I don’t tweet or blog, and when it comes to texting, I’m all thumbs. But I do have a Facebook page for tracking down the characters I’m seeking in my private detective business. I also like to keep my many Facebook friends informed of the minutest details of my daily life.
Of course, Facebook isn’t just a way to let you know I finally squashed the fly that was dive-bombing my desk. It’s a handy network for bringing Forest Parkers together.
Marete Steger started “Forest Parkers Against Flooding” in the wake of the horrendous flood damage her family suffered. Steger wanted a page where residents could vent their complaints and share solutions. She wanted to pass the word about elderly Forest Parkers who couldn’t clean their basements. (What? Commissioner Rory Hoskins wants to be my Facebook friend.) The group now boasts 173 members, many of whom were motivated to attend the village council meeting following the July 23 downpour.
Several of these Facebook friends thanked Steger at the No Gloves tournament for sending out Facebook invitations to the meeting. (Sorry – but we just got Tivo installed – can’t wait to fast-forward commercials.) She sees Facebook as a way for Forest Parkers to make their voices heard – not just about flooding problems but other local concerns.
Marete’s house is still in upheaval from the storm. (Hey, Mayor Calderone wants to be my friend, too). A construction crew is replacing their porous clay sewer line. The new line will have a check valve in front, with doors that will close if the sewer backs up.
Marete did not grow up in Forest Park but she might as well have, living just east of Harlem in St. Bernardine’s parish. Like many former Oak Parkers, she came to Forest Park seeking affordability. (Just had a really great nap. Wait till you hear about my dream.) She was renting an apartment in Forest Park when she met her future husband, Michael.
Mike is a lifelong Forest Parker, whose parents operated At Home Antiques for many years. They live not far from the Stegers, and Marete was able to flee to their house when the storm plunged their house into darkness. (Just heard three great songs in a row on the radio – how often does that happen?)
Marete views Facebook as a great tool for community organizing, but it’s still primarily a social network. (Thought I’d never get the shrink-wrapping off my contact lens solution.) In fact, Marete used Facebook to find some second cousins from Norway. It turned out they were visiting Chicago and Marete brought them down to our Park for fireworks on July 4.
As for her ongoing flooding crisis, Marete shed tears of relief when FEMA came to her home. She thought, “Finally, something in the universe is coming our way.”