Page 2: The Chronicle looks to funding its future

Viewpoint: 

The commentary below represents the ideas, observations and opinions of the author.

In June, the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle turned 5. 


Our first story, published online on June 9, 2014, was a feature about a Homewood woman who turned an ecological tragedy — the ravages of the emerald ash borer in our area cost her a beloved ash tree — into an neighborhood asset, a Little Free Library. 

She could have been left with a moldering stump. Instead, it helps neighbors share books.
Sarah Austin’s library is still going strong. It is still visited regularly by neighborhood children, joggers, families out for strolls. She and her library are still, daily, making our community a better place. 
 

  Ron Ehlers of Homewood 
  helps Sarah Austin create
  a Little Free Library in a dead
  ash tree in 2014. The project
  was the subject of the
  Chronicle's first published 
  story. The library is still
  serving the community.

  (Chronicle file photo)
 
Three themes in that story — care for the environment, devotion to education and a tendency to turn negatives into positives — seem to capture the essence of the H-F community.

Did we just get lucky to get all that into one little story? Actually, it’s got more to do with the community than with us. Chronicle reporters hold the mirror that shows the daily life of our community.

People we meet as we pursue that mission tell us they appreciate having a local newspaper and love reading the Chronicle online and in print (thank you!). 

Our task now — as a business and as a community — is to figure out how to keep it going for the next five years and beyond.

We know we need additional revenue and we need to diversify revenue sources. 
Here’s why: The Chronicle’s expenses (printing, postage, insurance, staff) are currently met by revenue from advertisers (thank you all!). 

We also depend on a non-monetary subsidy: The three partners in the business, Marilyn Thomas, Tom Houlihan and I, are experienced journalists who work without salary, providing reporting, editing, proofreading, bookkeeping, production and general management services. Like all small business owners, we cheerfully do whatever needs to be done, and we love what we do.

When Marilyn, Tom and I run out of steam, however, the Chronicle will have to pay our replacements. If we want to be ready when the time comes, we need to start preparing now.

We have talked about doing reader and advertiser surveys soon to get a better sense for what the community would be willing and interested in doing to keep the paper going. But in the meantime, we’re always open to your ideas and suggestions. Write to [email protected] and let us know what you think.

Recyclepalooza keeps H-F green
I am tardy reporting on the results of this year’s Recyclepalooza event in Flossmoor on May 4. Lead organizer Carrie Malfeo said the numbers demonstrate the success of the annual event. She said 625 cars came through, and people dropped off:

  Volunteers greet people arriving at Recyclepalooza 
  to drop off hard-to-recycle items at the event May 4.

  (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 

  •  More than 200 televison sets.
  •  Enough electronics to just about fill a 25-foot box container.
  •  3 sandwich bags full of pull tabs.
  •  5 printer cartridges.
  •  170 pairs of glasses.
  •  314 flags.
  •  Travel size shampoos, conditioners and soaps that filled four large boxes.
  •  Household items, clothes and sporting goods that filled a 20-foot truck.
  •  No. 6 plastic and foam containers that filled a 15-foot truck.
  •  More than 2,000 crayons and markers.
  •  Plastic bags and wrap that filled a truck.
  A volunteer adds to the pile of
  electronics at this year's
  Recyclepalooza event in
  Flossmoor. 
(Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 

Perhaps the most important number of all: 73 volunteers.
“We could not have such a great event without all our hardworking volunteers,” Malfeo said. 

She also thanked community partners Homewood Disposal, the villages of Flossmoor and Homewood, Flossmoor School District 161, Homewood School District 153 and the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.

It was another case of H-F people gathering together to accomplish something good. The team had an efficient system in place. Volunteers clearly knew their tasks and kept up a brisk pace. The line of cars at Parker Junior High stretched to Flossmoor Road sometimes, but it wasn’t a traffic jam. Things kept moving.

One volunteer, Jennifer Molski, said she was impressed with how the event has evolved.
“It’s a well-oiled machine,” she said.

It certainly helps the community recycle responsibly and efficiently.

Homewood Arts Council gallery debuts with local artists’ talents 
Homewood’s newest arts organization, Homewood Arts Council, filled its new space on June 6 with art, artists and art lovers. 

  Artists and patrons mingle
  during the opening show
  on June 6 of the new
  Homewood Arts Council
  gallery on Ridge Road.

  (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
The opening night show at the council’s gallery, in the former Spaahs Salon and Bodyworx at 2023 Ridge Road, came on the eve of the Artisan Street Fair, when the streets of downtown Homewood were filled with more than 100 vendors of craft and art work.

Greg Loudon, one of the council’s founders, said members are eager to see whether the community appreciates the new art resource. They hope the gallery will be considered a valuable addition to the community for residents and will help make Homewood an art destination.

The opening show was dominated by two-dimensional art, from the striking photography of Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino to the vibrant colors of Loudon’s comic book cover art. 
 
  Ray Luckhaupt shows
  one of his hand-crafted
  wooden bowls during
  the opening show of
  the Homewood Arts
  Council gallery.
 (Eric
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
Three-dimensional arts were represented by wood artist Ray Luckhaupt, who shared a display of intricately segmented wooden bowls.

Luckhaupt welcomed the addition of the new gallery. 

“It’s wonderful to have a gallery to show off some of our homespun talent,” he said. “I have neighbors who don’t know what I do.”

Now they will have a chance. The gallery is open from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays. 

The opening show was all local artists. In addition to Marino, Loudon and Luckhaupt, artists included Ben Salus, Matt Wright, LIndsay Sandbothe, Candi Helsel-Wilk, Annie Lawrence, Chris Tozer, Tiana Sharpe and Cam Williams.
 
  Homewood Village Manager
  Jim Marino provided a
  display of his photography
  for the opening show of
  the Homewood Arts
  Council gallery. 
(Eric
  Crump/H-F Chronicle)
 
The next show will be Aug. 1, according to Loudon. He said the organization is continuing to refine the process for developing the gallery and its shows. Its regular schedule is for new shows to be up the first Thursday of each month.

Council co-founder Julie Lawton said there’s interest from area artists who want to be included in the shows. She expects to see a mix of local and regional art in the future, although the emphasis will still be on local talent.

Emergency response with fewer hospitals
St. James Hospital may be gone by the time you read this (see page 27). The expansion of Franciscan Health services about five miles away in Olympia Fields was designed to absorb much of the demand for St. James services.
 
  MABAS 24 President 
  and Glenwood Fire 
  Chief Kevin Welsh 
  addresses the 
  Homewood Area 
  Chamber of Commerce
  on June 13 at Grape & 
  Grain.
(Eric Crump/
  H-F Chronicle)
 
Glenwood Fire Chief and MABAS 24 President Kevin Welsh sounded the alarm when the closure of St. James was announced, and he’s still concerned about the effect on emergency response in the South Suburbs.

Welsh spoke on Wednesday, June 13, at Grape & Grain in Homewood for a meeting of the Homewood Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The closure of St. James created an overload situation,” he said. “My biggest fear was that our response time to a call would zoom through the sky.”

Area hospitals have worked with MABAS and member communities to mitigate the problem, Welsh said. But there’s a new challenge looming with the announcement in June that unless a buyer is found, MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island will close.

“I’m just as afraid of that one,” he said, noting that while H-F area responders might not transport patients there often, its closure will still have an effect. “It has to do with what that load is going to do to the system,” as emergency personnel serve as backup for neighboring communities.

About Us

A great community deserves a great newspaper. The HF Chronicle was created in June 2014 as an online publication. In December 2015 we began monthly print publication, too. Our mission is to chronicle the life of our community — news by, for, and about the people of Homewood and Flossmoor, Illinois.

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A great community makes a great newspaper. We want to hear from you with news tips, story ideas, your photos and accounts of events, corrections, problems, suggestions, etc. Call or write the editors
Eric Crump at [email protected] or 630-728-2661
Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]
Tom Houlihan at [email protected]

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Flossmoor, IL 60422