‘Eliminate the fence walker’
As a life long Forest Park resident, I’m getting fed up with the antics of Commissioner Patrick Doolin. It’s seems that every time I open the Review it’s something new with this guy. As Forest Park residents, we must consider if we want Patrick Doolin as Commissioner for another term. Here is a guy who moved his business out of Forest Park, wanted to give the former water inspector a chance to retire and collect a pension, after it was proven that he was not performing his duties, and basically stabbed Bob Kutak in the back by trying to hire an outsider as Public Works Director. If his reason for hiring this man were for his water education, wouldn’t it make more sense to send Bob to the Class A water class so that he has that education? Call me crazy, wouldn’t it be a little cheaper than hiring a new employee, give him a big salary, and benefits. Didn’t the village lay off employees a couple of years ago to help the village financially? I worked with a public works department for 9 years. I know what the job requires, and I feel Bob Kutak is doing a great job for this village. We are lucky to have a Forest Park resident running our Public Works Department. I think Patrick Doolin needs to concentrate on other issues in the village and stop his little quotes for the paper. I did get a good laugh when he said that all the board members need to have some face time together, and then proceeded to slam Mayor Calderone in a letter to the editor. It’s time to eliminate the fence walker.

Richard Gray, Jr.

Drunks need to go
I just wanted to say that I strongly disagree with the statement (in the “Our View” section): “where there are bars, there will always be drunken idiots, and we hope residents make some accommodation with that reality”.

I agree with your endorsement of CUinFP’s gang awareness workshops, and agree that the presence of firearms is disturbing and should be addressed further. My concern is with the live-and-let-live attitude about drunkenness.

It’s illegal for bartenders to serve people to the point of staggering drunkenness. The police in FP need to maintain a presence on Madison Street, and they must enforce the law. Bar owners also need to enforce the law. They should not tolerate their employees overserving patrons. True, they may have to live with less cash in the drawers at the end of the night, but the Village will be better for it. “Accommodating” urinating and vomiting in the streets will not get those luxury condos filled with the residents FP needs, nor keep them filled.

Liz Chilsen

Trash piles now char-broiled
Thank you for running the August, 17 2005 story about the ugly, ugly eyesore at Harlem Avenue and the Expressway. Since Bill Dwyer’s photo, someone torched the mound of trash. The ugly garbage pile remains; it is now char-broiled.

I’m still lobbying for an extensive right-of-way clean up effort by CSX and the CTA. The right of way from Des Plaines Avenue to East of Central Avenue in Chicago is a disgrace. Years and years of maintenance neglect have left local citizens with a garbage dump with rails.

CSX and CTA construction crews do not pick up after their work assignments.

CTA passengers do not always use the convenient trash containers. The area by the Harlem Avenue station is littered with hundreds of glass and plastic containers and other discarded items. The CTA cleans the station platform, but not the ground across from the station.

John O’Connor

Don’t hug these trees
Remember the book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”? That tree, known locally as Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), characteristic of the most challenged areas of our urban environment, is on the move in Forest Park. Highly invasive, it can grow 4 feet in height every year, and when it reaches maturity, in just a few years, can produce over 325,000 seeds, all of which are guaranteed to grow! In addition, it secretes a toxin from its roots that slowly kills much of the vegetation around it. This is a survival strategy of the most vicious order! Not content to outgrow or out-seed its competition, it poisons them too! All your precious perennials and annuals, trees and shrubs, are under threat by this invader. It not only spreads by seed, but also by runners under the soil. This plant is a survivor! The key to identification are the many pointed leaflets emerging from a long, smooth central stem-like branch, and, when broken or bruised, the awful, unforgettable smell.

This tree was originally imported from China in the late 1700s. Its quick growth and resistance to pollution were seen as benefits to urban landscapes. But we soon found out that it had no natural enemies here, and was bent on taking over our open lands.

This is a warning: If we allow it to gain a foothold here, we run the costly risk of letting its roots break up foundations and pavement, and block sewer and plumbing systems. Prevention is the best cure! It grows so quickly, it can easily get out of control. In addition, when it escapes the cities, it invades forest areas and farmlands, polluting animal fodder and crops and damaging farm equipment. Its sap can be toxic to humans, causing health hazards to arborists and other landscape professionals; the active compounds, called quassanoids, have been directly documented as the cause in some cases of myocarditis (an inflammation of the walls of the heart). Lets oust it from our streets! Hopefully, Mr. Kutak can deploy some help for us when the trees are abutting public property and help “nip this problem in the bud”, if you’ll forgive my pun.

Now, cutting the tree only encourages dozens of new sprouts, unless you have a master plan that includes chemicals. In the fall or early spring, the most effective way to get rid of it is to have someone spray herbicide such as Garland or professional-grade Roundup on a cut stem or, alternately, spray completely around the stem several inches above the soil line with Garland, and repeat seasonally until the tree is destroyed; one must also pull any seedlings that are discovered, or they will quickly become tall trees, shading out more valuable plants and eventually poisoning the soil with their toxins.

So I recommend that when everyone is doing a final yard cleanup this fall, to look for these plants, get out your gloves, and make sure that they dont get a foothold in your part of town!

Kathleen Marie Garness