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Alley work gets grant funding

A deteriorating alleyway between Desplaines Avenue and Ferdinand Avenue just north of Adams Street is slated for reconstruction, thanks in part to a $70,000 grant awarded through Cook County. The Community Development Block Grant will help replace more than 300 linear feet of pavement in addition to funding drainage improvements and other minor surface repairs to the alleyway. Commissioners voted unanimously at their Nov. 13 meeting to accept the grant. Forest Park is expected to allocate an additional $33,000 toward the project.

Shelter reaches capacity

The Feline Wellness Center of Forest Park has reached its capacity and is looking for area residents to adopt these animals. According to a press release from the organization, there are 80 cats at the shelter. With winter fast approaching, there is a concern that additional felines will be turned away. Dr. Kim Kempfer, who runs the center, said the shelter is also looking for space in the tri-village area to expand its facilities.

For more information on the FWC or to adopt a cat, visit their website at www.felinewellnesscenter.com, or call JoAnn Cruz at (708) 366-5670.

Council approves tech upgrade

What is expected to be a months-long process to revamp several computer systems within the village’s emergency response departments got a green light last week from commissioners. Elected officials voted unanimously to use more than $195,000 in state grant money to buy new hardware and software aimed at streamlining several record-keeping processes for the police and fire departments. According to village officials, the current systems used for dispatching services, cataloging evidence, documenting arrests and a host of other functions are incompatible with one another and require employees to additional time filling out paperwork.

Original estimates for the cost of the overhaul put the project at roughly $185,000. Based on the revised estimate, village officials expect to have $1,900 in state funds available for additional cost overruns.

Dominican names new professors

Two village residents were hired this month by Dominican University to teach college students in the school’s Rosary College of Arts and Sciences. Jane Hseu received a visiting assistant professorship from the university’s English Department and Robert Calin-Jageman was named an assistant professor of psychology.

Hseu has written on Asian-American and Latino writers’ approach to the language in relation to race and will teach several composition courses, according to a statement released by the university. Calin-Jageman has been published in “Behavioral Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience, Cognition and Emotion” and will teach classes in cognition, behavior and general psychology.

Annual toy drive

Girl Scouts in Oak Park and River Forest are collecting toys for children living in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago and are looking for donations of new, unwrapped gifts. The scouts will wrap and label each toy before it is donated to a child between the ages of 1 and 13. Also needed are wrapping paper and tape.

Donations will be collected through Friday, Dec. 14 and can be dropped at the River Forest Public Library and the following Oak Park locations: Buzz Cafe, 905 S. Lombard Ave.; Dole Library, 255 Augusta St.; Maze Library, 845 S. Gunderson Ave.; Beye School, 230 N. Cuyler Ave.; Hatch School, 1000 N. Ridgeland Ave.; Whittier School, 715 N. Harvey Ave.; and at the following addresses: 1145 S. Wisconsin Ave., 809 S. Highland Ave., 624 Gunderson Ave. and 813 S. Lombard Ave.

This is the sixth annual toy drive sponsored by the scouting troop.

Top admin gets multi-year deal

Council members approved a multi-year contract with Village Administrator Mike Sturino after several months of negotiations in which the administrator was working without a formal agreement. Sturino, who will see his salary increase from $115,000 to $125,000, is the only village employee with an employment contract in Forest Park.

The deal guarantees Sturino annual pay increases at least equal to the consumer price index through April 30, 2011. He will also receive $400 per month for vehicle expenses until February 2008, at which point the stipend increases to $500.

Sturino has served as the top administrator in Forest Park since early 2005 working under a strong-mayor form of government. The extension was approved with a 4-1 vote on Nov. 13 with Commissioner Martin Tellalian objecting to what he called an “excessive” and “inappropriate” amount of money.