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 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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