Grateful to still have a truly local weekly newspaper! Read it since day one! Editors and reporters that know what to cover on the varied aspects of life in our diverse community. Congratulations.
I lived in Oak Park for 22 years but moved to Westchester a few years ago for a ranch house and lower taxes. But there is NO newspaper.
So I have become one of your biggest advocates. I tell all my old Oak Park friends they don’t know how good they have it to have intelligent local reporting. I get my Westchester news from atrocious Facebook groups, full of half-baked opinions and innuendo. It is maddening.
You are a gift to the community, and long may you do good reporting.
“A change of heart” and “We can do better than better” highlight the WJ issues of June 24 and July 8, 2020. Throughout these 40 years, Ken Trainor’s essays have supplied inspiring answers to the “What can we make of this?” questions the day’s large and small issues provoke.
Places for quiet reflection, such as the serene Austin Gardens, are described in his columns, and places for decisive action, such as support for beneficial organizations and village institutions, are described in his columns. He shares with us, and his young grandsons, discoveries of the world as it should be.
Betty T. Moore
Congratulations to Wednesday Journal on its 40th anniversary of serving as an essential part of our community by sharing the information that makes our area so distinctive. Dominican University has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Journal, partnering on the Wednesday Journal Conversations series and hosting the annual Night of Champions high school sports program. It was a true honor to be selected to join so many influential people in our community as one of the Journal’s Villagers of the Year.
Here’s to another 40 years!
You are needed.
I love the Wednesday Journal. Many talk about newspapers as having the pulse of a community. I think the Wednesday Journal is much more than that. I think it is the heart of our community. I hope it will be around for another 40 years.
I still have the front cover of a Wednesday Journal issue with my 5 or 6-year-old daughter looking at some fun holiday construction on the Lake Street “Mall” during that period when it was bricked over for pedestrian use only. She was amazed by a voice that came out of a large 8-10 ft. “snowman” asking her what she wanted for Christmas. The voice was a man with a mike sitting inside a window in the Marshall Field building. She is now 42 with her own delightful three-year-old daughter.
In 1983, I moved with my husband and 2-month-old son to Oak Park. I was delighted to learn about a Leaps and Bounds exercise class for new moms and babies in a local church basement and immediately signed up. Not long afterwards, Susan Anderson, a TV journalist in Chicago, came to report on this unique learning opportunity.
I grabbed my Nikon camera and took it along with me to class that day. I took photos of Susan and her crew interviewing our teacher and fellow mom/students. On the way home, I stopped at the Wednesday Journal office and was introduced to Valerie Mindel, the feature editor at the time. I told her about the class interviews and the photos I had taken.
I had spent years at Sears, Roebuck in public relations, but knew nothing about community journalism. Valerie kindly told me that by the time I submitted the story and got her photographs, the story would be old for publication.
That was not such good news, but what she said to me next was music to my ears. She said she’d love to talk to me about writing for the paper if I was willing to take $25 per story. For that opportunity to get to know my new community, I would have happily done assignments for free. Soon after that, I started getting assignments for the Wednesday Journal — and later, for Chicago Parent.
Through that opportunity, I met many newsmakers and fellow Oak Park citizens — it was a great introduction to Oak Park, an opportunity that I cherish to this day. To Dan Haley and his staff, I wish you a happy 40th anniversary and hope there are many more successful years of sharing local stories ahead.
Congrats to Dan [and Mary, Ben and Mariah] for nurturing Wednesday Journal – and by extension the communities it serves – for all these years.
Jill & David Stewart
Fond former neighbors
Thanks WJ for showcasing our ginormous 15-year-old goldfish on the cover of your lovely paper! It was a tiny Ascension Mission Day fish and grew into a monster. Thanks for the memories!
We need Wednesday Journal to ensure that important local news is available and to be able to express our viewpoints to those who might really benefit from the dialogue. The Wednesday Journal represents independent journalism that keeps our village informed, inspired and accountable.
Congratulations on 40 years!
“The Domestic Registry referendum passes, 51-49 percent, the first time a pro-gay measure has won a ballot initiative in the U.S., leading to one of our more memorable front-page headlines: “Big Gay Day.”
BEST. Headline. Ever.
“BIG GAY DAY!”
Dan Haley has written many memorable columns, bringing emotions from laughter to tears. I wish that I had saved the ones about his wife (an older woman!); his sister who found work as a candy striper exciting (did she get to bathe a cadaver?); the receipt of a letter addressed to “The Local Paper, Oak Park IL” (no address, delivered to the Wednesday Journal, NOT the Oak Leaves) and the challenges of arranging the rooftop Christmas decorations (that required a bag of cat litter?)
I would truly enjoy reading these again.
You know, a book of Dan’s favorite columns would be a great fundraiser.
Marlene R Scott
There is no substitute for local journalism, so important to our democracy. Thank you to all the employees of the past 40 years providing these essential services.
Why I truly believe that local journalism news matters, because it is “boots to the ground” and informative language to build our community, and to show pride. It is also the heart of democracy and being the voice for the people. Wednesday Journal has been around in the villages of Oak Park and River Forest, and it represents the state of mind of the residents and citizens. Congratulations to 40 years of being the voice for Oak Park and River Forest!
Wednesday Journal is a real gem in our community. Happy Anniversary!
I won’t forget the personal attacks on the people who opposed lights in the OPRF football stadium.
It is one thing to editorialize in favor of a position: that is what newspapers do.
It is quite another — and quite unprofessional in my opinion — to inculcate your “news” reporting with your personal opinions AND to attack people who had valid positions and opinions in opposition to your own and call them names.
And this happened repeatedly during your “campaign” to have lights installed at the stadium.
It was also against all sorts of journalistic “best practices” to not reveal your personal conflicts, and lobby on behalf of your own family (Ken’s son played football for OPRF) without revealing this conflict.
I went door to door to sell subscriptions, and then delivered papers the first year of the Journal! My first “job”!
Lou Anne Johannesson
Wonderful work — We Really Appreciate You!
The Little Gem Cafe
My kids delivered it with a wagon. My 10-year old son started his own “paper” on the block based on WJ. Then WJ wrote about him! Finally Dan Haley hired me to write for WJ and I learned the essence of good community journalism. It’s no fluke WJ wins all those prizes from Illinois Press Association. Congrats on surviving (and thriving) for four decades.
Fort Collins CO
Congratulations on your anniversary and longevity. WJ is a friend I look forward to seeing every Wednesday. I know so many people on the staff, the stories are so often about people or places I know and the many letters I’ve had printed have given me an opportunity to express myself and even have a small influence on some events. When Festival Theatre was in financial peril in 2002 you worked with me and helped to save it.
When I moved to Oak Park in 1982, the Journal quickly became indispensable in figuring out how the village worked, who the political players were, who was mad at whom, who was having affairs with whom.
Its plainspoken and clear reporting, its robust letters pages and its committed columnists served as invaluable guides, helping my wife and me become part of this community.
And I’d say that even if it hadn’t recruited me as a columnist in the ’90s and my son — about whom I’d written some of those columns — as a reporter and editor in the 21st Century.
Thank you, Wednesday Journal, for so many of the good things in my family’s life.
One of my fondest memories of enjoying the Wednesday Journal was during Hurricane Katrina when my kids who were at the time, nine and five, made “monster hurricane cookies” and sold them donating the money to hurricane relief! I sent in a photo. You printed it and captioned it!
We were all so happy!
My neighbor Frank Walsh was “The Spectator” for you for a long time. My favorite column was from 7/6/83 where he talked about our block parties on the 200 block of Clinton. They were quite an event. I think the village really supported these events to develop the plans for diversity and we sure got to know our neighbors.
I have an original copy if there is none in your archives. It seems current in many ways.
Thank you for so many years.
Happy Anniversary. You guys rock boats!
Somewhere around 1988 my nephew Stephen (Steve) Kleps had his pic in the Journal for winning the most freckles contest at Irish Fest. Steve, now 40 lives in River Forest. None of his 4 kids comes close to having a 1/20 of his freckles
Of course, I like the story and pic of me and Tim about same sex marriage.
So glad you have been one of the many ties that bind us together for almost as long as we have lived in Oak Park. Thankful for Independent media to share our stories.
Community journalism is so important.
I’ve enjoyed writing for the WJ for 30 years. I’m proud of the quality of the WJ. Let’s all help to keep the WJ vibrant.
I remember those early WJ Board days energized by a passionate team of Oak Parkers committed to local journalism and led by super talented journalists. What an amazing experience! Thank you!
From its first issues, Wednesday Journal has been a great community partner for so many community organizations and agencies. You have supported me through my time at the Food Pantry, Home Companion Service, Community of Congregations, Friends of the Library Book Fair, and now as an active media partner with Celebrating Seniors.
Yes, I have been honored by you for various things through the years but your help with our community volunteer recruitments and fund-raising efforts, have been the best. Thanks to Dan, Ken, Marc, Jill, Lourdes, Andy and many staff both current and past.
The Shrubtown cartoons are helping me get through this. Keep ’em coming. Also buy the peaches at the Farmers’ Market. They will help you get through this.
Congratulations to Dan Haley for founding the Wednesday Journal in 1980 and growing it for 40 years. My wife Katherine and I were proud to be among the initial investors, and I was proud to be on the beginning staff. Even our children, Warren and Sue, were delivery kids. But the important thing is that Dan and his staff have sustained a local newspaper that has become a community institution. We can all be proud.
Wednesday Journal is the thread that stitches together the larger quilt from the diverse patches generated by the daily life in Oak Park, Austin and River Forest. Through the dedicated work of its journalists and staff it is the vital source of information about events that shape these communities. And it provides the forum for the citizenry to contrast their views and opinions. We are lucky to have a local newspaper and we need to make sure we help it keep going for another 40 years. Happy Birthday Wednesday Journal!
Milos Zefran and Barbara Di Eugenio
I have read the Wednesday Journal since day one and still look forward to reading it. I could not name a finer community newspaper. That’s all the WJ tries to be .… and it has succeeded.
The Journal staff encourages dialogue with the community and invites us to share joys, sorrows, pain, anger, and praise. No topic is off limits for the Journal. Editorials and columns make us think and often provoke a response. Community activists find their voices through the pages of the Journal. Wednesday Journal is personal.
Happy 40th Anniversary…and thank you!
Wednesday Journal is not your typical hometown paper, although it covers the usual stuff.More importantly, it reports the news, interprets the news, and drives the news. Not everyone likes that all the time, including me. But I treasure it.
This town is not the same without it.
Mary Kay O’Grady
Aging Disgracefully columnist
P. S. None of the columnists are paid.