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In a nationwide contest sponsored by the Inland Press Association, the Forest Park Review was judged as one of the top non-daily newspapers in the country. Papers across the U.S. are eligible for the annual contest and are assessed on the quality of their writing, story selection, page design and overall community focus.

Judges praised the Review as for its “smooth presentation,” labeling it as a must read.

“I can’t imagine any resident not receiving this paper,” said one judge in a written statement released by the association.

The Forest Park Review placed second in the category of general excellence for newspapers with a circulation of less than 5,000. Publications in Arizona and Kansas rounded out the top three.

Using a newspaper’s circulation numbers, entries were grouped into three categories. Each newspaper judged by the Inland Press Association was required to submit three issues from 2007, only one of which was of the editor’s choosing. Winners will be recognized during an awards ceremony held later this month in Florida.

Restaurant trial delayed,
motion pending

The trial date in a business dispute that landed in Cook County Circuit Court last year has been pushed back roughly a month while both parties continue to file various motions. Originally scheduled to go before a judge on Feb. 11, the civil case between business partners Robert Marani and Gaetano DiBenedetto is now slated for a March 13 trial, according to court records. However, that date may be scratched if the court agrees to dismiss the complaint against DiBenedetto, as was requested in a motion filed in December. A hearing on that request is scheduled for Feb. 25.

Marani and DiBenedetto run the popular Italian restaurant, La Piazza, located at 410 Circle Ave. just south of Madison Street. Marani owns the building in which the eatery rents space, and is suing DiBenedetto for a $10,000 security deposit and several thousand in rental payments. The restaurant opened in 2003 with DiBenedetto serving as the head chef. According to court records, the partners never had a formal lease agreement for the property.

DiBenedetto meanwhile, is preparing to open his own restaurant on Madison Street just west of Desplaines Avenue.

Journal buys 3 city
weeklies from Sun-Times

Wednesday Journal, Inc., which owns the Forest Park Review, has finalized the purchase of three Chicago neighborhood weeklies from the Chicago Sun-Times and its subsidiary Pioneer Press. The three papers-Skyline, Booster and News-Star-are the last vestiges of the once mighty Lerner Newspaper chain that dominated community journalism in Chicago for several decades beginning in the 1920s.

“These are historic titles in great city neighborhoods, and we are honored to add them to our company,” Dan Haley, publisher of Wednesday Journal, Inc. said.

The papers cover 14 lakefront neighborhoods, including Lincoln Park, Rogers Park, Lakeview and Old Town. The new acquisitions will be paired with the company’s Chicago Journal papers, which cover the South Loop, West Loop, Wicker Park and Bucktown.

The closing of the Lerner papers was announced on Jan. 23 by Crain’s Chicago Business just as Wednesday Journal, Inc. finalized its acquisition. Given the market difficulties papers across the country are facing, Haley credited the Sun-Times and Pioneer organizations for not simply folding the Lerner publications.

Wednesday Journal, Inc. and its Chicago Journal LLC now publish nine community papers in the city and near west suburbs. The company also publishes Chicago Parent magazine, which is distributed across the metro area.