Welcome back to the real world, Mary Rogats. Mary has just returned from a relaxing vacation in heaven, otherwise known as Hawaii. Maybe we’ll have a photo of her someplace around here.

Hope you had a great time at the Progressive Dinner, sorry I wasn’t able to make it this year. As of Friday, July 14, as I’m writing this, the weatherman predicts 94 plus for Sunday.

If you have lived in Forest Park for about ten years or more, you are aware that your standard of living here has greatly improved …more than you’d ever dreamed possible. There are several reasons for this but reason #1 is Art Jones. Art has changed the face of Forest Park forever (well, forever is a long time, let’s say for longer than most of us will be around). He accomplished all this for a variety of reasons among them is his rare quality of leadership.

Art Jones is blessed with a combination of brains, charm and the ability to get people to listen to him follow through on his ideas. When he heard of the “Main Street” idea several years ago, Art knew “Main Street” was just what Forest Park needed. In a short time he was able to convince others as well. Now look up and down Madison Street, look up and down every street in town and you see the results of Art Jones’s vision. True, without the cooperation of the mayor, village council, chamber of commerce and individual citizens, Art’s idea probably would not have caught fire. So thanks are due them as well. But one of Art’s outstanding qualities is the ability to get people to act.

Good ideas not well presented usually die. Art Jones did what he did without any thought of self aggrandizement, he did it for Forest Park and for us. This town should build a monument that reaches to the sky to honor Art Jones for what he did for all of us. Good bye and good luck Art and Sally. We wish you many years of happiness out on your island paradise. (The departure has been delayed for a few weeks, so save these good wishes till then. Any chance you’ll change your mind and stay around a few more years?)

Looking for some good summer reading? See Augie Aleksy at Centuries & Sleuths He is sure to have just what you like in history or mystery. Are you (like me) getting too lazy to read? DVDs are so much easier. Augie’s got plenty of them,too.

Mike Farrell is just about in top shape after his recent health setback. He’s swimming and working out at the “Y” every day. Mike likes to reminisce about the good old days with his mom and dad, John and Gert Farrell, Eloise Dowd, Alice Conway Howard Mohr, the Hemstreets, on and on.

Happy birthday to Ellie Clifton and Katie Tricocion July 20th; on the 21st to Tim Mellin, Art Farrell and Jenny Okolwicz. July 22 is Ryan Pacyga’s birthday; on the 23rd it’s Derek Hein’s day; July 24 happy birthday to Elfie Pett, Kathy Thiesse, Rick Hem and anniversary time for Jeff Ashman and Lorien Menhennett; on July 25 birthday greetings to Stephanie Mondragon, Richard Lulipani, Kevin Thompson and Eleanor Konkowski; July 26 is the happy birthday of Claudia Mandile and Cathy Collins.

Jackie Schulz

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...