If there are better merchandisers in Oak Park and Forest Park than the two women from Two Fish, I've never met them. And so the news last week that Two Fish, the Madison Street art glass and home accessory emporium, won't make it out the other end of this beastly recession came like a blow.
Say you want to open a restaurant in Downtown Oak Park. You've worked in town, so you sort of have a feeling for what might fly here. Of course, you get that whole locovore, seasonal, artisanal menu thing going. You've got a great location right at Marion and Lake. And you want to send a subliminal message that this isn't just a latter-day corner grill; it's more of an all-hours spot. Great for dinner. Great for just a drink after a movie.
Dear Journal readers, We are just back from Springfield and wanted to report that central Illinois is as lovely as ever, and that Wednesday Journal received the sweepstakes trophy as the best weekly in our circulation division from the Illinois Press Association. This is a terrific honor and we are delighted to have won it.
Shirley Klem was an Oak Park village trustee for eight years, mainly in the 1970s. That means she was on the village board for two of the four most consequential, most innovative, most daring terms in our community's history.
It wasn't suspenseful Monday evening, watching at village hall as the trustees moved ever so slowly toward approval of the Comcast housing proposal. They went in rounds through multiple layers of questions and comments — the planning process, the demographics of the likely residents, the financing — and trustees started dropping in portions of their closing statements as they went.
Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others: Not in my backyard: Picture the corner of Oak Park and Madison. No, we're not looking at the Comcast building (more on that later). Look north at the Oak Park Arms and the radio antenna atop the building. I'm no judge of heights (more on that later) but that tower appears to be, what, 100 feet tall?
Here's the really good news from Oak Park and River Forest High School. Total compensation paid to administrators will be dropping this fall. Of course, it took the retirement of the assistant superintendent for operations to make the math work since all the rest of the administrative team is getting raises.
There are, I think, legitimate questions left for the newly seated Oak Park village board to ask before its members vote shortly on the plan for three non-profits to convert the former Comcast building on Madison Street into 50-plus apartments for low income people.
We asked, in a delicate way, on OakPark.com which Oak Park elementary school might benefit most from a little external sprucing up. One of the perks of the recently passed referendum is that the schools plan to spend a small pittance on the landscaping around the 10 grade schools. Nothing has been spent in a decade or more, say school officials and things are looking tough.
As a kid I delivered the Chicago's American, a failing afternoon paper owned by the Trib. My route stretched along Austin Boulevard from Madison to Lake and I met all manner of folks as I tossed papers onto porches and into lobbies and tried mightily to heave papers to third floor back porches of the apartment houses.