Always the dedicated school board member, Claudia Medina travels around the world getting to know children. Among the various cities she mentioned, I was most excited about her travels to Prague. Claudia tries to interest children in learning languages other than their own. Spanish and Chinese are two that she is especially interested in spreading. 

Here Claudia is shown looking at a building she would like to know more about. Ms. Medina wants to open a primary language school in town, primarily for the teaching of Chinese and Spanish. Here is a school board member (District 209) who really takes her job seriously (as do other members, of course).

Are you into TEKKEN 7? On Monday at 5 p.m., Jan. 30, battle it out with some of your neighbors. Skilled gamers and noobs are welcome at the Forest Park Public Library. Starting Wednesday, Feb 5 at 5 p.m.: Food! Join the others for a celebration of our favorite cooking shows. Or spend an evening at the library for a grown-up game night on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Either compete against an opponent or work with one another for such games as Scrabble, Exploding Kittens (?) and Flash Point. Bring your own game, too. The library is there for everyone, young or not so young. Brighten up these dull winter evenings. There are many and varied programs for age 5 and under, ongoing at the library. But we’ll always miss Diane Collins.

For young people between the ages of 8 and 11, our library has some fun events for the winter/early spring. On Feb. 1 at 4 p.m., “tween” ambassador meeting. Help the library choose activities and books at the library. As they say, “Let your voice be heard and have some snacks.” On Feb. 3 at 4 p.m., you’ll construct light-up Valentines; on the 15th, discuss what is a zodiac sign what does your “sign” mean? Have some fun learning about mythology and make your own zodiac keychain. All this at 4 p.m. 

 Dominican University has a variety of entertaining programs lined up for this winter/spring. On Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m., “Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen” will amaze you. Bob Fosse said, “There is no man like him on the musical comedy stage.” He has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame. He will be featured at Dominican University’s Annual Trustee Benefit Concert. This concert raises monetary support for scholarships, and honors those who champion the performing arts in the Chicago area. Call 708-524-5980 for more information. 

Looking ahead to April, Waiting for Godot will be on stage at Dominican on April 6, 7, 8 and 9. The puzzling, unforgettable, thought-provoking tragicomedy should be seen at least once. What’s it all about? Performance times: Thursday preview, 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. Tickets are $17; students $5.

Coming soon, Massimo Faggioli, PhD will speak on “The Ecclesiology of Pope Francis” on March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Priory Auditorium. He discusses how Pope Francis has redefined much of modern Catholicism by identifying the church as an inclusive and merciful “field hospital.” Faggioli is professor of theology at Villanova, who has authored numerous books and also writes regularly for several newspapers and journals. 

Any questions about performances at Dominican? Call 708-488-5000 or email

No matter what happens in D.C., birthdays and life goes on here. So happy birthday to Connor Bafetti, Kelly Rosen, Catherine Nickels, Tracy Doss, Marlene Quandt, Matt Walsh, Sharon Andrews, Haylie Hemstreet, Lia Pardun, Rick Beam, Wolfgang A. Mozart, Kolton Smente, Franz Schubert, and Rosemary Krieger

 Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life’s other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side of Chicago in a great neighborhood when it was a great time to be young.

Jackie is a former Chicago and Elmwood Park schoolteacher with an undying love for music, friendly pets and a host of life's other treasures too numerous to list. She was born on the far southwest side...