Kudos to our local public schools — both elementary and high school — for the positive outreach each is making this year to welcome students, parents and the community back to school for 2017-2018.

Last weekend the District 91 Forest Park Elementary Schools hosted the second annual Back to School 5K. That energetic event was paired with the local Kiwanis and its Kids’ Day celebration held at the middle school. 

Our elementary schools are working hard to build stronger connections with every aspect of the community. We see it in events like this. We see it in stepped-up communications both within the district and across the village. And how great that the Kiwanians, a fledgling local group, joined in too.

Meanwhile this Friday, the Proviso Township High Schools are seriously rolling out the carpet with its B2SB – Back to School Bash. Held in the parking lot at the Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park, B2SB will feature music, rides, food and fun for all families.

The Proviso high schools just keep at the effort to foster connections across this township. After decades of paired hopelessness and arrogance, these schools get the steep repair job ahead of them in putting our public schools back on the option list for parents and off the “how are you ripping me off this time?” list for taxpayers.

Being open, being honest, being optimistic already is going a long way with the community as they see parents like them seize the school board, and energized administrators taking the reins.

Thanks, Yearbook

Years back we called Yearbook the most perfectly imagined retail store we’d seen in forever. Everything in this well-curated Madison Street shop fit together, and yet it was a store full of perpetual surprises.

It was a neat trick that owners Noel Eberline and Jef Anderson pulled off and we loved it. That makes it a tough day when the partners announced last week that they were closing their retail business and will focus instead on their design clients. 

This is a reflection on the increasing difficulty of making retail work in Forest Park or anywhere else. Stocking and staffing a specialty store, paying the rent and the taxes in a digital age is hard and harder.

The good news is that Anderson and Eberline remain committed to Forest Park and will work to relocate the design and graphics business to a new and larger space in town. They have become vital players in our local business community, working with the Chamber of Commerce, particularly in crafting a distinct brand for marketing the village. 

That is energy and talent we want to see fostered, even as the retail space fades by mid-September.