St. Joseph grade and middle school registration starts next week

The St. Joseph grade and middle schools will open registration for the 2020-21 school year next week from August 3rd through August 7th. This year, the district will not host the traditional single all-day registration at the Middle School as in the past.

The district will offer on-line registration this year and encourage everyone who is able to register using the website. Parents who are unable to register on-line can do so in person August 3-7 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. The school district asks those individuals registering in person to observe social distancing guidelines.

Parents should receive an e-mail this Sunday with instructions to access the on-line registration system and how to make required payments.

Let there be sports! IHSA releases 2020-21 sports schedule

A collective sigh was heard throughout Illinois around 3:16 this afternoon. The Illinois High School Association announced a modified athletic competition schedule.

"This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year."

The new schedule includes moving football and volleyball to the spring season and schools hosting just four sports to start the upcoming school year. Golf, cross country, girls tennis and girls swimming will start the Covid Era competition with finals occurring around the October 17.

The adapted schedule features a summer season, which will start on May 3 and runs through June 26.

Here is the release from the IHSA:

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors met for a special meeting on July 29, 2020, where the Board announced its intended plans for the 2020-21 school year. The plan has been sent to the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) for final approval.

"This plan, like nearly every aspect of our current lives, remains fluid," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Changes may come, and if they do, we will be agile while putting safety and students first. It was important that we provide a framework today for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and officials to begin preparing for the 2020-21 school year."

The COVID-19 pandemic led the Board to propose unprecedented scheduling changes for the 2020-21 school year. They include playing all sports over the course of truncated fall, winter, spring, and summer seasons. As a result, several team sports will shift to new seasons, including football, boys soccer, and girls volleyball moving from the fall to the spring.

"I applaud our Board of Directors for choosing a model that allows every student-athlete the opportunity for a modified season," said Anderson. "Based on our recent conversations, it is our expectation that today’s plan meets all of IDPH’s safety guidelines and will be approved."

IHSA boys and girls golf, girls tennis, cross country and girls swimming & diving will remain as fall sports, and can proceed to start on August 10 as scheduled. Per Governor Pritzker’s announcement on Wednesday, fall sports will begin with competition limited to conference opponents and other schools in the same general geographical area. Schools will be provided more details in the coming week about the scheduling limits, and scheduling will continue to be assessed throughout each season. The condensed 2020-21 season dates will be as follows (see chart below to see where each sport falls):

Fall: August 10 to October 24 Winter: November 16 to February 13 Spring: February 15 to May 1 Summer: May 3 to June 26

"The Board believes this plan offers the most realistic chance for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic sports while balancing the challenges of a new academic setting and IDPH Guidelines," said Erie High School Principal and IHSA Board President Tim McConnell. "We are an education-based athletic association, and school has to come first. By delaying the majority of the team sports in the fall, it will allow our schools and students the chance to acclimate to what will be, for many, a totally new educational experience. We will do our best to try to give every student-athlete the opportunity for a season this school year."

State Series tournament decisions will be made on a sport-by-sport basis as each season progresses, but providing postseason opportunities remains a priority of the Board. This could potentially include culminating State Series Tournaments after Regional or Sectional rounds, or seeking other non-traditional means to conduct events.

"I understand that today’s announcement will be met with mixed emotions," said Anderson. "Our staff and Board have heard from thousands of people over the past few weeks with ideas, opinions, and proposals on how we should proceed. We respect and understand their passion, because we share in it. It is a great reminder that if we want high school sports to return to normal, we all need to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19."

The Board also extended the current Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, which will allow sports slated to be played in the winter, spring and summer seasons to allow an additional 20 days of contact for schools between September 7 and October 31 following IDPH Phase 4 Guidelines.

The Board also verified that IHSA by-laws do not prevent schools who are conducting remote learning from participating in IHSA sports and activities. Participation will remain a local school and district decision, regardless of the learning plan a high school is utilizing.

The Board discussed IHSA activities for the 2020-21 school year but did not take any action. The IHSA’s activity offerings include Bass Fishing, Chess, Debate, Drama & Group Interpretation, Individual Events, Journalism, Music & Scholastic Bowl.

"We believe we can still offer many of our activities via virtual contests," said Anderson. "The Board has asked our staff to investigate those possibilities, and we will report back soon on if and how each can be held."

Further details on items such as sport season and practice limitations will be released to IHSA schools following IDPH approval of the plan.

Three IHSA Board members (Hasson, McMahan, Rogers) were present at the IHSA office for the meeting, while the other eight Board members attended electronically. The chart below outlines the new IHSA schedule for the 2020-21 school year:

Junior high sports season in holding pattern, IESA waits for clarity from the state

Facing the same restrictions as the high school athletics, the Illinois Elementary School Association, board of directors released a statement after yesterday's video conference meeting concerning the prospect of junior high school sports this fall.

The association has submitted questions to the Illinois Department of Public Health and Governor J.B. Pritzker's office seeking clarification on a number of issues in current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A reply from the two state entities tasked with public safety during the current pathogenic outbreak has yet to be delivered to the organization that oversees 15 sports and activities for the 7th and 8th grade levels.

The state's response will determine if there will indeed be a scholastic sports season or how the individual sports seasons could be modified by the IESA to allow for competitive athletics starting sometime next month when students are slated to return to instruction either in person or via online as students in Illinois underwent in March of this year.

Here is the full statement released on the IESA website:

On Wednesday, July 15, the IESA Board of Directors met via a Zoom conference call to discuss the possibility/practicality of holding IESA activities in the 2020-21 school year and specifically the fall activities of golf, softball, baseball, cross-country, and girls basketball. Also included on the call was the Executive Director of the IHSA, Mr. Craig Anderson.

As included in the email from the IESA Executive Director to the IESA membership that was sent on Tuesday, July 14, the IESA has sent several emails to the Governor's Office and Illinois Department of Public Health seeking guidance regarding interscholastic activity participation and health and safety requirements. The answers that we receive from these agencies will have a significant impact on the type of activity and/or format of the activity that we are able to offer during this school year. To date, we have not received answers to our inquiries.

Our goal is to return to play but as an education-based organization, we must always take into account the health, safety, and well-being of students. Because of the ever-changing landscape, the IESA Board simply felt that until we receive answers, it would not be prudent at this time to make a decision to cancel fall activities knowing that a decision like that is devastating to the very students and schools IESA serves. An update on the status of fall activities will be sent to the membership no later than July 24.

From the daughter of an immigrant, immigration reform isn't racist

By Kena Dijiba, Guest Commentator

Is calling for immigration reform racist?

I say, "No".

First things first. My perspective is not that of your average Trump supporter, so Liberals hold your horses at bay and put down the ammo. In fact, I’m quite the middle of the road kind of woman when it comes to 60 percent of the issues the United States is currently facing. But, admittedly we all have personal bias that pushes us towards one end of a grey spectrum. So as the daughter of an African immigrant here is my take:

Growing up on two polar opposite sides of this country has offered me a rainbow bucket of insight that most people might not be able to comprehend. From a baby until I was eight-years-old, I spent my life in "The Land of Enchantment". Good ole Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Native, along with Mexican culture enveloped me like a warm blanket.

When starting school there, it was customary to do the pledge of allegiance completely in Spanish, and all my closest friends were mostly of Mexican descent. Then abruptly due to familial issues, we left and moved to where my mother was raised in Kentucky.

Now, let's just say that was the culture shock of a lifetime. From the country twang to confederate flags, life had really changed. But, as I grew up and found my way back to New Mexico to attend college, I realized that both places held beauty in a myriad of ways.

Skip to me working at my new job as a busser on the campus of the University of New Mexico, which was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

While working there I was able to speak Spanish comfortably with my coworkers and cultivate strong friendships. Unapologetically as the conversationalist I am, it was customary discussing hot button issues of the day, and immigration came up.

While talking to my friend Alejandra, who was working harder than anyone to make a decent amount of money before graduating we went nose deep into battle. With her being from Mexico I expected, like an ignorant pundit, that her perspective on immigration wouldn't shy away from the status quo.

Well, Alejandra went off. She was quite concise with her stance.

She didn't agree with people coming to America illegally because she herself had spent years tirelessly following all the rules.

She expressed, that she all out didn't think it was justified, and that right there in 2018 was what shifted my view.

For a project around that same time I was tasked to interview someone in my dorm. I chose an Indian woman by the name of Taz to speak about her perspective on immigration, which rung similar to Alejandra.

She herself had put so much into her education and urged others to fight to come to the United States in a responsible manner. It was interesting with all the vitriol the left spills on how it's such a "racist", along with a xenophobic, stance to have, when simply most immigrants, including children of immigrants, feel this way.

While in school I met countless people who had the same story. From Nepal to China, there were immigrants at University busting their way through, and doing it legally. This was the story of my father from Africa who got his Ph.D. and lawfully became a U.S. citizen.

So, what I’m trying to communicate thoroughly and without judgement is the need for compassionate reform on immigration.

I do not believe in this ridiculous phantom dream of a magical wall, and I forthrightly don't believe in sending people back to where they "came from". In my opinion that style of rhetoric is dangerous. What should be focused on is securing valid paths to citizenship, and the denormalization of the "act" of crossing over.

If we can do this, then hopefully people will stop blindly compounding their energy into what they don't understand and begin the process of trying to.


Kena Dijiba is the 21 year-old author of "Millennial Vegan" featured last year in the Winchester Sun. She is also worked as an entertainment writer whose work has published in over 700 articles.

Viewpoint | "Consider letting God love you today"


I've been a bicycle rider my whole life. Fifty years ago, this month I was riding my bike about six miles round trip to Bible school at Tomahawk, Kentucky. I did so for an entire week.

During the week, I was one of several young people who prayed the prayer to receive Christ. On Sunday morning in 90-degree July heat I put on the best clothes I owned and rode my Western Auto yellow three speed bike almost five miles one way over two mountain hills to Inez, Kentucky.

I was a bit wet with sweat after that ride. I parked my bike in the front yard of Russell Williamson and went into First Baptist Church to make my decision for Christ public. Russell Williamson was a state hall of fame basketball coach, educator and businessman. Two years later I would be ordained beside Russell Williamson.

Later that night, my parents would drive me back to church to be baptized. Since that day I've had the opportunities to travel the country and I've been all over the world. And, it just keeps getting better, all by the grace of God. He has been a lot better to me than I could ever be to him as I know I'm probably one of the most imperfect people God ever created.

Still, I marvel at God's grace, provisions and all that he allows me to do and enjoy.

Here I am today, fifty years later and I don't feel like God has ever turned his back on me or excluded me from his care. There have certainly been some bumps in the road and some rough times along the way. The way life is there are bound to be more curves and some tough terrain. It's just life.

If you think you are going to sail through life unscathed from bruises, cuts and some pain then you haven't lived long enough to know better. Eventually you'll know the journey of life is not always a smooth ride.

However, I want to say I'm grateful for life and the opportunity to live life. This is a difficult time in the world for everybody in different ways. Covid-19, business failures, financial and personal struggles exclude none of us and to some extent are inclusive of us all.

Today, allow me to give thanks for my 50-year pilgrimage of faith in Christ. It's been quite a trip.

If you have not opened your heart to God's love today in Christ, please consider it. I'm not talking about joining a church or acting like some ridiculous religious people act. But, consider letting God love you today because he does and he will take you further than you can ever imagine.

Dr. Glenn Mollette

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.

Money Matters:
Why liquidity and diversification is important in your investment plan

This is part 2 in this month's Money Matters with guest columnist Jake Pence. You can read part one What's the best way to invest in your future here.

by Jake Pence, Guest Columnist

Next, picking up where we left off, we need to talk about liquidity.

To keep it simple, liquidity is how easily an asset can be bought and/or sold. Another way to think about liquidity is how easily the asset can be turned into cash. The stock market has a clear advantage in terms of liquidity, but it still warrants a discussion.

Stocks are very liquid. In fact, stocks are so liquid that last summer, I was able to sell Amazon for $1,800/share, Tesla for $250/share, and Zoom for $85/share without Robinhood tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “You might not want to do that …”

Those companies now trade for $3,300/share, $1,700/share, and $275/share, respectively, and I still live in my parent’s basement.

I don’t tell that story to downplay liquidity because having quick access to your capital is advantageous in many scenarious; however, I tell that story to highlight how liquidity makes it easy for an investor to make emotional, rash, and in my case, downright stupid decisions. At that time, I did not have the trading savvy or financial discipline to hold a stock for more than a year.

All in all, if you value having easy access to your capital and have the financial discipline to manage that liquidity, then the stock market will better suit you.

Real estate, on the other hand, is a relatively illiquid investment. Whenever you want to pull money out via a refinance or cash out of the investment via a sale, then there is going to be a process that you must follow. The process will likely take a few months. Depending on the transaction, you could fall on either side of that timeline; however, it doesn’t take seconds like it does with stocks. If you don’t need your capital in the short-term, then real estate investing will be a great option for you.

Another important criteria is asset diversification. Diversification is the act of placing your investments in a variety of asset types, industries, etc. so that your exposure to any one asset type is limited.

Diversification is extremely important in an investment portfolio because if you’re only invested in airline stocks and then a global pandemic halts all air travel … well, you’re in trouble.

It is easier to diversify your portfolio within the stock market than it is real estate. You can still diversify your real estate portfolio, but it will take more than a few hours on Yahoo Finance to do so.

To make diversification even easier for stock market investors, you could buy a mutual fund that is already diversified. In real estate, you can diversify your portfolio by purchasing different asset types (apartments, self-storage, single-family-homes, etc.) in different locations (Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, etc.). This will take more time, capital, and energy; however, it can and should be done.

I firmly believe that a well-balanced portfolio should include both stocks and real estate.

If your entire portfolio is in stocks, then you are heavily reliant upon company executives, Wall Street, and government decision makers for your financial future. If your entire portfolio is in real estate, then the cyclical nature of real estate markets will present challenges. Overall, a combination of Wall Street and Main Street investing will create a balanced portfolio.

In my next installment I will briefly discuss taxes and how investing can potentially lower your tax annual liability.

About the author:
• Jake Pence is the President of Blue Chip Real Estate and a consultant for Fairlawn Capital, Inc.. A 2019 graduate from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois, he is a 2016 graduate from St. Joseph-Ogden High School where he was a three-sport athlete for the Spartans. You can view his latest acquisitions and advice on his YouTube channel here.

Return To Play Guidelines put on hold by IHSA, IDPH and ISBE policy take precedence

Just hours ago, the Illinois High School Association reveled their "Return To Play Guidelines", which allowed high school teams to begin practicing under strict rules to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, has been nixed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Here is the prepared statement from IHSA:

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced on July 14, 2020 that it will defer to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Governor’s Office on all of its Return To Play Guidelines moving forward.

"There is an unprecedented level of planning for this school year due to COVID-19, and we have come to understand that there needs to be a greater consistency between the guidelines for returning to learn and returning to interscholastic athletics," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "Some of the recommendations by the IHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and directives from IDPH have come into direct conflict with each other, especially as it relates to the use of masks by student-athletes. As a result, we feel it is important to let IDPH and ISBE provide a consistent direction for our membership moving forward. We will wait on direction from these organizations for further guidance on Return to Play plans for the 2020-21 school year."

The IHSA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee had previously developed its own Return To Play Guidelines, which were then collaboratively amended, and then approved, by IDPH. The Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines were then amended at IDPH’s request to include a greater emphasis on masks, and also eliminated scrimmages in sports that require physical contact. IHSA teams can currently conduct limited summer contact workouts within the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines as directed by IDPH and ISBE. Final approval on the revised Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines from IDPH are forthcoming.

"We still believe there is a path to conducting high school athletics in the fall, like the majority of states surrounding Illinois plan to do," said Anderson. "To make that happen, it’s important that we allow IDPH, ISBE and the Governor’s Office to take the lead on ensuring the safest and most consistent protocols."

St. Joseph Garage & Yard Sales for July 16 - 19

106 E. Warren
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

102 W. Sherman
Friday & Saturday

204 East Briarcliff
Sale dates & times unspecified
Baby boy/girl clothes - nb-3t; toys; Baby items; puddle jumpers; double stroller; board games; books; household goods; clothes dryer; weed eaters; table saw; coffee makers; kitchen tables chairs; Adirondack chairs
304 West Briarcliff
Thu 8-?, Fri 8-? and Sat 8-12
Large garage sale! Corner of water and Briarcliff. TONS OF CLOTHES! Lots of sporting gear. Books,shoes you name it. Don’t like the price, make me an offer! All must go.

301 East Lincoln
Thursday / Friday / Saturday

303 East Lincoln
Sale dates & times unspecified

107 N. Seventh Street
Sale dates & times unspecified

505 N. Seventh St.
Thur / Fri /Sat

105 S. Seventh Street
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

202 S. Seventh Street
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

408 N. Fourth St.
Thursday 4:30pm-6:30pm, Friday 12pm-6pm & Saturday 8am-11am
Lots of Womens, Mens, boys clothes, toys, electronic games and learning games, tv, misc. household items, child's ATV, etc..

304 S. Fifth
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

407 2nd Court
Thu 4pm -?, Friday 9am-noon & 3pm-?, No Saturday sales
Baby boy clothes, some baby girl clothes, women's clothing large and up, home decor, lots of misc.

406 Chestnut Drive
Thu 7a-7p, Fri 7a-6p, Sat 7a-?
Three family garage sale. We have so much stuff we can barely get the garage door closed. Lots of Christmas items- lights, ornaments, light holders, and table top items. Little girls clothing 3 moths to 3t. Some teen clothes to adult women and men’s. House wares – coffee cups, glasses, dish set, it’s just to much to tell you all of the items. Bathroom items and tons of nick knack’s. Come on by and check us out, see you all soon!! Rain or shine we will be open!

500 Harlan Wise
Thursday 3pm-? / Friday 8-5 / Saturday 8-12
Men’s and women’s name brand clothing (Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, lulu lemon, express, American Eagle, boutiques, ex) hunting gear, shoes, accessories, electronics, tons of DVDs, electronics, kitchen and home items & decor!

507 Sherwood
Thur 4pm; Fri 8am-5pm; Sat 8am-12pm
Propane heater & tank, aluminum ladder, pool ladders (2), kitchen table, folding chairs, household items, kitchen/bath, home decor, jewelry, books, CDs, DVDs, wooden rocking chair, Amazon Fire TV Sticks (2), Rae Dunn

512 Crestwood Drive
Sale dates & times unspecified
Multi-family garage sale! Boyds Bears, tools, clothes, home decor, cameras, misc.

508 S. Main Street
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

513 Hawthorne Drive
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

603 Hawthorne Drive
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12
Multi-Family Garage Sale! Tons of girls clothes (Sizes 12 month-8), Women’s clothing, Tons of Jean (Silver and Maurices Brand), Barn Wedding Decor, Men’s Clothing, Toys, Kitchen Items, Craft Items

607 E. Douglas
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12
Old jewelry, baby clothes, strollers, car seats, furniture, toys, misc.

605 Sycamore Drive
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

607 Rosewood
Sale dates & times unspecified

607 Wingstem Drive
July 16 4p-7p, July 17 8a-5p, July 18 8a-12 noon
Lots of kids clothes - birth to 4t boy and girl, toys, women's clothes, men's clothes, candles and vases.

703 Northgate Drive
Friday 8a - 5p & Saturday 8a- 3p
Lots of Brand Name Clothes and Shoes - Boys, Girls, Juniors, Women's and Mens; Boys and Girls Toys; Doc McStuffins Nursery; Sofia The First 87 piece Lego Duplo Set; Sing A Long with Elsa Doll; Hallmark Storybook Buddies; Men's Safety Shoes; Softball Cleats; Full/Queen Frozen Bedding with Sheets. Smoke/Pet Free Home. Everything in excellent condition.

706 Jeanes Drive Unit B
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

808 A Kara Ave.
Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

808 B Kara Ave.
Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

900 B Kara Ave.
Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

1002 Reagan Drive
Thursday 4-7pm / Friday 8a-5p / Saturday 8a-12p
Lots of books, vinyl records, dvds (over 200 $1 each), lots of home decor, ladies and men’s clothes, bike, snow blower and more!

1606 Magnolia Drive
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

1715 E. Grand
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

1308 Peters Drive
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

2239 County Road 1700 North
Thursday 4pm-? / Friday 8-5/ Saturday 8-12

Money Matters: What's the best way to invest in your future?

by Jake Pence, Guest Columnist

"Real estate or the stock market - which should you invest your money in today?"

This is a fundamental question that many investors must answer at some point on their investing journey. I have consumed hours and hours of content on this exact topic and if there is one thing that I know for certain, it is this … the people creating the content are biased, myself included.

I heavily favor real estate investing over the stock market because it best compliments my goals and skill set, but I also opportunistically invest in stocks.

So … let’s weave through this complex topic and discuss five key points in an objective, fact-driven lens rather than a lens clouded with my personal agenda and bias. The key points I’ll discuss will be barriers to entry, liquidity, diversification, taxation, expected returns, and investment experience.

Barriers to Entry

A widely used economic term, a barrier to entry is a start-up cost and/or obstacle that prevents an individual from easily doing business. When it comes to real estate and the stock market, knowledge and capital will be the two most prominent barriers to entry.

I have found that the barriers to entry for real estate are often overstated because of how easy it is to buy a stock. For better or worse, the barrier to entry to the stock market is almost nonexistent.

If you have a bank account, a smart phone, and a pulse then you can create a Robinhood account and start trading stocks. Therefore, everyone has access to the stock market and can start trading.

In my opinion, that’s a pro and a con, but it does provide equal opportunities and people with small amounts of capital can start putting it to work. Before you put your capital to work, I highly recommend educating yourself on the stock market and how to make educated investment decisions.

While I have found real estate barriers to entry to be overstated, they are still more difficult to overcome than entering the stock market.

Knowledge, capital, and time are the roadblocks you must overcome to invest in real estate.

Knowledge is the easiest to overcome because books, podcasts, and the internet have all of the answers you need. I’m extremely grateful for my education at the University of Illinois, but I learned more about real estate investing from books, podcasts, and YouTube videos than I did in my 400-level real estate investing class from one of the best finance and real estate programs in the country.

Capital is the next obstacle and this one held me back for a few years, but real estate investing should be treated as a team sport. If you have the knowledge, but no capital, then partner with someone who has the capital, but limited knowledge.

If you’re wondering how a cash-poor 22 year old who lives in his parent’s basement, writes articles, and makes YouTube videos is a full-time real estate investor … it's because he partners with people who do have the capital (but limited time and/or knowledge) to invest in real estate.

The last obstacle is time and the common saying to disparage real estate investing is, "I don’t want to get called about a leaky toilet at 3AM."

Well, you’re right. That can happen. However, there are also additional ways to invest in real estate that don’t require that time commitment, such as becoming a passive investor in a real estate syndication.

Before you decide real estate investing isn’t for you, make sure you educate yourself on the different ways you can invest in real estate.

In my next article we will look at the next two key points, liquidity and diversification.

About the author:
• Jake Pence is the President of Blue Chip Real Estate and a consultant for Fairlawn Capital, Inc.. A 2019 graduate from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois, he is a 2016 graduate from St. Joseph-Ogden High School where he was a three-sport athlete for the Spartans. You can view his latest acquisitions and advice on his YouTube channel here.

Unity JFL canceled this fall

Nine days before the start of the Unity Junior Football League program's first practice, league commissioner Jeff Purcell announced on Facebook the 2020 season was officially canceled.

"It was in our best interest to cancel the season due to the COVID pandemic," Purcell told group members. "It was a tough decision and most teams wanted to play, but as the new restrictions came out from the IHSA earlier this past week more and more teams were changing their minds and reversing course.

"Honestly, I don't blame them after reading emails from most of them this morning after the decision last night," he added saying it was not an easy decision. "We did the right thing!!"

Purcell indicated that the league administrators are looking at the possibility of reviving the youth football program this spring.

Champaign County has recorded 1,017 positive cases out of 42.214 tests for the Coronavirus since it began tracking the infection rate in March. The five towns that make up the Unity school district has seen 26 cases so far. Currently, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is tracking seven active cases in the area.

Senior spotlights with Braydon Rupert, Ginny Bytnar & Ross Booker

Ross Booker

Clubs & Activities
Football (1 year)
Maroon Platoon, FFA

St. Joseph

Older brother

@orking on the farm, landscaping, working outside, and working on motors.

Favorite SJO memories:
During his freshman year, he started FFA and it was fun for Ross to get to know everyone. Two years later sometime during his junior year, he started to consider playing football at SJO. He followed through his senior year thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. He also really enjoyed all of the FFA events he participated in during high school.

Favorite classes:
Into to Ag, Consumers Ed, Ag Mechanics, BSAA, and all of his FFA and Agriculture classes.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Olson, Mrs. Mathis, Mrs. Max, and Mrs. Schoudel at PVO and Mr. Shawn Skinner, Ms. Pensinger, Mrs. Katie Duitsman, Mr. Marshall Schacht, Mr. Robert Glazier, Mrs. Jennifer Brooks, and Mr. Don Beckett at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Parkland College, majoring auto mechanics with an emphasis in diesel mechanics.

Advice to future SJO students:
Do not take senior year for granted and to cherish every moment of high school because it is a fun and fast four years.

Ginny Bytnar

Clubs & Activities
Marching Band (4 years)
Spanish Club, Spanish Club Leader, We The People, Drama Club

St. Joseph

Singing, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.

Favorite SJO memories:
Her favorite memory from high school is the Disney Showcase that she was a part of during her junior year. During her senior year, she really enjoyed the circle of memories band meeting for seniors this past fall.

Favorite classes:
Spanish, Physics, Economics, and all of her history classes.

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Dunn at St. Joseph Grade School, Mr. Risley at St. Joseph Middle School, and Senor Zak Sutton and Mr. Kevin Simondsen at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

University of Illinois majoring in Electrical Engineering

Advice to future SJO students:
Use your time well and to ask for help because the staff and teachers are nice.

Braydon Rupert

Clubs & Activities
Basketball (4 years)
Maroon Platoon

St. Joseph

Three older sisters

Watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with friends and family.

Favorite SJO memories:
Playing basketball all four years. He enjoyed being a part of the basketball team, as it was a great family of players.

Favorite classes:
Intro to Ag with Mrs. Katie Duitsman and Algebra II with Mr. Kiel Duval.

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Duval, Mr. Kevin Simondsen, and Mrs. Stacey Kietzman

Parkland College majoring in Construction Management

Advice to future SJO students:
Be prepared and to work hard.

Text & photos provided by St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

2020 Unity Rocket football schedule unveiled

Unity players celebrate a touchdown in their 2019 home game against St. Joseph-Ogden. The Rockets went on to a 8-1 regular season finish after shutting out the Spartans, 20-0. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

This year's Unity football team will be well-prepared for any game in the midst of and hostile high school football environment they may find themselves in this playoff season.

The 2020 football schedule is heavy, and we mean heavy on road games this fall. The Rockets list just three opportunities in the first nine games for fans to fill the seats at Hicks Field in the schedule announced by the Illinois High School Association earlier this week.

Finishing 9-2 last season, Unity will not host their first home contest until September 11 when the face Prairie Central. Two weeks later, the Spartans of Olympia will venture into town looking for the win before the UHS goes into battle in three consecutive road games, including a long haul to Pierce City, Missouri, before senior night on October 23.

Anchored by strong, well-condition wall of linemen on both sides of the ball, head coach Scott Hamilton led the team to a 1-1 postseason record in the program's first Class 4A playoff appearance in school history.

Last November, Unity blasted Clinton at home with a first-round 42-14 victory and fell to McNamara on the road in Week 2 action, 31-6. The Rockets, with an enrollment of 550, will likely be on the 3A-4A bubble again this fall.

2020 Unity Football Schedule

Aug 28 7:00 Away Illinois Valley Central
Sep 4 7:00 Away Pontiac
Sep 11 7:00 Home Prairie Central
Sep 18 7:00 Away St. Joseph-Ogden
Sep 25 7:00 Home Olympia
Oct 2 7:00 Away Monticello
Oct 10 1:00 Away Pierce City, MO.
Oct 16 7:00 Away Rantoul
Oct 23 7:00 Home Central Catholic

St. Joseph-Ogden 2020 football schedule is set

Jarrett Stevenson carries the ball down the field for the Spartans against Prairie Central. SJO will face the Hawks at home on October 2 as one of four home games this season. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Things are shaping up for the return of prep sports to the newly named Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex this fall. This week, the Illinois High School Association has released schedules for the upcoming high school football season.

The Spartans kickoff the 2020 campaign with a road opener against last year's Class 2A state runner-up Nashville. The Hornets, who replaced St. Thomas More on the schedule, outscored postseason opponents 153-89 despite a 21 point loss to Newman Catholic last fall.

Earlier this year, the Sabers announced they would move to seven-man competition this season.

The trip to Nashville is the only non-Illini Prairie Conference matchup on the schedule. In 2021, Paxton-Buckley-Loda will return to the Spartans' schedule as a member of the IPC.

The program will play its first of it four home contests at Dick Duval Field on September 4 against Rantoul and will close out the regular seasons against Monticello.

SJO finished their 2019 campaign with a 5-5 record and first-round playoff 54-26 loss the Williamsburg. The Bullets, who crushed opponents from week one last August, finished the season undefeated with the Class 3A title.

2020 St. Joseph-Ogden
Football Schedule

Aug 28 7:00 Away Nashville
Sep 4 7:00 Home Rantoul
Sep 11 7:00 Away Central Catholic
Sep 18 7:00 Home Unity
Sep 25 7:00 Away Pontiac
Oct 2 7:00 Home Prairie Central
Oct 9 7:00 Away Illinois Valley Central
Oct 16 7:00 Away Olympia
Oct 23 7:00 Home Monticello

IHSA Phase 4 guidelines released, sports is almost back

Today, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced that its Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines have been approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). That's welcome news for high school athletes, coaches and fans the state enters the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Starting Sunday, teams may gather in groups of 50 or less for practices and games. Coaches can conduct team activities on 20 contact days backdated to between June 30 and Aug. 9. Those team activities, though, cannot resume unless the teams have approval from the local school district.

Prep sports has been essentially on hold since March 12, when the IHSA canceled the Class 1A/2A Boys Basketball State Finals less than 24 hours before the opening semifinal at the Peoria Civic Center.

"Safety remains at the forefront of everything that the IHSA is doing as we move into Phase 4 and beyond," said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. "We appreciate the collaborative efforts of the SMAC and IDPH in recognizing the physical, mental, and emotional benefits for our student-athletes and coaches as they progress into training in a more traditional practice setting. Our focus now shifts to continuing to work with state leadership to determine how to provide the safest environment possible for fall sports."

The IHSA also announced that it will no longer reference the guidelines as the Stage 2 Return To Play Guidelines, and will instead will refer to them as the Phase 4 Return To Play Guidelines, matching the verbiage used by the state in its Restore Illinois plan. The IHSA Stage 1 Return To Play Guidelines, which were implemented on June 5, will now be referred to as the Phase 3 Return To Play Guidelines for the same reason.

Student-athletes will be limited to five hours of participation per day, and many of the same limitations from previous phases will apply. All student-athletes and coaches should be screened before a workout, practice or event for COVID-19 symptoms. Schools are required to maintain a daily record of every student-athlete who plays or works out in the event contact tracing is needed to quarantine players possibly exposed to the Coronavirus.

All coaches and volunteers must wear a mask while at practice or games. The guidelines also state that participants should be encouraged to wear a mask if feasible for the sport.

Officials must wear a mask except when ACTIVELY exercising as part of their officiating duties and use an electronic whistle. For safety reasons, mouth whistles and blow horns are not allowed. Officials are encouraged to be masked whenever feasible to decrease risk of transmission.

If a school host an event like a 7-on-7 football competition and allows fans to attend, only 20% capacity of their facility or less, based on the policy of the host school. The facility must allow for social distancing of student-athletes, coaches and spectators, and 30-foot distancing is maintained between groups.

Food trucks a no-go in St. Joe, at least for now

Food trucks will not be allowed to operate inside the Village of St. Joseph border. After nearly an hour long discussion, village trustees put off the decision to allow or ban mobile restaurants services.

The discussion was initiated after it was announced via a post on Facebook that the Piato Food Truck had made plans to roll into town on June 15 and serve their signature cuisine.

Trustee Dan Davis contributed a post three days later, citing a committee meeting resolution, informing readers that food trucks were not allowed to set up shop in St. Joseph.

Responding to Davis' post close to an hour later, Office Manager Julie Hendrickson added to the thread, "I called the truck owner Friday and told him that we don't allow Food trucks."

Resident Amber Anderson, a day later, questioned the policy. She soon learned there was not a codified statute or policy on the books regulating food trucks operating in the village.

At the February 4 meeting, Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges as well as Trustees Davis and Jim Wagner were present. Local businesses were represented by Roche's Frederick Sturts and Roche Cain, Bob Patel from Dairy Queen, Padano Pizzeria's Hassan Fadel, Kelly Reynolds from Scratch along with Tracie Trotter from Wyldewood Cellars and Denise Hatfield from Jack Flash. Also on hand were Jay Whealer from Monical's Pizza, Kathy Lyons for Geschenk Coffee Haus and Todd Woods from the St. Joe IGA.

The group, who felt the competition would be detrimental to their bottom line, unanimously opposed the idea of allowing food truck vendors operate inside the village. With the rising threat of the pandemic starting to gain ground in North America, the village administrators did not take further action on the issue.

February 4 food truck committee minutes

"I’ve been in email contact with the mayor and there currently isn’t any food truck policy," Anderson wrote on June 18. "Things were spoken in this thread incorrectly, Piato should have never been told not to come, and are getting an apology from the town."

Last month's June 23 board meeting, the council plunged into the issue starting with statements sent via email from business owners after a presentation by former Champaign City Manager Steve Carter, who is seeking a similar position with the village.

In her statement, Trotter, from Wyldewood Cellars, said she could see the issue from both sides.

"Small business are not thriving," she said. "I don't want to see businesses close."

Trotter wrote that whatever decision that is eventually reached, it does needs to be fair.

In keeping the playing field level, she suggested that food trucks pay a permit fee and taxes to the village. She was neither for or against them providing their services to those in the community looking for alternative meal options.

The majority of the opposition from local business owners centered around the unfair advantage food truck services have over brick and mortar establishments.

Scratch's owner said local businesses have more financial responsibilities to navigate such as rent, utilities, bank notes and payroll.

"It will only result in a smaller piece of the pie," said Reynolds, who use to have a food truck business at one point and pointed out her restaurant, pre-Covid, regularly was frequented by visitors from Champaign, Danville, Monticello and Mahomet.

Later during the meeting she asked, rhetorically, "I am a little confused. Why do they (food trucks) want to come to a bedroom community of 4,000?"

Hatfield, who was also present for the open forum, voiced her opposition to the board. She had concerns about the competition food trucks potentially posed for Jack Flash.

Trustee Davis called local businesses stakeholders in the community. He pointed out that St. Joseph business owners contribute to the local economy in several different ways like advertising in athletic programs and at games.

He called for a decision to ban food truck operations for the time being. Davis suggested the issue be revisited in the future, perhaps after the local economy rebounds from the effects of state's shelter-in-place subsequent Restore Illinois plan.

Roche added that not many people see what he and other local business owners do for the community like "donating $500 right off the bat" to the St. Joseph-Ogden high school athletic program and providing generous donations to other programs in the school district.

"We feed the teams," he said. "There's never enough money."

After explaining the how tough it was for him to open his establishment eight years ago along with the financial and sweat equity he has invested into Roche's, he said flatly, "I'm not a fan."

"We made the commitment to our local businesses," said trustee Art Rapp. Earlier in the meeting, he admitted that he would hate to detour new business in the village but echoed Davis' sentiment. "Maybe at sometime it might be good to entertain (allowing) food trucks. I think a prohibition is in order."

Anderson asked the board to consider policy that will fair and will cover all food trucks that would like to or currently offer service in the village. She added that a policy governing food trucks should not be made out of fear.

She closed her time before the board asking the village to set a time frame to revisit the issue.

Before moving on to move on to other business, Fruhling-Voges said the decision for or against allowing food trucks won't come for a while.

"There is a lot to think about in creating a village policy," she said.

Pancake breakfast in St. Joseph on hold

The St. Joseph Stanton Fire Protection District announced that its annual Pancake Breakfast in August has been canceled.

Originally scheduled to be held on August 8, an announcement made on Facebook earlier today said the event was scraped due "the continuing uncertainties surrounding COVID 19 (sic)".

"That, along with the uncertainties with the food permit made the decision necessary," the post said. "We may try having one later this year if things get better. If not, we hope to see you next year."

The decision comes after the number of active cases of the virus rose to five in St. Joseph this week. The community gone relatively touched through the pandemic with a total of 12 reported cases.

Nearly a week and half ago, the City of Champaign confirmed a Champaign firefighter tested positive for the Coronavirus and 12 other firefighters were placed in self-quarantine on June 23.

Three new Coronavirus cases announced locally

Back on June 14, the Illinois Department of Public Health listed six confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in St. Joseph. Yesterday, that number has increased from a total of nine last week to 12.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, so far 727 tests have been performed on residents from the community.

There were no other new cases identified in the other communities The Sentinel serves. The CUPHD reports there has been one case in Philo, nine in Tolono and one in Sidney. No confirmed cases have been detected in the communities of Ogden and Royal.

Out of the 522 test performed on Tolono residents, 513 have come back negative. The IDPH does not provide data for communities, which is done by zip code, with an infection rate below five cases.

As of July 1, Champaign County has logged 34,791 tests with just 890 of them testing positive. Thanks in part to a private party, described as an unofficial prom for high school students, the CUPHD is reporting a rise to 117 active cases mirroring increases nationwide as states across the nation remove restrictions meant to control the spread of the Coronavirus.

Ninety-nine residents from Champaign County have contracted the pathogen and declared recovered in the past 18 days. More than 760 people have tested positive and recovered from the viral infection since the health district providing number to the public.

There have been 12 deaths, including one by a 30 year-old resident with no underlying health condition, attributed to the viral infection since the start of the pandemic locally in March. Currently, seven individuals are under hospital care battling the disease.

COVID-19 has a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus mainly as a cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • If you or a family member has any of the following symptoms, the CDC recommends that you seek medical attention immediately. Those symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse or have bluish lips or face.

    People who have serious underlying medical conditions and older Americans may be at higher risk for contracting serious complications from COVID-19. The CDC has said those at high risk include:

  • Anyone 65 years of age and older
  • Older adults who live in a nursing home or long-term care facilities
  • Women who are pregnant
  • Individuals with Chronic lung disease or asthma, congestive heart failure or coronary artery disease, diabetes or neurologic conditions that weaken the ability to cough.
  • People with weakened immune systems, those who have undergone chemotherapy radiation for cancer currently or in recent past, people who have Sickle Cell Anemia, anyone with chronic kidney diseases requiring dialysis and those diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
  • Also included are individuals who without a spleen or a spleen that doesn’t function correctly or people who are extremely obese with a body mass index (BMI) great than or equal to 40.
  • Free testing is available at Marketplace Mall at the State’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. A doctor’s referral, code, or appointment is not needed. Testing is available for anyone from 8am to 4pm, 7 days a week while daily supplies last. For more information call the COVID-19 HOTLINE at (217) 239-7877.

    Living on unemployment cannot be a long-term lifestyle

    By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

    Americans hope they will never be bullied by a police officer. A man or woman with a badge and a gun can be an intimidating figure. If a cop pulls you over and bullies you, what can you do? Americans are at the mercy of bad cops.

    Who hasn't been afraid of a police officer at one time or another? Police reform is obviously needed in America.

    Black people or any people should never have to live in fear of a police officer who wants to prove that he or she has authority. We need good police officers who will protect us and help us. I believe the majority of officers are good people. However, this is no excuse to allow the bad ones to be out in uniform menacing anyone.

    Americans hope they can work. I recently saw too many stores closed or boarded up in Cleveland, Ohio.

    While visiting in the city I had hoped to stay at one hotel but learned this entire huge hotel has been totally closed due to the pandemic but hopes to reopen in August. These types of closures and boarded up businesses are good for no one.

    Americans know that living on unemployment cannot be a long-term lifestyle. Unemployment runs out.

    Typically, Americans can make more money working but the extra federal boost has been a major help to Americans.

    Americans mentally feel better and make more money when they are working jobs and bringing home a paycheck. While Covid-19 has made it difficult for us, we must embrace all the necessary precautions and safety measures so we might ensure keeping our country working.

    Americans hope for a cure to Covid-19.

    Our present-day Americans have never faced anything like this before. America and the world have faced pandemics in the past but we have been fortunate to this point. Our time has come now to live through, survive and overcome this virus that has taken so many hundreds of thousands of lives around the world. We must support and pray for those who are working so hard for a cure.

    Americans hope to get our lives back. We miss social gatherings. We miss going to our places of worship.

    Only so much can be done at home for so long. Working at home, watching worship at home and doing everything at home is not all that much fun for many Americans. Some thought it would be great to do everything from home but many have gotten tired of never leaving the house. Many Americans will welcome the opportunity to go back to work, to church and the local gathering spots.

    As we celebrate our independence, we look to God, pray for our leaders and have hope that we all will grasp and stand firm on this truth from our Declaration of Independence, "that all people are created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    May we each hold to and extend this hope to every American.


    Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


    This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.