Blood drive a success
On Saturday, October 22nd the American Red Cross, the Forest Park School District #91 and the Park of Forest Park sponsored a blood drive at the Middle School Cafetorium. Fifty-three potential donors came between the hours of 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Forty-three pints of blood were received. Those who donated were offered coupons from establishments in and around Forest Park to show their thanks. It was a very successful drive for our first time sponsoring. A big thank you to Ed’s Way, Brown Cow, Starship Jimmy Johns and Dr. Pizza or their coupon donations, Kay’s Bakery and Ed’s Way for their donations to the refreshment area for the donors. The National Junior Honor Society students from the middle school donated their time to help serve refreshments and also babysitting to the donor. This drive was community effort!

Mary Norge-Drent
Physical Education teacher

Thanks for your kindness
To my friends and neighbors”Thank you for the cards, flowers, calls and prayers. Your kindness during my recent lengthy stay in the hospital was appreciated.

Marge Weber

Raw deal on ‘Wicked’ trip
Sounds like Mike Sturino got a GOOD deal when he was able to take 18 village staffers to a performance of “WICKED” on a Friday afternoon and also treat them to drinks and hors d’oeuvres back at the office. It cost taxpayers only $530.00 thanks to some very generous vendors who would like to continue doing business with the village. But with the Village offices dosed for business the entire afternoon, did the Forest Park taxpayers get a RAW deal?

Natalie Martini

Book signing ruins wedding rehearsal
We are writing you in hopes of preventing another family from having the same unhappy experience that we did at Jimmy’s Place Restaurant in Forest Park.

In early June, we contacted the owner to set up an appointment for June 16th to plan our son’s wedding rehearsal dinner for September 9th. As he was not present as promised, we planned the event with his manager and left a deposit, as requested. We followed up by phone with him later that week, as instructed. In August, we again were to meet with him to finalize plans. Once again, he was unavailable, and written instructions were discussed and left with his manager. It was to be a full meal with wine on the tables and an open bar for 8:00pm on September 9th, for approximately 45 guests. The event was to be held in his party room which accommodates up to 80 guests, with the stipulation that since the group was less than 80, we might have to share the room with another party. On September 7 we confirmed the number of guests. The evening of the party we arrived with our guests to find that the party room was fully occupied with a book signing event, complete with a public address system that was sponsored by a local book store. We approached the owner, who was behind the bar, to demand an explanation. He first stated that he had called to explain, which he had not, then remarking ‘Well, it’s only appetizers,” which it wasn’t, then just walked away from us! He had instructed his staffers to set up two long tables on opposite sides of the room, and a small round table directly in front of the entrance door. There was no wine on the tables and the courses had to be described and ordered. Nothing was prepared for us, including the dessert platters. We were known to his manager and wait staff and they could not have been more apologetic or helpful. They were also aware that our party had been planned in June for the party room with specific instructions.

Having no other recourse on a Friday evening with 40 guests and to avoid further spoiling a joyous occasion for our only son, his bride and our families, we carried on as best we could. The seating arrangement made it impossible for the two families to visit and toasts were out of the question. At no time did the owner approach us to apologize. It was truly infuriating and embarrassing.

We would like people in the area to be aware of the unscrupulous business practices of Jimmy’s Place.

Ken and Cathy Swiderski

Pancake breakfast thanks
The St. Bernardine Religious Education Program wishes to thank the many people who so generously supported our pancake breakfast on October 23. A special note of thanks to Ed’s Way, Golden Steer, Quitsch Florist, Quaker Oats Co., Spence Family, and Jasper Farina.

Ann Stauffer
Director of Religious Education

TeenScreen in Forest Park?
Is TeenScreen, the controversial suicide survey coming to Forest Park schools? Without naming it, your opinion column “Healthy minds, bodies and souls (Oct. 5) discusses implementing prevention, intervention and treatment programs that address student’s social and emotional behaviors. In TeenScreen, passive consent has been used and requires parents to return a form only if they do not want their child screened.

Illinois Gov. Blagojevich signed the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003 which resulted from a bill passed almost unanimously on the legislature’s last days. It follows from President Bush’s 2002 Executive Order 13263, producing New Freedom Commission which supports a mental health delivery system.

Since then the concept of testing students and pregnant women for mental illness has quietly gathered steam. Many parents object to TeenScreen, a 10 minute computer survey that, depending on answers, can escalate into psychiatric labels and potential anti- depressant drug therapy for children. Parent’s concerns range from lack of active parental consent to making screening part of the curriculum, thus bypassing this consent.

In September 2005, a federal lawsuit was filed regarding TeenScreen’s lack of parental consent and violation of privacy. An Indiana teenager’s parents sued a high school, its principal, assistant principals, counselor and screening center. Recently, the British Medical Journal reported on this lawsuit.

In 2004, this 15-year-old sophomore took the survey and learned that she had obsessive compulsive disorder. This label surfaced because “she liked to clean the house.” Her social anxiety label was based on her response that she didn’t like to “party.”

There’s more money to be made on the possibility of screening more than 52 million private and public school students and potential for prescription drug use. The creators of TeenScreen refuse to name their funders. They do have lobbyists, a public relations firm and government linked agencies and groups. In January, 2006, TeenScreen sites will have to pay a fee to Canada’s Multi-Health Systems, who bought the computer survey from Columbia University.

Parents who oppose TeenScreen support the words of U.S. Rep Ron Paul (R-Texas). He stated “it is important to understand that powerful interests, namely federal bureaucrats and pharmaceutical lobbies, are behind the push for mental health screening in schools…the pharmaceutical industry is eager to sell psychotropic drugs to millions of new customers in American schools.

Barbara A Mullarkey
Oak Park