Town’s Telethon Raises Money For Jail, Police Station
WARRENVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ A telethon that featured a speech by the mayor, a harp-playing junior high student and a group of ″rocking grandmas″ drew a pledges from as far away as Florida and brought this small Chicago suburb near its goal of raising $50,000 for a new jail and police station.
As of late Sunday night, organizers said $44,140 in cash and donations of building materials and services had been raised.
″This isn’t over,″ city inspector Jim Gustin said late Sunday. ″We’ll be taking donations through city hall after the telethon is over. We expect to reach our goal.″
Steve Predan, chairman of the Warrenville fireworks committee, came up with the fund-raising idea after watching a Jerry Lewis telethon.
″Our police station here is only 10 feet by 12 feet and prisoners are handcuffed to a battered wooden bench″ outside the police chief’s office because there is no jail, said Predan.
The proceeds from the event, held Saturday and Sunday night on a local cable television station, will be used to turn the lower level of the town’s community building into the new station and jail, he said.
The pledges more than exceeded the expectations, said Mayor Vivian Lund.
The highlight of the party was the ″Rocking Grandmas,″ senior citizens who brought their rocking chairs and took pledges for rocking.
They rocked for five hours as a local band played and about 200 people partied away, Ms. Lund said.
″They were playing rock ‘n’ roll music and these two grandmas got up and danced,″ she said, ″One grandma just sat there sewing a quilt through the hubbub.″
The telethon’s opening night featured an Irish folk band and dancers, harp music by Warrenville junior high school student Jason Taff, and speeches by Ms. Lund and state Rep. Mary Lou Cowlishaw.
Gustin and elementary school teacher Jim Sleep served as masters of ceremonies.
″We never anticipated″ getting out-of-town callers, and organizers failed to mention the local area code when publicizing the number to call for pledges, the mayor said.
″A woman from New York said she’d spent $30 just trying to find the area code, and then she pledged $30,″ Ms. Lund said.