On Feb. 12, Oak Parkers Stan West and George Bailey, both professors at Columbia College in Chicago, presented a lecture and multimedia screening of their works at the Oak Park Public Library. West screened his newest film, Wassup! East Africa, co-directed by Oak Park’s Yves Hughes, Jr. Bailey’s presentation, “The Power of Education and Reconciliation,” was based on his experiences while in South Africa on a Fulbright Cultural Exchange program.

Reigning over, and reining in, Revenue

State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) has been named the new chairman of the Senate Revenue Committee. In a press release, Sen. Harmon says, “I look forward to working with my colleagues to help fashion a resolution to the financial crisis the state has been mired in for the last several years. We’ve come far in reducing the deficit from $5 billion to just under $2 billion, but there is still a great deal of work to be done to bring our state out of the budget woes we are now facing.” Sen Harmon is also newly appointed to the Environment & Energy Committee, which is responsible for reviewing all legislation before the Senate regarding environmental policy. He’ll continue to serve as vice-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Other committee assignments include the Senate Appropriations (II) Committee and the Senate Pensions & Investments Committee.

Erin edits the fourth edition

Erin Graham, a third-year student at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, was one of two students who assisted with the editing and rewriting of the fourth edition of the book Illinois Criminal Procedure. The two-volume edition gives a comprehensive look at all facets of criminal procedure. Graham, a graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is a member of the John Marshall Law Review editorial board. She has been interning with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Criminal Division and has been offered an associate position with the law firm of Cassiday Schade & Gloor when she graduates in June. Erin is the daughter of Bruce and Patricia Graham of Oak Park.

Military, industrious, complex

Peter Levrant, a first-year student at the Virginia Military Institute, has been awarded an In-college Air Force ROTC scholarship. The award is based on grades, leadership and physical fitness. Levrant, a 2004 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, is majoring in Arabic and Spanish.

Wedding news from the L.A. Times

@normal:Robert and Carol Batlivala of River Forest announce the engagement of their daughter, Amy Shireen, to Brian McNeilly, son of James and Carol McNeilly of Danvers, Mass. A 1993 graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, the future bride received a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Iowa and an MBA from Dominican University. The future groom graduated from Danvers High School and received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Salem State College in Salem, Mass. Amy and Brian are both advertising account executives for the L.A. Times.

The couple has planned a June wedding in River Forest.


@subhead:Young and old(er) grads

@normal:Two Oak Park residents have earned degrees from Western Illinois University in Macomb. Christina H. Cheronis received a bachelor of arts degree in communication. Ravi J. Schroeder received a board of trustees-bachelor of arts degree, which is designed for adult students.

@subhead:Porch poetry

@normal:A poem by Oak Parker Agnes M. Stempniak is included in Invoking the Muse, a recently-released book from the International Library of Poetry. The poem, “The Ode to the Porch,” received the Editor’s Choice Award and appears on page one of the book. She entered it in a poetry contest on poetry.com.

Stempniak’s interest in writing stretches back to her high school days at Oak Park and River Forest High School, where she was published in Crest, the school’s literary magazine, and served as editor of the Trapeze, the student newspaper. The executive director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, Stempniak’s writing now usually focuses on advertising, newsletters and annual reports.

@subhead:Teacher Olderr nominated by younger student

@normal:Patricia Olderr of Oak Park has been nominated by a former student for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Students who are recognized in Who’s Who Among American High School Students, Who’s Who Among American High School Students–Sports Edition or The National Dean’s List are eligible to nominate teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Only 5 percent of the nation’s teachers are so honored.

@head:PuppyCat Junction: in e-mail

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