Wednesday Journal 091620

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September 16, 2020 Vol. 41, No. 7 ONE DOLLAR @oakpark @wednesdayjournal

JOURNAL of Oak Park and River Forest

Gift Basket nixes presents, seeks funds for gift cards Holiday program looking to raise $100K for gift cards By MARIA MAXHAM Staff Reporter

ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

REACHING OUT: Megan Hunkele, left, and Jan Dressel, collect donations from motorists driving through on Sept. 11, during the virtual LemonAid fundraiser on Bonnie Brae in River Forest. See the story on page 12.

As retail fades, zoning may loosen Arts, fitness, financial services may be OK’d By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

Blame it on Amazon, GrubHub or COVID-19. But demand for bricks and mortar storefronts for retailers and restaurants has softened considerably

in recent years and intensified in past months. The “For Rent” signs in windows in downtown Oak Park and other Oak Park commercial strips make the changes plain. Oak Park, which in recent decades actively tightened zoning to prevent office uses, medical uses and other services in key business districts is now ready to look at loosening its restrictive zoning. At the recommendation of the Oak

Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC), Oak Park’s village board has directed the Plan Commission to reconsider the restrictions on non-retail uses. “Downtown Oak Park has experienced a dramatic evolution over the past five-plus years. The addition of over 1,200 residential units has changed See ZONING on page 14

A regular donor to the Holiday Food and Gift Basket project, one local grandmother laments necessary changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic to a program she has long shared with her grandkids. Patty Henek, who has run the annual event for 10 years, says the pivot away from gifts and exclusively to gift cards “is hard for a lot of people, because gifts would have been such a nice treat this year especially. One sponsor who always reached out so generously every year was disappointed in the change, because she loves working with her grandkids to shop for gifts and wrap presents.” For decades, the Holiday Food and Gift Basket (HFGB) has provided Thanksgiving food gift cards and then holiday gifts to low income families, seniors and adult singles in the Oak Park and River Forest communities. During a typical season, many volunteers work together during different steps of the program but this year safety is a concern. The COVID pandemic has forced HFGB organizers to pivot, changing the way they deliver these valuable services to those in need. To eliminate as much physical contact as possible, HFBG has made the decision to provide families with a one-time gift of a Target gift card rather than a food gift card in November and gifts in December. HFGB, run under the auspices of the Community See DONATIONS on page 12

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Village clerk role in hot seat


The village clerk’s role was under scrutiny by the Oak Park village board during its virtual Sept. 14 meeting, as the board discussed the responsibilities of the elected administrative official, its benefits and fulltime status as applicable to the next person to hold the office. Village Clerk Vicki Scaman, whose term ends April, would not be affected by any changes. Scaman has said she will not run for reelection as clerk and is, instead, running for village president. “I’m finding this agenda item and its background completely inadequate,” said Trustee Susan Buchanan. “It seems like there’s some agenda behind this that we don’t know about.” While the board agreed that the full-time position should retain its current responsibilities, it was divided regarding the salary paid to the village clerk, with the female trustees staunchly against decreasing it and the male trustees more favorable to a reduction. Scaman read 28 public comments resoundingly against reducing the clerk’s role, including one from former village clerk Teresa Powell. No public comments were submitted in favor of decreasing the clerk’s duties, hours or salary. “I don’t intend to diminish the role at all

or reduce the contact between the clerk and the taxpayers as is,” said Mayor Anan AbuTaleb, who requested the village clerk’s compensation be added to the meeting’s agenda. The duties of the village clerk include, among others, monitoring the process of fulfilling or rejecting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, preparing for and supervising village elections, attending all village board meetings, including executive sessions, and compiling minutes. Trustee Jim Taglia said he was in favor of keeping the clerk’s duties the same, mentioning that he has had no complaints from citizens interacting with Clerk Scaman, whom he said has done “a very good job in her term.” Trustee Simone Boutet was curious about the number of FOIA requests the clerk has received to date. The total, according to Scaman, is over 1,300. Scaman said she would like the clerk’s office to collaborate with that of the village manager to help reduce the number of FOIA requests the village receives and help build trust in the public so citizens wouldn’t need to use FOIA to get information. Perhaps through an online portal with all past FOIA requests and responses available to the public. The board voted unanimously not to change the clerk’s duties. Things got heated when talking about re-

ducing the clerk’s compensation and hours. Abu-Taleb suggested keeping the same benefits package for the clerk but decreasing the clerk’s salary to $50,000 per year. On April 2005, the clerk’s salary was established at $70,123 and subject to 3 percent increases starting in 2006 and ending in 2008; the position is also full-time. “This level of salary, people might run for the position for the salary and I don’t think that’s what you want to incentivize a public service role,” said Trustee Dan Moroney, who supported the decrease. Moroney believed the clerk should retain the same responsibilities and duties but that the role could be done at a part-time capacity, although Scaman told the board she often works six days a week. Boutet disagreed, saying the board couldn’t tell the clerk to do the same amount of work in fewer hours. She was not in favor of reducing the clerk’s salary to $50,000 annually, while the clerk’s deputy made $60,000 a year. “For me it’s not about saving the money; it’s about making it a public service role,” said Moroney. The number of hours worked did not bother Taglia, who said it was similar to what trustees work. “We put a lot of hours in too. There’s a lot of effort that gets put in; I think that’s an expectation,” Taglia said. He said reducing the

clerk’s salary was “something that should be considered.” “We’re not talking about across the board salary cuts. But one role, it doesn’t ring well. It doesn’t sound to be in good faith,” said Boutet, who also wanted to see the benefits and salaries of other clerks for comparison. Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla wanted to know why they were discussing diminishing an elected position whose role was entirely rooted in establishing and preserving greater transparency between the public and government. Andrews said the village needed to make cuts due to the economic crisis posed by COVID-19. He said the current salary was “aggressive” considering the benefits associated with the role. “I don’t think the clerk’s role should be drawing that level of compensation package,” said Andrews. Walker-Peddakotla found it telling that the men on the board were in favor of decreasing the salary of the clerk, a role she said was historically held by women, while the women were against decreasing. “Thank you, toxic masculinity and patriarchy!” she said. The mayor opted to table the conversation, so that the village manager could return to the board with more information about the clerk’s compensation and that of people in comparable roles.

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020



Our virtual unreality


n Monday, I interviewed a small business owner for a story I’m working on about remote learning and how parents in Oak Park are coping. The man has two young sons, 8 and 11, who attend District 97 schools. With learning now wholly remote, their class is a small room in the back of their father’s South Boulevard office suite, where the two boys sat side by side looking at screens. A half-eaten pizza, their lunch for the day, lay on a table inches away from them. Commentary I had been in the room for barely 10 minutes, when I felt an intense urge to leave. I felt confined, hemmed in. I can only imagine how the boys felt. This pixelated and constricted new normal, for many young people, is school in the time of COVID-19. For many adults, it is our work life. And for all of us it seems, it is also play. Take me, for instance. There are times when I am working, which necessarily means sitting at a computer, from morning to midnight. To break the monotony, I’ll walk a few feet to another chair, plop in front of the Samsung, and watch a few hours of Netflix or Hulu or YouTube TV. Sometimes, I’ll just stay at the computer and leisurely browse the web. When I was in college, I took a course on postmodern literary criticism. That’s the type of class that makes it easy to mock and dismiss the study of humanities. “Information is not knowledge, it is making-known, and


this has its counterpart in making-out-that-one-knows — in pretend knowledge,” writes the French sociologist Jean Baudrillard in a passage that is relatively prosaic compared to his other sentences, believe it or not. But aside from the frustratingly uninviting quality of the prose, the thinkers I read in that class, I’m realizing now, gave me the language and the context for understanding the reality (or unreality) we’re living in today. Post-modernism is what comes after premodern, which is when religious belief dominated people’s thinking about the world and why it existed, and modernism, which is when people’s belief in scientific, technological and economic progress replaced religion as a way to frame our thinking about the world and our place in it. With post-modernism, according to a handy primer I found online from St. Leonard’s College, “there is no objective truth,” “truth is a construct,” “everything is constructed from our interactions with and experiences of the world,” and “there are no absolutes — no ‘good’ or ‘evil’, just perspectives and accepted (but not necessarily provable) ‘truths’.” The media has long moved on to amplify more pressing post-modern terrain, such as whether masks are symbols of a creeping totalitarianism of the Left. And the threat of Climate Change. Is it real or is it fake? And QAnon … We live in a world in which reality comes to most of us through mediation — Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Fox News, MSNBC, YouTube, Apple iMacs, Google Chromebooks, etc. “Nearly 27 years after Baudrillard’s essays were published, our perceptions have almost been colonised by the virtual world,” Dad continues. “Today, ours is a world dominated by virtual reality in which social media has

become an important medium to interact with the ‘network milieu’. It is a rite of passage from a solid reality into a virtual one.” As an education reporter, I think often about what this reality is doing to kids, especially very young ones. Nathan J. Robinson, the founder of Current Affairs, captures the implications of this virtual reality on children’s educational videos in his searing critique of Blippi, who is essentially the Trump-era equivalent of Mr. Rogers and Pee Wee Herman. In “The Dead World of Blippi,” Robinson, who claimed to have watched hours of Blippi videos, concluded that the children’s educational character, played by Air Force veteran Stevin John, is “from Death World.” Robinson drives his point home by comparing Blippi videos to children’s programming of old — Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. Blippi lacks the sincerity of Mr. Rogers and even of Barney and Pee Wee, Robinson writes. Mr. Rogers, for instance, “understood that even very young children are intelligent and emotional creatures and that their lives can be difficult and complicated. Rogers dealt with things like: how to solve problems, how to get through hard times, what to do when someone you know is sick.” As I’ve become more conscious of my own quarantine habits, I’ve started to modify them a bit, forcing myself to peel away from the screen and take walks in the real world, for instance. And for those with kids, especially young ones, I humbly recommend old episodes of Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers over Blippi.


Police out at OPRF, but board not sold on alternative By MICHAEL ROMAIN Staff Reporter

When the District 200 school board voted 6-1 on July 9 to get rid of its school resource police officer program by terminating its Intergovernmental Agreement with the village of Oak Park, administrators planned to reallocate the $155,163 that went to pay for the school officer program toward funding a new position. During a Committee of the Whole meeting on Sept. 10, administrators proposed a new position to board members. Formally called a trauma-informed school interventionist, the person would be responsible for helping OPRF’s Black and Brown students deal with trauma. Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams told board members that the person would report to Linda Parker, the district’s director of pupil support services, and work in conjunction with Levar Ammons, the district’s executive director of equity and student success; deans; outreach workers; counselors; social workers; and community members. “We’re talking about students who have

experienced higher levels of trauma [and] and cannot focus on learning, because there is something happening in the past or now that puts that block up,” said Roxanna Sanders, the district’s HR director. “The primary role of [the interventionist] is to get through that block, to establish a relationship and connection with students, so they can be successful.” But most board members said that it seemed unrealistic to expect one person to handle the trauma-related issues in a high school of roughly 3,400 students — about a third of whom are Black and Brown. “How is one person going to support all of those students?” said board member Gina Harris during the Sept. 10 meeting. Board members were also concerned about what they considered to be the administration’s apparent lack of effective evaluation conducted before proposing the new position. Board member Jackie Moore said she felt the district was introducing a new position without having collected any data and comprehensive evidence into the social and emotional needs of the OPRF student body. “We’re making a decision about adding a

position, but I’m not seeing how the [evaluation] has been done,” Moore said. “This isn’t a systemic way of addressing trauma or restorative [justice],” said Harris. “This doesn’t feel systemic or sustainable.” Harris, who is a culture and climate coach in District 97 by profession, said that she wants administrators to see “how this person fits into the system you have already created.” Harris said she was concerned that if administrators don’t adequately evaluate how existing personnel and support systems are responding to student trauma, then by adding an interventionist to replace a school police officer, the district may just be replicating the roles of the officer. “We need capability building across the entire organization in trauma-informed practices to understand this better and address it more broadly versus adding an additional layer of resources to do it,” said board member Craig Iseli. “It can’t be handled by a small set of people. It has to be handled systemically by capability building.” Pruitt-Adams said administrators consider the new position to be a “first step” in building that capacity that board members

are looking for. “We do realize this is a lot and it’s only one person, but it’s a start,” the superintendent said. Board member Ralph Martire said there’s evidence that the interventionist position has been shown to be effective in some school settings, but “one position won’t move the needle in a school the size of ours.” Martire added that administrators needed to establish some metrics by which to evaluate the effectiveness of an interventionist position before it’s created. “If we had some metrics in place and were treating this as a pilot that would be scaled up and came up with a plan for reallocating resources to make it systemic, then we would be on to something, but we have to know those metrics in advance,” he said. The proposed interventionist position was not up for a vote during the Sept. 10 meeting. Pruitt-Adams said that given the board’s feedback, her administration will rethink its approach by possibly scaling back the position’s duties, modifying the job description and introducing metrics by which to evaluate the position’s effectiveness.



Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


BIG WEEK September 16-23

The Transcontinental Railroad Monday, Sept. 21, 1:30 p.m., Zoom with the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association

At this Mind Boggle, award-winning master storyteller and actress Megan Wells will explore the advent of a railroad that would link the U.S. from west to east. Free. Register:

JAM Teaching

Feast for Good

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Nov. 24, 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Oak Park Varsity Club Sign up now and get the best of both worlds with this partnership – on site, qualified education professionals bringing learning opportunities to enhance students’ education and development paired with physical, creative and social activities to promote learning, movement and community. JAM Teaching provides assistance with school coursework and supplemental education to complement existing learning, with additional tutoring available. Recommended for grades 1 - 9. $150 per week. More: Questions: 809 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park.

Now through Sept. 29 Support Housing Forward while dining locally with a portion of the purchase working to end homelessness. Whether ordering or dining in-person, mention Housing Forward so 10% – 20% is donated. This week, Sept. 16 – 22, try Jimmy’s Place, 7411 W. Madison St., Forest Park, or take an evening off from cooking and treat the family to a meal prepared by New Rose Catering (requires 24 hour order notice) of River Forest, 708-261-6908. Next week, Sept. 23 – 29, dine in at Cucina Paradiso (take out not available), 814 North Blvd., Oak Park, or Big Guy’s Sausage Stand, 7021 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn. More:

Better Lake Street Reward Program Now Through Oct. 15 Shop and dine in Downtown Oak Park, Hemingway District or Pleasant District and save your receipts. Receipts from online shopping and delivery purchases are accepted. Receive $25 in reward certificates by spending $20 or more at five businesses with a grand total of $200 or more. Reward certificates must be used Sept. 1 through Oct. 15 at participating businesses. Reward books are limited. More:

Community Solar with Trajectory Energy Partners Thursday, Sept. 17, Noon to 1 p.m., Zoom with PlanIt Green Learn how you can support a community solar project with no upfront investment, and how you can save money on utilities while also supporting local, renewable energy in Illinois. Trajectory Energy Partners will review savings, contract terms, how to sign up and more. Register: greencommunityconnections. org/calendar-events.

“Act Like You’re Having a Good Time” Sunday, Sept. 20, 2 to 4 p.m., Zoom with the Oak Park Library Hear journalist, author, and radio host Amy Guth in conversation with award-winning memoirist and local author Michele Weldon. Weldon’s collection of essays ask what it means to be a mature woman seeking a life of purpose and meaning through work, family and relationships. Facing ageism and invisibility within popular culture, Weldon examines the effects of raising children, striving for applause, failing expectations, forming new friendships, reconciling lost dreams and restoring one’s faith. With sincerity and humor, she unwraps family traditions, painting classes, lap swimming and dress codes. Register:

Leading Edge Teen Advisory Board (LETAB) Friday, Sept. 18, 4 to 5 p.m., Zoom with the Oak Park Public Library LETAB is an opportunity for youth ages 13-17 to use their voices to serve the library, other youth and the community. Members provide perspective that is important to developing strong teen programs and add value to the library’s Teen Services team. Meets virtually on the third Friday of each month. More/apply/register as a guest:

“Living With the Past” Thursday, Sept. 17, 7 p.m., Virtually with Dominican University’s Siena Center Hear from novelist Marilynne Robinson, known for both literature and religious discourse, many of her themes revolve around rural life and faith. Her newest book, Jack, will release Sept. 27. Previous books include Gilead, which received the Pulitzer Prize and Home, which received the Orange Prize for Fiction. $10, suggested donation. Register:

Plein Air in the Courtyard Wednesdays through Sept. 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oak Park Art League (OPAL) Come to the Carriage House Courtyard for self-guided painting or drawing. In addition to existing garden flora, OPAL will provide a new floral arrangement or still life each week. Chairs provided. Bring your own art supplies. Social distancing and mask wearing protocols are in place for this free event. In the case of rain, this will take place in the gallery. 720 Chicago Ave., Oak Park.

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Despite restaurant worries, Lake Street work continues Village to consult with restaurants on options By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

Lake Street construction work will continue as planned between Oak Park Avenue and Euclid Avenue, despite pleas from restaurant owners and a petition to delay the project. In a 6-1 vote Sept. 8, the Oak Park Village Board decided to stick to the schedule to start streetscaping and sidewalk reconstruction in September, necessitating the removal of outdoor restaurant dining on that block. “There’s simply too much work to really incur further delays this year and still build it this season,” Village Engineer Bill McKenna told the board. According to McKenna, construction crews need roughly a full three months to build new sidewalks and streetscape the area. If delayed, work would have to be moved to 2021, likely starting in April and ending mid-July. Restaurants on that block have expressed profound anxieties over losing their outdoor dining, which has become a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant owners fear the loss of revenue generated from outdoor dining will lead to permanent closures and bankruptcy. Village staff plans to work with the block’s restaurants to help them find alternative space for outdoor dining, including adjacent alleys and the private parking lots owned by restaurant landlords. Village staff will also coordinate on marketing efforts to encourage people to order carryout or delivery from the affected restaurants. The entire $15 million Lake Street reconstruction project is currently scheduled to finish around Thanksgiving. The village of Oak Park received $3 million in federal funding for the project which stretched from Harlem Avenue to Austin Boulevard. “Should the board desire to delay work until 2021, potentially what would happen would be the village would need to incur the cost for any labor increases, material cost increases, storing materials, stuff like that,” McKenna said during the Sept. 8 board meeting. The incurred cost would likely range anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000. “We’re looking probably around a quarter of a million for that increased construction cost to move that project to next year,” McKenna said.

The village of Oak Park would also have to cover additional costs from the engineering firm hired to oversee construction. “When they submitted costs for that they weren’t envisioning the work going all the way up into next year,” McKenna said. A delay could also present undetermined complications regarding the local agency agreement Oak Park entered into in November 2018 with the state to use the federal funds. “The state could hold us somewhat liable for any lost production,” said Wielebnicki. “We’re in a position with a lot of unknowns in terms of cost.” The financial unknowns associated with postponing the project was the impetus needed for Trustee Jim Taglia to favor starting the work this month, as originally planned. Trustee Simone Boutet took issue with the lack of stipulated penalties regarding terminating contracts. “If there’s a written contract, there should be consequences stated,” said Boutet. “Someone should be able to interpret that contract and inform us adequately. Those answers are not as forthcoming as I would expect.” The current condition of the sidewalks also proved influential, especially to Trustee Dan Moroney, who admitted he had planned to vote for a delay but changed his mind after walking on the sidewalk. “Given the state of the sidewalks, pushing this off isn’t really too viable,” Moroney said. Trustee Deno Andrews said he was “very sensitive” to the restaurant’s predicament but that it felt irresponsible not to continue the project as planned given the potential cost increases and legal issues. Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla wanted to know if the village could delay construction by a month or two to give the restaurants a little more time. McKenna said that is not a viable option with seasons changing. “We couldn’t start any major construction and expect it to be completed by winter,” McKenna said. Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, himself a restaurant owner, stated that the issue had “a lot more layers than meets the eye.” “I feel terrible about what all these businesses are going through. I know I’m going through the same thing,” said Abu-Taleb. “I understand and feel their pain.” However, the potential financial impacts to the village and its taxpayers prompted the mayor to vote against the delay. Walker-Peddakotla was the sole board member to vote in favor of a delay.


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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020




he cooler air of fall normally signals one thing for performing arts lovers — it’s showtime at venues across the area. But with crowd size and socialdistancing limits still required to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, arts organizations have had to rethink how they will present programming this fall and winter season, if they present it at all. For 16th Street Theater in Berwyn, putting on one show that was scheduled for fall/winter 2020 became part of its pledge “to stay creative and subversive while we share new plays by writers who have something to say about the world in which we are living,” according to Artistic Director Ann Filmer. Rastus and Hattie by Lisa Langford opens Sept. 24 for a one-month run as an audio play available virtually. The visuals, conceived by artist Roy Thomas, illustrate the dialogue provided by actors who recorded parts individually at a Chicago recording studio. Described as a “provocative comedy” that “delves into our traumatic legacy and explores new ideas about moving forward,” it features friends and problematic robots. It also carries a content warning of “racist caricatures, racism and violence.” The original production was imagined for the stage at 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th St. “This story was too important to let go,” Filmer said. Since our theater is about dialogue inspired by often uncomfortable subjects, [it became about] how could we bring the story of Rastus and Hattie to audiences?” Oak Park and River Forest High School students are also working on plays this fall and winter with two Little Theater and two Studio 200 productions. All will be rehearsed and performed virtually. First up, on Oct. 23 and 24, is Clue: Stay at Home Version, directed by OPRF theater instructor Michelle Bayer. The two Studio 200 plays, one a romantic comedy, and the other, Horse Girls, are being directed by OPRF students Sivan Aharon and Katie D’Ambrogio, respectively, in October and December. The December Little Theatre production will likely be a radio play directed by OPRF History teacher Linda Burns. The Oak Park-based professional dance company, Momenta, is participating in CounterBalance, for the10th year — an event that includes workshops, panel discussions and performances of integrated dance. This year’s offering, from Oct. 7 through 11, includes a compilation of works from past CounterBalance shows in which Momenta dancers, with and without disabilities, perform, “Reflections,” and “Sensational Shorts.” When it comes to musical performance, on Sunday, Sept. 13, the Symphony of Oak Park-River Forest offered their first in-person concert since the pandemic began. It fol-

lowed a summer of offering, “Music by the Numbers,” that featured members of the Symphony performing a concert each week, from a solo through a nonet at Cheney Mansion, in partnership with the Park District of Oak Park. The Symphony is planning other in-person concerts for the fall and winter season, likely at the Arts Center of Oak Park, 200 N. Oak Park Ave. It is music director Jay Friedman’s 25th season with the orchestra. Friedman has been principal trombonist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) for 55 years and shared those talents in the Music by the Numbers series. A much anticipated show from the Unity Temple Restoration Foundations (UTRF) Chamber Music Series, “Celebrating Beethoven,” with musicians from the CSO and the Lyrica Opera of Chicago, including Oak Parkers Susan Warner (Lyric clarinetist), her husband David Griffin (CSO French horn player), Dennis Michel (CSO bassoonist) and Kuang-Hao Huang (piano), has been rescheduled from April to October. This performance is one of three for the fall/winter 2020 season that will likely take place live at Unity Temple, with its jaw-dropping setting and ear-pleasing acoustics, but presented virtually to audiences. Avalon String Quartet, originally scheduled for May, is now slated for November. Duo Diorama — MingHuan Xu on violin and her husband Winston Choi on Piano — will play a holiday concert in December. Xu and Choi are Oak Park residents and the music directors of the UTRF Chamber Music Series. The holiday season also brings a cancellation, a new production an old favorite. Ballet Leger announced in early August that they will not be putting on their annual Nutcracker ballet, a production that had been running for 35 years as of 2019. “We have taken the last few months to look at every conceivable option to deliver this

Photo by Jhenai Mootz

Arts Editor

Photo by Jhenai Mootz


Fall arts season evolves with the times

Provided by 16th Street Theater

SHOWS MUST GO ON: (Top Left) Erica Bittner (Virginia) and Christian Gray (Edgar Allan Poe), (Top Right) Kyle Curry (The Madman) in Oak Park Festival Theatre’s production of “The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story.” (Above) Artist Roy Thomas creates visuals for the audio play, “Rastus and Hattie,” opening virtually at 16th Street Theater on Sept. 24. holiday tradition that means so much to so many, but with the uncertainty surrounding this moment, and for the health and safety of our dancers, patrons, and staff, we see no foreseeable way to bring everyone together for this shared experience,” said Artistic Director Donna Vittoria in a statement. Oak Park Festival Theatre postponed their production of The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe: A Love Story scheduled for this fall at Cheney Mansion, but they are still planning a production for 2020. The theater company is working on “an online holiday production of Christmas Comes but Once a Year, written by Artistic Associate George Zahora.” “Sing We Joyous!,” performed annually at

First United Church of Oak Park, with the talents of Pro Musica Youth Chorus, City Voices, the Oriana Singers, and the Sing We Joyous Orchestra, and led by Bill Chin, will be presented virtually this year as a variety show. Mid-December also brings virtual performances by the OPRF bands, orchestras and choirs, recorded by individual musicians but edited into large ensemble pieces. This time of year is known for its packed-auditorium Prisms of Winter Concert at the high school. According to Anthony Svejda, director of bands, students will dress in concert attire for the recordings. It is not yet known if these recordings will be released to the public due to copyrights on the music.

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Oak Park native wins College Television Award

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Richard Bailey, 25, was a producer on award-winning romantic comedy

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Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 Cook County Assessor Fritz

Staff Reporter

Like the rest of the world, Richard Bailey, 25, is in a holding pattern. The Oak Park native is living in Los Angeles, where historic wildfires have the residents on high alert. “I can still smell the ash and the fog in the air,” Bailey said during a phone interview last week. As authorities work to get a handle on the wildfires, the Oak Park native and aspiring producer, who last year obtained his MFA from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, is waiting for the film industry to open back up after being shut down for several months because of the coronavirus pandemic. But beyond the smoke, Bailey also senses opportunity. In February, Wednesday Journal reported that Bailey had been nominated alongside some of his AFI classmates, for a prestigious College Television Award — a competition that judges film entries from undergraduate and graduate students across the country. In May, the group won Best Comedy Series for their film “They Won’t Last.” The win put Bailey in the company of other industry professionals who have gone on to work on shows like “The Simpsons,” “America’s Got Talent,” “60 Minutes” and “Empire.” The Television Academy, which administers the awards and is one of the three organizations responsible for the Emmys, had originally scheduled the 40th awards ceremony to take place in March, but the pandemic altered those plans. Bailey said that the Academy instead hosted the ceremony virtually on May 30. “It was broadcast via YouTube on the academy’s channel and Portlynn Tagavi, the film’s director, was the recipient for us and she was broadcast accepting the award on air at the time,” Bailey said. Actress Tichina Arnold introduced the nominees. Bailey, who was a producer on the student film, said that the work was a real team effort. In addition to winning a Television Award, the film was also nominated for a BAFTA Student Film Award and was an official selection in some two dozen film festivals across the United States and Canada. “We couldn’t have done this without our team, which included Portlynn, Brandon Gale, Delaney O’Brien and Farzad Kiyafar,”



Oak Park Township Assessor Ali FOR THE WIN: Richard Bailey won a College Television Award in Best Comedy Series for the film “They Won’t Last.” Bailey said, adding that the awards festivities also included virtual networking opportunities. “It was definitely an experience that will help our careers,” he said. “It gave us an opportunity to network with other, like-minded filmmakers in various genres. The TV academy did an outstanding job in giving us opportunities to talk to each other. It was just a great experience.” Bailey said that he attended Zoom sessions with TV executives, agents and development executives from major studios and networks like Starz and the CW. Bailey said that his long-term career goal is to become a development executive for feature films and/or TV shows. He said he utilized many of the skills required for that career while working on “They Won’t Last.” He said the film had a $53,000 budget, an amount that was matched by a grant from Disney that helped the crew market the movie. “As the film’s producer, I was in charge of managing the budget, scheduling development meetings with our mentors and among ourselves, filing paperwork and finalizing contracts with locations that we were using in the film,” Bailey said. The 25-year-old attended Loyola Academy in Wilmette while living in Oak Park before getting his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. He said that, although the film industry is at a standstill now, he’s hopeful in the future. “Right now, I’m still looking for positions, but I’m hopeful that the job market will change once things start to open up again,” Bailey said. “I strongly believe we’ll resolve this soon and more opportunities will open up to other filmmakers like me.”


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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Autopsy reports paint grim scene in Johnson-Jones murders Fair Oaks couple found by their godson By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

Thomas Johnson and Leslie Jones suffered violent deaths in their Fair Oaks Avenue home in April according to autopsy reports obtained from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. As previously reported both Johnson and Jones died of “multiple sharp force injuries.’ But the autopsy report lays out in graphic detail the brutality of their murders. Johnson suffered nearly 20 stab wounds while the medical examiner reported Jones had been stabbed 34 times. Johnson’s wounds were to the head, neck and shoulder area while Jones was stabbed in the head, chest, shoulder and arms. According to the police report included with the autopsies, the married couple was discovered by their godson, who lived nearby. Relatives of Johnson and Jones had asked the godson to check in on them, as they had not been heard from since 7 p.m., April 9. Upon arriving at their home, the godson found the door closed, but unlocked. When he entered, he found Jones lying face down on the stairs with “obvious trauma to her head.” Johnson was found lying in bed in an upstairs bedroom “with visible blunt force trauma to his head,” the report states. Oak Park police and paramedics arrived quickly at the scene after the godson called 911. Johnson and Jones were pronounced dead at the scene at 7:47 p.m. by a doctor

from Loyola University Medical Center. The reports state that the home showed no signs of being ransacked, but Johnson’s wallet was found on the bedroom floor, its contents strewn about. The offender’s bloody footprints and paw prints from the couple’s dog, who had been found alive, “were visible in the residence.” Oak Park police have been closed mouthed about the murders saying only that the investigation continues and that the resources of law enforcement beyond Oak Park have been called on. Neighbors and friends of the well known and respected couple began to express concern and frustration over the lack of communication from police in article in last week’s Journal. Wednesday Journal gained access to the autopsy reports through a Freedom of Information Act request. News from the autopsies was first reported by the Chicago Tribune. Johnson, 69, and Jones, 67, graduated from Harvard and were partners at the Johnson, Jones, Snelling, Gilbert & Davis law firm, which Johnson founded, in downtown Chicago. Jones specialized in real estate law, zoning and civil rights law and served as a clinical professor at Northwestern University, where she taught ethics and trial practice. During his career, Johnson worked for affordable housing in Chicago and secured restitution for miners suffering from black lung disease. He represented several elected officials, including serving as campaign lawyer for Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and U.S. Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. Johnson presided over many high-profile

Leslie Ann Jones and Tom Johnson and often controversial police misconduct cases as a hearing officer for the Chicago Police Board. Outside of their work, Jones and Johnson were involved in the Oak Park community. Jones was active both as a board member and as president of the Oak Park Area Arts Council (OPAAC), championing the work of multicultural artists. As president, she led a group of board members in researching

public art ordinances in other communities. She then drafted an ordinance, which was subsequently passed in Oak Park. Johnson coached dozens of Oak Park children in youth baseball. As a couple, Jones and Johnson were active at Hephzibah Children’s Association. Over the years, they welcomed many children into their home. They are survived in life by their four sons.

DNA cracks 2018 Oak Park murder case

Deceased man linked to fatal stabbing of Sergio Quiano By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

DNA evidence has connected a deceased Cicero man to the fatal stabbing in 2018 of 77-year-old Oak Park resident Sergio Quiano, according to Oak Park spokesman David Powers. The murder weapon was linked in July 2019 to Brian Lycko, 49, through the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), Powers told Wednesday Journal. Cicero police found Lycko’s body on May 20 of that same year. Quiano was found dead Feb. 2, 2018 in his downtown Oak Park apartment on North Boulevard. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Quiano’s death a homicide by “multiple sharp force injuries.” The CODIS system had Lycko’s DNA due to a previous murder conviction. In 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune, Lycko was charged with beating his 58-year-old room-

mate to death during an argument over a meatball sandwich in their Chicago apartment, for which Lycko served 18 years in prison. At the time of Quiano’s death, Alberto and Jovita Monarrez, longtime friends of Quiano, described him as a kind and generous man who “never forgot a birthday.” Alberto Monarrez said Quiano had lived in Oak Park for over 35 years — they first met about 25 years ago at Bakers Square Restaurant and Bakery, formerly near the corner of Lake Street and Harlem Avenue, where Quiano worked as a waiter. Quiano immigrated to the United States from the Philippines, where he had worked as a journalist, Alberto Monarrez said. He described Quiano as a friendly man who loved to strike up a conversation with anyone who wanted to talk. “He spent most of the majority of his life talking to people,” Alberto Monarrez recalled. Quiano’s body was discovered by a janitor performing a welfare check at the request of a friend. Police said in a press release at the time of the murder that there were no signs of forced entry, but there were “obvious signs of foul play.”

Sergio Quiano

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


A fine artist discovers the beauty in roasting coffee

Sideyard Coffee from SE Oak Park to your door By MELISSA ELSMO Oak Park Eats Editor

When most folks fire up their back-yard grills it is safe to assume a batch of barbecued chicken, seafood shish kebabs or hearty veggie burgers are bound for a plate. Grilling is deliciously predictable, yet recently I found myself at a very different sort of backyard cookout. On a bright Oak Park morning, sun spilled through a wooden pergola as I sipped on a cup of impeccable singe-origin cold brew. A swallowtail butterfly flitted through the yard just as homeowner, Ryan Thompson, deposited several pounds of green Ethiopian Suke Quto coffee beans into a drum roaster rigged to his gas grill. As the beans churred and the temperature climbed to nearly 500 degrees, the first wafts from the roaster had a grassy scent, but Thomson soon noted the beans were smelling sweeter and leaned in closer to listen for the all-important first crack. “Do you hear that?” asked Thompson. “As the beans heat, they expand causing the thin coating around the bean, known as the chaff, to spilt. That’s the sound you are hearing.” Thompson peeked into the roaster looking for a lighter roast with an irregular surface color. Satisfied, he transferred the beans to a tray fitted over a box fan. As the beans cooled, Thompson whisked away the chaff leaving behind perfectly roasted beans. The process, while scientific, took just 14 minutes. Welcome to Sideyard Coffee--southeast Oak Park’s micro coffee roastery.

Photo by Melissa Elsmo

Ryan Thompson, roasts Sideyard Coffee available via subscription. “I’ve wanted to do neighborhood coffee for quite some time,” said Thompson. “This seemed like the perfect time to do it because more and more people are brewing coffee at home.” A professor of art at Trinity Christian College and an artist himself (credited with creating “Bad Luck, Hot Rocks: Conscience Letters and Photographs from the Petrified Forest,“ The story of the curse made famous by the hit Netflix show “Dead to Me.”), Thompson is naturally curious and a selftaught coffee aficionado. Though Thompson came to love coffee later in life, he gravitated toward controlling the roasting process and relies on smell, sound and sight to yield a clean tasting cup

One Lake Brewing debuts Black is Beautiful Beer Joining the throng of more than 1,000 breweries worldwide, One Lake Brewing, 1 Lake St. in Oak Park, has crafted a Black is Beautiful beer. Inspired by an initiative started by Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio, Texas, One Lake is using the beer to raise awareness for the injustices people of color face daily. “We are hoping the beer connects with our diverse beer-loving community,” said One-Lake co-owner Jason Alfonsi. “Brewing it was a way to help facilitate hope and change.” The Black German lager (5.7% abv) is made with five unique malts and boasts a “lightly roasty” flavor and note of chocolate. “When you are done cutting the lawn you don’t often think of drinking a stout,” said Alfonsi. “This beer is dark, but not heavy. It’s smooth and easy to drink. It’s a thirstquencher.” Do not shy away from visiting One Lake’s rooftop for a pint. They are in the process of preparing their well-appointed open-air dining area for chillier temperatures. A wind reducing wrap, roof covering and heaters will keep patrons cozy while they sip their Black is Beautiful beer in the crisp autumn air. Available by the pint on the roof top patio or in 32-ounce crowlers to-go, all proceeds from the sale of the One Lake’s Black is Beautiful beer will be directed to My Block, My Hood, My City -- a Chicago based non-profit whose mission is to provide “underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood.”

Melissa Elsmo

of joe. He has been roasting coffee for eight years and maintains a perfectionist standard for every bean. Though he experimented with air roasting, Thompson now prefers drum roasting single-origin beans or microblends to achieve a “roastier-toastier” flavor. “My goal is to keep this small,” said Thompson the father of two Irving Elementary students. “Local economy is invalu-


able. I hope the product draws people closer to production and to me as a producer. In a recent offering Thompson “mélange” roasted beans from the Aceh region of Sumatra -- one batch was roasted darker to bring out “hot cocoa flavors” while the next was lighter to bring out “spiced aroma and fruits. The beans are then blended to create a flavor profile that includes both darker and lighter notes. Sideyard Coffee is packaged in compostable brown paper bags and sold by monthly subscription. Slots are limited, but Thompson has not reached his full capacity yet. Coffee variety and roast level vary from week-to-week. Subscriptions start at $12/ week for a standard 12-ounce bag, but folks ordering a pound or more per week receive a discounted rate of $15/pound. Thompson also sets aside a handful of $8 sample bags every week for those looking to try before they subscribe. In south Oak Park coffee is delivered on Saturdays by bike. North Oak Park residents can arrange to pick up their coffee weekly. Follow @sideyardcoffee on Instagram and send a note to to get your bag of beans. “I love teaching,” said Thompson. “I would love to help people learn about single origin beans and help them decide what they are looking for in a cup of coffee.”



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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Boutet drops race for Oak Park village president

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Oak Park Trustee Simone Boutet said she is leaving the race for village president as she pursues an opportunity to start a family-run business based in rural Washington State. Boutet said in an interview with Wednesday Journal that she will serve out her term as a trustee and is not planning to leave her Oak Park home. However, the requirements of the business mean she will be spending weeks at a time in the northwest. “I will be in the state of Washington a good deal of the time during the election season. I’ll be back and forth,” but cannot serve as village president, she said. “I was not looking to change my life,” she said but “two or three weeks ago” the business opportunity presented itself. Boutet declined to specify the type of business she will be joining. “It is sort of a joyful thought to return to private life and not have to explain my life to everyone,” she said. Boutet served for many years as the assistant village attorney for Oak Park. She also served briefly as the acting village attorney following the retirement of Ray Heise. She ran for village trustee in 2017 and won convincingly. “I’ve had a lot of support in the community. People know my interest in good government. They see I dedicate more time than other trustees and that I know exactly what I’m talking about. People trust me,” said Boutet, adding “the hardest part is I’m disappointing a lot of people.”

Simone Boutet Boutet criticized the current village board and administration. “This board has [been] very slow to make progress. We take too much time off. We are not fluid in communication on things like policing.” She was also critical of the board for not being aggressive in creating a climate action plan though she said there has been recent progress. And she said the village staff was focused on “too much control and not enough grassroots democracy.” She said the village needs to do a better job of engaging and listening to citizens. Boutet said she was speculating but believes additional candidates will join the race for village president in her absence. “I think there will be more presidential candidates, that my leaving will create thoughts of other people stepping up.” Without Boutet in the race, the other current candidates for village president are Village Clerk Vicki Scaman and Cate Readling, a local activist. Boutet did not rule out an eventual endorsement in the race but said, “I don’t like to be against people.”

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020



Juanta Griffin brings new view to trustee race

Lifelong renter, loves Oak Park, seeks more representation By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

Lifelong Oak Parker Juanta Griffin has joined the pool of candidates running for the three open trustee spots on the Oak Park village board. Besides Griffin, also announced are social activist Anthony Clark and Trustee Deno Andrews, who is seeking reelection. However, Griffin says she embodies a different side of Oak Park not often represented in village government. “I’m not rich, I’m not white. I’m not a homeowner. And that’s all the reason for me to be there,” said Griffin. Oak Park touts its inclusivity and diversity but that has not always been represented on the village board. “I felt like the board wasn’t a fair representation of Oak Park, that there were people who needed to be at the table, and they weren’t at the table, one of them being renters,” Griffin said. “I’m a renter. My parents were renters.” As a renter, Griffin believes she has greater insight into issues affecting those who lease their living space than members of the board who own their homes. One of the biggest issues is the affordability of Oak Park. “When people start talking about taxes and property taxes in Oak Park, as a renter, even I never felt like I was included in the conversation,” Griffin said.

She and other renters should “absolutely be included” in those conversations, Griffin believes, as increased property taxes lead to increased rent. Griffin said her rent on a three-bedroom apartment increased by $400 in one year alone. “They hold renters over a barrel,” said Griffin. To land an affordable housing unit in Oak Park, Griffin said, requires meeting a multitude of qualifications. “If I could meet all those things, I would buy a house,” she said. Financial barriers also push a lot of people out of Oak Park, according to Griffin. From 2014 to 2018, the median income per Oak Park household was $91,945, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “When you’re a person like me making $54,000, it’s hard to find housing here,” said Griffin. Both Griffin and her husband, whom she met in the fourth grade at Longfellow Elementary school, have advanced degrees and careers. Griffin serves as the multicultural learning coordinator for the Oak Park Public Library and her husband is a teacher. Even with their combined incomes, Griffin said they don’t meet the median income. “We’ve gone to college, we have kids, we’ve done all that we can do that you’re supposed to do to realize the American dream,” said Griffin. “And the American dream – you can’t really find that in Oak Park.” Despite that, Griffin and her family live in Oak Park out of love for the community and the opportunities it affords. “I’m from here and I love Oak Park,” she said.

Her upbringing has influenced her decision to run for trustee. Growing up, Griffin was unable to participate in many of Oak Park’s activities because both of her parents worked. “My father was an immigrant from Thailand. He worked seven days a week,” said Griffin. Her mother, who is Black, worked at the currency exchange on Madison Street and Austin Boulevard in Oak Park. “I wasn’t involved in all these extracurricular activities in Oak Park because my parents were working,” Griffin said. Many in Oak Park have had to sacrifice attending events such as “A Day in Our Village” or volunteering at their children’s schools because of busy work schedules, so they can afford to live in the village. “Why aren’t the Black people at [Parent Teacher Organization]? They’re working, sometimes two jobs,” said Griffin. Griffin wants to bring those perspectives to the board table. Committed to keeping Oak Park both welcoming and diverse, Griffin has started a number of youth outreach programs, including Kwanzaa celebrations at the library and the “Uniquely You Tea Party” for young African American and biracial girls. “It’s a tea party for girls, ages eight to 11, and we talk about colorism, racism, body image, education, everything,” said Griffin. “We emphasize how beautiful they are. We affirm, we do peace circles.” The tea parties affirm the girls’ “worthiness and that they’re a part of this community.” Griffin has also helped organize Juneteenth celebrations for multiple years in

Juanta Griffin Oak Park with Clark. This year, Griffin read the village proclamation officially acknowledging Juneteenth during a virtual board meeting – an experience she called “remarkable.” As a trustee, Griffin hopes to bring positive changes not only to the village, but to the board table itself. “I like to practice active listening and having open conversations without insults,” she said. “I hope to bring integrity and dignity back to the board. “ And to do so, she’s prepared to work as a team player. “I’m working with anybody who is working with me,” she said. “I’m not alienating anyone. I’m not refusing to work with anyone.”

Two dozen OPRF students test positive for COVID-19 Supt. Pruitt-Adams said cases might be traced to ‘large indoor gathering’ By MICHAEL ROMAIN Staff Reporter

At least 24 current Oak Park and River Forest High School students have tested positive for COVID-19 from Aug. 15 through Sept. 9, District 200 officials said in an email D200 Supt. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams sent to families on Sept. 10. The cases were confirmed by the Oak Park Department of Public Health. Pruitt-Adams indicated that the spike in positive cases could be connected to a large gathering at an area home that took place within that time period. “We have received information from both parents and students that a large indoor gathering of students recently was held at a local home, where mask-wearing and socialdistancing were not observed,” she said. “A significant number of positive cases are believed to have resulted from that event.” The superintendent urged students to “please stop engaging in risky behaviors,” adding that by doing so they “put

not just you and your families but our entire community at risk.” Pruitt-Adams also asked students and families to cooperate with the health department’s contact-tracing effort. Mike Charley, head of Oak Park’s public health department, wrote in an email to Wednesday Journal, “Due to privacy laws, we are unable to provide specifics regarding our case investigations, however it would be helpful for the Wednesday Journal to communicate that since the state has opened back up, the village has observed a significant increase in the percentage of younger persons testing positive (<40) vs. persons over 40 years old, with the largest increase in the 14-19 year old age range.” In her letter to families Pruitt-Adams wrote, “I understand that sharing information about unsafe behavior may be uncomfortable and embarrassing,” she said. “But providing details about whom an exposed person has been with, for how long, where they were, etc., is essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19.” Local, state and federal health authorities have advised anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is suspected to have the virus to self-quarantine for 14 days. Their family members should do so, as well.

Public health authorities recommend that people wear face coverings while in public, abstain from attending large social gatherings, maintain at least six feet distance and stay home if they’re sick.



Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


LemonAid raises over $60K for COVID-19 fund

By MARIA MAXHAM Staff Reporter

On Friday, Sept. 11, LemonAid was held like never before. There was no block party. No closing down the street for an in-person celebration. No booths with games and activities for visitors to enjoy. But the day was just as important and poignant to the residents of the 700 block of Bonnie Brae, who annually hold the event, as it was to those who contribute every year. And as of Sept. 13, over $30,000 in donations were made, matched by Ken and Patty Hunt, for a total of over $60,000 for the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation Covid-19 Fund. “It’s pretty astonishing how generous this community is,” said organizer Christine Hauri. This year’s event, different because

of COVID-19, featured a half hour Virtual LemonAid Memorial, with a silent pause remembering 9-11. The Roosevelt School band played “America, the Beautiful.” Antonio Martinez, Jr., representing the Oak Park River Forest Community Foundation, spoke. Maywood Fine Arts, former recipients of LemonAid, performed a BLM dance. River Forest President Cathy Adduci made an appearance, thanking donors for their contributions. A highlight of the day, said Hauri, was the Bonnie Brae Bucket Band, let by cochair Kate Strugeon and her sister Cassidy. The block hosted drive thru donations, maintaining touch-free donations through the use of a lacrosse stick with the net covered in fabric. Each car received a LemonAid car magnet.

ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

The Bonnie Brae Bucket Band ‘had a blast, keeping the block lively.’

Paddle community dominates public comment By MARIA MAXHAM Staff Reporter

The paddle community dominated the hour and a half of public comment at the River Forest Park District’s meeting on Sept. 14. Although a few residents spoke against the feasibility study to add two additional platform tennis courts, as part of the park district’s strategic plan for the next three years, the overwhelming majority expressed their passion about the sport, citing community building, friendships gained and the fact that the paddle program is self-funding as reasons for their support. Opponents mentioned using public land for what they feel is essentially a private club and the fear that although platform tennis is popular now, if its popularity wanes and memberships drop, the ability of the paddle program to repay the park district for additions will be in question. The park board voted 4-1 to approve the strategic plan. The dissenting vote was from board president Ross Roloff, who had previously spoken against the platform expansion feasibility study.


A new approach to giving from page 1 of Congregations since 2001, receives referrals for people in need from Oak Park and River Forest Township, local public schools, churches and social service organizations. Hundreds of sponsors in the community purchase gifts and donate money, and volunteers lend their time to organize and deliver gifts. But according to Henek, also a River Forest village trustee, this year organizers

According to Roloff in an interview on Sept. 10, his opposition to the program stems from the park district’s survey of residents, looking at how they use the park district and what initiatives they’d like to see. One of the items included in the 2020 survey was platform tennis. The results of the survey show that about 64 percent of respondents do not support construction of two additional platform tennis courts and a paddle hut, even though the estimated $1.5 million cost “would be budgeted to be paid back to the park district in 20 years through platform tennis memberships and user fees with no net expense to the taxpayers.” “The board loses credibility if we do a survey and ignore the results,” said Roloff. “We lose even more credibility if we only ignore certain results.” A similar percentage of respondents, for example, said they were opposed to a partnership between the park district and the YMCA to develop a recreation center. Because about 2/3 of the respondents said they weren’t interested, the board isn’t even talking about it, said Roloff. The platform tennis additions, he argued, should be no different.

knew they needed to change the whole approach. For a lot of donors and volunteers, including those who distribute the gifts to recipients, it’s been a tradition and a big part of the holiday season, said Henek. In some years, said Henek, sponsors didn’t want to buy gift cards or donate cash; they enjoyed the process of going out and shopping for someone based on age and preferences provided. Wrapping and dropping off the gift was part of the holiday season. But she’s hoping sponsors will rethink and donate cash instead. This year there is the challenge of a greater need for HFGB’s services, paired with the possibility that past supporters might not be able to donate as much in previous years,

Roloff said he has nothing against the paddle community. “But 175-odd residents’ enthusiasm for an activity shouldn’t be more important than a public survey. This is an ill-advised direction,” Roloff said. Roloff reiterated these views during the meeting, prior to the board’s approval of the strategic plan. Commissioner Dennis Healy voted in favor of the plan, though he said he would have preferred to have the platform tennis feasibility study kept to the second or third year of the plan. Commissioner Mark Brown voted in favor of the strategic plan, which includes the feasibility study, but in an interview prior to the meeting made it clear that if the feasibility study is approved and the project ultimately moves forward, he doesn’t want any taxpayer money to be spent on it and opposes reduction or removal of any other park amenities, such as tennis courts, hitting walls, or batting cages. “If we proceed, I would want that to happen only if we don’t touch any taxpayer money to do this,” Brown said.

since tough economic times have impacted so many. Henek has a big goal for cash donations, which HFGB will use to purchase Target gift cards: $100,000. She intends to raise it by the beginning of November. The goal is to provide families in need with the same monetary value that they’d get in any other year, which is typically $50 per person. With approximately 2,000 recipients, that’s $100,000. Henek said they chose Target because the store offers a variety of products, from food to clothing to household items. Having a small Target in Oak Park makes it accessible to local recipients as well. “We’ll reach out to the same organizations that have supported us in the past,” said Henek, the list including churches, schools

and other groups. “The work will be spreading the word as broadly as possible that we’re looking for cash donations instead of gifts this year,” said Henek. To take safety even further, most of the Target gift cards will be delivered electronically to the families and individuals receiving them, eliminating the need for physical contact. Some seniors or individuals might require a physical card, though, and HFGB will make exceptions for those people too.

Here’s how to donate For more information or to donate, visit

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


River Forest trustees nix Bonnie Brae townhomes

Density, parking, traffic concerns just too much, say elected officials By ROBERT J. LIFKA Contributing Reporter

Reversing the recommendation of the Development Review Board (DRB), the River Forest Village Board unanimously voted down at the Sept. 14 virtual village board meeting a planned development permit for a townhome project at 1101 and 1111 Bonnie Brae Place. The property owner, Bonnie Brae Construction LLC, proposed demolishing the existing six-unit apartment building and parking lot on the properties to construct a new development of 18 townhomes in six separate buildings. The DRB voted 5-2 to recommend approval of the developer’s application, which included requests for six zoning variances. In opposing the project, trustees cited concerns about density, parking and traffic, especially when considering the presence of nearby Concordia University and Grace Lutheran Church and School. The number of variances, including those regarding setbacks, also caused concerns. Village President Cathy Adduci referred to a meeting in 2019 between village officials and the developer, at which she said the developer was encouraged to scale back the project. “I’m surprised you took this approach,” she said, questioning why the project included 18 units when nine would have “been acceptable” in her estimation.

“None of us is afraid of development, but we want the right one,” she said. “I see everything wrong with this. The solution is to build within our zoning code.” Trustees Bob Cargie and Patty Henek also expressed a desire to avoid having the board depicted as being against development. “I’m all for development, but I want it to be smart development,” Cargie said. “We need development,” Henek said. “But I think we have to be mindful of our residents, and I don’t believe this is what our community wants.” Cargie and Trustee Respicio Vazquez noted that trustees traditionally endorse recommendations from the DRB. “I normally support all of our boards, committee and commissions,” Vazquez said. “But these are not minor variances. They are substantial.” He also noted that the proposal called for six variances “when there usually are just one or two.” Henek also noted that “many standards are not being met.” Cargie and Trustee Erika Bachner raised concerns about density. “Density is a big problem,” said Cargie, who also raised concerns about parking. “At the end of the day, I don’t think this project is appropriate for the space. I don’t see how we can pass this tonight.” “The requests for variances go too far,” Bachner said. “This is too much for the space.” All nine of the residents who addressed the village board opposed the project, with most echoing trustees’ concerns

about density, parking and traffic. Although the village zoning ordinance requires 2.5 parking spaces per unit, the proposal includes only two spaces per unit. The proposal originally included four guest parking spaces, but that was reduced to two spaces to accommodate a tighter site plan that moved the buildings closer together to increase the setbacks, which are still less than the zoning ordinance allows. There was some discussion about the possibility of guests parking parallel to the garage doors along the alley on the east side of the property but those spaces are not code-compliant and could not be included in the off-street parking count. The project has been in the works since 2016, when village approved plans to build 15 condos on the parking lot and convert the apartment building into a three-unit condominium. After the project never got off the ground due to funding issues, architect John Schiess, hired by property owner Art Gurevich, switched gears, planning lower-priced three-story townhomes. The townhome project has followed a circuitous route of DRB meetings and public hearings over the last seven months. The plan was scheduled to be discussed in March, but the developer requested a continuance so the application could be amended. A meeting in May was postponed by concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and one in June was continued at the request of the developer. It wasn’t until July when the DRB met and held a public hearing.

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Life after retail from page 1 the greater downtown from a retail and service destination to an urban neighborhood,” reads OPEDC’s letter of recommendation. “While downtown’s new residents are drawn to the walkable convenience of retail and dining options, a number of stakeholders have expressed concern to us about rising vacancies downtown.” The letter states that in Oak Park’s greater downtown area there is approximately 650,000 square feet of ground-level space, 14 percent of which stands vacant. The greater downtown area is comprised of three districts: Downtown Oak Park (DT-1), the Hemingway District (DT- 2) and the Pleasant District (DT-3). The zoning code as it currently stands, according to the OPEDC, does not reflect changes in the market for retail real estate, making it potentially difficult to maintain occupancy levels in commercial areas. OPEDC’s recommends amending the retail zoning code to include art and fitness studios, health clubs, recreation and indoor activity providers, as well as business service centers, such as FedEx and Kinkos. Indoor activities could include bowling alleys and axe throwing. “These are categories that we histori-

OAKPARK.COM | RIVERFOREST.COM quests,” said King. cally have supported, The Downtown Oak and we’ve seen that supPark (DTOP) board of port echoed by the zondirectors is supportive of ing board and the vilbroadening the zoning; lage board,” said OPEDC DTOP board of directors Executive Director John includes OPEDC execuLynch. “These are uses tive director John Lynch. that in general have al“They’re just trying ready been somewhat acto attract more business cepted in downtown.” and make it a little bit In the Downtown Oak DAVID KING easier for those businessPark district and the Leasing agent es,” said DTOP Executive Hemingway District, curDirector Shanon Wilrent zoning code requires liams. “We are in support buildings in the districts of the changes.” to maintain the front 50 Oak Park zoning code feet of ground-level space for retail use. A requirement not easily met, currently does not prohibit non-retail busias more and more consumers have turned to nesses from using spaces zoned as retail, but online shopping, especially since the onset it does require non-retail business to apply for zoning variances and hold public hearof COVID-19. David King, a commercial real estate bro- ings with the Zoning Board of Appeals. The ker and owner of David King & Associates, process can last months. “I think it does dissuade people and I told Wednesday Journal that the use of ground floor commercial store fronts in Oak think if we make it a little bit easier, we’re Park constantly evolves, but COVID-19 may going to be a little bit more appealing,” said prove a catalyst to quicken changes. Williams. “The shift away from retail has been hapThe recommendation, if implemented, pening for some time. It is quite possible would not require non-retail businesses to that we’re going to now shift it even far- go before the zoning board, thereby streamther,” said King. lining the opening process considerably. The zoning should reflect shifts in market, “Not every prospective business wants said King. to go through the timeline and, quite can“The reality is we need to take a look at didly, the brain damage of getting a zoning our zoning and either modify it accordingly variance,” said King. “They’ll just move on or you’ll see more and more variance re- to another community where it’s okay for

“Not every prospective business wants to go through the timeline and, quite candidly, the brain damage of getting a zoning variance.’

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them to open their business.” And that does happen. “We do have conversations with prospects who, when they hear about the public process and having to make a formal application, the village and the time that’s involved and the cost that’s involved, decide to go elsewhere,” said Viktor Schraeder, OPEDC’s economic development director. Comparable communities have less restrictive zoning codes than Oak Park, according to the OPEDC’s letter, which states: “Elmhurst and Forest Park are the most open to non-retail uses and allow office, medical, and business/financial services on the first floor. LaGrange, Naperville, and Evanston are slightly more restrictive than Elmhurst and Forest Park but allow for more flexibility than Oak Park does for some non-retail uses.” OPEDC did an internal review of each community’s zoning codes to make these determinations. King is in favor of broadening the Oak Park zoning code, as it pertains to retail, as neighboring villages have. The OPEDC’s recommendation in no way undermines or limits the authority of the Zoning Board, the village board and village government. “Nothing in this recommendation would sort of usurp the village’s traditional role in permitting, land review and business licensing,” said Lynch. A Plan Commission hearing regarding the recommendation has not yet been scheduled.

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Commission shoots down request to demo Oak Park funeral home Historic Preservation Commission rejects demolition request By STACEY SHERIDAN Staff Reporter

The Oak Park Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously against giving a certificate of appropriateness, as recommended by village staff, to demolish the Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, during a virtual Sept. 10 meeting. “I think it still stands as a contributing resource,” said Commissioner Jennifer Bridges. Focus Development, a general contractor and development company, wishes to demolish the historic building and garage, located at 203 S. Marion St., to build an apartment complex under 12 stories in height, according to John Lynch of the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC). Focus has hired former Plan Commission chair David Mann as the project’s architect. “I just can’t see how a developer can throw away this building from the late 1800s for a development that is not yet defined,” said Commissioner Lou Garapolo. The Historic Preservation Commission agreed that Focus did not provide enough evidence to determine that the building and its garage do not contribute to the Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District, in which the property is located. “I don’t think that the burden of proof has been met that it doesn’t retain its integrity or its character,” said Commissioner Noel Weidner. The structure was built in 1881 as a singlefamily home for the Rogers family, who were early settlers of Oak Park. In 1920, the Rogers family converted the single-family home into apartments and hired architect E.E. Roberts as the architect to design the conversion. The Rogers lived in the home until about 1926 and then sold it to Earl Drechsler, who adapted it into a funeral home. “A lot of the interior renovations made by Roberts, we believe, are no longer intact,” said Courtney Brower of Focus. “They have been altered significantly over time.” In 1957, Drechsler added the large brick addition, which includes the portico. “It’s important to note that the architectural character of these renovations were not in keeping at all with the original house – kind of a colonial design pasted onto this

Queen Ann-style house,” said Mann. Commissioner Sandra Carr did not believe the applicant provided enough evidence to determine that no part of the original structure remained underneath the addition. The building as it currently stands works best as a funeral home. Focus found it unsuitable to convert the structure into something else. “The amount of money it would take to renovate the home into another use or incorporate it into another development is simply not feasible,” said Justin Pelej of Focus. Reconditioning the structure into offices would include implementing proper accessible entrances, bathrooms, proper fire suppression and more, according to Pelej. “The rents just would not accommodate the costs associated with making those types of renovations,” said Pelej, who did not provide any cost figures. According to Pelej, that claim was supported by Charles and Lynne Williams, who marketed the property through a large broker and indicated to Focus that they received no offers from groups interested in renovating the building or continuing its use as a funeral home. “That frankly was one of the first questions we asked them,” said Pelej. Pelej also said that funeral homes are associated with loss and mourning and don’t “resonate positivity within the renovationrestoration marketplace.” That argument failed to sway Commissioner Garapolo. “I’m not convinced that anybody will ever know that this was a funeral home if it could be done in a creative way to create offices or some other use,” Garapolo said. He also stated he saw no evidence to lead him to conclude that the building deserved demolition. Chair Rebecca Houze shared her belief that the structure and its garage serve as an “anchor” in the historic district. “Those few single-family homes from the late 19th century which still are standing really serve as a kind of anchors, so that you can really see and understand what that original phase of development was,” Houze said. The possibility of demolishing the historic funeral home still remains for Focus as it has the right to go before the Oak Park board of trustees for a hearing. Representatives from the development company have requested a board hearing Sept. 11. The date of the hearing has not yet been determined.


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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020



Missing baby, woman located

The Oak Park Police Department have solved two separate cases of missing people – one involving a 65-year-old-woman with dementia and the other a month-old baby. Four weeks after she was reported missing, Oak Park detectives located Mary Windham. Windham was reported missing from Berkeley Nursing and Rehab Center, 6909 W. North Ave., on Aug. 15. Detectives found her in Chicago the morning of Sept. 14. Oak Park police officers, with the FBI, have also located missing baby boy Julian Pesce, who was found healthy and with his parents, Jorge Pesce, 27, and Jasmin Salgado, 26, on Sept. 11. Julian Pesce, born Aug. 5, had been missing since Sept. 2. The infant has since been returned to the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in accordance with a court order.

Armed robbery ■ Two offenders, one carrying a knife, approached a woman while riding the CTA Blue Line and demanded her property at 9:33 p.m., Sept. 7 in the 700 block of South Austin Boulevard; the first offender showed

the knife and grabbed the woman’s purse, which contained a Samsung Galaxy S10 cell phone, wallet and debit cards. The offenders were last seen running up the ramp to Austin Boulevard. The estimated loss is $700. Police describe the first offender as a Black male, about 18 to 20 years old, and tall and skinny. He was last seen wearing a black jacket with racecars on the front and back. The other offender is described as a Black male, possibly female, who had pink nails and braided hair. The second offender was last seen wearing a red sweater with black pants and a do-rag.

Aggravated robbery A man approached the counter of 7-Eleven, 661 South Blvd., to purchase an item then implied he had a firearm and took cash from an employee at 5:21 a.m., Sept. 8. He was last seen going east on South Boulevard. The estimated loss is $150.

Attempted aggravated robbery A man approached the victim, pointed an unknown object hidden under his sleeve at the victim and demanded the victim’s prop-

erty at 11 a.m., Sept. 9 in the 1200 block of Forest Avenue; the offender fled eastbound on North Avenue after being observed by a witness. The victim reported no loss.

Motor vehicle theft ■ The 2019 Mazda CX5 reported stolen Sept. 2 from the 1000 block of South Gunderson Avenue was recovered by Chicago police with one apprehension in the 6700 block of South Green Street in Chicago at 11:16 a.m., Sept. 9. ■ Someone removed a vehicle parked in the 200 block of South Elmwood Avenue between 11 p.m., Sept. 12 and 6 a.m., Sept. 13. The estimated loss is $5,000.

Burglary ■ An unknown person was observed via video surveillance using a garbage can to break into Gap, 435 N. Harlem Ave., and, once inside, the person removed an unknown amount of merchandise between 4:11 a.m. and 4:15 a.m., Sept. 9. ■ Someone broke into an unlocked residential garage and removed a blue Surly Midnight bicycle between 7 p.m., Sept. 10

and 2:55 p.m., Sept. 11 in the 1100 block of Wesley Avenue. The estimated loss is $2,400. ■ Someone broke into an unlocked residential garage, ransacked an unlocked vehicle parked inside, then removed a tent from the garage between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sept. 11 in the 1100 block of South Euclid Avenue. The estimated loss is $500. ■ Someone broke into a garage and removed paper towels and a red push lawn mower between 8 p.m., Sept. 12 and 6:15 a.m., Sept. 13 in the 200 block of South Elmwood Avenue. The estimated loss is $200.

These items, obtained from the Oak Park Police Department, came from reports Sept. 7- Sept. 14 and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Anyone named in these reports has only been charged with a crime and cases have not yet been adjudicated. We report the race of a suspect only when a serious crime has been committed, the suspect is still at large, and police have provided us with a detailed physical description of the suspect as they seek the public’s help in making an arrest. Compiled by Stacey Sheridan

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Remembering John Hubbuch p. 18-19

The Domino effect School traditions in the time of COVID of wielding privilege


lthough this pandemic has been horrible with respect to the loss of life and its effect on education, the economy, and our mental health, there is one positive thing I hope can be extracted from the experience. While many other countries are making decisions to protect the population as a whole, we continue to make individual decisions to meet individual desires. Too many of us still operate under the fallacy that rugged individualism is the American way — do what you think is best for you and yours and don’t worry about others. Energy and resources are focused on a workaround for some rather than a solution for all. Admit it or not, our lives are intricately intertwined. Those who seek to gain an advantage can seldom do so without hurting others. The negative effects of this approach are compounded when any group wields an undue level of privilege. The New York Times provides a prime example of this in their Nice White Parents Podcast, which traces the history of the creation of a “diverse” middle school in New York City. A local example exists in our approach to kindergarten. District 97 went to full-day kindergarten in 2009 — the assumption being that more time spent in instruction would lead to higher long-term achievement, particularly for disadvantaged and low-income students. The population of kindergarten students has also grown because of the needs of working parents. But with a specific birthdate determining kindergarten placement, comes an age range of just under one year for students in a grade. Some parents of children with late birthdays, particularly males, are questioning their social and emotional readiness for the expectations of current-day kindergarten. Some have been holding back their sons for an additional year of maturity and/or physical growth for sports — aka “kindergarten redshirting.” This results in classrooms with age ranges of just under 2 years instead of one and presents additional challenges for schools, teachers, and students. There is a certain amount of privilege associated with being able to make this decision since it has financial and time implications for the family. Consequently, the majority of kindergarten students redshirted are white males from more highly educated and affluent families. This alters the cohorts of students in a diverse school district like D97, which has now disallowed kindergarten redshirting, resulting in a slew of parents who are very upset and protesting and calling for lawsuits. The debate is now about parental choice and not the actual needs of children. This often happens when the solution is to do what’s best for individual children and not raise the broader question of why kindergarten is problematic for a number of males. The issue is not actually a personal one; it is a systemic one that is being handled as a personal one. The impactful questions are not being asked and the oppor-


See FRANCIS on page 22


am super-duper-DUPER excited,” my 5-year-old granddaughter, Ava, told me the evening before her first “day” of kindergarten. This milestone day would be so different from the one I had with her mother 30 years ago in our same town. Then I had walked my oldest daughter down the block to her school the week before the first day. When we stood in front of the door, I read the school’s name on the building aloud to her: Horace Mann School. “Man school?” she had asked me, indignantly. “What about the girls?” So we had a lesson about who Horace Mann was, and why a school would be named for him. “Well, she’s definitely your daughter,” my husband said, laughing when I told him the story. That day, that year, are wonderful memories for our family. I knew much of what to expect, and could prepare my daughter. We would share the experience with other children, parents, teachers, school staff, many of them also neighbors — a community. I did not have the same worries my daughter and son-in-law had over the summer about what school would look like — if there would even be school, when it would start, how would they manage. The day before her first day of this unique start of a school year, Ava shared her preparations with me. Her mother had helped her choose clothes to wear. She showed me a new backpack, which would remain empty for now. However, my daughter had put together a special box instead to hold the school supplies they had shopped for, that would remain at home. “I can only use these for school work,” Ava explained solemnly. She took out a new box of markers to show me close up, but carefully returned them back to their place in the box. They would soon be placed on a desk my daughter had just refurbished that would also hold Ava’s school-issued iPad, enabling her to “attend” her kindergarten classes in a way neither her mother nor I could possibly have imagined just six months ago. Ava told me she would have math, art, music and Spanish classes. “Miss Meredith is my real teacher, but I will have different teachers for some classes,” she told me. “Well,” I asked her, “are you sure you didn’t skip kindergarten, and just started going to college? This sounds like college!” We both laughed. On my way home, I thought about how my daughter had adapted the traditions she experienced when she started school — preparing Ava with excited anticipation, letting her choose clothes to wear, shopping for school supplies, much as she had done with me. At the end of the next day, I received a photo of Ava “attending” school in front of a screen on her new desk in the basement, wearing the clothes she had selected. My daughter sent another photo of Ava in front of the actual school building, holding a chalkboard that identified her as a Lincoln kindergarten student. They had gone together to visit the empty school building, too, just as I had with my 5-year-old, those



REMOTE YET INTIMATE: The author’s granddaughter, Ava, during her first day of kindergarten. many years ago. I phoned the new kindergarten student and her mother before dinner to get the first day report. My daughter told me that it was a wonderful day, beyond her expectations. Ms. Meredith seemed able to connect with the class on the screen. The on-line format was very organized and easy to follow, and kept Ava engaged. “In fact,” my daughter said, “I had a hard time getting Ava outside at lunch time. She didn’t want to miss any part of class.” Ava got on the phone, “I loved it, Grandma!” she said. “I have a lot of classes. There are some friends in my class from pre-school, too.” Ava reported her favorite part of school was “all of it.” Later, I told my daughter that she was the one who had made this experience a special joy for Ava, in the way she prepared her for this most unusual start of a school year. She had successfully adapted some of the traditions she had remembered from when she was a child. The school district prepared well, too. We know that this experience has not gone so well for many students and schools though. No one can know what the ultimate outcomes of this experience will be on these children. We talked about that, wishing the very best for every child and for every family that has to keep figuring out how to adapt, and hoping it is the right thing. Jeanne Martinez is an Oak Park resident. She and her husband own Segretti Pharmacy.


Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020




Development bingo


ometimes the development process in Oak Park will confound even the most rational observers. Allowing that, generally, these processes have gotten speedier and more development-friendly in recent years under Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, which you may like or hate, we come to the current mish-mash over the Drechsler Brown & Williams Funeral Home at 203 S. Marion St. This one is balled up in both directions. We have the Historic Preservation Commission unanimously opposing issuing a permit to demolish the structure. We get their arguments. It’s old, it’s handsome, it “contributes” to its Ridgeland-Oak Park Historic District setting. It is also an old house converted into a funeral home in a moment when the funeral home industry is folding in on itself. When Charlie and Lynne Williams finally close Dreschler Brown, it will be the last funeral home in the village. A half century ago there were nearly a dozen. The vague suggestions that the property could be turned into office space are the fantasy of historic preservationists. It is not a rational plan for an obsolete building in a prime development location. That said, it is ridiculous that Focus Development, which has the property under contract, has been allowed to get this far without coughing up a detailed plan for just what they want to build. What do we know? An apartment building, maybe with a smidge of retail and coming in at 12 stories or less. Not nearly good enough. We guarantee that Focus knows exactly what it plans to build, how much it will cost, what the margins are, based on the land price, has architectural drawings at some stage of completion and that people at the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation and, hopefully, village hall know this. We know they have an architect. It’s David Mann, the former chair of Oak Park’s Plan Commission. David, give us a peek. Is it six stories or 11? What does the massing look like on what, with the large parking lot attached, is a big parcel by Oak Park standards? Is it better looking than the omni-present hulking structure at Harlem and South? Please God. Drechsler Brown is going to be demolished. It has no use. The village board, still tilted toward development, will approve demolition. But the board better be clear that there can be no demolition until everyone has seen and has time to respond to whatever Focus has planned for this important corner in our village.

Ah, retail Over recent decades we’ve been supporters of Oak Park’s efforts to tighten commercial zoning uses in key business districts. Why spend millions on bluestone sidewalks facing a storefront that houses a podiatrist or a loan office? The investments in Downtown Oak Park, the Pleasant District, the Hemingway District were to create an ambiance fostering shopping, dining, a night at the Lake Theatre. It all sounds perfect. And then the world intervened. Amazon has mightily undermined bricks-and-mortar retail. DoorDash and GrubHub have made dining out less attractive. And COVID has ruined everything from democracy on down to browsing at the Book Table. So it makes good sense that Oak Park is now looking at loosening its retail-and-restaurant-only zoning policies in key commercial districts. We’ve already begun to make exceptions. The Zoning Board of Appeals has three variance requests on its docket this week. But forcing small businesses to jump through zoning variance requests is discouraging in a hard time. With regret, we hope a middle ground is reached.


Breakfast will never be the same

contrarian or skeptical was family. He ohn Hubbuch and I had a good arrangement. Twice a month, I edited described himself as a “C” lawyer, a “B” his column, which I always looked husband, and an “A” parent, and that’s forward to, and in return, every other the way he wanted it. He made time to month or so he would take me out coach his three sons in basketball (his to breakfast, usually at Hemmingway’s first love, being from Indiana), baseball Bistro, where we ate our birchmuesli and and soccer. He and Marsha were high held court for a couple of hours on a wide school sweethearts, and they stayed range of topics — from the achievement sweet on each other. And though he gap at OPRF High School to philosophy never got around to assigning the grade, to youth sports to the latest outrage from he was an A+ grandfather, down on the Trump to the afterlife and God to the latest floor, crawling through tunnels, sliding controversy in Oak Park to films to Indidown slides, landing on his butt. Grandana basketball to our kids and grandkids. parenting was a contact sport. When the My brain slipped into a higher gear durkids went down for naps, so did he. He ing these sessions and I always left feeling left it all on the floor. wonderfully stimulated. His was an active “John,” Marsha said, “was the heart life of the mind. John faithfully attended Redd Grifof this family.” fin’s extended-learning seminar on Great Thinkers His favorite moments were spending an afternoon through Triton College. When Redd died some years on the golf course with his sons or watching the back, John kept the class going. Bulls together in the basement during their remarkHis plan, growing up in southern Indiana, was to able run of six championships in the 1990s. become president of the United States (JFK was his Every August for four decades, the Hubbuchs early hero, Barack Obama later). By the time he and joined friends for a week in Watervale, Michigan. Marsha moved to Oak Park in 1976, he was content In a 2013 column titled, “Vacation: a philosopher’s to serve a term on the District 97 school board in the paradise,” he wrote: late 1980s — though he always left the meetings by “This year I spent considerable time on the beach 10 p.m., saying he needed his sleep and they knew with Lily and Ava, my little granddaughters. I revwhere to find him if there was a vote. He was also a eled in the moment when the waves crashed against longtime member of the YMCA board them in my arms, and they came up and served as president of the OPRF sputtering, torn between joy and fear, High School Huskies Booster Club for just like their father and uncles so 10 years. So he did become president. many years earlier on that very same And he was very proud of living in Oak beach. Park. “Each year I come away from Water“It was a place where people talked vale with a renewed appreciation of about important ideas,” said Marsha. the natural world. I am affirmed in my “He was very impressed by what Oak decision to put family at the center of Park stood for.” my life. I grasp how very fortunate I am. And he wrote a column for WednesPerhaps most importantly, I understand day Journal for roughly a quarterthat life is filled with possibility, and it is century. He was funny, provocative and up to me to make the most of it.” sometimes painfully honest, a truly John made the most of it. He retired independent thinker. He delighted in as early as possible (age 59) so he could playing the contrarian and skeptic (but spend more time with the people he never cynic) and enjoyed getting a rise loved. When the nest emptied, he and out of his readers. Marsha sold the big house on the north JOHN HUBBUCH When I entered his name in our end of Oak Park and downsized to a Search function, the following headbungalow south of the Eisenhower. So lines popped up: much for being classist and elitist. He “Offended by Hubbuch’s column” was, first and foremost, a silo-buster. “Hubbuch’s column reveals classism, elitism” And he had his priorities in the right place. “Get some Prozac and go to confession” “John always tells me that nobody has it better He fancied himself a curmudgeon, writing colthan him,” said Marsha last weekend trying to buoy umns titled, “Confessions of a lapsed, liberal Demoour spirits as we hoped against hope that Loyola crat” and “Beware: This column contains alternative could work a miracle on his torn aorta. But it was opinions.” But he was just too upbeat. His son Chris too much even for modern health care and even described him as “an optimist but a realist.” I would though he was in excellent physical condition, his call him a realist whose optimism kept shining heart gave out, on Wednesday, Sept. 9. through. There was just too much sunshine in him. For his grandkids the loss is huge. The older ones I didn’t always agree with him, but I always — especially his first, Lily, already showing promise enjoyed reading him. I admired his brevity, his wit as a writer — will need to remind the younger ones and his refreshing candor. He knew his personal as they grow older what their grandpa was like, how shortcomings and acknowledged them more freely special he was. Three-year-old Hazel calls him her than anyone I know. He started one column: “What best friend. So does Hazel’s father. He was a character. He loved purple clothes, follows are the individual, non-expert thoughts gumballs and disguises (especially his Captain Hook of a 71-year-old male living in Oak Park, Illinois. costume). In fact that was his entire Christmas list Although I am pretty egotistical, I do not presume to last year. tell anyone about anything.” “He was a purple shirt-wearing, gumball-chewing The one area of his life where he was never



“I grasp how very fortunate I am. Perhaps most importantly, I understand that life is filled with possibility, and it is up to me to make the most of it.”



Remembering Louise Varnes: Oak Park’s heart and soul

ouise Varnes died last week at the age of 84. Two of those who knew and worked with her submitted their remembrances: Jerry Delaney: I met Louise Varnes some 40 years ago when six Oak Park women formed a circle of friends eventually named “The Crazies.” We were all crazed mothers, with 33 children among us, and gifted with wicked senses of humor. Over time we became “sisters” to each other. We supported each other through births, child-raising, personal crises, illnesses, divorces, and growing professional lives — always with the focus on laughing at the twists and turns of life! Louise’s calm, pleasant, and loving spirit became a core strength in our group. Her smile would light up our gatherings as she tempered us LOUISE VARNES with her wisdom. She liked to stay more in the background and rarely told us about her great accomplishments at the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. It wasn’t until she retired some years ago that we found out the extent of her role at the Housing Center over a period of 45 years. She was happy sharing with us her love of movies from the 1940s and ’50s, being proud of her family, taking us on field trips to where she grew up in Chicago, laughing hysterically with us when we gathered or went out to dinner, and gently calming down some of our high antics. We always knew she would be there for a listening session with some pointed reminders to laugh and be more grateful. Louise died Sept. 6 — she would have turned 85 in


goof,” said Nick, “and the smartest person in the room.” John wasn’t afraid of death. At any rate he wasn’t afraid to look at it squarely, which he did in April this year when he wrote: “I do appreciate the concern that everyone has for old people like me during these troubled times. But trust me, I have thought about death quite a bit as I have gotten older. I get it. I am more vulnerable to COVID-19, but then I am more vulnerable to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, the flu, falling down the steps, etc., ad nauseum. Old people always are dying.” “If this is it,” he said, as the paramedics wheeled him to the ambulance, “it was a great run.” There was only one thing he didn’t accomplish: dancing with his granddaughters on their wedding day. Other than that, his sons say, as a father and a grandfather, “he went out on top, like Michael Jordan.” “The most important thing he taught us,” said his son, Phil, “is to be the best parent we can possibly be.” I will miss our breakfasts but most of all his columns. I’m more of an essayist, but John was a true columnist. Get in, hit the nail on the head, and get out. That’s how he lived, too. He made me laugh and made me think — or rather, pushed me to find out what I was thinking. But he never made me cry. Until last week.

November. In my life, I’ve never met someone with such regal, physical and internal beauty. She was as beautiful at 84 as when I met her 40 years ago! She has left a hole in the hearts of all who cherish her and in a community that she so enriched with her efforts to create justice in housing.

Dan Lauber: Louise Varnes was one of the kindest, nicest, and steadiest people I’ve had the privilege to know — I never imagined she was one of the legendary “Crazies.” Long ago my wife Diana and I partied a few times with The Crazies, unaware that Louise was actually one of them. Her demeanor was just so low key and calm in contrast to the rest of the group. I had known her only from her clear-headed and dedicated work at the Oak Park Regional Housing Center. Just two years ago, Louise retired after 45 years with the Housing Center, first as a volunteer and then as a housing counselor. She always seemed like the heart and soul of the Housing Center as she frequently applied her personality and institutional memory to bring calm and reason to all around her — I guess much like she did with The Crazies. Despite her vast knowledge of the Housing Center’s workings, she was incredibly low key and modest. She fully understood that the Housing Center remains essential if Oak Park is to maintain its hard-earned stable racial diversity. Louise proved you don’t have to head an organization to make a huge impact on Oak Park. She remains an inspiration to everybody working in the trenches for social justice and equity in housing. Jerry Delaney is a longtime stalwart with the Democratic Party of Oak Park. Dan Lauber served as an Oak Park Regional Housing Center Board member, 1995-2003.

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


JOURNAL of Oak Park and River Forest

Editor and Publisher Dan Haley Senior Editor Bob Uphues Staff Reporters Michael Romain, Stacey Sheridan, Maria Maxham Viewpoints Editor Ken Trainor Real Estate Editor Lacey Sikora Food Editor Melissa Elsmo Arts Editor Michelle Dybal Sports/Staff reporter James Kay Columnists Marc Blessoff, Jack Crow, Doug Deuchler, Linda Francis, John Hubbuch, Mary Kay O’Grady, Kwame Salter, John Stanger, Stan West Staff Photographer Alex Rogals Design/Production Manager Andrew Mead Designers Mark Moroney, Javier Govea, Debbie Becker Business Manager Joyce Minich Marketing Representatives Marc Stopeck, Lourdes Nicholls Sales & Development Mary Ellen Nelligan Circulation Manager Jill Wagner E-MAIL Chairman Emeritus Robert K. Downs

Growing Community Media BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair Judy Greffin Treasurer Nile Wendorf Gary Collins, Darnell Shields, Sheila Solomon, Eric Weinheimer

About Viewpoints Our mission is to lead educated conversation about the people, government, schools, businesses and culture of Oak Park and River Forest. As we share the consensus of Wednesday Journal’s editorial board on local matters, we hope our voice will help focus your thinking and, when need be, fire you to action. In a healthy conversation about community concerns, your voice is also vital. We welcome your views, on any topic of community interest, as essays and as letters to the editor. Noted here are our stipulations for filing. Please understand our verification process and circumstances that would lead us not to print a letter or essay. We will call to check that what we received with your signature is something you sent. If we can’t make that verification, we will not print what was sent. When, in addition to opinion, a letter or essay includes information presented as fact, we will check the reference. If we cannot confirm a detail, we may not print the letter or essay. If you have questions, email Viewpoints editor Ken Trainor at ktrainor@

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


Lifelong dancing … and learning On Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., the Senior Citizens Center of Oak Park-River Forest will hold the 17th annual Ulyssean Awards via Zoom. This year’s honorees are Stephanie Clemens and Marge and Galen Gockel. The following is a profile of Clemens.


were needed in the academy’s new home at Bishop Quarter. The Oak Park Development Corporation provided a grant for a wheelchair ramp and a lift. Instructor Larry Ippel, who retired from the academy in the 2014-15 season, wrote the first recital piece for dancers with limited dancers at the academy. As the parent organization, the Academy of Movement and Music is a training school. Momenta later formed as a nonprofit performance organization whose students are chosen by recommendation. Momenta finds inspiration and foundation in the pioneering dance work and history of Doris Humphrey, who lived in Oak Park in the 1920s and ’30s. Momenta’s goals include: teaching young people to dance, creating beautiful choreography, and creating performance opportunities for all. Sarah Najera is Momenta’s director. Her dancing career was fostered by the academy and Momenta. Although Stephanie Clemens is not quite as agile as she once was, she still teaches to stay active. She believes everyone can dance, feel the pleasure of dance, enjoy moving, and feel the benefits through movement, rhythm, and esthetics. She still finds great joy in watching ballerinas, especially the tiny ones! Dancers with physical and visual challenges can still move and create. Passion and determination can bring greatness despite the limitations of our physical bodies. Stephanie also believes that age doesn’t have to stop us from doing what we love; we just need to find a different way of doing it. Working with adults with disabilities has


tephanie Clemens knew from the time she was very young that she would become a dancer. Both of her parents admired ballet, but they chose other art forms for self-expression. Stephanie’s dancing career began when she was 8 years old and enrolled at the Victory Gardens School of Dance in Hollywood, California. Although she knew dance would always be central in her life, her college major was physical anthropology, a just-in-case alternative career path. In 1971 Stephanie began teaching ballet in her Oak Park home with two students. In 1972 she expanded her space with a move to the Tai Chi studios on South Boulevard where she taught moms and babies exercise classes. Dance was soon added. Another expansion was needed and thus a move to a new school of dance on Marion Street from 1977-1982. The former Bishop Quarter school became the current site of the Academy of Movement and Music in 1982. The first recital of the academy’s dancers took place in the Little Theatre of Oak Park and River Forest High School in late spring of 1982. So that all dancers might have access to dance lessons and performance, many accommodations

Party affiliation issue is a red herring


BEND IT LIKE CLEMENS: Stephanie Clemens teaches young students at the Academy of Movement and Music. helped Stephanie to gracefully accept her own process of aging. Her dance system is generational. Children come to the academy, often as tiny dancers. They graduate high school and college, become members of the community, start families, and enroll their own children in dance classes at the academy. The cycle continues. Outside of the academy, Stephanie is mom to Jason, Justin, and James Paul (JP), who is the current ballet master at the academy. Her sons and daughters-in-law have blessed her with four grandchildren whom she adores. Stephanie’s husband, Mike Dutka, has man-

Oak Park needs to promote outdoor dining

With a village board deeply divided on many issues, Oak Park suffers from its own epidemic of partisanship, but it’s not the Democratic versus Republican kind. Do most Oak Parkers care about the “tradition” of Independent status for those running for local public office? More likely we’re oblivious of it. On the other hand, we’re proud of our legacy of breaking with tradition, from architectural convention to racial segregation. And in the midst of a pandemic, running as a Democrat to spare volunteers the health risks of collecting hundreds of ballot petition signatures just makes sense, like wearing your mask. Criticism of Cate Readling’s decision to run as a Democrat for village president is a red herring. Voters should care more about her qualifications, readiness, and temperament. Cate’s proven progressive values and tested leadership, her boundless energy and positive spirit, her ability to forge relationships and build consensus, her respect for diverse viewpoints, and her deeply felt commitment to this community are already well known to the many people who’ve worked alongside her in causes ranging from Scouts for Equality to the Fair Tax campaign. These qualities are what the Oak Park Village Board desperately needs to move past its current partisan divide. Cate Readling should break another tradition: by becoming the first woman of color to serve as president of Oak Park.

I walked my dog through the rain on Friday morning and watched the workers cut down the trees on Lake Street between Oak Park Avenue and Euclid. The tent, lights, and all the tables and chairs were gone. For those in the neighborhood, you know that we had serendipitously realized a European outdoor cafe culture here in Oak Park due to the pandemic. This was a wonderful consequence of a horrible circumstance that should make us think about what restaurant culture could be like in the spring, summer and early fall throughout Oak Park. Do the village trustees have the vision to look at the present streetscape plan, consider the potentially wonderful dynamic that was presented in response to the coronavirus, and change the sidewalk layout in this area and elsewhere to allow for more permanent outdoor cafes after the pandemic has run its course? Of all of the compromises that we have made since March, outdoor dining has been a plus. Let’s continue to realize it and promote it going forward.

Oak Park

Oak Park

Wendy Greenhouse

Stephen J. Kelley, FAIA, SE

aged the facilities at the academy from its inception. Stephanie confesses she is working harder now than she ever did since starting the business. Writing grants, updating and adhering to safety codes, Zoom sessions due to COVID-19, assisting teachers, running programs and finding staff, fill her days and overflow. Yet she has no regrets. Doing something positive in the face of something terrible (the pandemic) and being with multiple generations of dancers, continues to bring fulfillment and joy to her life. Janine Katonah is a Senior Citizens Center board member.

Hey, village, what gives … besides me?

Out of the blue (no prior warning letters), I get a “pay up or else” letter from the village, which has doubled the fine since the event some nine months ago. Well, being a good, regretfully retired individual, I went deep into my records, pulled a payment notice from Quickbooks, went to my bank, and got a printed copy of our village cashing my check (violation # on both items, all within the specified time). So … #1 Why did I get this notice? #2 Why now? #3 Where did the money go from the original ticket? #4 Why no follow up warnings? #5 Is this happening to other “offenders,” or just me who has been summoned to pay $63 for parking in Oak Park? Just curious if anybody else is being subjected to this.

John Roberts Oak Park




Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020


De-privatize pickle ball courts in River Forest

ight years ago the River Forest Park District Board of Commissioners made a decision that turned part of the public parks into private space — available for use solely though payment of membership fees. That bad decision is resurfacing again now and creating more division within the community. In 2012, after much lobbying by a small but dedicated group of platform/paddle tennis players, the park district board agreed to build two paddle tennis courts at Keystone Park (thereby eliminating a tennis court) with the proviso that paddle tennis participants would buy exclusive memberships and pay user fees in order to play. Five years later in 2017, paddle tennis players again lobbied commissioners and two more courts were added, once again using exclusive membership fees as funding and once again reducing the number of public tennis courts available to all. River Forest residents who don’t buy memberships are

now prohibited from using the paddle tennis courts — subject to fines and ticketing if they do. Those previous decisions, predictably divisive, were a clear break from the past practice in the village. Tennis, pickle ball, volleyball and bocce courts are available to all residents without membership requirements and are built and maintained primarily via park district taxes. While the ultimate result of these decisions is of benefit to paddle tennis players, the other very predictable consequences totally changed the dynamic of what publicly funded parks are supposed to be. In real and actual effect, the River Forest board has: • turned public park space into a private membership club primarily for adults, • told the majority of residents that certain parts of their public parks are now off limits to them unless they buy a member-

ship, • created private club exclusivity for those who do purchase a membership, • caused division and divisiveness within the community between residents who want public park spaces to be open and available for everybody and those who benefit from the exclusivity that the private membership fees provide. Paddle tennis players now want even more of the available public space. They are asking the current park board to conduct a feasibility study for additional expansion. They say the sport is growing, so they need additional courts and a new warming hut. They claim non-member residents will not be harmed because they propose to pay for the next round of changes, again, through their exclusive membership fees. That is exactly the way such changes


One View

Let us pack our own reusable bags

Dear Mayor Anan, Honorable Trustees, and Ms. Pavlicek, This past weekend I was informed by my local cashier at Pete’s Fresh Market (259 Lake St.) that I was unable to bag my own groceries in-store using my personal reusable bags due to a change in policy. I inquired further and was directed by Pete’s to the “Extension of Supplemental Order - Suspension of the Village of Oak Park’s Retail Single-Use Bag Fee and Guidance on Reusable Bags,” dated Aug. 26, to which you were distributed a copy. Contrary to the name, this policy does not provide any guidance on the use of reusable bags. This is an old debate, and the Governor’s executive order was issued on June 26. While the executive order does, in fact, state in section 3(b) “discontinue the use of reusable bags” the Governor’s Office has publicly commented that the intent is not to stop individuals from packing their own reusable bags in store. This was reported on July 6 by Monica Eng for WBEZ in “How to avoid plastic grocery bags during Illinois’ reusable bag ban” ( Monica reported: “When asked by WBEZ, both Pritzker’s office and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity agreed that the executive order was never meant to prevent shoppers from packing their own bags in the store.” The major point of debate in Illinois seems to be whether or not customers can pack their own bags inside stores, and with the repeated scientific studies showing that clean, reusable containers do not spread the virus, there is no reason to disrupt consumer’s lives more than necessary. By forcing Oak Park consumers to accept plastic or paper waste where the Governor’s order allowed stores to set their own policy, the village of Oak Park is getting involved in an ongoing debate on the use of reusable bags without providing any additional guidance or clarity. The CDC indicates that person-to-person transmission and not contaminated surfaces are the primary method of virus transmission. Unless the village felt the need to adopt provisions stricter than those contained in the Governor’s order and contrary to public comments made by the Governor’s Office, I would ask that you please provide guidance in this and future orders which explicitly allows individuals to pack their own reusable bags within retail stores located in the village of Oak Park.

Joshua Reed Oak Park

would be proposed and funded if they were being brought to the board of directors of a private club. But River Forest parks are not a private club, or at least they’re not supposed to be. They are a taxed public entity, a public trust, with property and programs primarily paid for by all taxpayers and intended for the non-exclusive benefit of all residents. If the current River Forest park board believes more paddle tennis courts are warranted, so be it. They should approve them and fund them — build the courts, open the doors, pay for the changes through taxes and tell all residents they are welcome to use their parks and their courts as they see fit. But turning more public park space for everyone into more private membership space for the few is divisive and wrong. It violates the very purpose of a public park. You don’t need a feasibility study to know it. Bob Ray is a resident of River Forest.

Victory vs. Trump and ICE deportation plans In the July 29 edition of Wednesday Journal, CJPIP [Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine] placed an ad, as part of our Step Up for Justice campaign, calling on our neighbors to oppose a Trump Administration plan to establish a Chicago ICE “Citizens Academy.” ICE had planned this effort to train citizens to aid in its harassment, arrest, and deportation of members of immigrant communities. We are delighted to report to Wednesday Journal’s readers that this effort has been postponed for at least a year. We want to congratulate the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repressio n, and the Organized Communities Against Deporta-

tions, as well as Oak Park and other Chicago-area residents who organized to oppose the “Academy.” Of course, we will remain vigilant — and CJPIP will let community members know about further efforts as they are needed. CJPIP advocates for full equality in Israel and Palestine as well as in the U.S. We have supported Oak Park’s sanctuary city status and have marched with tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents against family separation and child detentions at the U.S. border, just as we have organized against the incarceration of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons for many years.

CJPIP Steering Committee Oak Park

Safeguards in place to prevent voting twice Someone recently suggested that people vote by mail and then try to vote again on Election Day to prove there can be fraud. Apart from the fact that voter fraud is illegal, the voting systems in both Chicago and Suburban Cook County will prevent people from voting twice. Having served as election judges in Suburban Cook County, we know that the names of voters who have requested a Vote-by-Mail ballot*, as well those who have voted early at Early Voting sites, are clearly marked as such on the list of voters provided to election judges on Election Day. When a voter checks in with the election judges on Election Day, the election judges will see that the voter is marked as having requested a Vote-by-Mail ballot and inform the voter. If the voter says that they have not voted by mail, the voter will be allowed to vote normally at the polling place, but only if the voter is able to give the Voteby-Mail ballot to the judges.

However, if the voter does not have the Vote-by-Mail ballot to give the election judges, they will allow the voter to utilize a “provisional ballot.” After the voter has marked the provisional ballot, it is not inserted into the scanner, but instead is placed in an envelope with an attached affidavit completed by the voter who signs to swear or affirm that the person has not already voted. That envelope with the affidavit and the provisional ballot is given to the judges, who deliver it separately to the Election Authority after the polls close. Only if the Election Authority is able to confirm that no Vote-by-Mail ballot has been counted for that voter will that provisional ballot be counted after Election Day. *Vote by mail ballots also may be deposited in official drop boxes at early voting sites.

Beverly Graham

President, League of Women Voters of Oak Park-River Forest



Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020



Smart-city technology in Oak Park: promise vs. privacy

ot long before the start of this unprecedented year, the Civic Information Systems Commission (CISC) began investigating potential “smart city” options for Oak Park, in anticipation of new fiber optic infrastructure approved for the 2020 fiscal year. This fiber was necessary for village IT staff to provide needed speed and redundancy where the existing aging connections were lacking. The new fiber was, in the commission’s belief, necessary for public safety in that the fast and redundant links would keep all village satellite locations online, working efficiently, and at low risk for failure. Though this project had big potential to improve government services, it also could pay back dividends to residents for many years to come through smart-city applications exploiting the high-speed connections provided by the fiber. The CISC, a technology advisory commission to the Oak Park Board of Trustees, added smart cities to its 2020 work plan in response to the board’s wishes to investigate technological solutions that could improve quality of life in Oak Park.

Imagine networked villagewide sensors making possible signaling for improved traffic flow, parking space management, infrastructure integrity and efficiency, air quality monitoring … the possibilities seemed endless. Taxing bodies could also lease bandwidth on the village’s future-proofed fiber and link its campuses, providing added value to their stakeholders while adding a bit of expense-offset to village coffers. As chair of the CISC, it was an exciting topic for me to explore with CISC members, investigating what cities around the country and world were implementing to raise quality of life for citizens and reduce expenses. Now, we have a coronavirus pandemic raging with no end in sight, racial equity discussion that is long overdue, and a municipal budget that has taken a huge blow from COVID-19 response and revenue loss while we were already experiencing the pain of high property taxes. While it’s great that Oak Park is still getting its fiber to uphold critical operations, smart-city projects seem to be on

hold while we get our bearings with other more pressing issues. Still, we can start contemplating how we’d like to see smartcity solutions work for Oak Park. It seems obvious that first priority should be given to solutions that cost relatively little, and provide a big financial payback to the village. But personal privacy will likely (and rightfully) be top of many lists of priorities and concerns. Certain apps, in order to perform the intended outcome, need to track human movement to some extent. What trade-offs are we willing to accept? How much of our privacy are we willing to give up for the sake of convenience? How do we define “quality of life”? To give an example, there is evidence that some countries got ahead of COVID-19 quickly by utilizing smart phone apps that allowed GPS tracking of people known to be COVID positive. The app would alert you when someone with COVID was within short range, allowing you the chance to socially distance. Virus spread was limited and lives


One View

Thrive Town Halls offer outlet during pandemic In late March, Oak Park’s Thrive Counseling Center began hosting Town Hall meetings via Zoom as a means of surviving and thriving in the new reality of COVID-19. People from the community came together, and the group grew as newcomers joined each week. Attendees came from Oak Park and beyond and varied in gender, age, marital status, and occupation. Some had children, some were working and some were retired. What we shared was a desire for connection in a time of great uncertainty. What resulted was a stimulating weekly discussion from a diverse group of remarkably intelligent, passionate, articulate people. These gatherings weren’t counseling sessions, but rather open, free-flowing discussions moderated by Thrive board member and local family therapist Steven Parker. The meetings gave us the opportunity to discuss the scope and impact of COVID and the shelter-in-place orders. We shared stories and information, and posed questions about what health care, employment, and the economy might look like going forward. As a group foundation of trust and respect emerged, people began to open up about personal experiences of anxiety, anger, uncertainty, frustration, and isolation brought on by this virus and its unprec-

edented implications. At first, we were all dealing with adjustment to what we hoped would not be the “new normal.” As time passed and it dawned on us that mask-wearing and social-distancing were, in fact, ongoing, we wrestled with ways to remain productive and maintain a sense of purpose within these new parameters in our everyday lives. In late May, the discussion shifted, following the killing of George Floyd. We were all supportive of the peaceful protests, but as vigilantes patrolled streets with assault weapons in cities across the country and as looting and destruction of property began in our city and even our village, we felt the need to vocalize our perceptions, fears and possible solutions to the problem of systemic police violence. We discussed the controversial phrase, “defund the police” and how it might be misinterpreted; a particular discussion included expert input about restorative justice by Brian Collier, dean of Restorative Justice at Manley High School. As we look ahead, we expect the change of seasons to bring challenges. Colder weather may bring about increased feelings of isolation and frustration. Indoor

gatherings may give the virus a renewed foothold. Issues with children and schooling and working will remain demanding. This is all new, and it all requires unique and creative responses. The Thrive Town Hall meeting is something stimulating to look forward to and holds a place on our calendars. We cannot think of a more supportive, honest approach to these times than to join with other interesting people to focus, process and brainstorm the current and pressing issues before us. As the fall season progresses and people’s schedules fill up, we want our meetings to be relevant, focused, and accessible timewise. We’re considering changes. As we put together our next meeting, we invite you and others from outside our community to join us, and we want your input. What are some of your most pressing concerns and issues at this time? What topics would you like to hear about? When would you be available to join us for an hour, and how often? Please email or phone us at Thrive with your interests and availability. All suggestions are welcome. Contact Wynne Lacey at 708-3837500, x111 or

Nancy Hess, Kathy Haney, John Van Aalst, Beth Fischer, Amy Stearns, Ben Rankin-Parker, Marty Parker

Cooperate with contact tracers It seems that people are reluctant to give information to contact tracers, thinking that the contact tracers are concerned about underage drinking.

I believe they are concerned about underage dying.

Peggy Vicars Oak Park

were saved, which is undoubtedly a good thing. But do we want apps to know that much about us, or our whereabouts? How else could an app exploit personal information for financial or malicious gain? Smart-city technology is exciting, but we will need to do some soul-searching about what level of privacy we are willing to give up for the sake of life improvement. I believe smart-city data should be kept as secure as possible, and provide direct benefit to the residents. Even though worthy solutions need good data about people’s behavior to allow the technology to improve lives, people can be clever about what information should be divulged. There are many stakeholders in this, from the citizens to government to app developers. I’ve heard some say that they believe people ultimately need to evolve with technology as it progresses, but I believe we all have a say in the evolution of technology and how it ultimately serves everyone. David Baker is chair of the Civic Information Systems Commission and lives in Oak Park.

FRANCIS from page 17

tunity to improve kindergarten for all D97 kids is wasted. The focus for so long has been on studying why Black, Latinx, and low-income students are not meeting expectations. Perhaps part of the answer lies in looking at how privilege has raised academic performance or whether expectations are reasonable and developmentally appropriate in the first place. This pandemic presents us with the opportunity to slow down and assess whether the systems constructed to afford privileges to some are even working for them anymore. Youth anxiety and depression are at an all-time high, even before COVID, and occurring at increasingly younger ages. The need to find kindergarten workarounds is clearly a sign that we are starting off our children’s education on the wrong foot. And yet, this is the standard by which we are judging the success of the less privileged. Perhaps it’s time to redefine success in much healthier and inclusive terms. Whether it’s the social and emotional wellbeing of children relegated to online learning or the structure of freshmen curriculum, the key to better solutions lies in asking how we improve the systems that serve all kids and not just our kin. The 40 or so OPRF High School students who got a chance to socialize together have now put in danger a much greater number of community members. What if the question were not how a limited number of youth can experience a sense of normalcy, but how we can create safe options for all of our community youth to be socially engaged during this pandemic? What if the Domino effect of wielding privilege resulted in many more benefiting rather than many more having to struggle in the wake of other’s individual success. The decision to change paths is up to all of us.



John Hubbuch, 71 WJ columnist, philosopher

John Hubbuch, 71, a 44-year Oak Park resident, died on Sept. 9, 2020 at Loyola Hospital following surgery for a ruptured aortal valve. Born on Feb. 28, 1949, in New Albany, Indiana, he graduated valedictorian from New Albany High School in 1967, from Vanderbilt University in 1971 (first in his family to go to college) and from the University of Chicago Law School in 1974. He married Marsha (nee Brooks), a high school classmate, in 1971 and they moved to Oak Park in 1976, where they raised three sons. An attorney with the firms Peterson, Ross & Schloerb and McCullough, Campbell & Lane, he retired at age 59. He wasn’t passionate about law, his sons agreed. He was passionate about being the best parent he could be. Consistency made him special. His effort and energy made him legendary. In addition to coaching his sons in youth sports for 20 years, he served on the District 97 school board in the 1980s, was a member of the YMCA board for 25 years, and served as president of the OPRF Huskies Booster Club for 10 years. In the mid-1990s, he began writing his column for Wednesday Journal. After retiring, he joined a class on Great Thinkers taught by Redd Griffin. When Redd died, he and his classmates kept the group going. An avid reader and film buff, in his first year of retirement, he finished every novel by Charles Dickens, watched every Martin Scorsese film, and in one month viewed all of the James Bond movies. And he connected more with Marsha. His one regret was not giving her enough attention when the boys were growing up. Other than that, he said, “I would live my same life over and over again.” “He was a great conversationalist,” said his son, “Within 5 minutes, he’d have you talking about the meaning of life.” “His columns were like an instruction manual,” said his son, Phil. “I just wish he had written one on, ‘How do I get over your death?’”

He often told his sons, “You don’t have to be what you’ve become” and he practiced what he preached. He lost weight. He stopped smoking and drinking. He ate a healthy diet. He changed. About 10 days before he died, he emailed his sons and told them to pay attention to three things: “Your health, your mission, and the people you care about.” John Hubbuch is survived by Marsha, his wife of 49 years; his sons, Chris (Sarah), Nick (Brooke), and Phil (Carrie); his seven grandchildren, Lily, Ava, and Cole, Teddy and Ford, and Hazel and Jack; his brother, Bob Hubbuch (Sue); and his sister, Joan Erni (Pralle). He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis G. Hubbuch, and Ophelia (Simms) Hubbuch. In lieu of flowers, etc., donations to Opportunity Knocks, 8020 Madison St., River Forest 60305 ( would be very much appreciated. A memorial service will be held for immediate family. A celebration of his life will be planned when the virus relents.

Louise Varnes, 84

Force behind the Housing Center Louise M. Varnes (nee Craine), 84, of Forest Park, formerly of Oak Park, passed away at home Sept. 8 surrounded by family. Born and raised in Edison Park, she enjoyed seeing movies at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, graduated from St. Scholastica High School in 1953, and worked for Illinois Bell Telephone. She married Robert Varnes in 1957, and they eventually moved to the famed 200 block of South Elmwood, Oak Park in 1968. Wanting to be more involved within the community, Louise started as a volunteer with the Oak Park Housing Center at its inception and was employed there for 45 years until her retirement in 2018. In addition to spending time with family, she loved attending Shakespeare plays, watching movies, doing puzzles and especially spending time with her “Group of Crazies,” as she and her friends were affectionately known. Louise was the mother of Matt, Elaine, Dan (Christine), Rich, and Jeannette (Erik)

Robert P. Gamboney Funeral Director

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020

Hess; the grandmother of Matthew, Brianna, Miriam, Steven, the late Melanie, Madeline, Emma, Andrew, and Eleanor; and the greatgrandmother of Aiden, Bailey, and Victoria. She is survived by her brother Neil (Carol) Craine. She was predeceased by her parents, Cornelius and Marie; her sister, Margaret; and her brothers, Joe, George, and John Craine. She was the sister-in-law, aunt, friend, and co-worker to many. A celebration of her life and legacy will be held at a later date.

Charles Schmuttenmaer, 56 Yale chemistry professor

Charles Albert Schmuttenmaer, 56, of New Haven, Connecticut, died of a heart attack on July 26, 2020 at home. Born in Oak Park, he played youth baseball and hockey, worked at Competitive Foot, and was captain of the Junior Engineering Technical Society, which competed at the University of Illinois. He attended Lincoln School and was introduced to his first love, chemistry, at Oak Park and River Forest High School, by Dr. Allison. He never looked back. From Oak Park to Berkeley to Rochester to New Haven, his curiosity, optimism and dedication made him known nationwide and worldwide. As a Yale University professor of chemistry, he was a founding member of the Yale Green Energy Consortium and a pioneer in physical chemistry. He led the Schmuttenmaer Research Group on novel applications of terahertz spectroscopy, which increases the efficiency of solar energy technology. His professional associations included the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, the Royal Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a brilliant man who enjoyed family, traveling, croquet, karaoke, and courteously discussing political views. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, the American Chemical Society, or


Garden Center Services, a group serving disabled individuals at 10444 S. Kedzie, Chicago 60655. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

James Dottke, 89 Educator, coach, principal

James E. Dottke, 89, a resident of Oak Park, died in Chicago on Sept. 6, 2020 with his family at his side. He grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he attended school, including earning a B.S. in Secondary Education from Wisconsin State College at Oshkosh. He also received an M.S. in Physical Education from Indiana University and a certificate in Mathematics for Teachers from Wayne State University. He spent over 35 years teaching, coaching, serving as athletic director and principal at West Allis Central High School in the West Allis-West Milwaukee school district. He worked tirelessly to support school integration, for students who needed an alternative education, and for Title IX rights for girls’ sports. The James E. Dottke High School in West Allis serves as a legacy to his commitment to all students. Jim Dottke was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy (nee Malchow), and his son-inlaw, Michael Arthurs. He is survived by his daughters Lea Ann Dottke (Paula Hanley) and Jane Carol Arthurs. In accordance with his wishes, cremation has taken place, with private interment at Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery. A celebration of Jim’s life will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to Shriners Hospital for Children-Chicago, 2211 N. Oak Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60707 or the Myelodysplastic Foundation, 4573 S. Broad St., Suite 150, Yardville, NJ 08620. Arrangements were handled by Hitzeman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 94445 W. 31st St. in Brookfield. See OBITUARIES on page 24

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Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020 Continued from page 23

Ruth Laux, 89

Longtime employee at District 97 Ruth H. Laux (nee Panzel), 89, of Oak Park, died quietly on Sept. 7 after a long illness. She was born on Dec. 22, 1930 in St. Goar am Rhein, Germany, where her father, Walter Panzel, piloted boats along the river. She spent her early years in St. Goar, surviving great personal loss and hardship during World War II. After graduating from secondary school, she spent two years studying in Birmingham, England, where she became proficient in English and obtained work as a secretary at the American Embassy in Bonn, Germany. It was there that she met and married Dean Laux, with whom she came to the United States in 1957. Ruth worked for Oak Park School District 97 for many years, first as a teaching assistant at Longfellow School and then as head of the Media Services Department at the administrative office. She had a special affection for children and loved taking care of her home and family. She enjoyed growing and arranging flowers and had a great appreciation for opera, literature, and art. Loved by her fam-

ily, she will always be “die Allerliebste.” Ruth, also known as Oma, is survived by her former husband and by three children, Dennis (Janice) Laux, Dianne Laux, and Debra (Vitaliy) Muraiti; her grandchildren, Emily (Ian) Marcheschi, Alyson (Will) Sandwick, Victoria, Alexandra, and Elizabeth Muraiti; and by her great-grandson, Ezra Marcheschi. Ruth Laux was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest where a private memorial service will be held. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made in her memory to the Chicago Botanic Garden ( or to the Morton Arboretum ( Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

William Sullivan, 64 IT manager, soccer referee, birder

William Peter Sullivan, 64, of Oak Park, died on Sept. 10, 2020 at Loyola Medical Center. Born on Oct. 11, 1955, he grew up in Gainesville, Florida, attended high school at Portsmouth Abbey School in Portland, Rhode Island, and graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Over the span


of his career in telecommunications and IT management he had the opportunity to travel the world, but his favorite adventures were those he went on with his wife of 36 years. He was committed to his community and served on the village telecommunications commission. He coordinated AYSO soccer referees, a task that brought him great joy, and was an avid referee himself. He loved bird watching, reading, and running with his friends and family. He was known for his humor, kindness and selflessness. He is survived by his wife, Penny, and their four children: William (Martha); Katherine (Matthew) Mihalka; Thomas; and Brian. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mary Sullivan. Visitation will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the National Audubon Society.

Mary Scott, 90

Teacher, musician and realtor Mary F. Scott (nee Simpson), 90, of Valparaiso, Indiana, formerly of Oak Park, was born on March 7, 1930, an only child, and grew up on a farm in western Illinois. She attended Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa, at one time teaching in a one-room schoolhouse near her parents’ home. She was also an ac-

OAKPARK.COM | RIVERFOREST.COM complished musician, playing the piano and singing. A member of the Niles Concert Choir and an organist at Ascension Parish in Oak Park for many years, her lifelong love for music extended to playing the piano for her fellow residents at her assisted living facility. She worked at the University of Illinois Chicago and completed her bachelor’s degree in History at UIC, with children and grandchildren in attendance. She had a career as a real estate agent with WR James Realtor in Oak Park. After retirement, Mary and her husband of 61 years, Vaile, spent winters in Longboat Key, Florida where they developed many friends, and enjoyed the visits of friends and family. Mary Scott was the wife of the late Vaile J.; the mother of Tony (Carolyn Lehr), Tom (Virginia), Francie (Mike Sheridan), Margaret, Paul Scott and Ellen (Sam) Adams; the grandmother of 17; great-grandmother of 3; and the aunt and cousin of many. All services are private with interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America ( are appreciated. Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.


Now more than ever, some of our members – those most in need of Chamber resources – may not be able to pay their membership renewal. Please consider a gift of a full or partial membership to another member TODAY. Give the Gift of Community at Chamber Board, President

Stay Resilient and Strong Together.

OPRF Chamber of Commerce 2020 Appeal.

Gift at

Chamber Board, V.P.

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020

OAKPARK.COM | RIVERFOREST.COM New local ads this week






HOURS: 9:00 A.M.– 5:00 P.M. MON–FRI

Deadline is Monday at 5:00 p.m.

Please Check Your Ad: The publisher will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion. Wednesday Journal Classified must be notified before the second insertion. The newspaper reserves the right to edit or reject any advertisement.

Place your ad online anytime at:ďŹ ed/



Job Title: Paid-on-Call Firefighter Description: The Village of Riverside Fire Department is seeking applicants for the position of Paid-on-Call Firefighter. Additional Status Information: This is not a full-time position. Qualifications: - In good physical condition - Reside within 1.5 miles of the boundaries of the Village of Riverside at time of appointment - Be 18 years of age at the time of application - Possess a high school diploma or GED - Possess a valid driver’s license with a good driving record Miscellaneous Applications are reviewed in October 2020. Application deadline is Friday, September 25, 2020. The Village of Riverside is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



Accounting Specialist (Chicago, IL) sought by Home Health Care Services co. with exp. in all of the following: (i) providing accounting and administrative support in large volume billing activities, meeting biweekly billing projections, assisting in reconciliation of accounts, auditing payments and invoices to reduce billing errors, recording checks, creating strategies to collect accounts receivables, and analyzing aging reports, (ii) using accounting software, such as QuickBooks, to prepare invoices and record, store, and analyze financial information, and (iii) using Microsoft Office Software, specifically Microsoft Excel’s Pivot tables, Vlookups, graphs, dashboards, and advanced formulas to assist in accounting activities. Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, Computer Science, or Computer Engineering (or foreign equivalent) + 3M exp. in the job duties. No travel or lang. fluency req. Please send resumes by postal mail only to: Samrong So, COO, Renewal Care Partners LLC, 150 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2800, Chicago, IL 60601.

FLOATER YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST Hephzibah Children’s Association is a social service agency in Oak Park, IL providing a variety of programs including Residential Group Homes, Foster Care programs and other Family Based services and Day Care.

ELECTRICIAN’S HELPER PART-TIME Part-time Electrician’s Helper. Must have own transportation. Call for more info. 708-738-3848 HAPPY KIDD’S WEST INC. 6928 W 16th St Berwyn, IL 60513 We are seeking a Director and 2 teachers. Director must be qualiďŹ ed and have Associate’s degree or equivalent. Teachers must be director or teacher qualiďŹ ed. Mon thru Fri. working with Infants to 6 yrs old. Compensable salary negotiable based on experience. Call 773-619-5545 or fax resume to 773-728-5437.

You have jobs. We have readers!

Find the best employees in Wednesday Classified! Call 708-613-3342.

We are accepting applications for part time Floater Youth Development Specialists in our Day Care program for the 20-21 school year. You will assist with e-learning and provide supervision and care to 5-11-year-old (Kindergarten-5th grade) children in the Oak Park community. The position is part time, as needed, between the hours of 7:20 am and 3:20 pm weekdays – approximately 16-24 hours per week.

SUBURBAN RENTALS FOREST PARK 3BR 3 BR apt, 2nd oor, w/ dining rm and breakfast nook. New kitchen w/ granite & stainless. New baths central air, free laundry. Garage space included. 2 blks to blue line. $1800 + deposit & credit check required. 312-802-8291 COZY TOWN HOME FOR RENT Cozy Town Home for Rent. Two bedroom, One Bath, with partial ďŹ nished basement and washer and dryer. 1 block from the amazing Lincoln Elementary School. Walk to the Blue Line, Grocery Store, Cafe, Ice Cream Shop, and great parks. One parking space included. Tenant pays all utilities. One month rent and one month security deposit required. Credit check required. Owner pays water and refuse. $1450. Available October 15, 2020. Please email for inquiries. OAK PARK: ROOSEVELT/ OAK PARK AVE. CORRIDOR 2BR 4RMS close to blue line. On site laundry, parking, heat & water incl. $1200/ month 708-383-9223

CITY RENTALS DELUXE 3BR APT 5955 W HURON First Floor. Large kitchen, all electric appliances. Near West Suburban Hospital. Near all public trans. $1150/mo. Call 773-637-8677 for appt.

Requirements include: • Minimum of 6 semester hours in education, recreation, social work, or related college courses • Experience working with children


You will supervise and assist children with e-learning programs; plan and supervise arts and crafts, indoor & outdoor play, games, sports, homework help, lunchtime, snack time and more.


The program follows the safety guidelines of the IDPH including daily health screening of all staff and participations (temperature check and health questionnaire) required face masks, social distancing and cleaning & disinfecting.

ROOMS FOR RENT AUSTIN CLEAN ROOM With fridge, micro. Nr Oak Park, Super Walmart, Food 4 Less, bus, & Metra. $116/wk and up. 773-637-5957

OFFICE SPACE FOR RENT DOWNTOWN OAK PARK Downtown Oak Park, on Marion St. Nice ofďŹ ce with skylight. Heat and A/C included. Approx 220 sf. Call Mr. McNamara 630-215-3253

RIVER FOREST–7777 Lake St. *1116 sq. ft. suite *569 sq. ft. with patio RIVER FOREST–7756 Madison St. *926 sq. ft. OAK PARK–6597 North Ave. *598 sq. ft. 6142-44 Roosevelt Rd. *3 and 5 room suites Strand& & Browne Strand Browne 708-488-0011 708-488-0011

Buying? Selling? Renting? Hiring? Wednesday Classified 708-613-3333


property management, inc.

708-386-7355 • 649 Madison Street, Oak Park Contact us for a complete list of available rentals throughout Oak Park and Forest Park.

Apartment listings updated daily at:

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SAWA’S OLD WARSAW 9200 CERMAK RD BROADVIEW APPLY IN PERSON MONDAYS 10AM TO NOON Please bring all necessary documentation.

North Riverside


Holiday dĂŠcor, clothes, shoes, too much to list! All proceeds go to Autism Speaks.

ITEMS FOR SALE VINTAGE HOWELL RED CHAIRS 6 beautiful vintage red chrome steel dining chairs by furniture maker Howell (St. Charles, IL) from the 1950s. All chairs in great condition. Small tears in two of the seats and extremely minor tear in third. Other three are in excellent condition. Wear is consistent with age/vintage condition and all chairs have been temporarily repaired to prevent further tearing. Price is $100/chair or $500/set of 6. Delivery available. 773-780-6315


WANTED TO BUY WE BUY RECORDS!! We pay cash for your jazz, soul, punk, metal, rock, reggae, country records! Give us a call at 773-3726643. We make house calls!! WANTED MILITARY ITEMS: Helmets, medals, patches, uniforms, weapons, ags, photos, paperwork, Also toy soldiers – lead, plastic – other misc. toys. Call Uncle Gary 708-522-3400


Equal Opportunity Employer PARTTIME VISION THERAPIST Late afternoon and pm hours weekdays and possible Saturdays Work one on one with patients to improve vision skills. Training provided. Fax resume to 708-771-0513 or email to


While you’re away, your pets are okay . . . at home

Find your new apartment this Saturday from 10 am – 4pm at 35 Chicago Avenue. Or call us toll free at 1-833-440-0665 for an appointment.

cat calls

Oak Park’s Original Pet Care Service – Since 1986

Daily dog exercising Complete pet care in your home )PVTF TJUUJOH t 1MBOU DBSF Bonded References


Advertise your business in Wednesday Classified. Call 708/613-3342

AIR CONDITIONING/ HEATING AIR CONDITIONING AND APPLIANCE EXPERT Air Conditioning Automotive A/C Refrigerators Ranges • Ovens Washer • Dryers Hot Water Heaters Rodding Sewers


New hardwood ooring installation & pergo. Sanding, re-ďŹ nishing, staining. Low prices, insured. Call: 773-671-4996

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708-785-2619 or 773-585-5000 Attention Home-Improvement Pros! Reach the people making the decisions. Place an ad in Wednesday Classifieds! Call 708/613-3342

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HANDYMAN CURT'S HANDYMAN SERVICE Drywall Repair • Painting Fans Installed • Carpentry Trim Gutter Cleaning • Window Repair

FREE ESTIMATES Excellent References No Job Too Small


CEMENT Residential Commercial Industrial Licensed Bonded Insured Free Estimates ¡ Veteran Owned

Drives Walks Patios Stamped Concrete Curbs/Gutters Garage Floors Foundations Parking Lots Water Control ¡ 708-945-9001




708.442.7720 '5,9(:$<6 ‡ )281'$7,216 ‡ 3$7,26 67(36 ‡ &85% *877(56 ‡ 6,'(:$/.6 612: 3/2:,1* ‡ 67$03(' &2/25(' $**5(*$7( &21&5(7( FREE ESTIMATES LICENSED, BONDED & INSURED


Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020




Let the sun shine in...


Public Notice: Your right to know


Let an American Veteran do your work

We install plugs for battery-operated vehicles We fix any electrical problem and do small jobs We install Surge Protectors • Home Re-wiring • New Plugs & Switches Added • New circuit breaker boxes • Code violations corrected Service upgrades,100-200 amp • Garage & A/C lines installed Fast Emergency Service | Residential • Commercial • Industrial Free Home Evaluations | Lic. • Bonded • Ins. • Low Rates • Free Est.

708-409-0988 • 708-738-3848 Sr. Discounts • 30 Yrs. Exp. Servicing Oak Park • All surrounding suburbs • Chicago area



Roofing Repairs Concrete Repairs • Drywall All types of handiwork Call For Free Estimates

PUBLIC NOTICE Notice is hereby given, pursuant to “An Act in relation to the use of an Assumed Business Name in the conduct or transaction of Business in the State,” as amended, that a certification was registered by the undersigned with the County Clerk of Cook County. Registration Number: Y20004227 on August 27, 2020 Under the Assumed Business Name of POP-UP MUSIC SCHOOL with the business located at: 244 WESLEY AVE, OAK PARK, IL 60302. The true and real full name(s) and residence address of the owner(s)/ partner(s) is: MAGALY CORDERO-DIETZ 244 WESLEY AVE, OAK PARK, IL 60302, USA.

Ask for John

Published in Wednesday Journal 9/2, 9/9, 9/16/2020

Mike’s Home Repair Drywall H Painting H Tile Plumbing H Electric H Floors Windows H Doors H Siding Ask Us What We Don’t Do


HANDYMAN 773-637-0692


Appliances & Furniture Removal Pickup & Delivery. 708-848-9404


Evergreen trimming & more. Hand weed removal. Clean-ups. Call 24 hrs.

PUBLIC NOTICE OF COURT DATE FOR REQUEST FOR NAME CHANGE STATE OF ILLIONIS, CIRCUIT COURT COOK COUNTY. Request of Kazimir Hugh Boyle Case Number. 20 M4 2415 There will be a court date on my Request to change my name from: Kazimir Hugh Boyle to the new name of: Kazimir Huard Boyle The court date will be held: on 10/27/2020 at 9:30 a.m. at 1500 Maybrook Dr., Maywood, Cook County in Courtroom # 111.


Published in Wednesday Journal 9/16, 9/23, 9/30/2020



CLASSIC PAINTING Fast & Neat Painting/Taping/Plaster Repair Low Cost


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STATE OF ILLINOIS) COUNTY OF COOK )ss Circuit Court of Cook County, County Department, Domestic Relations Division. In re the marriage of KAREN WOJNAROWSKI, Petitioner and ABDEL RZAQ KAYED, Respondent, Case No. 2020 D 004989. The requisite affidavit for publication having been filed, notice is hereby given to you, the above named Respondent, that a Petition has been filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, by the Petitioner, for Dissolution of Marriage and for other relief; and that said suit is now pending. Now, therefore, unless you, the said Respondent, file your response to said Petition or otherwise make your appearance therein, in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Room 802, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, in the City of Chicago, Illinois, on or before October 5, 2020, default may be entered against you at any time after that day, and a judgment for Dissolution of Marriage entered in accordance with the prayer of said Petition. DOROTHY A. BROWN, Clerk. Published in Wednesday Journal September 2, September 9, September 16, 2020

In print • Online • Available to you 24/7/365 PUBLIC NOTICES


NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS VILLAGE OF NORTH RIVERSIDE SOUTH END SIDEWALK CONSTRUCTION I. TIME AND PLACE OF OPENING OF BIDS: Sealed Proposals for the improvement described herein will be received at the office of the Village Clerk, Village of North Riverside, 2401 S. Des Plaines Avenue, North Riverside, IL 60546, until 10:00 a.m., September 29, 2020, and will be publicly opened and read at that time. II. DESCRIPTION OF WORK: Constructing P.C. concrete sidewalk gaps, complete with earth excavation, aggregate base, combination concrete curb and gutter removal and replacement, detectable warnings, topsoil and sod parkway restoration, and all appurtenant construction. III. INSTRUCTIONS TO BIDDERS: A. All applicable work will be in conformance with the “Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction”, dated April 1, 2016. B. Proposal forms are available for download only from QuestCDN via the Novotny Engineering website,, “Bidding” tab, for a non-refundable charge of $30.00. Please contact Novotny Engineering (630-887-8640) to obtain the QuestCDN password. Proposal forms are non-transferable. Only those Proposals that have been obtained from, and with the approval of, Novotny Engineering will be accepted at the bid opening. C. Only qualified Contractors who can furnish satisfactory proof that they have performed work of similar nature as Contractors will be entitled to receive bid documents and submit Proposals. To meet this requirement, at the request of the Engineer, bidders will be required to submit a “Statement of Experience” consisting of a list of previous projects of similar nature in order to receive bid documents. The Owner reserves the right to issue Bid Documents only to those Contractors deemed qualified. D. All Proposals must be accompanied by a Bank Cashier’s Check, Bank Draft, Certified Check, or Bid Bond for not less than five percent (5%) of the total amount of the Bid, or as provided in the applicable sections of the “Standard Specifications”. E. No Bid may be withdrawn after opening of Proposals without the consent of the Owner for a period of forty-five (45) days after the scheduled time of opening of Bids. F. The Contractor will be required to furnish a labor and material “Performance Bond” in the full amount of the Contract. G. The Contractor will be required to pay Prevailing Wages in accordance with all applicable laws. H. Special Covid-19 Bid Opening Requirements: 1. The Village Commons Campus is currently open to the general public. Bids may be mailed to the address provided in Section I of this Notice or dropped off in person. 2. In order to protect the health of our community, the Village of North Riverside has implemented recommendations provided by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Cook County Department of Public Health, including Social Distancing and the Mask Mandate as recommended in the Restore Illinois Phase 4 Guidelines. Please practice social distancing and wear a mask when in buildings on the Village Commons Campus. IV. REJECTION OF BIDS: The Owner reserves the right to reject any or all Proposals, to waive technicalities, and to accept the Proposal deemed to be most favorable to the Owner. BY ORDER OF: VILLAGE OF NORTH RIVERSIDE PRESIDENT & BOARD OF TRUSTEES Kathy Ranieri Village Clerk

(s) Published in the Landmark September 16, 2020



IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS COUNTY DEPARTMENT CHANCERY DIVISION DEUTSCHE BANK NATIONAL TRUST COMPANY, AS TRUSTEE FOR FFMLT TRUST 2005-FF11, MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2005FF11 Plaintiff, -v.BRIAN HOLLOWAY Defendants 19 CH 00561 125 SOUTH LOMBARD AVENUE OAK PARK, IL 60302 NOTICE OF SALE PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to a Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale entered in the above cause on January 23, 2020, an agent for The Judicial Sales Corporation, will at 10:30 AM on September 24, 2020, at The Judicial Sales Corporation, One South

Wacker Drive, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, sell at a public sale to the highest bidder, as set forth below, the following described real estate: Commonly known as 125 SOUTH LOMBARD AVENUE, OAK PARK, IL 60302 Property Index No. 16-08-302-0150000 The real estate is improved with a yellow vinyl siding, one story single family home with a detached two car garage. Sale terms: 25% down of the highest bid by certified funds at the close of the sale payable to The Judicial Sales Corporation. No third party checks will be accepted. The balance, including the Judicial Sale fee for the Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Fund, which is calculated on residential real estate at the rate of $1 for each $1,000 or fraction thereof of the amount paid by the purchaser not to exceed $300, in certified funds/




or wire transfer, is due within twenty-four (24) hours. No fee shall be paid by the mortgagee acquiring the residential real estate pursuant to its credit bid at the sale or by any mortgagee, judgment creditor, or other lienor acquiring the residential real estate whose rights in and to the residential real estate arose prior to the sale. The subject property is subject to general real estate taxes, special assessments, or special taxes levied against said real estate and is offered for sale without any representation as to quality or quantity of title and without recourse to Plaintiff and in “AS IS” condition. The sale is further subject to confirmation by the court. Upon payment in full of the amount bid, the purchaser will receive a Certificate of Sale that will entitle the purchaser to a deed to the real estate after confirmation of the sale. The property will NOT be open for inspection and plaintiff makes no representation as to the condition of the property. Prospective bidders are admonished to check the court file to verify all information. If this property is a condominium unit, the purchaser of the unit at the foreclosure sale, other than a mortgagee, shall pay the assessments and the legal fees required by The Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/9(g)(1) and (g)(4). If this property is a condominium unit which is part of a common interest community, the purchaser of the unit at the foreclosure sale other than a mortgagee shall pay the assessments required by The Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/18.5(g-1). IF YOU ARE THE MORTGAGOR (HOMEOWNER), YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN POSSESSION FOR 30 DAYS AFTER ENTRY OF AN ORDER OF POSSESSION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 15-1701(C) OF THE ILLINOIS MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAW. You will need a photo identification issued by a government agency (driver’s license, passport, etc.) in order to gain entry into our building and the foreclosure sale room in Cook County and the same identification for sales held at other county venues where The Judicial Sales Corporation conducts foreclosure sales. MCCALLA RAYMER LEIBERT PIERCE, LLC Plaintiff’s Attorneys, One North Dearborn Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL, 60602. Tel No. (312) 346-9088. THE JUDICIAL SALES CORPORATION One South Wacker Drive, 24th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606-4650 (312) 236SALE You can also visit The Judicial Sales Corporation at for a 7 day status report of pending sales. MCCALLA RAYMER LEIBERT PIERCE, LLC One North Dearborn Street, Suite 1200 Chicago IL, 60602 312-346-9088 E-Mail: Attorney File No. 268445 Attorney ARDC No. 61256 Attorney Code. 61256 Case Number: 19 CH 00561 TJSC#: 40-595 NOTE: Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you are advised that Plaintiff’s attorney is deemed to be a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. Case # 19 CH 00561 I3154996

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS COUNTY DEPARTMENT CHANCERY DIVISION WILMINGTON SAVINGS FUND SOCIETY, FSB, NOT IN ITS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BUT SOLELY AS TRUSTEE OF CSMC 2018-RPL12 TRUST. Plaintiff, -v.KARL A. REESE, ROSALYN CUMMINGS-YEATES A/K/A ROSALIND CUMMINGS-YEATES, UNKNOWN OWNERS AND NONRECORD CLAIMANTS Defendants 2019CH08990 439 S. TAYLOR AVE. #2/3-B OAK PARK, IL 60302 NOTICE OF SALE PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to a Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale entered in the above cause on December 11, 2019, an agent for The Judicial Sales Corporation, will at 10:30 AM on September 28, 2020, at The Judicial Sales Corporation, One South Wacker Drive, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, sell at a public sale to the highest bidder, as set forth below, the following described real estate: Commonly known as 439 S. TAYLOR AVE. #2/3-B, OAK PARK, IL 60302 Property Index No. 16-08-321-0311006, Property Index No. 16-08-321031-1007 The real estate is improved with a condo/townhouse. Sale terms: 25% down of the highest bid by certified funds at the close of the sale payable to The Judicial Sales Corporation. No third party checks will be accepted. The balance, including the Judicial Sale fee for the Abandoned Residential Property Municipality Relief Fund, which is calculated on residential real estate at the rate of $1 for each $1,000 or fraction thereof of the amount paid by the purchaser not to exceed $300, in certified funds/ or wire transfer, is due within twenty-four (24) hours. No fee shall be paid by the mortgagee acquiring the residential real estate pursuant to its credit bid at the sale or by any mortgagee, judgment creditor, or other lienor acquiring the residential real estate whose rights in and to the residential real estate arose prior to the sale. The subject property is subject to general real estate taxes, special assessments, or special taxes levied against said real estate and is offered for sale without any representation as to quality or quantity of title and without recourse to Plaintiff and in “AS IS” condition. The sale is further subject to confirmation by the court. Upon payment in full of the amount bid, the purchaser will receive a Certificate of Sale that will entitle

the purchaser to a deed to the real estate after confirmation of the sale. The property will NOT be open for inspection and plaintiff makes no representation as to the condition of the property. Prospective bidders are admonished to check the court file to verify all information. If this property is a condominium unit, the purchaser of the unit at the foreclosure sale, other than a mortgagee, shall pay the assessments and the legal fees required by The Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/9(g)(1) and (g)(4). If this property is a condominium unit which is part of a common interest community, the purchaser of the unit at the foreclosure sale other than a mortgagee shall pay the assessments required by The Condominium Property Act, 765 ILCS 605/18.5(g-1). IF YOU ARE THE MORTGAGOR (HOMEOWNER), YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN IN POSSESSION FOR 30 DAYS AFTER ENTRY OF AN ORDER OF POSSESSION, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 15-1701(C) OF THE ILLINOIS MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE LAW. You will need a photo identification issued by a government agency (driver’s license, passport, etc.) in order to gain entry into our building and the foreclosure sale room in Cook County and the same identification for sales held at other county venues where The Judicial Sales Corporation conducts foreclosure sales. For information, examine the court file, CODILIS & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Plaintiff’s Attorneys, 15W030 NORTH FRONTAGE ROAD, SUITE 100, BURR RIDGE, IL, 60527 (630) 794-9876 THE JUDICIAL SALES CORPORATION One South Wacker Drive, 24th Floor, Chicago, IL 60606-4650 (312) 236SALE You can also visit The Judicial Sales Corporation at for a 7 day status report of pending sales. CODILIS & ASSOCIATES, P.C. 15W030 NORTH FRONTAGE ROAD, SUITE 100 BURR RIDGE IL, 60527 630-794-5300 E-Mail: Attorney File No. 14-19-04531 Attorney ARDC No. 00468002 Attorney Code. 21762 Case Number: 2019CH08990 TJSC#: 40-2114 NOTE: Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you are advised that Plaintiff’s attorney is deemed to be a debt collector attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. Case # 2019CH08990 I3155206

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All real estate advertising in this newspaper is subject to the Fair Housing Act, which makes it illegal to advertise any preference, limitation or discrimination based on age, race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin, or intention to make any such preferences, limitations or discrimination. The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental or advertising of real estate based on factors in addition to those protected under federal law. This newspaper will not knowingly accept any advertising for real estate which is in violation of the law. All persons are hereby informed that all dwellings advertised are available on an equal-opportunity basis. Restrictions or prohibitions of pets do not apply to service animals. To complain of discrimination, call HUD toll free at: 1-800669-9777. Wednesday Journal Landmark Forest Park Review


Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020




Flapjack Brewery makes a business out of brotherhood Berwyn’s Depot District is a destination for artisan pizza and craft beer Flapjack Brewery, 6833 Stanley Ave, has been serving up an iconic food and drink pairing since opening in Berwyn’s vibrant Depot District three years ago. “Anytime you have pizza and beer you know you’re in for a good time,” says chef and co-owner James Macchione. “My brother Paul is the Food Writer beer guy. I handle the food and always wanted to do pizzas” Brothers and co-owners, Paul and James Macchione were raised in Berwyn. James, four years Paul’s senior, recollects harassing his younger brother as a child, but the two became closer as they got older. They started brewing beer together as hobbyists well before brewing became their business of choice.

Often bustling, Flapjack Brewery is housed in a 2,000 square-foot building in the Depot District. Though the brothers discussed various locations they remained loyal to their hometown because they like the feel of Berwyn and saw potential in The Depot District. Even the brewery’s name came from one of Paul’s childhood nicknames. “He wore a lot of flannel shirts as a kid and developed facial hair early,” said James. “I looked like a lumberjack,” said Paul. “So, we started calling him Flapjack,” replied James. The rest is history. Paul operates a tiny three-barrel system and keeps 8 beers on tap including Gabba Ghoul -an Italian Saison with notes of basil and black peppercorn that make it an ideal pizza pairing. Huddled up in a garage, the duo also developed the recipe for their Fantasmo Vanilla Cream Ale together. Today the beer, made with Mexican vanilla beans, is Flapjack’s flagship offering. Drinkers will find James’ face at the bottom of pint glasses at Flapjack Brewery — the etching, an image of James at his first communion, keeps


PIZZA DUOOR ARUGULA: Looking for a memorable pie? Try the four-cheese arugula

A PIECE OF THE PIE: The “Beerwyn Supreme pizza” is one of the tavern style pizzas available at Flapjack Brewery

From left: James and Paul Macchione make a businsess out of brotherhood. the beer effervescent. James, a culinary school graduate, bounced around between restaurants before spending 15 years working in finance. He eagerly turned his attention back to the kitchen when he and Paul opened the brewery. “Our mother made homemade pizza for us weekly — sometimes two or three times a week,” said James of his childhood in Berwyn. “We had a pool in our backyard, and she would bang on the picture window when the pizzas were done to call my brother, me and all our friends in to eat.” Mama Macchione’s pizzas, baked in a wellloved cast iron pan and topped with sauce straight from the can, featured a fluff y bakery style crust. While the budding cook learned the joy of sharing pizza from his mother, James created a completely different pizza recipe for Flapjack Brewery. James is quick to admit there are plenty of quality pizzas available in Berwyn but aimed at the outset to create a pizza that was different from traditional pies served in the area. Flapjack’s Neapolitan-style pizzas cook in a 750-800 degree woodfired oven for just two minutes. The result-

BREW: A glimpse into the three-barrel brewing system at Flapjack Brewery in Berwyn.

BEERS FLAP: Fantasmo Vanilla Cream Ale and Hugo Luh-Layn Juicy IPA Citra & Mosaic Edition as poured at Flapjacks are also available in 16-ounce cans and 32-ounce crowlers. ing pie has a raised airy rim, is thin in the center and light on toppings. Customers clamor for the “danger pizza” brimming with ingredients designed to test hot heads’ tolerance. Expect habanero infused tomato sauce, Calabrian chili flakes and smoked ghost pepper honey to put a different kind of fire in Flapjack’s woodfired pizzas. James, however, is particularly fond of his far less intense four-cheese arugula pizza. “I am not a salad guy, but I was inspired by smoked Scamorza cheese and added fresh arugula and lemon juice,” said James. It’s a white pizza and I think it is my personal favorite.” Two tavern style pizzas also grace the menu. They bake slightly longer, are rolled flat across, and topped generously to the edge of the pie. The “Beerwyn Supreme” is a notable offering featuring San Marzano tomato sauce, sausage, cremini mushrooms, shallots, and green peppers. As perfect a pairing as pizza and beer, James and Paul Macchione have a proper business based on brotherhood. “I don’t think I could work for anyone else again,” said James. “Owning a business comes with challenges, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Property transfers p. B12

September 16, 2020

Powered by the Oak Park Area Association of Realtors

Real estate ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer


STRONG SUMMER: Swati Saxena (above) of Baird and Warner said that “August was probably one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time.”

Summer sales rebounded after spring pandemic shutdown By LACEY SIKORA


Contributing Reporter

t the start of 2020, the local real estate market experienced an uptick, with strong sales for the early spring season. Then COVID-19 hit, followed by shelter-in-place orders. The sales and showings came to an abrupt halt in the Chicago area when Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay at home order on March 20. Real estate agents saw the spring market grind to a halt and wondered if the typical summer sales boom would fail

to materialize. However, headed into the fall season, local real estate experts say that the summer season was better than expected.

Sellers’ market Baird and Warner’s Swati Saxena says spring saw a flurry of closings from properties that were under contract prior to the state’s stay-at-home order, followed by a long lull. Once the order was lifted in late May, according to Saxena, “Things started to get busy. August was probably one of the busiest months I’ve had in a long time.” Coldwell Banker’s Stephanie Eiger concurred. “June just exploded, Eiger said. “Mostly with buyers.” Eiger says that summer activity has been

brisk, with a lot of properties selling at or over asking price. She has also seen a lot of properties receiving multiple offers. While entry-level single-family homes sales are brisk, Eiger also sees movement at higher price points that might not have sold quickly last year. “I’m seeing things that have been on the market for ages moving,” Eiger said. “Some of the prices are going down. The higher price points are selling to people with children who want to move.” John Lawrence, vice president and designated managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices local offices, says that the market roared back to life in mid-May. He says there was a “whoa moment” of day in which the number of signed contracts in his office was significant, and it hasn’t slowed down much since then.

In Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, Lawrence says that the number of contracts signed on attached and detached homes was up 27 percent in June and July over the previous year and up 67 percent in August. “The contract activity in August was the best we’ve seen in 16 months,” Lawrence said. He also says that it’s not unusual to see homes that are priced right receive multiple offers, and he points to one of his office’s listings that recently received five offers before going under contract for more than the list price. Saxena sees the pandemic atmosphere having a distinct effect on who is buying and what they are looking for. As in most markets, she says that properties sell quickly when they are priced well and move-in See REBOUND on page B4

September 16, 2020 ■ Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review


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September 16, 2020 ■ Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review



Seeking space from page B1 ready, but she is seeing some distinct shifts. For instance, she points out that there was a period when millennials favored smaller houses. Whether they wanted to tread more lightly on the planet, had lived through the foreclosure crisis or didn’t want to be house poor, many of that generation weren’t looking to move up from smaller units or starter homes. This summer, she noted that millennials were looking for more space, often because they are now working from home. Saxena thinks this change might have staying power. “Now, the horizon is different,” Saxena said. “The commercial real estate office dynamic is changing.” Buyers are seeking more space to work or learn from home, and Saxena says the pandemic has also affected sellers. She has multiple clients selling homes because they are no longer tied to a specific city for work, and the pandemic has prompted them to rethink where they live. She thinks the work-from-home shift will continue to have people reconsidering where they live. “This is not a temporary glitch,” Saxena said. “People can decide where they really

want to live. The world can be your oyster.” According to Eiger, the busy summer has had an effect on the supply side of local single-family homes. At the start of 2020 in Oak Park, there was about a 4.5-month supply in the $201,000- $350,999 range. Currently, that has fallen to a roughly 3.75-month supply. In the $351,000-$599,999 range, the supply fell from roughly 5.75 months to 3.5 months. Saxena says that is reflected in her experience as well. “Generally, we’re seeing fewer listings,” she said. Lawrence notes that Oak Park, River Forest, and Forest Park have all seen decreased market times and increased sales activity and says Forest Park has been particularly busy. The month’s supply in Forest Park has been at or below two months since mid-May. “That market’s kind of a dogfight right now,” Lawrence said.

Looking ahead Saxena is not seeing any signs of the pace slowing now that summer is in the rearview mirror, but she is not sure what this fall holds. She thinks that guidelines regarding COVID-19 are making people more comfortable, allowing them to look at and purchase homes, but she says weather and the pandemic could swing buyers’ sentiment this fall. Lawrence said low interest rates continue to bring buyers to the table and he expects a

ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

TIGHT MARKET: With summer real estate sales finishing strong there’s been competition for the fewer properties available. John Lawrence (above) of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, speaking to the activity in Forest Park, said, “That market’s kind of a dogfight right now.” robust September and October. Beyond that, given the uncertainties ahead, he cannot make any predictions about the long-term outlook for the real estate market. Headed into the fall, Eiger says the market remains strong, which is more evidence to her that this is an unusual year. “I’ve been a realtor for eight years, and usually the four months before an election

are just dead,” Eiger said. “Not this year.” She says that there is still some risk in the market due to pandemic’s possible effect on employment, but she says that interest rates are so low that people continue to buy. Still, she calls the combination of the pandemic and the election too unprecedented to make any long-term predictions for the market.

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Send us an email, with your submission to, by September 15, 2020 B4 View more at ■ September 16, 2020

House Hunting? Find a Realtor. Find a home. Get a list of Open Houses. Every week, every day in

September 16, 2020 â– Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review


OAK PARK Exquisite English garden unit in beautiful central location.

1 BR, 1 BA ............................................................................................................................................................$110,000 Steve Scheuring • 708-369-8043

OAK PARK Maple and slate floors, expansive windows and modern amenities grace this spectacular contemporary home!

3 BR, 1.1 BA .........................................................................................................................................................$395,000 Steve Scheuring • 708-369-8043

OAK PARK 2-flat in great location - walking distance to downtown Oak Park restaurants & shopping, parks, Metra, Green Line.

3 BR, 2 BA ............................................................................................................................................................$292,000 Ken Van Santen • 708.975.0210

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Want to see your listings in Distinctive Properties? Contact Marc Stopeck at 708.613.3330 or B6 View more at ■ September 16, 2020



OAK PARK Well-maintained shingled bungalow completely rehabbed in 2017!

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5 BR, 2.1 BA .........................................................................................................................................................$625,000 Steve Scheuring • 708-369-8043

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OAK PARK Sitting on over a quarter acre of land this stately home features 4 levels of living.

5 BR, 4.1 BA ......................................................................................................................................................$1,290,000 Steve Scheuring • 708-369-8043

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4 BR, 3.2 BA ......................................................................................................................................................$1,189,000 Ed Bellock • 630.253.7000

Want to see your listings in Distinctive Properties? Contact Marc Stopeck at 708.613.3330 or September 16, 2020 ■ Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review






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328 N. Cuyler Ave, Oak Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baird & Warner Oak Park/River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$399,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2 831 Home Ave, Oak Park. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gagliardo Realty Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$439,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2 538 S. Harvey Ave, Oak Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . Re/Max In The Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $518,800. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2 726 N. Ridgeland Ave, Oak Park. . . . . . . . . . . Gagliardo Realty Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$549,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3 516 Malden Ave, La Grange Park . . . . . . . . . . Baird & Warner Oak Park/River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$549,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sat. 12-2 7613 Vine St, River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gagliardo Realty Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$569,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2 1301 Park Ave, River Forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gagliardo Realty Associates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,749,950. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3






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621 Washington Blvd. UNIT 3S, Oak Park . . Baird & Warner Oak Park/River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $143,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-3 151 N. Kenilworth Ave. Oak Park . . . . . . . . . . . Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$209,900. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sat. 11-1 344 S. Maple Ave. UNIT 2A, Oak Park . . . . . Re/Max In The Village. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $215,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-2


320 N. Maple Ave. Oak Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$259,900. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-3





7305 Franklin St, Forest Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . Baird & Warner Oak Park/River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$359,900. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-1 320 S. Maple Ave. UNIT D, Oak Park. . . . . . . Baird & Warner Oak Park/River Forest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $510,000. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:30-3:30

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September 16, 2020 ■ Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review


Generations of Excellence since 1958

708.771.8040 • 7375 W. North Ave., River Forest DonnaAvenue Barnhisel 7375 West North Dan Bogojevich MANAGING Anne Brennan River Forest, Illinois 60305 BROKER/OWNERS Karen Byrne Calkins 708.771.8040 Kevin Tom Carraher Andy Gagliardo

Tom Poulos

Pat Cesario Joe Cibula

Don Citrano Alisa Coghill Kay Costello Maria Cullerton Julie Downey Kurt Fielder Yvonne Fiszer-Steele Ramona Fox

Laura Gancer Lisa Grimes Dan Halperin Sharon Halperin Greg Jaroszewski Vee Jaroszewski Noa Klima Jack Lattner

Iris McCormick Vince McFadden Elizabeth Moroney Colleen Navigato John Pappas Rosa Pitassi Sue Ponzio-Pappas Jenny Ruland

Laurel Saltzman Laurie Shapiro Tom Sullivan Debbie Watts George Wohlford Nancy Wohlford Randy Ernst • 773-290-0307









MODERN DREAM HOME centrally located on a corner lot with fenced in yard has plenty of entertainment space! Designer touches throughout the 6 bedroom, 6 full and 1 half bath home with beautiful LR, DR and large kitchen with open floor plan to the family room. So much more to see! ............................... $1,699,000

GREAT MOVEIN READY HOME with 4 bedrooms. Features include an updated screened-in front porch with new hardwood floors, enclosed back porch that doubles as a mud room, all bedrooms with hardwood floors, finished basement with large living area, fenced yard, 2-1/2 car garage. ..................................$439,000

NEWLY UPDATED, WELL MAINTAINED shingled bungalow with 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths offers a contemporary feel with a neutral color palette and beautiful hardwood floors. Open LR/DR, office option, finished basement, and sizable fenced-in backyard with patio. ........................................................... $549,000

BEAUTIFULLY UPDATED 3 bedroom, 3-1/2 bath home ready for you to move right in. Completely rehabbed with close attention to detail. Bright, sunny open-concept living. Spacious gourmet kitchen with granite island, large deck, 2nd floor laundry room, impeccably finished basement. .........................................$399,000


BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC HOME offers everything for today’s modern living. Custom-built home has the highest quality finishes. No detail was missed. Brick and stone exterior, wrap-around porch, eleven-foot ceilings and oversized windows. LL has 2,000 feet of living area............ ........................................................................................................$1,295,000 ELEGANT CRAFTSMANSHIP can be found throughout this 5 BR French Normandy home. Sophistication is evident from the moment you walk in the door. Impressive foyer, formal LR with fireplace and built-in benches, family room, separate formal DR, updated kitchen, home office. ..................................................................................$1,100,000 STATELY HOME located on a picturesque River Forest block! This 5 bedroom, 3 full/2 half bath home includes four floors of living with two finished family rooms, a large study and three fireplaces. Large sundrenched rooms with elegant cove molding and windows. In-ground outdoor pool. ...................................................................................$819,000 GRAND SPRAWLING HOME with an abundance of interior and exterior living areas. 5 BRs, upstairs laundry, 3 full & 1 half BAs, 3 fireplaces, full basement with recreation room. Grand two story family room incorporated into an open plan kitchen. Hardwood floors throughout main level. ...................................................................$815,000 SPLITLEVEL HOME offers newly refreshed contemporary style and wonderful space. Home offers three bedrooms, three brand new bathrooms, beautiful front entryway, vaulted ceiling family room, sunroom, game room, deck, spectacular backyard, attached two-car garage .............................................................................................. $599,000 PRICE REDUCED CITY LIVING CONVENIENCE in a charming village atmosphere. This large Cape Cod is not a drive-by. Ten large rooms with four bedrooms, four full baths, and a huge 1st-floor family room with a wet bar. Three-season room, and a kitchen with 42” oak cabinets............................................................................................$565,000 CENTER ENTRANCE COLONIAL offers wonderful space! Deep lot, large deck, and original details throughout the home. Features include large living room, sunny sitting room, hardwood floors, updated kitchen, family room, full finished basement, and a two-car garage. ...........................................................................................................$448,800



LOVELY BUNGALOW offers wonderful space for family and entertaining. Original details blend seamlessly with all the current updates. Four BRs and 3 updated full baths on each level. Kitchen opens to family room. Full finished bsmt offers rec room, laundry area, bar & wine storage. ................................................... $569,000


BURMABUILT BUHRKE HOUSE combines Tudor revival & chateau style architecture elements. Gorgeous décor and impeccable attention to detail and care found in house and landscaped grounds, extends to fabulous in ground pool and patios. Perfect for entertaining. ................................................................................................$1,650,000 STATELY SOUTHERN COLONIAL blends old world craftsmanship with elegant modern updates ideally located. Grand foyer, elegant LR with fireplace, recently remodeled gourmet kitchen, mudroom, family room, large basement with den/office. Meticulously maintained and ready to move in.......................................................................... $1,599,000 STUNNING FRENCH NORMANDY house that has been remodeled and refinished from top to bottom. New wiring, plumbing, hvac, all floors, generator, roof work, and more. Just drop in your furniture and enjoy, from the fantastic front entrance all the way to the basement. .............................................................................................$1,398,000 LOVELY BRICK HOME offers wonderful space with beautiful views of the spectacular lot! Original details with two story foyer and hardwood floors throughout. This elegant home is beautifully constructed and large enough to accommodate family and friends for years to come..............................................................................................$1,299,000

THREE STORY GRAND VICTORIAN on 100 x 218 lot in the heart of the Frank Lloyd Wright district. This estate features 6 Bedrooms, 2 Full baths, 3 fireplaces, many historic details including double front entry doors sourced from the Historic Pullman Estates section of Chicago. ...........................................................................................$650,000 BEAUTIFUL SIDE ENTRANCE COLONIAL with 4 BRs, 2 full & 1 half baths features a spacious center family room, cooks’ kitchen with mud room, gas fireplace, built-in shelving & art glass windows. Beautiful woodwork & hardwood floors throughout. Finished LL. Front & back heated walkway. ............................................................... $639,000 CLASSIC OAK PARK HOME on a large corner lot in the Harrison Arts district. This four BR, three BA home boasts four levels of living space. Tall ceilings, hardwood floors, vintage leaded glass windows, updated kitchen with breakfast bar. Finished 3rd floor, newly finished basement......................................................................................... $549,000 CHARACTER & CHARM throughout this home! The living room features a wood-burning fireplace and built-in cabinetry, a large dining room, neat and clean basement, privacy fence. Delightful and wellmaintained home in a great location, OP’s popular and desirable FLW district. ..............................................................................................$376,500 TURN KEY LIVING awaits you in the 3 BR, 2 bath ranch all made up and ready to go! All new stainless steel appliances and granite counters highlight the twenty foot long eat-in kitchen. The expansive finished lower level practically doubles the size of the living space. Two car garage. ..............................................................................................$314,900 DUTCH COLONIAL with rehab already started, already gutted. Originally 2 bedrooms, but now open to new floor plan and added bedrooms and baths. Could be a flip or a great home to live in. ............. ............................................................................................................$185,000

CONDOS/TOWNHOMES/2 FLATS RIVER FOREST 2BR, 2BA. Open concept floor plan.............$269,000 RIVER FOREST 2BR, 2BA. Heated parking. ..........................$200,000 OAK PARK Two Flat ...................................................................$530,000 OAK PARK 3BR, 2 full/2 half BA. Move-in ready...................$425,000 OAK PARK 3BR, 2 full/1 half BA. Vintage beauty..................$285,000 OAK PARK 3BR, 2 full/1 half BA. Large BRs/ample closets. .$269,000 OAK PARK 1BR, 1BA. Parking space included. .......................$124,500 OAK PARK 1BR, 1BA. Vintage building....................................$115,000 OAK PARK 1BR, 1BA. No stairs!...................................................$99,900

Find that Fall Home!

PRICE REDUCED FOREST PARK 1BR, 1BA........................$95,000

Contact a Gagliardo Realty Associates Agent for a free market analysis

Shop for homes online at B10 View more at ■ September 16, 2020

FRENCH COUNTRY ESTATE built for flexible living. Fully renovated and expanded to preserve the feel and charm of a 1946 home, with all the conveniences of modern amenities and finishes. Sits on a private, double lot. Large pool, 5 BRs w/BAs, 2nd Fl laundry, private office, finished basement......................$1,749,950

15 Atwater, Fox Lake Need to get away? 3 BR, 2 BA home on Fox Lake. Open floor plan for weekend entertaining. Property sits on channel to Mineola Bay. Turn key! ............. $245,000 Monica Klinke | 708-612-3031

551 Keystone Avenue, River Forest Stunning house on incredible block! 11 ft ceilings, remodeled kitchen and baths, featured in commercials. Wrap-around front porch and screened in back porch. BONUS room above the garage. 4BR 2.1 BA ............................... $889,000

SOLD! 333 S. East Ave, Unit 202 Centrally located and spacious 3BR/2BA with balcony and parking sold for 214K! 3 BR 2 BA .................................. $220,000

243 S. Maple Ave, Unit C, Oak Park Priced to sell! Stunning brick urban oasis townhome in a great location. 2BR 2.1BA ................................. $379,999

Patty Melgar Hooks | 708-261-2796

Sara Faust | 708-772-7910

Kirstin Gloor | 708-351-8977

Just Listed! 1215 Linden Ave, Oak Park Gracious home with tons of character: floor-to-ceiling French windows, hardwood floors, arched doorways. Bright rooms including 3 BRs, one with a sitting area, one with a tandem, and 2.2 BA ................ ................................................... $495,000

Just Listed! 906 S. Elmwood Ave, #3, Oak Park Convenient 1 BR condo in well-maintained Artis Place. Spacious rooms, updated kitchen & bath, and in-unit laundry. Patio area to enjoy with neighbors. Great location near Harrison Art District, CTA Blue Line, and 290. 1 BR 1 BA ................... $113,000

Sue Canepa 312-203-0848

Sue Canepa 312-203-0848

913 Home Avenue, Oak Park Stunning renovation inside and out. Show stopping high-design kitchen with amazing work space. Charming yard and patio for relaxation and fun. 3BR, 3 BA .................. ................................................... $399,000 Kirstin Gloor | 708-351-8977

COMING SOON!!! 608 Lathrop Ave, River Forest Beautiful and spacious 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath home in the heart of River Forest. John Haagenson | 773-230-6995

Lisa Andreoli and Meredith Conn 708-557-9546 | 708-743-6973

Under Contract! 207 Park Ave, River Forest Move-in ready home & studio perfect for today with spaces for everyone. Three finished levels with 4 BR, 2.1 BA. Studio has soaring ceilings & windows and 1/2 bath. Rare find! 4 BR 2.2BA ............... $620,000 Sue Canepa 312-203-0848

Under Contract! 625 Ashland Avenue, River Forest Beautiful Victorian, updated kitchen and baths, walking distance to parks, schools, and trains. A must see! 5 BR 2.1 BA .............................. $745,500 Sandi Graves | 708-752-6540

101 N. Euclid Ave, Unit 3, Oak Park Gorgeous 4 level townhome. Spacious, updated with hardwood floors, new HVAC, 2nd fl. laundry, large private rooftop deck. 3 BR 2.1 BA ............................... $525,000

Under Contract! 208 N. Oak Park Ave, Unit 2HH, Oak Park Updated vintage condo in the Santa Maria! with one of the few designated parking spots for the building. Great details, newer, well-designed kitchen, large closets. 2 BR 1 BA .................................. $175,000 Stephanie Eiger | 708-557-0779

COLDWELLBANKERHOMES.COM Oak Park 114 N. Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park | 708.524.1100 The property information herein is derived from various sources that may include, but not be limited to, county records and the Multiple Listing Service, and it may include approximations. Although the information is believed to be accurate, it is not warranted and you should not rely upon it without personal verification. Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Realty are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. Š2020 Coldwell Banker Realty. All Rights Reserved. Coldwell Banker Realty fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker Logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Realty LLC.

September 16, 2020 â– Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review




River Forest home sells for $1,150,000

The following property transfers were reported by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds for June 2020. Where addresses appear incomplete, for instance where a unit number appears missing, that information was not provided by the recorder of deeds.





417 N Maple Ave


Schranz Steven M

Weber Thomas M

1159 S Lyman Ave


Amborsia Homes

Harris Stephanie

610 Fair Oaks Ave


Muench Stefan

Akhter Alexander R

638 N Elmwood Ave


Daly Brendan T

Cochran Michael

622 Woodbine Ave


Mcclung William B

Skorupa Jasmine

820 S East Ave


Tamplin Owen James

Stanton Colleen R

333 S Harvey Ave


Isenstein Burton

Warren Esther C

1041 Wenonah Ave


Hamer Christopher N

Stallings Devin Lee

518 Forest Ave


Evans Cynthia S

Wagner Allison C

829 Lathrop Ave., River Forest






Skiritai Forest Pk Llc

Lnm Forest Pk Llc

1000 N Lombard Ave


Dunbar Luke

Bishop Miles A

502 Des Plaines Ave

324 Wisconsin Ave B


Brassard Oliver

Lindez Ryan

612 Thomas Ave


Johnsen Steven R

Orze Kevin P

1047 S Scoville Ave


Lipe Tristan A

Mckay Sean

1133 Elgin Ave


Sobczak Daniel R Jr

Weber Rhonda

1114 Schneider Ave


Gros Sebastien

Franklin Jennifer

632 Hannah Ave


Baker Kirk S

Brewer Jed D

529 S Humphrey Ave


Barber Jonathan

Torrey Jazzmin

7538 Harrison St


Degen Elizabeth

Kachelmeyer Daniel

517 S Highland Ave


The Dennis I

Hasso Jack

937 Thomas Ave


Stefan David John Tr

Baller Anthony

1024 Mapleton Ave


Izaguirre Gonzalo

Laird Ritamaria S

815 Linden Ave


Janis Mary Lee

815 N Linden Llc

7449 Washington St 407


Mcqueen Cynthia

Saeed Ahsan

745 N Cuyler Ave


Crehan Katherine A

Armstrom James B

520 S Grove Ave


Meews Donald M

Vizzone Nicholas

1125 S Euclid Ave


Chicago Title Land Trust Co Tr

Rees Peter

1038 S Ridgeland Ave


Domus Res Llc

1122 S Elmwood Ave


221 N Marion St 3A

RIVER FOREST 829 Lathrop Ave


Lueking Christopher D

Luttschyn Alexander

829 Clinton Pl


Herseth Stephen S

Reed Brian C

Mccarthy Nathan Scott

550 William St


Reed Brian C

Lesperance Brian Peter

Bmo Harris Bk

Jmg Real Estate Grp Inc

909 Bonnie Brae Pl


Vertuno Nancy J Tr

May Ryan


Kasia Christopher T

Thoren Mary T

902 Park Ave


Prodanovic Andrija A

Becker Patrick P

819 Lake St 8192W


Porterfield Allison M

Hostetler Marcus

819 Lake St 8192E


Zawisza Andrew

Field Nancy

7359 North Ave


Ganesan Prop Llc

Connecting Space Llc

201 S Maple Ave 107


Hawkeye Llc

Johnson Lauren

1515 Clinton Pl


Kiening Arthur

Carlin Andrew

828 N Austin Blvd 1E


Newnett I Llc

Harrington-Taylor Alisha Tr

1535 Forest Ave 403


Malone-Shaw Catherine

Eichenold Loretta C Tr

B12 View more at â– September 16, 2020


407 KENILWORTH, OAK PARK $2,000,000 :: 6 BED :: 4.5+ BATH Fabulous renovated Victorian with coach house & pool.





$749,000 :: 4 BED :: 3.5 BATH Brick Colonial home. New kitchen & baths.

$574,900 :: 3 BED :: 2.5 BATH

Dutch Colonial. Great home!

KATHY & TONY IWERSEN 708.772.8040 708.772.8041

September 16, 2020 â– Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review



Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020



Always Delicious!

Let’s have an Eggsperience in Elmwood Park Greek, Latin and traditional breakfast fare can be found on ‘The Circle’

XiangWen Ma, Marco A. Hernandez, Sara Kate, Sophie Bebis

Sashimi Deluxe


Salmon & Tuna poke bowl

Flaming Dragon

(708) 583-2300 7428 W North Ave, Elmwood Park, IL 60707


Breakfast is just one of those meals — it always tastes better when someone else makes it for you. Eggsperience, 16 Conti Parkway in Elmwood Park, has been confidently serving breakfast to hungry customers for nearly two years. Inside the bright and charming re s t a u r a n t , attentive staff members wear shirts boasting, “I didn’t choose the egg life — the egg life chose me” as they offer an array of traditional breakfast items as well as Greek

We ARE LIVE ONLINE! Your Table is READY For sponsorships or advertising

call lourdes at 708-613-3330 Served fresh by

B14 View more at ■ September 16, 2020

The Country Bennie at Eggsperience is an indulgent choice, but still has vegetarian allure. Poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, fresh tomato roasted red peppers and sautéed spinach perch atop a toasted English muffin.

Elmwood Park Eggsperience staff (From Left) Manager George Diamond, Cook Jose Navarrette, and hostess Julie and Elisia Calderon. and Latin creations to suit any breakfast craving. “We are successful because this place is like home,” said George Diamond, Eggsperience manager. “We keep it simple, focus on the neighborhood and serve a good family-friendly breakfast and lunch.” Eggsperience lead cook, Jose Navarrete, “keeps the kitchen in order” according to Diamond. The dedicated cook worked in the kitchens at Santorini in Chicago’s Greek Town neighborhood before making his way to Eggsperience several years ago. Navaratte has been cooking at the

Wednesday Journal, September 16, 2020




WaYia Yia’s waffles feature imported Greek yogurt, fresh berries, bananas and local honey. Elmwood Park location since it opened in 2018 and takes pride in the Latin flair he brings to the Eggsperience menu -- including “The Caliente,” an enormous egg filled burrito bursting with chorizo, potatoes and jalapenos. Other “south of the border” inspired menu items include tostadas de tinga, breakfast chilaquiles, huevos rancheros and flautas de papa. A more unexpected breakfast offering, Eggsperience flautas feature a trio of white corn tortillas filled with flavorful mashed potatoes. The rolls are fried to a crisp golden brown before being topped with sour cream, lettuce and tomato. House-made guacamole, red salsa and refried beans complete the plate. Yaya’s yogurt is a standout at Eggsperience. Served on its own or as part of Yia Yia’s Waffles, the flavorful homestyle Greek yogurt is airy and tart and pairs beautifully with assorted berries, oat granola, and drizzle of local honey. “My own mother used to make Greek yogurt for me,” said Diamond. “I know what it is supposed to be like and this is exactly the way she used to make it.” Though they serve up memorable omelets, scrambles, and benedicts, Eggsperience also serves notable lunch offerings. Top quality burgers, including one that comes appropriately topped with an egg, and the avocado chicken sandwich are popular among customers according to Diamond. As the weather begins to cool customers would do well to keep in mind a cup of warming soup comes with every lunch entrée. Eggsperience offers a breezy indoor space thanks to convertible windows allowing the dining room to qualify as an outdoor space. The Village of Elmwood Park further supported the restaurant by dedicating a portion of on-street parking to expand Eggsperience’s outdoor dining area. The tented area is blocked by attractive flowerfilled planters provided by the village.

“We are grateful for support from the Village of Elmwood Park.” “Mr. S [Mayor Skip Saviano] is the best individual. He believes in us and is always visiting Eggsperience and all the other restaurants in the neighborhood.” Head on over to “The Circle” to enjoy a proper breakfast in Elmwood Park.

Flautas de Papa appear among the popular “south of the border” menu options at Eggsperience in Elmwood Park.


Corporate Events Private Parties Holiday Parties Birthday Parties Christenings Showers Rehearsal Dinners Funeral Luncheons Offsite Catering 7308 W. North Ave. Elmwood Park, IL 60707

Call 708-456-3644 to book your event! September 16, 2020 ■ Wednesday Journal/Forest Park Review


Winners each night!

Three Grand Prize winners!









B16 View more at ■ September 16, 2020