Art, meet bridge

Come May, the fairly pedestrian pedestrian portion of the Circle Avenue bridge over the Ike is going to get some love. In an informal effort, Sally Cody, who works for the village, is recruiting local artists who want to bring some beauty and fun to 10-foot by 2.5-foot concrete panels along the bridge.

There are 100 panels available and they will be assigned on a first-come basis to artists willing to pay a $30 fee for supplies and who have a rough sketch of what they’d like to paint.

Organizers, led by Cody, want to avoid politics, controversy or overt ads for businesses. But beyond that, they’re wide open to ideas.

This is a great and fun idea. Forest Park could do with more public art and the bridge that Cody says she drives over daily is a wonderful canvas.

Find out more on the village’s website. Deadline for applications is mid-March.

Ferrara’s Zero Waste

It is an ambitious, maybe overwhelming, idea to contemplate manufacturing and packing 140 million pounds of candy in a year while creating not a single pound of waste to ship to the landfill.

But that is the plan this year at the landmark Ferrara plant on Harrison Street in Forest Park. The company has been recycling cardboard and some of the more obvious materials for some time. But it is only in the past two years that the company concluded that attaining Zero Waste might actually be possible. Led by John Conversa, the plant manager in Forest Park and the company’s head of manufacturing in the U.S., the company took on the more labor intensive and costly recycling of clear film, strapping, metal and wood in partnership with VIM Recycling.

How much waste are we talking about? Some 1,300 tons of waste per year are now being diverted from landfill through various efforts. The final and most stubborn items are now compacted and then shipped to Indianapolis where it is burned for renewable energy.

This demonstrates both creativity and commitment from the ownership of Ferrara. Conversa touts the values of the company as making this determined effort possible.

Middle school champs

Forest Park’s Middle School boy’s basketball team won its conference championship last month. That’s a fine thing. But it becomes more terrific still when you look a little deeper. Our District 91 middle school is on the light side in enrollment compared to other conference schools. Two of this year’s starters were new to the team this school year. 

And we’d say most importantly, the team had a collective second quarter GPA of 3.31. That makes them scholars, athletes and gentlemen. The trifecta.

Very cool.