Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others: I don't like Ike: Ike Carothers, the convicted alderman from Austin, is making noises that he plans to run for the Cook County board from the district that includes both the greater West Side, Oak Park, Forest Park and points west out toward Bellwood.
There's a lot of goodness in these communities we write about, in Oak Park, Forest Park and River Forest. And there is a lot of pain and need. The intersection of that goodness and that pain is often found in the astounding range of social services and community activism which these towns support.
Over the past nine months, for reasons that will make an interesting column for another time, I've become a part-time commuter. Yes, I mean someone who gets in the car multiple mornings a week and tangles with the Eisenhower. I've been heading west, dropping someone off, and then heading right back east.
Housing comeback, right on my block: Been a bleak five years, right? This week is the anniversary of the implosion of Lehman Brothers and all the pain and anguish which has followed as real estate collapsed and the broad economy shrank and shuddered.
Here in Oak Park we perceive that we have an overnight parking ban. No parking on the street between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. "That's the law, always has been." "You have a garage, don't you?!" "Good for plowing snow." "Good for leaf pick-up." "Keeps us safe from West Side hooligans who like nothing better than to spend their nights hiding between parked cars." "Makes us a suburb, not like a city neighborhood."
I was raised to believe that Cook County Forest Preserve land was hallowed ground. It was to be left untouched. If the wind blew down a tree, well, there it lay, moldering until it was returned fully to the earth
The word of the night was "aggressive." The Oak Park village board convened Monday evening – that would be July 22, remember, the date - to consider and then quickly OK a draft of what staff called a "term sheet" and others might call "bullet points" that will form the basis for negotiations with a developer chosen to build on the Colt site in Downtown Oak Park.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to two men, who live in Austin, about their early years there as young men. They moved to the neighborhood in the late 1960s - 1968 or '69 - and were among the early black families on the far West Side.