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Public Notice Illinois





January Spring








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Wednesday Journal publications taking leap into nonprofit model


Publisher Dan Haley, left, talks with reporters about coverage expectations during an editorial meeting for the transition to Growing Community Media on Oct. 16 at the Wednesday Journal, Inc. office in Oak Park. (Photo by Alex Rogals/ Wednesday Journal staff photographer)

‘Moment’ of change results in formation of nonprofit to own four Chicago area weeklies


Illinois Press Association


OAK PARK – Has Dan Haley’s journalism career come full circle, or are he and the newspapers he publishes embarking on something new, uncertain and invigorating?

Well, both, actually.

Haley is editor and publisher of four weekly newspapers. Three are in near west suburban Chicago – Wednesday Journal in Oak Park, Forest Park Review, and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark. The Austin Weekly News is on Chicago’s West Side.

Like most newspapers large and small, daily and weekly, the papers Haley publishes have struggled in recent years. Ten years ago, Wednesday Journal Inc. published nine weekly newspapers and Chicago Parent Magazine. There were about 75 people working on those publications.

Today, about 20 employees work from a cozy second-floor newsroom and offices that are in a downtown Oak Park building that serves as the company’s home base. They continue to write what Haley describes as intensely local, community journalism. They continue to be among the better weekly newspapers in the state – Austin Weekly News and Wednesday Journal Group finished second and third, respectively in the Division C sweepstakes of the 2018 Illinois Press Association Editorial Contest; the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark placed third in Division A.

But revenue has lagged, enough that Haley announced in September what many would consider a radical business decision. It was, as Haley calls it, a “moment” when something needed to change.

“The last few years have been really hard,” Haley said.

That decision? The four newspapers will soon operate under a nonprofit model. By the end of the year, Wednesday Journal Inc. will be dissolved and the four newspapers will be owned by a nonprofit organization being formed called Growing Community Media. Financial donations and sponsorships will be sought, and digital subscriptions will be sold. Wednesday Journal Inc. also sold Chicago Parent Magazine.

Haley said the goal is for 30 percent to 40 percent of the funding for the print and digital operations to come from philanthropic donations to the nonprofit. Advertising will continue to be sold, as will print subscriptions. Haley said print advertising revenue has declined in recent years, but not by a lot. “Print advertising started to stabilize at the beginning of this year,” he said.


Michael Romain, editor of Austin Weekly News, Village Free Press and reporter for Wednesday Journal, works on a story Oct. 10, at the Growing Community Media office on Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. (Photo by Alex Rogals/ Wednesday Journal staff photographer)


Attorneys continue to guide the company through the process of “unspooling” the for-profit entity. “All assets of Wednesday Journal Inc. will go into the nonprofit and Wednesday Journal Inc. will go into the history books,” Haley said.

Haley said the nonprofit business model was chosen after more than a year of discussions and exploration that included attending last year’s Institute for Nonprofit News convention in Houston.

“Our roots are deep in our communities,” Haley said. “If anyone could pull this off, it might be us.”

In many ways, Haley is at the same point of his career as he was when he and two others started publishing newspapers in the west-side neighborhoods he grew up in.

“We were about six months into Wednesday Journal back in 1980 and the money we'd raised was running out,” Haley wrote in his announcement to readers on Sept. 11. “The check to the printer the previous week had bounced — not by much but it bounced — and now the printer wanted a certified check before he'd print the next issue.

“That was a moment. And I remember thinking as a chastened 24-year-old, ‘This is the greatest job ever but, Dan, you don't have a God-given right to publish this newspaper. Figure it out. Make this work.’”

So, he and his business partners went out and sought shareholders to buy stock in Wednesday Journal Inc. They found about 60 people to make investments in relatively small amounts, most around $1,000. That gave the startup company enough financial runway to get off the ground.


Andy Mead, editorial designer, works at his desk Oct. 10 at the Growing Community Media office on Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park. (Photo by Alex Rogals/ Wednesday Journal staff photographer)


During our interview in his Oak Park office, Haley made repeated references to a printed sheet with a promotional advertisement from 1980 that displayed the names of each of the papers’ investors. Today, there remains 14 shareholders, including Haley and his wife, Mary.

“It feels like we’ve come full circle,” Haley said of the company’s current status. “… We’d reached another moment when we knew we were going to have to do something different if we were going to survive.”

While nonprofit journalism has been booming in recent years, Haley said he’s not aware of any other weekly newspapers employing the nonprofit approach. Most nonprofits, he pointed out, are digital-only products, and there a few daily print product examples nationally.

Haley and others have begun reaching out to community organizations and individuals to make their pitch. That pitch, essentially, is that the West Side neighborhoods are full of very worthy nonprofit entities that are important to the community. “At the end of the conversation … we ask, ‘Where would a nonprofit community journalism project fit in your rankings of worthy entities?”

The responses so far, Haley said, have been “gratifying.”

“Oak Park would not be the same place if the Wednesday Journal had not been here the past 40 years.”

But something else interesting has happened, said Dawn Ferencak, the papers’ associate publisher and chief revenue officer who leads the ad sales efforts.

“I think our advertisers now see us as more of a community partner than they did before,” she said. “By sharing our message, they have a deeper respect for what we do for the community and what we mean to the community.”


Marc Stopeck, Answer Book editor, works at his desk Oct. 10 at the Growing Community Media office on Oak Park Avenue in Oak Park.  (Photo by Alex Rogals/ Wednesday Journal staff photographer)


That’s a message Haley encourages other publishers to spread in their own communities. What would his message be to others who might consider a nonprofit or hybrid model?

“To most people in our situation, I would say face the reality that our model is broken,” he said. “There was a process I went through of saying, ‘It’s not your fault, Dan. The world changed around you, and now you have to adapt to it.

“Accept the reality, have faith in your community that they will see the value in the work you’ve done over time. … You have a foundation of readership and advertisers, you are in great shape. Be proud of the asset that has been built, and that take that asset in a new way.”

In fact, Haley plans on continuing to build on that asset by sharpening the focus of coverage on the “normalcy” of life in the seven communities his papers serve. He thinks the new model will actually allow him to add staff and reporting beats. And, given the feedback she’s received from advertisers, Ferencak is projecting an increase in ad revenues.

“There’s an enormous positive energy,” Haley said. “It’s invigorating.”


The editorial staff listens to Dan Haley, the publisher, go over material Oct. 16 during an editorial meeting for the transition to Growing Community Media at the Wednesday Journal, Inc. office in Oak Park. (Photo by Alex Rogals/ Wednesday Journal staff photographer)

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Press Releases


Renee' Blissett
(773) 968-5777 | Mobile 
The Lighthouse Church of All Nations
4501 W. 127th Street
Alsip, IL 60803

Pastoral transition in Chicago's largest
multicultural church

**Press invited Sunday, March 26, 2023, at 6 p.m. CST for a
special celebration service**

Having just celebrated 45 years of serving the Chicagoland area, The Lighthouse Church of All Nations is embarking on a new journey. Founded by the Rev. Dr. Dan Willis in 1977, the church grew from 16 people to 6,000 members and is well-respected throughout the world for its integrity, love and commitment to helping others. This nondenominational ministry is home to 72 different nationalities and ministers to more than 700 children and youth every weekend.

The Rev. Dr. Dan Willis, affectionately known as, “Pastor Dan”, has led as senior pastor for these past 45 years and is excited to announce his elevation to bishop. The new senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations is the Rev. Garland Mays, Jr. Pastor Garland and his wife, Pastor Farida, have been members and ministers for many years, leading as youth pastors for nearly 15 years. Parents of three sons, they realize the importance of strong families and the role communities of faith play. 

This change does not mean “retirement” for Bishop Dan though! His new role allows him to mentor and oversee The Lighthouse while also elevating his opportunities for television ministry, writing, speaking and teaching. 

This transition will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 26,in the Main Sanctuary of The Lighthouse Church, 4501 W. 127th Street in Alsip. Free and open to the public, we encourage everyone to join us for this special night.  




Media Contact:
Katy Brumm Pederson
(217) 710-8152

Project Runway Winner, TV Celebrity and Internationally renowned designer, Jonathan Kayne will be in Litchfield this weekend raising funds for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and styling prom at My Formals 


About Johnathan Kayne: As a successful fashion designer and business owner, Kayne was selected to compete on Project Runway. This experience, his charming personality, and eye for glamorous style propelled Kayne to his own celebrity status. Kayne starred on the TLC special Gown Crazy, and also appeared on E!, ABC, NBC, Bravo, and The Style Network.

In addition to his dress line, Johnathan serves as a fashion expert for Country Weekly, Zuus Country, and NStyle Country. Dubbed as a “genius designer” by Heidi Klum and “a designer who knows how to make clothes and fit a woman’s body” by Michael Kors, his designs have appeared on the world’s biggest stars and most prestigious red carpets. A few of his celebrity clients include Jennifer Lopez, Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Kelly Pickler, Tanya Tucker, Britney Spears, Lee Brice, and Rascal Flatts.

Event News:
Meet Johnathan Kayne at MyFormals this Saturday and Sunday. A donation will be made to St Jude’s for every Johnathan Kayne dress sold.  

Johnathan Kayne will be giving fashion tips, showing special pieces from the 2023 Prom & Pageant line and helping girls choose the perfect prom dress for them. Let a design expert help you get the right prom dress for you to make memories.

When: March 4th & 5th
Where: My Formals
1200 N Old Rte 66, Litchfield, IL 62056

(217) 324-4513





Media Contact:
Christopher Weishaar
Digital Public Relations Specialist
(515) 273-7140

Ten $1,000 scholarships now open to Midwest high school seniors 

High school seniors from Illinois and five other Midwest states have a chance to earn the scholarships

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA — High school seniors from Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin now have a chance to receive one of 10 college scholarships worth $1,000. Registration is open now through April 28, 2023. Parents are also now able to register their student.

High school seniors or their parents may register for the ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest. ISL Education Lending will award $1,000 scholarships to 10 students whose names are randomly drawn after the registration period. There are no financial need, grade point average or class rank requirements. The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship can be used at any eligible institution in the United States.

Registered participants also receive emails highlighting financial literacy tips, such as the importance of early career and college planning and ways to reduce student loan indebtedness.

“Student loan debt is a huge concern for new college students,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of ISL Education Lending. “As a nonprofit, we provide tools and resources to help high school seniors plan so they can reduce the amount of debt they need to take on while achieving their education goals. Students sign up for a chance at a $1,000 scholarship, and we take that opportunity to share information with them about our free resources.”

The ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship is open to legal U.S. citizens who are seniors at a high school in one of the qualifying states during the 2022–2023 school year and who intend to attend college, either virtually or physically, in fall 2023. It is a no-purchase-required program, and full rules and details are available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Midwest.

Additional Resources Available

In addition to offering student loans, ISL Education Lending has other resources for families planning for college and for students who intend to pursue advanced degrees. The Parent Handbook consists of valuable tips to help families of students in sixth through 12th grades prepare for success in college and other postsecondary options. Parents of students in eighth through 12th grades can also sign up to receive twice-monthly emailed tips on academic, college and career planning through the Student Planning Pointers for Parents program. The College Funding Forecaster helps families understand the total cost of four years of college based on a freshman-year financial aid offer. Information about these resources is available at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/SmartBorrowing.

# # #

About ISL Education Lending

Established in 1979 as Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, a private, nonprofit organization, ISL Education Lending helps students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in postsecondary education. ISL has helped nearly 400,000 students pay for college, offering student loans and other products under the name ISL Education Lending. The organization, based in West Des Moines, Iowa, also provides an array of borrower benefits, financial literacy tools and community reinvestment programs, including support for free college planning services for students and their families. For more information, visit www.IowaStudentLoan.org.





Contact:  Stephanie Benson, program chair, at irc@illinoisreadingcouncil.org
Illinois Reading Council

http://illinoisreads.org and www.illinoisreadingcouncil.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IllinoisReads
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IllinoisReads  #Illinoisreads


Illinois Reading Council's 
2023 Illinois Reads Book Selection 
featured at the
IRC Conference on March 9-10, 2023 


The Illinois Reading Council (IRC) has just released the list of ILLINOIS READS books for 2023. ILLINOIS READS is a statewide program that promotes reading for all Illinois citizens. The program promotes six books in six different age categories by authors and illustrators who have ties to Illinois. The books range from read-to books for infants to books for adult readers. Bookmarks and posters highlighting the ILLINOIS READS books will be available in early 2023. Order early as supplies are limited!

The 2023 ILLINOIS READS Program will also be featured at the annual IRC Conference in Springfield on March 9-10, 2023. Conference registration is now open for educators, librarians, and others interested in promoting literacy. More information is available at the Illinois Reading Council website.

The ILLINOIS READS book selections for 2023 are:
Ages Birth – 4 Years
Would You Come Too? by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Diana Sudyka
This is Music: Drums by Rekha S. Rajan
Chicago, Baby! by Feather Flores, illustrated by Kelly Leigh Miller
ABC Animals! by Stephen F. Majsak
I’ll Be Your Polar Bear by Justin Roberts
Molly on the Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Grades 3-5
Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington
Pighearted by Alex Perry
A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga
Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley
Three Strike Summer by Skyler Schrempp

Grades 9-12
A Man Called Horse: John Horse and the Black Seminole Underground Railroad by Glennette Tilley Turner
Murder Among Friends: How Leopold and Loeb Tried to Commit the Perfect Crime by Candace Fleming
As Fast As Her: Dream Big, Break Barriers, Achieve Success by Kendall Coyne
Strike the Zither by Joan He
The Wolves Are Watching by Natalie Lund
Darling by K. Ancrum

Grades K-2
The Most Haunted House in America by Jarrett Dapier
Stella Keeps the Sun Up by Clothilde Ewing
Elephant’s Big Solo by Sarah Kurpiel
The Meaning of Pride by Rosiee Thor and illustrated by Sam Kirk
Tortoise and Hare: A Fairy Tale to Help You Find Balance by Susan Verde and illustrated by Jay Fleck
Yetis are the Worst! by Alex Willan

Grades 6-8
Courage by Barbara Binns
The Civil War of Amos Abernathy by Michael Leali 
Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa by Julian Randall Tumble by Celia C. Pérez
ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a Lot Less Sucky by Trisha Prabhu
Underground Fire: Hope, Sacrifice, and Courage in the Cherry Mine Disaster by Sally M. Walker

The Upstairs House: A Novel by Julia Fine 
Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America by Cody Keenan
Eat, Drink, and Be Murray: A Feast of Family Fun and Favorites by Andy Murray
Remarkably Bright Creatures: A Novel by Shelby Van Pelt
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West
Last Summer on State Street: A Novel by Toya Wolfe

ILLINOIS READS is sponsored by the Illinois Reading Council, a nonprofit organization with close to 2,000 members across the State of Illinois. The mission of the Illinois Reading Council is to provide support and leadership to all who promote and teach lifelong literacy. Book lists from 2013 to 2022 may be found on the ILLINOIS READS website. More information is also available at www.IllinoisReads.org and www.IllinoisReadingCouncil.org.




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