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Peasley: Theater expansion to be completed by next year

Expansion of the Woodstock Theatre on the north side of the square is under way, given a boost from groundbreaking ceremonies that were held Wednesday.

Willis Johnson, president of Classic Cinemas, his wife, Shirley, and their son, Chris, bought the theater in 1988 and last upgraded it in 1998.

Johnson said phase one of improvements should be completed in early 2013 with the project completed by September 2013.

Johnson said modernization of the historic theater “will be in excess of 4 million dollars.” Renovation provides an opportunity to restore some historical parts of the theater.

The Main Street location has been the site of a movie theater since 1911, when the Princess was built. Princess closed in 1927 to begin construction of the Miller Theatre.

Many Woodstock residents remember watching when “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray was filmed on the Square in 1992. The Woodstock Theatre served as the movie set for a theater named the Alpine.

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During Marian Central’s Homecoming activities Friday, Charie Burgess Zanck, class of 1970, will receive the 2012 Distinguished Alumni award.

The 2012 Alumni Excellence Award will go to Michael Green, class of 1985, and Darcy Dick Kriha, class of 1986.

Zanck is chief executive officer of American Community Bank and Trust, Woodstock. She received a community service award from Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She also was selected Woman of the Year by the Woodstock Professional and Business Woman. Zanck lives in Woodstock with her husband, Tom.

Green is a partner in the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich and chair of the firm’s real estate, project development and finance practice groups. Green is a former president of the Marian Alumni Association and resides in Verona, Wis., with his family.

Kriha is an attorney and equity partner with Franczek Radelet P.C. in Chicago. She is a religious education teacher and Eucharistic minister at St. Francis Xavier Parish. She lives with her family in La Grange.

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Nancy Fike, former McHenry County Historical Society administrator, has given her retirement gifts to the historical society for a new speaker system and/or life safety security needs. More than 200 people attended Nancy’s retirement open house Aug. 26. Monetary gifts totaled more than $3,500.

Even in retirement, Nancy is placing needs of the museum first. Thanks, Nancy.

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Woodstock Groundhog Day committee is working with Copy Express to create a special edition 2013 calendar to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the movie, “Groundhog Day.”  Submit pictures to or call 815-334-2618.

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Kurt Begalka, McHenry County Historical Society administrator, is seeking volunteers with a commercial driver’s license to drive The James, a mobile local history museum, to upcoming events. For details, call 815-923-2267.

• Don Peasley has been editor, columnist and historian in McHenry County since October 1947. He began his association with Shaw Publications in 1950. He can be reached at 815-338-1533.

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