Columnists back, with some new faces in the mix

You might recall from previous columns how much I detest the use of June 1 and Sept. 1 as the start of summer and fall, given the existence of actual events that mark the seasons.

That said, the summer solstice and autumn equinox are not always the most pragmatic dates to use. Autumn won’t officially start until Sept. 23, but practically speaking, summer is over here at The Hinsdalean.

I know because my summer column-writing sabbatical has ended. I’ve spent the past 10 weeks using the time I normally spend on this piece working on a special section on the village’s 150th anniversary that we will publish Sept. 28.

I’ve also spent time this summer reading submissions from interested writers and choosing new individuals to join the contributing columnist pool. It’s my pleasure to introduce these new writers to you today.

Carissa Kapcar is a 17-year resident, wife and mom of three. She describes herself as a “happy, grateful, and often-times tired mom shuttling a minivan around the Chicago suburbs and clinging to just enough irreverence to stay sane.”

She attended Miami University before working in advertising on the East Coast. She currently works as a facilitator at the Union Church Early Childhood Program, curating topics and leading a class for young mothers. And she writes when she can. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, Today Parenting Team, Allergy Kids Foundation and in more places than I have space to list.

Also new to the group is Leah Packer, who will fill the role of high school columnist. A junior at Hinsdale Central, she is a member of the school’s Mock Trial team and a writer for the school newspaper, The Devil’s Advocate.

“This experience in the (school) newspaper has definitely influenced me to want to write a column, but even outside of the newspaper, writing a column seems like a great opportunity to express ideas and share a part of myself,” she wrote in her application. “I know I will really enjoy being able to write about experiences I have to provide another perspective to the newspaper.”

The third “new” writer on the schedule this year is actually a familiar face. Kelly Abate, one of our first columnists when we launched the paper in 2006, is coming back after some time off following her most recent stint as a contributing writer. She is the mom of three Hinsdale Central graduates, two of whom also have graduated from college.

An email asking former columnists to write a summer piece prompted her to re-apply.

“When you reached out to previous columnists and gave me the opportunity to consider writing again, it just sparked something in me. It made me realize how much I missed it,” she said.

These three will be joined by the writers you got to know over the last year or two — Jade Cook (whose column is on the facing page), Bill Barre and Kevin Cook (no relation to Jade!) along with Katie Hughes, who has been sharing her perspectives as a student at the University of Georgia. I’m so pleased to welcome them all back.

We also have a new society columnist as well. Alexis Braden, whom has done an excellent job, has new responsibilities as a Hinsdale trustee following last spring’s election. We are lucky to have Allison Peters ready to take her place. Peters will write her first column next month and will tell readers more about herself there.

I’m excited to be back as well. While writing the column some weeks is more of an obligation than a joy, I do appreciate the opportunity to share what I’m thinking and feeling with readers. And I enjoy hearing what they think about what I’m thinking and feeling.

Well, I’m running over my word limit here (so out of practice!). So I’ll see you next week, with some thoughts on this past summer. No mentions of the equinox. I promise.

— Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers

can email her at

[email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean