It was all in the name: The Perfect Dinner. But the vision of Karen Gruber to preserve the concept of a homemade, sit-down family dinner fell on hard times in mid-2008, much like other dining establishments. At the end of December the doors shut and Gruber announced that The Perfect Dinner is closed for good.
A child can't read the board or hear the teacher. There are family stressors at home. The student is being taught at the wrong level or has fallen behind. Parents don't know where to turn. Their child, at his or her most impressionable age, remains at risk. These scenarios have become increasingly apparent in the education system, particularly in the early childhood years, the most vulnerable period of a child's development.
Not many single mothers adopt a dozen children. But that's Margaret Fleming's story, and many others families have become part of that story. In 2012, the longtime Oak Parker notched another milestone with Adoption Link, the local nonprofit organization she started 20 years ago.
Ellie Alldredge-Bell spent decades learning how children's minds work, so putting them into a picture book didn't seem farfetched.The now-retired Oak Park elementary school teacher, who taught at Holmes, Hatch and Lincoln for a combined 33 years, has more time on her hands now, but she can't seem to get away from what attracted her to the profession.
On paper, 2012 in Oak Park was a lot like the previous year. But then village employees went on strike. And one former Oak Parker, who now calls the Sunshine State his home, started the year with a bang when he resigned as village manager.