Some stories delighted us and some gave us a fright — others left us scratching our heads and saying, “What the …?!”
Here are some of the weird, fun stories we came across in 2015:
Wednesday Journal staff was delighted this summer to see a man with a rooster on a leash near the newspaper’s offices. We later learned that its owner, who would only identify himself as Mr. Ed, was desperately searching for a way to get the darn thing to stop its cock-a-doodle-do-ing because it was annoying his Forest Park neighbors.
Forest Park Police Chief Tom Aftanas said police had been called out to the man’s home earlier that day to inform Mr. Ed that his rooster ran afowl (so to speak) of the village ordinance. After a Velcro collar didn’t work — Mr. Ed read on the Internet that it would shut the thing up — he punted and donated his beloved pet to a free-range chicken farm in Woodstock.
Pity the tool?
You probably remember him from his popular ’80s television show The A-Team or his role as James “Clubber” Lang in Rocky III, but Oak Parkers now also know him from his home improvement show spot in Oak Park. The DIY Network announced this summer that it had filmed its pilot episode of “I Pity the Tool” here in the village.
Unity Temple under wraps
The Frank Lloyd Wright architectural gem of Oak Park, Unity Temple, has been wrapped in plastic for the better part of a year, while the building undergoes a $25-million renovation project.
The project, expected to be completed next year, will, among other things, replace cracked walls, damaged roofing and skylights, interior light fixtures, broken art glass and other finishes. The plastic wrap is used to contain dust and debris from the work.
Elected official formerly known as village president
Village government broke with tradition this year, approving a title change for Village President Anan Abu-Taleb and dubbing him “mayor.”
Abu-Taleb told Wednesday Journal that the village president title doesn’t carry the same weight with people, especially outside the village who have no idea what a village president does.
The change did not give Abu-Taleb any additional powers, but some disagreed with the move, saying that Mike “The Mayor of Oak Park” Clark, a familiar face in the village who passes out greetings to everyone on the street, will always be the village’s one true mayor.
It was good luck that no one was injured in a house fire in the 200 block of Pleasant Street in March, and though the family’s 100-plus pound mastiff Romulus suffered smoke inhalation, he was treated like people when Oak Park firefighters administered oxygen to the pooch.
Deputy Fire Chief Peter Pilafas told Wednesday Journal that the oxygen tanks used on Romulus were specifically designed for pets and donated to the fire department by a local animal care organization.