Chili cook-off to raise money for Palatine families

The Palatine police and fire departments will see who is better at setting tastebuds afire at the first Chili Cook Off from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St. in downtown Palatine.

The event is hosted by the Palatine Police & Fire Benevolent Association, with support of the Palatine Jaycees. The groups hope to make it an annual event.

Tickets are $5 at the door. The event has all-you-can-eat chili, a cash bar, shirt sales and a 50/50 raffle, said Kristin Bureta, co-chairwoman of the benefit. People of all ages are invited.

All proceeds from the Chili Cook Off will go to the Palatine Police & Fire Benevolent Association, founded two years ago to assist strapped Palatine area residents.

In the past two years, the Benevolent Association has donated over $25,000 to families living with life-threatening illnesses and families that have been relocated after a devastating fire.

"The Benevolent Association is working closely with many community-based organizations to foster relations between the community, law enforcement and firefighters," said Sgt. Mike Vargas, co-chairman of the benefit.

Open house: Gajda Health Plus Network, 552 E. Northwest Hwy., will host an open house and wellness roundup from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28. At 1 p.m. a keynote address, "How to Become Steel to Deal with the Economic Tsunami" will be given by integrative physician, Dr. Howard E. Wolin, who has a holistic approach to wellness and health. Wolin will discuss the effects of financial stress on one's well being and will offer tips on how to mentally, emotionally and physically deal with the troubling economic times.

"We have put together a well-rounded afternoon featuring a variety of disciplines focusing on stress abatement and maintaining a positive attitude," said Gajda's President and CEO, Mary Lou Gajda.

Throughout the afternoon, chair massages will be offered and a raffle drawing for nutritional counseling, reflexology treatments and other prizes will be held. Attendance is free. Light refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are requested, but not required. Call (847) 991-2222, visit or e-mail for details or to RSVP by Friday, Feb. 27.

Be a star: Performances of "Cinderella" by Wood Street Theater Company continue this weekend, with shows at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 28 and March 1, and at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28. The group is holding several fundraisers to benefit Wood Street co-founder Susannah Kist, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. One of the fundraisers is an opportunity for children to be a "star of the day" and join the cast onstage for the final scene of the musical. Sign up for this fundraiser in the lobby at the show. To order tickets online, visit

Talking to kids: The Sundling Junior High PTA presents "Now We're Talking," a two-hour session to provide parents with information about how to talk to their kids about sex, 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at Sundling, 1100 N. Smith St., Palatine. A friend who previously saw the presentation called it "disturbing, but eye terms of what our kids are facing."

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