Congratulations to Christine Huizinga, of North Central College in Naperville. Ms. Huizinga was named to the Dean’s List of scholars for the 2011 fall term. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, undergrads must maintain a grade point average of 3.6 (4.0 = Straight A’s) for the term and be enrolled as a full-time student. Nice going, Christine.

Chris Cody and Steven Scott were busy painting and getting the community center ready for the big New Year’s Eve bash last Friday. We are lucky to have such talented young men at our service here. Chris is a student at U of I in Champaign, Steve attends Detrolio School where he is learning to be a flexographic engineer.

Belated happy birthday wishes to Jessica Josetti at Schauer Hardware. Jessica marked a milestone birthday on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

Have you seen “The Barking Post” yet? It’s a free, informative and very funny newspaper available at the library and at several veterinarian offices. A very sensitive basset hound, named Aunt Pearl, dispenses free advice to dogs with problems. There are puzzles, games, and interesting articles included.

Among the Christmas cards in my mailbox was a pleasant Christmas letter from John Trage. Let us refer to this John Trage as “Uncle” John Trage. It occurred to me that there may be some confusion in town among newcomers about the Trages. Trage Brothers was at one time the Marshall Field’s of Forest Park. It was a multigenerational family business. The business passed to Ed Trage and his brother John, who ran it for many happy and successful years. Brother Ed died and brother John (Uncle John) left shortly thereafter to begin a new career. Then about six or seven years ago, John and his wife Cathy moved to a bucolic town in Virginia where they are enjoying small-town life, getting involved in local activities and making new friends.

A Christmas miracle occurred right here in Forest Park. Rich Krieger got a dog he’d been pining for for about 30 years. Rosemary, Rich’s wife, wanted a dog that wasn’t “smelly.” So after much research, they decided upon a Vizshla, a lovable, high-spirited, wonderful dog with a thousand-year Hungarian heritage. They named the dog after Rich’s mother, Inez, changing the spelling to Nezzi. A long, happy life to both dog and “boy.”

Happy birthday this week to Lou Moran, Tom Kloess, Marie Skorda, Danielle Watson, Christine Malone, John Huynh, Deb Harris, Lynn Karavitos, David Leehy, Mike Marcantonio, Ashley Breseman, Michael Hutner, April Kutak, Juliane Vincenza, Emily Garrity, Brittany O’Donoghue, Paul Nelson Urban and Luke Baum, Fred Marunde, Karen Skinner, David Thornton, Cecilia Conslave, Rosemary Cole, Kathy Leninger, Tina Marcantonio, Charlie Vederal, Danielle Riske, Phil Bohnert, Brianna Dodge, John Boy, Tyler Daniel, Kirsten Bjornson, and Mary Gallela.

And a very happy new year to you.

Thanks for your time.