Opening day success

The Forest Park Little League celebrated another successful opening day on Saturday, April 26. The day would not have been possible if it had not been for the help of several people and organizations.

We thank the Forest Park Fire Department Honor Guard and Jacqueline Evans for kicking off our ceremony with the national anthem. Our appreciation goes out to Larry Piekarz and his staff, who worked nonstop that morning to prepare the fields for opening day. In spite of all the rain we had received, they created masterpieces with the ball fields. The Park District staff was also responsible for setting up the equipment for the cookout. Thank you to the Forest Park Liquor Association, who donated the hotdogs, and Randy Standish, manager of Ultra Foods who donated the soda, water and hotdog buns. We would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped cook and serve food to the opening day attendees. A special thank you goes out to all of the businesses that donated to the league this year. It is because of their generosity that we are able to have such a successful program. And finally, our sincere gratitude goes out to all of the coaches and parents who donate their time for our kids. We would not have a Little League program in Forest Park without their support.

I personally would like to thank my fellow board members Mark Gordon, Dave Pyan, Bob Dowdle, Terry Watson and Caroline Eibenberger for all of the hard work and dedication they continue to show the Forest Park Little League. It has been a joy working with each and every member of the board this year.

Rich Gray
President, Forest Park Little League

So many are worthy

I read your view on naming our parks here in Forest Park and, being on the Recreation Board, I can tell you we have had this on the agenda many times and also have been torn on how to name our parks (“Call it what you will,” May 7 Our View). Do we name the parks after those that add so much to this town that they should be forever immortalized? If that is true, then how do we decide?

Shall we name the dog park at Circle and Lehmer, Calderone Park after a mayor who had great foresight in knowing that a dog park is a healthy and smart way for pet owners to be social and at the same time exercise their canines in a safe and intelligent way?

Shall we name the dog park Steinbach Park after Terry Steinbach who unselfishly donated her salary as a commissioner back to the dog park so that we could have water brought into the park for the dogs?

How about naming the park on 16th and Circle Kutak Park after Bob Kutak who has devoted his whole working career of 23 years to the village of Forest Park in the Public Works Department? Maybe we can make a bronze statue out of him, which would mimic the tan he gets every season busting his tail outside to make sure the parks are clean and beautiful and taken care of.

Maybe Cornerstone Park at the corner of Randolph and Circle because that was the original sight of the village hall years ago.

Jim and Joan Nadeau made bone shaped icicles for the dogs when we did not have a water fountain. I think Nadeau Park would be pretty great. They have had their business in Forest Park for 20 years. They gave of their time and energy to our parks and this town with no need for accolades. What a wonderful tribute to two great individuals.

How about Ferrara Pan Park? Or Lemonhead Park? The candy company has called Forest Park home for 100 years and has brought multitudes of smiles to many a child’s face. That warrants a name for a tot lot doesn’t it? Smiles and good smells?

Roos Park may be a name that should not be forgotten either. Mr. Roos had a thriving business making hope chests for young brides. They could open each hand crafted wooden chest with the carved handles and pull out their wedding dress and look in the mirror that was beautifully inset into the top of the chest so that a beautiful bride could see her reflection. This incredible human stopped production of those chests to assist in the war effort and converted his factory into a business that produced cases for artillery for our troops in World War II. I think Roos Park would be an outstanding tribute.

I could go on, but now do you understand our dilemma? How does one name a park when so many are so deserving?

Jennifer Wolfe
Parks and Recreation Board

Editor’s note: Jennifer Wolfe is a freelance photographer for the Review.

Sponsorship thanks

Despite the stormy weather, the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development’s Annual Meeting was well-attended by residents, members of the business community and village department heads and elected officials.

Held May 7 at McAdam Landscaping, the event featured a live and silent auction, a “Taste of Forest Park,” PRIDE Award presentations, introduction of chamber board members and a report from Heidi Vance, chamber president.

A non-profit organization, the chamber relies on the support of its members and friends. Along with the dedication of the board of directors, their generosity and support keeps the organization moving forward to continue its work.

On behalf of the board we would like to thank the following donors for their generosity: “Taste of Forest Park” restaurants: Blue Max Coffee, The Brown Cow, Burke Beverage, Byron’s Hot Dogs, caffe De Luca, Doc Ryan’s, Famous Liquors, Francesca’s Fiore, Gaetano’s, Harrison Street CafĂ©, Healy’s Westside, Cocina Lobos, Jimmy’s Place, Kay’s Bakery, O’Sullivan’s, Shanahan’s, Starship Restaurant, Todd and Holland Tea Merchants.

We would also like to thank the live and silent auction donors: AA Rental Center, Accents by Fred, Allied Waste Services, Berwyn Development Co., Blue Max Coffee, Boulevard Fine Art, Byron’s Hot Dogs, Chris Guillen Photography, Consolidated Auto, Corna Kitchens, Dee dee & edee, Farmington Foods, Flavour Cooking School, Forest Park National Bank and Trust, Forest Park Review, Forest Park School District 91, Francesca’s Fiore, Gallery Etcetera, Jacknow Realty, Janet Paulin, John E. Morrisey, LaMaison De Bonbon, Louie’s Grill, McBride Insurance, Military Police and Supply, Mohr Oil, Moss Modern Flowers, O’Conner and Nendick, OPACVB, Old School Records, Painted Board Studio, Park Plaza Dodge, Pat’s Pet Emporium, Paulson’s Paint, Pleasant Surprises, R. Quitsch, Remax in the Village, Schauer’s Do it Best Hardware, Schauer’s Hallmark, 3 Planets, Shop Colette, Spotless Auto Wash, Starship Restaurant, The Altenheim, Todd and Holland, Team Blonde, Trage Appliance, Treehouse Boutique, Two Fish Art Glass and the West Cook YMCA.

A big thank you to all who bid (and won) the auction prizes, and to all who attended.

Augie Aleksy, Cecilia Hardacker, Heidi Vance, Connie Brown, Jodi Gianakopoulos, Kathleen Hanrahan, Laurie Kokenes, Chris Guillen
Chamber of Commerce and Development, Annual Meeting Committee

The missing notes

Commissioner of Accounts and Finance Rory Hoskins blames “rosy” revenue projections and the poor economy for the current village deficit. Sounds a lot like his predecessor Tim Gillian, who explained “he never saw it coming.” Atta boy, Tim. At that time, low cash reserves forced the village to lay off employees. Now we hear the same excuses and spin control.

As the village administration scrambles to explain and clarify our finances, maestro Mike Sturino conducts a symphony of words that is alarming by its omissions. It’s not what he says, but what he is not telling us.

Sturino expects the expenses to be less than reported and said “it looks short now, but we have receivables” to shrink the deficit. What additional funds do we have? The maestro is not sharing, or maybe he is, hmmm, projecting.

Sturino claims there is a shortage of liquid assets and he is concerned. What he didn’t tell us is what the village assets actually are and why he is concerned.

The maestro then flatly reported that Forest Park is more than $1 million in debt. Was he referring to this year’s deficit or our overall financial condition? Sturino was not clear, but I would guess to repay the water project loan and financing for the Altenheim there is probably more.

We have been told “budgets have a lot of moving parts.” Hopefully these late bailouts do not resemble payments made to Paul from the guy robbing Peter. If they do, Orchestra Hall should enforce the maestro’s separation clause, or Rod Blagojevich won’t be the only elected official worried about recall legislation.

Tony Sarley
Forest Park