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.
So what happened in Oak Park for the first time 20 years ago today? David King hung the very first bright blue DK For Lease sign in an empty storefront. And, you may have noticed, he has hung quite a few in the ensuing years. Ubiquitous is the word that comes to mind.
Paging Sen. Harmon: Friday morning, Oak Park's own state Sen. Don Harmon will offer up his "Springfield Report" at a meeting of the Business and Civic Council. If he doesn't open with something along the lines of "Well aren't we the lamest bunch of legislators ever sent to the state capital?" I'll be disappointed. I'm beyond looking for self-deprecation. I'm looking for people to start falling on swords.
So, folks, we brought the Will Loomis Memorial Trophy home to Oak Park on Friday. That's the prize the Illinois Press Association gives out to the top paper, the sweepstakes winner, among large circulation weeklies in the state. And this year it came our way.
Well, this has never happened before. In 33 years at the Journal, I have never been invited out for breakfast by the presidents of the village of Oak Park, the OPRF High School board and the District 97 Board of Education.
Simply looking at the agenda for Monday night's Oak Park village board meeting you'd have seen some seriously in-the-weeds discussion planned about zoning and variances — the sort of story that might make page 17 of the news section. But based on the sidebar conversations that have been taking place over the past 10 days between some elected officials — President Anan Abu-Taleb, trustees Adam Salzman, Peter Barber — and local business people, it was not a total shock that the "first reading" of agenda item XIV turned gradually, and then hotly, into the first flashpoint of this new village board.
It didn't come quickly, the decision to support the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, but on Memorial Day when State Rep. LaShawn Ford said he would vote this week in favor of gay marriage in Illinois, the choice seemed clear to him.