Personal Observations

 Claude A. Walker

Originally printed in Forest Park Review July 18, 1957  page 3

 Ordinarily I usually ponder over the typewriter keys several minutes before I can sail into the lead story (which should be most important, I hear) of the column.  Many times I’ll peck away a half a page, read it and then toss it into the waste basket.

Not, so, this week for there is only one important subject on the minds of all Forest Parkers, and that is, “How much water did you get in your basement?”  Since Saturday morning, when the mopping up period stared and well into the week, local folks were discussing the worst flood that has ever hit Forest Park and of course the surrounding communities.

Basement flooding used to be an old story here, what with inadequate sewers and some adequate ones that somehow didn’t get put in, I guess.  However in the past few years our village fathers have made a sincere effort to alleviate all flood conditions and while some sections of town are still sensitive to a heavy downpour, sewer-wise, most of the residents have been quite satisfied with their drainage situations.  Thus many were lulled into a sense of security, and didn’t take the precaution of old by seeing that all items that you usually store in the basement, and those are multitudinous, be placed at least 3 feet above the floor.

Mop-Up Time Over Week-end

Need I say more, (it happened to my luggage too), Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of residents were drying out merchandise “that got soaked” after the “Rains came.”

A more serious aspect of the problem was the flooding of various utilities that are standard equipment in our basements these days.  Washer, dryers, freezers, furnace motors, blowers, water heaters, and you name it, were all plugged in the and when the water came up to the outlet, phfitt, went a fuse.  In some instances the whole basement was charged with electricity, and created a grave danger for households who wanted save some of the finer items that were stored in the “lower level” as they call them in New York.

A neighbor of mine got the “Shock treatment,” when he attempted to open his refrigerator without removing the plug,  Fortunately it was a mild shock.  This happened to many residents who had forgotten this precaution.

Take Damage Good Naturedly

All in all, the local citizenry took the deluge and what went with it in good spirits.  I noted particularly that neighbors pitched in and helped each other.  Water pumps which were at a premium were shared.  Boots, hose and muscle, were portioned out liberally so all could get back to normal as rapidly as possible. 

The local fire department, under Chief Hank Lange are to be commended. They worked around the clock, moving dangerous limbs, aiding and assisting wherever possible.  Local police were on the run throughout the night and few got any “shut-eye” while the rain came pouring down and inundating local basements.

All village facilities, regardless of whether they were charged with the duty, pitched in with the street department and local services were restored as fast as possible.

 Forest Park showed great spirit in resisting the rain and didn’t hesitate to say that we can hold hour heads high and brag that we live in Forest Park.

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CLEAN YOUR OWN BACK YARD

A metropolitan newspaper editorialized last week over a certain policeman in Chicago, who breaks into print ever so often.  He has an unusual flare for publicity, and just about the time you forget about him, he comes up with a fresh “prank” that put him on the front pages again.

Last week he was annoyed with the cars illegally parked around the city hall.  Thus he promptly started writing tickets and hauling cars away.  It mattered not that they belonged to city officials, (he almost tagged the Mayor’s car) they were violating the law and deserved the treatment.

I’ll go along with him on that.  As a legislator, I lean over backwards, not to fracture any of the village ordinances, city codes or state laws.  My theory is that “What is good enough for the people that pay the taxes and keep us officials in office, is good enough for me.”  I realize that the “Official” plate allotted to legislators does carry quiet a bit of influence, and I know that may of the boys that bear that tag, use it for all its worth, however, I feel differently about it.

But to get back to the Officer Mueller, (as if you didn’t know) and the metro paper.  They properly commended him for his actions and told off all public officials who take advantage of their office.

Newspaper Trucks Are Offenders

Now, I wonder if they wouldn’t go into their own back yard and start their crusade where it is badly needed.  If refer to the newspaper trucks that deliver the papers to the newsstands.  Never have I seen laws broken more brazenly, then by the boys who have to get those papers to the newsstands on time.  They speed, drive recklessly, cut over from one side of the street to another use the boulevards, pull up into “No Parking” areas, double park make illegal turns, let’s see are there any more violations left?  Well if there are, these boys will find them.

 A naïve citizen might timidly ask, “Why don’t they get arrested?” My dear child, metropolitan newspaper trucks are immune to arrest.  No policeman, (except Mueller, and I hope he thinks of it on his next publicity seeking foray) would dare hold up the 19th star final. He would find himself transferred to Hegwicz the next morning.

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AND SO

Your correspondent needs help in the way of news items and pictures.  He would appreciate leads on stories also.

It is rather difficult to get back into the swing of editing a paper after enjoying the life of a politician for the past few years.