Congratulations are in order for Augie Aleksy and Centuries & Sleuths. This year, the bookstore was nominated as the best independent bookstore in the U.S! The winner will be announced in mid March. Good luck, Augie.

Dorothy Vanalek is indeed a proud grandma. Her beautiful granddaughter, Abigail Fletcher, was born on Dorothy’s birthday, March 3. This year, Abigail celebrated her first birthday while Dorothy celebrated her 90th. Proud parents of Abigail are Mark and Kirsten Fletcher. Gene and Judy Fletcher are Abigail’s grandparents.

Saint Peter’s Church will celebrate 110 years on May 17. The location for the anniversary dinner hasn’t been decided yet. Would you like to come and help this fine old Forest Park institution celebrate? There is no admission charge on the invitation so I guess a donation would be accepted. Call the church office at 366-3969 or Judy Jilek at 771-7194 for information.

Sons of Norway and friends of the sons had an exciting meeting Feb. 22 at the Elvesund Lodge Meeting, St. Michael’s Lutheran Church, in LaGrange Park. Lorraine Straw has researched the Viking ship that sailed into Chicago in 1893. It was on display in Lincoln Park for years. Ms. Straw spoke at length about the long, sad history of this noble ship. Judy Arnold is a loyal “son” of Norway and can give you any information you’d like.

Congratulations to Grant-White Elementary first-graders Taylor Williams, Janiya Allen, Taja Muzzal and Eduardo Manzanarez on their essays for Black History Month. They researched the lives of Jackie Joyner Kersee and Dr. Patricia Bath. Proud teachers of the students are Ms. Courtney Dohman and Ms. Bee Erfort.

Looks like I jumped the gun on birthdays last week. At my age, dates and the like can get a little muddled. So re-happy birthday to Tevia Russell, Vicki Fipinger, Tara Cassiani, Grant Heyer, Lucy Landaeta, Steve Blazek, Ryan Marinier, Corwin Lindell, Bridget Garlisch, Ed Martinski, Scott Novak, Amanda Hurt, Ed Johnson, Grace Spence, Steve Grams, Matt Steft, Julie Doloszycki, Jean Marlone and Kelli Haukedahl.

March 4 is the birthday of Chicago, dating back to 1837. William B. Ogden was the first mayor. The city had about 4,200 residents then.

It is also the anniversary of the death of Chinese women’s rights advocate, Ding Ling.

March 5 is the anniversary of the infamous Boston Massacre of 1770.

March 6 marks the birth of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It is also the date of the Dred Scott Decision in 1857; and the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo in 1836.

Daylight-saving time begins on March 8, which is the birthday of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows.

On March 9, Luther Burbank was born in 1849. The Fest of Sugar Maples begins in Coral Woods, Ill., near Marengo. Tours start every 15 minutes. Call 815-338-6223 for information. The Suez Canal opened in 1869.

On March 10, the Salvation Army came to the U.S. in 1880. Also on this date in 1876, at Cambridge, Mass., Alexander Graham Bell uttered the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you.” These were the first words spoken into a telephone.