One last official duty for Sokol

Thursday evening, as Sandra Sokol stood in the conference room of the Oak Park Conservatory, no longer Oak Park’s village clerk. Nonetheless, the former and popular public servant had one final official duty.

As the park district’s elector, she was present at the park board’s committee of the whole meeting to swear in park commissioners Christine Graves and Marty Bracco and certify their second terms of office.

“You’re all dear friends, but I’m not going to stay long because my husband’s giving a talk at the Oak Park library,” the newly retired Sokol told attendees. “It’s always been a pleasure working with all of you, going back to when it was [Parks and] Recreation, and I knew Mike [Grandy],” she said.

“I do appreciate my being able to do this swearing in, which will be my last swearing in,” she said. With that she called up Graves, then Bracco, whom she referred to “as the handsome gentleman who used to be my neighbor.”

Sokol’s last day as village clerk was Monday. Her successor, Teresa Powell, officially took over at a ceremony during the village board meeting Monday night.

Sokol called her April 29 farewell party at the Carleton Hotel “an out-of-experience kind of event.”

“I can’t even express myself; it was amazing,” Sokol said.

Smile … you’re on kids’ cameras

Oak Park’s Ebert Studio hosted its Ebert’s Kids with Cameras program and art show April 25. In partnership with District 97, this was the second year for the program, which asked students with special needs to photograph the people and things that are important to them.

The students involved photographed items like their DVD player and their friends and family members. The participating students were: Rebecca Erickson, Geneca Fox, Madeline Crane, Rebecca McIntyre, Sirena Guajardo, Andrew Hollinzed and Massimo Caulkins.

A summit of school boards

The last time all three school boards from Oak Park and River Forest met … well, officials from each district are sure districts 200, 97 and 90 did previously hold a joint school board meeting, but it was so long ago few can remember any details.

Tonight, all three school boards will hold a joint meeting, hosted by Oak Park and River Forest High School, 201 N. Scoville. The meeting is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. in the board room (Rm. 213).

Remarks from each district superintendent and board president are scheduled, along with a presentation of each district’s goals, followed by a joint discussion.

Turnips, no. People, yes

This appeared in Ken Trainor’s blog at WednesdayJournalOnline.com on May 6:

Recently I had blood drawn at West Suburban Hospital, part of my annual general physical-a critical part, actually, since the blood lab is health care’s early warning system. If something’s wrong with your innards, your blood work usually gives a hint. So it’s very important, not to mention relatively easy and routine, although I had to make a special trip over to the hospital to do it.

Haven’t heard the results from my doctor (no news is probably good news), but I did get the price tag.

“For your records, below is a summary of the charges on your account,” the notice read. Talk about charges!

Laboratory $23

Lab/Chemistry $637

Lab/Hematology $99

Total: $759

For a couple of lousy vials of blood? If you want a perfect example of why our health care system is broken, this is it. You can’t even get blood drawn without going into major debt. Fortunately, I have insurance, but since 47 million Americans don’t, you know they won’t be getting their blood drawn anytime soon.

As N.Y. Times columnist Nicholas Christof put it the Sunday before last, that’s also 47 million people who won’t be getting medical care in an emergency, so if and when a real health pandemic occurs, they will be among those helping to spread it further.

What a national embarrassment. In the future, Americans will shake their heads in disbelief about four things that, inexplicably, we have tolerated for decades:

1) Nicotine addiction

2) Putting gun ownership ahead of public safety

3) Credit card interest rates of 25-30%

4) Affordable health care seen as a privilege, not a right

Our descendents will wonder how on earth we could have meekly put up with all this. And I couldn’t begin to explain it – except to say it’s shameful and utterly unacceptable for a people who pretend to be “self-governing.”

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