Saturday, Marion Street, community photo, be there!

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It's group photo time, courtesy of village hall, which wants to document "a moment in local history" by taking a community photo this Saturday, Dec. 1, at noon on the new Marion Street. A lot of you will be there for Winterfest anyway, so a moment to pose for posterity is a natural. The photo of "Oak Park's downtown living room," the village press release says, is not about the street, but about "capturing the vitality, spirit and diversity of the community."

"I believe it is important at various times in the life of our community to document who we are and how far we have come," Village President David Pope said in pitching the event. "With this photograph, we hope to capture a single moment in our lifetimes that will provide future generations with insights into the people who called Oak Park home on Dec. 1, 2007. And what better time than the holiday season? And what better place than the new Marion Street?"

Gather at North Boulevard and Marion. The photographer will be up above on the Metra platform, aiming north, with the new street in the background.

Thinking globally, shopping locally

The Downtown Oak Park shopping district is trying something new this holiday season. Their first (hopefully annual) Winterfest, "a celebration of holiday traditions from around the world," takes place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring no less than 47 "international" locations along a four-block stretch of Lake and Marion streets. DTOP will host a hospitality tent on the new Marion Street, serving hot chocolate and coffee, compliments of Starbucks. You can also cozy up to Santa Claus over breakfast at Cozy Corner at 9 a.m. and Maple Tree at 10 although you'll probably really be stuffed by then.

You're also invited to sample the gourmet international cookie and candy walk from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with stops at 47 shops, each representing a different country or city. Jerusalem Cafe, for instance, represents Bethlehem (not too much of a stretch), the Lake Theatre is Canada, Crescent Moon hosts Costa Rica, and Pumpkin Moon turns into Transylvania (yikes).

RF now is found

After two intense and agonizing weeks, the village of River Forest has been located and returned to its rightful place on the Chicago Tribune website. To paraphrase former Arizona Cardinal head coach Dennis Green, "It was where we thought it was," that is, just west of Oak Park. Kudos to the Trib's Charlie Meyerson, an Oak Park resident, for being such a good sport about our kidding.

Upwardly mobile

First he was sighted on the south side of Oak Park. Then he moved up to the north side of town. Apparently the south side wasn't good enough for him (her?). Now our red fox (unless there's more than one) has been sighted in River Forest (yesterday morning by RF resident Anthony Gargiulo on the 900 block of Bonnie Brae). What's next, Kenilworth?

Mystery solved!

The mix-up all started with an incorrect sign, Public Works Director John Wielebnicki said. Meters at the lots on North Boulevard on both sides of Marion were switched to outrageous timeframes when the third party who puts up the stickers saw misprinted signs outside the lots.

"It was a miscommunication, pure and simple," said village spokesperson David Powers.

The village made the switch back to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. meters about three weeks ago, and Wielebnicki said the village will inventory parking signs and meters and signs around the entire village to make sure they're accurate. He said he wasn't sure why Wednesday Journal was told last month that the stickers were "always that way."

As far as the switch to certain meters in Oak Park from 25 cents per half hour to 25 cents for 15 minutes (or in some cases, 20 minutes), that wasn't a mistake. It's part of the meter increases the village board approved last spring.

The increases are intended to help close the parking fund gap and encourage users to consider using parking garages. As far as those who don't want to carry 40 quarters around, Wielebnicki said there are other options like buying daytime parking passes or picking up a meter key, which you buy for an $8 deposit. You can put up to $100 on the key, which is similar to an I-Pass.

"I know some folks are frustrated with the rate increases, but as we look at our revenue expenses, we need to bring fees in line with what's more appropriate," Wielebnicki said.

Why not The Lake?

The Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, headquarters of Tivoli Enterprises, which operates Classic Cinemas, the chain of refurbished movie theaters of which The Lake is a shining example, is offering a Holiday Classic Film Festival, starting Dec. 1. The lineup includes It's a Wonderful Life, Meet Me in St. Louis, Key Largo, The Way We Were, White Christmas, and The 7-Year Itch. Great idea (though we don't remember what some of these films have to do with Christmas). But why not expand the idea to include the Lake Theatre?

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