The event last Friday at Centuries & Sleuths bookstore made an impact, as the Forest Park Public Library and the Forest Park Arts Alliance combined to host a discussion on the scourge of book bannings taking place across America. 

It is a despicable situation when our corrosive politics yields a rising tide of efforts from the far right to silence authors, to deny Americans the right to choose what they read and what ideas they debate, to whitewash the very history of this nation. But the data is clear. There is a rising tide against public libraries and school libraries to have books banned from class reading lists and library collections. 

And like many aspects of the far-right assault on basic freedoms, this is an organized effort that we must actively and vigilantly battle. It is not going away readily and a fierce response is needed at the local level.

The Forest Park Review was happy to play a part in this Banned Books Week event. Today, on pages 16 and 17, we are publishing several essays by Forest Parkers speaking up for books, for ideas, for freedom, for the need to use your voice to speak out against censorship. These essays were gathered by the library and the arts alliance. We are honored to publish them.

Things we like

Forest Park is about to have a conversation about allowing homeowners to raise chickens. Yes, we’ve arrived at that point in our village’s evolution that we are formally discussing reintroducing critters into the eco-system.

This is on par with Forest Park’s first Starbucks, with painting a Pride design on Madison Street, with having a local brewery. 

Once you have chickens pecking in the dirt in multiple backyards then the cool factor of Forest Park is officially raised. Home values will rise. School enrollment will begin to tick up. The restaurants will be fuller. And we’re certain to get a mention in Chicago magazine.

We can’t wait.

If they are successful in obtaining another state grant, the overachieving park district will next tackle the upgrade of Remembrance Park, that small corner at Randolph and Circle.

Since taking over the operation of four “pocket parks” long owned and under-maintained by the village government, the park district has been strategically remaking these precious open spaces in a crowded village. 

A new playground, two splash pads and a better focus on the multiple memorials that give the park its name, are in the plans if the $600,000 OSLAD grant materializes. It’s not certain, but we wouldn’t bet against this park district. 

Brown Cow has been an institution in town for a long time now. Like many businesses it faced an existential threat during COVID when the creamery that produced its custom ice cream faced supply-chain problems and was no longer able to supply Brown Cow.

Connie Brown turned to the community for its support in building out her own creamery. Friends and neighbors came through. As we reported last week, having its own production facility has allowed Brown Cow to begin producing custom ice cream for other area restaurants. A remarkable and welcome innovation.