Jim King's highest academic degree is a high school GED. How he went from stocking shelves at a National Tea store to being the director of elderly and disabled housing for the Oak Park Residence Corporation for the last 14 years is a story about learning on the job and in the classroom of life.
The historic stone church on Cuyler Avenue, kitty-corner from Beye School, has seen decades of slow decline as its Methodist congregation aged and shrank. Eventually the congregation merged with another local Methodist church and for the past few years the 113-year-old stone church sat waiting for new life.
Oak Park residents Mac and Harriette Robinet installed ground source heat pumps (geothermal system) outside their home in 2011 and 12 solar panels on their garage roof last summer. Mac, who worked as a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory for 39 years, estimates they are already saving 20% on the cost of energy.
The possibility of Oak Park residents joining neighbors in Austin to spread the community garden concept is one of the ideas which surfaced at the Community of Congregations meeting Jan. 30 and, apparently, it is getting legs. The concept seemed to be a win/win proposition.
Three years ago the boiler at Euclid Methodist Church gave out. The congregation turned what most churches would call a financial crisis into an opportunity to put their money where their ecological convictions were.
The story says the Magi found the baby Jesus by following a star. The thing about stars is you can only see them at night. The darkness frightens people because evil can lurk in the shadows where you can't see it until it's too late.
T.S. Eliot once wrote, "Last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice." Many of us in the Oak Park-River Forest area are attempting to find that new voice and "next year's words" as we take our first steps into 2014. We asked a selection of local residents to share their thoughts as we enter the new year.
"Many people will make New Year's resolutions to quit smoking," said Jim [to respect the principle of anonymity, all names in this article have been changed], "and a lot won't keep them. Not if they don't join a support group like Nicotine Anonymous.