Babies are in the news this week. Miss Maddie MacKay is the proud big sister of Jack Martin MacKay who was born February 1, 2006. Baby Jack’s parents are Ginger and Jim MacKay; grandparents Sharon Bigane, and Martin and Janie MacKay. The baby’s uncle Andrew Bigane did the artwork on the welcome sign announcing Jack’s birth to the world. Daddy Jim and sister Maddie are shown in the photo.

Brianna Dodge was born January 9 to Melissa and Kevin Dodge. Brianna’s big sister is three and a half year old Jessica Dodge. Very proud aunt is Aunt Elizabeth Kachlic. Grandparents are Elsa and Phil Kachlic and Bonnie and Dave Dodge. Baby Brianna’s great- grandparents are Irmgard and Roy Cohrs and Martha Heine of Sao Alegre, Brazil. Back home in Brazil, Great-grandma operates a missionary home for poor children in the area. She travels back and forth between the states and Brazil bringing books, toys, clothing, and other necessities to the children in the town. In the home where she works there are more than 500 children”all poor, poor, poor. Elizabeth Kachlich’s mother, (Martha’s daughter),Elsa Kachlic was born in Sao Alegra, where she lived for about ten years. Her parents, Lutheran missionaries, brought Elsa and her brother to New York where they lived for several years. Along the unusual life path Elsa has traveled she learned to speak fluent Portuguese, German and English. Best of luck to new baby Brianna, who is off to a slow start.

Welcome home to travelers Lucy and Joe Gianelli. The Gianellis were down in Mexico visiting some of Lucy’s relatives and enjoying the scenery, friendliness and food of the country.

Welcome to newcomers Mary Williamson a mechanical engineer who comes to Forest Park all the way from Oak Park. Mary sometimes works part time at Fitzgerald’s!

Another newcomer is Scott Clark, welcome to Forest Park!

If you love dogs, a great time to go for a walk is about five in the afternoon. You’ll probably meet Brian and Dixie or Jim and Norton,Huckleberry, Amy and Doris and hosts of other friendly lovable pups. And people.

Augie and Tracy Aleksy are back from an unforgettable visit to Italy. They went on their own, met lots of fascinating people and brought back irreplaceable souvenirs for the book store and for all of us. Drop in and ask Augie to show you some of these amazing souvenirs. He’ll tell you about some of the places they visited and wonderful people they met. Augie’s major in college was medieval history and they saw plenty from that period .Their itinerary included Milan, Rome, Venice, Verona, Florence, Bologna, Sienna ,Assissi and on and on. It was an adventure to last a lifetime.

The Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest will perform for your pleasure on Sunday, February 12th at 4 p.m. It will be a special Mozart birthday celebration with Ho Chung Yeh conducting an all Mozart program. Soloist Sherry Hong will perform the violin concerto #5. Come and bring the family it’s nearby at First United Church, 848 Lake Street in Oak Park, 4 p.m..

Birthday greetings to Marilyn Gotsch on February 8; on the 10th to Karrie Schlichting and Kirsten Cursel; February 11 is the birthday of Eleanor Cole, Daniel Marote, Paula Peterson, Emmaly Sansone, Carl Grapentine, Tiffany Greenberg, Christine Marshan, Cedric Javier and Ian McSheffrey; on February 12 it’s Amelia Huebner, Michael Paulin, Jean Pyot, and Haley Reis; February 13 Timothy X. Lane, and two year old Kyle Vincent CliftonHapppy Valentine’s Day on the 14th and happy birthday on the 15th to Marty Redmond, Ethan Flanigan and teenager Julie Xia.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Chop a bun.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life's other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side...