• The building housing Circle Video on Madison Street has undergone many changes since 1922. From a store to apartments, to housing our treasured Circle Video and La Piazza Restaurant. Now, changes are in the works, as the new owner, Robert Marani is remodeling the building. Rumor has it the building will house condos in the long-term. For now, changes can be seen as Patrick Cerceo is giving up 800 square feet in Circle Video so LaPiazza will gain more space and, possibly a Madison front entrance.

“All the plumbing is held together with wires and hope,” Cerceo said. “The problem is the space we had was based upon an economics of a space that was old and we weren’t putting enough money into it to justify it. Now bringing it down in size means we are going to be able to have a space that will be spectacular.”

He promises patrons a wonderfully redone store with multilevel glass and an interesting new design.

• Last week there was a spree of graffiti related incidents listed in our crime beat. To some, this might signal an aggressive marking of gang territory, to others it is simply a bunch of kids up to no good. Police Chief James Ryan said the most likely answer is the latter.

“Our officers evaluated the ‘Black Knight’ graffiti and our opinion is it didn’t really make much sense,” he said. “We feel it is more some kids being destructive and we got a description on some of the kids and feel they are high school kids.”

Ryan said police officers have found no evidence of a ‘Black Knights’ gang and feel the incidents are not the start of a crime spree.

• Also on the crime pages is a Spring-time spree of petty thievery and criminal damage to cars. Ryan said this is occurring mostly in the alleys and assured the community the police are on the case.

“Obviously, it seems most of it is in the alleys and I have asked our officers to increase patrols behind buildings, especially when it gets dark,” he said. “It is a crime of opportunity and there doesn’t seem to be a specific pattern or area so we are trying to increase patrols.”

• Not on my front yard! The village is reminding residents that front yard ‘for sale’ signs are not permitted. Village officials will be checking in the upcoming weeks and ticketing violators so get them off your yards and help keep the village looking nice.

• An apple for your teacher! May 3, 2005 has been designated as National Teacher Day. It was Marilyn Garapolo’s first act as D91 Board President, so keep your fine educators in mind that day and don’t forget to send an apple to school!

• Get your summer on: Due to a lack of use of snow days, the district has officially moved up the start of summer. Children of Forest Park are reveling everywhere in the knowledge they will be getting out of school on June 10, 2005. Parents are not as thrilled.

• On the other hand … for those who will be attending summer school, this year it will be funded by the feds. Students at three of our schools qualified because half the students did not meet standards. Garfield (way to go!) was the only one which didn’t qualify for the federal money.

• For next year: Oak Park public elementary schools invited neighboring Forest Park schools to apply for a minority student achievement program grant with them. The grant would provide three hours of after school programs, 12 months of the year, targeting at-risk students at the  Middle School.

• Save-the-date: Don’t forget the Kiwanis Pasta Dinner on April 23 at the Community Center, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Come out and support the Forest Park Kiwanis.