Written by Jeff Vorva
Once upon a time in the old, old, days before the Internet, I used to play a game in a hotel room.
OK, get your minds out of the gutter – this is innocent.
Any time I would travel, I would find the phone book (remember them?) in the hotel room and see if there was anyone listed by the name of Vorva.
It never happened.
Vorva is not a common name. But I knew there had to be come out there. It turned out to be impossible to find another one. Maybe they were there but unlisted.
And then came the big I.
The information superhighway.
And yes, there are Vorvas scattered in cyberspace.
At first there was a Michigan politician named Jerry Vorva who seemed to get a lot of love from the Internet. Then a lot of my stories began popping up in newspapers and when I started covering the Cubs, it appeared I was the most famous Vorva on the Internet. Or at least the one who got his name out there the most.
But for a little while, I was King Vorva.
Then this girl scout in Michigan named Madison Vorva burst on the scene a few years ago.
What does a Vorva, girl scout cookies and orangutans have in common?
If you guessed that me eating girl scout cookies gives me the shape of an orangutan, you are not far off the mark, but you are wrong.
Madison started this crusade in which she tried to get the Girl Scout organization to change the oils in their cookies.
See, she figured out in 2007 that the palm oil used can contribute to the “deforestation, destruction of orangutangs’ habitat, climate changes and human rights abuses.” According to a news release put out by Pomona College, which she is attending. Vorva and fellow scout Rhiannon Tomtishen, won a Bronze Star for their efforts but they also started making news.
Heck, they made the Huffington Post. Even I haven’t gotten that far.
Earlier this year, Kellogg announced a global commitment to use “fully traceable palm oil, produced in a manner that's environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable” when it manufactures its foods – including girl scout cookies.
“The Girls Scout cookie campaign was really the bridge to Kellogg,” said Vorva in the Poloma news release. “They’re one of two bakers of Girl Scout cookies. They are also a Michigan company, right in my backyard. Because big corporations like Kellogg use a lot more palm oil than the Girls Scouts, we wanted to influence them as well.
“We had an in-person meeting [with Kellogg] in April. 2012 and promised to stay in touch. Last August, we delivered over 115,000 petitions to Kellogg's headquarters in partnership with an organization called SumofUs. The petitions asked Kellogg to use their influence to persuade Wilmar - a Singaporean company with whom they have major joint ventures - to adopt a deforestation-free palm oil policy.
“Kellogg’s new policy is really the strongest commitment by an American company taking a stand to prevent deforestation for palm oil production because of its traceability guidelines and implementation timeline and it means the portion of Girl Scout Cookies the company bakes will also be deforestation-free. I've been working on this since I was 11 years old, and all of this hard work finally translated into a truly responsible policy. It’s very much a victory!”
In 2009, she was invited to Brookfield Zoo and they dubbed her the “Great Ape Advocate.’’
Vorva was invited to speak at the United Nations’ celebration of International Forests’ Day in March.
She has not even turned 20 and has already made a huge impact to help change the world. I never met her, but I feel like I know a lot about her.
I’m proud she’s a Vorva.
More comedy from the cowards
We haven’t poked fun at the Cowardly Blog in Oak Lawn for a while because quite frankly their hysterical bleatings were getting boring.
I mean, how many times can you beat the same horses? Yes, we know the mayor is bad and crooked. The city manager is bad and crooked. Some trustees are bad and crooked. The mayor is bad and crooked. The city manager is bad and crooked. Some trustees are bad and crooked. The mayor is bad and crooked…
And they refuse to put names to the blog, which is still a joke.
But now they hit home and home is going to hit back.
Two weeks ago, we ran public comments made by trustee Tim Desmond (one of those bad and crooked trustees) at the Oak Lawn UFC battle, er, board meeting, criticizing the blog over a brochure on Election Day.
In last week’s paper, we ran a story about an open letter written by trustees Terry Vorderer and Alex Olejniczak (two more of those bad and crooked trustees) took issue with the Cowardly Blog and Bob Rakow did a fine analysis about the situation.
The Cowardly Blog, however, did another anonymous bleating piece and decided to teach us all some journalism lessons.
OK, I’m not too old to learn some new lessons, so I read their suggestion.
The Cowardly Blog’s attorney, Dennis Brennan, was quoted as saying the Reporter and another news source never bothered to call the Cowardly Blog to verify the “outrageous falsehood.”
Uh, Dennis. There is no one to call. Your boys and girls are anonymous. Ghosts.
Oh, and as of Friday afternoon, there was no phone number provided on the Cowardly Blog to call.
Otherwise, barrister, you make a fine argument.
A belated toast
Belated birthday wishes go out to the guy I referred to as the ageless wonder in a column a few weeks ago.
Anthony Scaranio of Evergreen Park, whom most of his readers know as the Wine Guy, turned 94 on Tuesday. He doesn’t write new columns but his best-of column has aged like a fine wine.
We hope he had a blast celebrating No. 94. Six more years to triple digits!