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St. Bernardines open for business

I was saddened to read that Saint John Lutheran School will be closing at the end of the current school year. While the mission to provide education for our members has been a longstanding one in both the Lutheran and Catholic traditions, we do struggle to keep going with declining enrollments and escalating costs. And while I commiserate with the church community at Saint John’s as they have had to struggle with this serious decision, I fear that your article’s reference to Saint Bernardines may lead your readers to an unwarranted conclusion. We are not closing. We will be open for the academic year 2007-08 and beyond.

I do not want to appear insensitive to our Lutheran neighbors, but I suspect they have experienced a problem that has also plagued us: namely that rumors persist that we are going to close and this leads potential families to seek parochial education elsewhere. I fear that your article and editorial may add fuel to the rumor about Saint Bernardine School and I hope that this letter will dispel any misconceptions in that regard.

Rev. Patrick M. Tucker, Pastor, St. Bernardine Catholic Church
Forest Park

Ordinances for all

Upon reading Anthony Calderone’s letter in the Review of 3/7/07, I would like to comment. It is too bad that he had to “aggressively” remove his campaign signs. Apparently, this was only done after a formal complaint was filed against him. Whereas the other candidates complied with the ordinance and removed their signs in a timely manner, was he not planning to comply? As of today 3/11/07, there are still several Calderone campaign signs displayed around town. It is unfortunate that he considers a local ordinance to be nonsense and the fact that a complaint was filed, silly. Do the village ordinances apply to everyone or don’t they?

Mary Fabbrini
Forest Park

Ordinance not ‘silly’

I thought the election sign issue was pretty much a done deal until I read Mayor Calderone’s letter here in the Review. Obviously bitter over having to abide by the law and remove his 500 signs in a matter of a few hours, he wrote:

“Normally I would have fought this type of nonsense; however I don’t want a silly issue like this to cloud more important issues.”

Silly issue? Let me give you some background on this “silly issue.”

On Election Day, I was passing campaign literature at the polls at Field Stevenson School along with Sally Cody (assistant to the mayor’s office) and several others from the Calderone election team. At one point, we started talking about election signs when Sally tells us that the Calderone team was considering leaving all their signs up right on through to the general election in April. She added that they were confident that this action would survive any court challenges because they viewed the law as being vague. Court challenges? Not taking down signs?

The following morning I got a copy of the election sign ordinance. It states: “[Election signs] shall be permitted no more than thirty (30) days prior to an election, and shall be removed within two (2) days after that election.”

Seemed pretty clear to me. Oh well, this was only Wednesday morning and each candidate had until midnight Thursday to get their signs down.

Friday morning I walked down to Madison St. and there were still blue election signs everywhere. I drove the surrounding neighborhoods and like Madison, few if any blue signs had been removed.

Needless to say the arrogance of this act disturbed me. I was also very concerned about the image of our community to the throngs of visitors for our St. Patrick’s Day parade the very next afternoon. That is when I decided to contact Michael Boyle at village hall. He is in charge of enforcing the sign ordinances in Forest Park. I knew he would help because he had stopped Citizens for Calderone from illegally using the community center sign last year. When I got home from work late Friday evening, many of the signs were down. Director Boyle was doing his job. Thank you Mike.

Obviously Mayor Calderone doesn’t like the village sign ordinance. In his letter he stated: “The ordinance is mute with respect to the period of time between primary and general elections.”

Anyway, here we are, tabular rasa. The people can begin anew with selecting their personal choices for their leaders. Oh yes, there are still a few signs up but they have now paled into the background, toothless.

Steven Backman
Forest Park

Rules are rules

I think Steve Backman should be commended for requesting that all political signs be removed following Forest Park’s recent mayoral primary. The local village ordinance stipulates as much, saying that such signs cannot be displayed prior to 30 days before an upcoming election. Laws are passed for a reason. If they are unjust, we should work to change them. If they aren’t, we should abide by them. It is my hope that all political candidates feel it incumbent upon themselves to abide by the laws of this village. It is what we, the citizens of Forest Park, both expect and deserve.

Angela West Blank
Forest Park

Parade of thanks

Despite Mother Nature’s repeated assaults, the Forest Park Chamber’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade was once again a huge success.

Exciting new entries including the giant Jewel shopping cart and The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor “float,” and parade regulars like Glen Gael Pipe Band, Medinah Shriners and the award-winning Proviso Township Marching Band help make the parade a success … but we would be unable to host this event without the generous support of our sponsors.

A big thank you to B.C. Body Craft, Inc. of Oak Park for their “Pot of Gold” sponsorship. Thanks also to the following sponsors: Gleason Chevrolet, Schauers Ace Hardware and Blue Cab/M&C Auto Repair (advertising sponsors); Burke Beverage and Doc Ryan’s (Glen Gale Pipe Band); Orthosport Physical Therapy (Medinah Mini Choppers); Medinah Clown Unit (Spotless Carwash); Medinah Flying Carpets (Oak Park Area Convention and Visitors Bureau) and McNulty Irish Dancers (Duffy’s Tavern). Shamrock Sponsors: O’Sullivan’s Public House, Ultra Foods, The Residences at the Grove a Joint Venture of Focus Development and The Taxman Corporation, MKM Services, Slainte Irish Pub, Healy’s Westside, Shanahan’s, Forest Park Main Street, Mohr Oil Company, Military and Police Supply, Floor Coverings International, Louie’s Grill, Forest Foot Care, Forest Park Firefighters Local 2753, McAdam Landscaping, Chix With Stix, Eugene Moore, Windy City Rollers and Citizens for Curry, Your generosity and support is truly appreciated.

We’d also like to thank the village of Forest Park, the Forest Park Police Department and public works for excellent service and continued support.

A parade wouldn’t be a parade without participants and an audience … and we couldn’t pull if off without volunteers. We appreciate your support and endurance! Remember to patronize our sponsors and shop Forest Park.

Forest Park Chamber of Commerce
Parade Committee
Laurie Kokenes
Sherri Ladd
Bill Hosty
Forest Park

Subtle slights

On Feb. 13, Mr. Josh Adams came to Grant-White Elementary School to cover our Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award. As one of four teachers in grades three through five who participated in the Rebecca Caudill program, I appreciated Mr. Adams’ visit and I hoped his story would inform citizens of Forest Park about the good work their students are doing in our school. Sadly, Mr. Adams story painted a misleading picture of students at Grant-White Elementary, an image that my students do not deserve.

The Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award encourages children to read exciting books, empowering students to choose literature to which they may never have been exposed otherwise. Many of the Rebecca Caudill nominees include titles of over 300 pages, and nearly every title is several grade levels above what students normally read.

Mr. Adams reported that although Nathan Harris read all 20 nominated titles, most of Nathan’s classmates read fewer than six, subtly implying that the rest of Grant-White Elementary School wasn’t reading very much.

Because students read Rebecca Caudill titles in addition to every part of reading instruction, teachers only required students to read three titles. Mr. Adams’ story would be accurate if instead of denigrating Nathan Harris’ classmates for reading fewer than six extremely challenging books, he praised the students who exceeded expectations by reading more than the required three.

I could also take exception to Mr. Adams’ mentioning that only a “handful” of parents attended a program that was in the middle of the workday, as though every family in Forest Park has the luxury of taking half a day off work, but even his oblique criticism of my students’ parents offends me far less than his need to report that “African American students didn’t measure up” on the reading portion of the ISATs. Anyone who attended the Rebecca Caudill program would have seen that my students come in numerous races, and that all of them ‘measured up’ superbly.

I do not dispute my students’ challenges, I cannot argue with test data, and I will not allow any excuses for poor achievement. But, for Mr. Adams to state so flatly that African American students haven’t “measured” up” in reading belies credulity. Had I allowed my students to read Mr. Adam’s story, they would have finished feeling just a little bit worse about themselves than they did before.

Forest Park’s citizens should know, however, that the real story at Grant-White is that my students asked me to keep our sticker chart up, even after we voted for our Rebecca Caudill winner.

“Why?” I asked them. “We’ve already chosen the winner.”

“Because we can still finish the list!” answered one of my boys.

Timothy M. Grivois, fourth-grade teacher

Grant-White Elementary School
Forest Park

Cyberhood

If you haven’t done it lately-or ever-as a fellow Forest Parker, I invite you to check out forestparkforums.com.

Many villagers find it an exciting, evolving and indispensable community resource-an online forum dedicated to “all issues Forest Park.” You can find a discussion on almost any topic. I think of it as a virtual block party-you and your neighbors, catching up on the news (school info, Little League registration), folks debating local issues (elections, general politics, the bad winter), sharing stories, telling jokes.

Right now, with the elections just around the corner, most candidates are posting their views on “the Board.” Candidates post on both the customized Q & A Candidates Forum, and in the more “open” main discussion forums, sharing their thoughts and opinions on a wide variety of important issues.

The first usage report was published this week. Here are the impressive statistics:

Hits for March 7, 2007: 921

Hits for March 8, 2007: 899

Hits for final three months of 2006: 12,228

Forestparkforums.com is always informative and rarely boring. It has become a fabulous local resource, a perfect compliment to our local newspaper.

Be there or be square.

Sharon Daly
Forest Park