The best news of the week is the remarkable improvement in Laureen Thornton’s condition. A week ago she wasn’t expected to make it. But last Sunday when she told her doctor she wanted to cut off all her hair because it looked so terrible, he told her that’s a sure sign you’re getting better. Concern about your appearance seems to be a sign you’re concerned with life again.

Laureen had to learn to feed herself, eat, swallow, walk; even breathing again was a conscious effort. On her way to the hospital she heard Steve Glinke and Steve Johnson saying “breathe, breathe.” She didn’t know what they were talking about, but they were a big help in keeping her with us.

Forest Park’s Renaissance man, Greg Phillips is shown here displaying some of his work that was in the recent “Gallery 460” show at Pilgrim Church in Oak Park. Greg was also one of the featured artists in the recent “artful object” show/auction. He is a longtime Forest Park resident who dabbles in music composition, writing, water colors, sketches, and is also a bass baritone vocalist. Mr. Phillips’s work can often be seen in the art objects on display at the Oak Park Library, 834 Lake St.

You are invited to enjoy the “walk this way” youth program at St. Peter’s Church, every Saturday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. These fun filled evenings are sponsored by New Harvest Christian Fellowship, 500 Hannah Ave. There are video games, foosball, contests, prizes and more. Admission is free and open to teens ages 12 to 18. Everyone is welcome, it’s a great way to meet other kids and enjoy Saturday nights. If you’d like more information, call (708) 788-2025.

You may already be aware of the sad story of Anthony Giglio who is suffering from chronic pancreatitis caused by hyperlipidemia, a serious blood condition. Anthony has been hospitalized more than 12 times in the past year. Surgery is not an option because of the high mortality risk and Anthony has no medical insurance. Home care comes to more than $600 per week. Anthony’s family and friends have been paying for all this out of pocket. A committee has been formed and will hold a benefit for Anthony on Feb. 10, 2007, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 3359 W. 115th Street in Chicago. There will be plenty of entertainment, food, drinks, raffles and a silent auction. You can check out the website at Donations can be mailed directly to First Security Trust and Savings Bank, 7315 W. Grand Ave. in Elmwood Park, 60707, to the attention of James H. Andrle. Checks should be made payable to “An Awareness for Anthony.”

This fine young man went to Betsy Ross Middle School and St. Joseph High School. His mother is Theresa Giglio, longtime secretary at Grant White whom we all know and love. Your help would be much appreciated.

On to the birthdays: Nov. 29, Jessica Adebran Marafatsos, Maddie MacKay; Nov. 30, Michael Branda and Patrick Rice; Dec. 1, Bradley Edward Specter is 1-year-old today; on the 3rd of December, Dixie Quitsch, Reagan Hosty, Roland Maughm and Mylinda Stange; Dec. 4, Barbara Hosty; on the 5th of December, Cheryl Kolnick and Dan Winter; Dec. 6, happy birthday to Adele Sharkey and Carli Loyd.

The annual “Sing-a-long Messiah” will be happening at First United Methodist Church, 324 North Oak Park Avenue at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Bring your music or get a copy there, no charge but a collection to benefit PADS will be taken up. David Tartikoff will conduct the ad hoc orchestra, soloists are soprano Susan Krout; alto, Amy Pickering; tenor, Clifford Gabor and bass/baritone Joseph Smith. A reception will be held afterwards.

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...