Check out this year’s Forest Park Community Guide!

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Belated condolences to the family and many friends of Susie Bale who died a few weeks ago. How that awful news escaped me I’ll never know, but I am deeply sorry to learn of her death. Susie was a much loved, much respected member of the community and one of our outstanding teachers at Betsy Ross. It was a sorry day when she retired from teaching, and now she has left us.

Sympathy to the family and friends of Andrew Berthiagwice. This young man’s face was a familiar one along Madison Street, at the Madison Street Grill, Francesca’s and also at the Oak Park Ale House. He had many friends and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

The new Arts and Sciences Academy at Roosevelt Road and First Avenue is in need of some music instruction. Do you, or do you know of, anyone who would like to be the band instructor there? Contact Daniel Gasse at (708) 488-8117. Personally, I think Forest Park schools are in need of some strings as well.

The Gasse School of Music will entertain at the Progressive Dinner on July 20. Young students participating in the ensemble are Eric Duwe, Jesse Cornman, Sharadrm Sundaresan, Ashley Hamilton and Shuhei Kozasa.

Thanks to my colleague John Rice for this tip: Karen Hinz was fishing away at sunset, minding her own business when she felt a tug on her line. Two hours later she landed a 52-inch, 45-pound muskie, 21 inches in girth! The scene of this dramatic catch was Lake Plantagenet at Balsam Beach Resort in Bemidji, Minn. Karen is now on the famous “Wall of Big Fish” in the lodge at the resort. Her fish is the biggest one caught at the resort so far this year. For interested fishermen, she hooked the muskie on a Superman-colored Jake. Cheering her on were her husband, Dana Hinz cousins Louie and Eileen Signorila and Marissa Serio. The family goes fishing every year, and every year at a different lake. What do you bet they’ll be back at Balsam Beach Resort?

The bus to Wrigley Field see the Peoria Chief’s with Ryne Sanberg take on the Kane County Cougars on July 29 will be leaving at 5:15 p.m. Price is $26 and includes lots of extras. Kids 14 and under will be able to run the bases after the game. Call the community center at 771-7737 for information and reservations.

Jenny and Ed Okolowicz are proud of their granddaughter Lauren Ashley Racusin a student at Princeton in New Jersey who’s teaching school for a semester in Shanghai, China. She will have lots of fascinating tales to tell when she gets home.

Belated happy birthday to Melissa Murgas, who celebrated her 21st birthday on July 1 by going to the Florida Keys with family and friends. Now she’s back at Bertuca’s giving manicures and pedicures.

On July 16 Dorothy Hatch will celebrate her 90th birthday. Also on the 16th, Daniel Stroth, Sammy Marmo, Leonard Karlin and Michael Bloch; on July 17, Steve Kaup, Rick Krieger, David Pardun, and happy anniversary to Joanne and Jerry Pinotti; July 18, Gene Mull, Katie McElligott, Marilyn Trainor, Joshua Villarubic Olfang; on the 19th, Tom Spinelli, Debbie Ginger; July 20, Katie Tricoci, , Ellie Clifton, David Jones; July 21, Tim Mellin, Arthur Farrell, Jenny Okolowicz, and happy anniversary to Katie and Dan McElligott. On July 22 Ryan Pacyga will celebrate a birthday, and on July 23 Darek Hein has a birthday.

The Harlem Maenner and Damenchor celebrated Zeno Jacquat‘s birthday with song and pizza last Tuesday, July 8.