Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

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Let’s say it is definitely not your grandfather’s Kwicky Grill-that little lunch counter hangout of the good ol’ boys of yesteryear.

The late Howard Mohr and his friends, including the late Bob Haeger, Larry Kaercher, and many whose names I can’t recall, used to start the day there. Then it was off to the village hall, next to the Review offices, which was a storefront on Madison Street. Oh that they could come back and sing “If they could see me now….”

The Harrison Street Café has become a haven for local artists. Remodeled with bright colors, lots of room for people to circulate and visit with one another, it is a welcoming oasis. BLOOM, a local arts and crafts organization driven in part by Doris Bartek, presented another of exciting show there on Sunday, Dec. 9. It was a gloomy, sleety, icy cold day-a day meant for staying home and baking cookies. But the parking lot at Harrison and Circle streets was full. Full of Forest Parkers and others anxious to get in to see the show and enjoy the accompanying wine and cheese buffet. Sales were over the top that afternoon after what was anticipated to be a slow day. DJ Jodi added to the atmosphere of the event with selections of just the right music, at just the right volume to keep the crowds happy. Hostess Sherri Ladd owner of the Harrison Street Café was happy to participate and even provided coffee and sweets gratis. Forest Park artists who showed that afternoon were Doris Bartek, modern folk art; Jennifer Donahue, fine arts; Jan Jones, custom jewelry design; Jarmila Seveikova, crochet and knit garments; Anna Sibley, crochet apparel and costume jewelry; and ceramics and pottery by Mei Wu.

Local merchants who contributed to the success of the show were House Red, Two fish, La Maison de Bon Bon, Quitsch Flowers, and The Old School Records. Thanks to BLOOM and company for giving Forest Park another boost up the cultural ladder.

Stephanie Kuehnert has written a novel that will be released in June of 2008. “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” published by a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster. At a date to be announced, Ms. Kuehnert will read selections from her opus at The Old School Records.

Another Forest Park author, Christopher Stuart has a book available online at Amazon.com “A Dictum of Pure Thought” is a book of post-modern poetry and uncompromising philosophy.

Belated anniversary greetings to Roger and Geri Grant, who celebrated on Dec. 4. Roger sent a dozen roses to Geri from London where he was on a business trip. Something got garbled in the process and the card he sent read “to my sweatheart.”

Did you sign up for the New Year’s Eve party at the Community Center? Entertainment, lunch, favors, prizes and a champagne toast, all for $23 if you are a Forest Park resident; $26 if you’re not. Pick up is at 10 a.m. and the party begins at 11 a.m. You must make a reservation. Call (708) 771-7737.

Trips fill up fast so call yesterday if you want a seat for any of the January, February trips sponsored by the Community Center. On Jan. 9, NOW nutrition in Bloomingdale with a buffet lunch at Tony Spavone’s Ristorante to be followed by a surprise; Jan. 23, Drury Lane Oakbrook The Goodbye Girl, lunch at Drury Lane before the show-$53; on Jan. 30, the Jersey Boys at the LaSalle Bank Theatre-$48.

On Feb. 6, Monkey Dish in Gurnee and a visit to the Gracania and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Third Lake, Ill.,-$48; Feb 13, Potawatomi Bingo in Milwaukee-$34; Feb. 20, JC’s Restaurant in McCook and a P.G. Wodehouse masterpiece Jeeves Intervenes at Mayslake in OakBrook-$59; The Mystery Trip on Feb. 27 is $56.

Birthdays this week; Dec. 19, Amanda Rychtanek, Tim Flanagan, Irene O’Shea, Madeleine Garlisch; Dec. 21, Diana Dylewski, Scott Popelka, Kaylee Ross; the 22nd, Angelina Cote, Jennifer Vince, John Paul Miceli; 23rd, Peggy Madden, Angel D’Souza; the 24th, Daniel Gerger, Vince Cirrintano, Norm Hopp, Bill Kaup, Lauren Duwell; Christmas babies are Monica Saleeb, Jay Milano; Dec. 26, Michal Raush, Joe Hein.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas.