The Oak Park Post Office, in conjunction with Toys for Tots, collected over 200 toys and also raised over $250 from contributions by employees of the Oak Park Main, South Station and River Forest post offices.
We received a lot of compliments on our story about Oak Park photographer Deb Donnelley and her book, In the Company of Sisters: Portraits and Reflections. Readers loved Donnelley's evocative photos of sisters of varying ages and backgrounds. She took most of them between 1987 to 1992, and followed up by re-interviewing the sisters 10 years later and turning the project into a book.
River Forest resident Ron Ewert has been a Goldyburgers regular for nearly 20 years. His 14-year-old daughter has been eating their handmade beef patties since she was practically an infant. Ewert sees Goldyburgers as a dying breed, one of the last remaining independent burger joints struggling to compete with places like Fuddrucker's and TGI Friday's.
For all of you wise, sensible souls planning on staying home on New Year's Eve, I can think of nothing better than having a nice steaming bowl of homemade onion soup. Soupe a l'oignon is, of course, that famous traditional staple of French bistros, served boiling hot in oven proof crocks, laden with crusty French bread and topped with gratineed, gooey Gruyere cheese. It's the very first soup that I learned how to make in culinary school, much to the delight of my family and friends.
The holidays" used to sound like a euphemism to me. It was code for Christmas, but you wanted to sound broadminded, so you said "the holidays" as a somewhat condescending nod to Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and a myriad other international celebrations that more or less correspond to the winter solstice.
When we first met Oak Park filmmaker Jeff Smith, he was about to show his documentary, Tony's Song, at the Oak Park Public Library. At age 52, Smith had left a safe but mind-numbing career at Amtrak to pursue an MFA in film and video at Columbia College. Last March, he was at full speed, with projects bubbling and the degree just a thesis film away.
It's been nearly a year?#34;an eventful year?#34;since I talked to Zachary Bokum's parents, John and Maggy Bokum. As an 18-year-old senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School in 2002, Zach signed up with the Illinois National Guard, figuring it would help pay for college and be good experience for his criminal justice studies at Western Illinois University. A weekend a month and two months in the summer for six years seemed like a fair deal.
Last July, Bill Dwyer took a look at FitzGerald's, the nightclub just across Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. The occasion was a new book, Live From FitzGerald's: Songs and Stories of an American Music Club by writer Dave Whitaker and photographer Blair Jensen.