Suburban Rundown: Payton coffee, Duchossois selfie
Here's a sneak peek at our new column giving you the rundown on what's percolating in the suburbs
I'm hoping to be your "GoPro" for what's happening in the suburbs.
And what, some of you might ask, exactly IS that?
It's one of those mountable video cameras that are popular on social media. People wear them when they parachute to show off what falling out of a plane looks like. Or riding a roller coaster. Or, my personal favorite, driving a motorboat while Asian carp leap feet, literally feet, out of the river in front of you.
My aim is to give you a look at the suburbs you might not otherwise see. To get to places you can't. To talk to people who might be out of your reach. To be your eyes and ears. To help you see things nobody else is showing you.
Why me, and why now? Some of you might remember I worked at the Daily Herald for years, starting as a part-time assistant in the features department and later working my way up to political editor. I loved -- still love -- the chase, hustling to get the story first, right, and best.
I went off to work for The Associated Press in Springfield. It was fast-paced. Exciting. There were a lot of big stories and even bigger personalities. It exposed me to the complexities and beauty of Illinois as a whole.
But I missed my roots. I was born and bred in Des Plaines, educated at St. Paul Lutheran grade school in Mount Prospect and St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights before heading to Villanova University for my undergraduate degree and the Queen's University in Belfast, where working for a community paper made me even more determined to pursue journalism.
The suburbs are my home. This isn't a market or a circulation area or an enviable demographic. This isn't some distant region I spotted from a tower and want to conquer so I can get on to the next, best thing.
So this is what the column is: A bit of news. A bit of fun. Most of all, something to talk about with friends and neighbors. It is something we've never quite done before here, so it's a bit of a blank slate at the moment. We'll see what it develops into. I need you to help me with it. Tell me what works and what doesn't, and send me your tips.
Here's an early look.
1. A cup of coffee with your Sweetness?
Jarrett Payton, the only son of legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, tells me Payton Premium Coffee, made by Batavia-based Papanicholas Coffee, will hit Jewel-Osco shelves by the time NFL season officially kicks off Sept. 10.
It's the latest business venture for the 34-year-old Hoffman Estates entrepreneur, who's also rolled out his own craft beer and jewelry line in recent years with a portion of proceeds going to his Jarrett Payton Foundation.
Payton also wears other hats -- contributing to CLTV and WGN-TV and radio and doing motivational speaking. Wife Trish is the one who "keeps it all together." "We definitely work as a team," he says. The two are proud parents of 3-year-old Jaden, who is well-versed in his grandpa's legacy. "'My papa was the best' is Jaden's latest line about my dad," Payton said. "And I'll say, 'He really was.'"
To get ready for the Bears to play the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 13, Payton says he's pulling photos from the family archives and posting them on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #34DaysOfSweetness, a reference to his dad's uniform number and nickname. "All my life I've been sharing my dad with the world. Now I have this platform," he said. "Why not get people ready for the Bears season to lead up to it?"
Both Payton and I attended St. Viator. I was a few years behind him and will always remember how his football genes were evident as the former soccer star took to the football field with natural ease the year his dad was diagnosed with cancer. Lightning fast, Payton went on to play for the University of Miami, NFL Europe, the Canadian Football League and the Chicago Slaughter.
2. Elgin church wants peace with police
The Rev. Nathaniel Edmond of Second Baptist Church in Elgin tells me his 2,800-member church is organizing "Conversations on Race" between residents and local police leaders to try to ward off any future clashes between the city's population and its police force. Edmond says "knowing each other and talking to each other" can prevent situations like the one last year in Ferguson, Missouri, when rioting followed the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer.
3. Daily Herald TV stardom
Look for the Daily Herald in upcoming episodes of the FX Network's "Man Seeking Woman" sitcom. Alison Thomson of MSW Productions tells us our newspaper is one of a number of magazines and newspapers placed in a background at variety stores, newsstands or offices in the show, which is set in Chicago and will air its second season beginning early next year.
4. Unexpected selfie
Selfie? Yep, Arlington Park Chairman Dick Duchossois took one for us in his office at the racetrack. It was a bit of an unconventional move for the Barrington Hills business tycoon, although track Vice President Jim Stumpf said Duchossois made sure to have a suit and tie on for the occasion. This has been a milestone summer for Duchossois, who marked the 30th anniversary of the Arlington Park fire and the 33rd running of the Arlington Million and has been busy approving plans for an Oak Brook-based office development. The 94-year-old still works at the racetrack office daily and also has a fully functioning office on his 198-foot yacht, the Blue Moon.
5. More Suburban Rundown
Hey, just as political candidates announce that they'll be announcing their candidacies, I'm using this sneak peek to announce The Suburban Rundown will appear on Mondays and Thursdays. Check it out tomorrow and, please, send me your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (847) 427-4603.