Good News Sunday: Lincolnshire woman aims to curb loneliness one handwritten letter at a time

This is Good News Sunday, a compilation of some of the more upbeat and inspiring stories published recently by the Daily Herald:

Liza Johnson can be found most days in her cozy home office in Lincolnshire writing letters by hand to people she might never have met before in hopes of delivering them comfort and making their lives a little better.

Johnson estimates she's written 1,800 letters over the past three years through her nonprofit organization, Letters From Liza, to people experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

“Personal correspondence is one small way to let them know that someone is thinking of them,” Johnson said.

Many of the people to whom Johnson writes are older adults who've lost loved ones over time.

“One woman told me all of her friends and relatives are dead, 'so I really look forward to your letters,'” Johnson said.

Medical researchers have linked social isolation and loneliness to many serious health problems.

“No one looks at it as a life-or-death issue, but good physical and mental health is key to happiness,” Johnson said. “It needs a little more weight and importance.”

For the full story, click here.

Highland Park skater plays iconic 'Encanto' character for Disney On Ice

  Eddie Zeidler of Highland Park, skating during an afternoon workout at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, is returning to Disney on Ice. Joe Lewnard/

Eddy Zeidler's fate, his career with Disney On Ice and his lifelong passion were sealed early, on skates in Highland Park.

Zeidler was about 4 years old when his family moved here from Brooklyn.

“It happened to be one of the first family outings we did when we moved to Highland Park ... we went to the Centennial Ice Arena and I just took to it,” Zeidler said. “While everyone else was clinging to the boards, I was a maniac. I wouldn't stop. I just kept going from there.”

Zeidler came to entertainment from a competitive background. He skated at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for five straight years, from 1990 to 1994, winning silver and bronze medals in Novice Pairs with partner Sabrina Corbaci, who now is married to Olympian Todd Eldredge. They still keep in touch.

He first began the combination of figure skating and acting in a Disney production in 1997.

Today, Zeidler, 52, plays the iconic character of Bruno in Feld Entertainment's “Disney On Ice Presents Frozen & Encanto.”

The show runs Thursday through Sunday at the United Center in Chicago and Feb. 2-5 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, with multiple performances at each location.

For the full story, click here.

Woodstock festival celebrates 30 years of 'Groundhog Day' film

A large crowd gathers around the gazebo in the Woodstock Square to witness the annual Woodstock Groundhog Days Prognostication, part of the annual festival that celebrates the role the city played in the 1993 film "Groundhog Day." Matthew Apgar/Shaw Media, 2021

“Groundhog Day” hit the big screen 30 years ago, a year after the iconic comedy was filmed in Woodstock. In keeping with the movie's plot, the city hopes this year's Groundhog Days festival - which runs Feb. 1-5 - looks similar to previous ones.

Like the movie, which features a weather forecaster stuck in a loop reliving the same day, those involved in the festival try to keep a similar feel, said Woodstock Groundhog Days Chairman Rick Bellairs.

“It changes, fluctuates a little bit,” Bellairs said. “Most of it repeats every year.”

The festivities, for example, often include visits from people who were part of making the movie and story. This year that will be Danny Rubin, who co-wrote the screenplay with Harold Ramis, according to the Groundhog Days website,

For the full story, click here.

Animals are Winterfest's main attraction

  Robert Clauss of the Stillman Nature Center holds a great horned owl during Winterfest, held last weekend at Twin Lakes Recreation Area in Palatine. Joe Lewnard/

In the absence of ice and snow, animals - including owls, huskies and ponies - were the main attraction at Salt Creek Park District's Winterfest in Palatine last weekend.

The huskies, from Free Sprit Siberian Rescue, were especially popular with kids, who were able to pet the soft and fluffy dogs between dog sled team demonstration runs.

“They get to meet and greet, and that is a huge attraction,” said Cindy Fracassi, Twin Lakes assistant facilities manager. “They love that.”

Children and their families also were able to view birds of prey from Stillman Nature Center up close, including a barred owl and a great horned owl.

For the full story, click here.

Good News Sunday will run each weekend. Please visit to sign up for our Good News Sunday newsletter.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.