In defense of the library referendum
The Citizen’s Committee for the Library Referendum would like to take the opportunity to address some of the questions asked in a recent letter to the Editor. The library has not had a tax increase in 13 years, and is dependent on tax dollars for about 90 percent of its budget.

Higher salaries are needed because our library’s salaries and benefits are consistently less in comparison to other local libraries. The committee is working on a document that clearly shows this, based on recent job postings for similar positions in similar communities. Part of the turnover in the library can indeed be attributed to this problem. If the library is unable to raise salaries and benefits, it will have a hard time retaining staff and an even harder time attracting new staff.

The statement that added funding will increase circulation by 20 percent was an error in the FP Review’s article; it should have read that it will increase the collection by 20 percent. If the referendum passes, then yes, the library will be able to purchase more new materials, based on what the librarians have stated the collection is lacking. A patron survey was done in January 2005 as well, to gauge what the public is looking for.

The added funds from the referendum will also allow the library to increase programming for children and adults, and we welcome input regarding the community’s interests and needs.

In regards to the funding questions, the library staff is so stretched right now that there is not enough time to seek out and write grants, when the meager payoff is considered against the amount of work this would take.

The fundraiser for the referendum is solely meant to assist with promotion and printing costs for referendum materials, since library funds cannot be used for this purpose. It will not bring in anywhere near an amount of money that could be used to bolster the library’s operating costs.

The committee would like to invite anyone who has any questions about the referendum or who would like to assist with the referendum process to attend one of our monthly meetings. The schedule for future meetings will be posted at the Forest Park Public Library.

The Citizen’s Committee for the Library Referendum

Parental involvement is crucial
On June 8, 2006, the Forest Park District 91 School Board approved many proposed recommendations regarding the Middle School that were formulated by a working group of parents and presenting by Dr. Randolph Tinder. I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Tinder and the School Board for their support. I would also like to acknowledge the other members of the working group: Patty Marino, Sandy Nutley, Mary Turek, Anne Dorneker, Marie Spence, and Peggy Grams. We are delighted and grateful that Dr. Tinder listened to our concerns and acted on them by enthusiastically presenting the recommendations to the board.

When the working group formed in January, 2006 one of our objectives was to help locate resources that would facilitate a positive peer environment for all Middle School students. We believe the behavior interventionist, the bullying curriculum and many other interventions approved by the Board are an excellent start and will make the Middle School a better place for our children.

However, there is another vitally important ingredient to the success of the Middle School: parental involvement. I would like to encourage all Middle School parents to actively participate in school activities and help promote a positive peer environment. Even with the new and exciting interventions, all of us parents need to enter into a partnership with the faculty and staff of the Middle School to make it the best school it can be. The staff and faculty cannot, and should not, be expected to educate our children without our assistance. Constructive parental involvement is essential in order for the Middle School to have a positive peer culture and a successful academic environment.

Therese M. Fitzpatrick
Middle School parent

Another successful Little League season
The Forest Park Little League has completed another successful season during which 250 children played in many exciting games. The success of this and every season is due to the unending list of volunteers and sponsors who dedicate time and services to the youth of Forest Park.

Close to one hundred parents volunteered in many areas, including coaching, umpiring, team parent, concession stand duty, and board positions. For that, we thank you graciously.

We also thank all of the wonderful parents who registered their children to play, purchased their equipment, drove them to practices and games, and most of all supported their child at each event. Forest Park Little League is able to provide baseball and softball to children for the lowest cost in the Western Suburbs. This is due mainly to our generous sponsors and advertisers.

Please patronize these businesses and thank them yourselves for the program they have provided: American Legion, Ferrara Pan, H & R Towing, McDonald’s, Forest Automotive, Thiesse Plumbing, Trage Appliance and Electronics, Ed’s Way, Forest Park Firefighters, Jimmy John’s, Forest Park Bank, Mohr Oil, Steven Stempora DDS, Elite Tire & Auto, Gloor Realty, Reich & Becker, Spotless Carwash, Kiwanis, caffe De Luca, Focus Development, Doc Ryan’s, McGaffer’s, Kay’s Bakery, Accents by Fred, Todd & Holland, Louie’s Grill, Molly Malone’s, Lori Lipkin DPM, Shanahan’s and the Forest Park Liquor Association. In addition, we thank Dave Novak and the Park District of Forest Park staff for providing the best playing fields in the area”at zero cost to the Little League.

The current Board of Directors of Little League is retiring at the close of this season and a new Board will be elected. We wish the incoming Board many years of continued success. We thank the residents of Forest Park for allowing us to serve your children for the past eleven years. It has been a joy and an honor to watch so many children grow in strength and skills and hear about their successes as they continue on in high school and college ball, knowing that they learned the fundamentals right here in Forest Park Little League.

Our sincere gratitude to all,

Dan and Marianne O’Connor
Bob and Patty Marino

Dirty flags’a disgrace’
There are a lot of American Flags on display in town that are in desperate need of repair (torn, tattered and filthy dirty). If you are going to fly the flag, show enough pride to maintain it in good condition. If you need to dispose of your flag call the local VFW for instructions. There is a particular ethnic grocery business whose roof-top mounted flag is a disgrace and needs to be taken down and replaced immediately!

Dianne Beaty

Do we need the YMCA?

For quite some time now, there has been talk about Forest Park getting the Oak Park YMCA. If we do, it seems that it will be located on the village-owned property at the Altenheim.

During the May 8 special council meeting on the budget, the Y was discussed. According to [Village Administrator Michael] Sturino’s answer, if the Y project does go through it will relieve the village debt on this property. Does this mean that what we currently own will be paid off? Or does it mean we will get back what we paid for the property?

I would hope that we could make a profit on this land because, as I understand it, the only land the YMCA will purchase is what they need for their building. I have been told that the village would be expected to put in a parking lot, baseball field, a soccer field and any other outside activity areas. Since the YMCA does not pay taxes, the cost to maintain these areas will come out of our budget which is stressed already.

Can the sewers in that part of town handle additional usage with the development of the Residences at the Grove on the east side of the street? There will also be additional traffic on Van Buren that needs to be considered. Will this cause a problem for the people who will be moving into the Grove?

The problem of traffic in this area was a matter of much debate in the many meetings that went on concerning the town home and condominium development. I feel that adding the YMCA to this area will create problems in traffic, sewage and police coverage. I would hope the village will not go though with this idea and will look at other ways to make use of this property.

Jerry Webster

Response to D209 lawyer fiasco
I am writing because I want to set the record straight as to certain statements that were made by Burt Odelson at the District 209 board’s April 24 meeting.

Mr. Odelson asked openly, “Who exactly are these guys?” referring to Cicero Town Attorneys Joe Giglio and Mike Del Galdo while noting a Chicago Tribune article that referred to the amount of legal fees the firm of Giglio and Del Galdo had been paid by the Town of Cicero since Larry Dominick assumed the Town Presidency in May 2005.

I want to take this opportunity to enlighten Mr. Odelson.

Joe Giglio and Mike Del Galdo and their associates are a key part of the team that, under Larry Dominick’s leadership, is endeavoring to create a “New Cicero” by reinventing the town’s image, straightening out its finances and enhancing its performance on behalf of Cicero residents.

Mr. Odelson sought to make an issue of legal fees paid out by the Town. So let me address that with specificity.

In the calendar year 2005, the Town of Cicero spent more than $4 million in legal fees. President Dominick was in office for 2/3 of that calendar year, yet the firm Giglio and Del Galdo accounted for less than 1/4 of the town’s legal fees.

The other $3 million plus in legal fees expended by the Town of Cicero, in only the first four months of 2005, occurred under the previous regime, a regime, ironically, that employed Burt Odelson as one of its key town attorneys.

The reality is that Giglio and Del Galdo would be a bargain at twice the price they have charged the Town of Cicero to date. That’s not my opinion, that’s the opinion of President Dominick and our board.

Giglio and Del Galdo inherited a chaotic legal department with some 150 pending cases in which the Town was a litigant from the administration of which Mr. Odelson was a kitchen cabinet member. There was little organization, no docketing system, cases where the previous administration had failed to act in a timely manner and cases where multiple $400/hour lawyers were being sent to perfunctory status calls, needlessly costing Cicero taxpayers thousands and thousands of dollars

Over the past year, the Cicero town attorneys”Giglio and Del Galdo, that is”have made considerable progress in putting out a substantial number of those fires while preventing new ones from being lit.

Furthermore, since President Dominick took office and Mr. Odelson and some of his associates were relieved of their positions, the environment in Cicero has become spectacularly less litigious with fewer than a half dozen new cases in town over the past year as compared with the mountain of pending cases inherited by the Dominick administration.

Finally, to more fully illuminate Mr. Odelson as to his inquiry of “Who exactly are these guys?”

Mike Del Galdo is the corporation counsel for the West Central Municipal Conference, the council of government that includes the communities served by Proviso School District 209. Additionally, Mr. Odelson may also recall that his firm was replaced by Giglio & Del Galdo as the outside attorneys for Morton Community College thus making his stated ignorance as to the their existence at the April board meeting all the more perplexing. By the way, similar to the situation at Cicero, my understanding is that Morton College’s legal bills have been substantially reduced under the stewardship of Giglio & Del Galdo.

The Dominick administration encourages this board to keep up their good work and wishes you all well in your ongoing effort to ensure every child in Proviso School District 209 has the opportunity to earn a quality education that prepares them to successfully compete in our global, information-based economy.

Dan Proft
Cicero Town Spokesman