Israel Vargas, assistant provost for college access and targeted recruitment programs at Roosevelt University in Chicago, has received the 2014 Latino Professional Award from the Chicago Latino Network.

A Roosevelt University alumnus, Vargas, 43, of Riverside, was chosen as the region’s most accomplished Latino for 2014 based on his work in helping Chicago-area Latinos gain access to education, keep them safe from violence and secure low-income housing, jobs and citizenship.

Vargas is the former executive director of San Jose Obrero Mission in Chicago’s Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. He joined Roosevelt University in January 2014.


Welcome aboard

Riverside resident Colette Fairchild has joined the Academy of General Dentistry as director of meetings and exhibits. Her duties include the planning, organization and execution of events, including the AGD’s  annual meeting and other educational events.

Prior to working for AGD, Fairchild spent 11 years as trade show director for H.H. Backer Associates Inc. Earlier in her career, she owned a meeting planning company that served medical industry clients.

In 2013, Fairchild received an Expo Group Show Manager of the Year Award and International Association of Exhibitions and Events Art of the Show Award for best website promotion.

She and her husband, Greg Saganich, reside in Riverside with their children, Michael, 16, and Michelle, 13.

Author, author! 

The American Bar Association will publish the 20th anniversary edition of The Soul of the Law by Riverside Village President Ben Sells later this year.

The book, which examines the psychology of lawyers, their relationship with the law and how that relationship informs how lawyers interact with people around them. When Sells, described on the dust jacket as a sea captain and small-town mayor, originally published the book in 1994, “it spoke to a profession widely perceived as in a state of crisis — and by clarifying what ails the Law, it provided at least the starting point for individual lawyers to put their own unhappiness into a larger context and to begin the journey toward greater satisfaction.”

Pre-sale orders of the book are being taken on, where it’s described as “one of the most important work-life balance books in the history of the legal profession.” The publication date is Dec. 7.


County clerk honors election judges

Cook County Clerk David Orr last month honored the “best of the best” suburban Cook County poll workers for their dedication, hard work and depth of election knowledge at a recognition ceremony.

Of the nearly 10,000 suburban poll workers, about 70 were selected for special recognition, among them Riverside Township poll workers Audrey Sprague and Anthony Gonzalez.


Chemistry whiz

Brookfield resident Audrey Gallier, 12, won the national You Be the Chemist Challenge, a chemistry quiz contest for children in fifth through eighth grades, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia this summer.

Gallier, a home-schooled student, topped a field of 30 contestants in the challenge, which is sponsored by the Chemical Educational Foundation in Virginia. Some 25,000 students competed for the final round in Philadelphia, which was held in June.

MADD honors police chief

Last month, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) honored law enforcement, media, volunteers and others who have made substantial efforts in supporting the organization’s campaign to eliminate drunk driving at MADD’s annual Heroes Banquet in Springfield.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel was recognized for his use of Twitter to announce DUI arrests, a first in the state of Illinois. He was the only police chief in the state to receive a MADD Hero’s Award.

On campus

North Riverside resident Alex Wilt and Riverside resident Caitlin Katsis have graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Wilt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary/middle education, while Katsis earned a Bachelor of Science in information technology.

Five students from Riverside-Brookfield High School were recognized as National Merit Scholars in the in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. About 34,000 students nationwide are being honored for the academic achievement out of more than 1 million students who entered by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. 

Lana Herrmann was named a National Merit Semifinalist, and qualified to continue competing for scholarships that will be offered next spring. Semifinalists are among the top 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Meanwhile, Lucia Adami, David Bell, David Buksa and Robert Peugh were named National Merit Commended Students. The designation means that the students scored in the top 5 percent on the qualifying exam.

Brookfield resident Joseph A. Rossetti was one of 31 Lyons Township High School seniors named Commended Students in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Joe Orr, a Brookfield resident and junior at Lyons Township High School, played juror No. 10 in the Theatre Board’s production of 12 Angry People, staged recently at the school.

Lewis University (Romeoville) nursing student Janelle Gaines, of Brookfield, was among five students who recently presented “Health Risk Assessment, Management and Health Promotion for Head Start Children” to more than 100 professional at the Head Start Pre-Service Training staff from the Diocese of Joliet’s Catholic Charities Early Childhood Division last month.

The presentation offered staffers a lesson in managing illness in a school setting.

Rebecca Burke, an AP art student at Riverside-Brookfield High School, designed an official patch for the Riverside Police Department for use on their uniforms. Officers are now wearing the patches, which features buildings in historic downtown Riverside.