40 years ago

There used to be a Red Barn Restaurant at 7343 Roosevelt Road. During the height (depth) of the Vietnam War, its management put a positive idea to work – give away 1,000 Big Barney Burgers and chicken dinners to wounded veterans recovering at the VA Hospital at Hines, Fifth Avenue and Roosevelt.

The program and its logistics were born at Red Barn headquarters, and carried out at participating outlets for a month – or until the supply of burgers and barnyard birds ran out. All complementary meals were delivered to the vets, often at bedside. Red Barn manager (and former Marine sergeant) Russell Hoffer commented, “We jumped at the chance to take part. It was a good way to remember some good servicemen who shouldn’t be forgotten.”

From the July 16, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

Members of the Coalition for Political Honesty here filed a taxpayers’ suit to prevent payment of expenses to 113 Illinois legislators and staff aides who attended a national convention of state legislators in San Francisco a week earlier.

Coalition spokesman Pat Quinn (familiar name?) said the five-day junket cost Illinoisans $90,000 [1979 prices] in round-trip air fares, hotel rooms, meals and miscellaneous expenses. Quinn said, “Hard pressed Illinois taxpayers are sick and tired of selfish politicians wasting their tax dollars.” Examples cited by Quinn were the convention itself, which provided platforms for those wanting to further only their own interest – and other unheard of forays like a wine-tasting excursion to Napa Valley.

Some things never change.

From the Aug. 1, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

Here are a couple of wholesome accounts from the police blotter that kept the newspapers selling, but hardly served any other good purpose. The first may be referenced, “Brother, Can You Spare That Shiv.” Two Forest Park brothers had a daytime brawl on the 1100 block of Lathrop. One, Lee Jones, 32, was allegedly stabbed in the chest, and taken to Loyola Hospital in fair shape. He chose not to sign a complaint against his brother, Vercy, 35, who remained charged with unlawful use of a weapon. Wouldn’t it be nice, even inspiring, if the brothers Jones were able to put all this in the past and remain friends?

Next night, this time on the 1100 block of Dunlop – only a block west – police were called to a drunken brawl between a man and a woman. Old story: man, 29, wants to engage in a little rascality with the woman, also 29. She refuses. New twist: man whacks her in the face with a brick (a subtle way of regaining her attention?). The woman was taken to Oak Park Hospital where she, too, refused to sign a complaint. (What does it take, a brick in the face?)

From the June 28, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

Searching a story for 10 years back, I came upon this busy telescopic shot of “Mainstreet” (above) looking east from just beyond Desplaines. It carried this caption – “Roadblock: In what has become a familiar sight for village residents, construction equipment clashes with traffic.” That’s not news. What’s unusual is the fellow to the right of center. Could he be the cause of the gridlock? Like, which is the roadblock? The anchored contraption or a pedestrian?

From the May 12, 1999, Forest Park Review