Park Ridge Chamber To Host Annual "Night of Stars" Gala on February 16



PARK RIDGE, IL – The Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce is hosting “Night of Stars" Dinner Dance to recognize and honor outstanding achievements in community service with the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award, Business of the Year Award, and Community Star Awards. The event will be held on February 16, 2019 from 5:30 PM - 11:00 PM at chamber member, Café la Cave in Des Plaines.

The evening will begin with a champagne reception, followed by four-course plated dinner accompanied by your choice of wine, and complimentary bar service throughout the evening. A silent auction and raffle prizes will add to the excitement as a live performance by Serendipity brings the best contemporary pop and rock music to the event! This year also marks the 90th anniversary of the Chamber and attendees are welcome to wear their best Roaring 20’s attire.

“Night of Stars” Dinner Dance is open to the public. Registration is $85.00 per person if registered by February 2, 2019 by 5:30pm and $100 per person after.

For more information and to register, visit contact the chamber at 847-825-3121 or


Honorees for the evening include:


James G. Argionis, Attorney, Cozen O'Connor 

James G. Argionis is an attorney in the Chicago office of the law firm of Cozen O'Connor, specializing in Commercial Litigation. Throughout his legal career, Jim has distinguished himself in community service in his hometown of Park Ridge and beyond.  He has served as Chairman of the Illinois Department of Employment Security Advisory Board across three different administrations, is a commissioner of Park Ridge’s Planning and Zoning Commission and also chairs its O’Hare Airport Commission. This year, Jim volunteered his legal and mentoring skills to the Maine South High School Mock Trial Team both in their annual Illinois State competitions and in a national competition, in which the team participated for the first time.  He has also volunteered his time for District 64 and District 207, the Park Ridge Police Parent Patrol, the Chicago Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association and the National Immigrant Justice Center. 


Madeline Dort, Student, Maine South High School

As President of Key Club, Madeline Dort is helping lead fundraising efforts for dog toys, blankets and cards for hospitalized kids, Uncle Pete’s lunches, and donations for the School Wide Fundraiser. Additionally, Madeline is a volunteer at the Art Institute, a Hawk Pride leader, a member of the theatre crew, a Nordstrom fashion ambassador (internship program for marketing), a member of the teen advisory board at the Museum of Science and Industry, former tennis team member, and currently serves on the C-team. She also volunteers at a domestic violence shelter at Well of Mercy where she works with young children and has taught CCD at St. Paul of the Cross for four years.


Tom and Tina Grusecki, House at Belle Plaine & Engel

What began as sharing stories from their own childhoods about visiting neighborhood holiday lights displays inspired the Grant-Grusecki family to create holiday lights at their own home. This new tradition, which began five years ago at the corner of Engel Boulevard and Belle Plaine Avenue, now raises thousands of dollars for various charities including St. Baldrick’s in honor of Benicio “Benny” Martinez, veteran’s charities, and Misericordia from people who come to see the display and make a donation if they choose.  


Nicole Lach, Student, Maine East High School

Nicole Lach’s philanthropic accomplishments related to East’s Rotary Impact Club are many including organizing the WGN Toy Drive, Digital Literacy Program for Seniors, Pedals for the Parks Bike and Trike Exchange, Random Acts of Kindness, and Meals for Africa. As a Junior Leader in the Physical Education Department, she was pivotal in the success of the first Junior Leader blood drive.  She also raised money for Maine East’s Healthy Hearts Campaign, served on both Class Council and Student Council, and is currently President of the Senior Class.


Dr. Niki Rimbas Laskaris, Local Dentist & Community Supporter

Dr. Niki Laskaris formed a partnership with Maine South as well as Maine West allowing students to participate in an externship program. Serving as role model and mentor, she continues to pass on her experiences on to others. She supports CERT, Special Olympics and the Citizens Patrol. In addition to being active with PTO, she has been an instructor in the Great Books program and makes regular visits to classrooms to help kids make healthy choices with respect to dental health. More than 15 years ago, she began sponsoring Park Ridge Baseball/Softball. She also supports numerous high school athletic teams such as wrestling, Hawkettes, lacrosse, cheerleading, and football.


Danny McGovern, Danny McGovern Group

Danny McGovern has backed many Super Bowl fundraisers for Cooperstown youth teams and Misericordia as well as helping launch and sponsor Park Ridge Chamber Wine Walks. But it doesn’t stop there. As a supporter of Maine South football, McGovern has established student scholarships and contributed to PTOs and Mary Seat of Wisdom basketball. Danny makes regular trips to Lawndale with his pickup truck loaded with furniture and clothing donations. He reconnects with old friends and former clients who know he will listen and respond with a quote worth remembering from the Bible of Mike Ditka. 


Eric Nelson, Nelson Automotive, Inc

According to Eric, he feels a responsibility to help take care of those who are unable to do so for themselves and help make the world a better place. As a part of his philanthropic endeavors, Eric gives donates $20 to charity for each car sold by Nelson Automotive. Since 2011, he has donated $67,500 to the Park Ridge Community Fund—more than any other single donor. This young entrepreneur is a leader in his field and received the Illinois Quality Dealer of the Year. He’s served on the Park Ridge Chamber Board for many years and is a past president of the organization. 


Park Ridge Bike Task Force

Working with the Active Transportation Alliance and Ride Illinois organizations, the Park Ridge Bike Task Force has worked to improve the biking environment around Park Ridge. Bike parking has been added around the Uptown Metra Station and wayfinding signage, bike pavement markings, and a bikeway network design including new routes are slated to be installed in spring 2019. Additional projects in accordance with the Bike plan will be proposed in February/March 2019 to the City Council.


Kathleen Rolsing, Center of Concern

Kathy Rolsing, president of the board of directors of the Center of Concern in 2017 and 2018, joined the board in 2009. Since that time, she has played a key role in recruitment efforts, fundraising events and serves as liaison for the Women’s Auxiliary Board. As chair of the resource development committee, she helped increase giving to the Center of concern by 100 percent in the last five years. As vice president and president, she has been part of implementing new agency programs which include a Senior Companion Program, Lunch With Us, and a Senior Housekeeping Program.


Business of the Year:The Harp & Fiddle

Harp & Fiddle has shown to be a strong and committed member of the Park Ridge business community in so many ways. As one of the anchor businesses along Maine Street, it has helped revitalize Maine Street as a vibrant business area. Harp & Fiddle’s owner Delcan Stapleton, has helped organize and support numerous fests and special events along Main Street for the past several years. In addition, it seems to be “the place” that many of our community’s non-profit organizations hold fundraisers including most recently the Noon Kiwanis Club. Harp & Fiddle is an outstanding example of a local business that engages and fully supports its community.


Life Time Honoree:Richard G. Larsen

Named outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Park Ridge Jaycees in 1980, Dick’s accomplishments include the Park Ridge Centennial Celebration committee in 1976, co-president of Washington School PTO in 1978-79 with his wife, Karen, and deacon and an elder at Park Ridge Presbyterian Church before he was 40. One of the youngest presidents of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association in 1980, he accepted a draft for a second term in 1989, and also took a leadership role the YMCA Indian Guides and Indian Scouts programs. A Kiwanian for 46 years and Hixon Award winner, he helped establish the Kiwanis Club of Park Ridge Breakfast when he was president of the noon club in 1979-80.  He cleaned up after elephants when Kiwanis brought the circus to town, volunteered at 4th of July Kiddie Day Parade and the annual fireworks display at Maine East High School, and helped to establish the Park Ridge Teen Center at First United Methodist Church. His passion ignited support for the Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner which he has chaired for more than 30 years even donning an apron to work in the kitchen. He has delivered Kiwanis Christmas baskets since 1974 and has served as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer in Uptown.

A board member for St. Matthew’s Nursing Home, treasurer and development and finance committee chair for Maine Center, Dick now serves as an advisory board member for the Center of Concern. He has delivered Meals on Wheels for 30 years and for more than 40 years has taken many roles as a Park Ridge Men’s Prayer Breakfast lay committee member. He also serves meals and helps with set up and programming needs for the Greater Chicago Great Banquet and annually serves at Sunday Night suppers with the Chamber of Commerce. 

As an associate with Owens, Owens & Rinn, as a solo practitioner, and as a founding partner of Larsen & Edlund, he donated his legal talents over his 42-year law career to private clients and causes that needed them such as the Center of Concern and especially The Kalo Foundation as he helped negotiate the purchase of Iannelli Studios Heritage Center in 2011.

A member of the Chamber of Commerce for his entire legal career in Park Ridge, Dick was also a founding charter member of the Park Ridge Business Networking International chapter in 1998. When he retired from the practice of law in 2012, he coined the term "jobbie" to describe his new venture, Pooch Pal, which keeps him busy walking and sitting dogs.


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