The first-floor commercial space of the building on the northwest corner of Oak Park Avenue and North Boulevard has been sold to an undisclosed buyer, the building’s former owner said last week.

The building houses Erik’s Deli, Oak Park Leather, and formerly, Logos Bookstore. The four offices on the Oak Park Avenue side of the building on the second floor also will become commercial condos.

Current tenants leasing the space, including Erik’s, were told they had the right of first refusal to purchase their spaces, which the deli has exercised, making them “99 percent” likely to stay. The unknown buyer will own the other two commercial spaces.

Lou Fabbri, who owned the building with investment partners, would not say who bought the space because a confidential agreement was signed. The buyer had made an offer to purchase all the spaces on the first floor.

According to Fabbri, the Avenue Business Association asked that the space not be sold to a restaurant because “they think the area is quite saturated with food service operations already.” A couple of offers were made by restaurants, whose names couldn’t be disclosed. However, they were refused.

Fabbri compared the purchase of the location to his investment group’s past purchase of the Niles building, located on Marion Street at South Boulevard, which houses La Bella Pasteria and Oak Park Jewelers. The building was originally all rentals, and when Fabbri’s group made the purchase, it was converted entirely into condos. La Bella and the jeweler were then given the option to purchase their space, which they both took. Oak Park Jewelers also owns the space next door, which they lease to a dry cleaner.

“One of the reasons we ended up purchasing this building was we went through this before, and we felt like we were qualified to do it again,” said Fabbri.

OPRF excellence recognized

Oak Park and River Forest High School recently announced its 24th annual Tradition of Excellence recipients for the year 2006. The five alumni chosen are Jayne Carr Thompson, Sara Giddings-Bode, Terry Isaacson, Scott McAdam, and George Trafton. They will be honored at a dinner Nov. 2 at 6:30 and a student assembly the morning of Nov. 3.

The tradition was started by the class of 1982 and is continued annually to acknowledge alumni and students whose professional accomplishments stand out and bring acclaim to their alma mater.

Thompson graduated in 1964 and works in public affairs and public relations. Her accomplishments include founding Jayne Thompson and Associates, Ltd., serving three Illinois governors.

Giddings-Bode, class of 1963, won a Rudy Bruner Award for “excellence in the urban environment” and has served on assorted boards, including two banks, Mayor Daley’s Task Force on Welfare Reform, and the Village of Oak Park Board of Trustees, where she was elected Oak Park’s first female village president in 1981.

Isaacson, 1960, was vice provost at Arizona State University and spent 27 years in the U.S Air Force, where he held varied positions, including wing commander at Williams Force Base in Arizona. While at OPRF, he was state wrestling champ twice and an all-state football player.

McAdam, 1975, is a registered landscape architect, president of McAdam Landscaping Inc. for 26 years, and received the Man of the Year Award from the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association, where he briefly served as president.

Trafton, 1916, receives the honor posthumously. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964, played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame, played 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, boxed professionally, and coached for the Green Bay Packers, Rams, and a Canadian League team.

Calling the Kettlestrings back

Did you know the first European-American settler in Oak Park was named Kettlestrings? Joseph Kettlestrings bought property here in 1833. The original settlement was called Kettlestrings Grove (hence the name Grove Avenue, part of his original property).

And did you know that the Kettlestrings family has lived here continuously since that time? The last of the Kettlestrings, David, 93, who still lives on Grove Avenue, fell last weekend and broke his arm, so his daughter and son-in-law drove him up to Dave’s Wisconsin home in Ft. Atkinson to recuperate, according to Lee Brooke, who previously interviewed Dave for his book, Yesterday When I Was Younger. Just last week, Dave finished proofreading the transcript of an interview Brooke will include in his latest book, a seven-generation history of the Kettlestrings family.

Brooke said get well cards may be sent c/o Jill and Bill Amadon, 1116 Van Buren St., Ft. Atkinson, Wis. 53538. Tell him to come back soon, no Kettlestrings attached.

Cardinal Egan under fire in New York

The New York Times, Oct. 15, reported on an anonymous letter being circulated throughout the New York Archdiocese that criticizes Cardinal Edward Egan’s “dishonesty, deception, disinterest and disregard,” leading to poor morale among clergy. The letter also calls for a vote of no confidence.

Egan, who grew up in St. Giles Parish in Oak Park, was named by Pope John Paul II to replace Cardinal John J. O’Connor, who died in May of 2000.

The letter was posted on a Catholic blog and picked up by the media. Though anonymous, a number of priests have reportedly confirmed that morale is low. According to the letter, that’s the result of Egan’s “arrogant, ruthless manner” and lack of communication with archdiocesan priests.

The letter was inaccurate on one count, claiming that Egan left New York two days after the Sept. 11 attack. In fact, Egan visited ground zero and spoke at an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium. But even priests who criticized the letter’s harsh tone, acknowledged there was truth in the characterization of the Cardinal as “an absent figure.” He was also criticized in the past for his handling of the priest sexual abuse scandal in his previous assignment as bishop.

According to the Times article, Egan’s opponents are hoping that when he submits his mandatory letter to the Pope, offering to retire next April on his 75th birthday, the Pope will accept.

RF fire chief achieves elite certification

River Forest Fire Chief James Eggert joined a select group of fire professionals in August. Eggert, a 35-year firefighting veteran now in his third year as the village’s fire chief, was certified as a Chief Fire Officer, an international designation conferred on only 505 individuals world-wide.

“It’s nice to be recognized for doing the things you love to do,” said Eggert. “It just makes my career that much more exciting and meaningful.”

Eggert was formally certified on Aug. 20 by the Commission on Professional Credentialing. Comprised of members of the fire and emergency services profession, academia, and municipal agencies, the commission reviews each application and recommends successful candidates. The designation is based on demonstrated excellence in seven measured components, including experience, education, professional development, professional contributions, association membership, community involvement, and technical competencies.

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