Help us keep pace with a growing need

As we all know, the economy is in bad shape right now and more and more people are struggling to make ends meet. For many in Forest Park who are struggling, our food pantry is a vital provider of food and personal care items. The number of people depending on us has grown month after month to the point that we are serving close to double the number of people we served a year ago. Each new month sees increases over the month before. We have not had to turn anyone away who is in need of food, however, we need help in order to meet the growing need of our families who have fallen on hard times. Please support our efforts by making a monetary donation to the Forest Park Food Pantry or dropping off non-perishable food items or personal care items such as toiletries, etc. Checks can be made out to the Forest Park Food Pantry and food can be dropped off at the Howard Mohr Community Center at 7640 Jackson Blvd.

Karen Dylewski
Howard Mohr Community Center,
Forest Park Community Education Council

Local cause

The Forest Park Little League board members would like to thank Sherri Ladd, owner of the Harrison St. Café and her staff for hosting our pancake breakfast/registration on Jan. 18. This was the Little League’s first fundraiser for the 2009 season, and it was a great success. We thank everyone who came to register their kids and support the Forest Park Little League. If you would like more information about Little League go to www.forestparklittleleague.org.

Richard Gray
President, Forest Park Little League

A place to play

This letter is in response to the Jan. 29 editorial on the Roos development.

When I attended my first meeting in 2003 and was introduced to the idea that the Roos property would be developed into town homes I considered it a bad idea. This property was a prime location for a complement to the park district or even a location for a YMCA. My neighbor actually suggested it and I was very taken with the idea.

Since then, discussions with members of the community continuously mention the sadness of the loss of such a prime location to town homes or a condo development. We understood then that parks or recreational development made the only logical sense. It would only enhance the village and, as you have said; with the precious few green areas minus tombstones (very funny) it was a very good idea to return the property to common use as a park or recreational facility.

In addition, I have had some involvement with the youth commission and we are at an impasse as to where the proposed youth center might be established. The idea of utilizing this space in some capacity to forward that project is a wonderful idea and one I will promote to the youth commission and the park district.

It is unfortunate that a depressed economy is the only thing that can possibly bring this idea to fruition but it just may be an opportunity that flies.

Thanks you Forest Park Review for a fine idea and perhaps a bright light in a rather turbulent time.

Connie Custardo
Forest Park

Chronicle the park

The Park District of Forest Park was created by referendum in 1934 and is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. To mark this very special milestone and demonstrate our appreciation to our residents, the board of park commissioners and staff are in the process of planning a number of special events.

We would, as part of our celebration, like to publish a souvenir booklet that will include a condensed history of the park. Our residents, patrons and volunteers are integral to this history, so we invite your involvement in this effort. If you have special memories of the park, we ask that you share them with us for possible inclusion in our souvenir booklet. You may have memories of activities or events that you have participated in or you may remember different amenities the park has offered over the years. We would love to hear your recollections and share them with the community. Submissions need not be lengthy; just a short paragraph or a couple of sentences will be greatly appreciated. They may be sent to 7501 Harrison St., Forest Park, Ill., 60130 or submitted via e-mail to crichards@pdofp.org.

We hope all of our residents will enjoy the celebratory activities that are being planned. Please watch our Web site, www.pdofp.org, our local papers and the coming park district brochures for more information on the festivities. If you’d like to take part in our history in a more lasting way, you may want to consider purchasing a Walk of Fame brick or participating in our Adopt-a-Tree program. On behalf of our board of park commissioners and staff, we thank you for your past and continued support.

Larry Piekarz
Director, Park District of Forest Park

Philosophy of respect

My 12-year-old son has been involved in martial arts instruction for about five years. During that time he has not only learned from his instructor self-defense techniques but the underlying philosophical foundations. Being taught is honor, truthfulness, respect and discipline, among a long list of other virtues.

My son’s tutor in these “arts” has been Anthony Calderone Jr., whom I have had the pleasure of knowing for an even longer time than starting as my son’s instructor. I have known him always to be a sincere, dedicated and respectful individual. It is with this knowledge of his long term involvement in the art and philosophy of the martial arts that I read his letter to the Review of Jan. 21, perhaps in a different light. Knowing his philosophical underpinnings, I interpreted his statements to reflect that philosophy of respect and discipline, and the understanding that opposing forces, whether it be on the martial arts mat or in the interaction with others in daily life, can be directed to your advantage through the gentile leading by the hand, as opposed to the direct pushing back against that oncoming force.

I do not disagree with Mr. Neil Wren’s assertions as to the right to redress grievances with our government (“Actions, not titles,” Letters, Jan. 28), and I uphold those principles daily in my occupation as an attorney with the Cook County Public Defender’s office, but what I would suggest is that Anthony Calderone Jr.’s assertion was “not to protest” but to keep the tenor of those protests respectful. We must keep in mind that elected officials and those they appoint, are done with the vote of the people and as such deserve, inherently, our respect. If I find anything objectionable in Anthony’s letter it would be to limit his plea to civilized “Americans.” I think it should have been directed to all members of our human race community.

Eric D. Connor
Forest Park

Tough love

Below is a parody of the African American ethnic anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” set to its original tune. It discusses the social problems of our people that only seem to be getting worse (just remember all the Chicago Public School children killed last year – some unintentionally, and others for stupid reasons). I realize that the tone of this parody is blunt and the content may offend the sensitivities of some people. I apologize for neither; I believe some tough love is long overdue. In the words of Pontius Pilate, “What I have written, I have written.”

OK, here goes …

Lift ev’ry voice and cry
While all our children die
Raise up the deaf’ning sigh of misery
Let all the people hear
With ever-sharpened ear
How we have lost our dignity and pride
Long ago, we had community others desired
Long ago, we had prosperity to be admired
We never raised our hand
To offer or demand
Anything more than mere equality.

But now, those days have left
And we’ve become bereft
Of all our peace of spirit and of mind
Insight and love we shun
Tossing the Book for a gun
So to destroy all things left undefiled
We have seen children shot dead by the bullets of “brothers”
We have seen scholars of color blame all this on others!
For Nike shoes we’ll fight
Then blame the Man who’s White
For we refuse to practice common sense.

Grandmothers do lament
Gangbangers won’t repent
Rappers still teach our youth to rape or kill
Careless is how we dress
Eloquence is suppressed
People of mine, great is our need to heal!
We can still save our community from the deficient
And reclaim our dignity and become self-sufficient
Put down the drugs and sword
And return to your Lord
Certainly then, we shall see brighter days.

Devin Love-Andrews
Elder, St. John Lutheran Church

The larger picture

A few words come to mind when I consider the mayor’s opposition to a village administrator (“Mayor in the minority,” Jan. 28).

“Penny wise and pound foolish.”

Alan Kuska
Forest Park