Happy New Year: The Year of the Rabbit. It seems like it’s New Year’s Day in some place every month of the year. Next month, March, is Nowruz, or Persian New Year. So don’t throw away those party favors just yet.

Applications for utility tax relief for 2010 are now available at village hall or at the community center. You can pick one up at either location, or you can call 708-366-2323 or 708-771-7737 and ask to have one mailed to your house.

Everyone is invited to come and listen to the candidates running for various offices. Ask questions and make suggestions – it’s your town and your government. One new Forest Parker who regularly attends and expresses her opinions is Amber Ladieros.

On Feb. 16, the local government watchdog group, Citizens United in Forest Park, will host a meet-and-greet, featuring the candidates running for the District 91 school board. Those candidates are Raphael Rosa, Sean Blaylock, John Tricoci, and Frank Mott. Park board candidates are Cathleen McDermott, Roy Sansone and John Hosty.

On Feb. 23, candidates for village commissioner will take the stage at the Citizens United candidate forum. They are Tad Mossell, Michael Curry, Chris Harris, Rory Hoskins, Mark Hosty, Steve Johnson, Tom Mannix, Elsie Norberg, Sam Tarara, Eric Connor and Matt Walsh.

That’s quite a list! We’d better get over there and hear what they’ve got to say. I admire those young guys who are willing to have a go at it. They have a future at stake. We all do, even if, as in my case, the future is probably pretty short.

February birthdays this week are Megan Childs, Aiden Grant, Becky Lauris, Sally Cody, Rosemary Krieger, Rose Evenson, Ashley Mendez, Stacey LoCascio, Lilianna Vincenza, Ann Spence, Cherise Stewart, Michelle Rubio, LaTonia Sanders, Eleni Collis, Dorothy Spinelli, and Francis and Cassidy McSheffrey. Happy Anniversary to Pam and Todd Bower.

Thanks for your time!