Journal celebrates 25 with fireworks, block party

Inside Report

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Wednesday Journal is celebrating 25 years in Oak Park and River Forest. Here's what's next in our celebration:

 A really grand finale: Again this year, the Journal is sponsoring the Grand Finale at the GALA fireworks show at OPRF. So don't leave early. And on your way in to the big show, make sure the kids get some Wednesday Journal bubbles.

 Big fun at Rehm: Amazing Afternoons at Rehm are underway courtesy of the Journal and the Park District of Oak Park. Weekday afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. there's always something special for the kids at Rehm. East Avenue and Garfield.

 Big, free block party: The Journal is throwing a really big block party in Scoville Park on Sunday, July 17. Everything's free. There's a giant slide, a climbing wall, face painting, bouncers, stilt walkers, carnival games, dunk tank. You name it, we've got it. Free Tasty Dog hot dogs. Free concert by the Dooley Brothers. Starts at 1 p.m. It is our way of saying thanks.

More to come.

Durbin could get a drubbing
TQ White, staunch Democrat and VMA supporter sent an e-mail around Monday saying that "Senator Dick Durbin is joining the Democratic Party of Oak Park for the Fourth of July Parade!" (10 a.m. starting at Longfellow Park, Ridgeland and Adams). He describes this development as "an extremely cool thing ... This guy has been a leader in the effort to prevent the Bush Administration from ruining our country. It's an incredible honor that he has chosen to be with us. But, of course, where else can he go that he can be as certain of feeling the love as with us."

We're not so sure about that.

First, there are plenty of conservatives who weren't happy with Durbin's recent gulag statements about the Bush Administration although plenty of liberals were thrilled by them (finally a Democrat with enough backbone to speak up). Then he caved in, got weepy and backed off his previous statements, which only confirmed for disenchanted liberals that Democrats have no spine whatsoever.

So it's hard to say on July 4th who might grumble the loudest?#34;conservatives or liberals.


Chalk it up to River Forest
If you're looking for something to do in the afternoon July 4th, you might head over to the 300 block of Keystone in River Forest for the planned South of the Tracks Chalk Fest, the latest in a string of activities scheduled to celebrate the village's 125th anniversary. According to Laurel McMahon, chair of the anniversary committee, "We are inviting everyone to stop by and chalk a picture of their favorite River Forest landmark, person, place or historical event."

Chalk Fest will begin at 1 p.m. and run through the afternoon, chalk and pavement permitting.


The Cal Ripken of board meetings
After the vote on the proclamation, the Dist. 97 board presented Fagan with a handsome clock and compass gift box.

Board President Carolyn Newberry Schwartz said they ought to present Fagan with the "Cal Ripken" award for having never missed a meeting in 17 years.

Cal Ripken Jr., former shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles, broke Lou Gehrig's Major League Baseball record of 2,130 consecutive games on Sept. 6, 1995, and went on to play 2,632 consecutive games.

Too Much Fun, too many to name
FitzGerald's 24th Annual American Music Festival is another likely option for your pre-July 4th celebration. This year the festival runs from Thursday, June 30, through Sunday, July 3. It's a real marathon of music and features plenty of bands with quirky and curious names.

For instance: Salty Dogs, Hacienda Brothers, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Roots Rock Rollercoaster, The Bump Band, Tributosaurus Becomes the Band, Kinsey Report (set to music), Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Sleepy LaBeef, The Gourds, Eh La-Bas!, Hackensaw Boys, King Wilkie, Subdudes, and the aforementioned Bill Kirchen & Too Much Fun.


Fagan gets going-away 'present'
The District 97 school board voted 6-0 last week to adopt a Proclamation in Appreciation of Supt. John Fagan, his final regular board meeting before his July 1 retirement.

The proclamation outlined some of Fagan's accomplishments in his 17 years of service with the district.

All board members voted in favor of the proclamation except Julie Blankemeier, who voted, "With appreciation for 17 years of service, 'Present.'" A "present" vote is neither for nor against the motion.

Blankemeier later explained, "I felt I could not support the proclamation in its total," but would not get into which parts she disagreed with except to say that in her four years' experience, Fagan "has not exhibited characteristics of a community and educational leader in Oak Park."

In acceptance of the proclamation, Fagan said Oak Park was a "thrilling" place to work "if you can get past the people who, no matter what you do, it's not good enough."



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