Congratulations to our editor, Seth Stern on his recent honors which I guess he was too modest to mention. The Forest Park Review won a second best rating from the Inland Press Association. That means we were named the second best newspaper with a circulation of fewer than 5,000 in the nation for 2005. The award also reflects the work of Melissa Lou, who edited the Review during the first half of 2005.

An enthusiastic young reader is the lovely Valentina Marusic of Lathrop Avenue. Ms Marusic recently celebrated her first birthday on February 13. Naturally she was named “Valentina.” There never was a nicer valentine (and she always reads The Review).

The Petrey clan is all a twitter over the birth of baby Dia Rosemarie Petrey who was born Febraury 16 at Elmhurst Hospital. Dia’s parents are Rob Petrey and Dena Messino;grandparents are Tim and Randy Petrey, Dian Cappelen and William Messino; great grandparents are Patricia Petrey and Carmen and Marilyn Caliendo. The special honors of Aunt and Godmother went to Nikki Petrey.

Forest Park said good-by to three more icons last week,Ed Olson ,Emma Stange, and Grace Hollander. St. Peter’s and St. John’s were filled with old timers, some of whom hadn’t seen each other for a long time. Ed, Emma and Grace had long, full lives but parting is always painful.

A very special musical event will take place at First United Church, 848 Lake Street in Oak Park. Daniel Gassi’s Music for Life Foundation will present a concert of music of all nations including Senegal, Andean flutes, music of Spain and the Orient and more and more. There is no charge for this most unusual concert but they will accept a free will offering to enhance their scholarship fund. The Music for Life Foundation offers music scholarships to promising students whose families have limited means.

The date is March 4, the time 7:30 p.m. and the place is 848 Lake Street. You will never forget this event if you attend, I promise. Parking is available in the lot behind (north of) the church and on the street, all free. It’s better than watching television and the price is the same.

Also at First United on March 12 at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, you can hear the famous Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein .The Chicago Choral Artists, First United Sanctuary Choir, Metropolis Chamber Orchestra and the Oak Park & River Forest Children’s Choir under the direction of William Chin will present this famous work sung in Hebrew. Also on the program will be Handel’s Chandos Anthem #11 and Ewazen’s Sinfonia for Strings. $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students. For information call 386-5215, ext. 39.

Spring is almost here and that means everybody and their brother will be having a concert, recital, program, dinner, luncheon, fund raiser and so on. Most of them are really worth attending if you can find the time. Save March 19 for the super glorious Beethoven 9th Symphony to be performed by the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest and sung by the Symphony Chorus. That’s at 4 p.m. on the 19th. $20 general admission, $15 seniors, students, children free.

On March 1 say happy birthday to Geri Kowalski, Kim Reina, Bill Brown and Jim Breseman; on the 2nd Heather Babcock, Joe Breseman, Dinnemarie Williams, Grace Spence and Isabella Celenzi; March 3 and birthday greetings go to Brandon Thompson, Edith Scheiwe, Jill Fink, David Rodenbostel, on the 4th of March to Joe Calcagno (where is Joe now?), Vicki Fipinger, Tevian Russell, and Christian Schremser; March 5 to Jeremy Loll ,Tara Cassiani, Speedy Christiansen, Grant Heyer, Jennifer Deering, on the 6th to Lucy Landaeta, Steve Blazek, Ryan Marinier, Christopher Loughlin, and Corwin Lindell; on March 7 Ed Martinski gets a big birthday wish.

Thanks for your time. Chop a bun, as they say in Albania (it means “see you later”).

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...