Odds and ends with some a bit odder than others:

Harrison Street Story: Opened my e-mail Monday morning to a message from a Harrison Street Arts District business owner distraught over a village contractor’s multi-day closing of her street during what was to have been the start of critical holiday shopping for the dozens of small, independent shops and galleries.

Then I realized that the first message, calling on the paper to figure out how something this screwy had happened, was just the top of a long thread of outraged and hurt messages which careened along Harrison Street during a long weekend when the village hall closed for business and took Harrison Street along with it.

This is one of those cases when everybody, in retrospect, understands that what happened shouldn’t have happened. That it did happen though indicates that village hall’s many declarations that it loves business hasn’t yet permeated the bureaucracy. Doesn’t mean that there are bad or uncaring people in the village’s engineering department. Heck, Village Engineer Jim Budrick is a nice guy, though he could do a better job of returning calls. But the stop sign did not click in his brain when a contractor, running long behind, according to Harrison Street business owners, reported that to finish off a water project on Lyman Avenue, they would have to close three blocks of Harrison Street over Thanksgiving weekend.

Should not have happened. Can be interpreted as nothing other than disrespect for the entrepreneurs clinging to life on Harrison Street. Oak Park says it loves the arts district, as it jolly well ought to considering the life it has brought over the decade to what had become Oak Park’s most blighted shopping district.

The village can do better than this. Last spring when The Avenue Business District?#34;Oak Park at Lake Street?#34;faced the disruptive repaving of Oak Park Avenue, any number of meetings were convened to time the work after Easter but before Mother’s Day. Loretta Daly, the village’s business services person, made that happen by wrangling all the departments at village hall into cooperation. People wanted to cooperate, they just needed to have their attention focused on lessening the negative impact on business. (Disclaimer: I’m currently president of The Avenue.)

In other business: Sat in a meeting last week where a person said the strength of the business turnaround on Madison Street in Forest Park was in its abundant parking. Don’t think so. Had dinner Saturday at the wonderful LaPiazza and found village parking inadequate, and sporting signs delineating metered and permit parking options that were every bit as baffling as those found in Oak Park. … After taking many rips over the years at the colossally bad service at the McDonald’s on Madison in Oak Park I must, in fairness, report a decided turnaround in speed, accuracy, and?#34;how you say??#34;being nice. … Those planters which landed in the median strip along Madison Street in Oak Park last week seem, to me, a bit overlarge. Those who know better than me say to wait until spring when they are filled with foliage. So I’ll wait.

Quickly: Sure was a quick change of heart for the county dog czar. A few little tweaks and local dogs will be back romping and pooping in Ridgeland Common. Except now, somehow, we won’t be catching any of those 37 diseases he warned us about a few weeks ago. Cool. … New York Times columnists get time off to write books and then they get time off to do book tours. All while the world is coming off its hinges. Nice gig. Meanwhile Bob Woodward has written three stories for the Washington Post since 2003. Nice gig, too.

Join the discussion on social media!

Dan Haley

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags – Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make...