Thinking globally in your own world

Your recent article about the lack of conservation-oriented leadership is well taken, insofar as the current slate of public initiatives by commissioners and village staff is concerned. However, it is not entirely accurate to extend that conclusion to the entire community here.

There are many individuals whose lawn and garden care incorporates organic, environmentally-responsible practice. Many people in the village reduce, reuse and recycle on a daily basis. Others are purchasing hybrid vehicles and installing low-flow bathroom fixtures. Others carpool or bicycle to work. I think some progress is being made to raise awareness on this issue on a civic level.

Yes there is more to do. Conserving water, energy and utilities is just fiscal common sense, for our families and for our local village, as well as doing the right thing by our global village.

There is a wealth of information out there just ready to be tapped by each of us, but we can all lower our light bills by installing compact fluorescents where possible and installing low-energy-usage appliances, in addition to doing what we can to reduce our dependency on petroleum products. We can also try to evaluate our energy footprint by buying local, saving on petroleum consumption and emissions from products made far away and then shipped at great ecological expense here. I had the privilege of being asked to represent Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project at the recent Green Fest at McCormick Place. If each citizen of Forest Park can become even marginally more active in resource conservation, and persuade our village to follow suit, we will set a great example for others to follow.

Kathleen Garness
Forest Park

An appalling vote

United States Congressman Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., representing Forest Park south of Harrison Street, recently voted to expand the Bush administration’s wiretapping powers. Lipinski and U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Ill., were the only Illinois Democrats who voted with the Republicans. For this, his past support of Bush’s failed Iraq policy, and his ultra conservative stance on social issues, Lipinski should be defeated in the upcoming Democratic primary by Mark Pera. Pera is an assistant state’s attorney for Cook County and president of the Lyons Township School Board.

Before the vote, the Chicago Tribune echoed administration fear mongering, saying the bill was needed to allow investigators to cut through red tape to catch terrorists. The Trib failed to mention that the existing FISA law already allows immediate surveillance with a grace period of several days. The new bill significantly weakens independent judicial oversight; the government needs only obtain the “assurance” of the attorney general, instead of an actual warrant issued by a FISA court.

Consider: 1) the U.S. attorney scandal and politicization of the Justice Department by the White House, 2) calls for the resignation of Attorney General Gonzales even by the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, 3) the Senate testimony of former Deputy Attorney General Comey in which he described Gonzales’ (then White House Counsel) attempt to strong arm bedridden Attorney General Ashcroft, to compel Ashcroft to OK an undisclosed domestic surveillance program which was 4) so illegal that many senior Bush appointees at the Justice Department and FBI threatened to resign if the White House continued the program.

Given all this and Bush’s record-low approval ratings, why would any Democrat break ranks and vote with the Republicans to expand the administration’s surveillance powers? Perhaps in the next election Lipinski was afraid of being called weak on national security, of providing al Qaeda with surveillance-free phone service? If the 41 defecting House Democrats can’t deal with such expected juvenile schoolyard taunts, then what are they doing in Congress?

There are ways to be tough on national security, but they don’t include caving in to a president with approval ratings below 30 percent

Security is about tradeoffs. Lipinski has not found the right balance, and his record does not inspire confidence. Mark Pera has been with the state’s attorney’s Office for the last 10 years; he should know a thing or two about striking a balance between protecting both our Constitutional rights and our security.

Frank Hansen
Forest Park

Camp program

On behalf of the West Suburban Special Recreation Association (WSSRA) Day Camp participants, this letter offers public thanks to the donors who generously contributed to the 2007 WSSRA day camp scholarship fund.

We thank the following organizations:

  • The Berwyn Community Development Block Grant Fund
  • The Cicero Community Development Block Grant Fund
  • Thumbuddy Special
  • The Hinsdale Masons
  • Illinois Project for Special Needs Children
  • West Suburban Special Recreation Foundation
  • American Camping Association of Illinois
  • Firefighters IAFF Local 1526 in Franklin Park
  • Oak Park Township
  • Ms. Peggy Vicars
  • Town of Cicero

Summer can be a happy time for most children as there can be so much to do and experience. Swimming, baseball, picnics, playing games, creating, biking, laughing and imagining are all part of a typical summer. For children with disabilities, these experiences are especially wonderful. Participating in life outside of therapy or “special ed” time, helps WSSRA participants forget their differences and just have fun. Day Camp makes that happen. WSSRA camp staff focus on what the campers can do rather than their challenges. With detailed agendas and close supervision, WSSRA helps kids experience success and the simple joys of childhood.

Making a difference in a child’s life is an important task. The children in WSSRA’s day camp program certainly agree. We are grateful for the donors who think so, too! Thank you, again.

Sandra Gbur, executive director WSSRA
Franklin Park

New leadership

I am truly disgusted at the chain of events (“Board set to fire superintendent,” Aug. 1). I have worked closely with Dr. Fields and find him to have integrity and the children’s best interest in mind. He has made positive changes that may not resonate with all parties involved. Whose decisions please all?

We as a community need to stand up and show that we will not tolerate this board making decisions that affect all of us, especially the taxpayers. Fields was taking us in a positive direction.

The children of 209 were given rules to abide by and consequences when those rules were not followed. The school system was given clear direction, goals, accountability and the financial status was looking much better. These few successes are the keys to a successful school district, and if our board can not appreciate this we need to consider a new board. Why the District 209 board believes that their leaders and employees must side with them and not have their own opinions and recommendations is beyond my understanding.

Considering the past approaches did not present success with our children, we need to consider a different approach and Dr. Fields was that new, refreshing approach. This is not to say that everything he was doing would have proven successful, but it is to say that he showed more success than I have seen in my eight-year tenure in Maywood and from what my Maywood cohorts have expressed. The board and the community need to allow our administration to operate to the best of their ability with minimal micro-managing, encourage their success, and support their efforts. Only then will we experience true success.

Tawana Jones

Devoted treasurer

I want to respond to inaccuracies in the article written by Josh Adams, entitled “Historical Society shuns residents’ request” dated July 18, 2007. The article states, “Phyllis Orland, the treasurer of the non-profit organization, said that she has no interest in managing the society’s finances and acknowledged she has lost track of a trust fund benefiting the Historical Society that was left by her late husband, Dr. Frank Orland, who founded the organization. Those responsibilities have been handed off to Vitton, she said.”

I was elected as treasurer for the society in 2000. I have not been in good health so I delegated the daily duties of the position to the president, Rich Vitton. I review financial records with the board on a regular basis and all the records are in order.

I have stayed in this position over the years out of loyalty and devotion to the tradition and vision set forth by my late husband.

My husband, Dr. Frank Orland, provided for a generous donation to the society, which was given in 2002 after his death, and went into the society’s general funds. There was no trust fund.

Dr. Phyllis Orland
Forest Park

Tournament thanks

On behalf of the Board of Park Commissioners of the Park District of Forest Park, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank every one who helped make the 39th Annual Forest Park Invitational Softball Tournament a huge success.

Special thanks to Park District commissioners Sam Alonzo, Howard “Bud” Boy, John Doss, Cathy McDermott and Roy Sansone for their continued support in keeping the tradition of this great tournament. The tournament is a must-see for any serious fan or player of “Chicagoland’s game” and we are proud that the tradition continues.

Many thanks to the players, team sponsors, umpires, scorekeepers, announcers, grounds crew and to Mr. Stats, tournament statistician, for their participation in this year’s tournament. I would also like to thank the fans who come out in record numbers, year after year, to enjoy the games.

Thanks to Burke Beverage and the Miller Brewing Company for their 21st year as tournament co-sponsors. We would also like to thank the Forest Park Review for once again publishing the official program, the Forest Park Post for their special tournament edition and Wilbert Burial Vault for the use of their tents each year for this and all of our special events, as well as to Orthosport and the Mid-City Parking for the use of their parking facilities. Our appreciation is also extended to Mayor Anthony Calderone, the village council and the police and fire departments for their continued support.

We would especially like to express our appreciation to our wonderful group of volunteers who come forward each year to make the food and concessions operation second to none. It would be impossible to list all of them in this letter, but I just wanted to publicly say that without these volunteers, we certainly couldn’t do it alone. Thank you all once again for giving your time for the enjoyment of others.

This year’s tournament was dedicated to the memory of Lorraine Popelka who worked as a volunteer for this tournament since its inception in 1969. We would like to thank the Popelka family for their participation and for allowing us to honor our former mayor for her many contributions to the community and especially to the Park District.

Larry Piekarz, director Park District of Forest Park
Forest Park