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40 years ago

Scenario for a potentially bad fire … dense smoke pouring from the ground floor of an apartment at 8920 Roosevelt Road. … Firefighters breaking a picture window to get inside … Was there someone in their? Yes, they think so.

Lt. Bill Vrtis saw the legs of a woman – then the woman – under a dining room table. He and his men battled the smoke and flames to lift her out and into an ambulance. Meanwhile, other firemen directed high pressure hoses onto spreading flames and smoldering areas to prevent the hot smoke from igniting. Soon the fire was under control. The woman, Mary May Walker, 54, suffered from smoke inhalation and some burns. The bottom line … both she and her apartment were saved.

From the Feb. 20, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

It’s been a long time since we printed anything from Editor Bob Haeger’s column, Once Over Lightly. Here’s his opening comment in the column following the mayoral election in which he placed solidly in the middle: “I had an idea you weren’t going to vote for me, but I didn’t think you weren’t going to vote for me that much.”

I like anyone, even a newspaperman, who comes up with a fresh way to say something, and Haeger was pretty good at that.

The name Mitchell Ware may ring a faint bell. In the 1970s he was deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Dept. He was arrested in March 1979 by Forest Park police after leaving the apartment of his estranged wife at 7506 Randolph.

Ware had come there seeking reconciliation with her after the two had separated three weeks earlier. When Ms. Ware refused his offer, he allegedly slapped her on the face and threatened her with a gun. After she phoned Forest Park police, he left. Arresting officers William Pates and James Sebastian found a revolver in the apartment that Ware later identified as his. At the time he was the highest ranking black officer in the Chicago Police Dept.

From the March 28, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

In another fire here, two families on the 1100 block of Harlem were left homeless. The Chapmans and theYanguses lived in adjacent houses at 1117 and 1119 S. Harlem. Each family had a 2 year old. One of the toddlers got hold of a cigarette lighter and “matched” it to its curiosity. The long-range result was a couple of families who escaped unharmed, yet lost nearly everything, and for a few days had to depend on relatives.

The warm part of the fire story is the response from generous local businesses, donations from concerned residents and relocation and housing help from the community center – specifically its director, Cindy Lyons.

“Forest Park really does pull together,” she said. “It’s wonderful when people here help each other out.”

From the April 5, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

“If at first you succeed, try, try again ’til you get caught.” That was the innovative headline over the police report written by editor Brett McNeil in February of 1999.

The Brute, Unimaginative Persistence Award went to Louis Harris, 48, who started the morning on a winning note with a smash and grab robbery that netted him $300 worth of electronics. Apparently believing himself to be on a roll, our man revisited the site of his wrong-doing that afternoon. About to step over the sill of the broken window with a microwave in tow, he attracted the attention of several passersby. A fast cell call and the police ended all his fun.

From the Feb. 24, 1999, Forest Park Review