No right turns allowed

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Odds and ends, with some a bit odder than others:

No way in: Here's the money quote: "You bought a house right near North Avenue. There's traffic." Give River Forester Patty Marino the prize. She lives on Ashland Avenue just south of North Avenue and she opposes a proposal to make it illegal to turn right onto her street.

If the River Forest village board finally OKs that proposal some time in 2012, you won't be able to turn right into Leafy Town anywhere from Thatcher to Lathrop.

That's silly. And inconvenient. And so much like what Oak Park has done along North Avenue and Roosevelt Road and Austin Boulevard that I'd expect River Foresters to object on the basis of comparison alone.

You buy a house near a major thoroughfare, a high school, a park, and there are going to be cars and kids and customers. You want pastoral, then move to a quieter place in town.

Ah, Mary Joe Schuler: Her name was not directly attached to the article, but Mary Jo Schuler's philanthropic arm — Good Heart, Work Smart Foundation — was mentioned in our piece last week about the talk of building a new greenhouse (broadly defined) at the park district's Cheney Mansion. The foundation has put up $25,000 to study the idea which is, not surprisingly, an intriguing mash-up of locovore, green education and horticulture.

Given her track record I'm betting this happens.

Quieting the TIF: I'm writing this early Tuesday, long before the community's leaders come down from the mountain in the evening with their "possible tentative agreement" to conclude their $600,000 legal skirmish over the TIF. But here is the interesting name in the mix. Representing District 200 at the press briefing late today is John Phelan, a still-new OPRF board member, who, it seems, may have helped walk this contentious fight back from the brink.

Very quickly: What are the chances that a teacher in River Forest would be the 2011 Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year? Well, it's true (see our story on the facing page). I suppose if we're growing fish in a greenhouse at Cheney Mansion, we can have an ag-minded teacher. ... Suppose Ron Santo's family will have him enter the Hall of Fame with a Sox cap? ... What vagueness, exactly, did the Oak Park village board sign onto last week in committing TIF funds to Madison Street? Felt a little like a shell game. ... Nice essay last week in our Viewpoints section by Kathryn Atwood about the many virtues of a local bookstore like The Book Table.

Getting closer to reality: The high school and police departments in Oak Park and River Forest say they will soon formalize the basis on which crimes that occur within the school are reported to police. Considering that both departments have officers attached to the school, this would seem to be overdue. Active collaboration between the school and the police is also overdue.

On the list of crimes that would be mandated to be reported to local police are those involving drugs and weapons. What isn't included, and represents a real disconnect, are thefts within the school. The link between drug dealing at the school and the seemingly petty and unrelated theft of cellphones and fancy calculators is real, according to local experts.

The arrest last summer of a 17-year-old OPRF student with 200 such electronic devices in his possession is an admittedly extreme case of the problem. He has been charged with running a drug sales operation.

Creating a system that reports all such thefts is part of the collaboration that ought to be underway.

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