Dan Haley is editor and publisher of the Journal and has been since its first issue on July 31, 1980. He remembers those early days – the excitement and the hardships – but no one wants to hear about it. Maybe he'll write a book.
Haley is a native of Oak Park. His first publishing venture was in the mid-1960s when, at age 10, he started a newspaper for his block on South Taylor. He remembers those early days – especially the heady smell of the mimeograph fluid. "Mighty fine," he says.
In 1980, with the old Oak Park News floundering, Haley turned down the job of Lively Arts editor at the Pioneer Press/Oak Leaves. Instead, along with his founding colleagues, Anne Duggan and Sharon Britton, they rounded up 65 locals to invest in the notion of an independent local newspaper.
Today from Wednesday Journal World Headquarters on Oak Park Avenue, the Journal publishes newspapers and websites for five city and suburban communities. The company also publishes Chicago Parent magazine.
Haley and his wife Mary (the former editor of Chicago Parent) live in an old house in Oak Park and have two kids.
News this week that Oak Park will once again host a neighboring water commission as it digs a trench the width of the village. The Brookfield-North Riverside Water Commission (BNRWC) — yes, entities like this actually exist with giant bonding capacity and really big iron pipes — has Oak Park's OK to dig up Fillmore Street from Austin to Maple.
When is the last time that Oak Park's District 97 elementary schools built a decent-looking building? I'm no architect. But the evidence before us suggests I'm not far off when I pin it at 1924, the year that Lowell School was completed at the corner of Lake and Forest.
Why caps and gowns? Here's a story that snuck up on me. I saw it as the mostly-annual debate over what seniors wore at graduation at OPRF. After a century of tradition — dark suits for guys, long white dresses for gals — there has been some restlessness in past years. All good. Teens speaking up is more than healthy. And so there have been some gradual concessions on attire. Young women could wear white pantsuits, shorter skirts.
Near the end of April, Tyra Manning will return to Oak Park and River Forest. She will be the keynote at the annual benefit for Thrive Counseling Center. Back in the 1990s, while she was the school superintendent in River Forest District 90 elementary schools, she served on the board of Thrive, which in those days was known as Family Service and Mental Health Center.
Last week Frank Sinatra Jr. died of a heart attack. He was 72 and he was in Daytona Beach, Florida, on tour, as always. Put us in mind of the night in the early 1980s when Sinatra Jr. played the Oak Park Mall (now Downtown Oak Park).
Right there in the lobby, ready for members, guests or residents of the West Cook YMCA to grab, is the daily dose of fresh fruit. Could be an artfully stacked triangle of bananas. Or it might be apples or pears. Or whatever is in season.