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40 years ago

Here’s a compact wrap-up of the minutes for the village council meeting of Monday, Dec. 3, 1968:

Mayor Earl Witt and the council passed a resolution dedicated to William Simpson, the first Forest Park soldier to die in Vietnam. Neighbors displayed flags to commemorate his funeral. A motion was passed to file an objection to the missile site in Westchester. (??!?) Commissioner Santo Rizzo requested additional funds for leveling and beautifying parkways; also, revenue for a darkroom at the police station. Commissioner Ed Lambke reminded citizens that vehicle stickers were on sale at the village clerk’s office. He also praised the efficiency of the new nozzle on the recently acquired fire pumper. Not to be outdone, Commissioner Jim Sansone reported that the light post in the center of the sidewalk at Desplaines and the overpass had been removed. You wonder who put it there in the first place.

From the Dec. 12, 1968, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

As long as we are into wrap-ups let’s do a time warp to our village’s historical society late in 1978. Members and the invited public held their Christmas meeting at the old library, celebrating with songs, sweetmeats, and nogs. The theme of the get-together was “The Oldest.” Society president Dr. Frank Orland recognized who or what had been around longest with a certificate of recognition and a complimentary one-year membership. Category winners included oldest man – Henry Hogrewe, two weeks short of 99; Theodora Wang, a 91-year-old youngster, the longest-lived female; oldest business was S. Berliner Monuments, 1128 Desplaines, a family operation for nearly a century. (They did the granite elephants at Woodlawn Cemetery fronting Cermak).

From the Dec. 6, 1978, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

For some time now Chicago, with its ethnic mix of neighborhoods, its artsy lakefront, soaring architecture, its grunge and sophistication, has lured moviemakers looking for the right location. Forest Park’s Altenheim has also been the site for the just-right film settings in portions of these movies – The Package, Harry and Tonto, The Babe (Babe Ruth) and The Color of Money. Gene Hackman, star of The Package, proved to be most gracious and charming, taking time to chat with locals, including some of the home’s staff, residents and a few here who worked as extras.

“Off camera, he was very friendly and congenial,” said administrator Tom Gora. He even promised Mayor Lorraine Popelka that when he returned he’d bring his wife, a concert pianist, to play for the residents. Months later, it happened. Now that’s class.

From the Dec. 21, 1988, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Our library, at age 13 and a half, is still new and still beautiful. Yet relations within its staff, especially during its first four years were anything but – beautiful, that is. Case in point, former assistant director David Luurtsema became the second staff member to leave that post in eight months. In leaving he said that working at the Forest Park Public Library “has left a bad taste in my mouth.” He added that many of the reasons (for his departure) were the same for other professionals there who left or threatened to leave.

Another full-time staffer, Christine Waite, put it more succinctly: “I left because of the management.” A third disgruntled staffer, Pauline Grippando, added, “We (referring to the director) didn’t get along pretty much from day one.”

The target of all this was the library board and then director John Sayles who said (of Luurtsema’s departure,) “I thought his frustration came from the staff treatment of his position. I didn’t take it as me.”

From the Dec. 9, 1998, Forest Park Review