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Friday, March 31, 2023

March begins with memories of McGruff, Mardi Gras and more


Above / Since 1981, McGruff the Crime Dog has been spreading the message that crime doesn’t pay in Naperville. Though the animated bloodhound decked out in a trench coat arrived on the American scene a year earlier, McGruff first appeared in Naperville thanks to the Naperville Woman’s Club, the organization that kicks off its 125th anniversary year this month. Oftentimes seen among Crime Stoppers, McGruff teaches individuals of all ages that crime prevention is everybody’s business and everyone can help. “Take A Bite Out Of Crime®.” Be safe. If you see something suspicious, say something.

Folks have fond memories of Fat Tuesday at Heaven on Seven in downtown Naperville. Today the home of the former New Orleans-style restaurant at 224 S. Main Street is filled with Allegory, a farm-to-table eatery that also touts “food, libation and revelry.” This week streetscape construction begins on Main Street between Jackson and Jefferson. Restaurants and shops such as Dean’s Clothing will remain open. (PN File Photo 2016)

‘Downtown: Progress in Progress’ now in progress until Labor Day

Downtown Streetscape construction begins March 1. Construction is expected to last until late August. Once complete, improvements will include wider sidewalks and more pedestrian space, more trees and plantings, replacement of 100-year-old water main, removal of lead water services, updated street furniture and light fixtures and additional outdoor amenity areas for businesses.

Stay tuned. Downtown with its wide array of shopping and dining experiences is open!

Traffic control plans are in place to maintain pedestrian access to all buildings, and temporary traffic control variations will support truck parking and short-term deliveries. Phase-specific road and parking closure maps are now available at www.naperville.il.us/downtownprogress.

Consider choices to think about this month…

Little Friends Annual Benefit Auction is March 5

Little Friends returns with its evening of friendship, advocacy and support when the nonprofit organization hosts its 45th Benefit Auction beginning at 6PM Sat., March 5. Presented at the Sheraton Lisle Naperville, Little Friends has invited the community to gather to raise much-needed funds to ensure its services are available now and into the future.

The evening event kicks off in the hotel atrium at the north entrance for a lively cocktail hour where patrons can view raffle packages. Afterward, guests will move onto the seated dinner in the ballroom with the presentation of the Dottee Krejci Memorial Award for Distinguished Service, followed by the program’s live auction and fund a need.

Proceeds raised will help fund programs that provide more than 900 individuals and their families with vocational training, therapy, education, counseling, family assistance, housing and more.

To check last-minute availability for a single ticket ($250 each) or table reservation ($2,500 for 10) or to make a donation, visit www.littlefriendsinc.org.

Chef Showdown ‘Battle of the Champions’ returns March 9

Loaves & Fishes Community Services is very pleased to announce that after much anticipation, Chef Showdown, “Battle of the Champions” will be held from 6 to 9PM on Wed., March 9, at their new Food Distribution Hub at 580 Exchange Court, Aurora. This year, the event is held in partnership with My Chef Catering and will raise funds for essential services for struggling families in DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will counties.

Competing chefs will showcase the winning restaurants from the past years of the competition. Executive Chef Eddie Sweeny representing Catch 35, and Chef Ian Schlegel, Chef de Cuisine of Che Figata, will compete to create unique dishes using food from the Loaves & Fishes Market in a stadium kitchen assembled for the competition.

Tickets start at $100. For last-minute ticket availability, visit loaves-fishes.org.  Tickets purchased for the 2020 Chef Showdown will be honored. For more information or accommodations, contact Nicole Louis at nlouis@loaves-fishes.org.

IPEF Inspire ’22 features evening out on March 11

Indian Prairie Educational Foundation will host Inspire ’22 from 7-10PM on Fri., March 11, at Loft28West, located at 28 W. New York Street in Aurora. The event will include dinner, drinks and fundraising activities.

Special highlights of the evening will showcase performances and exhibits provided by talented IPSD 204 student musicians, vocalists and artists.

For more information about the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, Team IPEF, Inspire ’22 tickets ($125 each) and event information, visit www.ipef204.org.

360 Youth Services Champions for Youth Gala is March 12

360 Youth Services will host its annual Gala, aiming to raise funds for programs that have a lasting impact on the lives of young people. The signature event helps 360 continue and expand its programs to serve the needs of youth in our communities, whether they need professional counseling, substance use prevention strategies, or a place to call home when they are experiencing homelessness. 360 has been there for youth in the community for the past 50 years. 

To purchase tickets ($250 each) or a table or two, visit 360 Champions for Youth Gala.

Daylight saving time 2022 in Illinois begins at 2AM on Sun., March 13

Billy Elton Benefit Concert at NVHS is set for March 18

Billy Elton, a band that celebrates the music of Billy Joel and Elton John, will be making its seventh appearance in the Neuqua Valley High School Auditorium beginning at 7:30PM Fri., March 18.  The benefit concert features Reid Spears on piano and lead vocals along with NVHS music staff members Ryan Rimington and Brad Pfeil.


The band previously was scheduled to perform its last benefit concert at Neuqua Valley on March 13, 2020. However, due to the onset of the pandemic, the performance was canceled just the day before it was scheduled to take place.Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door, with general admission seating. Tickets may be purchased in advance www.neuquamusic.org/billy-elton.

For anyone who chose not to get a refund on the canceled 2020 event and are still holding those tickets, those 2020 tickets will be honored at the door.Neuqua Valley High School campus is located at 2360 95th Street.

NEF Building a Passion Breakfast returns on March 23

Naperville Education Foundation will host a special Building a Passion Breakfast fundraiser to connect NEF’s past, present, and future with a trivia-themed program consisting of networking opportunities, an anniversary breakfast program, and stand to show support, emceed by ABC7 anchor Alan Krashesky.

The breakfast is planned from 7AM to 9AM Wed., March 23, at Embassy Suites, 1823 Abriter Court.Tickets are $80 each.

For reservations, visit www.nef203.org.

Naperville Mayor presents 2022 State of the City on March 24

Mayor Steve Chirico will present the 2022 State of the City during an in-person luncheon event on March 24, a time to reflect on 2021, look forward to a year of optimism in 2022, and encourage “the leaders of tomorrow to be bright and bold in their relentless pursuit of painting Naperville’s future picture,” open invitations noted.In addition to recognizing Naperville accomplishments, Mayor Chirico also will recognize City officials and their years of service to the community.

Hosted by the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, the luncheon will be held from 11AM to 1PM, Thurs., March 24, at Embassy Suites Naperville, located at 1823 Abriter Court.

Advance tickets are $75 (NACC Member | Open Seating), $800 (NACC Member | Reserved Table of 10) and $90 (Community Member | Open Seating).

For reservations, visit www.naperville.net.

Consider other things trending this month…

Public meetings on the agenda…

Be mindful that the Naperville City Council meets at 7PM Tues., March 1 and 7PM Tues. March 15.

Local school boards of education (D203 7PM Tues., March 7 and March 21 / D204 7PM Mon., March 14) meet regularly.

The Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners (7PM Thurs., March 10 and 6:30PM Thurs., March 24) continue regular meeting schedules.

Meetings are now in person with masks optional. Public comments always are welcome.

Public presentations planned to review City projects…

Firms will present Affordable Housing Proposals at March 7 meeting


Watch local government, boards and commissions in progress. Considering new developments, public input is more important than ever this week, next week and next month, right here in your hometown.

Public invited to provide input on Nichols Library parking deck project

Seize opportunities to add realistic views and input to City planners from the get-go. Communicate wise ideas that serve the best interests of everyone who has chosen to live here; reasonable ideas that suggest taking care of what has already been planned, designed and built.

Longtime residents clearly have expressed value for the care-and-maintenance approach to public property, an approach to be considered before adding more that also will need such financed long-term care.

Thanks to the entire community for paying attention early in the process to help determine future needs that will make a difference.

Thinkin’ green?

For two years, Dr. Mark Goodwin has been ready to serve as 2022 Grand Marshal of the WSI St. Patrick’s Parade. Quigley’s Irish Pub and other establishments will welcome parade revelers and everybody to enjoy music and festivities on Sat., March 12. Then on Thurs., March 17, with the luck of the Irish fun will begin again with Michael Finnegan. Celebrate safely. Sláinte! (PN File Photo 2020)

Two more things…

Both the Naperville St. Paddy’s Day 5K and the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Parade will step off in downtown Naperville with outdoor events for participants and spectators on Sat., March 12. First the charity run/walk/stroll will begin at 8AM, followed by the parade at 10AM that will take a slightly different route through downtown Naperville to avoid construction along Jefferson Avenue.

Acknowledging the beginning of the aforementioned Downtown Streetscape Project, WSI Parade Chairman Paul Santucci said the parade will be staged as usual beginning at Naperville North High School, take Mill Street south all the way to Jackson Avenue, head east and turn south (right) on Main Street to Water Street where entries will begin departing. Celebrate safely!

Guess how long 100-year-old Don O’Reilly has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Cheers! (PN File Photo)

As always, thanks for reading. Check back soon for updates.

Last Updated, Feb. 2, 2022




PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.