Naperville News Digest: Tickets available for ‘First Look’ gala. Naperville business gives $30K to Ronald McDonald House.

The Naperville Park District took home two awards at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association held last week in Chicago.

The park district received awards in the Board Member Development category and in the Agency Showcase competition.

Park Board President Mary Gibson and Vice President Leslie Ruffing received the Distinctive Board Member Award in the Board Member Development program. This award recognizes local board members who go above and beyond through committee involvement, continuing educational opportunities and achievements at the local, state and national levels, Naperville Park District officials said in a news release.

The park district’s Marketing and Communications Department received first place for its digital Program Guide in the “Brochure Series – Virtual” category of the Agency Showcase, which is a professionally judged competition, park officials said.

The Naperville Park District has posted a five-episode podcast at and on most podcast apps.

The “2023 State of the Naperville Park District Address” includes interviews with Executive Director Brad Wilson, Park Board President Mary Gibson and other district officials and is hosted by Sameera Luthman, director of marketing and communications.

Community members can listen to the podcasts to learn about the district’s current priorities, new recreational amenities and how residents can get involved. Each episode has a different theme.

Residents can listen to some of 2022′s accomplishments and learn about what’s next for parks and recreation. They can listen to information about golf in Naperville. There’s also a podcast on natural area restoration projects.

This is the sixth year that the park district has offered a podcast series.

The Weed Man of Naperville, a lawn care provider, has donated $30,000 to the Ronald McDonald House.

Andy Kurth, CEO and Co-Owner of Weed Man FRI group which includes the Naperville location, helped organize the donation.

Throughout the year they asked customers, employees and franchise owners to contribute donations to the Ronald McDonald House, and at the end of the year they presented a check for $30,000, according to a news release from the business.

“Giving back to the community is of the utmost importance to us at Weed Man, and it’s something that we prioritize,” Kurth said in the news release. “With Ronald McDonald House, we’re all amazed at the work that they do to take care of families going through such a tough ordeal. The impact that they make is astronomical, and to be able to contribute to a cause that really makes a difference is an awarding experience.”

Weed Man and its more than 450 franchise locations have supported many different foundations, including the Wounded Warrior Project, Green Harvest Food Pantry and more.

The League of Women Voters will host a virtual discussion on how climate change affects the Lake Michigan Region at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8 via Zoom.

Presenting will be Elizabeth “Joy” Guscott-Mueller, a managing partner with Guscott Mueller Law, LLC in Chicago and president of the League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region, which includes four states and 59 chapters.

The League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region has a mission to protect and enhance Lake Michigan and its associated watershed, the league said in its newsletter.

Residents can send their questions to Guscott-Mueller at

Register to attend the Zoom session at

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation in Naperville will recognize several individuals who have helped the organization’s mission to provide opportunities to those with autism at the Chicago Auto Show’s First Look for Charity black-tie event, which will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The event includes hors d’oeuvres, beverages and desserts from more than 20 restaurants, and guests can be the first to explore the annual auto show.

Tickets to the First Look for Charity event can be purchased until Feb. 9 through Turning Pointe at

Tickets can also be purchased at the Turning Pointe will-call table at McCormick Place on the day of the event. Turning Pointe receives 90% of the sale of tickets purchased through their organization.

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation is one of 18 area nonprofit organizations that will benefit from the event.

The foundation will be giving awards to several individuals, including Joe Fabian, a 40-year employee of Walgreens and a trainer in the Turning Point Employment Training Program, which helps guide students through the hiring process. Fabian will be receiving the Turning Pointe True North Award.

Two Brothers Coffee Roasters, Jim and Jason Ebel and Mason Brown will receive the Lodestar Award, recognizing their corporate partnership in employing individuals impacted by autism.

Thi Nguyen, owner of Chez Francois Poutinerie in Naperville, will receive the Trailblazer Award for her work setting the course for ways businesses can hire and train individuals with disabilities.

Howard Weiss, President of Assured Partners of Illinois, will receive the Legacy Award for his leadership, and support to the organization. `

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