Here’s our early summer edition of good news around town. And a note that we’re always looking for positive and affirming stories to cover. Have an idea? Go to and find the tab at the top called Pitch Us a Story. We’re listening.

Honoring Mr. K: Marian Kosciarz was a much-loved gym teacher in the Forest Park elementary schools. He died in January while on a diving trip in Florida. On the first of June the District 91 schools (staff and the PTO), with an assist from the park district, remembered Mr. K. An all school assembly at Field-Stevenson started the day.

Susan Bodgan, principal at Field-Stevenson, rightly noted that Forest Park is a small and close-knit village and that gathering to remember a prized member of the school district is important for Mr. K’s students and colleagues.

Centuries & Sleuths: Augie Aleksy and partner and wife Tracy are working to sell (and hopefully not close) their iconic independent Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore on Madison Street. Both the store — history and mystery focused — and Augie himself have been essential to Forest Park’s main street for nearly a quarter century. The store has been a destination for book lovers and Augie and Tracy have been central to all efforts to further Forest Park as a business community.

Retirement is deserved but when their final days come at the end of 2023, they will be missed.

Bonding with Ryan Jaffe: The fire department and the Chamber joined up last week to host a fundraiser and a spirit-raiser for Ryan Jaffe. A quirky and wonderful story. Jaffe suffered horrendous injuries just off Madison Street in March when he was struck by a car. The firefighters/paramedics kept him alive and got him to the hospital where he has since endured 10 surgeries and faces a long rehab. 

Between his family’s appreciative outreach to the department and the generosity of firefighters, a genuine connection has been made which culminated in the event at Shanahan’s. 

Our best to Mr. Jaffe and thanks to our firefighters.

Persevere: Two students at Proviso East received small but helpful college scholarships this spring from Vau’ve Davis, herself an East grad. The theme in the success of Dulce Estrada and Ania Walker has been perseverance. Always good to see dedicated effort being recognized.

Remember Venture?: People get annoyed when we raise the possibility that a certain commercial space may be cursed. Happened years ago when we raised that point about the constant churn on a restaurant space on Lake Street in Oak Park. And it happens when we point out the constant turnover of the space at Madison and Desplaines where Panda Café is just the latest in a long line of dust-biters. 

Those of us who remember the 24-hour Venture Restaurant which seemed to thrive at the intersection can only offer best wishes on the speculation that another Chinese restaurant is lining up to take the space. 

Let’s hear it for entrepreneurs.