, which involves ensuring privacy, security and dignity. Spacious exam rooms contain exam tables that are oriented for optimal privacy including a restroom, privacy curtains, along with gowns specially designed for the female patient.  The waiting area serves as multi-purpose, with an area which allows for quiet conversation. A child friendly section, health educational materials, and a Healthe VET kiosk. We have an enrollment of approximately 4,000 women Veterans who range in age from 20 to 93.
Caregiver Support Program (Hines VA)
Jillian Inserra                                       708.202.2643
The Caregiver Support Coordinator provides education and coordination of VA services and programs that help Veterans and in turn relief to the family caregiver such as adult day health care, respite, homemaker and home health aides, skilled nursing, home-based primary care, aid and attendance, home telehealth, adaptive equipment, and home modifications.  The VA also provides family caregiver specific services such as the National VA Caregiver Web site, National Caregiver Support Line, supportive counseling, standardized caregiving education and training, telephone and in-person support groups, and online workshops.
Allen J Lynch Foundation
Bruce Peterson                                 630-369-5194                     The Foundation is set up to provide stop gap funding so that the veteran is capable of continuing the recovery or education process.  Through raising funds from donors wanting to help our veterans we can share that generosity with those we encounter or are referred to us by a veterans’ servicing organization. 

This Week’s Meetings


This Week’s Meetings


Metra Board to Meet in DuPage County

From the Metra website

Hoping to promote greater openness and participation in the region’s public transportation planning and governance process, the Metra Board of Directors will hold its next regularly scheduled meeting in DuPage County.
“The Metra Board is committed to transparency and inclusiveness and we want to make ourselves and our deliberations more accessible to people in the six-county region that we represent,” said Board Chairman Martin J. Oberman. “Our intention is to periodically hold our Board meetings at locations other than our downtown Chicago headquarters so that residents from across the region have a better opportunity to directly address Metra’s Board and management.”
The April 11, 2014 meeting of the Metra Board of Directors will be held in the DuPage County Board Room on the 3rd Floor of the Jack T. Knuepfer Administration Building. The facility is located at 421 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

Will County Discussing Raises for Elected Officials

Just like Will County, DuPage County will possibly be discussing salaries and raises for elected officials.  This must be done 6 months prior to the election in November 2014 leaving the month of May for discussion.  As the article points out DuPage County elected officials are the highest paid officials of the four collar counties. Now would be a good time to contact DuPage County elected officials to let them know if they deserve a raise or not.

The SOUTHTOWN STAR, a Chicago  publication reports

Will County officials are predicting a “lively discussion” about proposed salary increases for elected officials when the county board executive committee meets at 10 a.m. Thursday.
If salaries are to be raised, it must be done a minimum of six months prior to the November election, which leaves the county board with just one more meeting before that deadline, unless it calls a special meeting in early May.
Some elected officials have not had a raise in eight years, said finance committee chairman Steve Wilhelmi, D-Joliet.
The recommended increases would put Will County officials more in line with those in surrounding collar counties, according to a spreadsheet created by Bruce Friefeld, the board’s chief of staff.
Friefeld recommended upping compensation for board members from $23,000 to $28,700, with increases of $700, $750 and $750 in each of the following three years
The comparison with the four other collar counties of Kane, Lake, DuPage and McHenry showed that DuPage County leaders earn the most, but it also is the most populated county, with more than 916,000 people. Board members there earn $50,079, and other officials earn between $139,835 and $176,573.
You can read the full story here.

This Week’s Meetings


An Afternoon at the Winfield Metra Station

I spent the afternoon at the Winfield Metra Station with Tom Zapler from the DuPage Railroad Safety Committee and Dan Thomas from DuPage County Division of Transportation, to take a look at the recent safety improvements.

Safety improvements include new pedestrian paths that guide commuters away from the tracks to a  gated crossing.  Pedestrian fencing has been installed which improves separation between the commuter and the tracks.  A pedestrian tunnel allows the commuter safe passage across the tracks. “Another Train Warning System” device alerts the commuter visually and verbally that there is another or “ghost train”, approaching on the adjacent track, a train they may not be able to see. These devices are installed at each of the four quadrants of the crossing.

It is very nice to see Metra and Union Pacific working together to ensure the safety of their riders.

Another TrainWarning device
Diversion Gates

Pedestrian Tunnel

Entrance to Pedestrian Tunnel

Public Transit Chairwoman Chaplin Responds to Illinois Public Transit Task Force Final Report

For Immediate Release: 

On August 15, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn issued an Executive Order creating the Northeastern Illinois Public Transit Task Force to address serious concerns regarding the current structure of the Chicagoland public transit system.

With much anticipation the Public Transit Task Force released its final report to the governor on March 31st 2014.  

The findings of the report stress the importance of eliminating the RTA and forming a new agency that will allow for a regional approach to planning, funding and evaluation of projects.

The report acknowledges the transit system’s flawed funding structure which is currently unable to meet present and future needs, along with a section devoted to ethics and the need to earn back the public trust. 

“We must ensure the highest ethical standards for taxpayers. We can achieve this by working together as regional partners ensuring that the system operates in a transparent manner.” stated DuPage County Public Transit Chairwoman Liz Chaplin.  

The report also recognizes the importance of safety and a safety-conscious workforce. Chairwoman Chaplin, who has worked closely with the DuPage Railroad Safety Committee, agrees with the report’s safety recommendations. 

“Our public transit system can succeed if we act upon the recommendations in the report.  Hopefully, enough leaders will have the political courage to make the tough decisions and put forth the necessary legislation to bring these changes to fruition.”