Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

Online edition –>

Job well done deserves re-election

I am writing to endorse Tony Calderone for re-election as mayor of Forest Park. Much criticism has been cast on Mayor Calderone for his lack of formal education. Those making the disparaging remarks claim that someone with a college degree will be much better suited to run our village. I ask those people to look at Forest Park before Mayor Calderone’s tenure, and to look at Forest Park now. Take a good look, and tell me where this “uneducated” man has gone wrong.

I graduated from Forest Park Middle School in 1998. At that time, I was also playing on a traveling softball team over the summer, with teammates from Oak Park, River Forest, and other nearby suburbs. These friends of mine, as young people will do, would often tease me about living in Forest Park, considering it a lesser town than their own. I didn’t have much to say back to them, because at that time, there really wasn’t much that I could say in defense of my home.

However, things started to change after Mayor Calderone was elected to his first term the following year. Then attending Fenwick High School, I was still catching grief about my hometown from friends. By the time I graduated, in 2002, they hardly had anything to say to me. And even a couple of years later, I remember coming home from Vanderbilt University over the holidays and being absolutely stunned at the state of Madison Street. All of a sudden my friends didn’t want to come to Forest Park just to visit Doc Ryan’s; they wanted to eat dinner at La Piazza or grab coffee at Caffe de Lucca.

Things have changed drastically over the past eight years. Property values have skyrocketed, business is booming, and more and more people are noticing our little village as a truly urban community. And from the very beginning, Mayor Calderone has been at the helm of this change.

This is not to discredit the importance of higher education: as someone currently pursuing a master’s degree in architecture, I can say that at first glance, Mayor Calderone’s lack of formal education may be seen as a detriment. But actions speak louder than words, or in this case, college degrees. One needs only to look at the current state of Forest Park to see that.

He might not be as educated as some of the critics had hoped, but he has worked hard to improve our village for eight years, and it is we who are reaping the benefits. We should be thanking Mayor Calderone, not pointing our hypocritical fingers at him.

It is our actions that dictate our character and our success, not a piece of paper with a dean’s signature on it. As a young resident of Forest Park, I am proud to endorse him for re-election.

Meghan Krieger
Boston, Mass.

‘Disdorsement’

I realize this is a little late, but I have to ask. How can you endorse a candidate for mayor with “trepidation?” One definition of the word is fear … alarm … dread. What does that say for your candidate and your endorsement? I do agree with you, I certainly could not vote for him. Maybe your “endorsements” should be called “disdorsements.”

Donna McKune
Forest Park

Triton candidate

I am Thomas Gary and I am a candidate for Community College District 504 Board of Trustees, Triton College. Investments in education and workforce development will be key factors in differentiating those communities that thrive and succeed in the 21st Century economy versus all others. I believe that we need thoughtful leadership in advocating for education-especially at our community colleges-in expanding economic opportunity across all communities. As a father, husband, former county official, and Iraqi War veteran, I believe that I can provide that necessary leadership.

My vision is for Triton to be seen as a center of academic leadership throughout our region, and to build a culture that expects and demands excellence: from the students, from the faculty, and from the Board of Trustees.

Triton should also be a network hub for economic development for the West Cook region. My goal is to bring together key stakeholders that drive development, from the business community and financial sector to urban planners and elected officials. I will work to bring innovative technologies and new voices from our communities.

Most importantly, I promise to seek and build consensus with all who share my vision to move Triton forward. That vision requires openness and collective responsibility. The Triton district includes all or part of twenty-five communities totaling over 400,000 residents. Those residents who wish to have their voices heard on their community college must be given that opportunity.

I look forward to continuing our dialogue on our community college through April 17 and onward. If you have any questions, concerns, or if you wish to join with me in this shared vision for Triton, please contact me at Thomas-at-thomasgary-dot-org.

Thomas Gary
Oak Park

Life savers

On Dec. 20, 2006, in the afternoon, I was waiting for my car to be serviced at the Jiffy Lube located at 215 S. Harlem Ave. in Oak Park when one of the employees noticed that I had passed out. I was unresponsive and in congestive heart failure. Because of the great crew of people located at this shop, I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for their concern and swift action. They immediately called an ambulance and I was taken to Oak Park Hospital. I later learned that the manager of the store, Bobby, made several attempts to reach a relative and/or friend to notify them of my situation. It’s nice to know in this day and age that somebody cares, and I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the employees of this shop.

Thanks to all the great folks at Jiffy Lube. I am forever grateful.

Elaine Carroll
Forest Park

Most appreciated

The “Awareness for Anthony” committee would like to thank all the citizens and merchants of Forest Park who helped make the benefit on Feb. 10, 2007, such a great success.

It was wonderful for Tony to see so many of his old friends, neighbors, and classmates again at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub, and he greatly appreciates their kindness and generosity.

It was truly inspirational to see so many people willing to come together and help out in a time of need.

Tony is feeling somewhat better but his medical bills are still astronomical, so the benefit party will greatly help with his medications and hospital bills.

Jim Murray
Forest Park

Editor’s note: Jim Murray is a Forest Park Review columnist.