Sandy Byrnes was a stellar substitute for ailing Bev Thompson at the community center New Year’s Eve party. Everyone missed Bev, but her busy, busy schedule finally caught up with her and she crashed. She’ll be back better than ever by the next Wednesday trip.

Moving back in time a bit, last Christmas night I looked out my living room window to see how the outdoor lights had reacted to the early morning power failure, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but Santa Claus himself running down the street clad only in his regulation hat and a red thong! What? Must have been into the egg nog. Or maybe he was stressed out after all of his Christmas Eve deliveries.

Back to the community center for a bit. Nikki Petrey, Ann White and Ashley Ruane spent most of their school holiday week making the decorations for the center and decking the walls a la Las Vegas for the New Year’s party. It looked just like a Vegas casino (I guess, never been there myself).Irene Kueltzo had just been to the doctor and he recommended that she drink a glass of red wine every day. So she won a bottle of red wine at the party! Music was supplied by Greg Anderson who was filling in for Mike McIntire’s band. Mike’s group usually entertains but this year he was in the hospital recovering from a recent kidney transplant. Speedy get well to Mike.

Welcome to new residents Erin and Jim Watts. Jim is the brother of our former commissioner, Dan Watts (without whom we would never have that library on the corner of Deplaines and Jackson).

Sympathy to the family and many friends of Jo Danca who died peacefully just a few days before the new year arrived. She was a lovely lady and will be sorely missed.

Sympathy also to the family and friends of Bee Gossin, a member of Kiwanis who left us last week as well.

Now on with the 2006 January birthdays: on the 4th Lou Moran, Tom Kloess, Marie Skorda ; January 5 ;Symphony of OPRF president David Leehey and also Christine Malone, Joan Huynh, Deb Harris, Lynn Karavitos, Mike Marcantonio, Ashley Breseman, Michael Huttner and April Kutak ; on the 6th of January happy birthday to Emily Garrity, Brittany O’Donoghue; On January 7 Fred Marunde, Karen Skinner, Laureen Thornton, David Thornton, Cecilia Consalve and Rosemary Cole ; On January 8 Kathy Leninger, Tina Marcantonio, Charlie Vederal; on January 9 birthday wishes go to Danielle Riske and Phil Bohnert; on the 10th Tyler Daniel, Kirsten Bjornson and Mary Gallea.