40 years ago

Three weeks ago, the Forest Park Review won the annual award for Best Small Weekly Newspaper in Illinois. Forty years ago, the Review carried verbatim these three tidbits on page one:

“A cash box containing $50,000 in change was burglarized from a tire shop on Harlem. Nothing else was taken.” (Once you hit the Big Casino, why hang around?)

“The village council agreed to participate in the Oktoberfest Parade.” (Was the citizenry on edge?)

“Edward Walsh, 14, 1332 Elgin, suffered a dog bite.” (Anything beyond that would be anticlimactic.)

From the Sept. 10, 1969, Forest Park Review

30 years ago

You’re a 59-year-old Forest Park woman walking at midday on Harvard near Troost. A young lady approaches and asks how to get to Circle. As you explain and point you’re suddenly sprayed in the face with tear gas and your purse is jerked away from you. You scream and cry as the spray burns your eyes and the young woman flees. Your screams attract the attention of two motorists who pursue the woman. Someone in a nearby house calls 911. Officers Kutak and Byrnes take over the chase and a third policeman tries to calm you. Still, tears of rage mix with the effects of the spray. Soon, the officers have apprehended the robber and brought her to you for identification.

Here’s the part that’s hard to figure – you, the victim, choose not to press charges. Here’s public protection at work, yet foiled. Presumably, the wrongdoer was not known by the lady so what reprisal could take place? If a victim refuses to press charges what can the law do? To what degree should an arresting officer be involved in a case? Why wouldn’t you, as this woman, want the right thing done? How demoralized might a police officer feel after almost buttoning up the crime?

From the Oct. 3, 1979, Forest Park Review

20 years ago

For reasons of their own, Tim Gillian, the recently appointed village administrator, and his wife, Dorothy, have chosen not to make their daughter a poster child. They are their own family and rightly wish to remain so. Over the years, though, they’ve lent support, begun charity drives and otherwise involved themselves in the fight against cystic fibrosis not only for their daughter’s sake, but to help eradicate a disease too long a cruel menace to young people.

Twenty years ago there was a breakthrough, and the Review ran an article on the Gillians. Yet it wasn’t the final breakthrough. Today it remains “The next disease we’ll wipe out.” Until then, please make a contribution to: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (national headquarters), 6931 Arlington Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

From the Sept. 6, 1989, Forest Park Review

10 years ago

“Some are born great; others achieve greatness, still others have greatness thrust upon them.” Close, but no cigar. In a 1999 piece on ex-police Lieutenant Joe Byrnes’ retirement, Shakespeare didn’t come close. And Byrnes just wouldn’t buy it. “Way overboard,” Joe would say. He worked the force for 22 years. A decade back when his supervisor, Ed Pope stepped down, Joe was a consideration to succeed him. But again, no cigar.

Yet for more than 20 years he did his job well – and then some. Today, he lives with his wife, Sandra, here in town, among those he served as a cop. Though not so much as before, he’s still serving – usually buffet-line food at civic get-togethers, grilling burgers or ribs at the ball field or at special occasions hosted by the community center. His interest in our young people and enforcement of Neighborhood Watch is genuine and continuing. Joe Byrnes is nothing if not well-liked – still.

Back to Shakespeare … take out the “greats” and put in two other G-words that fit Joe much better: “Good Guy.”

From the July 21, 1999, Forest Park Review