There is a new sheriff in town.
OK, that’s overstating it, but it’s something I always wanted to say.
I am the new editor of the Reporter, taking over for Jason Maholy, who had this seat for the last decade. He leaves big shoes to fill but I have some really big feet.
I have some ties and memories to each of the six communities:
Oak Lawn: My dear wife Maggie (maiden name Fearon) and her family is from Oak Lawn and she and her sisters attended St. Linus and Mother McAuley. We just celebrated out 20th anniversary Wednesday. No need to send gifts. Her father, Tom Fearon, was an optometrist in town and his office was located across from the library.
Chicago Ridge: My son T.J. and daughter Lauren played many school and travel basketball games and volleyball matches at Frontier Park. There were a lot of triumphs and a few disappointments on those courts for our family and teams the kids were on.
Hickory Hills: I grew up watching Bob Luce Wrestling on Channel 26 and one of the first rasslers I saw was the “Golden Boy” Paul Christy back in the days when Dick the Bruiser, Moose Cholak and Baron Von Raschke were kings. Christy hailed from Hickory Hills when I was able to interview him in the 1980s.
Evergreen Park: I was able to cover Evergreen Park’s softball team, coached by Marilyn Wax, when the team finished fourth in the Class A State Tournament in 1986. Michelle Stine was the top pitcher for the Mustangs.
Palos Hills: In the late 1970s, I was in high school and had to cover Lincoln-Way-Stagg boys basketball game for the Joliet Herald-News. It was the first time I ever had to go to the school and I got lost. I made it right at tipoff and didn’t have my jacket off. I was in no way prepared or had my bearings but God bless the Chargers for pulling a stall in the entire first quarter and there were only like one or two shots in the first eight minutes of the game. Some fans shouted “boring, boring” but I was most grateful.
Worth: A few months ago, I got to know Worth’s Mike Recchia who has gone from the minor leagues to the independents leagues to the minor leagues to the independent leagues and it now back in the minor leagues again with the White Sox. He’s a kid worth rooting for. I also got to know a gymnast from town, Skylor Hilger, who could be one of the best in the state in coming years. She’s also a pretty good softball player, too.
So this is going to be fun.
A little bit about myself — I was born and raised in Joliet. I have had bylines in or worked for just about every paper in the Chicago area. I have a strong sportswriting background. For 10 years I covered the Chicago Cubs and was in the visiting clubhouse in Houston the night the White Sox won the World Series and got my shirt and hair sprayed with champagne. I am proud to say I have a Hall of Fame vote.
For the past 10 months, I was the reporter for the Regional covering Palos Heights, Palos Park and Orland Park. I had some opportunities to go north of the canal to cover an event or two including the touching Oak Lawn tribute to the Sandy Hook victims in December.
As the so-called new sheriff in town, I’ll try to make a few changes to help out our readers. We turned the masthead blue last week. In future weeks, I hope we can take some of the library and senior notes and a few others things and package them city by city. In sports, Ken Karrson, Anthony Nasella and I will be making weekly football picks and are inviting readers to join in on the fun.
Jason always did a nice job making the front page lively and exciting and I hope to follow in his footsteps. I hope our stories and headlines can grab your attention and make you want to read on. Granted, there might be a board or council meeting or two that are dry and sleep-inducing, but we’ll try.
Each week, I’ll try to have some fun with this column, similar to what I’ve done for the Regional in which I wrote about everything from meeting the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld to the evils of roundabouts.
During the transition between Jason and myself and the invaluable assistance from Brett Rush that I received during this time, we neglected our website (thereportneronline.net) and Facebook page. We ask that you take a look at them again and we’ll try to keep them updated. Please “LIKE” us on Facebook and come back often to the website.
Apologies ahead of time
Let’s all have some fun.