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Vendors, participants are reason for success

The Forest Park Main Street Progressive Dinner/Arts al fresco held on Sunday, July 22, 2007, was a huge success. Two hundred fifty-five hungry participants feasted on an array of fabulous appetizers, soups, salads and entrees prepared by the chefs of caffe De Luca, Chang Thai, Cocina Lobos, Flavour Cooking School, Francesca’s Fiore, Healy’s Westside, Jimmy’s Place, Thyme & Honey, Molly Malone’s, O’Sullivan’s Public House, Shanahan’s and Skrine Chops.

Throughout the dinner participants were treated to the chalk art creations and musical and theatrical entertainment of many local artists and entertainers: Jim Bruno, Gasse School of Music, Alice Max, Steckman Jazz Studio, Glenn Braun, David Effgan, The Ernie Hines Trio, Nightscape, Tess Dworman & Friends, Flex & Pointe Dancers, The Gypsy Maidens, Winifred Haun, and Alice Rivera. Many thanks to Trage Bros. for providing water throughout the evening to keep our participants cool and hydrated.

Transportation throughout the evening was provided by Windy City Trolley and sponsored by The Altenheim, AA Rental and Schauer’s Hardware.

At the dessert reception participants listened to the sounds of The Bruce Gibson Quartet sponsored by Mayor Anthony T. Calderone and Spotless Carwash, while enjoying dessert prepared by the owners of Blue Max Cafe, Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor and Harrison Street Café accompanied by dessert wines presented by Famous Liquors.

The Forest Park Main Street Association would especially like to thank the title sponsor of the 2007 Progressive Dinner, Consolidate Auto Service Center, along with the many other supporting sponsors, chalk art and entertainment sponsors: Louie’s Grill, Paulson Paint, Two Fish Art Glass and Krenek’s Antiques.

A special thank you goes out to the staff at Flavour Cooking School and caffe De Luca for handling registration and answering the questions of new and previous participants and to the staff at the Howard Mohr Community Center for compiling the “goody bags” given out to each of the participants.

The day of the event requires the hard work of many volunteers for set-up, registration, street patrol and safety, information and clean-up. A special thank you to the following people for their hard work: Janet Todd, Doris Bartek, Austin D’Souza, Maryanne and Jim Richards, Kathleen Ryan and Chris Evans, the village of Forest Park police and fire departments and the village of Forest Park Public Works Department.

Thank you to the committee who worked many hours to make this event the huge success that it was. Jayne Ertel, Julie Croney, Jodi Gianakopoulos and Vanessa Moritz. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

Forest Park Main Street is a not-for-profit organization relying on funding from membership dues, grants, private contributions and events such as the Progressive Dinner.

The Forest Park Main Street Redevelopment Association wishes to thank all the participants and volunteers for supporting our fundraising efforts so that we may continue to improve the social and economic environment of this great community.

Kathleen A. Hanrahan, event chairman
Forest Park

Smells like politics

I have worked with Dr. Fields in education and have known him to be a man of great integrity and the most effective leader I have ever encountered. I’m very certain that this board is playing politics with the lives of many people that will be touched in many ways, in a negative manner. The greatest disinfectant is sunlight and I hope this board realizes their role is to serve the public and not to keep secrets and do things behind closed doors. Sounds to me like it is time for a housecleaning and a new direction.

Mike O’Rourke
Tulsa, Okla

Headline offensive

I was taken aback to see the headline “Community program fosters independence with job training: Mentally retarded participate in local cleanup effort” (July 31). This headline was a poor delivery of a worthy cause. The term “mentally retarded” is outmoded at best. It is pejorative, smacks of ignorance and can be downright insulting. The use of “mentally retarded” in a headline sounds like something out of a small town newspaper of 1950. The more contemporary and socially sensitive term “developmentally disabled” was a good choice, but didn’t show up until the second to last paragraph. I doubt this was intentional, but rather an editorial oversight that should be carefully monitored in the future.

Jill Krygowski
Oak Park

Poorly worded

Outdated language referring to people with disabilities was used in Josh Adams’ “Community program fosters independence with job training (Aug. 1). The term “mentally retarded” is seen by the disabled community as condescending and belittling to people with disabilities. Widely accepted terms referring to people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities are “cognitively disabled,” “intellectually challenged” and “developmentally disabled.” If Mr. Adams would have looked at the website for Oak-Leyden Developmental Services he would have learned correct terminology for this population. On its website, the agency uses “developmentally disabled” to describe the population for which they provide services.

We came a long way since the early 1900s when people with developmental disabilities were called “feeble minded” and segregated from society in institutions. Yet, the media needs to be in tune about what’s acceptable in describing a segment of the disability community.

Larry Biondi
Progress Center advocacy coordinator
Forest Park

Suspension ‘unfair’

In writing this, I am assuming that your publication is genuinely in a position to pursue the facts behind this story (“Board set to fire superintendent,” Aug. 1) aggressively, independently, and with full journalistic integrity. Given the state of politics in the Proviso district and the towns that support it, I have lost confidence that anyone associated with public affairs, including the press, consistently works in the public interest. This said please, please pursue this story and the issues behind it relentlessly. Your publication is among the few sources of information for citizens of our district whose funds are abused by these officials and who feel embarrassed and stymied in affecting change.

Given the disclosures of financial malfeasance over the last two years, the board’s failure to conduct this latest affair with transparency is inexcusable. Its treatment of Mr. Fields is grossly unfair. And its reinstatement of Mr. Libka is a slap in the public’s face. And through it all, our children remain the biggest losers. Surely it is time for a fundamental reorganization of the district’s governance and leadership, not to mention a no-holds-barred housecleaning.

Sam Whalen
Forest Park