An enthused crowd of supporters turned out at last week’s meeting of the Forest Park Village Council to ask that the village government consider adopting a “welcoming community” resolution. 

That language reflects a community’s choice to be supportive of immigrants and to intentionally reflect community values in how local officials interact with immigrants, some of them undocumented.

It was a simple request for the start of a public conversation on a complex subject. Happily, Forest Park now has a Diversity Commission that can foster such a discussion.  Mayor Anthony Calderone has reportedly asked the commission to draft a resolution that might be considered by the council in the future. That’s a smart step.

It would be good for all of us who have hot button reactions to this issue to move to simmer for a bit and let the conversation unfold. The proposed action is mainly symbolic, at its core it is hopeful and respectful, and this would be a good time for all of us to recognize and appreciate the quickly growing Hispanic population both in Forest Park and in our Proviso Township overall. 

We’re all neighbors.

Talk of our town

After 45 years of telling Forest Park’s story one person, one life at a time, Jackie Schulz, our very own Talk of the Town columnist, is stepping back a little. This week’s column will be the first in a now monthly feature in the Forest Park Review.

As we said to Jackie when she told us the news, “We’ll take Jackie Schulz any way we can get her.” And if once a month is the right rhythm, then OK. 

And while we will miss all the birthdays and anniversaries – only occasionally the wedding anniversary of a divorced couple or the birthday of a person who has expired! – what we will miss having in this newspaper are the warm introductions that Jackie makes of a new Forest Parker she just met at Schauers, the heartfelt send-offs to her nearly life-long acquaintances who do “most of the living and the dying” in this town, the updates on the kid across town who is doing good at school and deserves a huzzah.

To us, Jackie Schulz is the personification of community journalism. She knows people, she loves them and she wants to share their stories. You don’t see this sort of across-the-back-fence journalism much anymore and we treasure it. Forest Park rightly boasts of its small-town charm. Jackie is the epitome of that sense of connection.

More personally, our staff is going to miss having Jackie saunter into the office every Monday to write her column. She’s got her spot in the newsroom. She’s got her coterie of technical advisors at the ready to stare down whatever new glitch might befall her as she puts pixel to screen. Jackie is just a dear, positive presence.

So now we at the office and readers at Forest Park kitchen tables will have to make do with a monthly dose of Jackie’s Talk of the Town. And we’ll be glad to have it.