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Oak- Park- Journal

May 11, 2000

Oak Park Festival Theatre sets 2001--yes,
2001--Shakespeare production


Did you know ...?

-- that Oak Park Festival Theatre will produce William Shakespeare's
"The Taming of the Shrew" in 2001?
That's right, 2001. The 26-year-old theater group that presents
Shakespeare works and some other classics outdoors each summer had
already announced, as reported here late last year, that the 2000
production in Austin Gardens park, on Forest Avenue near Lake Street,
will be "As You Like It." And last week Dale Calandra, Festival
Theatre's artistic director, revealed the 2001 play.

-- that elsewhere on the Festival Theatre news front, the Oak Park-River
Forest Rotary Club has donated $4,635 for a new sound system to be used
in Austin Gardens during the productions?
"Now we'll be able to hear (better) over the planes," said Festival
Theatre board member Jim Bohenstengel, referring to the occasional
O'Hare airport traffic that can disturb the audience, if not the actors.

-- that The Praise Singers of The Fellowship Christian Church in Oak
Park will hold their first Spring Concert on May 21?
The Praise Singers at the church, 1106 Madison St., have appeared
publicly at "A Day In Our Village" in Oak Park, at the recent Prayer
Breakfast held by the NAACP Oak Park branch and with the Pentecostal
Voices of Chicago. The concert will be for invited guests.

-- that Jennifer Casey, a probationary police officer in River Forest,
has occasionally assisted the department's resource officer at Oak Park
and River Forest High School, Kendra Sullivan, by going undercover?
Recently hired in River Forest, Casey is scheduled to complete her
probationary period in October.

-- that Bette Wilson, director of the Multicultural Education Department
for Oak Park Elementary School District 97, gave special credit for this
year's Ethnic Festival to Pearl Hall, the resource center's executive
secretary and the festival's general coordinator?
"She did the real, real hard work," Wilson said of Hall.

-- that the CAST program in Oak Park will hold another one of their
fund-raisers on May 17 at Cafe Winberie in Oak Park?
>From 4 to 10 p.m. on that Wednesday, the restaurant, 151 N. Oak Park
Ave., will charge increased prices, with the tax-deductible, 25 percent
increase going to the CAST arts and theater program at Percy Julian
Junior High School in Oak Park. "Celebrity" guest waiters are to provide
another attraction for residents to attend.

-- that Samuel Ezem, owner of the Something Special business featuring
African art and musical instruments, will present a program about
Nigeria on May 16 at the Oak Park Public Library main branch?
Admission is free to the 7 p.m. event at the library, 834 Lake St. The
evening is co-sponsored by the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce
and is being paid for by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library.

-- that, not surprisingly, the River Forest village board already has
canceled its regular meeting scheduled for Dec. 25?
The board, which holds its regular meetings on the second and fourth
Mondays of each month, also has moved the Oct. 9 meeting to Tuesday,
Oct. 10.

-- that Beverly Wallace is looking for Austin High School class of 1980
alumni for a 20-year reunion this year?
The alumnus of the school in the Austin community adjacent to Oak Park
on the east can be reached either at 1-800-395-6511 or at 708-886-0051.

-- that new houses are being built at the following locations in River
There are new homes at 827 Park Ave., 1422 William St., 506 Edgewood,
829 Park Ave. and at 115 Keystone Ave., 203 Keystone Ave. and 221
Keystone Ave., which are on the former site of the now-demolished
Washington School.

-- that even though the Community Chest of Oak Park & River Forest had a
record fund-raising year, it narrowly fell short of its campaign goal?
The chest, the local United Way organization that gives money to local
social service organizations, raised $777,767 in its 1999-2000 campaign
and had a goal of $800,000.

-- that West Suburban Health Care will hold a career forum in ambulatory
services from 4 to 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday, May 17?
The career forum will be held at the Center for Primary Care at 7411 W.
Lake St. in River Forest. For more information, call 763-6933 or submit
resumes to by mail to West Suburban Health Care, 3 Erie Court in Oak
Park, by fax at 708-386-9246 or by e-mail to careers@westsub.com.

-- that 60 years ago this month, the North Branch of the Oak Park Public
Library was moved from 208 Chicago Ave. to the Dole building at 255
Augusta St.?
The Dole family, who also at one time owned what is now the Cheney
Mansion at 220 N. Euclid Ave. in Oak Park, had donated the Augusta
building to the village government, and the village board decided to
remodel the building so the library could move in.

-- that Oak Park will try again on May 20 to fill police officer
Again that Saturday at Oak Park and River Forest High School, an
orientation and test for entry-level officers will be held at 9 a.m.
Sheets with more information are available any time at the Oak Park
Police Department in the lower level of village hall, Lombard Avenue and
Madison Street.

-- that a new salary for River Forest Village Administrator Charles
Biondo was set recently by the village board?
After a private, executive session to discuss the personnel matter, the
village board decided to pay Biondo a base salary of $91,000 for the
year, with a performance bonus of $19,000 more if he meets certain goals
set by the board.

May 5, 2000


Wright Home & Studio gains a mention
at the right time


-- that a short time before the upcoming Wright Plus house walk held near
the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, the landmark made
Home & Away magazine's 2000 list of top 10 attractions in Chicago's
Others on the list in the May/June 2000 issue are the Fox Valley Trolley
Museum in South Elgin, the Lipizzan horses in Wadsworth, the Naper
Settlement in Naperville, the Cantigny estate in Wheaton, the Cuneo
Museum and Gardens in Vernon Hills, the Fermi National Accelerator in
Batavia, the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, the Volvo Antique Auto
Museum in Volo and Brookfield Zoo.

-- that in another magazine list, Oak Park had no companies in the
Crain's Chicago Business magazine's recent ranking of the 325 largest
private companies in the Chicago area, but there were a few representing
surrounding suburbs?
River Forester Doris Christopher's kitchen tools company, Pampered Chef,
checked in at number 35. Further down the list were Ferrara Pan Candy
Co., the candy manufacturing concern at 7501 W. Harrison St. in Forest
Park, and Turano Bakery, the baking and manufacturing firm at 6501 W.
Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. (Although in Berwyn, Turano does have employee
parking across the street in Oak Park.)

-- that the current starting salary for an Oak Park police officer is

-- that the Oak Park Fire Department will be doing its annual testing of
fire hydrants from Monday, May 8, to Saturday, May 20?
Opening and working on hydrants may cause some debris to get into water
pipes, so residents should run the water inside water for a while if
they experience cloudy tap water during the testing.

-- that the 1907 World's Fair was held in Forest Park, Mo.?

-- that the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation for the first time has
signed on to have the Chicago Architectural Foundation give tours this
year of Unity Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed national landmark
on the southeast corner of Lake Street and Kenilworth Avenue?

-- that the eighth-grade graduation for Roosevelt Middle School in River
Forest again will take place at the River Forest Tennis Club, which is
across the street from the school?
Roosevelt is at 7560 W. Oak St. and the Tennis Club is at 615 Lathrop

-- that the 1999 ASID Showcase House in River Forest is for sale for
$1.2 million?
The 22-room house also had a coach house.

-- that OPRF sophomore and girls softball player 
Kerry Hayes threw three no-hitters last week?

-- that a yo-yo club meets every Friday afternoon at Kite Harbor, 109 N.
Marion St.?

-- that Patrick Deady has been re-elected the president of the River
Forest Park District board and that the Oak Park village board has
appointed Elaine Ricketts the chairman of the Oak Park Farmers' Market
Commission. The market on June 3 will open again in the Pilgrim
Congregational Church parking lot at the northwest corner of Elmwood
Avenue and Lake Street?

-- that there's at least one difference in the elementary school
districts in River Forest and Forest Park?
At last report to the state government, Forest Park District 91 has
assessed property values of $193,184 per student, while River Forest has
$205,434 worth of property behind each student.

-- that Spaulding's for Ladies & Gentlemen clothing store in Downtown
Oak Park is offering 15 percent off any Kenneth Cole suit, sportcoat or
tuxedo to students of Oak Park and River Forest High School and Fenwick
High School?

May 2, 2000


House sale a pleasant surprise 
for southeast Oak Park


-- that the coming sale of a single-family home in southeast Oak Park
will be a pleasant surprise for many in Oak Park and the area?
Here's why. The two-story, nine-room, four-bedroom home needed plenty of
work when it went on the market and sold in January for $164,900. A
local Realtor purchased the home, though, and put in some new basics: an
extra half-bath and refurbished fixtures, some new appliances, a new
kitchen, a new roof, a new concrete floor in the two-car garage and some
other repairs, including opening up the front porch.
After the repairs were complete, the home went back on the market and
with a new sale price of $315,000. And some people wondered if the home
would break the $300,000 barrier in the area.
Southeast corner of Oak Park? Nearly $4,000 a year in property taxes? No
central air conditioning? Smallish bedrooms? Built in 1908? An
unfinished basement?
Last week, the home was reported under contract for a sale at the
$315,000 asking price.

-- that there will be two honors convocations this year for students at
Oak Park and River Forest High School?
Freshmen, sophomores and juniors will be honored during an assembly on
May 16, while seniors will get their own honors ceremony on May 24. In
previous years, there was one honors assembly for all students.

-- that the Oak Park Township Community Mental Health Board will
celebrate its 25th anniversary this month with a gathering at the Cheney
Mansion, the home owned by the Park District of Oak Park at 220 N.
Euclid Ave.?

-- that the 2000-2001 school year for the River Forest District 90
elementary schools will run from Aug. 28 this year to June 14, 2001?

-- that for the first 10 weeks of the year 2000, crime was down nearly
50 percent from the same time last year in police Zone 6, which is
bounded by Austin Boulevard, the Eisenhower Expressway, Oak Park Avenue
and Madison Street?

-- that the Oak Park Police Department's annual Bike Rodeo will be held
on May 20?
The police department's Community Policing Unit each year marks the
start of the summer bicycle season with a day in which all young people
can bring their bicycles to one location for safety tips, bike
registration and other activities, including chances to win prizes.
Those who want to attend should bring their bike and helmet on Saturday,
May 20, to Carroll Recreation Center, Kenilworth Avenue and Fillmore

-- that a program to get Oak Park teens to stop smoking has been
started, at the urging of Village President Barbara Furlong, by the
Youth Advocacy Council, a group of young people that advocates for youth
within Oak Park Township government?

-- that new parking regulations have been put into effect on many
central Oak Park streets to make parking easier during the ongoing
construction of the two new middle schools going on?
Parkers should pay attention to the signs that allow only permit parking
on school days for the next three years while the new schools are being
built at Julian, Washington Boulevard and Ridgeland Avenue, and Emerson,
Washington Boulevard and Kenilworth Avenue.

-- that Carlotta Lucchesi, a member of the OPRF High School board, has
been named one of the "former board members" on the District 90
strategic planning team?
Lucchesi, who this year was appointed to fill a vacancy on the OPRF
board, served on the District 90 school board from 1991 to 1999. Carolyn
Lang was named as the current District 90 strategic team's other "former
board member."

-- that the strategic planning team met this year on April 26 and 27?

-- that Larry Green is in line to become the new publisher of Pioneer
Press, the newspaper chain that publishes the Oak Leaves and Forest
Leaves and about 40 other weekly newspapers in the Chicago area?
Green, formerly a reporter and editor with the Chicago Sun-Times, which
owns Pioneer Press, had mostly recently been the Times' vice president
of advertising.

-- that there's an exhibit of photographs by legendary Oak Parker
Philander Barclay currently on display at the River Forest Public
Through his photography, Barclay provided a clear record of the early
days of the Oak Park area. The Barclay exhibit in the River Forest
library, 735 Lathrop Ave., was put together by the Historical Society of
Oak Park & River Forest to mark this year's 100th anniversary of the
founding of a public library in River Forest.

April 28, 2000


Honors to be built for two Oak Park favorites


Did you know ...?

-- that the latest trend of statues to honor public figures who have
left the scene--think Michael Jordan and Harry Caray--might be coming to
Oak Park?
In the first case, a citizens committee appointed by the park board of
Oak Park wants to raise money for, commission and build a statue to
honor John Hedges, the 20-year park district executive director who
retired recently.
And then, the Huskie Booster Club, which works to promote athletics and
other activities at Oak Park and River Forest High School, wants to put
up a bust or a plaque in honor of Jack Kaiser, the OPRF baseball coach
who died on March 28.

-- that Gary F. Balling, who the park board named to replace Hedges as
Park District of Oak Park executive director, has run in six marathon

-- that former Oak Park Village Manager Allen Parker officially resigned
as Maywood village manager on April 26?
A majority of the Maywood village board--which includes area State Sen.
Kimberly Lightford and State Rep. Wanda Sharp--had recently expressed
dissatisfaction with Parker's performance, and negotiated the

-- that Antiques Etc., the cooperative retail business in Downtown Oak
Park, has new owners?
A grand reopening to celebrate the change will be held this Saturday,
April 29, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 30, from noon to 5
p.m. at the store, 125 N. Marion St.

-- that Krader-Wolf, the former furniture business in Forest Park, will
hold a liquidation auction on Friday and Saturday?
The store at 7321 W. Madison St., went out of business earlier this
year, but will be selling its remaining inventory today at 7 p.m. and
tomorrow, Saturday, April 29, at 1 p.m. Persian and Oriental rugs
especially are available.

-- that the school board of Forest Park Elementary School District 91
will hold a public hearing on May 11 on a proposal to sell $700,000
worth of limited tax bonds?
The Forest Park schools announced that the money would be used energy
conservation, security, repairs and other non-educational purposes. The
hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the
district's Board Room, 424 Des Plaines Ave.

-- that the Board of Education for Elmwood Park District 401 wants to
sell $3 million in working cash fund bonds?
Residents can block the issue if they submit signatures of 10 percent of
the Elmwood Park voters. Filing signatures from 1,283 voters within 30
days will force the unit school district's bond issue to a referendum.

-- that the commercial building at 408 N. Austin Blvd. in Oak Park will
be up at a foreclosure sale on June 1?
The building, which includes the Soap Opera Village laundromat, will be
available for purchase, but not the business' laundry machines.

-- that the vacancy on the park board of Oak Park that is to be filled
soon must stand for election in April of 2001?
The park board is taking applications from residents who want to be
appointed to fill the vacancy occurring with the resignation of
Commissioner Catherine Breen, who's moving out of town with her family.
Also up for election next year will be the seat now held by commissioner
Tim Kelly.

-- that with the Elian Gonzalez saga, the conversation must be fast and
furious at Cafe Bolero, the Cuban cuisine restaurant now open at 7426 W.
North Ave. in Elmwood Park across from River Forest?

-- that the first Hemingway Cup sailing race is being held this week?
The race of regatta ships goes from Key West, Fla., a favorite of Oak
Park native and national figure Ernest Hemingway, to Baltimore

April 25, 2000

Oak Park NAACP holds ACTSO
competition on Sunday

Did you know ...?

-- that the NAACP Oak Park branch on April 30 will present this year's
ACTSO Visual Arts, Science and Playwriting Competitions?
Oak Park and River Forest High School and the NAACP Oak Park branch
annually sponsor ACTSO, which showcases OPRF students' talents in
academics, arts and other fields. The branch then hopes to send winning
students in the competition to the national ACTSO competition at the
NAACP national convention.
The April 30 showcase also is designed to raise money for the winning
students to attend the national ACTSO event and is on for Sunday from 6
to 10 p.m. at the home of OPRF school board member Chester Stewart.

-- that the League of Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest is
examining the racial makeup of public schools?
The League is surveying school districts to compare their numbers to
those of Oak Park Elementary School District District 97. Plans call for
a report on the survey to be issued in time for the return of the Oak
Park Exchange Congress in September.
Also at about the time of the Exchange Congress, the recently formed
Commitment to Diversity Task Force in Oak Park also is to issue a
report. The task force grew out of village government's suggestion to
establish a leadership council to address racial matters that impact on
local schools and the community. The task force includes representatives
of village government and District 97.

-- that U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, whose 7th Congressional District
includes River Forest and Oak Park north of the Eisenhower Expressway,
recently visited Grand Cayman Island for a forum on Cuban-American
The trip for congressmen was sponsored by the Aspen Institute.

-- that the nine-hole golf course at Columbus Park is 2,865 yards and a
par 34?

-- that the recent Student Council elections at Oak Park and River
Forest High School produced more than 500 votes, which is a record
turnout for the school, which currently has about 2,800 students?
Officers for next school year will be president Vicky Yeisley, a junior;
vice president Monique Pirtle, a junior; treasurer Peter Griffith, a
sophomore; secretary Paddy O'Connell, a sophomore. Also elected was the
students' non-voting representative to the OPRF school board. Junior
Diane Collias will attend school board meetings and report on student

-- that Barbara's Bookstore at 1100 Lake St. in Oak Park has pledged 10
percent of sales during the week of May 14-20 to the Conservatory Center
being renovated Oak Park?
The project at the conservatory, Garfield Street and East Avenue, is
"virtually complete," reports John Seaton, manager of Conservatory
Operations. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the Conservatory
addition is to be held by the Park District of Oak Park on Sunday, June
4, from noon to 4 p.m.,. A preview  grand opening gala for the Friends
of the Oak Park Conservatory also is on for the previous Friday, June 2.
That event is to feature music, food, cocktails and a silent auction to
benefit the Friends group.

-- that Bonnie Doolin, chef and food instructor at Whole Foods Market in
the River Forest Town Center, Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, is to give
a demonstration on cooking with herbs tonight, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the
Veterans Room of the Oak Park Public Library main branch, 834 Lake St.?

-- that there have been two meetings so far of the steering committee
planning to hold the regional Oak Park Exchange Congress on racial
diversity in September this year and that the third one will be held on
May 22 at 10 a.m. in village hall, Lombard Avenue and Madison Street?
The Oak Park residents attending the first two planning meetings
included Exchange Congress co-chairs Gloria Smith and Barry Greenwald;
Village President Barbara Furlong; Village Clerk Sanda Sokol, who
formerly worked in village hall's Community Relations Department;
Sherlynn Reid, the former director of that department;  Suzanne Vestuto,
a community representative in that department; John Lukehart; Bobbie
Raymond, founder of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center; Agnes
Stempniak, the housing center's current executive director; Karen Bopp,
who heads the Housing Center's rental counseling program in other
communities; Jim Boushay; Gloria Merrill, a member of the Oak Park Plan
Commission; Cynthia Breunlin; and James J. McClure, a former two-term
Oak Park village president.

-- that the River Forest village government and the River Forest Park
District are sharing the costs of putting together a proposal for a
grant to improve the Metra station at Thatcher Avenue, which is above
the park district's headquarters at 401 Thatcher Ave.

-- that the commercial building at 1123 Lake St. in Downtown Oak Park
currently is for sale?
With Wigmart Fashions, the building has retail in the ground-floor
storefronts and offices on the second floor.

-- that the late mobster Sam Giancana lived at 1028 S. Monitor Ave. in
the Austin neighborhood adjacent to Oak Park on the east before moving
to Oak Park in the 1940s?
Giancana lived in the so-called Island neighborhood of Austin until he
purchased a home at  1147 S. Wenonah Ave. in Oak Park. Giancana lived in
the Oak Park bungalow until he was murdered while cooking sausages in
the basement on June 19, 1975. When the mob figure bought the Wenonah
Avenue house, it cost $22,500.
And for those who don't know, the Island gets its name because while in
the city limits it does not border any other Austin residences. The
Island, which includes a public school, is bordered by Cicero on the
south, Oak Park on the west, a commercial corridor on the east and the
Eisenhower Expressway on the north.

-- that the above note about Giancana comes from a book called "Return
to the Scene of the Crime"' by Richard Lindberg, which also reports,
among other things, that since the late mobster Tony Accardo moved out
of his house at 1401 Ashland Ave. in River Forest, the home's next four
owners declared bankruptcy?

April 20, 2000

State legislature comes through
for Unity Temple


Did you know ...?

-- that the Illinois legislature gave more pork to Oak Park last week,
when the fiscal year 2001 budget included money to begin the needed
major fix-up of Unity Temple?

The state's budget includes $3 million that is to be split between Unity
Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed landmark at the southeast corner
of Lake Street and Kenilworth Avenue in Oak Park, and the Robie House,
the Wright-designed home on the campus of the University of Chicago in
the city's Hyde Park neighborhood. The Robie House, another federal
landmark, is currently operated and being restored by the recently
renamed Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation.

-- that former Oak Park Village Manager Allen Parker remains on the job
as Maywood village manager--at least for now?
After an private executive session meeting on April 17, the Maywood
village board did not act to dismiss Parker, and the parties are now
trying to work out details to keep Parker working with village
government as an economic development consultant under a new village
Also on the Parker front, he's got an idea for a career after village
manager. Parker is telling people that he might want to get into the
executive recruitment field and concentrate on hiring of African
Americans in executive positions. He thinks there are plenty of black
executives who are not being recruited.

-- that Elmwood Park, the village to the north of River Forest, recently
considered a ban on for-sale signs like Oak Park has?
Instead, local Realtors and the village government's Plan, Zoning and
Development Commission reached a compromise that now imposes greater
regulations on for-sale signs. In Oak Park, village hall officials and
local Realtors have agreed to ban the signs except for times during open
house in the belief that signs encourage the wrong messages with regard
to racial diversity policies.

-- that construction is underway on the Columbus Park Terraces, a new
development of single-family homes in the Austin neighborhood of
The development really isn't that close to Columbus Park, which is on
Jackson Boulevard between Austin Boulevard and Central Avenue. Instead,
the development is at Jackson and Lotus Avenue, which is close to
Laramie Avenue. The project's recent ground-breaking included city
government officials, including 29th Ward Ald. Isaac Carothers, and Oak
Parker Gary Collins of PrivateBank and Trust Company, which helped in
financing the Columbus Park Terraces.
By the way, PrivateBank, 10 N. Dearborn in Chicago, has a bundle of
other local connections. Chairman of the board is Ralph Mandell of River
Forest; another co-founder is William Langley, who formerly lived in
River Forest. And in addition to Collins, assistant managing director
David C. Neilson lives in Oak Park.

-- that Jonathan Lavin, the president of the Oak Park-based Illinois
Coalition on Aging, has been named by Gov. Ryan to the Task Force on
Elder Abuse?
The panel is to study ways to better support "financially abused" senior
citizens in the state.

-- that Hacker Farms has decided not to continue at the Oak Park
Farmers' Market?
Hacker has been at the market, Lake Street and Elmwood Avenue, since it
started 25 years ago.

-- that the 700 block of Monroe Avenue in River Forest is a brick

-- that the Proviso High School District 209, which includes Proviso
East, Forest Park's public high school, recently hired a new

Greg Jackson has been with the school district since 1994, first as
business manager and they as assistant superintendent for business
affairs, is to take over the superintendent's post on July 1. But first,
Jackson has to attend classes to gain the necessary certification to be
a school superintendent in Illinois.
District 209 also governs Proviso West High School in Westchester.

April 17, 2000

Like Oak Park's Barrie Park, Canadian city
has its own coal tar problems


Did you know ...?

-- that Jeff Tucker of London, Ontario was quite interested in
oak-park-journal.com's posting of the agreement between Oak Park
officials and utilities on the coal tar fiasco that has closed Barrie
Park for more than a year?

"The information presented on this environmental problem and how Oak
Park has dealt with it may be of interest to the politicians in my own
city, (which) is currently dealing with a coal tar site that is actually
leaking into one of our rivers," Tucker e-mailed after reading the
documents posted by oak-park-journal.com publisher Edward Vincent.
Coal tar has been under Barrie Park, Garfield Street and East Avenue for
many years, since the site was formerly a plant for the electric and gas
utilities that have become Commonwealth Edison and Nicor. Since the
situation was discovered, the utilities and Park District of Oak Park
officials have been negotiating a solution, and they recently agreed
that the utilities will clean up the tar in the park at a cost of
millions of dollars.

In Tucker's Canadian city, toxic coal tar has been leaking into the
Thames River in two locations. Officials have tried what Canada's
internet network called "band-aid measures" to alleviate the pollution,
which reportedly emanates from a former coal gasification plant. And now
officials are trying to figure out what to do. Unlike in Oak Park,
removing all the coal tar isn't a practical option, largely because of
cost, according to Ed Jambor, operations manager of London Hydro, the
company that owns the property where the coal tar is leaking.
"The current thinking is to stop the leak without removing the tar,
since it is the cheapest short term," Tucker said. "The issue will probably be
headed for a full public meeting, and perhaps some of your community's
experience may be of assistance."

Perhaps, but it has taken Oak Park, Edison and Nicor officials a long
time already.

-- that Clover's Garden Center is getting ready to reopen for another
season at the southeast corner of Lake Street and Clinton Avenue in
River Forest?
River Forest resident Regan Cronin opened one of her garden centers last
year for the spring and summer season. There are also Clover locations
in Berwyn, Chicago, Norridge and other places.

-- that New Rebozo, the Mexican restaurant at 1116 Madison St., will be
closed for remodeling through this Saturday, April 22?
The owners of the restaurant, now in its eighth year in Oak Park, plan
to reopen on April 23.

-- that the Park District of Oak Park last Thursday and Friday applied
fertilizer to all the parks' grass?
The Park District said the fertilizer contained no pesticides or

-- that there is a Heritage House Apartments development in Melrose
It's not the Heritage House senior citizen housing at 201 Lake St. in
Oak Park, but a private rental complex near North Avenue and Mannheim

-- that the Bock Building of townhomes is going up at the northeast
corner of Harlem Avenue and Thomas Street in Oak Park?

-- that efforts are underway to start a political organization that is
so far called The New Democratic Party of Oak Park?
The tentative mission statement says the party and its members would
work "to provide leadership and opportunities to individuals who want to
be involved in the Democratic process of Oak Park."

-- that written examinations for those seeking to be hired as
entry-level Oak Park police officers will be given on Saturday, April 22?

The tests will be given to those who have been to the hiring orientation
and will be held at Oak Park and River Forest High School, 201 N.
Scoville Ave. in Oak Park at 9 a.m.--SHARP, the notice says. Later,
candidates will be given physical and psychological tests, which are the
other two components of the testing process. The successful applicants
will be placed on a hiring list and ranked according to their scores on
the tests and would be hired in that order to fill any Police Department

-- that Browning Ferris Industries is raising its garbage collection
rate in Forest Park by 2.9 percent this month?
Forest Park village hall officials say they will not pass the increase
along to residents.

-- that April 22 is Clean Your Files Day to commemorate Earth Day?
The national program sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency and the American Forest and Paper
Association encourages office workers and others to clean out and
recycle old paper. In Oak Park, village hall officials are encouraging
office workers to drop off old paper, magazines, newspapers and other
paper products until April 22 in a space near the main fire station on
North Boulevard east of Euclid Avenue.

-- that the former and unsightly used car lot in Oak Park on the
northwest corner of Ridgeland Avenue and Roosevelt Road has been closed
and demolished?

-- that Oak Park resident Kelly Coppel, the manager of the Oak Park
Farmers' Market, was an early public opponent of last year's efforts by
the state of Illinois and Oak Park village government to widen Ridgeland
Avenue from South Boulevard to Washington Boulevard?

April 12, 2000

Chicago has Austin Boulevard 
construction starting in July


Did you know ...?

-- that the joint Austin Boulevard construction project being undertaken
jointly by Oak Park and Chicago is scheduled by the city to begin in

The work on Austin from Roosevelt Road to North Avenue, estimated to
cost anywhere between $1 million and $5 million, is expected by
Chicago's Department of Transportation to be completed in July 2001.

-- that The Papa is a daiquiri invented in Cuba in honor of Oak Park
native son and late novelist Ernest Hemingway?
Here's the deal, according to the May issue of Food & Wine Magazine. The
drink has rum, of course, and maraschino liqueur, among other
ingredients and was invented at La Floridita in Havana, a Hemingway
favorite. The bar sells a Papa or a Papa Doble (Spanish for double), and
the magazine reports, Hemingway "always had a doble."
Also regarding daiquiris, Hemingway once wrote--and follow this
closely--that daiquiris "felt, as you drank them, they way downhill
glacier-skiing feels running through powder snow."

-- that the River Forest village board recently declared May to be
Library Appreciation Month in the village?
The move comes with some history. On May 14, 1900, a River Forest
library board held the first meeting to establish a public library in
the village.

-- that Maywood has moved closer to River Forest, sort of?
What this means is that the Maywood village government offices have
moved from a location on 5th Avenue near St. Charles Road into space in
the Public Works building at 40 Madison St. across from the Des Plaines
River and divides the River Forest and Maywood boundaries.
Maywood Village Manager Allen Parker--a former Oak Park village manager
who, as we reported Monday, probably will be fired from the manager's
post on April 17--said the remodeling of the Public Works building will
result in expanded space for village hall offices and will cost about $1
million. A new village hall, Parker said, would have cost about $2.5
Naturally, the Madison address, which is also close to Forest Park's
western border, is in a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, and the
TIF fund is picking up the cost of the remodeled village hall. People
driving by on Madison will notice the construction on south side to the
green building elevated from the street level.

-- that also coming to Maywood is a new McDonald's restaurant to replace
the one on Lake Street near 1st Avenue, which is walking distance from
River Forest?
McDonald's recently announced that it will build the new restaurant
barely west of the existing one, which is over the Des Plaines from
River Forest. Then the existing restaurant will be demolished. The
Maywood village government's in-house newspaper said the projects
tentatively are scheduled to begin in May.

-- that the lobby of the Oak Park main post office will be open until
11:30 p.m. on income tax deadline day, April 17?

-- that Del's Soft Frozen Lemonade, 315 South Blvd. in Oak Park, will be
selling fruit ices during the May 6 event to be held by Harrison East
Arts District at and around Harrison and Lombard in Oak Park?

-- that a Spanish language version of a promotion piece for the Frank
Lloyd Wright Home and Studio is being distributed at Oak Park village
The piece publicizes the Casa Y Estudio de Oak Park, the Casa Robie in
Chicago and Wright's La Decuela "Prairie" school of architecture, among
other things.

-- that River Forest village government recently received $100,000 for
two more years of the Cook County BADGE program?
The Balanced Approach to Drug and Gang Elimination program previously
gave money to village hall, which uses the money for, in part, the
school resource police officer who associates with students inside Oak
Park and River Forest High School.

-- that Borders Books, Music, Video still is hiring staff for its new
store coming soon to 1144 Lake St. in Oak Park?
They're hiring book sellers, music sellers and cafe staff, and more
information is available this weekend at the Borders job fair. The event
will be held on Thursday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday,
April 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Write Inn, 211 N. Oak Park Ave.

-- that Forest Park Village Administrator Jim Thomas and Dan Korman,
executive director of the Forest Park Main Street Association, attended
the National Town Meeting on Main Street in Boston April 2 to 5?
Main Street is the local business group that is seeking to revitalize
the Madison Street business district in Forest Park. Korman had been to
four such national town meetings previously, while Thomas attended the
national Main Street meeting for the first time.

-- that Aspira, the group for Latino students at Oak Park and River
Forest High School tomorrow, April 13, will host a forum for families
that are interested in being foster homes for Spanish-speaking children?

"There is a shortage of foster homes in the Chicagoland area, especially

those of Latino descent," Aspira said in announcing the forum, which
will be held tomorrow at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville Ave. in Oak Park. Guest
speaker Rita Rodriguez will explain how to become a foster parent, and
Danca Quente will perform.

For more information, contact Luis Perez, the sponsor of Aspira, at
708-383-0700 ext. 2382.

April 7, 2000

No action, but property acquisition reports
heard by Oak Park village board


-- that the private Saturday discussion of property acquisition was held
by the Oak Park village board, but a half hour earlier than the
originally posted time of 9 a.m.?
The board began meeting in the B-30 conference room at 8:30 a.m. and
was, officials said, to hear reports from Village Manager Carl Swenson
and Penny Wallingford, the development services manager. No action was
to be taken Saturday, and officials declined to comment on which
properties were discussed.

-- that Rami Saif, the developer of the townhouses going up at South
Boulevard and Euclid Avenue, now wants to build another such development
at the site of Orlissie's Place restaurant, which Oak Park and River
Forest High School wants to own for expanded athletic fields?
Saif has been in talks with Orlissie's owner, Loretta Ragsdell, about
purchasing the property at 529 Lake St., at East Avenue. But OPRF
officials reportedly are not giving up on their intention to seize the
site through eminent domain condemnation.

-- that the other piece of property that OPRF doesn't own on that
so-called Gleason block along Lake Street between East and Elmwood
avenues, Everest Healthcare Corporation, got a new chief financial
officer last year?
Everest at 101 N. Elmwood Ave. named Lawrence D. Damon to the finance
post. The Chicago resident had been senior vice president of finance and
treasurer at Baxter International. By the way, Everest is the nation's
sixth largest provider of dialysis treatment services.

-- that with release in July of "Harry Potter and the Doomspell
Tournament," the fourth Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling, The Magic
Tree Bookstore, 141 N. Oak Park Ave., will be open at 11:30 p.m. on
Friday July 7 and will start selling the book at midnight on July 8?

-- that the west Cook County area, which includes Oak Park, River Forest
and Forest Park, is represented on the Pace board by Betty
Loren-Maltese, the town president of Cicero?
Pace, the suburban bus service provider, has 11 members on the board
from various parts of suburban Chicago.

-- that the commercial building at 6820 W. Roosevelt Road in Oak Park is
for sale with a $625,000 purchase price?
The building's sole tenant is Windy City Video, which has a lease in
place until 2003.

-- that the commercial building at 7777 W. Lake St. in River Forest has
been sold to Realtor Jack Strand, an Oak Park resident?
Strand, whose firm Stand & Browne Real Estate is at 97 N. Harlem Ave. in
Oak Park, owns other properties in the area, including the strip mall at
Madison Street and Franklin Avenue in River Forest.

-- that the Park District of Oak Park currently is looking to hire
lifeguards and instructors in the learn-to-swim program for the pool in
the Oak Park Center, 500 S. Maple Ave.?

-- that Vincenzo Bassolino of Naples, Italy has signed on as chef at
Mancini's restaurant at 1038 Lake St. in Downtown Oak Park?

-- that the Web Site for Trapeze, the student newspaper at Oak Park and
River Forest High School, is still under construction?

-- that The Pot You Paint business at 121 N. Marion St. in Oak Park now
offers TV Wednesdays?
Television is on from 7 to 9 p.m. that night for patrons of the
business, which sells pottery that customers can paint in the store.

-- that the original Cafe al Gelato ice creams and ices, which were made
popular by al Gelato on North Avenue in Elmwood Park, is now being
served at Pronto Roma restaurant the River Forest Town Center at Harlem
Avenue and Lake Street?

-- that Flat Top Grill, which is at 726 Lake St. in Oak Park, also has
locations in Evanston, 707 Church St., and in Chicago, 1000 W.
Washington, 319 W. North Ave. and 3200 N. Southport?

-- that the Harrison East Arts District will hold its first spring event
on May 6 at and around Harrison Street and Lombard Avenue?

-- that Laura Perna, an elected member of the park board of Oak Park,
has joined the staff of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center as a
part-time housing counselor?
The Housing Center, 1041 South Boulevard, works in several ways on its
stated goal of building long-term racial diversity in the village.

April 3, 2000


Property on Oak Park board's private agenda


Did you know ...?

-- that something major must be up at Oak Park village hall because the
village board is scheduled to meet for six hours this Saturday in a
private executive session on a matter of "property acquisition"?
Posted is a meeting that is to last from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 8.

-- that the River Forest village board has approved a plan to finally
stop the noise caused by village hall's rooftop air-conditioning system
that has so bothered residents of the condominium building next door on
the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Lake Street?
After a 30-minute private executive session at the conclusion of its
March 13 meeting, the village board unanimously approved a no-bid
contract to spend $102,680 on the plan.

-- that Jet Magazine, the Chicago-based Johnson publication that covers
pop culture in the African American community, came to Oak Park, in a
way, recently to report on Geraldine McCullough's recent win of the Oak
Park Area Arts Council's Patron of the Arts Award?
The page-six coverage in the April 3 issue of Jet was accompanied by a
picture of McCullough, Arts Council executive director Camille
Wilson-White and Charity Piet, assistant to White, and by a picture of
the Joseph Randall Shapiro Award that McCullough won this year and had
previously designed to honor Shapiro, the late Oak Park resident and
major arts patron.
The pictures were taken, by the way, by Ed Vincent, publisher of
oak-park-journal.com, the on-line publication you're reading now.

-- that Magpie Studios, the artwork and jewelry store and workshop, soon
will be closing its retail operation at 177 S. Oak Park Ave.?
But Magpie "has not flown the coup," the store tells customers in an
announcement. Instead, owner Victoria Fremont and the staff will be
working in the rear half of the storefront to fill orders for the
products they design and build. The street side retail space next month
is to be filled by Tangled Web, which is described as a knitting store,
meaning, said Fremont, that it will sell knitting products and will give
knitting classes.

-- that the owner of the still-undeveloped property at North and Harlem
avenues in River Forest, has again proposed bringing a gas station and
mini-mart business to the corner?
Village government officials didn't like the idea when it was proposed
previously, and they don't now.

-- that "Stumped at the video store," an Oak Park-based monthly guide
and review magazine about videos, is now distributed at more than 150
locations in the three local villages and surrounding areas?
Begun in January 1998 and currently featuring Tom Hanks in "Saving
Private Ryan" on the cover, "Stumped," which can be picked up at the
local public libraries and a host of businesses, can be reached by phone
at 383-3937 and provides information on a Web Site at

-- that the Huskie Booster Club at a recent dinner honored Mike Clark,
the South Oak Park favorite that everybody knows?
The Booster Club, which works to fund athletics and other activities at
Oak Park and River Forest High School, presented business cards
declaring, "Mike Clark, Huskies #1 Fan."

-- that some of the State of Illinois' recent museum grants of nearly
$10 million went to two Oak Park institutions?
Although they might not technically be museums, Pleasant Home got
$47,000 for exterior restoration of the tourist home at 217 S. Home Ave.
and the Oak Park Conservatory got $40,000 for restoration of the fern
room at the conservatory, 615 Garfield St.

-- that the Oak Park Visitors Bureau is number 66 in the information
guide in the April 2000 issue of Midwest Living magazine?

-- that Whole Foods Market, the chain that has a store in the River
Forest Town Center at Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, recently opened a
new store at 50 W. Huron in Chicago?

-- that James Greenwood has been named Officer of the Year for 1999 by
the River Forest Police Department?
The designation made by department members was unanimous for Greenwood,
who was cited for having dedication to the job and the village and who
had no sick days off last year.

-- that in addition to the Oak Park library referendum, a property-tax
referendum on March 21 also passed in Elmwood Park, where voters hiked
the tax rate by 60 cents to give extra funds to the District 401
elementary schools?

-- that there is some news regarding two restaurants that have a history
somewhat related to Oak Park?
Maiz, the Mexican restaurant, that had been in a small storefront at
6011 W. Roosevelt Road in Cicero, across from Oak Park, has moved and
expanded to 1942 W. Division in Chicago. Maiz means corn in Spanish.
And then there's Zealous, which opened in west suburban Elmhurst six
years ago after backing out of a deal for an Oak Park location. The
restaurant has now moved to 419 W. Superior in the hot River North area
of Chicago.
The Oak Park connection? Zealous had a tentative agreement to move to,
733 Lake St., which had become known as the village's restaurant death
space because it had been home to four unsuccessful restaurants in 17
years. Papaspiros Greek Taverna operates in the Lake Street location now
and recently won a Nicholas Award for contribution to economic
development from the Oak Park Development Corporation.

-- that the trial of State Rep. Wanda Sharp, whose district includes
parts of Oak Park and Forest Park and who narrowly lost an election bid
on March 21, is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 10?
Sharp has been charged with irregularities in her successful bid last
year for election as a Maywood village trustee.

March 23, 2000

Forest Park gets ready for new 
Harlem-Garfield development


Did you know ...?

-- that a plan for redevelopment of the area near Harlem Avenue and
Harrison Street in Forest Park will go to a public hearing on April 10?
The Forest Park village council is proposing to create Tax Increment
Financing (TIF) district and to acquire property for redevelopment of
the area bounded by the Eisenhower Expressway on the north, by Harrison
Street on the south, by Harlem on the east and on the west by Ferrara
Pan Candy Co., 7301 W. Harrison St.
The hearing has been set for Monday, April 10, at 6:55 p.m. at Forest
Park village hall, 517 Des Plaines Ave.
Plans across Harlem along Garfield Street in Oak Park continue to
progress to bring a Sleep Inn mid-size hotel-motel to the corner.

-- that fresh from her victory in the Democratic primary for the 7th
House District, which includes parts of Oak Park and Forest Park, Karen
Yarbrough is off on a holiday in Barbados?
Yarbrough, the Maywood resident and former Oak Parker who beat two
challengers in the election, had the trip planned win or lose. But
first, Yarbrough made five appearances in the district the day after the
March 21 election, including one at the meeting that night of the Oak
Park Elementary School District 97 board. More than one official
commented that they had never before heard of a local state
representative attending a school board meeting.

-- that the commercial building at 246 Lake St. is scheduled to be sold
at a foreclosure sale on April 13?
The building has been home to an auto repair business.

-- that as expected yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Council of
Illinois came out with its annual list of the 10 most endangered
historic places in Illinois and that the list includes Unity Temple in
Oak Park?
The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation recently announced that the
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed landmark at 875 Lake St. needs much work to
fix physical problems with the national landmark. Among other moves, as
noted here previously, the foundation is seeking a $1 million state
grant to fund some of the work.
The endangered sites list also included Central School in Evanston, the
DuPage Theater and the DuPage Shoppes in Lombard, the Platt Luggage
Building in Chicago and other historic properties in Decatur,
Pittsfield, Quincy, Spring Valley, Tremont and Waterloo.
The endangered list did not include St. Edmund Church in Oak Park, where
organized opponents of the church's renovation had lobbied for a spot on
the endangered list.

-- that Oak Park residents and March 21 library referendum supporters
who gathered on election night to await election returns were treated to
a great house for the evening?
Husband and wife George Vinyard, a former library board member and a
co-chair of the citizens committee that worked for referendum passage,
and Judy Shepelak last year purchased the former convent of St. Edmund
Church at 201 S. Euclid Ave., and their extensive renovation and
remodeling is almost done.

-- that April in Paris, the name for this year's annual benefit and
dinner held by Sarah's Inn, will take place April 29 in Oak Brook?
The event will be held that night at the Lodge, a meeting and reception
area that is on the McDonald's campus in Oak Brook. The event is a major
fund-raiser for Sarah's Inn, which works to lessen the effects of
domestic violence, as the agency puts it.

-- that Coffee with Camille will return for another edition next
Tuesday, March 28?
In the program recently begun by Camille Wilson-White, executive of the
Oak Park Area Arts Council, she meets with area artists on the second
and fourth Tuesdays of the month to discuss any of arts-related topics
at Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard Ave. from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

-- that Arts Council board president Leslie Ann Jones predicts that the
Oak Park village board this year will pass an ordinance regulating
public art in the village?

-- that the River Forest park board on April 3 and Oak Park and River
Forest High School on April 6 will hold separate public hearings on
proposed budgets?
The park board's hearing will be held at 7 p.m. that Monday in the park
district's newly remodeled headquarters at 401 Thatcher Ave. The amended
budget for the year ending on April 30 is on file and available for
inspection during business hours.
The OPRF budget under consideration is to cover the fiscal year from
July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001 and also is on file at the school. The
hearing will be that Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the high school, 201 N.
Scoville Ave.

-- that on election night at Emerson Junior High School, vote totals
were compiled on Oak Park village hall's behalf by Village Clerk Sandra
Sokol and Michael Koperniak, village hall's main traffic engineer?

-- that Forest Park village hall is now hiring  part-time police "call
The new employees would work overnights taking telephone calls about
parking information and then entering the information into computers.
The pay is $10 pe hour, and applications are available at village hall,
517 Des Plaines Ave.

-- that The Singing Winds School, a Waldorf-inspired educational
program, operates at 1100 Ontario St. in Oak Park?

-- that Borders Books, Music, Cafe is now hiring for its store to open
soon at 1144 Lake St. in Oak Park?
The following positions are posted: assistant book manager, assistant
music manager, assistant cafe manager, office coordinator and community
relations coordinator.

OPRF student chimes in
with Oscar predictions


Did you know ...?

-- that the staff at Trapeze, the student newspaper at Oak Park and
River Forest High School, has chimed in with predictions for the major
Academy Awards to be given out on Monday night, March 26?
The Trap staff picked "American Beauty" as best picture and its
director, Sam Mendes, as best director and its star, Kevin Spacey, as
best actor; Hilary Swank of "Boys Don't Cry" for best actress; Tom
Cruise in "Magnolia" as best supporting actor; and Angelina Jolie of
"Girl, Interrupted" as best supporting actress.

-- that although he's not pictured in the Illinois Voters of
Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization's "Endorsements 2000"
literature, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, whose district includes River
Forest and the part of Oak Park north of the Eisenhower Expressway, did
gain the IVI-IPO endorsement in his race for Democratic committeeman of
the 29th Ward in the city's Austin community adjacent to Oak Park on the
Davis, an Austin resident, has been Democratic committeeman since 1984
and faces a tough Tuesday election against Isaac "Ike" Sims Carothers, a
former city government bureaucrat who was elected 29th Ward alderman
last year with Mayor Daley's backing.

-- that according to Vernita Gray, the Gay-Lesbian Liaison for the Cook
County State's Attorney's office, who spoke in Oak Park last week,
"fag," the disparaging comment about gays and lesbians has replaced "the
n-word," the epithet against African Americans, as the slur most
commonly uttered by school students in Cook County?

-- that St. Paul Federal Bank, which has branches in Oak Park and its
main location across from the village at 6700 W. North Ave., has ATM
cash machines in both Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park?

-- that Susan Swords Steffen, an Oak Park resident who has issued
written statements in favor of passage of the March 21 library
referendum in the village, is director of the Elmhurst College Library?

-- that the Dominican University Graduate School of Business will hold
an open house on Sunday, March 26, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Dominican,
7900 W. Division St. in River Forest?

-- that the ever-expanding list of public works projects in Illinois
this year is scheduled to include $5 million to resurface 1st Avenue on
Forest Park's western border from the Eisenhower Expressway to Lake
Street, a new northbound lane on 1st Avenue from the expressway to
Madison St. and improvements to the bridge over the Des Plaines River on
Madison Street in River Forest?

-- that Fred Galluzzo, a dean at OPRF High School, has been the new head
coach for boys tennis at OPRF?
Galluzzo, who previously was a head tennis coach at Gordan Technical
High School, an all-boys Catholic school in Chicago, at OPRF will
replace John Morlidge, who is not being asked back as head coach amid
accusations that Molridge impersonated a doctor in a telephone call made
to have a tennis player excused from an appearance on "Newscene," the
student television news show at OPRF.

-- that animal licenses in Oak Park are due May 1?
The fee is $7 for dogs or cats that go outside--or $10 if the pets
aren't neutered.

-- that River Forest Elementary School District 90 has signed up to have
Triton College provide Education-To-Careers services?

-- that another "Great Paint Exchange" will take place in Oak Park on
April 29?
The program held that Saturday at the Public Works Center, 131 South
Blvd., works like this: from 9 to 11 a.m. residents who have paint to
dispose of can  bring it in to the center, and from 1 to 3 p.m., people
who need paint can pick up some at the center.

-- that student council elections are going on this week at OPRF High

-- that it takes about eight months to fully fill a vacancy on the River
Forest Police Department?
Department estimates have it taking two months to do the hiring through
the Fire and Police Commission, three months to train the new officer at
a police academy and three months of field training to fully certify the
new officer.

Unity Temple group needs new director
and wants a million dollars


Did you know ...?

-- that the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation, which is seeking $1
million in state money for an upgrade to the landmark building in Oak
Park, is trying to hire a new executive director?
The position is full-time and the director will supervise all the
activities of the organization, which works to preserve and restore the
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed landmark at 875 Lake St.
On the funding front, the foundation is hoping to get $1 million in Gov.
Ryan's seemingly bottomless--but really "only" $12 billion--Illinois
FIRST program. State legislation to that effect reportedly is being
backed by the state legislators who represent various parts of Oak Park.

-- that the River Forest Police Department has started an officer's
exchange program with counterparts in Maywood?
Under the program, officers spend time on patrol in the opposite
community with the stated goals of seeing different communities and
police styles and experiencing "a broader range of cultures," said
Police Chief Michael Hollub.

-- that Mel (Demetrius) "Tony" Johnson, a nominal candidate for election
to the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, lists his
address as 511 S. Lyman Ave. in Oak Park?

-- that the prospective delegates on the March 21 election ballot as
siding with vanquished Bill Bradley for President include Karen
Yarbrough of Maywood, one of the candidates in the 7th Illinois House
District race; Pat Quinn of Chicago's Galewood neighborhood to the north
of Oak Park and a former village resident who once was state treasurer;
and State Rep. Arthur L. Turner (D-Chicago), who formerly represented
part of Oak Park?

-- that the Thai Taste restaurant has left its location at 303 Madison
St. in Oak Park?
The space on the northeast corner of Madison Street and Ridgeland Avenue
is for rent and also has in its window posters for all three candidates
in the 7th Illinois House District's March 21 Democratic Primary
election. That's right posters for Yarbrough, William B. Sullivan of Oak
Park and incumbent Wanda Sharp of Maywood all face the empty
storefront's Madison Street side.

-- that the Cook County Clerk's office needs judges for the March 21
Judges will be paid $50 for attending a training session and $100 for
being at a polling place all day on election day. To sign up, call the
clerk's office at 312-603-0966.

-- that the home on Lenox Avenue in Oak Park that formerly was owned by
Keith Bergstrom, the late former Oak Park police chief, is currently for

-- that Fenwick High School in Oak Park from March 22 to May 18 will
hold classes on the basics of water polo?
The course costs $70 and classes meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
evenings at Fenwick, 505 Washington Blvd.

-- that Jason Johns has joined McCollum Realty Ltd. as a property
McCollum, a commercial area estate firm, is at 1010 Lake St.

-- that, speaking of 1010 Lake St., Selma Belajec, who founded Marks
Travel Service, 1134, more than 25 years ago, has joined Crosswords
Travel, which is on the ground floor of the Lake Street office building?

-- that weekly collection of yard waste collection in Oak Park starts
this year on April 3 and will run until mid-November?

-- that Oak Park native and current village resident Erik Johnson has
been named executive director of Community Response Inc., the agency
that works to assist persons impacted by AIDS and/or HIV?
Johnson joined Community Response in 1993 and has held several positions
with the agency.

-- that the new traffic signal at Ridgeland Avenue and Garfield Street
is now scheduled to start working next week?
The signal was installed during last year's resurfacing of Ridgeland and
the accompanying reconstruction of the Ridgeland-Garfield intersection.

-- that State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, whose district includes much of
Oak Park and some of Forest Park, attended the March 13 election forum
held at Oak Park village hall by the NAACP Oak Park branch?

-- that there's a new entry to the local acronym file that includes the
APPLE, BRAVO, CAST, PING organizations and many more?
BEST, for Building of Excellence in Students and Teachers, is a group
formed by River Forest parents.

March 13, 2000


More changes to Downtown Oak Park business landscape


Did you know ...?

-- that if it's early in the year, it must be time again for changes to
the Downtown Oak Park business district?
You know from the March 2 edition of this column that the Legends of
London shoe store has left 1116 Lake St., and there have been a host of
other business comings and goings in the Harlem-Lake-Marion district,
which often happens after the holiday shopping season of the previous
year. Included are the following moves:
* The Crescent Moon gift shop has left 134 N. Marion St. and next month
plans to open at 111 N. Marion St., where Cain Gallery was closed by its
long-time owners.
* The Magnolias and Hedgehogs gift shop has left 118 N. Marion St.,
taking spaces across the street in Antiques etc. at 125 N. Marion St.
and at the Jackson Square Mall in downtown LaGrange.
* A consignment boutique is slated to open soon at 1022 North Blvd.
"Designer wear only" will be offered, according to the store's
* Los Cazadones, a Mexican restaurant, has opened at 1113 Lake St.,
where another restaurant closed.
* Warfields Cake Shoppe is now doing business at 167 N. Marion St.,
where a magic shop had been operating until its move to Forest Park last
* Still vacant are the former spaces of Gabriel's gift shop and Cecile's
A & C Jewelers, at 1109A Lake St. and 1109 Lake St., respectively. The
stores closed last year amid reports that the owner of the building
planned new development.
* Remodeling is underway at 1105 Holley Court, where a tailor had
operated for years.
And this doesn't include potential changes at Maple Furriers, 1120 Lake
St., where owner Martin Silverman recently stated plans to retire, the
still vacant former Sawyer Business School, 130 N. Marion St., which
village government still is pursuing in condemnation proceedings or the
Colt Building 1145 Lake St. that village hall also wants to acquire for

-- that Wednesday night, March 9, was a successful one for Fenwick High
School alumni who played against professional sports teams from Chicago?

Bates Battaglia, a Fenwick grad from Norwood Park, scored a hat trick,
or three goals, as his Carolina Hurricanes National Hockey League team
beat the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 4-1 in Raleigh, N.C.
And in Orlando, Fla. that night, 1998 Fenwick grad Corey Maggette from
Bellwood scored 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting to help his Orlando Magic
National Basketball Association team rip through the Chicago Bulls by a
103-to-67 score.
The two former Fenwick Friars took different paths to the pros. Maggette
was drafted in the first round on his way to the NBA and Battaglia,
whose first names is really Jon, was drafted for the NHL in the sixth
round in 1994.

-- that Jasculca-Terman and Associates, the public affairs and public
relations firm that is headed by River Forest resident Ric Jasculca and
that numbers Oak Park village government among its clients, has been
hired by the Highland Park village government to handle press and public
inquiries about the accusations against the suburb for racial profiling?

Five police officers in Highland Park, which includes the family of
basketball legend Michael Jordan among its residents, have filed suit
charging they were ordered by police supervisors to pull over black and
Hispanic drivers randomly in an effort to reduce crime.

-- that among the people attending the Feb. 26 Celebration of Diversity
breakfast held by the NAACP Oak Park branch were all three of the
candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in the 7th Illinois House
District election on March 21?
Karen Yarbrough of Maywood and William Sullivan of Oak Park have in the
election season been campaigning regularly in Oak Park, which is partly
in the 7th District. But incumbent Wanda Sharp, also of Maywood, has not
been a frequent campaigner in Oak Park.
Sharp was accompanied to the diversity breakfast at the Nineteenth
Century Woman's Club, 178 N. Forest Ave., by Eugene Moore, which has a
bit of history to it. Moore was the state representative in the 7th
District until resigning to take an appointment as the Cook County
Recorder of Deeds, a position he still holds after gaining election last
year. In his position as Democratic committeeman of Proviso Township,
Moore, also a Maywood resident, had the power to name his replacement in
the state legislature, and he chose Sharp, who is also a Maywood village

-- that Clarence Thomas, one of three candidates for the Democratic
nomination in the 8th State House District, has a website at
The 8th District is one of four state districts that are partly in Oak

-- that the League of Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest has
information about Thomas and other candidates in the 8th House District
and about the three candidates in the 7th House District on the league's
website at www.math.uic.edu/lwvoprf?

-- that the Forest Park village government again this year is using some
federal Community Development Block Grant money to pay for alley
Oak Park also gets CDBG funds from the federal government and uses some
for street repairs, does not fund any alley work and uses a great part
of the federal funds for financial help to local social service
organizations. River Forest village hall does not receive CDBG funds,
which are to go to assist low and moderate income people.

-- that Oak Park and River Forest are beginning efforts to hire an
executive director for their new consolidated dispatch center?
Under long-discussed and recently finalized plans, the two villages plan
to build a new center for dispatching of emergency calls by police and
fire departments. The center will be in the River Forest village hall,
400 Park Ave., and the executive director will report to an executive
committee of administrators from the village governments in both
Plans call for the dispatch center to take in about 70,000 calls for
emergency service each year, and the posted salary range is between
$70,000 and $85,000 per year. Applications for the position will be
taken at Oak Park village hall, 123 Madison St., until the close of
business on Friday, March 31.

-- that Tasty Dog, the busy hot dog eatery at 701 Lake St. in Oak Park,
celebrated its 19th anniversary on Sunday, March 12, by offering
discount  prices?
On that Sunday only, Tasty Dog sold a Tasty Dog hot dog for 65 cents, a
medium drink or an order of French fries for 50 cents, a cheeseburger for
$1 and a double cheeseburger for $1.25.

-- that the accounts at St. Paul Federal Bank, which is now a division
of Charter One Bank, will transfer to Charter One's banking system
during the weekend of April 7-9?
The bank's branches, including the main location at 6700 W. North Ave.
in Chicago across from Oak Park and the branches at 6020 W. Roosevelt
Road and 6720 W. North Ave. in Oak Park, will not be open on Saturday,
April 8, or Sunday, April 9, but they will offer ATM access.

-- that a group show of artwork by members of Expressions Graphics, 1116
Chicago Ave. in Oak Park, is being held at Oak Park and River Forest
High School, 201 N. Scoville Ave. in Oak Park, until March 23?
A closing reception will be held from 3:15 to 5 p.m. on the last day of
the exhibit.

March 8, 2000

OPRF High doesn't rate with
Newsweek magazine


Did you know ...?

-- that Oak Park and River Forest High School didn't fare too well in
the national list of school rankings published this week by Newsweek

Devised by reporter Jay Matthews, the rating system for public high
schools scores on the basis of Advanced Placement or International
Baccalaureate tests, divided by the  number of graduating seniors. For
1999, 472 high schools got a score of 1.0 or above--which is considered
very good--with National College Prep in Jacksonville, Fla. having the
top ratio of 4.324.

Only one high school in Illinois--Stevenson in Lincolnshire--ranked in
the top 100 scoring schools, which were published in the March 13 issue
of the magazine. For those curious, New Trier High School in Winnetka
came in at 118 with a 1.711 ratio, and OPRF ranked at number 461 with a
AP-to-graduate ratio of 1.018. Again, only 472 schools scored at 1.000
or above.

-- that in another note on the Newsweek rankings, Oak Park High School
in Agoura, Calif. tied for 152 with a ratio of 1.600?

-- that candidates in the March 21 Democratic primary for the 7th
Illinois House District are seeking to capitalize on the Hispanic vote
in Maywood, which along with central Oak Park is part of the 7th

Incumbent State Rep. Wanda Sharp, a Maywood resident, has taken to
putting up yard signs in Spanish, while one challenger, Karen Yarbrough
of Maywood, often takes a Spanish language interpreter with her on
campaign stops to meet residents. William Sullivan, the Oak Parker in
the race, has been less specific but also recognizes Hispanics in his
door-to-door campaigning.

-- that on March 29, River Forest village government will conduct a
public hearing on its still developing hopes to rebuild the railroad
tracks bridge at the Harlem-Lake el stop?

River Forest village hall, with financial assistance from village
governments in adjacent Oak Park and Forest Park, undertook a
feasibility study on the rebuilding, which also would widen Harlem
Avenue under the bridge. The feasibility plans so far are available to
viewing at River Forest village hall, 400 Park Ave., and the public
hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. in the
Community Room of village hall. Officials hope to hear residents' ideas
about and suggestions for the project, with according to village hall
will provide "more efficient and safer flow of traffic."

-- that Rev. Edward Braxton, the auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, this
Sunday, March 12, will be at St. Catherine-St. Lucy Church in Oak Park,
where he was pastor from 1992 to 1995?
Braxton was named the pastor of St. Catherine's, on the southwest corner
of Austin and Washington boulevards, after the controversial removal of
Sister Teresita Weind, who was beloved by many parishioners. The nun for
years had been performing many duties typically done by a priest, but
that practice was discontinued by the Chicago archdiocese, which
transferred Weind.
St. Kate's announced that Braxton will be at the Oak Park church at
10:30 a.m. to help celebrate the 80th birthday of his mother, Evelyn K.
Braxton, a member of the parish.

-- that Anthony Sisto, the new division president of Charter One's St.
Paul Federal location on North Avenue across from Oak Park, grew up in
the bank's  Galewood neighborhood, the Chicago community to the north of
Oak Park?
Sisto, who at the Feb. 29 annual meeting of the Oak Park Development
Corporation announced the upcoming expansion of St. Paul's headquarters
at 6700 W. North Ave., also said that he and his family are moving to
the area soon from their home in Michigan.
"I'm thrilled," Sisto said of his new position, "all my family's here."

-- that Great Ash, a cigar shop on North Avenue in Elmwood Park and
across from River Forest, will be open until 9 p.m. weekdays beginning
April 1?
The retail store at 7438 W. North Ave. joins Great Ash stores in Itasca
and  Woodridge, and owner Dominick Gironda also grew up in Galewood.

-- that Michael Shields, the immediate past president of the NAACP Oak
Park branch, is now the organization's fourth vice president?
Walter Perkins III remains the NAACP's current president in Oak Park.

-- that Whole Foods Market, which has a store in the River Forest Town
Center at Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, will launch a new web site on
March 16?
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on March 16, the company can be reached at
WholePeople.com. Until then, their site remains WholeFoods.com.

-- that the Village of Maywood, which is west of River Forest and Forest
Park, is, like Oak Park, on March 21 seeking a property tax increase to
raise additional library funds?
Maywood's vote is different from the one in Oak Park, though. While Oak
Park voters are being asked to raise their property taxes to tear down
the existing main library and build a larger one at 834 Lake St.,
Maywood voters are being asked to raise taxes to fund operations for
their new library that was built two years ago. Even with the larger new
library, Maywood kept its operating budget the same--and eventually had
cut back on some services like book purchases and library hours.
If the referendums pass, taxes for single-family homes in Oak Park
reportedly would rise somewhere around $14 per month, depending on a
home's value, while Maywood officials are estimating the sought-after
property tax hike at $18 per month for "the average Maywood household."

March 6, 2000

Here's what Oak Park's new main 
library would offer its patrons


Did you know ...?

-- that on the eve of the March 21 referendum seeking to raise property
taxes to build a $30 million new main public library, the Oak Park
library board has come up with a list of what features will be included
in the new three-story, 104,000-square-foot facility?
On a staggered demolition-and-construction schedule, the new building,
obviously, would replace current main library at 834 Lake St. The
library board announced that "the proposed new library will include the
* Quiet reading area
* Enclosed group study rooms
* Up to 102 computer stations for public access to the Internet, 
for periodical databases and for word processing
* One or two levels of underground parking, with either 100 or 150 new
parking spaces
* Rooms for small-group study or activities
* A "special collection room" to store the library's collection of rare
materials on the life, times and works of famous Oak Park native sons
Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright
* A meeting room for 150 people that includes an attached kitchen,
similar to the current Veterans Room
* A silent study and reading room
* A display area for new books
* Art gallery space
* A local history area
* An area to display periodicals and for reading
* A story-hour room in the Children's Department
* A Young Adult area
* Views of Scoville Park adjacent to the east and of Unity Temple across
Lake Street to the south
* The opportunity to expand the collection in later years

-- that the Gospel Choir at Oak Park and River Forest High School has
been in existence for 20 years?

-- that the Checker's fast food restaurant franchise--which had French
fries to swear by--closed its location at the southeast corner of Austin
Boulevard and North Avenue in Austin?

-- that as proposed for the upcoming 2000-2001 fiscal year, River Forest
village government's Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund will pay for,
among other things, 30 percent of the salaries of Village Administrator
Charles Biondo and Assistant Village Manager Steve Gutierrez, for 70
percent of the salary of the police officer who walks the beat in the
River Forest Town Center and the rest of the Lake Street business
corridor and for the cost of the holiday decorations put up on the
street each November and December?

-- that the Ethnic Festival held each year by Oak Park Elementary School
District 97 at Whittier School, 715 N. Harvey Ave., has been scheduled
for May 6 this year?

-- that in 1999, the Oak Park Development Corporation did a telephone
survey of residents in the greater North Avenue Business District?
The survey contacted some 2,300 households in the area bounded by
Cortland Street in the Galewood area of Chicago on the north, Berkshire
Avenue in Oak Park on the South, Austin Boulevard on the east and Harlem
Avenue on the west. Of those responding, 75 percent attended college, 65
percent were between 25 and 55 years old and 85 percent own their own
homes. Plus a reported 50 percent of the households had an income of
more than $75,000 per year.
As a result of the survey, among other reasons, said OPDC president John
Eckenroad, "Our business plans for the future calls for aggressively
pursuing mixed-use and residential development opportunities as well as
commercial projects."

-- that a unique form of cigarette wars is brewing on Roosevelt Road in
Berwyn across from Oak Park?
D J's Cigarette Outlet operates at 6303 W. Roosevelt Road, and there
currently is an empty storefront next door that soon will be home to,
you guessed it, another cigarette outlet store.

March 2, 2000

Sculptor Geraldine McCullough to gain 
Patron of the Arts Award


Did you know ...?

-- that word at last week's Diversity Celebration held by the NAACP Oak
Park branch was that sculptor Geraldine McCullough will be awarded this
year's Joseph Randall Shapiro Patron of the Arts Award by the Oak Park
Area Arts Council this month?
McCullough, whose vast volume of work includes the Pathfinder on the
Madison Street side of Oak Park village hall, is an Oak Park resident.

-- that Transformations by Rori's new location in Arlington Heights had
its grand opening on Feb. 26?
As noted here before, Transformation by Rori's will remain open at 146
N. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park.

-- that Legends of London, the shoe store that specialized in Doc
Martens shoes at 1116 Lake St., closed recently without warning?

-- that Sherlynn Reid was the chairperson of the Diversity Celebration
held Feb. 26 by the NAACP Oak Park branch?

-- that summer school this year for students of River Forest Elementary
School District 90 will begin on June 13 and will end on July 7?

-- that River Forest village government has set this year's Spring
Clean-up Junk-Away Drive for April and May?

-- that the Oak Park Development Corporation had three board members
resign for various reasons in the last year?
Richard Pogvara left after he was let go as president when Old Kent Bank
purchased Pinnacle Bank/Oak Park (Pogvara since signed on as vice
president at Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest); Patrick Agnew
left after Charter One bought St. Paul Federal Bank for Savings and
Agnew stepped down as president; and Reginald Marshall, who runs the
local Service Master business, also stepped down. Replacements were
added to the OPDC board.

-- that after the Charter One purchase of St. Paul Federal, two Oak Park
residents--Agnew and former St. Paul chairman Joseph C. Scully--now
serve on the Charter One board?

-- that there were 23 nominees for the Oak Park Development
Corporation's Nicholas Awards competition this year, according to Llyn
Longwell, who was co-chair of the awards committee along with Roland
Veteran OPDC board members Longwell and Cornelius are two citizen
at-large members of the board. Twelve local businesses or developments
won Nicholas Awards this year.

-- that District 90 school board members Donna Cech, Sally DelBeccaro,
Ken Hanson and Dennis Michon recently received awards from the Illinois
Association of School Boards for their "commitment to professional
development as school board members"?

-- that Forest Park will hold a St. Patrick's Day parade on Madison
Street between Elgin and Desplaines avenues on Saturday, March 11,
starting at 1 p.m.?

-- that there is a White Hen Pantry at 661 South Blvd. and at 21 N.
Harlem Ave. and an Oak Park Pantry at 809 Garfield St.; an Oak Park Food
Market at 133 S. Oak Park Ave., an Oak Park Food and Tobacco Market at 1
Chicago Ave. and a Jewel-Osco Oak Park Food Market at 438 Madison St.;
and a Cigarette Mart at 6009 W. Roosevelt Road in Cicero and a Cigarette
Mart Inc. at 6305 W. Roosevelt Road in Berwyn?

-- that when The Pot You Paint business won a Nicholas Award from the
Oak Park Development this week, it marked the third straight occupant of
121 N. Marion St. to win the award?
Previously winning the award shortly after opening in the space were
EarthLodge, a gift store that closed last year, and Barbara's Bookstore,
which moved to its current location at 1100 Lake St., also in Downtown
Oak Park.
And in a final note, the 121 space, on the northwest corner of Marion
and Westgate streets, was home to the business run early last century by
developer Robert Nicholas, for whom OPDC's Nicholas Award is named.

-- that Rev. Kathy Reeves, formerly at First United Methodist Church in
Oak Park, has become the new minister at Euclid Avenue United Methodist
Church in Oak Park?
Reeves was ordained in 1980 and for the last eight years has been
executive secretary of Congregational Health Ministries at the Board of
Global Ministry. Euclid Avenue United is at 405 S. Euclid Ave. in Oak

Feb. 26, 2000



Did you know ...?

-- that Benedict Meyers, a Democrat seeking election to Congress who
espouses racial separatist policies, is scheduled to appear at the March
13 candidates forum sponsored at Oak Park village hall by the NAACP Oak
Park branch?
Meyers is a Berwyn resident and Democratic candidate for incumbent U.S.
Rep. William Lipinski's seat in the 3rd Congressional District, which
includes Oak Park south of the Eisenhower Expressway. Meyers was found
guilty last year of distributing in his home village some literature
supporting the beliefs of white supremacist Matthew Hale. Meyers, who
was also suspected by some of distributing similar material in north Oak
Park last summer, also recently tried--unsuccessfully--to place a
referendum question on the election ballot asking that American blacks
be sent to live in Africa.

"People need to question (Meyers) on that (referendum)," said Oak Parker
Sherlynn Reid, the retired director of village hall's Community
Relations Department. The election forum is slated to be held 7 p.m. on
Monday, March 13, at village hall, Lombard Avenue and Madison Street.

-- that there are dueling lawn signs at Humphrey Avenue and Jackson
Boulevard in Oak Park for candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary
election for state representative of the 7th State House District?
On the northwest corner of the two streets is a sign for Oak Park
resident William B. Sullivan and the northeast corner features a sign
for Karen Yarbrough of Maywood. The third candidate, unrepresented on
the corner, is incumbent State. Rep. Wanda Sharp of Maywood, who
recently had put off until after the election a verdict on vote fraud
charges that arose from her successful run for election as a Maywood
village trustee last year.

And one other thing. The corner of Humphrey and Jackson is not in the
7th District, but the 8th District.

-- that, speaking of the March 21 election, there are a number of
upcoming forums for various constituencies in Oak Park to learn some or
more details about the tax increase referendum for a $30 million new
public library?

According to Assistant Library Director Jim Madigan, the following
presentations and forums are scheduled.

* Monday, Feb. 28
7 p.m., sponsored for the public by the League of Women Voters of Oak
Park and River Forest in the Veterans Room of the existing main library,
834 Lake St.

* Wednesday, March 1
7 p.m. sponsored by Black/White Dialogue, the monthly discussion group
that addresses racial matters in the village, also in the Veterans Room
7:30 p.m. sponsored by the Husky Booster Club, which works to raise
funds for athletics and other programs at Oak Park and River Forest High
School, in the faculty dining room at OPRF, 201 N. Scoville Ave. in Oak

* Tuesday, March 7
8 a.m. for the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce, in the board
room at Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Ave.
7:30 p.m. held for the public by the Friends of the Oak Park Public
Library in the Veterans Room

* Thursday, March 9
7:30 p.m. for the PTO of Holmes School, 508 N. Kenilworth Ave.

* Monday, March 13
>From 5 to 7 p.m. for the Oak Park Area Arts Council at the group's
annual meeting in Pleasant Home, 217 S. Home Ave. in Oak Park

* Tuesday, March 14
7:15 p.m. for the PTO of Mann School, 921 N. Kenilworth Ave.
7:15 p.m. for the PTO of Longfellow School, 715 S. Highland Ave.

-- that Westgate Flowers, 841 S. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park, donated
flowers for the Feb. 26 "diversity celebration" held by the NAACP Oak
Park branch at the Nineteenth Century Woman's Club, 178 N. Forest Ave.?

-- that according to the Realtor.com web site, the "average home cost"
in Oak Park is now $231,399?

-- that River Forest Elementary School District 90 had parent-teacher
contact with 95.1 percent of its parents last year and that one of the
district's new goals is to reach 100 percent?

-- that according to the last school report card, 5.6 percent of the
students in the River Forest elementary schools are black and 2.7
percent are Hispanic?

Feb. 23, 2000

`Parking lot' home to be sold by River Forest next month


Did you know ...?

-- that now that the River Forest village board has decided not to build
a parking lot on the southeast corner of Thatcher and Hawthorn, steps
are being taken to sell the house that village hall bought on that
corner at 355 Thatcher Ave.?
Village government will make an appraisal of the house and property
available to bidders, and sealed bids for the property are due to
village hall by Friday, March 10. Any successful bidder will be
announced the following Monday, March 13, and by the close of business
the following day, the winning bidder will have to provide 10 percent of
the purchase price as earnest money and then execute a sale contract.

-- that there are a few things to clear out of a notebook after last
week's seminar on dealing with panhandling in Oak Park, including the

1. There are only three licensed vendors for the publication Streetwise
in Oak Park, according to Al Arrenondo, who heads circulation for the
Obviously, there are people using the newspaper published for the
homeless while panhandling, but they are doing it improperly on their
own and "under the guise of Streetwise," Arrenondo said.

2. Because of a company policy, Wendy's restaurant in Oak Park never
followed through on police complaints against panhandling in the
restaurant, but that may change soon?
Neera Walsh, felony supervisor in the Cook County State's Attorney's
Community Prosecutions Unit field office in Oak Park, said Wendy's
officials are considering a change to its policy after her office
contacted them with requests for more help in combating panhandling in
the restaurant on the northeast corner of Madison Street and Harlem

3. Oak Park Village Attorney Raymond Heise told a revealing story about
how not all panhandlers are homeless people down on their luck. An
elderly and "scraggly" man, as Heise called him, was well known to
officials as a regular panhandler in Oak Park, and people wondered about
him until Heise went one night to the Italian Feast in nearby Melrose
Park. After parking and walking back to the feast, Heise said he saw the
"scraggly" man barbecuing on the deck of a nice two-flat residential
building in Melrose Park. The point was that the man made a decent
living by panhandling in Oak Park.

-- that after a recommendation by the River Forest Traffic and Safety
Commission, there soon will be a temporary closing of William Street at
North Avenue in the village?
The commission acted after some William Street residents complained of
traffic woes from the Keystone Montessori School at William and North,
and the village board approved the measure. After a six-month evaluation
of the traffic impact of the temporary closing, the village board will
decide whether or not to make the closing permanent.

-- that the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2000-2001 at River Forest
village hall is due to be presented to the village board on Friday, Feb.

-- that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations will inspect Oak Park Eye Center, 7053 W. North Ave., on
two days next month to see if the practice meets with the standards of
the Joint Commission, which reviews all health care organizations?

-- that the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio Foundation recently changed
its name to the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust?
The Wright organization made the move in part to reflect its expanded
role since it took over operations of the Wright-designed Robie House in
the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

-- that Family Physician Dr. Mary Kelly has opened a private practice at
7319 W. North Ave. in River Forest?
Dr. Kelly is on the staff of West Suburban Hospital Medical Center in
Oak Park, and, among other things, Dr. Kelly is planning on making house
calls a part of the practice.

-- that Fellowship Christian Church of Oak Park will celebrate its fifth
anniversary the weekend of March 3-5?
For information about the events at the church, 1106 Madison St., call
Also at Fellowship, a motivational tape of highlights of 1999 sermons by
Senior Pastor M. Randolph Thompson is now available.

-- that the board of Oak Park Township government will host a public
hearing on the 2000-2001 fiscal year budget on Tuesday, March 28, at
7:30 p.m. at town hall, 105 S. Oak Park Ave.?
The tentative budget is available for public inspection at town hall
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

-- that the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory have scheduled their
annual meeting for Monday, April 3 at the Park District headquarters,
218 Madison St.?

-- that a reception for retiring Oak Park parks director John Hedges
will be held on Sunday March 5 at the Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid

Hedges, who has been parks director since 1980, had announced his plans
to retire last year, and the park board recently named as his
replacement Gary Balling, an Elmhurst resident who had been Park
District administrative manager in Morton Grove.

Feb. 21, 2000

After a smash in River Forest, might Joel Hall Dancers 
be coming to Oak Park?


Did you know ...?

-- that those who missed the performance last Saturday night of "The
Crossing" by the acclaimed group The Joel Hall Dancers might have a
chance to catch the group in Oak Park later this year.
The Chicago dance troupe thoroughly won over the crowd attending their
Feb. 19 performance at Trinity High School in River Forest. With advance
notice and other marketing of the event not that great, the dancers'
performance still drew more than 400 people.
"Bring them to District 97 and we'll pack the place," said one parent
connected to the Oak Park elementary school district and impressed with
the dancers.

-- that the NAACP Oak Park branch this Saturday morning, Feb. 26, will
host "A Diversity Celebration Breakfast" from 8 to 10 a.m. at the
Nineteenth Century Woman's Club, 178 N. Forest Ave.?
The $20 breakfast event will feature a keynote address by Rev. M.
Randolph Thompson, pastor of Fellowship Christian Church, 1106 Madison
St. in Oak Park, and an address by Oak Parker Gianna Baker, an Oak Park
and River Forest High School junior and winner of the high school's
Martin Luther King oratorical contest this year. To attend, call

-- that Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest--which has no dash,
"and" or ampersand in its name--at the end of 1999 reported assets of
$60,163,000 and liabilities of exactly that amount?

-- that a sale is pending for the vacant site at Roosevelt Road and
Central Avenue in the Austin neighborhood across from Cicero?

-- that on its web site, the Oak Park Post Office still lists and
pictures the south branch at 917 S. Oak Park Ave.?
Obviously, the south branch moved last to the new facility on Garfield
Street near Harlem Avenue.

-- that the NAACP Oak Park branch will hold a candidates forum on
Tuesday, March 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. in village hall, Lombard Avenue and
Madison Street?

-- that Commonwealth Edison--which after more than a year still refuses
to clean up Barrie Park toxins in the coal tar under the park--has been
a member of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce for 65 years?
The utility and other so-called "Milestone Members" of the chamber were
recognized at the chamber's recent annual meeting/dinner dance.

-- that a business called Copy Care II will open soon at 7800 W. Lake
St. in River Forest?

-- that Jay Friedman, the music director of the Symphony of Oak Park and
River Forest, has been named conductor of the year by the Illinois
Council of Orchestras?

-- that the Oak Park Police Department will start a new Citizens Police
Academy on March 7?
The free program is designed to give village residents who sign up a
better understanding of how the police department works. To apply,
contact one of the Resident Beat Officers or Commander Frank Kennedy at
445-3340, ext. 2117.

-- that Bally's health clubs' closing of their Oak Park facility at
Ridgeland Avenue and Madison Street last year didn't hurt the national
company's bottom line for 1999?
On revenue of $861,098,000 last year, Bally's had operating income of
$93.3 million. The same categories for 1998 were $744,344,000 and $52.8

-- that the Oak Park Public Library has eliminated the rental fee it had
been charging for non-fiction and instructional videos for children?
Also, the fine for returning videos late has been trimmed from $1 to 50
cents per day. Library users can now check out such children's material
for up to two nights at no charge. Patrons still must pay $1 to borrow
adult feature films

-- that Clarence Thomas--no, not that one, but one of the Democratic
candidates for the Democratic nomination for state representative form
the 8th District, which includes parts of Oak Park and Austin--on
Wednesday, March 8, will hold "Ribs and Conversation," to meet the
public at Robinson's No. 1 Ribs in Oak Park?
The dinner/event costs $20, which goes to the campaign of Thomas, who
one supporter of the liberal Democrat recently called "unfortunately
named." The "Ribs and Conversation" event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
that Wednesday at Robinson's, 940 Madison St.

Feb. 15, 2000

Don't look for the union label at
Oak Park village hall


Did you know ...?

-- that with a new dispute between Oak Park village hall and the
employees in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace
Workers, members of the union--mostly clerical and technical
workers--have been reminded that their Policy Manual prohibits them from
wearing union buttons on the job?
The union recently filed an unfair labor practice against village hall
officials with the Illinois State Labor Relations Board, and the
complaint will be heard shortly. In the meantime, Rodney Marion,
director of village hall's Human Resources, or Personnel, Department
sent a reminder out to all employees that they cannot wear on the job
displays such as those for "political affiliations, union affiliations
and club (or) social affiliations."
Employees not following the directive can be ordered to remove the
displays or may face disciplinary action.

-- that Living in Greater Chicago, a magazine published by Myers
Communication Group Inc. in Chicago, put out some information about the
area real estate market in 1999?
Included were the average sale prices of homes sold last year, the
average amount of property taxes on those homes and, then, the
percentage of the tax in relation to the home's sale price.
The local villages were ranked as follows. Of the three, River Forest
had the highest price with a $379,306 average price and a tax bill of
$6,233 or 1.64 percent of the price. Oak Park's corresponding numbers
were $220,663, $4,006 and 1.82, and Forest Park's were $135,876, $2,107
and 1.55 percent.

-- that River Forest village hall officials continue to work on a
solution for reducing the noise from the heating-and-air-conditioning
unit on the village hall roof that is so disturbing to residents of the
condominium building next door?
The latest possibility being explored is to have contractors and
engineers move the HVAC condenser and compressor to the lower roof over
the fire station. In a report to the village board, Village
Administrator Charles Biondo said a report should be returned in March
with "cost-sharing" issues to be decided after that and before a final
decision by the village board.

-- that at last report from Oak Park village hall, the breakdown of the
village's housing units is 43 percent owned units, 45 percent rental
units and 12 percent apartments converted to condos?

-- that after a major snowfall in Oak Park, Public Works crews haul snow
to two open areas: at North Boulevard and Cuyler Avenue and at Harlem
Avenue and Garfield Street?
Which begs the question of, what happens to half the snow if plans
progress to develop a Sleep Inn hotel/motel at Harlem-Garfield?

-- that Royal House Programs for Human Development has opened one of its
anger management "Personal Transformation Groups" at 7115 W. North Ave.
in Oak Park?
At that location, on the organization's website and at public forums in
the area, the "Transformation Group" passes along anger management
techniques and other ways of reducing personal anger. The sessions are
free, but materials are available for purchase.
For further information, contact Tony Joplin at 312-963-2943 or Royal
House at 7115 W. North Ave., #288, 312-490-4301. The website is at

-- that with the village halls and the public schools closed on Monday,
Feb. 21, for President's Day, the River Forest village board's Committee
of the Whole meeting, the Oak Park village board's regular meeting and
the District 90 school board meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. the
following day, Tuesday, Feb. 22?

-- that Oak Park Township Youth Services and the Northwest Austin
Council have increased their exchange of information and expanded other
contacts in their efforts to stop drug use and other illegal and
inappropriate activity by youth in both Oak Park and the Austin
community of Chicago?

-- that River Forest Youth Baseball-Softball has reserved lower box
seats to attend Youth Baseball Night on June 30 at Comiskey Park?
The $22 seats are available to those interested for $15 each for the
7:05 p.m. game that Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. And $4 of each
ticket goes to  buy equipment purchases and other River Forest youth
baseball-softball programs.

Feb. 10, 2000



Did you know ...?

-- that Transformations by Rori soon will be opening a new store in
Arlington Heights?
The unique Oak Park clothing and accessories store will stay at 146 N.
Oak Park Ave. when the new location opens later this month.

-- that former Oak Park Village President Clifford T. Osborn has joined
the Merrill Becker, Knoll & Associates real estate firm in Oak Park?
During his time in Oak Park, Osborn has held a number of public posts,
including  village trustee, park district treasurer and then village
president from 1985 to 1989. Osborn had been with the W.R. James & Co.
real estate firm in Oak Park until it closed after merging with Coldwell
Banker Sprafka Realtors at 7077 W. North Ave. in Oak Park.

-- that one of the differences in the state of the Republican and
Democratic parties in Oak Park can be found in the latest financial
disclosure filings with the State Board of Election?
The local GOP, which is based out of the home of committeeman Steve
Meyer, during the last reporting period in 1999 had raised $150, spent
$712 and had a balance of $480.30. The Democratic Party of Oak Park,
under committeeman and former Illinois Senate President Phillip Rock, in
the same period had $21,330.58 in receipts, spent $11,991.10 and had a
balance of $10,168.99.

-- that on Feb. 17 Heritage House will take telephone calls from people
who want to be on the waiting list to rent an apartment in the federally
subsidized high-rise senior citizen building at 201 Lake St.?
Calls will be taken that Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. only at

-- that Oak Park and River Forest High School is out to bid for a new
telephone system?

-- that Momenta!, the resident performing arts company of the Academy of
Movement and Music in Oak Park, as part of its concerts in March will
present "Facade," which was choreographed by academy founder Stephanie
Clemens in Momenta's first season in 1983?
"Facade," in dance, words and music, showcases Momenta's diversity of
dance styles and of the ages of its directors. This year's shows will be
held on two weekends in March at the academy's Doris Humphrey Memorial
Theatre, 605 Lake St. Call 848-2329 for information, costs and show

-- that a few Oak Park institutions turn up as having property on the
state of Illinois' unclaimed property list?
Listed as having unclaimed property are Oak Park Anchor, 1049 Lake St.;
Oak Park Cardiologists; Oak Park Hospital, 520 S. Maple Ave.; and the
Village of Oak Park, 123 Madison St. Also listed as being due some
property is the L. Edgar Friedheim Trust at 407 Ashland Ave. in River

Feb. 5, 2000

Sherlynn Reid gains another honor--from Oak Park Education Foundation


Did you know ...?

-- that Sherlynn Reid, the retired and much-honored former director of
Oak Park village hall's Community Relations Department, on March 4 will
receive the William C. Staszsak Award from the Oak Park Education
The six-year-old award goes each year to the village resident who does
the most for the foundation, which works to provide enrichment programs
for students in the District 97 elementary school, and for "the children
of District 97."
The award also honors William Staszak, the late former village trustee
and president of the board of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, who
worked long and hard to aid both those groups and also tried to aid
racial diversity in Oak Park.

-- that groundbreaking for the new middle school to replace Emerson
Junior High School at 916 Washington Blvd. is scheduled for March 24 and
that bids for the new Julian Middle School to replace the junior high at
416 S. Ridgeland Ave. are due back on Feb. 29 and March 1?

-- that in introducing Gov. George Ryan at his appearance in Oak Park
last week, Dr. Hazel Loucks, the state's deputy governor for education,
got half laughs and puzzled looks with her line that "I used to be a
middle school principal; I have that look"?

-- that at Gov. Ryan appearance last week, Oak Park and River Forest
High School was represented by Superintendent Susan Bridge and by
Carlotta Lucchesi, the River Forest resident who recently was named to
the OPRF school board to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of
River Forest resident Gerard Jacobs?

-- that the Park District of Oak Park is out to bid to renovate a
storage room at its headquarters into more office space and for
plumbing, HVAC and other work in the Rehm and Ridgeland pool bathhouses?

-- that there are about 39,000 holders of library cards in Oak Park and
that Evanston has about 51,000 cardholders?

-- that Oak Park High in suburban Los Angeles on Friday finally won a
Tri-Vallley League title, after being a titleless power for most of the
last decade?

-- that Camille Wilson-White, the executive director of the Oak Park
Area Arts Council, starting this Tuesday, Feb. 8, will be holding
"Coffee with Camille" twice a month?
On the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
at Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard Ave., Wilson-White will be available to
talk with any local artists about any topic of interest to them.
"I know there are many artists in the villages (of Oak Park, River
Forest and Forest Park, which the arts council serves) who do not have
studios or galleries I can visit," Wilson-White said, "so they can fell
free to drop by (during Coffee with Camille) and give me a chance to
meet them and hear from them."

-- that 26 percent of the Oak Park village government's budget this year
will go for six projects?
More than $25 million is being spent on resurfacing of Austin Boulevard
and Lake Street, the new 911 communications center in River Forest, work
on village hall's "internal communications and information processing
networks," renovations to the Dole Learning Center library at 255
Augusta St. and other public buildings and on new signs for various
business districts.

-- that Tutto to Go, a deli operated by Tutto Tapas Bistro Bar and Grill
in Forest Park, is scheduled to open soon in the now-vacant building at
7322 W. Madison St.?

-- that River Forest village government now sells gun locks to residents
to encourage gun safety?
The locks fit most handguns and rifles, are part of the Smith &
Wesson-Master Lock-Community Safety program and are available from
village hall for $4, which, as the government's announcement points out,
is "considerably lower than normal retail purchase price."

Did You Know ??
Eric Linden

Past Stories

January 31, 2000

Diversity composer captivates Oak Park crowd


Did you know ...?

-- that Kimo Williams captivated the crowd when he met Jan. 27 with a
group of Oak Park residents to hear about the village's history, present
and future regarding racial diversity?
James Kimo Williams is the composer who was selected by the Oak Park
Area Arts Council for the Continental Harmony project. Oak Park was one
of only 58 communities in the country chosen to participate in that
national program that wants to tell stories in the country through
Williams, who teaches the business of music at Columbia College in
Chicago, has had his works performed in many places around the country,
including Chicago Sinfonietta, based in River Forest. He has been
meeting with Oak Park residents--including students at Oak Park and
River Forest High School and those who attended the reception at the
home of arts council board president Leslie Jones--to hear the good and
the bad about Oak Park's experiences with fair housing and in working
toward racial integration.
Initial estimates had Williams' completed composition being performed
locally in the fall, but that may wait until next January or February,
Jones said.

-- that the Nicholas Awards, the Oak Park Development Corporation's
annual awards for significant contribution to business and economic
development in the village, will be held on Feb. 29?
The awards, which are part of the OPDC annual meeting, will be given out
at Old Kent Bank, 840 S. Oak Park Ave. And a reception before the
meeting will be held at The Avenue Ale House, the restaurant under
construction in the long vacant space formerly occupied by the
Blackstone variety store at 825 S. Oak Park Ave.

-- that with the March 21 referendum to decide the future of work at the
main Oak Park library and the Maze branch, work already has begun on the
long hoped-for repairs at the Dole branch, 255 Augusta St.?
Completion of the renovations is anticipated in the spring of 2001, said
library board president Janet Kelenson.

-- that the Frameart picture framing business recently left its space in
the River Forest Town Center?

-- that the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce will hold its
annual dinner celebration on Feb. 5?
With a theme of commemorating the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the
event's location and other details will be revealed shortly.

-- that there is an Oak Park Middle School in Decatur, Ala., which is
halfway between Nashville, Tenn. and Birmingham, Ala.?

-- that based on the last census, 39 percent of River Forest's house in

-- that four area auto dealers will participate in the Chicago Auto Show
Feb. 11-20 at McCormick Place in Chicago?
The list is Shepherd Motor Cars, 260 Madison St. in Oak Park; Jerry
Gleason Chevrolet, 7901 W. Roosevelt Road, and Currie Motors of Forest
Park, 8401 W. Roosevelt Road, in Forest Park; and North Oak
Chrysler-Plymouth, 6600 W. North Ave. in Chicago across from Oak Park.

January 25, 2000

Oak Park hotel plans still developing


Did you know ...?

-- that still-developing plans for a Sleep Inn hotel at Harlem Avenue
and Garfield Street in Oak Park call for a building of three stories and
90 rooms that are to cost about $90 a night each?
Village hall has an $890,000 option to purchase the land--now a parking
lot--from the U.S. Postal Service, which has the south Oak Park facility
next door. The hotel's development team would pay $860,000 with village
hall making up the difference as "a development incentive," the
government said in an announcement.
A 60-day due diligence period is underway for the developers to obtain
and finalize cost estimates, financing, soil testing, environmental
analysis of the site and an agreement with Choice Hotels International,
which owns the Sleep Inn brand.
A meeting with neighbors of the site will be hosted soon by the
development team, which includes Denis Garthman, an Oak Park resident
with more than 25 years of real estate experience, and John Scheiss,
another Oak Park resident, an architect with offices near the site at
ADDRESS Garfield St. and the designer of the townhouse building under
construction at Euclid Avenue and South Boulevard.

-- that last Saturday, Jan. 22, was a political day in Oak Park, with a
3 p.m. coffee held at a private home for Karen Yarbrough of Maywood, a
Democratic candidate for state representative from the 7th state house
district, and a 7:30 p.m. gala at Pleasant Home for William B. Sullivan,
the Oak Park resident running against Yarbrough and incumbent Wanda
Sharp, also of Maywood?

-- that the Oak Park village hall's Public Works Department has moved
its operations from the Public Works garage at Lombard Avenue and South
Boulevard to space in the water and sewer building at Lake Street and
Lombard Avenue?

-- that this year's "A Day in Our Village" festival in Oak Park has been
scheduled for June 11, 2000?

-- that the council chambers of Oak Park village hall has reopened after
some work to improve the access for disabled persons and the cable
television coverage of board meetings?

-- that the Oak Park Farmers' Market will have a new manager this year
for the first time in 25 years?

-- that River Forest village government has plans to purchase the
single-family home at 355 Thatcher Ave., demolish it, rezone the land
and build a parking lot to alleviate the parking crunch in the area?

-- that the Development Review Board in River Forest on Feb. 17 is to
meet to consider a proposal to build a six-unit townhouse project on the
northwest corner of Park Avenue and Lake Street?

-- that River Forest village hall also is exploring formation of a
Universal Access Committee similar to the citizens group that works to
promote access for disabled persons in Oak Park?

January 21, 2000

Big decrease continues for
crime in Oak Park


Did you know ...?

-- that with the eighth consecutive yearly decrease in crime reported
for 1999, Oak Park crime is at its lowest level since 1981?
Village Manager Carl Swenson said Part I--or major--crime fell 21
percent last year compared to 1998.

-- that Oak Park Hospital is reporting increases in both patients and
doctors on staff since last month's preliminary approval of the new
physicians office building on Maple Avenue next to the hospital, 520 S.
Maple Ave.?
The village board at its Jan. 18 meeting took another step toward final
approval of the $30 million expansion plan. Final action is scheduled to
be taken on Feb. 7, and one development remains unclear. The hospital
and its traffic consultant want cars to exit and enter from the new
parking lot across the street onto Maple Avenue, but Village Engineer
Jim Budrick wants cars to leave the lot onto Harlem Avenue and enter
only from Maple. The village board gave its staff the authority to work
out a final compromise.

-- that if Oak Park's March 21 $30 million library referendum passes,
village hall's debt would more than double?
According to officials, the village's bond rating would not be affected
by the extra library debt, but any future bond issues might have an
impact on the rating.

-- that the Oak Park village board has approved the business licenses
that, by code, call for board action?
New business licenses for 2000 have been granted to three pawn
shops--American Jewelers & Loan Ltd., 205 N. Harlem; Irving Park Jewelry
& Coins, 6147 W. North Ave.; and Cash America Inc., 6303 W. North
Ave.--two billiard halls--Oak Park Billiards, 1019 South Blvd., and
Leona's Restaurant, 848 Madison St.--and one bowling alley--Oak Park
Lanes, 6046 W. North Ave.

-- that in another business action, the village board has transferred
the liquor license at Philander's Oak Park restaurant, 1120 Pleasant
St., to the Carleton Hotel, which is in the same building at 1110
Pleasant St., which recently purchased Philander's and which also holds
the liquor license for Poor Phil's Shell Bar, also in the same building
at 139 S. Marion St.?

-- that on Jan. 25, Whole Foods Market in the River Forest Town Center
will donate 5 percent of the day's sales to the Oak Park Conservatory's
new Education and Resource Center, which is under construction on
Garfield Street near East Avenue?

-- that Shadrach Pitchford Jr., who had worked for more than 39 years in
the Public Works Department at Oak Park village hall, died on Jan. 15?
Pitchford, who was known as Junior and who was the first African
American supervisor in the Public Works Department, had retired in 1997.

January 18, 2000

Reports of a new hotel development surface in Oak Park


Did you know ...?

-- that we're still trying to get details about reports that Oak Park
village hall officials are working to bring a hotel to the corner of
Harlem Avenue and Garfield Street?
The reports have the new business proposed for what is now a public
parking lot on open land on the northeast corner. Area residents reacted
negatively to a proposal last year to develop a motel also on Garfield
Street bus east of the new south Oak Park post office.

-- that for the first time this year, River Forest village hall closed
to observe the Martin Luther King holiday?

-- that State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-44th), whose district includes Oak Park
west of Lombard Avenue and south of the Eisenhower Expressway, is
co-chairman of the John McCain for president campaign in Illinois?

-- that an Action Plan for improvements at Oak Park and River Forest
High School currently is being implemented?
The school board's main goal again this year is to reduce the
achievement gap between the white and minority students, and evaluation
of the steps to be taken is to be done by school officials in May.

-- that Project Unity, the citizens group taking steps toward building a
cross-cultural community" in Oak Park, on Jan. 22 will hold another
"valuing diversity" workshop at West Suburban Hospital Medical Center,
Erie at Austin in Oak Park?
The workshop again will be conducted by the nationally known National
Coalition Building Institute and is held by Project Unity, the West
Towns Chapter of Links Inc. and West Suburban Health Care, the
hospital's parent company.

-- that both crime and fire incidents dropped slightly in River Forest
in 1999?

-- that another record for building permits for single-family homes was
set in Oak Park during 1999?

-- that the village government in Forest Park this year has increased
its financial support to the Oak Park Area Arts Council?

January 13, 2000


With state funds Elmwood Park building new library without property tax


Did you know ...?

-- that to build its new library, Elmwood Park didn't have to raise
property taxes--like Oak Park might soon and River Forest had
to--because they received a bundle of state money?
State Sen. Dan Cronin and State Rep. Angelo "Skip" Saviano--whose
districts include Elmwood Park, River Forest and part of Oak
Park--succeeded in efforts to gain $5.5 million in state funds to
finance the new Elmwood Park library without a property tax hike.

-- that the school board of River Forest Elementary School District 90
on Jan. 25 will hold a hearing to gain public reaction on the school
district's plan to hold classes on Lincoln's birthday?
The hearing is scheduled for that Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Library
Learning Center of Roosevelt Middle School, 7560 W. Oak Ave. The State
of Illinois is allowing school districts to decide if they want to
attend school on Feb. 12, and officials at Oak Park and River Forest
High School last year took some criticism for considering a similar

-- that April is the latest projected opening month for the new Borders
Books and Music store moving into 1144 Lake St. in Downtown Oak Park?

-- that the Evanston City Council recently voted to give $400,000 in
surplus Tax Increment Financing funds to the public elementary schools
and high school in the city?
River Forest village government previously had made a similar
arrangement with the District 90 elementary schools and with OPRF High

January 8, 2000

Oak Park NAACP back in
national's good graces


Did you know ...?

-- that the NAACP Oak Park branch had been on a probation of sorts at
the national level because of low membership, but is now back in good
standing because the rolls have increased?

-- that That Special Moment, the retail gift store at 1000 Lake St. in
Oak Park, soon will be going out of business?

-- that the Senior Citizens Center of Oak Park & River Forest has begun
advertising for a new executive director and a new activities director?
oak-park-journal.com reported last month that long-time director Doris
Gruskin was dumped unceremoniously by the center's board of directors
and that some other employees supported Gruskin by quitting the agency,
which is based in the Oak Park Arms Retirement Community.

-- that at Baird & Warner real estate in River Forest, Jackie Smith has
been named sales manager and head manager John Gasa has been named to
the Cook County Commission on Human Rights?

-- that the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce's first Business
After Hours mixer of this year will be held Tuesday, Jan. 11 from 5 to 7
p.m. at Carmella's Fine Dining restaurant at 6966 W. North Ave. in
Chicago, across from Oak Park?

-- that after a recent foreclosure judgment, the three-story house at
907 Lathrop Ave. in River Forest will be auctioned to new owners on Jan.

-- that Forest Park village government is advertising to hire a finance
director for the first time?

-- that the annual Carl S. Winters Community Service will be given by
the Rotary Club of Oak Park-River Forest in March to Jan Dressel of
River Forest and Richard Pogvara of Oak Park?
The annual award is given to honor the late Winter, who once personified
community service in the village and is given to one resident of each
village. Dressel, among other things, is a leader at the Historical
Society of Oak Park & River Forest, and Pogvara, a long-time Lions Club
member, is now a vice president at Community Bank of Oak Park-River
Forest after being forced out by Old Kent Bank in Oak Park?

December 31, 1999



Did you know ...?

-- that with an issue dated Jan. 1, 2000, the Oak Park Sentinel
newspaper debuted in the village this week?
The free charter issue is geared to African Americans in the village
and, according to a printed statement from publisher Walter A. Perkins
III, the newsgathering "is shaped by the rich traditions of the African
American press and the current need to keep up with a rapidly evolving
information age."

-- that the acclaimed Joel Hall Dancers from Chicago will give a
performance on African culture and sponsored by the Oak Park Area Arts
Council on Feb. 19 at Trinity High School on the same night that famous
film actor Danny Glover and stage actor Felix Justice will portray
Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King in "An Evening with Martin and
Langston" at Dominican University down the road on Division Street in
River Forest?

-- that River Forest police Lt. James Maher and Officer James
Katsantones recently announced their retirements to village hall
officials and that Officer Michael Lombardi who had a heart illness
earlier this year retired because of the illness?

-- that from the Class Size Reduction Initiatives funded by the federal
government this year, Oak Park and River Forest High School is to
receive $24,969 and Oak Park Elementary School District 97 is to receive

-- that work has started on the construction of the William Place
Condominiums at William and Lake streets in River Forest?
The building is being developed in conjuction with the upcoming phase
two of the River Forest Town Center. The shopping center addition is to
go up after demolition of the Bonnie Brae Condominiums at Bonnie Brae
and Lake Street and after Bonnie Brae condo residents move into the new
condo building.

-- that Sarah's Inn, the Oak Park agency that assists battered women and
their families, has moved its administrative offices to a new location
in the village?
The offices had been in the same Oak Park apartment building as Sarah's
Inn's transitional housing, which will now be expanded to the space
vacated by the offices. Sarah's Inn prefers that the locations of its
facilities not be publicized.



Oak Park's Johnny Lattner makes one of those athletes-of-the-century

Did you know ...?

-- that Oak Parker Johnny Lattner has been named by Sports Illustrated
magazine as number 22 on their list of the century's top 50 athletes
from Illinois?

-- that Maxwell's Market, a convenience store, has opened at 214 S.
Marion St., next to the house at 216 S. Marion St. that houses the
Goggin and Gamboney law firm and across the street from Dreschler-Brown
Funeral Home at 203 S. Marion St.?

-- that former Fenwick High School basketball star Corey Magette--who's
in his first year with the Orlando Magic in the National Basketball
Association--is now sporting a shaved head that is so popular with NBA

-- that there is an outpost of Oak Park-based Robinson's No. 1 Ribs in
the Brickyard mall on Chicago's Northwest Side?

-- that Forest Park will be holding a street fair on Madison Street on
New Year's Eve, so the street will be closed to traffic in that village
when the new year comes?

-- that in an event sponsored by the Oak Park Area Arts Council, the
great community-based Joel Hall Dancers from Chicago are scheduled to
perform in February at Trinity High School in River Forest?

-- that beginning next month, Nan Hammond--who recently left her
position as a counselor for the Oak Park Regional Housing Center to join
the Oak Park Residence Corporation as a property manager--is on tap to
join the Housing Center's board of directors?

-- that at Austin Gardens this year Oak Park Festival Theatre is to
perform "Twelfth Night"?

-- that the home at 1020 Jackson Ave. in River Forest recently sold for
an even $1 million?

Chicago museum honors founder from Oak Park


Did you know ... ?

-- that the Museum Contemporary Art has started the Shapiro Society to
honor the late Oak Parker Joseph R. Shapiro, who was the museum's
founding president?
The society recognizes and honors people such as Shapiro who have
included the museum, 220 E. Chicago Ave. in the city, in their estate
plans. Oak Park residents also might know Shapiro from his local
philanthropy and from the Joseph R. Shapiro Gallery of art in the Oak
Park Public Library's main branch, 834 Lake St.

-- that Oak Park village hall allocates about $300,000 in its budget for
property acquisition and other methods to improve parking problems in
the village?

-- that state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, whose 4th District includes parts
of Oak Park, last week mailed out one of those "legislative highlights"
bulletins that incumbents normally distribute--at taxpayers
expense--around re-election time?

-- that Lightford, who is up for re-election in 2000, has a district
service office in her home town of Maywood and at 5943 W. Chicago Ave.
in the Austin community near Oak Park?

-- that the committee that studied Oak Park economic development for the
League of Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest included in its Dec.
5 report to the Oak Park village board a nice tribute to Arthur
Replogle, the founding president of the Oak Park Development
Corporation, who died in July?

-- that at its Dec. 2 Human Relations Breakfast Oak Park and River
Forest High School recognized 121 students who exemplify the school's
stated commitment to diversity?

-- that according to Pilgrim Real Estate in Oak Park the townhouse
development currently under construction at Euclid Avenue and South
Boulevard is "almost 50 percent sold"?

Big dollars sought for Hemingway's autograph


Did you know ...?

-- that an autograph of Oak Park native son Ernest Hemingway is now on
the market for $2,695?
That's the price is sought by Autographs of Distinction, a mail-order
outfit now offering "our most extensive ... collection ever," according
to president and CEO Dave Pimper. For comparison with Hemingway, the
company--which can be reached at 800-615-8782 or at
www.autographsdistinction.com--also offers the following other
autographs, among many:
** Muhammad Ali, $795
** Buzz Aldrin, $595
** Neil Armstrong, $1,195
** Johnny Carson, $395
** Winston Churchill, $3,995
** Diana, Princess of Wales, $3,495
** Dwight D. Eisenhower, $1,295
** Jacqueline Kennedy, $3,195
** John F. Kennedy, $4,500
** Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., $4,995
** Michael Jordan, $695
** Jay Leno, $295
** David Letterman, $395
** Abraham Lincoln, $9,995
** Marilyn Monroe, $3,300
** Richard Nixon, $995
** Elvis Presley, $2,500
** Dan Quayle, $295
** Ronald Reagan, $1,450
** Babe Ruth, $2,995
** Tiger Woods, $795

-- that three homes currently are under construction on the former site
of the Alcuin Montessori School, Washington and Keystone in River

-- that next Wednesday, Dec. 15, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis will hold a
town hall meeting for residents of River Forest and Elwwood Park at the
River Forest Community Center?
Davis, whose district includes most of Oak Park, River Forest, Elmwood
Park and other suburbs in addition to major portions of the city's West
Side, will hold the meeting next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Community
Center, 8020 W. Madison St.

-- that major changes are underway at St. Paul Federal Bank, courtesy of
Charter One Financial Inc. in Cleveland, which bought the North
Avenue-based thrift in October?
Major cuts in operating expenses and a new checking account system
reportedly are among the changes being planned for the year 2000.

-- that Oak Park resident William B. Sullivan kicked off his upcoming
campaign for election as 7th District state representative with a party
at Doc Ryan's pub in Forest Park?
The district includes parts of both Oak Park and Forest Park, among
other areas, and Oak Parkers Philip Rock, the Oak Park Township
Democratic Committeeman and former state senator, and Timothy Sandvoss,
the long-time Oak Park Democrat and former township trustee, were among
the local political animals attending the event.

-- that of the 14 "development players" interviewed by the League of
Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest for its recent study of
economic development in Oak Park, Village Trustee Carolyn Hodge-West was
the only African American?

-- that the Oak Park village board has cancelled its second regular
meeting in December and its first regular meeting in January and thus
won't meet again until Jan. 18, 2000?

Big lottery winner from Oak Park goes underground 
-- that since sharing a $63 million lottery jackpot last month, Oak Park

resident Bob Powell has gone underground?
The 49-year-old Powell and his boss at the CTA gained the prize on Nov.
9 after purchasing some Quick Pick tickets at a convenience store on the
North Side of Chicago. They had the one press conference required of
lottery winners and then Powell has faded away, said Anne Plohr of the
lottery office in Springfield.
Plohr said wanting to stay in the background is why Powell has not given
any interviews or made any public comments since the Nov. 24 press
conference, which Powell and his attorney attended but weren't happy
"They just wanted to get it over with," Plohr said. Still, some details
came out at the press conference and from lottery bureau information,
** Powell and his boss, 57-year-old Mike Flynn, could have collected $63
million if they collected the prize during a 26-year annuity, but they
instead took a one-time payment of $32 million. Then after taxes, the
pair are collecting between $10 million and $11 million each.
** The winning numbers in the Big Game prize were 12-13--26-40-42 and
-- that the Jasculca-Terman public relations firm has been working for

Oak Park Hospital during the community debate over the plans to build a
new medical office building next to the hospital?
-- that Oak Park police recommend several steps "to take to prepare for

any unexpected problems from computer chips" when Y2K hits on New
** "Do not panic."
** Keep your car's gas tank at least half full.
** Keep a week's supply of any needed medication on hand.
** Have a battery-operated radio available.
** "Go grocery shopping in advance."
** Check with manufacturers of computer equipment, apartment building
managers or condo associations to make sure all systems are Y2K
-- that sometime next month, Oak Park village government plans to have

ready for release a comprehensive study on property values that is
being worked worked on by the Housing Programs Advisory Committee, a
volunteer panel of residents that advises the village board?

-- that two homes currently listed for sale on the
"Wright on the Market" website are the Isabel Roberts 
House in River Forest and the Charles E. Roberts 
House in Oak Park? The River Forest property is 

listed for $1,250,000 and the Oak Park home for $769,000.
-- that the council chambers in Oak Park village hall 
currently is torn up for the long-planned remodeling 
and redesign? 
-- that River Forest businessman Geoff Sophian has been 
nominated to take over as the next president of the 
Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce? 
Sophian currently is a chamber vice-president, and 
a final decision will be made later. 
-- that the third annual Community Kwanzaa Festival held 
by Project Unity in Oak Park has been scheduled for 
Dec. 26 at Unity Temple? The event drew an estimated 
200 residents in its first year and about twicethat much 
last year. 
-- that according to the State School Report Card report, 
one percent of the students at Lincoln and Willard 
Schools in River Forest are low-income and there are 
no low-income students reported at either Roosevelt 
Middle School in River Forest or Mann School in 
Oak Park? By contrast, Irving School in Oak Park 
has a reported 22 percent of its students listed as 
low income. 

- that Officer Tom Unziker has replaced John Curtain
as resident beat officer for beat number 3 in Oak Park? 
-- that a purple Oak Park garbage can that Waste 
Management provides for garbage pickup in Oak Park 
is valued at $100, according to a police report of the 
Nov. 20 theft of one in south Oak Park? 
-- that Tom Doherty, the Oak Park resident who was 
elected in April with some support from Cicero 
Republicans to the board of the Township 39 Oak 

Park School Trustees, is scheduled to take office on
Dec. 6 this year? 
-- that the "15 minute parking sign" was stolen last 
week from the street in front of the Community Chest 
of Oak Park & River Forest, 1042 Pleasant St.? 
-- that the Nov. 12 Artful Object event held at the 
Foley-Rice Cadillac & Oldsmobile's facility on Madison 
Street in Oak Park drew the largest crowd and made 
the most money in the history of the annual event? Final 

numbers are still being tabulated, according to
Camille Wilson-White, excutive director of the Arts 
 -- Eric Linden 

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