40 years ago

Showdown at the car wash. Mayor Earl Witt got ticked at the cavalier attitude of the owner of the car wash on Harlem and Lexington. Beset with telephone complaints from unhappy residents in the area, he got out of a sickbed on a Sunday morning and drove over. He was greeted by an army of dirty vehicles stacked end to end for 3-and-a-half blocks in three directions.

The underlying cause? The article wasn’t clear, but back then the car wash advertised extremely competitive low prices. And many of the vehicles showed stickers from out of town. “Great for business,” said Witt, “but not so good for our residents.” According to the mayor, the attitude of the owner also left something to be desired. Witt sent a letter to the offender, threatening revocation of the car wash’s business license.

From the Feb. 13, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

A 47-year-old Forest Park man won $1.7 million, and the Lotto had nothing to do with it. Richard Jensen was awarded that sum in January of 1979 from the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad. Jensen, a train hobbyist, collected antique railroad parts and restored locomotives. In 1964, he contracted with C&WI to store two old steam engines, eight cars and 160 tons of antique parts in a Chicago roundhouse. C&WI unintentionally sold his property to a junk dealer for $6,000. When the scrap yard refused to sell back his property the complainant filed a lawsuit against the railroad. Jensen asked $707,308 for loss of his property, plus $1 million in punitive damages.

The circuit court jury at the Daley Center in Chicago was sufficiently impressed by the 3.5 tons of locomotive parts actually presented in the courtroom.

From the Jan. 10, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Ho hum, another rape, another robbery. This could be your response. And who could blame you completely when you read the headlines day after week after month after year? But slow it down and put yourself in the place of a 24-year-old woman at 303 Desplaines Ave. It’s 9:15 p.m. and you’re returning to your apartment after putting a load of clothes into the laundry room washing machine. With no warning, you sense a couple of figures close behind as you reach for your apartment door knob. Your “guests” are now on each side of you. Then you’re pushed in and told to lie face down.

Your heart does what it’s supposed to do. It’s pounding hard. You now realize you’re in someone else’s hands. Totally. You’re told to cross your wrists behind you. Now they’re being tied. After about five minutes, you know a lot of your personal belongings have been taken from you – cash, jewelry, the VCR, your Louis Vuitton purse containing identification and credit cards.

Blessedly, they leave. Relief, sweat and anger – nearly all at once. A flood of emotions and you hear yourself saying, “The bastards.” The words “home” and “sacrosanct” pop into your consciousness. You weren’t raped, but you were certainly violated. You go to the phone, heart still pounding … and dial 911. A couple days later the headline reads, “Woman robbed, bound in home invasion.”

From the Feb. 15, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Two jokes: (1) Couple of sandwiches walk into a bar. Bartender tells them, “Sorry, we don’t serve sandwiches here.” (2) Horse walks into a bar. Bartender asks him, “How come the long face?”

Nineteen-year-old man walks into somebody else’s apartment on Madison. Asked by the man who rightly lives there to leave, the intruder refuses. Cops get called. Still refuses. Refuses as he’s being given a free ride to the village slammer. Criminal trespassing. No joke.

From the Jan. 13, 1999, Forest Park Review