As some of you may know, this will be my last edition of the Forest Park Review. After this, I move on to take over as managing editor at a weekly in the city. But before I leave, I wanted to share with you my heartfelt thanks for allowing me to cover this vital and friendly community over the last six months.

Yes, my tenure here has been short-lived, but I feel we have accomplished much with the paper and covered some wonderful stories”and some not so wonderful stories.

It has been a truly incredible experience and one I will always treasure.

Forest Park has a lot to offer, it is a growing community with an actively involved citizenry and an equally involved commercial community.

The work being done on Madison Street has been the focal point of all this movement and the future truly does look bright. Everyone in town should be proud of the work being done and of everything that has already been accomplished.

I will miss this town and hope to continue to visit often, as I will remain in the area.

As for my favorite memory of Forest Park?

Well, there are so many to choose from: The Park filled with children; meetings, meetings, meetings; the view of the street from caffe De Luca’s balcony”a personal favorite of mine; witnessing live-fire training exercises with the Forest Park Fire Department; Fourth of July at the Park; the fifth grade pep rally at the Middle School and hanging out with the Youth Commission, making surfboards for their Hawaiian dance.

My favorite story has got to be witnessing tactical and weapons of mass destruction training with the Forest Park Police Department. The work those special teams did that day was truly amazing and an eye-opening experience for me. The amount of equipment that can be deployed in case of a hazardous material emergency and the serious look on everyone’s faces as they went through the training made me feel safe as an Illinois resident.

As the police SWAT teams methodically swept each room and cleared the building, identifying the hostages and capturing the would-be terrorists in the scenario, I felt we had turned a corner in homeland security. As with everything else, things aren’t all rosy, but they could be worse, much worse.

The paper itself also underwent an incredible transformation while I was here. A complete redesign occurred, the web site went live ( earlier this year and new columnists have arrived to help make the paper more responsive and vital.

I wish I could take credit for these changes, but I can’t. The redesign was done at the hands of a talented specialist in the field, Phil Ritzenberg, from New York.

Thanks to him, the fonts are cleaner, the paper is more modern and has a lot more color.

Likewise, I had little to do with the web site. Thank Sandi Pedersen, our online editor, for that one.

I couldn’t have done anything at all without their help, and without our talented design staff, Rebecca Lomax, Katie Reinecke and Mark Tatara. I also received a lot of support from the Wednesday Journal, Inc. staff. Thanks to Erika Goodman, Bill Dwyer, Laura Stuart, Ken Trainer, Kim Chen, Marc Stopeck and Bob Uphues. Not to mention our talented photographers, Frank Pinc and Josh Hawkins.

Likewise thanks to the columnists for all their hard work and to everyone in town who always called to let me know what was going on.

As for my favorite new addition to the Review? The Back Burner, which seems to have been well-received in town.

So long dear friends! Catch you on the flip side and remember to always seize the day!