Friday, July 5, 2019

Nix places third at Freedom 5K

Mike Nix runs toward the corner of Lincoln and Florida
Mike Nix, from St. Joseph, runs toward the corner of Lincoln and Florida Avenue during the Freedom 5K on Thursday. Crossing the finish line at 16:58.0, he finished third out of 26 runners in the Male 25 to 29 division. In all more than 400 athletes participated in this year's race. See more photos from the Independence Day race here: Champaign County Freedom 5K. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Four SJO alumni among 3,523 ISU grads this spring

Colton Bowser
Colton Bowser (left) maintains control of the ball in SJO's home game against Urbana University High School. This past May, Bowser, from Ogden, received his Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Illinois State University awarded more than 3,500 college degrees on May 11. Among the recipients were four St. Joseph-Ogden High School alumni.

Colton Bowser and Dalton Smith, both from Ogden, earned a Bachelor of Science from the university located in Normal. Katie Kurtz, also from Ogden, received her Bachelor of Science in Education.

Brandon Burnett, from St. Joseph, completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Science and eligible to walk at the spring commencement ceremony.

Illinois State will awarded 3,523 baccalaureate degrees and 708 graduate degrees. There were a total of 3,885 students scheduled to participate in the spring ceremonies across the campus.

SJO alumni earned degrees at SIUC

Three St. Joseph-Ogden alumni earned college degrees from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in May.

Olivia Hutcherson was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Tori Stierwalt earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Both Hutcherson and Stierwalt are from Ogden.

Former Spartan pitcher Hunter Hart, who was a 37th round pick in the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft, completed the requirements to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Sports Administration. Hart is from St. Joseph.

Area residents earn degrees at Parkland College

Ryan Allen
Back on August 29, 2014, Ryan Allen evaded tacklers from Paxton-Buckley-Loda in SJO's home opener. Allen was one of 23 St. Joseph residents who received associates degrees at Parkland College. SJO went on to defeat PBL in their non-conference battle, 27-7. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Last month, thirty-one area college students were candidates for the 52nd Commencement Exercises at Parkland College. The following individuals completed all the necessary requirements to accept their diploma this past May.

Matthew R. Alsip, CER, Construction: Plumbing and Pipefitting
Andrea L. Crain, CER, Practical Nursing
Grant C. Harper, AAS, Automotive Technology; CER, Automotive Technician
Devon M. Miezio, AGS, Associate in General Studies
Ethan O. Mizer, AA, General
Tanner E. Morris, AS, General
Kolten T. Taylor, AS, General

Karlie B. Baker, AA, General

St. Joseph
Ryan M. Allen, AS, General
Lacey N. Berlatsky, CER, Practical Nursing
Jason E. Brown, CER, Building Construction and Repair
Craig M. Chochola, AES, Engineering Science
Paige B. Dalton, AA, Social Work
Dezarae R. Dowers, AFA, Art Education
Carson D. Florey, AA, General
Stephanie E. Gonzales, AA, Psychology
Chloe A. Graver, AS, Aviation
Rylan J. Housenga, AGS, Associate in General Studies
Kohlten D. Johnson, AS, Business Administration
Riley S. Knott, AS, General
Danielle C. Long, AAS, Nursing
Robin R. Poff, AGS, Associate in General Studies
Kevin O. Sandefur, AAS, Accounting
Caleb T. Smith, AA, General
Kayla S. Sparks, AAS, Accounting
Abigail R. Stites, AA, Liberal Art and Sciences
Elizabeth AB Taylor, AAS, Nursing
Allison R. Voyles, AA, General
Taura Ward, AFA, Art Education
Tori R. Witruk, AS, Secondary Education
Jacob P. Zagorski, AAS, Electronic Control Systems Technology

Four SJO alumni make SIUC Dean's List

Four St. Joseph-Ogden alumni attending South Illinois University - Carbondale earn academic recognition for their studies during the spring semester.

Michael Bott and Olivia Hutcherson, both from Ogden, along with St. Joseph's Dakoda Jones and James Moore each will receive marks denoting their academic achievement on their official transcripts.

SIUC undergraduate students who were enrolled for and earned full-time credit during the term, and whose grade point average (GPA) meets or exceeds the minimum established by the University, will be included on the Dean's List.

More than 3 dozen named to Parkland's Dean's List

Forty-six area residents, out of about 825 students, were recently named to the Parkland College Dean's List for spring 2019.

Nine students from Ogden earned academic honors included: John M. Acklin, Cody A. Ayers, Zach T. David, Brandi L. Huson, Devon M. Miezio, Tanner E. Morris, Lindsey K. Osterbur, Regan E. Spicer and Rachel Q. Timm.
Erin Beyers, from St. Joseph, strike a pose while competing at the IHSA Competitive State Dance Final in January. Beyers, who graduated from SJO in May, also earned Dean's List recognition at Parkland College during the spring semester. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph residents who made the list were Jenna M. Anderson, Hollie N. Baltzell, Erin M. Beyers, Katelyn N. Burch, Dwight Colvin, Paige B. Dalton, Alissa J. Deweese, Tenneal R. Frerichs, Stephanie E. Gonzales, Chloe A. Graver, Kaitlyn M. Hess, Hope A. Hoffschneider, Ronald J. Hoppe-Hastings, Ian J. Hulette, Riley S. Knott, Kenneth Elijah-Lewis Lahners, Kaitlyn M. Landis, Hannah E. Lewis, Rebecca L. Long, Alexis G. Manning, Amanda J. McFadden, Erinn C. Miller, Heidi M. Novak, Brendan Z. Olauson, Alyssa R. Omana, Adalyn J. Parke, Adam P. Rose, Elizabeth J. Schluter, Ty A. Stegall, Keisha R. Taylor, Michael C. Wagner III, Nathan R. Walden, Brianna M. White, Alyssa R. Whitlock, Sarah E. Wiseman, Tori R. Witruk and Wanting Zhao.

In order to be included on the list students must earn a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 grade scale for the semester they are being honored. Students who earn less than 12 hours in that semester can make the Dean's List by achieving a 3.5 cumulative GPA for 12 or more hours in the academic year.

Wayback Wednesday: Summer splash

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With about 300 meters to go, Chelsea Blaase, on the right, and Sidney Long are splashed, per their request, with water by a race volunteer while running in the Gifford 5K on June 27. The race was the first in what festival organizers hope to become an annual tradition in conjunction with the Gifford Community Festival.

Click here to see more photos from the inaugural race in 2009 from PhotoNews Media.

Plan in place if Mother Nature dampens county 4th of July celebration

Terry Hill runs in the 2008 Freedom 5K.
On sunny, picture perfect day, Terry Hill of St. Joseph, IL, makes the final turn toward the finish line at the Freedom 5K race in 2008. The annual Fourth of July event drew 525 runners and walkers to its' 15th installment. Hill finished 21st in the Mens 40-44 division with a time of 26:58.8. In case the weather for this year's Champaign County Freedom Celebration turns less than favorable, organizers have a well-thought out plan to allow area residents to celebrate our nation's independence this week. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

With scattered thunderstorms in the forecast for the Fourth of July, the Champaign County Freedom Celebration posted its Inclement Weather Policy on Facebook. Here is what you need to know if you plan to participate in the 5K walk/run, take in the annual parade or view the evening's exciting fireworks display.

With rain chances at 40%, the event organizers are plans in place for the parade, the evening show and fireworks run as close as it can to the schedule on the Freedom Celebration website. Revelers are encourage to check the site should weather conditions warrant possible changes to start times.

Should weather conditions force the parade to be canceled, it will not be reschedule for another date.

Depending on the timing of any precipitation moving into the area or wind conditions on Thursday, the Board of Directors and Committee consider all the factors that best serves the public and safety protocols and make a decision as when start the fireworks show. The performance may start earlier than scheduled. If the fireworks show is cancelled, it will be held on the following Saturday, July 6.

If weather conditions are favorable, the fireworks show provided by Melrose Pyrotechnics will begin at dusk, approximately 9:15pm.

Visit the CCFC website at for the latest schedule updates and event information.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Brush pick-up still on hold

There won't be a brush pick-up this month in St. Joseph.

Last month the Village suspended collection, a service that the community has enjoyed for more than a quarter of a century according to Public Works superintendent Mike Peters.

"The committee is getting some new policies in place," he said. "I can't tell you much more than that or when we will have something in place."

The problem for Public Works is they can only burn the collected debris when certain conditions are met. Due to the proximity of the piles, burns have to take place when the wind is blowing out of the east to carry the smoke westward away from the village. Complicating the issue is the abundant amount of rainfall this year that has kept the brush too moist to burn. Peters said wet wood smokes too much when burned.

So far, perfect burn days have been few.

In the interim there are several local companies that can provide convenient removal and pick-up services.

Residents can use their smartphone or tablets to photograph their pile of brush or lawn waste and send it to Cheap Charlie Hauling for a free estimate.

"We do offer yard waste pick up," said owner Thomas Stumborg, who says Cheap Charlie accepts cash or checks. "We take it to the Landscape Recycling Center in Urbana. A full pickup with side boards is about seven yards. We would charge about $100 to $150 for a load this size."

He added that a load that would fill a trailer could run (around) $300 for those have a lot of limbs and brush to get off their property.

Another local company that provides brush removal is Under Cutters Lawn Care.

Now in his second season, owner Thomas Dickey employs local high school student and carefully trains each one to give them a valuable skill set for the future.

"I have lived in St Joe for 20 years and care about the appearance of our community," Dickey said. "I had a mentor who had a very successful lawn care business."

Under Cutters accepts cash, check and Vemno.

"My pricing has been determined by going rates charged by other companies in the area," Dickey said.

For quotes and estimates, text or call Under Cutters Lawn Care at 419-2580. Cheap Charlie Hauling can be reached at 417-5601. Both businesses are in the 217 area code.

Friday, June 28, 2019

14 earn softball varsity letters, dynamic duo share MVP

Fourteen members from the St. Joseph-Ogden softball program were awarded varsity letters for their contribution to this season's 22-10 record and 11th consecutive regional title.

"We graduated four seniors who made a lot contributions for the Spartans over the past four years," said first-year head coach Larry Sparks.

SJO senior Ashtyn Cromwell throws a pitch
Ashtyn Cromwell winds up for a pitch on April 8 against visiting Rantoul at Randy Wolken Field. Cromwell, who was awarded the Brittany Rodgers Award at the end of the season, pitched 57.2 innings this season and finished her final prep season 8-3 from the circle. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

This season's seniors earning varsity letters were Ashtyn Cromwell, Hannah Lewis, Katie Poulter and Savannah Smith.

Cromwell pitched 57.2 innings and closed out her final year high school softball with an 8-3 record from the circle. She was also awarded the Brittany Rogers Award.

Lewis, also a pitcher, appeared in eight games. She struck out five batters in role this spring and was winner of the Jennifer Esworthy Award.

In her 95 trips to the plate, Poulter batted a respectable .326. She was a large contributor to SJO's success recording 31 hits and scoring 28 of the team's combined 288 runs this year. She also chipped in six homers to help break the program record for home runs in a season.

The Spartan program used to be well-known for its ability to take extra bases, almost at will, to run up game scores. In this new era of SJO softball, it is players' ability to put the ball over the fence that is becoming the new trademark. The team pummeled 58 home runs this spring surpassing the previous school mark of 52 in a single season.

Smith finished her final prep season with 40 hits and knocked in 34 runs. She scored 25 runs in the 32 games she played.

Look for the Spartans to be just as sharp offensively in the 2020 season.

"We are extremely happy to be returning most of our lineup for next season," Sparks said. "We will be returning nine players who lettered and got a lot of game experience this past season."

Returning letter winners next spring will include freshmen Kennedy Hudson and Jacey Lewis, both who earned Rookie-of-the-Year recognition from the teammates. Sophomores Raegan Crippen, Sophia Martlage, Audrey Short, Lauren Trankina, and Kaylee Ward are also expected to return as juniors to make a huge impact and support the star-studded senior class.

Alabama commit Bailey Dowling, two-sport standout Hannah Dukeman and veteran pitcher Zoey Witruk, who will be seniors in just a few short months, round out the letters recipients for the season. Expectations are high that the trio will lead the Spartans to the state finals in East Peoria next June.

Dowling, who owns healthy set of IHSA home run records, and Dukeman, an explosive hitter at the plate as well, shared this year's Most-Valuable-Player Award.

"Yes, we have co-MVP’s this season," said Sparks. "Bailey Dowling had another monster offensive season while also fielding at .960. The other winner was Hannah Dukeman, who like Dowling had a monster year offensively and defensively as well."

Dukeman led the team offense putting 50 runs across the plate, scoring 52 times herself all while hitting .545 across 32 games this season. She also hit 13 home runs this spring.

Dowling is well on her way to becoming a legend in Illinois high school softball.

With her junior year in the books, Dowling has a state record and program best 65 career home runs to her credit. She has hit 21 or more home runs in a single season three consecutive times. A member of the USA Junior National Olympic team this summer, she was walked 31 times this season tying slugger Elizabeth Everingham with the same number in the St. Joseph-Ogden record book.

"They were both First Team All-State and All-Area," Sparks said, listing the duo's 2019 accolades. "They were unanimous First Team All-IPC Conference. Both were picked MVP by the players and coaches."

Dowling and Dukeman shared another award along with Savannah Smith. All three were recipients of the team's Gold Glove Award. Smith also won Most-Improved-Player recognition from her teammates and coaches.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Taylor, Hamilton earn track MVP recognition

Next spring, without Maclayne Taylor sporting the maroon and Columbia Blue, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls track team has some pretty fast shoes to fill.

The senior who was named the program's Most-Valuable-Player earlier this month was instrumental in the program finishing in the top three of all Class 1A schools the past three season. Back in the middle of last month, Taylor added four more state medals to her collection of seven earned in three seasons.
Maclayne Taylor is SJO's MVP

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Maclayne Taylor runs to the finish line in the Class 1A 4x400-Meter Relay prelims at the Illinois High School Association's State track & field meet on Thursday, May 16. The senior was named the track team's MVP earlier this month. The SJO relay squad finished first in their heat with a time of 4:07.42 and went on to win the silver medal in Saturday's finals. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

During her three state appearances only once, and that was this past May competing in the four-by-one, did Taylor and her running mates cross the finish line lower than in second place in an IHSA state final event.

Like Taylor, Atleigh Hamilton is building quite a collection of her own. The sophomore received the team's nod as the Field Events MVP after winning her second IHSA state long jump title.

In addition to her gold medal in the long jump at last month's state meet in Charleston, Hamilton won a second in the 4x200 meter relay. She also picked up a medal for a 5th place finish in the four-by-one and a silver medal in the Class 1A 4x400 meter relay.

The track team bestowed Most-Improved-Player honors to junior Jillian Plotner. Senior Rylee Sjuts earned the Spartan Award.

This year's seniors earning varsity letters are Cassidy Bagby, Rylee Sjuts, Brianna Suits and Maclayne Taylor.

Junior letter winners are Lindsey Aden, Jenna Albrecht, Mimi Allen, Hailey Birt, Danie Kelso, Ally Monk, Jillian Plotner, Hannah Rajlich and Anna Wentzloff.

Ten underclassmen, two sophomores and eight freshman also awarded varsity letters.

Sophomores Atleigh Hamilton and Payton Vallee along with future SJO track stars Addie Allen, Abby Behrens, Angie Chahine, Kailyn Ingram, Ava Knap, Ashlyn Lannert, Hope Rajlich and Grace Schmitz won varsity letters this season.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019 SJO football schedule announced

The Illinois High School Association released the 2019 football schedules earlier today. St. Joseph-Ogden opens their 2019 campaign with home game against St. Thomas More on August 30th.

Last fall, SJO opened the 2018 season with four consecutive wins at the beginning of the season with victories over St. Thomas More, Rantoul, Central Catholic and Unity. This season head coach Shawn Skinner and the Spartans look to improve on the squad's previous 5-4 league finish.

All contests, both home and away, are scheduled to kickoff at 7pm.

Blake Dable makes a big block

St. Joseph-Ogden lineman Blake Dable makes a big block on Monticello's Garrett Wilkin in their week 9 football game. The Spartans, who suffered a 50-7 loss in their regular season finale to the undefeated and eventual Illini Prairie Conference champion Sages, look to turn the corner on a 5-5 record this fall. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks


SJO Football Schedule

Aug 30 St. Thomas More - Home
Sep 6   Rantoul - Away
Sep 13 Central Catholic - Home
Sep 20 Unity - Away
Sep 27 Pontiac - Home
Oct 4    Prairie Central - Away
Oct 11 Illinois Valley Central - Home
Oct 18 Olympia - Home
Oct 25 Monticello- Away

2018 St. Joseph-Ogden Football Photo Galleries

08-24-18 St Joseph-Ogden vs St Thomas More (34 images)
08-31-18 St Joseph-Ogden vs Rantoul (23 images)
10-19-18 St Joseph-Ogden vs Monticello (25 images)
10-27-18 Monticello vs St Joseph-Ogden (38 images)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

20 earn varsity track letters this season

It was a good season to be a Spartan for Hayden Knott. Earlier in the month he was named as the SJO's boys track team's Most-Valuable Player. He was also honored as field event MVP in addition to earning his second varsity track letter.

Knott, whose best marks in the shot put at 49 feet-3.25 inches and 145 feet-11 inches in the discus, set new personal records in both events this season. The sophomore won three meet event titles at two different events this season. He brought home two gold medals from the Rantoul Invite and one from a multi-school meet with Urbana, Monticello, Danville and Rantoul.

Lane Gaskin runs anchor leg
St. Joseph-Ogden's Lane Gaskin runs anchor leg in their preliminary race in the 4x200-meter relay at the Illinois High School Association's State track & field meet on Thursday. Despite their best effort the Spartans ran a 1:31.7 failing to qualify for Saturday's state finals. Gaskin was one of nine seniors who earned varsity track letters this season. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ethan Vanliew was named the fresh/soph MVP. Vanliew competed in the 60-Meter, 100-Meter and 400-Meter dashes. In addition to competing in the high jump his first season in the Spartan uniform, he was also a member of 100, 200 and 400 relay squads

Earlier this week, senior Aiden Meyers signed his National Letter of Intent to run track at Eastern Illinois University. Meyer, who was named Most-Improved Player, will join SJO alumni Riley Baker and Austin Earp on the Panther roster next fall.

Meyer was a top three finisher in seven of the five outdoor meets he competed in this season. In his first meet of the year, he PR his 100-Meter Dash time at 11.11.

Twenty members of the track team, which includes four freshman athletes, earned varsity letters.

Senior letter winners include Joel Branson, Dwight Colvin, Nathan Emmert, Lane Gaskin, Kaleb Harshbarger, Isiah McCune, Aiden Meyer, Hanson Rieches and Keanen Swanson. Juniors earning a varsity letter was Max Chatterton, Brayden Grimsey, Nolan Peacock and Eric Poe. Three sophomores, Brady Buss, Hayden Knott and Brandon Mattsey along with frosh runners Elijah Mock, Jonny Poulter, Luke Stegall and Ethan Vanliew.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Burnett named Spartan baseball MVP

Last month the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team awarded varsity letters to 19 players. Sophomore Crayton Burnett earned the team's Most-Valuable Player award.

The Spartans finished their 2019 campaign just wins away from another state final four appearance with a 27-9-2 record after falling 1-0 to Tuscola in the Class 2A sectional championship game.

Fellow junior Keegan McCarty was named Pitcher of the Year and was also selected for the team's Gold Glove Award.
St Joseph-Ogden baseball MVP Crayton Burnett
Junior Crayton Burnett makes a throw in SJO's home game against Westville. In addition to earning his varsity letter, Burnett was named the team's 2019 Most-Valuable Player and earned the programs True Maroon Award. The Spartans won the non-conference contest with the Tigers, 9-4. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

This year's seniors earning varsity baseball letters were Nick Boggs, Adam Frerichs, Kaden Jacobs, Caleb Johnson and Adam Rose.

Junior letter winners included Joey Acton, Brendan Cooperider, Drew Coursey, Blake Dable, Bode Gebbink, Keegan McCarty, Mason McLain, Jaden Miller, Blake Primmer, Brayden Weaver and Sam Wesley.

Burnett and fellow sophomore Zach Martinie along with freshman Coby Miller earned letters as underclassmen.

2019 Team Award Winners

MVP – Crayton Burnett
Pitcher of the Year – Keegan McCarty
Gold Glove Award – Keegan McCarty
Rookie of the Year – Sam Wesley
Silver Slugger Award – Adam Rose
True Maroon Award – Crayton Burnett
Hit By Pitch Award – Adam Frerichs

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Village brush pick-up ends this week

After a suspension of service, the Village of St. Joseph announced public works employees will pick brush left on village curbs until June 21 today.

As long as weather conditions allow it, the village will remove brush currently placed curbside that conforms to guidelines until this Friday.

Despite recent issues, the board would like to have some sort of regular brush removal program for the community.

"The village sees the value in providing this service to our residents," says a media release from the village received earlier today. "Due to some of the issues that have evolved over the last several years, we will need to make some revisions to our policies."

After Friday homeowners will be responsible the removal of their own yard waste and brush disposal until further notice.

"I know residents have made recommendations on Facebook with different companies," said Debbie Routh, Treasurer for the village. "We are not advertising any companies at this point."

In addition to policy changes, scheduling issues will be addressed by village trustees.

"The board will review the current policy and man hours spent to provide this service," states the release. "It is our goal to continue to provide this courtesy to our village residents."

Items that are not allowed during this week pick up includes whole trees, bags of clippings weighing over 30 pounds, mulch, stump grindings, dirt and topsoil, plastic trash bags, and trash. Brush should be no longer than 6 feet in length and 10 inches in diameter. Employees will not take yard waste left in trash cans or landscape timber.

Residents are asked to leave 18 inches between each pile left on the curb.

For more information contact the Village of St. Joseph during regular office hours Monday thru Friday from 7:00am to 3:30pm. The office is closed for lunch between 12:30-1:00pm. Inquiries can also be made by phone at (217) 469-7371.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Ameren announces lower utility rate for St. Joseph

St. Joseph residents can knock a few dollars off their power bill for the next 12 months.

Recently Ameren Illinois announced lower residential electric rates to the tune of 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) starting with this month's meter readings. With the transmission fees, the rate is estimated to be about 4.7 cent per kwh.

According to a press release from the village's electric aggregation consultant Simec, the low bidder for supplying electrical services to residents, the new rate is approximately three-tenths of one cent less than their rate of 5.031 cents.

The average consumer in St. Joseph would save roughly $36 a year switching to Ameren.

Customers that choose to opt out of the aggregation program offered by the village are subject to a lockout period of 12-months with Constellation, the default provider for village. Regulations require consumers who opt out to remain a total of 12 months with Ameren or a supplier of their choice if they do not switch to a new provider within the first two months of the initial change in service.

Once a customer opts out they will be returned automatically to Ameren or to the specified retail electric supplier.

One thing to keep in mind, Ameren, who cites decreased costs in delivering electrical service at this time, may raise their rates at any time if they file with the ICC and demonstrate that their operational expenses have changed. The sole benefit of municipal aggregation is it does offer some measure of price stability since the rates are locked in for a specific period of time.

While Constellation negotiated rate with St. Joseph is among the lowest in the state, Ameren's new rate is appreciably lower in many communities. Quincy's provider bills 5.09/kwh. Effingham residents pay 6.285 with their aggregator. Godfrey’s current municipal electrical aggregation contract with Homefield Energy is at 5.496 until December 2020.

According to the release issued by Simec, residents currently with Constellation can opt out at any time and at no cost. To opt out, they will need to contact Constellation’s customer care center toll free number at (844) 312-9122 and will need only their account number. Customer account numbers can be found at the top of their bill.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Graduation Day: The photo gallery

Last month on May 19, 118 seniors became SJO alums. While we wanted to publish this page and memorable photos sooner, we haven't quite acquired all the resource we need yet. Without further adieu, here are l2 photos from that milestone day.

Jack Ward and Jack Cook
John Ward and Jack Cook enter the main runway during the processional at the St. Joseph-Ogden 2019 Commencement Exercise on Sunday. Photo by Clark Brooks

Principal Gary Page III
Principal Gary Page III makes his opening remarks at the beginning of St. Joseph-Ogden's 2019 Commencement Exercise. Photo by Clark Brooks

Friends and Family
Parents, siblings, family and friends packed the St. Joseph-Ogden gymnasium to watch the Class of 2019 commencement exercise. The audience listens as Principal Gary Page III extols on the academic achievement displayed by this year's senior class. Photo by Clark Brooks

Dwight Colvin
Dwight Colvin, a three-sport athlete who while continue both his education and athletic career at McKendree College, receives his diploma and warm handshake from St. Joseph-Ogden Board of Education president James Rein. Photo by Clark Brooks

Keely McCorkle walks at graduation
All smiles with diploma in hand as walks across the stage, Keely McCorkle prepares to shake hands with superintendent Brian Brooks. Photo by Clark Brooks

Mortar board message
One of many messages displayed on mortar boards at the 2019 St. Joseph-Ogden Commencement Exercise. Photo by Clark Brooks

Joel Orcutt smiles with his diploma in hand
Freshly minted SJO grad and two-sport athlete Joel Orcutt grins for a photo after receiving his diploma at graduation. Photo by Clark Brooks

Parents taking pictures
A couple of parents eagerly photographs as students walk down the steps to the stage at graduation. Photo by Clark Brooks

Sully Alwes, Gage Atwood and Cassidy Bagby
Seniors Sully Alwes, Gage Atwood and Cassidy Bagby mug for the camera during their commencement ceremony at St. Joseph-Ogden High School. In the final quarter of their high careeer, Atwood and Bagby earned a 3.75 GPA to be named to the High Honor Roll list. Alwes also earned honor roll recognition with a GPA greater than 3.25. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

SJO alumni celebrate
In a storm of confetti, St. Joseph-Ogden students celebrate the end of their high school career. Photo by Clark Brooks

Kassandra Kelso poses for a quick smartphoto photo
Flanked by her cousins Lindsey and Sydney Kelso, Kassandra Kelso poses for a quick smartphoto photo after returning her robe. Photo by Clark Brooks

Sally Manalo and parents
Sally Manalo poses for a photo with her parents, Nelson and Jamie, in the auxiliary gym after Sunday's graduation ceremony. Photo by Clark Brooks

Photos displayed on this page are available for order here.

SJO plyometric training camp is a must do for future prep athletes

The summer camp that every junior high student should take part in is Carle Sports Medicine Plyometric Training Camp. The camp is led by St. Joseph-Ogden athletic trainer Casey Hug.

The camp which is already under way runs from June 11 to July 30 twice a week every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 – 4:30pm. There will not be a session on July 4 due to the holiday. Each session is an hour long under expert supervision.

The camp is designed to introduce and teach proper exercise techniques to young athletes and focus on building a foundation to develop explosive movement, agility, and better neuromuscular control.
Mclayne Taylor takes a shot
St. Joseph-Ogden's Maclayne Taylor fires a shot during their Class 2A third place game against Hillsboro at the IHSA Girls Basketball State Finals on Saturday. Taylor led the Lady Spartans to the program's first Final Four appearance. She is a prime example of how pylometrics can elevate a players athleticism. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

"Proper form and control are very important," Hug points out. "Most athletes, regardless of age, lack proper hip and core strength, which makes it nearly impossible to do these exercises properly."

He added,"Most people associate core strength with doing sit ups and having a six pack. At this camp we try to work on hip, glutes, and low back strength as well."

When it comes to explosive athletes, the St. Joseph-Ogden athletic program has enjoyed more than their fair share.
Pylometrics are exercises that train an athlete's muscles to exert maximum force in short intervals of time. The goal is to increase speed, agility and strength, especially from a resting position. Explosive movement starts from having a strong, well coordinate group of core muscles working together.

Sometimes referred to as "pylos", Pylometric training focuses on learning to move from a muscle extension to a contraction in a rapid or "explosive" manner, such as in specialized repeated jumping on to platforms or over barriers.

When it comes to explosive athletes, the St. Joseph-Ogden athletic program has enjoyed more than their fair share.

"As far as explosive athletes the one that sticks out to me is Maclayne Taylor," said Hug. He pointed out there are drills performed at the camp named after her. "She did this camp for four to five years and then has helped me as an instructor the last few years.

In addition to Taylor there are three other athletes from this spring season that epitomizes the benefits of pylometric training. Bailey Dowling, Hannah Dukeman and Atleigh Hamilton are at the top of his list.

Dowling currently holds the IHSA state record for the most career home runs and will play on the United States Junior National softball team. Earlier this week she was recognized as Gatorade's Illinois Softball Player of the Year. Dowling, who is the first SJO player to earn such national recognition, earn the same honor in 2018.

Hamilton is also headed for the IHSA record books. She is back-to-back Class 1A Long Jump champion. She went 18 feet-7.75 inches, three more than her nearest competitor, at last month's state track meet in Charleston.

A two-sport athlete and leader on the basketball court, Dukeman's balance and footwork is exceptional. On the diamond she is tied for 13th in IHSA records for runs batted in an inning. She also tied for second for most doubles in a softball game with four.

"We have a lot more kids that are explosive, but these are the ones that stick out against all the competition across the state," said Hug about the Spartan program.

Another is Adam Rose, who holds the baseball school record for the most stolen bases.

Although the first week of camp is in the books. It is not too late for kids who are starting 4th grade through the 9th to start their plyo training. To register now or for more information, email Casey Hug at

"I believe that plyometrics are important but making sure they are doing them with proper form/control is more important," Hug emphasized. "It doesn’t matter how high you can jump if you don’t know how to land."

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

77 SJO seniors named on final honor roll of the year

The exceptional quality of education and unending commitment by the student body to excel was once again demonstrated by the final Honor Roll of the 2018-19 academic year.

Seniors Sully Alwes, Gage Atwood and Cassidy Bagby mug for the camera during their commencement ceremony at St. Joseph-Ogden High School. In the final quarter of their high careeer, Atwood and Bagby earned a 3.75 GPA to be named to the High Honor Roll list. Alwes also earned honor roll recognition with a GPA greater than 3.25. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Seventy-seven St. Joseph-Ogden High School seniors earned scholastic accolades on the final Honor Roll list for this academic year. The junior class was paced by 64 members who achieved High Honor Roll or honor roll status. In all, more than 260 SJO students were named to the fourth quarter honor roll.

Students named to the High Honors earned GPAs of 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Those attaining GPAs of 3.25 to 3.74 are recognized as Honor Roll students.


High Honor Roll

Seniors: Gage Atwood, Cassidy Bagby, Erin Beyers, Rebecca Campbell, Sarah Chahine, David Cummins, Emmy Daniels, Liam Davis, Abigail Dunham, Avery Edwards, Nathan Emmert, Jasmine Febus, Michael Foreman, Emilie Fox, Adam Frerichs, Rachel Gherna, Zachary Hill, Kalli Ingram, Ken Lahners, Hannah Lewis, Nathan Logan, Caroline Moore, Eve Owens, Angela Palmer, Benjamin Reitmeier, Adam Rose, Madison Rubin, Abigail Schlueter, Elizabeth Schluter, Samantha Schmidt, Benjamin Setterdahl, acob Shaw, Kaitlin Shoviak, Grant Siegmund, Rylee Sjuts, Brianna Suits, Maclayne Taylor, Nathan Walden and Seth Wedig.

Juniors: Lindsey Aden, Jenna Albrecht, Mallory Ames, Taylor Barnes, Katelyn Berry, Emily Bigger, Kaylee Blackburn, Ginny Bytnar, Payton Cain, Trevon Carr, Kristen Costa, Drew Coursey, Kathryn Cramer, Andrea Cunningham, Faith Dahman, Hannah Dukeman, Asjah Fonner, Jaiden Freeman, Bode Gebbink, Payton Grimsley, Lucas Grindley, Erica Guelfi, Emily Hardimon, Chance Izard, Cody Johnston, Lacey Kaiser, Danielle Kelso, Sara Milioli, Ava Mills, Carson Mills, Allison Monk, Alivia Norem, Eric Poe, Hannah Rajlich, Lexi Ribbe, Jenna Schaefer, Joshua Sexton, Rylee Stahl, Kenly Taylor, Stephanie Trame, Anna Tranel, Isabelle Vliet, Brayden Weaver, Samuel Wesley, Zoey Witruk and Jackson Wooten.

Sophomores: Hunter Brooks, Isabelle Brooks, Crayton Burnett, David Bytnar, Taylor Campbell, Kylie Duckett, Hanna Eastin, Nadirah Edwards, Emily Fisher, Dakota Franzen, Alexandra Frerichs, Atleigh Hamilton, Emmy Houston, Lukas Hutcherson, Logan Ingram, Cailer Kellenberger, Shelby Kofoot, Spencer Lahners, Ethan Lane, Aiden Livesay, Tyson Madsen, Sophie Martlage, Flannery McCorkle, Garren Meeker, Abigail Moberg, Samantha Naylor, Alec Painter, Erin Patton, Aidan Roberts, Indira Robinson, Mazie Ronk, Evan Schmitz, Max Shonkwiler, Tessa Smith, Payton Vallee, Nora Walden, Brayden Wendt and Logan Wolfersberger.

Freshmen: Addison Allen, Tyler Altenbaumer, Kailyn Anderson, Ella Armstrong, Madison Atwood, Abigail Behrens, Andrew Beyers, Brandie Bowln, Mara Burkhalter, Angela Chahine, Braden Clampitt, Anastasia Conerty, Deanna Cummins, Benjamin Cunningham, Sidney Davis, Zander Dressen, Ashley Eldridge, Jared Emmert, Hannah Fox, Zella Fuqua, Avian Gerdes, Brennan Haake, Liam Hamer, Lauren Harper, Anthony Hoang, Claire Huffman, Payton Jacob, Alison Kearney, Ava Knap, Sophia McDade, Coby Miller, Conrad Miller, Elijah Mock, Keaton Nolan, Jessica Palmer, Emma Parkinson, Hope Rajlich, Kendra Riddle, Taryn Sexton, Alyssa Shoviak, Luke Stegall, Rebecca Steinbach, Mackenzie Trame and Taylor Wells.

Adam Frerichs     Honor Roll student Payton Vallee     Drew Coursey

Honor Roll

Seniors: Sullivan Alwes, Alex Blanchard, Nicholas Boggs, Joel Branson, Makayla Buskirk, Ripley Campbell, Kayla Cañas, Daniel Carlson, Dwight Colvin, Aiden Coon, Amanda Craddock, Peyton Crowe, Chloe Duckett, Emory Ericksen, Cole Franzen, Bryce Froeschl, Grant Goff, Haley Griebat, Kaleb Harshbarger, Mikayla Harshbarger, Kaitlyn Hess, Michelle Jervis, Dylan Johnson, Jake Juday, Kyler Master, Shelby McElroy, Erinn Miller, Ryan Miller, Heidi Novak, Karsyn Peters, Kathryn Poulter, Hanson Rieches, Niko Russell, Nicholas Skelton, Clare Smith, Dillon Uken, Rylee Walsh and Cole Zaccarelli

Juniors: Kendall Ayers, Kolton Batty, Erin Bridgewater, Brendan Cooperider, Bailey Dowling, Brayden Grimsey, Ethan Hinrichs, Julia Kaiser, Eliza Lewis, Nathan Maier, Keegan McCarty, Mason McLain, Nolan Peacock, Taddy Pettit, Dyllan Price, Madie Warfel, Anna Wentzloff and Karsyn Wetzel.

Sophomores: Haven Atwood, Mason Behrens, Josh Buttjer, Raegan Crippen, Sarah Dow, Makayla Duckwitz, Jacob Dywer, Britney Evans, Emily Froman, Isabella Getty, Alyssa Lynch, Alyssa Maddock, Brandon Mattsey, Brianna Reifsteck, Lizzie Reitmeier, Jackson Rydell, Lauren Trankina, Mitchell Whitlock and Rachel Wilson.

Freshmen: Jaden Barton, Alanna Bensyl, Ella Besson, Kennedi Burnett, Mackenzie Fulk, Alyssa Hamilton, Kailyn Ingram, Olivia Klotz, Ashlyn Lannert, Jacey Lewis, Madelyn Mabry, Kelsey Martlage, Braden McElroy, Ava Miller, Jett Morris, Nathaniel Nosler, Jackson Place, Jonathan Poulter, Griffin Roesch and Ethan Vanliew.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

SJO Graduation: An outstanding class says farewell

One of the most attractive things about St. Joseph-Ogden High School is the small town values that permeates throughout the school's culture. The commitment to family, friends and the community to not only succeed, but excel is a core value in academics, the arts, activities and of course, athletics. The level of caring and support is sometimes immeasurable.

"There is a culture of high expectations," St. Joseph-Ogden principal Gary Page said about not only the impressive academic accomplishment achieved by this year's senior class, but of the student body and faculty as a whole. Sixty-six percent of the members of the Class of 2019 graduated with a grade point average of 3.0, a 'B' or better. "It is the positive competitiveness they have with each other, but at the same time they are always supporting each other."

Keanen Swanson escorts classmate Rylee Walsh
Keanen Swanson escorts classmate Rylee Walsh during Saturday's graduation processional. One hundred and eighteen seniors received their diplomas before a near capacity gymnasium of family and friends. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Cole Zaccarelli was apprehensive when he and his family moved into the area three years ago. Coming from a much larger community in Texas, he was sure there would be fewer opportunities to enjoy. It didn't take long for his mind to change.

"St. Joe has everything you could possibly imagine. Just the fact that our class (cumulative) GPA was 3.3. That's insane," he said proudly. "The number of things I've experienced, like going to play in an All-Star (football) game in Texas, the tradition of going to state and watching the state football championships; those are things I will always remember."

Nick Boggs, who will start Butler University's pharmacy program this fall, said he will always remember the Spartans' run to winning the 2016 state basketball title and getting kicked out of prom his junior year with his girlfriend.

"That was pretty fun," he said smiling from ear to ear. "It's a good memory for my girlfriend and I."

He had nothing by praises for school that just became his Alma Mater.

"St. Joe is a really good school. We have great teachers, great friends and a really good community," he said immediately. "My mom and my dad are really proud of me."

Hopefully, he won't forget his first home varsity run last month, either. His baseball season isn't over quite yet. Boggs and Spartans won a regional baseball title less than 24 hours before he graduated with honors from SJO. The Spartans advanced to a sectional semifinal against fellow Illini Prairie Conference rival Bloomington Central Catholic.

"Our offense was okay, but not terrible," Boggs said about the 3-1 win over Monticello. "We've got figure it out for the next game."

Erinn Miller described graduation day as bitter sweet. Her immediate plans includes attending St. Louis University to study nursing.

"It sad because you are leaving all your friends that you have been with for a really long time. It is also pretty exciting," Miller said. "I'm kind of sad to leave my family, but it will be okay."

Her advice to the Class of 2020 and beyond was simple. Get involved.

"Definitely try everything. If there is a class you want to take or join or club, do it. You might something you really like."

Zaccarelli's message for the upcoming senior class was similar to Miller's recommending that everyone experience should try to experience everything they can.

"You don't have to fit any kind of demographic. Experience as many things as you can."

SJO Class Officers of 2019

Miss Rylee Sjuts
Miss Hannah Lewis
Miss Kalli Ingram
Mr. Justyn Frisby

Seniors in National Honor Society

Cassidy Danielle Bagby, Adam Douglas Frerichs, Benjamin Duane Setterdahl, Nicholas Ryan Boggs, Hannah Elaine Lewis, Jacob Anthony Shaw, Rebecca Michelle Campbell, Keely Ireland McCorkle, Kaitlin Marie Shoviak, Kayla Nicole Cañas, Erinn Catherine Miller, Grant Edward Siegmund, Emmy Noelle Daniels, Eve Frances Owens, Rylee Mareka Sjuts, Nathan Taylor Emmert, Adam Patrick Rose, Brianna Grace Suits, Emilie Louise Fox, Abigail Kaylyn Grace Schlueter and Maclayne Kathryn Taylor.

St. Joseph-Ogden High School Class of 2019

Sullivan Michael Alwes
Gage Andrew Atwood
Cassidy Danielle Bagby
Erin Marie Beyers
Kaylee Lillian-Elizabeth Blanchard
Nicholas Ryan Boggs
Joel Tucker Branson
Jarett David Burnett
Makayla Nicole Buskirk
Brooke Rose Butorac
Rebecca Michelle Campbell
Ripley Steven Campbell
Kayla Nicole Cañas
Daniel Robert Carlson
Sarah Chahine Hannah
Dwight Colvin Nathan
Jackson Rilee Cook
Aiden Matthew Coon
Amanda Jo Craddock
Ashtyn Crosby Cromwell
Peyton Grace Crowe
David Andrew Cummins
Emmy Noelle Daniels
Liam Morris Davis
Chloe Marie Duckett
Abigail Marie Dunham
Avery Mary Margaret Edwards
Griffin Kayne Emery-Carlson
Nathan Taylor Emmert
Emory Lynn Ericksen
Jasmine Marie Febus
Michael Peyton Foreman
Emilie Louise Fox
Cole Scott Franzen
Adam Douglas Frerichs
Justyn Isaac Frisby
Bryce Steven Froeschl
Lane Michael Gaskin
Rachel Lynn Gherna
Grant Joseph Goff
Haley Elizabeth Griebat
Kaleb Tanner Harshbarger
Mikayla Svetlana Harshbarger
Kaitlyn Marie Hess
Zachary Alan Hill
Kalli Elizabeth Ingram
Kaden Michael Jacobs
Michelle Nicole Jervis
Caleb Lynn Johnson
Geoffrey Dylan Johnson
Jake James Juday
Kassandra Leigh Kelso
Kenneth Elijah-Lewis Lahners
Ethan Andrew Landreth
Elaine Lewis Benjamin
James Logan Jacob
Sally Michelle Manalo
Kyler Kendrick Master
Keely Ireland McCorkle
Isiah Robert McCune
Tianna Marie McCune
Shelby Elizabeth Schriber McElroy
Aiden Bradley Meyer
Erinn Catherine Miller
Ryan Michael Miller
Megan Kristina Mitchell
Caroline Elizabeth Moore
Tyler Wade Moore
Jonah Wesley Morris
Heidi Marie Novak
Joel Aiden Orcutt
Eve Frances Owens
Angela Joyce Palmer
Reid Curtis Patton
Karsyn Michelle Peters
Raymond Jerold Plotner
Adam Jeffrey Lewis Porter
Kathryn Marie Poulter
Lindsey Dale Pryor
Hannah Jo Quick
Joseph Paul Rajlich
Benjamin Christian Reitmeier
Annelise Korra Rhoads
Hanson Eugene Rieches
Adam Patrick Rose
Libby Marie Rowland
Madison Rosalie Rubin
Niko Xavier-Laurence Russell
Shane Christopher Allen Sabin
Abigail Kaylyn Grace Schlueter
Elizabeth Jo Schluter
Samantha Rae Schmidt
Kabriel Michael Schuster
Duane Setterdahl
Anthony Shaw
Kaitlin Marie Shoviak
Grant Edward Siegmund
Rylee Mareka Sjuts
Nicholas Robert Skelton
Clare Wonder Smith
Kamryn Averie Smith
Savannah Elizabeth Smith
Isabella Rome Spisok
Brianna Grace Suits
Keanen Michael Swanson
Maclayne Kathryn Taylor
Bree Ann Trimble
Dillon David Uken
Nathan Rea Walden
Rylee Renee Walsh
John Patrick Ward
Seth Alexander Wedig
Jacob Victor Wendling
Conner Alexander White
Alyssa Renee Whitlock
Karringten Kalista Winn
Wade Monroe Wronke
Cole Richard Zaccarelli

Three SJO relay squads advance to boys state meet

Three St. Joseph-Ogden athletes and as many relay squads from the team qualified for this weekend's Illinois High School Association boys state meet in Charleston.

Nolan Peacock and Hayden Knott were the only two Spartans to advance to the state meet in the field events.

Peacock will compete against a talented group of 34 high flying vaulters in the Class 1A pole vault. The junior cleared 11 feet-9 inches, good for a second place sectional finish, to qualify for a spot in Thursday's preliminary round.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Aiden Meyer
St. Joseph-Ogden's Aiden Meyer looks for running room after snagging a pass in the Spartans' first-round, road playoff game against Monticello in October last fall. Meyer, who suffered an injury during the meet, will continue his athletic career after high school electing to play football at St. Ambrose University. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The competition for Peacock will be stacked pretty high at state. The top sectional qualifier, Kyle Kruhtoff from Erie-Prophetstown, has raised the bar even before he and his competitors has laid eyes on the Eastern Illinois University campus. After winning last year's state pole vault title at 15 feet-6 inches, he leads all entrants state-wide in the event at 16 feet-even.

This will be Knott's second consecutive trip to O'Brien Stadium to state. As a freshman he qualified for state in the discus throw, a feat he was unable to duplicate this season. Instead, he will be throwing the metal ball down range as far as he can with the hopes of making the cut into Saturday's shot put finals.

Knott earn fourth place finishes in both the shot and discus at the sectional meet hosted by the Spartans on Friday. He sent the discus 132 feet and 1 inch and chucked the shot 49 feet-3.25 inches for his best meet marks.

Lane Gaskin hopes end his SJO track career on a high note. The senior will run in Thursday's 200-Meter Dash and in possibly two of the three relay prelims on Thursday. He ran a 23 second-flat sectional time, which is the 19th best in the state, and will need to lop off about a half second to make the cut into Saturday's championship race.

With Gaskin in the mix, SJO turned the sixth best sectional 4x100-Meter Relay time at 43.39. Joined by Brady Buss, Aiden Meyer and Dwight Colvin, Gaskin & Co. will face speedy quartets from Pana, DuQuoin and Rushville-Industry and should medal in the event.

The relay to watch will be the 4x200. The speedy foursome of Colvin, Brady Buss, Kaleb Harshbarger and Gaskin from the four-by-one will have a bulleye on their backs and are one of two squads, coincidentally from the same area of the state, to beat. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley enter the event sharing the top sectional time of 1:31 heading into the Thursday prelims.

Later, Buss, Meyer, Ethan Vanliew, Keanen Swanson and Harshbarger combined for a time of 3:31.58 in the 4x400-Meter Relay. The group finished sixth in their sectional and will have to shave at least four seconds off their time to find a spot in the championship race on Saturday.

Despite finishing third in the 4x800-Meter Relay with Swanson, Eric Poe, Isiah McCune and Brandon Mattsey, the Spartans' 8:37.97 missed the cut.

SJO finished fourth in the team competition last Friday with 55 points behind Urbana University High School (3rd, 58 points), Maroa-Forsyth (2nd, 87 points) and meet champions Salt Fork. The Storm clearly dominated the day with 111 points.

Admission to this year's state meet is $10.00 per day and parking near the stadium is $5.00 per day. Tickets for Thursday's preliminary round go on sale at 9am at the O'Brien Stadium box office. Tickets for Saturday's finals will be available starting at 8am.

Correction: According to the results submitted to the IHSA, Gaskin, Meyer, Kaleb Harshbarger and Ethan Vanliew ran 3:31.58 in the 4x400-Meter Relay. The time was actually turned in by Brady Buss, Ethan Vanliew, Keanen Swanson and Kaleb Harshbarger. The 4x200 squad that ran the state qualifying time was made up of Dwight Colvin, Buss, Harshbarger and Lane Gaskin. Head coach Jason Retz confirmed that Aiden Meyer was injured and did not run in either race.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Letters: SB 7 is a bad idea

State lawmakers are pushing the legalization of “super weed.”

The 500-plus page bill (SB 7) that was introduced earlier this month in Springfield should greatly alarm parents and grandparents:

This is the substance that gets users intoxicated. The marijuana of the 1960s and 1970s only contained 1-3% THC. Today, the levels are 20% or more. The Dutch government walked back their marijuana policy and now considers cannabis with 15% THC a hard drug and illegal.

High potency marijuana use is linked to increases in addiction, psychosis, schizophrenia and violence.

SB 7 allows adults to grow up to five marijuana plants in their home(s). What good is a community opt-out when neighbors are legally permitted to grow it? Moreover, who wants to live near pot cultivation centers?

Cultivating excessive amounts of marijuana is not hypothetical. Conservatively, five plants could produce ten pounds of marijuana per year. That is more than 10,000 joints a year. No one can use that much marijuana. Where will the surplus go?

There are many other reasons to oppose this policy. In short, legalization is just not worth the social costs to our families and communities.

David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

"Intelligent, fun and unpredictable"; The Class of 2019

SJO graduation photo

Members of the St. Joseph-Ogden Class of 2019 celebrated in colorful style after receiving their diplomas on Sunday. One hundred and twenty-eight students were conferred as the newest class of graduates.

"They were a phenomenal class; a very, very bright class," said principal Gary Page. The Class of 2019 entered SJO as freshmen the same year he took over the reigns as principal. "Their GPA (as a class) was phenomenal."

When asked what three words characterized the Class of 2019, Paige responded with, "intelligent, fun and unpredictable."

66% of the senior class earned 3.0 or better grade average. The composite SAT score for this year's graduating class was 1112, which is 100 points higher than the state average.

Just as impressive is the fact that the senior class earned 914 dual credit college hours. After adding AP credit to that number, Paige envisions the dual credit hours to be close to a thousand.

They had a really good chemistry. They did enjoy each other and had a lot of fun together," Paige said. "I think they are a pretty close. That chemistry showed inside the school and they were great leaders inside of our building."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Weekend 2Do: May 17-19

SMALL AXE FUNK • May 17, 10p-1a, Watson's Shack & Rail, 211 North Neil, Champaign. Check out the groovy music. Limited kitchen menu available. Cost: No Cover.

90's DAUGHTER "UNPLUGGED" • May 17, 9p, Boomerangs, 1309 East Washington, Urbana. Intimate acoustic set featuring covers from audience requests. Black Eye Peas, Stone Temple Pilots, Maroon 5 covers and more. Cost: $5 cover at the door.

NELLY, TWISTA, AND FUTURISTIC • May 17, 7p, Champaign County Fairgrounds, 1302 North Coler, Urbana. Grammy award winning, multi-platinum recording artist Nelly headlines event at the Fairgrounds. Cost: $28.00-$45.00 Information: Buy Tickets

HOME-GROWN COTTON SPINNING DEMONSTRATION • May 18, 10a-12p, Common Ground Food Co-op, 300 South Broadway #166, Urbana. Members of the CU Spinners and Weavers Guild will be on the Co-op porch spinning home-grown local cotton into yarn. Learn more about spinning, weaving, and fiber arts. Cost: FREE

PRAIRIE CYCLE CLUB METRIC CENTURY AND FAMILY FUN RIDES • May 18, 8:45a-2p, Weaver Park, 2205 East Main, Urbana. Choose from a self-supported ride of 35 or 65 mile routes or a 13 mile ride to St. Joseph and back on the Kickapoo Rail Trail. Information:

BLOCK OF THE MONTH CLASS • May 18, 10a-12p, Everyday Quilting Company, 1717 Philo Road, Urbana. Limited space available. Cost: Call for details. Information: (217) 693 7917 -

BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR & TASTING • May 18, 2p and 3pm, Prairie Fruit Farm & Creamery, 4410 North Lincoln Avenue, Champaign. Guests will learn a brief history about the farm and the owners, raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day and how the creamery transforms goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. Cost: Adults $10, Kids 12 and under $6. Information:

R&B SOUL YOGA • May 18, 10a, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, 202 South Broadway, Suite 1, Urbana. This class is open to all levels. Participants welcome to submit songs/artists they would like to flow to during the session. Cost: Donation based, pay what you can. Information: R&B Soul Yoga

WOOD TYPE POSTER WORKSHOP • May 18, 1p-4p, Lisa Kesler Studio, 117 East Main, Tolono, IL. Get hands on experience working with antique wood letter type. Cost: $75, includes all materials. Information: Lisa Kesler Studio, 217-721-4738.

JAPANESE TEA CEREMONY • May 18, 2p-3p, Japan House, 2000 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana. Chado, or the Way of Tea, is one of the most ancient and revered arts of Japan, and is at the very heart of Japan House. Learn about Japan House, tea ceremony and the history of this 500 year old art form. Cost: General Public $12, Student/Tomonokai Members $10. Information: More info and order tickets.

THE CHRIS MONDAK JAZZ QUARTET LIVE • May 18, 6p-8p, Neil Street Blues, 301 North Neil, Champaign. Chris Mondak, a veteran of the Nextgen Jazz Quartet, the Jazz Band of America, and the Brubeck Institute plays a night of high-energy jazz featuring a mix of standards and compositions from his new album. Cost:

THAI YOGA MASSAGE POP-UPS • May 19, 10:15a-12p, Hatha Yoga & Fitness, 2109 South Neil Street, Champaign. Thai Yoga Massage is a partner practice that combines gentle passive stretching, acupressure, and breath work to encourage release of tension. This is a shared experience that is mutually beneficial to both the giver, and receiver. Cost: $20 per person, $35 per couple. Information: Thai Yoga Massage.

TENNIS IN THE PARKS • May 19, 3p-4:30p, Clark Park, 900 S McKinley Ave, Champaign. Free introductory tennis lessons taught by the Champaign Park District tennis staff. 3-3:30p Adult Beginner (ages 16+), 3:30-4p Pre-Teen Future Stars (ages 10-15) and 4-4:30p Young Future Stars (ages 6-9). Cost: Free

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SJO Alumni Assocation Banquet on June 8

This year's Annual SJO Alumni Association Banquet will be held on June 8 at the Community Building in Royal.

The mission of SJOAA is to promote the community and Spartan heritage. In addition to the banquet held each year, the association also holds an alumni meeting and provides scholarships to students.

This year's cocktail hour is set to begin at 5:00pm with a dinner to be served at 6:00p. Dinner is priced at $20.00 per plate.

This year's Honor Class is the Class of 1969 celebrating their 50th. The theme for the gala is "Summer of Love" and appropriate dress - bell bottoms, sandals, love beads, tie-dye attire - is enthusiastically recommended.

Graduates from the Class of 1959 will be also be honored at this year's banquet.

For more information contact Eric Buzzard at 469-2373 or visit the SJO Alumni Association website at

Dowling breaks IHSA record

It was bound to happen this season and it finally did. Yesterday, St. Joseph-Ogden shortstop Bailey Dowling became Illinois' most prolific softball home run hitter in IHSA history.

After tying the record of 60 set by Benet Academy's Stephanie Abello in 2015 on Thursday, Dowling hit a pair of dingers to raise the career home run bar to 62.

In her first trip to the plate against visiting Charleston, the Alabama commit crushed the ball over the right field fence. The second shot, her 19th home run of the season, soared over the left field fence pushing the all-time record to 62 by the future Olympic junior national player.

She is now one home run shy from being the first Illinois prep softball player to hit 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons. She pummeled 22 her freshman season at SJO and 21 last spring as a sophomore. Heading into the postseason semifinal against Monticello later today, chances are she will add at least one or more to the total she now commands.

With another season left in her prep career, Dowling could very well hold the career record for ... well, like former Spartan head coach Randy Wolken's career 1,043 win total, ... forever.

Despite her historic, record-making performance, the Spartans (20-9) fell 15-4 to the Trojans in their last regular season contest on the 2019 season.

Hannah Dukeman, also a junior, contributed two RBI in the non-conference loss.

Senior Tribute submissions needed Friday

Attention St. Joseph-Ogden seniors.

The Sentinel will publish it Senior Tribute and Graduation special edition on Thursday, May 23, and would like to highlight your achievements and accomplishments.

Seniors who would like to be included in this section, please go to this page to submit the questionnaire for your profile. There is no charge to submit your form and included. Deadline for your submission is Friday.

If you have any questions email The Sentinel at

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Spartans to make another run at state track title

Fourteen athletes from the St. Joseph-Ogden girls track team advanced to this weekend's Illinois High School Association state track and field finals in Charleston.

Leading SJO's bid for a back-to-back team title are three gold medalists from the 2018 Class 1A championship squad. Atleigh Hamilton, who won the long jump title, along with senior Maclayne Taylor and junior Hailey Birt return to the blue oval at O'Brien Stadium in search of another championship trophy.

Ashlyn Lannert runs cross country
Ashlyn Lannert heads toward the finish line during the Class 1A race at the IHSA Cross Country State Finals on Saturday. She finished 84th overall with a time of 19:16.11 in this year's title race. Lannert and the Spartans look to win another state trophy at this weekend's state track and field meet in Charleston.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Runners and field event specialists qualifying for this weekend's state meet include: Grace Schmitz (pole vault), Jenna Albrecht, Kailyn Ingram (4x800), Addie Allen (4x800), Rylee Sjuts, Hannah Rajlich, Danie Kelso, Cassidy Bagby, Hannah Rajlich, Ashlyn Lannert and Jillian Plotner.

Rajlich and Sjuts medaled in 4x800 relay last spring. Sjuts also picked up a silver medal in the 400-Meter Relay with Taylor, Hamilton and then senior Zea Maroon.

In a marquee worthy, storybook performance last year, Hamilton won her first of three state medals starting with the long jump. She went 18 feet-2 inches past the board to secure the title and a career best performance. The sophomore will see some familiar faces on the runway on Thursday. Six of the nine jumpers in last season's top ten return with a legitimate shot at the title.

Despite her sectional mark of 17 feet-4 inches, which was identical to her 2018 distance, Hamilton will be a solid bet as one of the top three medalists come Saturday evening.

Peaking at just the right time, Jenna Albrecht set a new personal record in triple jump in the sectional meet. The junior landed 34 feet-1 inch away from the launch point to finish third and put a lock on her spot in this Thursday's state prelims.

Prior to Friday, Albrecht's previous PR was 32 feet-11 and half inches.

The sprint foursome of Kelso, Taylor, Birt and Hamilton in the four-by-one looks to be an exciting race. Running a 50.52 in the sectional meet, the Spartans will be challenged by squads from DuQuoin, Fulton and Bureau Valley if all four teams make the finals on Saturday as expected.

Distance specialist Cassidy Bagby could make some noise in Saturday's 3200-Meter championship race. It will be her second state appearance - the first in 2017 in the same race - and her last as a varsity athlete for SJO. She will have 35 equally capable runners to push her to a memorable finish and beyond her sectional time of 12:17.34.

Speedster Maclayne Taylor qualified for the state prelims in the 100-Meter and 200-Meter dashes as well as the 4x200 relay. A couple of top eight finishes by Taylor will be essential in the Spartans' quest for a team trophy.

Hannah Rajlich will join teammates at state after finishing second in the 1600-Meter sectional race at 5:42:37. The junior faces strong opposition from Latin's Ava Parekh, who will be heading into Thursday's prelims with sectional time a mere five seconds away from a sub-five minute mark.

Less than eight seconds separate the Spartans from the top of the list of Class 1A qualifying time courtesy of DuQuoin's at 4:07.59 in the 4x400-Meter Relay. The SJO relay advanced to state thanks to the combined speed of Ashlyn Lannert, Rylee Sjuts, Jillian Plotner and Danie Kelso, who fought tenaciously to win the sectional race by a nose, seven-tenths of a second ahead of Uni High. The Indians and the Spartans will face stiff competition for the state title in this race from perennial challengers Byron, Taylor Rockridge and Knoxville.

Admission is $10.00 per day and parking near the stadium is $5.00 per day. Tickets for Thursday's preliminary round go on sale at 9am at the O'Brien Stadium box office. Tickets for Saturday's finals will be available starting at 8am.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Weekend 2Do: May 10-12

ANNUAL SPRING PLANT SALE • May 10, 9am-5pm, Sola Gratia Farm, 2200 South Philo Road, Urbana. Choose from a wide selection of organically grown veggies, herbs, as well as locally sourced flowers.

SPRING USED BOOK SALE • May 10, 9am-7pm, St. Joseph Township - Swearingen Memorial Library, 201 N. Third, St. Joseph. Books, DVDs, videos, music cds, audiobooks and large print books are for sale on a donation basis. Information: Swearingen Memorial Library

WIENERS AND WINE • May 10, 5pm-9pm, Sleepy Creek Vineyards, 8254 East 1425 North, Fairmount. Buy your favorite adult beverage and they provide the hot dogs, fixings and a fire to roast them over while listening to live music. If it rains, enjoy free chili dogs inside! Kid friendly. Information: Sleepy Creek on Facebook.

AQUILA AT WATSON'S • May 10, 10pm-1am, Watson's Shack & Rail, 211 N Neil St, Champaign. Listen the jazz fusion, neo-soul, experimental indie sounds of the five member band. Limited Cost: No Cover.

PARKLAND PRIDE DRAG SHOW • May 10, 7pm-10pm, Jean Miner Theatre, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign. While the show is family friendly music during the show may contain adult language. Parking for the event will be available in Lot C4. Admission: Adults $5.00, $3.00 for ages 6-17, and free for children 6 and under.

LATIN DANCE NIGHT • May 10, 8-11pm, Urbana Dance Company, 122 W. Main Street, UNIT D, Urbana. DJ Sebastian will light up the house spinning popular salsa, bachata, merengue, and cumbia music. Free lesson from 8pm-8:30pm. Cover: $5.00 per person.

COMEDY WITH CHRIS SCHLICHTING • May 11, 8:30pm-10pm, C-U Comedy Club inside Soma, 320 North Neil Street, Champaign. Schlichting is a touring headliner at comedy clubs, private events, and corporate shows. He has appeared on nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show. Cost: $12.

THOMAS GABRIEL - PARADIGM OF TIME TOUR • May 11, 8pm, The City Center, 505 South Chestnut, Champaign. The oldest grandson of Johnny Cash will be performing live in Champaign. Cost: General Admission $10, Reserved Table seating $20. Information: Tickets available on EventFly.

MARY MAGDALENE • May 11, 7pm, The Art Theater, 126 West Church St, Champaign. Free-spirited Mary Magdalene flees an arranged marriage finding refuge and a sense of purpose in a radical new movement led by the charismatic, rabble-rousing preacher named Jesus. Admission: Student $8.50, Adult $10.00, Senior Citizens $8.25. Information: Additional showtimes.

SPRING SUCCULENT WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP • May 12, 1pm-2pm, Riggs Beer Company, 1901 South High Cross Road. Urbana. Have fun on Mother's Day with Farmer Holly as she leads a class in crafting custom wreaths on grapevine frames in the cozy confines of Riggs Brewery. For kids ages 10+ and adults. Cost: $30 per person. Information: Website

Dowling ties IHSA record

Bailey Dowling puts the ball in play against Rantoul. The St. Joseph-Ogden junior pounded her 60th career home run yesterday in her team's home game against Champaign Central. The home run puts her in a two-way tie with the record held by former Benet Academy catcher Stephanie Abello. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph-Ogden slugger Bailey Dowling averaged 21.5 home runs per season when the current one started a few months ago.

Yesterday, the junior tied the Illinois High School Association record for career home runs in the Spartans' home game against Champaign Central. Her 60th bomb ties a state record set in Benet Academy's Stephanie Abello, who played from 2012-2015 and now a catcher on the Illinois softball team.

It was Dowling's 17th homer this season as the Spartans rounds out their final week of regular season of play defeating the Maroons, 16-1.

Kaylee Ward led SJO on offense with three RBI on a pair of hits. Meanwhile, Ashtyn Cromwell hurled a complete game giving up just four hits.

Dowling's name appears in several additional spots on the IHSA's All-Time Records. As of the previous season she was tied in 10th for the most number of home runs in a game (3), tied for 15th in most runs scored in a season at 69, tied for 14th for most hits in a season and tied 11th for most doubles in a game.

Next up for Dowling and the Spartans is a trip to Galesburg for the Silver Streak Invitational on Friday and Saturday this week.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Spartan youth sports camps set for June and July

Ten high school coaches and their athletic programs will offer sports summer camps for area kids this summer. The camps are designed to be a fun learning environment for young athletes to learn fundamental skills and then demonstrate what they learned.

As the Sentinel receives more information from coaches and administrators we will update this page with the latest information made available to our site.

Here is a list of camps offered this summer starting May 29.

Football Youth Camp: June 10, 11, 12, 13 (9 AM-11:30 AM)
Players will learn how to play several different positions on offense and defense taught by the Spartan football program and head coach Shawn Skinner. Registration by June 1 is necessary to guarantee a camp shirt. Download Camp Flyer

Volleyball Youth Camp: June 10, 11, 12
Registration deadline is Friday, May 24. The camp will be lead by head coach Abby McDonald who led SJO to the Class 2A state title match in 2016 Download Camp Flyer

Cheerleading Youth Camp: July 18, 19, 20 in the Practice Gym (9 AM-12 PM)

Updated! Soccer Youth Camp: July 22, 23, 24, 25
Registration deadline is June 30th. All drills are all designed to practice new skills and perfect acquired ones in a fun, learning environment. Campers will receive a t-shirt and should bring a soccer ball and water to each camp session. SJO soccer camp flyer

Boys Basketball Youth Camp: May 29, 30, 31 (8 AM-1:30 PM)
Deadline for registration closed on May 3Download Camp Flyer

Girls Basketball Youth Camp: June 3, 4, 5 (9 AM-12 PM) (1:30-3:30)
Young athletes will receive individual instruction, play games and earn awards by the SJO coaching staff and counselors. T-shirts will be given to each camper. Download Camp Flyer

Dance Youth Camp: June 19, 20, 21 (9 AM-11:30 AM)

Wrestling Youth Camp: July 15, 16, 17 (9 AM-1:00 PM)
This camp will features three session where wrestlers will concentrate on learning sound technique from a well-qualified staff • Download camp flyer

Baseball Youth Camp: June 3, 4, 5 (8 AM-12:15 PM)

Softball Youth Camp: June 6, 7 (9 AM-1:30 PM)
Camp will furnish the balls and hitting equipment for girls to learn basic fundamentals. Campers should bring their glove and bat (if they have one) with their name on it.SJO Camp Flyer

* * * Updated 5/6/19 at 11am
Links to football and girls basketball summer camp flyers were added.

* * * Updated 5/9/19 at 11:59am
Link to softball summer camp added.

* * * Updated 5/20/19 at 5:04pm
Soccer camp info updated.

McCarty pitches shutout, SJO wins Invite

Spartans open with decisive whooping

Keegan McCarty brought the heat to the hill securing St. Joseph-Ogden's opening win at the annual SJO Baseball Invitational. The junior hurler collected 17 strikeouts in a complete game no-hitter letting the Spartans roll to a 9-0 victory this morning.

The win halted a two-game slide after the Spartans dropped a conference game earlier this week to Olympia and non-conference 2-1 walk-off heartbreaker to Charleston.

SJO tallied eight hits thanks to Zach Martini and Brayden Weaver who had two apiece. Martini led the team with three RBI.

Blake Primmer added insult to injury with a solo home run in the game.

Hayden Sheehan absorbed the loss for the Bulldogs.

Box Score
St. Teresa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0-2
SJO . . . .  1 1 0 1 3 3 x 9-8-0

Opening momentum carries SJO to title

The Spartans moved just one game away from a 20-win season after defeating Tri-Valley in the title game for the four-team tournament, 7-1.

Out of the chute, SJO put four runs on the board in the first inning against the Vikings and never looked back.

Drew Coursey and Kaden Jacobs tallied two hits to cap Senior Day with the win.

The Spartans will play five games in the seven days starting Monday before heading into their regional semifinal game against Heritage on Wednesday, May 15, at Unity.

The full house schedule includes road games at Danville this Monday and Mattoon on Thursday. On Wednesday, SJO will host a make-up date with the Monticello Sages. The team then finishes out the regular season schedule with home contests against Salt Fork on Saturday and Olympia on Monday.

Box Score
Tri-Valley 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1-  2-2
SJO . . . . 4 0 0 2 0 1 x 7-10-2

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