The meters, which mysteriously switched from normal hours of enforcement to a draconian 20 hours, have switched back to their original status.

Sometime around Oct. 19, parking meters in the lot at Marion Street and North Boulevard were switched from the usual 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. enforcement period to a stunning 6 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., covering nearly the whole day.

Pat Zubak, director of downtown Oak Park, was befuddled by the changes and so were we-as were all the drivers who got tickets after 6 p.m.

One village official said the time change was a mistake while others said there never was a change. Regardless, the meters changed and unsuspecting motorists started receiving lots of tickets.

One Wednesday Journal reader told us she had her ticket overturned just for mentioning the Wednesday Journal story published Oct. 31, while another wrote in saying a judge refused to overturn a ticket he received Oct. 24 in the same lot for the same reason.

Calls to parking officials seeking an answer about the mystery meters weren’t returned in time for this story’s deadline. Check back next week for an update, but for now we just wanted to let you know that all is copasetic, parking-wise in the Marion Street lot-well, as copasetic as parking gets around here.

Thief says police wrong to chase him

In something out of the Chicago Reader’s “News of the Weird,” a convicted burglar out of prison on parole and now charged with 19 crimes is complaining that police from Forest Park and Oak Park should not have chased him after an alleged purse theft because it put the public in danger.

Kevin Lamb, 41, is being held without bail after he injured a Forest Park cop and smashed up several cars, including three police squads, attempting to elude police the afternoon of Nov. 5. Lamb, who was wanted on suspicion of theft of a purse from a gas station at Harlem and Washington, backed up against traffic and injured a Forest Park officer who was attempting to pull him from his car on the Harlem Avenue ramp off the eastbound Eisenhower Expressway.

Lamb then raced south across the bridge and turned eastbound on Garfield. Before he was finally stopped after crashing into a civilian motorist at Ridgeland and Garfield, Lamb also hit two Forest Park squads and one Oak Park squad, as well as a tree, and drove on the sidewalk for good measure.

Lamb reportedly told Forest Park Officer Jason Keeling that he believed police would stop pursuing him if he put the public in danger and was critical of them for not doing so.

“He felt police were wrong for continuing to chase him when he didn’t stop,” Keeling wrote in a report.

It’s reportedly the third time Lamb has been involved in police chases, and the third time he’s been charged with battery to a police officer. He’s also under investigation for thefts in Riverside, Broadview and seven other suburbs.

River Forest’s Tribune snub continues

The Village of River Forest remains missing, according to the Chicago Tribune website. The 2.5-square-mile, irregularly shaped municipality, home to some 11,600 people, including radio legend Paul Harvey and Chicago Cub pitcher Carlos Zambrano, is located at 41°53′ 35″N, 87°49’2″W-or, simply, just west of Harlem from Oak Park.

A quick check with Google earth confirmed the existence of a verdant, heavily treed settlement at that location. Officials from both Oak Park and Forest Park testified they’d seen the town “just the other day.”

“I’m sure it’s there,” said one official, who asked to remain anonymous. “I shop at the Jewel on Lake Street all the time. At least … I think I do.”

Some are speculating that Tribune website designers missed the leafy burg due to the irregular shape of its southeast corner. Others saw a possible silver lining in the situation.

“Does this mean we don’t have to pay county real estate taxes?” one resident asked hopefully.

Village officials, who appear increasingly desperate to be found, have asked that someone from the Tribune phone the village hall at 708/366-8500.

Maybe it’s because the village has started voting more Democratic of late.

Embraced by tough love

Thank God it didn’t happen in Oak Park! Thirteen-year-old Megan Coulter was given two days’ detention for violating school policy and hugging two classmates in public. “I was just giving them a hug goodbye for the weekend,” she was quoted by the Associated Press. Yeah, right. Mascoutah Middle School in downstate Illinois was having none of that. We’re just glad the media is off chasing some other town for awhile. Julian Middle School earned plenty of press recently for discouraging hugging, even though it’s not technically banned.

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