Address: 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Phone: 708-524-8300

Dan Haley

Editor & Publisher
Growing Community Media Publisher

Dan was one of the three founders of Wednesday Journal in 1980. He’s still here as its four flags –
Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News, Forest Park Review and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark – make the switch to the nonprofit model of Growing Community Media. He sees independent community journalism as the glue that makes a neighborhood vital.

Stacey Sheridan

Staff Writer

Stacey Sheridan is a graduate of the University of Missouri (Mizzou) and received a master’s degree in journalism from DePaul University. She began working as a reporter with Wednesday Journal in September of 2019. Stacey covers local politics and government, business and policing.

Michael Romain

Education REporter
Austin Weekly News Editor

Michael Romain started his own news blog called the Village Free Press in 2013. A few years later, the blog caught the attention of a former editor with Growing Community Media, who took him out for coffee at a local Starbucks. In 2015, after freelancing for a few months, he was hired as editor of Austin Weekly News and education reporter for Wednesday Journal. He has a dual degree in English and creative writing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ken Trainor

Viewpoints Editor

Ken Trainor has been with Growing Community Media for 30 years, wearing almost every hat available, including Forest Park Review editor, Austin Weekly News editor, Wednesday Journal managing editor and, currently, copy editor, Viewpoints editor, and obituaries editor. He has written upward of 2,000 columns and still hasn’t run out of things to say.

Melissa Elsmo


Melissa Elsmo makes you believe you can enjoy every meal just as she does: fully and enthusiastically. A trained chef and ardent foodie, Mel’s passion for a good meal peppers her life. She has been an Oak Park resident for more than 20 years, raised two children in the community and resides happily with her husband in the village.

Maria Maxham

Wednesday Journal Staff WRiter
Forest Park Review Editor

A Forest Park resident for almost 19 years, Maria has been with Growing Community Media since August 2019. With a master’s degree in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has taught composition classes at several local community colleges and published 12 romance novels under a pen name. She lives with her husband and three kids, who attend public schools in the community.

Alex Rogals

Staff Photographer

Alex graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a bachelors degree in Photojournalism. After working out in New Mexico, they joined Growing Community Media in 2017 as the staff photographer and photo editor. You can find them out with their cameras covering Chicago’s Westside, Oak Park, Riverside and more.

Michelle Dybal

Arts & Calendar editor

A journalist since she started a newspaper at her elementary school in fifth grade, Michelle went on to earn a BS in Broadcast Journalism from UIUC. She has worked as a writer/producer, in corporate communications management and marketing, and now, when she isn’t volunteering, is back to print journalism as Arts Editor with Growing Community Media.

Lacey Sikora

homes editor

Lacey graduated from Duke University with a degree in English and Art History and then went to law school at the University of Michigan. After working as an attorney in Chicago for a few years, she took some time off with her two children. Her family was rehabbing their second Oak Park home when the Journal put out a call for real estate reporters. Lacey has happily covered architecture and the historic homes and buildings in the Oak Park area ever since.

James Kay

Digital Strategist

After graduating from University of Iowa with a bachelors degree in Journalism & Mass Communication and Sports Studies, James joined Growing Community Media in 2019. He served as Wednesday Journal and The Landmark’s sports editor before moving to digital strategy. James grew up in Oak Park and will argue with those who think Salerno’s Pizza doesn’t have the best slice in town.

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