A gorgeous day for the SJO 5K

Brennan Guido holds two trophies St. Joseph-Ogden alumnus Brennan Guido holds two trophies after winning the overall champion title and Hometown Pride award at the 2019 SJO 5K. He finished in first place overall with a time of 16:07.80. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph businessman Terry Hill waves at the camera Terry Hill waves to the camera as he starts our on his run and eventual fifth place finish in the Male 60 and Over division. He finished in 118th place overall with a time of 30:05.70. Click here to see more photos from this year's race. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Chelsea Blaase takes a photo during the awards ceremony Chelsea Blaase photographs her father receiving his award at the SJO 5K. After at least a decade of having a parent photograph her on a podium, the former SJO standout returns the effort. Just under 200 runners competed at this year's race. Proceeds are donated to the St. Joseph Middle School and St. Joseph-Ogden cross country and track programs. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Kristi Sabo steps up to receive her award Kristi Sabo steps up to receive her award for her third place finish in the Female 45 to 49 division during the awards ceremony at 2019 SJO 5K. She finished in 72nd place overall with a time of 25:25.30. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Paul Byron runs the last 40 yards Hamming it up for the camera, Paul Byron runs the last 40 yards of his race on his way to a seventh place finish in the Male 45 to 49 division. He finished in 76th place overall with a time of 25:53.40. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Brennan Guido holds two trophies Sara Myers runs to fourth place and 82nd overall finish in the Female 45 to 49 division. She clocked in at 26:22.70 to finish her race on Saturday. Click here to see more photos from this year's race. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

See 140 more PhotoNews photos from this year's 5K race and fun run here: 07-27-19 SJO 5K

Memory Monday: 2012 SJO 5K

Beau Barber and Dean Meyer race to the finish
Above: With 15 yards to go, Beau Barber (left) and Dean Meyer go all out as they approach the finish line at the 2012 SJO 5K. Barber, who held on to his ultra thin lead, crossed over a split second ahead of Meyer. Barber was 30th, while Meyer finished 31st in their Chariots of Fire like sprint to the finish line. See more than 300 additional photos from the 2012 race here: 2012 SJO 5K photo gallery. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Aiden Meyer       Brenda Hixson runs to a 120th place finish
Left: Aiden Meyer runs to a 90th place finish at the 2012 SJO 5K. Meyer, who graduated from St. Joseph-Ogden High School in May and signed a national letter of intent to play football at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa, before that back in February, completed the course that day at 25:06. Right: Brenda Hixson runs to a 120th place finish. She finished the race in 26 minutes, 38 seconds. Below: Sara Wolfersperger heads to finish line to clock in at 26:22, good for a 113th place overall. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

ara Wolfersperger heads to finish line

A look back at the SJO 5K

PhotoNews Media has covered nearly every SJO 5K race since its humble beginning in 2008. This weekend will be no exception when the starter's gun fires this Saturday at 7:30 am on Main Street signalling the start to this year's race.

Despite its growing competitive field of runners each year featuring some of the best distance athletes across several age categories, the SJO 5k has an incredibly family friendly, supportive atmosphere.

Proceeds from the event supports the St. Joseph Middle School and St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls and boys cross country and track teams. Revenue from entry fees help pay for uniforms, warm-ups, travel expenses and other costs incurred during the season.

Here's a sprint down memory lane highlighting some of our favorite photos from nearly 2,000 photos and a decade of SJO 5K coverage. Search for more photos using the search tool at the top of the next column. Enter name, date or race to find more great action photos from this race and other in the PhotoNews Media archive.

SJO High School girls cross-country team
Members of the SJO High School girls cross-country team pause for the singing of the national anthem before the start of the St. Joseph Festival 5K Run/Walk on August 8, 2009. A record 313 runners competed in this year's event. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Ross Baker A runner makes a splash at the SJO 5K
On the left, dressed as Superman, Ross Baker runs as an unregistered competitor at the St. Joseph Festival 5K in 2009. This year's costume was the first in what will be come a tradition by Baker at the annual community race. On the right, a runner splashes a cup of water on to her face to stay cool as heads down the final stretch to the finish line in the 2009 race. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Carol Firkins
Carol Firkins is all smiles as she heads out on the course on the fun walk at the St. Joseph 5K Run and Fun Walk in 2008. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Chelsea Blaase Runner Michael Tankersley
August 9, 2014 - St. Joseph, IL - Chelsea Blaase runs to the women's overall title at the 2014 SJO 5K. Blaase, who finished the course with a time of 17:07.2, won her fourth consecutive women's title at the race. Then a University of Tennesee standout, she trimmed a minute and 39 seconds off her time 2013 time at this year's race. Over 300 area runners competed in the seventh installment of the annual event. Meanwhile, on the right, Mike Tankersley rounds the corner at Evergreen Drive and Main on his way to the finish line in 2013. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Piles of bananas wait for runners after the St. Joseph Community Festival 5K Saturday morning. Over 190 competitors ran for top honors, trophies and 40 door prizes offered at the inaugural race in 2008. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Tracy Ingram waves her arms in celebration John Ryan Thompsen
Tracy Ingram waves her arms in celebration as she nears the finish line and a ninth place finish in the Women's 40 - 44 division at the 2014 SJO 5K. Ingram finished the course with a time of 39:57.6. See more photos from the 2014 race here ... On the right, Ryan Thompsen smiles as he recognized with his Hometown Award after running the SJO 5K on Saturday morning. Earlier, the student-athlete at North Central College and former St. Joseph-Ogden High School standout, received the All-Area Circuit's top overall runner award. The crown was courtesy of NCC teammate Ryan Root who won the overall race title. (Photos: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

2009 SJO 5K top overall finishers
Justin Jones, right, and Jolee Paden, on the left, pose for a photo after receiving their awards at the 2009 St. Joseph Community Festival 5k, the name of the race before becoming the SJO 5K. Paden was the top women's finisher circumventing the course in 20:42. Jones was the overall winner taking an even 16 minutes to win the top award. Paden will be a sophomore at St. Joseph-Ogden in a few weeks, while Jones, an Oakwood graduate, will attend Olivet Nazarene this fall where he will run cross country on a partial scholarship. (Photo: Photonews Media/Clark Brooks)

Dates set for annual basketball classic at SJO

Braydon Rupert goes up for a shot
Braydon Rupert goes up for a shot against a Longwood player at the Toyota of Danville Classic basketball game in December of last year. Rupert, who will be senior, and the Spartans will face three new teams at this year's installment of the holiday tournament. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

In a little more than four months from today, St. Joseph-Ogden and five other teams will compete in SJO's annual holiday tournament starting on Tuesday, December 3. The Spartan basketball program will host The Toyota of Danville Classic on December 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Fifteen games are scheduled over the four days with three contests will be held daily on each of the first three days of the tournament. All teams will play twice on December 7 with a total of six games going back-to-back on that Saturday.

Three familiar teams from the past several years, Chicago CICS Longwood, Oakwood and Armstrong-Potomac will not return to holiday tourney. New teams include Georgetown-Ridge Farm, who will represent the Vermilion Valley Conference and former Sangamon Valley Conference foe Watseka.

Also, joining the field of competition will be Lions of La Salette, who lost a one-point decision to Watseka in their last meeting on December 19 last year.

SJO head basketball coach Kiel Duval
First year head coach and SJO alum Kiel Duval keeps a close eye on his team during their game against CIS Longwood at the Toyota of Danville Classic. SJO kicks off their tournament opener against Georgetown-Ridge Farm on December 3. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The Spartans will open pool play against Georgetown-Ridge Farm at 6:30 pm on December 3 and a day later face La Salette in the 8 pm nightcap on December 4. After 48 hours of rest, head coach Kiel Duval's team will square off against 2019 Class 1A runner-up Cissna Park at 8 pm on December 6.

SJO will close out the Classic on December 7 in an 11:30 am matchup against the Hilltoppers of Schlarman and play the tournament finale at 7 pm against Watseka.

Jordan Kelly goes up for a shot in the second half
Jordan Kelly goes up for a shot in the second half during the Spartans' Toyota of Danville Classic basketball game against Cissna Park on December 21. SJO, who hope to rebound later this year and win this year's title, fell 66-37 to the Timberwolves, who went on to become a final four team in Class 1A and IHSA runner-up in the March 2019 state basketball finals. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


2019 Toyota of Danville Classic Schedule

(All games at St. Joseph-Ogden High School)

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019
Game 1: Cissna Park vs. La Salette, 5 p.m.
Game 2: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Georgetown-Ridge Farm, 6:30 p.m.
Game 3: Schlarman vs. Watseka, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, December 4
Game 4: Cissna Park vs. Watseka, 5 p.m.
Game 5: Schlarman vs. Georgetown-Ridge Farm, 6:30 p.m.
Game 6: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. La Salette, 8 p.m.

Friday, December 6
Game 7: La Salette vs. Schlarman, 5 p.m.
Game 8: Georgetown-Ridge Farm vs. Watseka, 6:30 p.m.
Game 9: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Cissna Park, 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 7
Game 10: Cissna Park vs. Georgetown-Ridge Farm, 10 a.m.
Game 11: St. Joseph-Ogden vs. Schlarman, 11:30 a.m.
Game 12: La Salette vs. Watseka, 1 p.m.
Game 13: Schlarman vs. Cissna Park, 4 p.m.
Game 14: Georgetown-Ridge Farm vs. La Salette, 5:30 p.m.
Game 15: Watseka vs. St. Joseph-Ogden, 7 p.m.

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. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

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 https://www.july4th.net for the latest schedule updates and event information.

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.

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