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In November, Forest Park Review editor and reporter Maria Maxham was recognized with the Illinois Parks’ Top Journalist award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD).

Park district board member Cathy McDermott was recognized for her 15-year anniversary on the Park District of Forest Park’s board.

The Illinois Parks’ Top Journalist award is given to a news source or individual reporter “that has provided responsible and comprehensive coverage of Illinois park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation, and special recreation agencies at the statewide or local level.”

Maxham was nominated for the award by Jackie Iovinelli, Park District of Forest Park’s executive director.

“On behalf of the Park District of Forest Park, I want to thank Maria Maxham for her continued collaboration with the park district,” Iovinelli said in a press release from the IAPD. “We are grateful for her honest and informative reporting to the Park District of Forest Park Community.”

Maxham, who has lived in Forest Park for over 18 years, reports on the park district but has used its facilities and enjoyed its grounds for almost two decades.

Peter Murphy, IAPD president and CEO, spoke about the contribution Maxham has made to the local park district and the importance of the relationship she has built with the district through local reporting.

“The Park District of Forest Park has built a valuable relationship with Maria based on trust and understanding,” said Murphy. “The work that they do together is enriching the lives of Forest Park residents, and Maria’s personal experience with the park district’s programs and services enables her to fully understand the array of benefits they provide to the community.”

Each year, the IAPD holds its annual Best of the Best Awards Gala, where representatives from Illinois park districts, forest preserves, and other agencies are recognized.

The gala, normally held in person, was attended virtually this year, with a video of awards being given and accepted.