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(From left) Jon Whitney, Jerry Taylor, Don Craven and John Lampinen received awards for their careers of excellence in Illinois journalism during this year's IPA/IPF annual convention in Springfield.
(Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
By ERIN HENKEL
For Illinois Press Association
SPRINGFIELD – Tears and laughter filled the room as the legacies of five men who have had a significant impact on Illinois journalism were recognized during a celebration dinner Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention.
Jon Whitney, Jerry Taylor and Don Craven were honored as Distinguished Service Award winners, recognition that each received in 2020 before that year’s convention and the 2021 event were forced to be held virtually due to the pandemic.
John Lampinen was named the 2022 recipient of the James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award, and the late Mike Kramer was honored as the first person to receive the Mike Kramer Legislative Award.
They were all honored during a dinner at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel.
Jon and Nancy Whitney embrace during the Illinois Press Association's Celebration Dinner on Aug. 11 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield during the IPA/IPF convention. Jon Whitney, who owns and operates the Carroll County Review weekly newspaper in Thomson along with Nancy, was honored as a winner of an IPA Distinguished Service Award. Introducing Whitney was Illinois Press Foundaiton Board President Jerry Reppert (right). (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association.)
Whitney and his wife, Nancy, have operated the Carroll County Review weekly newspaper together for more than 55 years. So it was fitting that the first thing Jon did after receiving his award was to ask Nancy to join him on the platform.
Nancy, Jon said, has been his partner in every aspect of life.
“We’ve been married for almost 57 and a half years,” he said. “Fifty-five years and two months of that time we’ve run a newspaper. We worked side by side. …She deserves this award as much as I do. She’s the person who made it possible.”
In addition to being a newspaper owner and publisher, Whitney served as president of the Illinois Press Association Board in 1985 and is a longtime member of the Illinois Press Foundation Board.
Whitney is still serving his local community, working 70 to 80 hours a week to put out a weekly paper.
“Jon is the true spirit of a newspaper publisher” said Jerry Reppert, president of the IPF Board who introduced Whitney.
Whitney appreciates the camaraderie he has found while attending the Illinois Press Association conventions.
“You can’t walk next door in a small town and talk shop. We can come down here and talk shop. So, thank you. My deepest appreciation for this award,” Whitney said.
Dinner attendees also took the opportunity to sing “Happy Birthday” to Whitney, whose birthday was Aug. 12, the following day.
Jerry Taylor (center), surrounded by friends and family members, receives a Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Press Association on Aug. 11 in Springfield. Taylor was editor and publisher of The Dispatch in Moline and The Rock Island Argus for many years. He also served on the IPA Board from 1997 to 2005 and as its president in 2004. Taylor was introduced by Roger Ruthhart (left), former editor ofThe Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Jerry Taylor has contributed a lifetime of service to the Illinois Press Association and local journalism in the Quad Cities. Taylor served on the Illinois Press Association Board from 1997 to 2005 and as president in 2004.
“In my 24 years as executive director, I can easily say Jerry was the most outstanding board member and board president I knew” former IPA President Dave Bennett said in a comment that was read to the audience by Roger Ruthhart in his introduction of Taylor.
During Taylor’s time as editor and publisher of The Dispatch in Moline, and The Rock Island Argus, he advocated for statewide changes, including advocating for verbatim records of closed meetings and access for cameras in courtrooms.
“Jerry wasn’t afraid to use the power of his own newspaper to help make statewide changes” said Ruthhart, former editor of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus.
Taylor also focused his career on the importance of journalism that served local needs.
“Under Jerry we never had a feeling that a story was too big for us,” Ruthhart said. “I can’t remember that he ever spiked a story. When we got into a dicey one, he’d just say call [IPA attorney Don] Craven.”
Taylor’s devotion to serving others was evident in how former colleagues described him:
“Jerry is fiercely intelligent, focused, and driven and yet he is open to new ideas and other people’s opinions,” said Mike Romkey, who managed the newspapers’ editing hub, in quotes read by Ruthhart.
“Jerry is a fierce partisan for the Illinois Quad Cities, the newspapers he ran, and his staff, yet he is aways gracious and fair. Jerry is a demanding boss with high standards, yet he is willing to forgive the indiscretions of youth and inexperience. I think it was Jerry’s formation as a Catholic and Christian man that added to his God-given intelligence and talents that made him easily the best boss with whom I ever worked. Managing skills and business expertise are all balanced on values and Jerry’s values are rock solid.”
Taylor was joined in attendance by a number of family members who filled two tables in the room.
(From left) Don Craven, his wife, Denise, and his mother-in-law, Judith Sholtis, listen as Jim Slonoff, co-owner and publisher of The Hinsdalean newspaper in Hinsdale, introduces Don as a recipient of an Illinois Press Association Distinguished Service Award. Craven, a longtime legal counsel for IPA member newspapers and current IPA president and CEO, was honored during a celebration dinner at the IPA/IPF convention Aug. 11 in Springfield. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Craven was honored for the many years of legal service and leadership he’s provided to the Illinois Press Association and its member newspapers across the state.
“It would be nearly impossible to find a newspaper that hadn’t received the counsel of Don Craven,” said Jim Slonoff, co-owner and publisher of The Hinsdalean newspaper in Hinsdale. “He has helped guide reporters, editors and publishers. From the intricacies of libel law to navigating the Open Meetings Act. From working with politicians to building trust with local officials. From testifying before committees of the Illinois General Assembly to representing newspapers in courtrooms across the state. He trained to be a lawyer but he seems to have the heart and soul of a newspaper man.”
Craven became president and CEO of the IPA last year after having served as interim president during two different periods in the previous two decades. Craven got his law degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 1981, and soon set up shop in Springfield with his father, Jim. Today, Craven and his son, Joe, are partners in the Craven & Craven Law Office in Springfield.
For decades, Craven has been provided legal counsel to the hundreds of newspapers that are IPA members.
“Teddy Roosevelt once said ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Craven has been that big stick at the side of Illinois newspapers in his almost four decades of service,” Slonoff said. “For the folks that would go on the record, the message was crystal clear: Don Craven has been and will always be a source of wisdom, guidance and friendship. He is the lighthouse that always brightens the path during the darkest hours of the storm.”
Craven, much like his own father did, encourages his sons to help create positive change in their communities.
Craven would ask his sons “What’s tomorrow’s headline going to be?”
Slonoff told the audience that Craven’s sons, Joe and David, explained that this was to get across a few different messages but mainly one challenge: Going about your average day isn’t going to get you on the front page. To be the headline you either have to do something incredibly stupid or do something incredibly special. It was a simple phrase — don’t do anything stupid today, but more importantly go do something meaningful. Make a change in your community [and] have an impact on something you care about.”
John Lampinen (left) and Dennis Anderson of Shaw Media share a laugh during the Illinois Press Association Celebration Dinner on Aug. 11 in Springfield. Lampinen, who served as editor of the Daily Herald for 48 years before retiring at the end of 2021, received the James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award during the dinner. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
The James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award was created to honor a lifelong commitment to a free and open press.
“[The] cornerstone of democracy is an educated electorate. If you don’t have an educated electorate they don’t know how to make decisions and you need a free and open press to serve that purpose,” Don Craven said.
The 2022 Craven Freedom of the Press Award was presented to John Lampinen, who served as editor of the Daily Herald for 48 years before retiring at the end of 2021.
“Those of us who became editors …never would have felt the absolute joy in watching a protégé grow unless we had [become editors],” Lampinen said. “It’s the most wonderous thing. People work hard and they seem stuck, and they work hard and they seem stuck, and they work hard and one day the blossom. Suddenly it just happens. Their promise emerges like a flower that has opened overnight. It brings tears to your eyes sometimes to see it,” Lampinen said.
While serving as editor of the Daily Hereld, Lampinen dedicated his time to promoting ethical and responsible journalism. Lampinen started a campaign called Facts Matter. Although he is retired now, Lampinen is still dedicated to promoting factual information.
“Facts matter,” he said. “They are the most important element in a democratic republic. In order for the people to make good decisions in how we are to be governed they must be informed decisions, so the campaign has to continue. There is no alternative but for it to continue.
“We are all swimming in a sea of misinformation. Some of this misinformation is simply a failure of wrecking social media and improperly vetted information. Some of it is simply a failure to recognize bias and vested interests. Much of it is cynical, purposeful misinformation. Particularly given the country’s deep polarization, many of us tend to be too eager to accept anything that agrees with our point of view. We accept propaganda. We accept lies. We accept manipulation. As citizens we have obligations to be much more educated. We are obliged to develop healthy skepticism that trains us how and when to challenge even those assertions that we wish to be true.”
Lampinen said that in retirement he is spending time with family, and after 48 years in a newsroom he enjoys not feeling like he is in a hurry.
“I just want to thank the Association and Don. This is such a thoughtful award and such a surprising one and I am deeply touched by it,” Lampinen said. “It is a reflection not of my career but of the Daily Hereld and all of the people I’ve worked with over the years, dedicated journalists and dedicated newspaper people. I am particularly touched that it is named for Judge Craven, the Craven family, and certainly Don, one of the people I’ve looked up to for so many years. [He’s]so dedicated to the First Amendment and public access. [He] does such important work and I am so grateful for this. Thank you so much.”
Ann Kramer (center) receives the Mike Kramer Legislative Award which was given to her husband, the late Mike Kramer, from Peter Mierzwa (left), president of Law Bulletin Media, and Don Craven, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
The first Mike Kramer Legislative Award was presented during the celebration dinner. The award was created in 2021 to honor Mike Kramer, former president of Law Bulletin Media. Kramer passed away in December 2020 after spending a lifetime promoting an open and transparent government.
So it was fitting that the first award honors Kramer.
“The Chicago Daily Law bulletin has been around since 1854, 168 years, and throughout all that time we have been advocating tirelessly as well for legislation and positions that support newspapers. I can’t think of anyone who has devoted more of their time, more of their talent than Mike Kramer to that cause” said Peter Mierzwa, current president of Law Bulletin Media
Kramer was charismatic and passionate about public policy that benefited newspapers and a free press. Kramer took a personal approach to promoting legislative interests.
“He loved associating with the legislators. …One of the other things he enjoyed doing as (Law Bulletin Media Co-Chairman and CEO) Sandy (Macfarland) liked to highlight was ‘working the rail’ at the state Capitol, coming in to meet all the new legislators,” Mierzwa said. “It was important that people understood that he had a balanced opinion and that built that sense of trust which is the currency you need to do well in that kind of environment.”
The annual award recognizes individuals or organizations whose legislative efforts have ensured access to an open and transparent government.
Don Craven recalled how Kramer would attend events for political candidates and lawmakers, and “work the room” better than the candidate.
“He would be talking to everybody. He would be listening to everybody,” Craven said. “He would be making jokes with everybody. He was just so damned effective. And he had fun doing it.”
Kramer spent his life in the news publishing business and joined the Daily Law Bulletin in 1997, rising to publisher of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine in 2007 and as company president in 2015.
Kramer’s spouse, Ann, and his daughter, Megan, accepted the award.
“Thank you so much for this honor,” Ann said. “Mike would have been so grateful and happy to be here with you.”
(From left) Peter Mierzwa, president of Law Bulletin Media, Illinois Press Association President and CEO Don Craven and Ann Kramer share a laugh after Kramer's husband, the late Mike Kramer, was honored as the recipient of the first Mike Kramer Legislative Award during the IPA Celebration Dinner on Aug. 11 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Jerry Taylor (right) and Roger Ruthhart pose for a photo after Taylor was honored as a Distinguished Service Award recipient by the Illinois Press Association on Aug. 11. Ruthhart introduced Taylor, who was an editor and publisher for many years at The Dispatch in Moline and The Rock Island Argus. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Don Craven, president and CEO of the Illinois Press Association, congratulates Lucy Lampinen after her husband, John Lampinen, was honored as the 2022 recipient of the James C. Craven Freedom of the Press Award during the IPA Celebration Dinner at the annual convention Aug. 11. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Denise Craven and Jim Slonoff share a hug during the Celebration Dinner Aug. 11. Denise's husband, Don, received a Distinguished Service Award from the Illinois Press Association during its convention at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. Slonoff, the co-owner and publisher of The Hinsdalean newspaper in Hinsdale, introduced Craven. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
Jason Hegna, vice president of sales for Shaw Media, enjoys a drink and laughs with other convention-goers during the Celebration Dinner Aug. 11. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19, 2022
Contact: Alison Maley
Phone: (217) 299-3122
Illinois Principals Association to host 'Leaders of Hope' Conference in October
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Principals Association will host its 51st Education Leaders Annual Conference and Exhibition, “Leaders of Hope,” Oct. 16-18 in Springfield. The annual conference provides an opportunity for principals and other administrators to learn from leaders in the education field and participate in sessions to better serve their schools.
2022-2023 IPA President Raúl Gastón shared, “Although we must pause to acknowledge the realities of the past two years and the challenges we have collectively faced globally, we cannot and must not remain in that space. As leaders in our respective communities, it is our inherent obligation to do our absolute best to help our students and staff move forward. Leaders of Hope is focused on providing all who attend experiences and opportunities to bring hope back to their school through exemplary presenters and topics. Every school leader owes it to themselves to be a leader of hope, and I cannot wait to share in this journey alongside them in Springfield this October.”
The Educational Leaders conference will begin Sunday with a golf tournament at The Rail Golf Club. The IPA Board of Directors, IPA Congress, Legislative Committee, and School Leader Networks will meet Sunday afternoon at the Abraham Lincoln Doubletree Hotel. The first day concludes with a welcome reception sponsored by Association Member Benefits Advisors (AMBA) at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to honor IPA Past Presidents.
The conference will include presentations from keynote speakers Matt Mayberry, Illinois State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala, and Dr. Robyn R. Jackson. Small group sessions at the conference include timely topics such as: leading with resilience, creating a restorative school culture, trauma-informed leadership, school leader recruitment, and social-emotional learning strategies.
The first general session on Monday morning will feature Matt Mayberry, a former linebacker for the Chicago Bears who is now an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker and leading global expert in leadership development, culture change, and organizational performance. Matt took the lessons he learned on the field and in the locker room straight to the board room. These lessons as an athlete have been instrumental in helping him build stronger leadership teams and execute high–impact cultural transformations, enhancing the performance of organizations in every sector for over a decade. Mayberry will present his keynote, “Driving Hope as a Transformational Leader” Monday morning, followed by a breakout session entitled “Winning Plays for Educational Leaders.”
Speakers at the second general session on Monday afternoon include Dr. Carmen Ayala, Illinois State Superintendent of Schools, and Raúl Gastón, 2022-2023 IPA President. IPA Principal of the Year awards, the Reaching Out & Building Bridges Award, and the Mr. John Ourth & Dr. Fred W. Singleton Professional Development Scholarships will also be presented at this session.
Conference attendees will gather Monday evening at “The Future is Strong with You” Gala, sponsored by Books Are Fun, at the Abraham Lincoln DoubleTree Hotel ballroom.
Dr. Robyn Jackson, CEO of Mindsteps, Inc., will begin the conference Tuesday morning with her presentation, “How to Protect Your Confidence.” She will also host a breakout session following her presentation on setting a vision for success for 100% of students, how to make that success possible in the next 3 years and do it with the people and resources leaders already have. Dr. Jackson combines her experience as a high school English teacher and middle school administrator to help educators develop rigorous instructional programs that provide students with the support and motivation they need to reach or exceed standards.
The conference will conclude on Tuesday with IPA’s own Brian Schwartz, Deputy Executive Director and General Legal Counsel, and Alison Maley, Government and Public Relations Director, as they provide an update on the education-related laws passed during the 2022 Illinois Legislative Session. Schwartz and Maley will also discuss the upcoming general election, hot topics likely to be addressed in the 2023 Session, and how school leaders can stay up to date on the legal and legislative items that impact their schools.
For more information about the IPA or to register to attend, please visit www.ilprincipals.org.
The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves over 6,100 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2022
Contact: Ron Hylla
Phone: (320) 492-6411
Railroad Retiree Informational Conference
being held in Naperville
CHICAGO – The National Association of Retired and Veteran Railway Employees, Inc (NARVRE) will hold a Railroad Retiree Informational Conference in the Chicago area. The conference will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, beginning at 10 a.m., at the Naperville Municipal Center, located at 400 S. Eagle St. in Naperville. The conference will inform railway workers and retirees about their pension benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act, along with information on Medicare enrollment and asbestos awareness illnesses. There is no charge for your attendance and participation. Spouses are welcome. Pick-up materials will be available.
Pensions under the Railroad Retirement Act differ from those paid under the Social Security Act, a fact not generally known by the non-railroad public. There are more than 37,000 retired railroaders and spouses receiving Railroad Retirement in the state of Illinois.
In charge of the program will be NARVRE National Vice President Ron Hylla. Also appearing will be NARVRE National President George Boatwright and NARVRE National Secretary-Treasurer Phil Stewart. Other speakers will be from TLC Insurance Group and Jones Granger law firm. The guest speaker will be the former Labor Member from the U. S. Railroad Retirement Board, Walt Barrows.
Assisting in presenting materials will be Area Four Director Gary Nelson, Area 6 Director Gary Marquart and Jeff Doerr.
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