What We Cover
We celebrate what's happening in Joliet, Illinois, and the surrounding communities, including news, events and sports. To keep up on all the latest news and information, you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. This site features a business directory to help you find just what you are looking for. Check out the calendar to find places to go and things to do. If you know of an event, but don't see it listed, we invite you to add it. Also, feel free to share pictures of your child's latest game, comment on stories — even send updates on what your Neighborhood Watch group is up to.
Want to know more? You can contact the Joliet Patch team with questions
Meet Your Local Patch Team
Lauren Williamson, Contributor, Editor
Lauren serves as associate regional editor for several Patch.com sites in the near-west Chicago suburbs. She came to Patch from InsideCounsel, a legal magazine where she worked as managing editor. She was awarded Folio Magazine's 2011 Bronze Eddie Award for business reporting for her story "Mind the Gap: Generation Y Enters the Workplace." She has a master's in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Post-graduation, she completed a three-month investigative reporting fellowship through the Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative. She spent the summer reporting on the environmental, political and economic implications of a controversial industrial dairy farm under construction in northwest Illinois. Prior to graduate school, she worked as assistant director of undergraduate admission at Northwestern. She has a bachelor's degree in performance studies from Northwestern's School of Communication.
Karen Sorensen, Editor
Karen Sorensen has been a working journalist since 1983. A Joliet resident since 1997, she most recently was the editor of Plainfield Patch. Over the course of her career, she's been a reporter and/or editor for the Daily Southtown, Joliet Herald-News, Peoria Journal-Star, Freeport Journal-Standard and Libertyville Independent-Register and ran her own freelance writing/editing business, Karen Sorensen Media. Karen was born and raised on Chicago's Northwest Side and graduated from Loyola University Chicago. She spent six months in Italy at Loyola's John Felice Rome Center.
Steven Jack, Contributor, Editor
Steven Jack attended Illinois State University and is a veteran of the news business with 18 years of experience as a community journalist. His work has led him from covering the trials of accused killers to the plight of struggling family farmers in Central Illinois. He's been working in the western suburbs of Chicago for 13 years, most recently as the Local Editor of Oswego Patch. Today, I'm Assoicate Regional Editor for our Kendall and Will county sites, including the newly launched Joliet Patch.
Dawn Aulet, Contributor, Editor, Rclc
Birthday: Dec. 24
I have lived in Will County for almost a decade. In my years in the area, I have had the pleasure of getting to know a number of residents through my work at two local newspapers, as editor of Channahon-Minooka Patch and one of three editors of Joliet Patch.
Although the first home I bought was in Channahon, my children attend Troy schools and much of my time is spent in Joliet. I love the ability to head to the northeast and encounter a city feel or head southwest and land in the country. My favorite place in Joliet is Pilcher Park.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, with a minor in theater from Northern Illinois University. I am currently working on a Master in Education. In the past, I have reported on news, features and education issues and have won awards for my news and feature coverage.
Joseph Hosey, Contributor, Editor
Native New Yorker Joseph Hosey has been a reporter in the Chicago area since 1999 and has been out front on every major development in the Drew Peterson case. Hosey authored a book about the Peterson case, Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson, which is now being adapted as a movie. Hosey is married to Janet Hosey. He has one daughter, Gracie, and a yet-to-be-named daughter on the way and due any day now.
Cari Barcas, Contributor, Editor
As regional editor for Patch, Cari works with local editors to provide news and information for more than 40 communities across the suburbs of Chicago, including Naperville, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Elmhurst and Lisle. Cari has lived in various parts of the Chicago area, including Geneva and Woodridge, for more than 16 years. Before joining Patch, Cari spent four and a half years working for GateHouse Media's Suburban Life newspapers, first as a reporter and eventually as assistant managing editor of news. In her free time, Cari loves practicing yoga, traveling and playing with her lovingly lazy pit bull, Lucy.
Melissa Sersland, Contributor, Editor
Melissa Sersland is a multimedia journalist. She was part of the Accelerated Master's Program and received her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern in June 2010. She focused on print journalism for her bachelor's degree and broadcast journalism for her master's degree. For her master's, she covered education in Chicago for the Medill News Service and health in Washington D.C. In D.C., she also covered President Felipe Calderon's visit to the White House and a commencement speech by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Natalie Stevens, Contributor, Editor
I am a recent graduate of Elmhurst College (May 2011), having majored in English writing with minors in communication and art.
For fun, I love to play tennis and go bike riding, read books (a lot of fantasy or historical fiction) and bake. My favorite animal is the elephant and I collect them almost obsessively -- my collection is just about at 120 different figurines, stuffed animals, portraits, hangings, amongst other things.
I first discovered my love of writing back in second grade, where every two weeks my classmates and I would write and illustrate a small story. Mine were normally about my Beanie Babies or friends and I illustrated each page to the best of my young capabilities. I loved sharing what I wrote with others and being able to express myself in such a creative medium.
In eighth grade I became involved in poetry (thanks to the lovely Mrs. Johnson on Team Blue) and from there dove into fiction writing and short stories.
In college I joined the newspaper and found a niche in journalism and reporting. I love to write feature stories on accomplishments or success stories because I love to capture that emotion and story behind each person. I worked as the Arts and Entertainment Editor for my college newspaper "The Leader" for one year and remained on staff as a Senior Writer after I chose to head up the Yearbook for my last year at college.
I did a brief stint through my college's Public Affairs office with a publication called 'Chicago Hospital News' where I had several stories published on the healthcare industry.
As all English majors are prone to do, I'm still working on my hopefully one-day best-seller. Once I finish it, please look for it at a bookstore near you!
Shannon Antinori, Contributor, Editor
Shannon Antinori graduated from the University of St. Francis with a degree in journalism in 2002. She spent eight years as a reporter with The Enterprise newspaper in Plainfield, focusing on local government and education. Shannon lives in Romeoville with her husband, Joe, and golden retriever, Abby. She's excited to join the Patch.com family and looks forward to covering her new hometown.
Amanda Luevano, Contributor, Editor
Amanda came to Patch in June 2010 after graduating from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She launched Lemont Patch in 2010, and covered the community for two years before moving to Downers Grove in August 2012.
Prior to Patch, Amanda wrote for her college newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, covering city council and education. In 2009, Amanda spent three months interning at the Orange County Register in California. Despite the large market, it was here that she learned the ins and outs of community reporting. After returning to Illinois in June 2009, Amanda immediately started working as an editorial intern in the DuPage County office of the Daily Herald. During her senior year at Northwestern, she spent six months investigating a possible wrongful conviction case with the Medill Innocence Project.
Ron Kremer, Local Editor
Ron Kremer, a well-respected Chicago sports veteran with 29 years of experience, is Sports Editor for Patch in the south and southwest suburbs. With more than 4,000 bylines in his career and more awards than we can mention, he's interviewed celebs such as Tiger Woods, Pete Rose, Jack Nicklaus, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Reggie Jackson and more. But he's happiest when covering high school athletes and coaches, where the journalistic competition can be as intense as the rivalries between the powerhouse schools. From 1985 to 2010, Ron was a sports reporter, columnist and copy editor for The Herald News in Joliet. He covered local preps, NASCAR, NHRA and the Western Open/BMW Championship.
Karen Sorensen and Dawn Aulet, Editor
Wayne Parratore, Sales
Wayne has lived in the Joliet area for the past 25 years. During that time, he has been involved in local advertising in the Will County area with broadcast and print publications. He has worked for WJOL and WLUP radio and the Dex Yellow Pages over the past 25 years.
Wayne is a dedicated prfofessional helping small businesses achieve their marketing goals in a cost-effective method.
Erin Gallagher, Contributor, Editor
Erin Gallagher is a Will County native and a professional journalist for 20 years. While working in advertising, she wrote for clients such as the McGraw-Hill Companies, Time Warner and the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL. Now she has a marketing consulting practice while staying at home with their toddler son, Liam.
What is Patch?
Simply put, Patch is an innovative way to find out about, and participate in, what's going on near you.
We're a community-specific news, information and engagement platform driven by passionate and experienced new media professionals. Patch is revolutionizing the way neighbors connect with each other, their communities, and the national conversation.
We want to be the most trusted, comprehensive, and relevant news and information resource in your community. What can you do on Patch?
- Keep up with news and events
- Check out photos and videos from around town
- Learn more about local businesses and the people behind them
- Participate in discussions
- Share your perspectives via our Local Voices blogging platform
- Submit your own announcements, photos, and reviews
Who's Behind Patch?
Patch is run by professional editors, photographers, videographers, and salespeople who live in the regions they serve, and is supported by a great team in our New York City headquarters. Patch also gets advice from our Advisory Board and from many members of the community.
We look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories. If you see us around town, don't be afraid to say hi and tell us what you want to see on Patch!
Where You Come In
We hope that our sites will strengthen communities and improve the lives of their residents, but we can't do it without you. We've built Patch so that you have plenty of opportunities to comment on stories, share your opinions, post photos and announcements, and add events to the community calendar. So get to it! And if you're a business owner who wants to be listed, just let us know.
You can't truly serve a community unless you provide the help it needs most, which is why giving back is so important to us. We do it as part of our coverage — in a dedicated space that lets local charities and volunteers find each other — and with a program called "Give 5," through which we donate advertising space to charitable organizations and contribute our own time as volunteers. Want to know more? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil Meyer is Professor Emeritus in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was inducted into the North Carolina Hall of Fame in Journalism in the spring of 2008. He joined the Journalism School in 1981 and served as Knight Chair in Journalism Professor from 1993-2008. Prior to joining the school, he held a number of reporter and research positions at various media outlets.
He has won numerous awards including the 2005 Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award for Research About Journalism (with Scott Maier). He was named a Fellow of Society of Professional Journalists in 2005. In 2004, the Newspaper Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication gave him its Professional Freedom and Responsibility Award. And in 2000 he received the American Association for Public Opinion Research Award for Exceptionally Distinguished Achievement.
Meyer is the author of several books including The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age and Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods. Journalism Quarterly in 2000 listed this book as one of the 35 significant books of the 20th century in journalism and mass communication; and the American Association for Public Opinion Research, observing its 50th anniversary in 1996, listed it as one of 50 significant books on public opinion research.
He received his B.S. in technical journalism from Kansas State University and his M.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina.
Steven Berlin Johnson is a pioneer in the web world, as a co-founder of FEED, Plastic.com, and Outside.in, which was acquired by Patch in March of 2011. He also co-created Findings.com, which launched in late 2011. Steven was the 2009 Hearst New Media Professional-in-Residence at The Journalism School at Columbia University, and served for several years as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at NYU’s Journalism School. He is a bestselling author of seven books, and won acclaim and a Newhouse School Mirror Award for his 2010 Time Magazine cover story, "How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live."
Speaking of Steven's editorial prowess, check out this video based on Steven's book, Where Good Ideas Come From, which was named one of the best books of 2010 by The Economist.
Brian Farnham, Founding Editor-in-Chief
Brian was Editor-in-Chief of Time Out New York magazine before coming to Patch. Before that he worked for a variety of publications both online and off, including Details magazine, New York Magazine, and the old, dearly departed Sidewalk.com. He has written for numerous publications, from the New York Times magazine to Harper's Bazaar. He graduated from Bowdoin College and got an MFA in creative writing at Columbia University so he could put his novel in a drawer with distinction. He lives in Manhattan with his beautiful wife, adorable son, angelic daughter and the world's most dog-like cat. He’s proud as hell of what the Patch team has built.
Ken Paulson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the First Amendment Center
Ken Paulson is president and chief executive officer of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media.
Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states.
He also is past-president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organization of news media leaders.
Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honored television program “Speaking Freely,” seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of "Freedom Sings," a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation's campuses.
He was an early advocate of making newspaper content available online, launching online newspapers in both Florida and New York in 1993.
For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honored with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.
In 2007, Paulson was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, “the highest honor SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession.” In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.
He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. In 2008, he received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from American University.