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Donna Vickroy biography

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Donna Vickroy was born on Chicago’s South Side and spent most of her formative years in the south suburbs, sharing a small bungalow with …

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Christ Medical Center ER holding its own amid epidemic of violence

It’s just after 1 a.m. when the doors to Christ Medical Center’s emergency department slide open yet again. Roberts Park paramedics steer a gurney carrying a 32-year-old man, his head enveloped in bandages, into trauma bay 2. Fourteen doctors, nurses and technicians surround the bed. …

Vickroy: Lifelong friends ‘all in’ for monthly poker get-together

It’s just after 9 p.m. in the basement of Tom Cosgrove’s home in Chicago’s Beverly community when cigar-smoking Matt Moran checks his hand, raises the bet and casually kicks off his shoes. Jim Byrne hands out another round of Beck’s beer. And Chuck Kraling, dressed …

Vickroy: One man’s journey out of Englewood

Chicago’s ongoing violence problem has landed it in the national spotlight. As city officials and social policy pundits struggle to find solutions, I sat down with a survivor. This is simply the story of one man who’s been there, done that and lived to tell …

Vickroy: Doctor’s orders — read to your baby

Brian Yaro is only 2, but he already knows how to read Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” Well, he thinks he’s reading it, and that’s all that matters. Reading from memory is one of the many forms of early literacy. …

Vickroy: Summer camp more than fun and games for children from violent homes

You might say the frightening, unplanned pregnancy saved her life, and that of her toddler son. When she learned she was pregnant again, she made plans to give up the baby for adoption. Determined not to bring another child into the home where she’d been …

Vickroy: Band of teachers, alumni rocks Southland

How to kick off the upcoming patriotic holiday weekend? How about rocking to a homegrown rendition of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” or Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “I Second That Emotion”? The local rock band Staff Infection and the South Side Horns, a …

Vickroy: New Lenox twins double the joy, double the success

They have been best friends since childhood. They helped one another through school, played every kind of sport along the way and now are big soccer fans. Not only did they attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana together, living in the same dorm and …

Vickroy: One person’s Dullsville is another’s paradise

New Lenox, aka Dullsville. That’s right. This leafy suburb that boasts a host of trails, a French Market farmers market and some top-rated schools is ranked No. 1 on the Movoto Real Estate blog’s list of The Most Boring Places in Illinois. That statement may …

Vickroy: Time has come for healing in young woman’s death

What price retribution? There are no winners in this story. A young woman is dead, her family devastated, a young man is in prison, and another young woman awaits her day in court. Furthermore, witnesses are no doubt traumatized from watching their friend die. And …

Vickroy: Dads hand down wisdom, support and fun

On Father’s Day, we celebrate all that Dad is, from bug slayer to problem solver to duct tape wizard. While there are many ways for children and fathers to bond, some dads and kids are lucky to share a hobby that becomes a lifelong passion. …

Vickroy: Classic literature in comic form has broader reach, teachers say

A dragon-slaying hero. A ginormous insect. A kingdom besieged by betrayal and revenge. Ah, the stuff that great stories are made of, right? Not if prospective readers are too intimidated to crack their covers. Sure there always will be high school students who can muddle …

Vickroy: Longtime art teacher hangs up her palette

Nancy Calkins had three rules for her art students: no stick figures, no corner suns and no saying, “I can’t.” Abiding by that mantra, the 700-plus students she taught each week at Brodnicki School in Indian Springs District 109, delved into the right brain world …

Vickroy: 70 years after their D-Day-driven wedding, the Kulas still are madly in love

In the chaos of war, couples often are separated, plans interrupted and priorities made crystal clear. Perhaps that’s why the love story that survives war’s hell is so profoundly touching, even decades later. Back when the United States was entering World War II, Lorraine Hering …

Vickroy: Saving money while saving lives

Bargain hunting is big in this era of penny pinching and repurposing. But for many of the folks who make the Neat Repeats resale shops possible — the shoppers, helpers, donors — there is a greater motivator than just snagging something for a steal. Margaret …

Vickroy: Oak Lawn Hall of Famer helped level playing field for disabled athletes

There isn’t much Ella Chafee can’t do from her wheelchair — flip a toddler onto her lap, handle an epee with precision and grace, make a basket from beyond the three-point line. But her most impressive skill, many say, is her ability to inspire. The …

Vickroy: Oak Forest students perform in their own circus

There were amazing feats of strength, superhuman displays of agility and astounding acts of showmanship when students at Morton Gingerwood School in Oak Forest put on their version of the greatest show on Earth on Wednesday. The two-ring circus featured acrobats, jugglers and more than …

Vickroy: Ingalls doc marks 30 years of emergency medical care

Since he was a little kid growing up in Brighton Beach, New York, Bernard Heilicser has been running toward the sirens, toward the fires, toward the people in distress. “I’ve always had a fascination with what’s going on,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to help.” …