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New Leaders at Waukegan Main Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WAUKEGAN, IL  September 29, 2014 — A new Strategic Plan, new Officers and new Board members were the highlights of Waukegan Main Street’s Annual Meeting.  The event provides Waukegan Main Street members the opportunity to vote on leadership for the downtown organization as well as network with business leaders, active citizens and volunteers.

Business leaders and citizens at WMS Annual Meeting.

Retaining their positions as President and Secretary respectively were Jamie O’Meara and Dulce “Candy” Ortiz.  Seated as Vice President is John Quinn, of the law firm Churchill, Quinn, Richtman & Hamilton, Ltd. in Grayslake, and as Treasurer is Megan McKenna de Mejia, Executive Director of Mano a Mano in Round Lake.  “After the busy and productive year we’ve had, it’s wonderful to have consistency of two officers staying for another term,” said Jane Ferry, Executive Director of Waukegan Main Street.  “And we look forward to the creative ideas and direction from the new officers as well.”  All four officers live in Waukegan.

Joining the Board as new members are Tamika Jones and Karen Nystrom.  Jones is a Human Resources professional at Baxter Healthcare, specializing in early talent programs. She grew up in Waukegan’s Third Ward and is a graduate of Waukegan High School and Illinois State University. She recently moved back to the area and began volunteering with Waukegan Main Street in 2013, becoming Promotions Committee Chair shortly thereafter. Nystrom was raised in the north suburbs and serves as the director of advocacy for the Financial Planning Association, a national membership organization for financial planning professionals with 23,000 members and 93 chapters.  She has 15 years of experience in both the 501c3 and 501c6 non-profit areas and in state government legislative work.

Megan

McKenna de Mejia was the featured speaker at the event, giving the highlights of Waukegan Main Street’s Strategic Plan 2015 – 2018.  “Megan took the lead on completing our Strategic Plan which had been in the works for two years.  Through those efforts, we reworked our Mission and Vision statements to more accurately reflect our concentration and included easy-to-understand bullet points as our Core Values,” said Ferry.  The Strategic Plan positions Waukegan Main Street to be the lead convener and champion of the downtown and lakefront, building on existing assets through coalition-based action and community engagement, while balancing the past and the future.  Also presenting were Board President Jamie O’Meara, Membership Chair Sandy Petroshius and Executive Director Jane Ferry giving a year in review.

“Over the next month or so, we will have meetings to engage – and re-engage – people of action throughout the community,” Ferry said. “We have inspired leadership and we look forward to the positive effects we can have when we all work together.”  The meeting was held at the Waukegan Yacht Club.

Photos of the Annual Meeting were taken by Ali Albakri and can be found here.

Monarch Festival Flies High

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Congratulations to the Waukegan Public Library for another successful Monarch Festival.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table, whether that was talk, create a butterfly or pick up information.  We had a great time challenging the kids’ creativity and watching their concentration, especially the younger ones.  We also handed out over 200 Dining Guides and “Things to Do” calendars of events.

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The weather was perfect and, once again, the Library arranged interesting activities and presentations, including a rock climbing wall, traditional Mexican folk dance and BMX Pro Biker Matt Wilhelm.  Wilhelm was a wonderful motivational speaker, especially to kids about working toward a goal.  The tricks he did, such as joining over people (including the Library’s Executive Director Richard Lee) were unmatched as well. If you have the opportunity to see him, do.

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There were a number of other booths and food vendors.  The Lake County Bike Project held raffles, giving away eight bikes during the event.  We look forward to the Lake County Bike Project holding one or more technical training events to introduce weekend bikers to basic maintenance.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens Youth Farm were selling their fresh vegetables and we saw a number of people walking around with full bags.

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Once again, congratulations to the Library for all their efforts in putting on a fun, successful event in downtown Waukegan.

Keeping Waukegan Beach Beautiful

Waukegan Main Street joined a long list of volunteers and volunteer organizations who are keeping our beautiful Waukegan Municipal Beach beautiful.  With the hard work every weekday of Eco-Ambassadors and individuals hired through a DNR Grant awarded to the Waukegan Park District, the weekend clean-up efforts take less than two hours.

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Volunteers Paul Ferry, Sandy Petroshius and Nick Nicketakis (left to right) are ready to the clean the beach!

Our group on Saturday was small, but efficient.  Two Board members, Sandy Petroshius and Nick Nicketakis, joined Michael May, Paul Ferry and a high schooler putting in two hours of community service.  The group “divided and conquered” the beach, ending up with only two mostly full liner bags of trash.  This is a vast improvement from the last two years of volunteer clean up where often each individual ended up with a full bag.  Congratulations to Friends of Waukegan Beach and alderman Lisa May for coordinating the volunteer efforts!

Waukegan Main Street has volunteered for two more Saturdays – August 30th and September 6th.  If you would like to join us, call the office at (847) 623-6650.  Many hands make light the work.