Thanks Mike Keating

Mike Keating, the deputy chief of Forest Park’s police department, is taking his retirement after a respected career serving the people of this village. As he departs we offer our thanks.

With Tom Aftanas as chief and Keating as his deputy, we have witnessed these past couple of years a more open, more honest, more self-aware police department. Readers know we have often been critical of both the actions and the attitude of this department over many years. Too defensive, too reactive, too insular, in the past, we’ve watched with satisfaction as Aftanas and Keating have led the department into a more modern era.

They speak candidly, they acknowledge shortcomings, they welcome change all while rightly being defenders of a department they have diligently served.

There is more work to be done.

And finally, good to see that Keating is still throwing shade at the fire department in his so-long letter in today’s Review. Some things should never change.

4+4 4

One by one, life-by-life we create the future by reaching out and taking hold of a young person, offering opportunity and encouragement, expecting accountability. We are watching that plan in action this summer in Forest Park as the Proviso Township Ministers’ Alliance Network places high school students in summer work in local organizations willing to provide such mentoring.

As Tom Holmes reports in today’s Review, Forest Park Bank is, not surprisingly, participating in this program. It welcomed a high school sophomore, Jayla Johnson, to work four hours a day, four days a week for four weeks at the bank doing a wide range of somewhat mundane but necessary work. Johnson got paid. But the big payoff, as she noted in our interview, is that “When I get a real job, I will not be nervous on the first day.”

That’s a gift from our locally owned bank to one good kid.

We’d note that for more than a decade Forest Park Bank has taken part in the very ambitious school-work program at the core of the education model at Christ the King Jesuit High School on the West Side.

Thanks to the ministers, thanks to the sponsors, thanks to the students taking hold.

Generous and determined

The comeback of the District 209 Proviso Township High Schools is one of the greatest stories we’ve ever reported. Yep. It’s a rocky and imperfect path. But also bold and implausible.

A sidebar to the main story has been watching a detached and pretty much sputtering Forest Park community reengage with its public high school. The latest manifestation of that connection, and not just from Forest Park, was the recent 209 Together “Great Chefs” fundraiser held at Urban Pioneer Group in town. This event was so strong, so well attended, its participants so generous that three additional students were awarded $500 scholarships. That added up to $14,000 going to 19 of our children. More than that it was the plain power of so many good people committed to a powerful and, until just recently, unimagined cause.