In the mood to play Santa?

On Saturday, Dec. 13, all of the gifts donated to the Holiday Food and Gift Basket program will be distributed from United Lutheran Church, 409 Greenfield, just west of Ridgeland in Oak Park. According to organizers Marcia Alpert, Mary Jane Welter, and Valerie Woods, “It is actually quite a sight because we take over the entire church, and it is filled with bags of gifts. We have almost 900 families, representing more than 2,000 people in need, but we also have over 700 sponsors who bought gifts and wrapped them for the recipients. Every person who was referred to the HFGB program got sponsored. Quite a feat.”

It’s also quite a feat to deliver all those presents, so if you’re in the mood to play Santa, head to United Lutheran this Saturday morning anytime after 8 a.m. Pull into the alley just west of the church from the south. Volunteers will help you load up and give you the delivery assignments.

It’s easy and very much appreciated.

T’s the season

Best Christmas present we’ve seen in a store window to date (i.e. if you’re from, or know someone who’s from, Berwyn):

A T-shirt with a picture of John F. Kennedy and above it the words, “Ich bin ein Berwyner.”

Fly Bird, 719 Lake, is the clever shop selling them.

More waiting for OP political slates

Two local political parties are taking at least another week to select their candidates, contrary to a report in last week’s Wednesday Journal.

The Village Citizens Alliance hoped to choose a slate on Sunday. However, President Gary Schwab said they needed another week and are hoping to pick candidates for all open positions on the board-president, clerk, and three empty trustee slots-next Sunday. Candidates are stepping forward, but the party needs a week to think things over.

“We had a productive meeting, but we haven’t made our final choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, the New Leadership Party did not hold its meeting, which was scheduled for last Saturday. Current Trustee Greg Marsey-a member of the party and whose term ends in April-says they hope to decide in the next two weekends.

Marsey is debating running for president or clerk. He said he’s not interested in remaining as the only New Leadership voice at the trustee level.

The Village Manager Association, which dominated the 2007 election, taking all four vacant trustee spots, announced its slate last month. Candidates include current board members John Hedges, Colette Lueck, and President David Pope. They also added two new faces: Glenn Brewer, a real estate and family law attorney, who is running for trustee and Teresa Powell, a retired Dominican University administrator, who is running for village clerk.

Dark night of the stroll

The Avenue Business District isn’t exactly twinkling with festive holiday lights as in previous years. The local merchants decided to save the usual outlay of $8-9,000. Jim August of the Irish Shop is leading a grassroots effort to do some decorating. In the past, the village split the costs of decorating, but budget cuts have changed all that.

Being independent together

In River Forest, those who are planning to run for the village board next April are looking somewhat slatish, if that’s a word, though River Forest village president candidate John Rigas has insisted he and trustee candidates Cathy Adduci, Mike Gibbs and James Winnikates are “independent thinkers, but not a slate.” As Gibbs put it several weeks ago, “We may be like-minded, but we’re not hoping to be elected as a voting bloc.”

Whatever their formal political connections are or aren’t, the four appear to be independent together. A joint coffee was held for all four on Greenfield Street recently, with the four candidates chatting with residents and getting their nominating petitions signed.

On a recent Thursday evening, outgoing Village President Frank Paris was busy passing out nominating petitions for Rigas and the three trustee candidates at the monthly Service Club meeting.


A bell short

St. Edmund has four bells in its bell tower. When they’re all ringing in coordinated fashion, it’s quite a sound, especially at noon and 6 p.m. each day. But three of the bells went silent a few months back-too much accumulated pigeon guano being the suspected culprit, according to longtime parish historian Don Giannetti, who noted that all the bells have names. One is Robert (named for Robert Gore, distant relative of Al and once upon a time the governor of Puerto Rico), Mary (named for Robert’s mother), John (named for the legendary first and longtime pastor Msgr. Code), and Edmund (for obvious reasons).

Now three of the four bells are working, Giannetti said. The last one will need to wait “till the stock market goes back up.” Which bell is silent?” No one knows. Giannetti isn’t on a first-name basis with them.

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