Belated happy birthday to Chris Respas who has been an admirer of the Dali Lama since last May when she heard him speak in Chicago. To celebrate her birthday she flew prayer flags from her front window on a breezy, sunny day, as is the custom. The flags are flown into the wind to the gods asking for peace (we should have a bunch of flags for that), health, understanding, wisdom and other desirable traits.

Ron Gustafson has the ideal job. He ushers for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Orchestra Hall (Symphony Center since they spent several hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the acoustics) and all summer at Ravinia. His faithful dog, Lahsa waits patiently for him evenings, but she gets plenty of exercise during the day. Ron must have been doing something right. Lahsa is a playful 17-year-old Dalmatian who still does the “let’s play” stance when she meets other dogs.

Since Art Jones got things moving on Madison Street, Forest Park has been climbing the cultural ladder faster than anybody can keep up. We have yet another artist, muralist, tromp l’oeil, illustrator, faux finish master in our midst. He is Charles A. Nitti and his work is something to see, amazing isn’t good enough to describe his paintings. Mr. Nitti will give a private showing if you call (708) 945-6758 or e-mail: charlesnitti

A special worship service will be held at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 500 Hannah Ave. on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10:30 a.m. Violinist Alexej Muran, and guitarist Ludek Hecizko will perform accompanied by the church’s organist/pianist. Everyone is welcome.

In neighboring River Forest there is a young girl at Roosevelt Middle School who has designed get well cards featuring pictures of wells from all over the world and words of wisdom about water on each card. Proceeds from the sale of these cards are donated to the African Well Fund to help build fresh water wells in Africa. Of all the fresh water available in Africa, only 4 percent is used because they lack wells, pumps, and other irrigation systems. The cards are designed by Anna Gaebler, a most unusual young lady, I’d say.

Saturday, Oct. 13 will be a great day at Two Fish. Sales, hors d’oeuvres, champagne, music from the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest and lots more will begin at 2 p.m. Come and enjoy the festivities. Pick up some great bargains at one of Forest Park’s classiest stores.

Last but not least I neglected to congratulate our prize winning columnist, Bill Dwyer who surely deserves that honor. Also, former editor Ken Trainor, now with the Wednesday Journal won best column in the entire state of Illinois at a recent banquet hosted by the Illinois Press Association. Review editor Josh Adams helped carry on the fine tradition winning best paper of its size in the state for the third year in a row.

On Oct. 2 happy birthday to Diane Rice and Sheryl Neff, and happy anniversary to Gus and Marie Scolero; on the 3rd, Paul Jargstorf; Oct. 4, Robert Mintz will celebrate a birthday and anniversary greetings to Judy and Sandy Tracy; Oct. 5, Nick Mangiaracino and Nathan Johnson; Oct. 6, Alan Latall, Jason Fabiani, Gary Almeroth; on the 7th, Yo Yo Ma has a birthday along with Angela Spiratis and Patrick Michael Olson; on the 8th, Todd and Denise Marler have an anniversary along with Katie and Johnny Tricoci while Todd Cote and Samantha Thiesse have birthdays; on the 9th, Karen and Tom Hawkins celebrate an anniversary as do Karen and Craig Kurey and Cody Healy, Jan Behnke and Marissa Mueller have a happy birthday.