Every Halloween I hear the voices of the nuns from Saint Kilian’s: “There’s nothing hollow in Halloween!” It’s HAlloween! HAlloween!” Right along with that came the eternal correction of the pronunciation of the word “pumpkin” by those same nuns. I had an aunt who went to her grave thinking that saying “pump kin” was an affectation. Punkin is how it was said back on the South Side. Tom O’Neill tried so hard to get it right that one day he spat out “punk pin.” To this day I think of Tom and his punk pin every Halloween.

Congratulations to Forest Park’s own Jerilyn Ugaste who was named 2012 Outstanding Contributor to Women in Transportation by the TLPA (Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association). Ms. Ugaste took over the company in 1979 and found herself in a male-dominated industry. She quickly began making decisions to improve the overall industry. Alfred LaGasse, CEO of the TLPA said Ugaste received the award because of “her drive, dedication and commitment. The industry is better today because she played such an integral part in improving it.”

Blue Cab was one of the first companies to invest in computerized dispatch, and camera systems for the safety of drivers. Jerilyn accepted her award in Las Vegas at Caesar’s Palace in front of nearly 1,000 industry leaders at the 94th annual convention and trade show. For more information visit www.tlpa.org.

Congratulations to Forest Park violinist Matthew Hoover who will be representing Ascension School in Oak Park in the IMEA (Illinois Music Educators Association) concert on Nov. 3 at Riverside-Brookfield High School. Over 1,000 middle school students from the Chicagoland area compete for positions in the orchestra, band and chorus. Matt will be a member of the 100-piece orchestra, having won this position for the third straight year. Matt is also a member of the CYSO (Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra). Parents, chef Tom Hoover and District 91 teachers’ aide Leisa Marthaler, are very proud.

Trees in Forest Park are being cut down unmercifully, it seems. This time of year I am reminded of the late great Dr. Frank Orland who founded the Golden Fossil Club, Golden Fossil being the ginkgo tree. These trees are impervious to drought, disease, climate change – just about everything – since they date back to the time of the dinosaur. Another thing we learned from the Golden Fossil man was that ginkgo trees lose their leaves in one day. So you only have to rake once. True, the “female” trees are very smelly for a few days, but put up with it. They’re beautiful and eternal.

A big thank-you for the food pantry drive on behalf of the collection ladies, Rose, Jan and Marie. The Girl Scouts, too, appreciate your donations of last Saturday. Keep the donations coming at Schauer’s Hardware, Blue Max Coffee Shop, R&H Auto Center and Ed’s Way.

By the way, take a close look at the Schauer flier for Christmas sales. Look at Santa … recognize him?

The Short Stop had a special visitor for last week’s Notre Dame game. John Rinery’s brother Tom flew in from Australia for the game!

Joe Guarnary was the pint-sized Santa carrying a pumpkin at the casket race.

Happy birthday to Karen Woods, Spencer Brooks, Jessica Dodge, Sam Bland, Pete Gianakopoulis, Alina Uphues, Kevin Massoth, Sean Thiesse, Michael Fabre, Robyn Popelka, Stella Zach, Meredith Dorneker, Sharon O’Shea, A.J. Turek, Jaxon Entler, Ryan Miller, Jim Brown, Carl Hajec, Laura Steinhaver, Heather Dornbusch, Michael Rudolph, Ed Spinelli and Harriet Smith.

Happy anniversary to Kathy and Jim Thompson.