Deb Quantock McCarey is a freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications. An avid urban gardener and growing naturalist, she is also a local "green" advocate and community volunteer. As a WJ gardening blogger, Deb is also the host of Deb's Big Backyard, which runs on oakpark.com and airs on Oak Park public cable, Channel 6. In partnership with her spouse, Kevin J. McCarey, she is also a writer/producer for Lyman Street Productions and Print at www.lymanstreetproductions.com, a small business in Oak Park that produces and provides web content.
Don Rosenwinkel, CEO and president of Chicago-based Big Monster Toys, doesn't have a luminous nose, jelly belly, or even a red suit. But when this jolly elf meets the young survivors of neglect and abuse who reside at Hephzibah Home in Oak Park, the Oak Parker's twinkling blue eyes, easy chuckle, and white beard begs comparisons with Santa Claus.
Big, bright and beautiful at the Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St., this holiday season is their huge poinsettia "tree," with all the botanical trimmings. This towering profusion of fragrance-free annual color, says Patti Staley, the conservatory's head grower, was a labor of love.
From a local college working on ways to make bus transit really work for students to a commission working to curb pesticide use in Oak Park and River Forest to the company that owns the largest number of local apartments and keeps implementing small energy efficiency measures, the 2014 Annual Institutional Leaders Forum was a hands-on demonstration of the virtues of collaboration and passion.
On Dec. 2, the national giving day movement now known as #GivingTuesday will pop up on digital screens hyper-locally, thanks to the Oak Park and River Forest Community Foundation's IGiveOP+RF#GivingTuesday online logo campaign.