Senior drivers have up to a year to renew Illinois state drivers license

Secretary of State Jesse White recently announced that Illinois residents 75-years-old or older will have a year to renew their licenses if they expire in 2020. The state is extending the renewal deadline 365 days from the current expiration date in 2020 on the individual's current license.

Illinois requires drivers 75 and older to renew their licenses in person and to take both a vision and road test. The extension allows older drivers to wait until a few weeks before their 2021 birthday to visit a Secretary of State facility to renew their licenses.

"I am mindful of the heightened risks associated with seniors contracting COVID-19 and that is why I have authorized this important change during this challenging and unique time," White explained in a statement released by the SoS.

Drivers whose licenses are suspended or revoked do not qualify for the extension.

There are 147,000 drivers age 75 and older whose licenses have already expired or will expire in 2020. They are being notified by letter of the extension. Licensed drivers are advised to keep the letter with them as further proof that they have been given an extension. Law enforcement agencies throughout the state have been notified that the drivers have been given an extension.

All other Illinois drivers under the age of 75 whose licenses expired earlier this year have until Nov. 1 to renew them.

State Representative takes issue with the Governor prison releases

One State Representative believes the Governor’s pattern of decisions surrounding the state’s prison system is a threat to public safety in Illinois. State Representative Darren Bailey (R-Xenia), who has recently made headlines by way of two lawsuits in Clay County aimed at the state's top leader, isn't happy with a couple of decision made Governor JB Pritzker about the state's prison population.

"The latest decision by the Governor to release one of the inmates involved in the murder of Illinois State Trooper Layton Davis is appalling," said Bailey (R-Xenia) in a statement delivered to the media. "I was with the Davis family on August 10 when they publicly pleaded with Gov. Pritzker not to release convicted killers James E. Taylor and Aaron Hyche.

Taylor and Hyche were in a vehicle when Davis, who was with Illinois State police for 19 years and assigned to District 12, performed a routine traffic stop for speeding on Interstate-57 near Effingham. An arrest warrant for Taylor had been issued in Cook County after he failed to appear for sentencing on convictions for attempt murder and attempt armed robbery.

Upon learning of the outstanding warrant, Davis attempted to take both men into custody. During his pat-down with the two passengers, the WWII veteran discovered at firearm tucked into Hyche's waistband. A struggle ensued resulting in Davis' death after he was wounded three times.

The pair were later captured, tried and sentenced to life.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board paroled Taylor with eight members in favor and five against. Eight is the minimum number of votes needed for parole. Due to firing the fatal shots, the board rejected Hyche's request with 11 members voting against him and two in favor.

"While only Taylor has been released at this time, I wonder how long before Hyche will be set free?" Bailey said. He added: "Davis lost his life that day protecting the people of Illinois, and his wife and three children were left without a husband and father. Taylor and Hyche were given sentences commensurate with their heinous act. They should complete those sentences in full. The Davis family isn’t getting a reprieve from their life-long pain and loss."

Bailey, who has sued Pritzker and his administration in his home district over the Governor's use of Executive Orders during the pandemic the five months, also takes issue with the Governor for other decisions involving prison inmates.

Bailey stated in his release that "Pritzker has okayed the release of more than 4,000 inmates since March 1", citing a report from WAND-TV as well as the Alton Telegraph.

However, according to Restore Justice, only 1,222 prisoners were released due concerns over the rising level of COVID-19 infections in the Illinois prisons. As of June 1, IDOC has released 5,637 individuals with majority of them serving the entire sentence.

While an Appellate Court recently ruling that Pritzker indeed has the ultimate power to set policy regarding inmate transfers, another point of contention from Bailey is the lack of cooperation and consideration for the safety of local communities. He said level has been "unacceptable".

He also takes to task a Pritzker directive ordering sheriffs not to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when illegal immigrants completed their felony prison sentences and were being released. Criticized by the Illinois Sheriffs Association, the organization made it clear the Governor's policies are making their communities less safe.

"Sadly, the Illinois Sheriffs Association has had their hands full, not just trying to protect the people whose safety is their primary responsibility, but also because they’ve had to battle the Governor on policies that harm public safety," said Bailey. "Pritzker is also being sued by the Sheriffs Association because of the state’s failure to take custody of inmates, currently in local jails, but who received state prison sentences."

Trump, Biden - Does age matter?

By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he was elected to serve as President of the United States in 1960. His age did not hurt him on election day.

Barack Obama was 47 years old when he became President of the United States in 2008. His age, skin color and limited number of years that he had served in the United States Senate did not hurt him when it came to election day.

Donald Trump was 70 years old when he was elected in November 2016 as President of the United States. He had never held a public office. He has gone through two divorces and had some ups and downs in his life, which did not prevent him from becoming President of the United States.

We place a lot of emphasis on age. Youth always impresses us. Remember Tiger Woods? He was just 21 years old when he won The Masters in record breaking fashion in 1997.

When we see a great singer like Tony Bennett at the age of 94 still singing and dancing, we can't help but ask the question, "How old is he?" Because we are amazed at what a 94-year-old can do. His age doesn't stop him.

By the way Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87. Loretta Lynn is 88 and Sophia Loren is 85.

The bottom line is age is just a number.

There are talented and very capable people at every age category of life. Some people are too old when they are 45 years old and some people never get old. Some old people have never matured. While they are old in age they have never mentally grown up.

We all have to move beyond age. We have to ask is the person up for the job mentally and physically? Do they have the energy? Do they have the career and educational background? Do they possess the skills necessary to perform the tasks? Is the person hungry enough to work hard and do a good job or are they merely looking for a title?

Americans want a President who will pull out all the stops to find a vaccine for Covid-19. Laboratories are working on it now. This disease has devastated our nation. No President, I believe, would have been prepared for this pandemic.

Americans still want a slice of the American dream. We want a place to live, a paycheck, good medical care and retirement. We also want to be safe. We don't want thugs and gangs taking over our towns and neighborhoods. A strong police force and military are essential.

This November, Americans will go to the polls to place their vote for President Donald Trump or former Vice-President Joe Biden. What will matter is what you believe in, who you believe in, and your hopes for America.

Trump and Biden both have track records and their age won't matter on Election Day.


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.


New mask ordinace takes effect Aug 24

In three days residents in Champaign County will be subject to a new public health ordinance requiring face coverings, specifically masks that cover the face and nose, to be worn. With thousands of University of Illinois students expected to return to campus in the four days and the subsequent expected rise in the number positive Covid-19 cases, the Champaign-Public Health District is taking a preemptive move to keep residents in the county safe.

The ordinance, which can be found here, applies to "all persons, businesses, workplaces and any other organizations within the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, which are the boundaries of Cunningham Township and of City of Champaign Township, Champaign County, Illinois." It further states that individuals shall be responsible on behalf of themselves and business on the behalf of their employees and customers are ordered to comply with the new law that goes in effect on August 24.

The new public health rule requires any individual over the age of two and able to tolerate a face covering to wear one when social distancing of six feet or more can not be maintained both indoors and out.

All businesses or facilities open to the public are mandated to require everyone, including employees and management, on their premises to wear properly-fitted masks. Masks may only be removed when eating or drinking. Individuals who refuse to voluntarily cover their face may be asked to leave the property.

Illinois became one of the first states in the country to enhance the penalty for assaulting a retail employee who request customers put on a mask or leave the store premises. Anti-maskers who become violent can be charged with a simple battery, a misdemeanor, which could possibly result in up to a year in prison and fines up to $2,500. Attacks could be charged as aggravated battery. It is a felony that can result in a sentence of up to five years in prison. The offender, if they have a criminal record, could pull as much as 10-year stint and/or fined up to $25,000.

Schools will observe the same measures as businesses. Students also permitted to remove their masks when outdoors and social distancing or while playing an instrument.

The final restriction makes it clear that gatherings of 50 or more people is prohibited until further notice or for 150 days.

Transitions: Mikhel Cain will be missed

Mikhel Allen Cain, 21, of Port Angeles, Washington, formerly Ogden, passed away Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Mikhel was born September 1, 1998, in Urbana.

Mikhel is survived by his Mother and Step Dad Jacki and Chad Wilcoxon, his brother Landon Brown, step brother Dalton Wilcoxon, 2 step sisters Alyssa and Paige Wilcoxon and his father Wayne Cain. He has lots of aunts and uncles who loved him very much and will miss him terribly. He is survived by two Grandfathers David Perry Sr. of Homer and Bill Cain of St. Joseph and one Grandmother Beth Cain of Urbana.

Mikhel is proceeded in death by his Grandmother Andrea Perry in May 2019 who he was very close to growing up.

Mikhel had the biggest heart and loved spending time with his younger brother Landon. Mikhel loved to play the piano and spent lots of time taking care of his dog. He loved going to the water falls and hiking. He loved to take lots of videos to send to his Mom so she could enjoy his journeys too.

The family will have a small graveside service at Mt Olive cemetery at a later date. There will be a Celebration of life on Saturday September 5th from 2pm - 4pm as a walk, bike, drive through at his moms house in Ogden due to covid restrictions.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mikhel Cain, please visit the floral store.

SJO cross country schedule features five home meets

Logan Wolfersberger runs at the 2019 cross country meet
SJO's Logan Wolfersberger runs his first lap around the course at the 2019 IHSA State Cross Country State Finals. He is one of three seniors anchoring this year's Spartans.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

This year's St. Joseph-Ogden harriers have the pleasure of hosting five home meets this season.

After two road meets, the Spartans will debut the racing skills at home against visiting Oakwood and Armstrong on September 8. Eighteen days and a three-meet road campaign later, SJO will host four consecutive running events at home. The home stand kicks off with the Spartan Classic at 9a on September 26.

This year's boys squad is led by seniors Logan Wolfersberger, Brandon Mattsey and Lukas Hutcherson. The trio will lead a supporting cast with Aiden Armstrong, Freshmen; Ethan Blackburn, Sophomore; Braden Clampitt, Junior; Zach Dahman, Sophomore; Holden Jones, Freshmen; Charlie Mabry, Junior; Carson Maroon, Freshmen; Elijah Mock, Junior; Isiah Mock, Freshmen; Luke Stegall, Junior; and Spencer Wilson, Freshmen.

On the ladies' side, Hanna Eastin is the lone senior on the 2020-21 squad. Ava Knap, Kelsey Martlage and Ashlyn Lannert are the core runners of junior class of seven runners with the potential to win a state title in 2021. Malorie Sarnecki, who earned Most-Improved-Player recognition last fall returns along with Kailyn Ingram, Emma Parkinson, and Taryn Sexton to round out the eight upperclasswomen on the squad.

The sophomore class line-up includes sophomores Kaytlyn Baker, Teagan Miller, Katie Oehmke, Izzy Sexton and Lili Wentzloff. Newcomers Chloe Allen, Chloe Burkhalter, Maya Chahine, Helene Jones, and Lauren Lannert, all freshmen, joined the program this fall.

2020 Fall Schedule

08/28/2020 • Away
Unity, UniHigh
Location: Unity High School

09/05/2020 • Away
Location: Charleston High School

09/08/2020 • Home
Oakwood & Armstrong
Location: St. Joseph Community Park

09/12/2020 • Away
Location: Paxton Buckley Loda High School

09/15/2020* • Away
Location: Monticello

09/19/2020 • Away
St. Teresa Tri-Meet
Location: Decatur St. Teresa High School

09/26/2020* • Home
Spartan Classic
Location: St. Joseph Community Park

10/03/2020 • Home
Shelbyville, PBL, St.Teresa
Location: St. Joseph Community Park

10/06/2020 • Home
vs.Illini Prairie Conference Meet
3 COED open races at 4p/4:45p/5:30p
Location: St. Joseph Community Park

10/10/2020 • Home
Girls: 9a/9:45a girls - Boys: 10:45a/11:30a
Location: St. Joseph Community Park

10/17/2020 • Away
Monticello IPC Meet
Location: Monticello High School

10/24/2020* • Away
IHSA Regionals
Location: TBA

St. Joseph community garage sale coming in September

A fall community-wide garage and yard sale is in the works for the weekend of September 17-19 in St. Joseph.

The Sentinel, as we did with this July's summer community sale, is offering St. Joseph residents the opportunity to list their sale location and information at no charge.

Simply follow this link to submit your sale information by 5pm on September 15. Our complete list of area sales will be published Wednesday evening on The Sentinel website as well as across our social media platforms to help bring you more buyers.

Premium listings with photos and an extended word count is available. Contact The Sentinel at for details.

Observing the state's pandemic mitigation and public health mandates, shoppers are strongly encouraged wear masks and maintain social distancing as much as possible to help keep friends and neighbors healthy as they visit various sales throughout the community.

Our 2020 Parkland graduates, here's who earned degrees

This year's pandemic did not divert the efforts of 83 area residents who completed the requirements for their respective programs at Parkland College in May. Nearly a quarter of the graduates in the Class of 2020 received degrees in the medical field.

Due to successive executive orders put in place to stop the spread of the Coronavirus by Governor J.B. Pritzker, Parkland's 53rd Commencement Exercise was held online back on May 22, 2020 via YouTube for the first time in school history. Originally live-streamed, the virtual ceremony included speakers, award presentations, and the reading of the graduates' names.

This summer, Parkland sent graduates a green mortarboard, a Parkland tassel with new signet and a padded diploma cover as well as other memorabilia to commemorate their academic achievement.

The college also plans to extend an invitation to 2020 graduates to walk across the stage at the 2021 exercise.

Here is a list of area graduates enter the job market or continuing their education at a four-year institution:

Briley C Ackerman, Tolono
AAS, Nursing

John M Acklin, Ogden
AES, Engineering Science

Elizabeth K Alt, Tolono
AA, Elementary Education

Cody W Argo, Tolono
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Roger S Ayers, Sidney
AAS, Nursing

Kayla J Balsbaugh, St. Joseph
AAS, Child Development

Hollie N Baltzell, St. Joseph
AAS, Nursing

Jennifer A Barnard, Sidney
AA, General

Jason T Bowman, Ogden
AAS, Agricultural Business: Precision Ag Technology

Kira J Brinkley, Tolono
AFA, Music Education

Melanie L Broch, St. Joseph
AAS, Surgical Technology

Bryson D Chancellor, Tolono
AS, Aviation

Austin R Chilton, St. Joseph
AS, Biological Sciences

Britney F Christman, Sidney
AA, Psychology

Jarrett L Clem, St. Joseph
CER, Construction: Electrical Inside Wireman

Destiny H Coffey, Sidney
AA, Social Work

Bonnie G Collins, Ogden
AAS, Digital Media

Elena K Cotter, St. Joseph
AS, General

Christine M Danielson, Philo
AS, General

Zach T David, Ogden
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Logan J Dobbs, St. Joseph
AAS, Diesel Power Equipment Technology

Kenzie L Dodds, Tolono
AA, Psychology

Austin M Downen, Tolono
AAS, Diesel Power Equipment Technology

Brandon G Downen, Tolono
AA, Sociology

Emily C Eastin, Tolono
AA, General

Trevor B Elliott, St. Joseph
AA, Criminal Justice Education

Mickaela J Fleming, Royal
AAS, Nursing

Hope A Frost, Royal
AAS, Nursing

Lauren N Frost, Tolono
AA, Criminal Justice Education

Justyn R Fruhling, St. Joseph
AAS, Radiologic Technology

Bryce M Haake, St. Joseph
AA, General

Webb T Hancock, Tolono
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Grant C Harper, Ogden
AAS, Automotive Technology

Christian M Hasler, Philo
AA, History

Ashley N Holm, Tolono
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Devinne D Horton, Sidney
AAS, Nursing

Brandi L Huson, Ogden
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Allyson K James, Philo
AA, Elementary Education

Sophia A Kaisner, Philo
AS, General

Zachary A Kohlmann, Tolono
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Joseph H Lamendola, Tolono
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Kaitlyn M Landis, St. Joseph
AAS, Occupational Therapy Assistant

Payton J Lareau, Tolono
AAS, Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic

Brianna S Lilly, St. Joseph
AAS, Nursing

Alicia A Maxey, St. Joseph
AAS, Criminal Justice

Emily M McCrone, Tolono
AS, General

Emma L Messman, Sidney
AS, General

Devon M Miezio, Ogden
CER, Practical Nursing

Billie J Miller, Philo
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Leah J Miller, Tolono
AAS, Nursing

McKayla R Norton, Philo
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Brendan Z Olauson, St. Joseph
AES, Engineering Science

Kristen A Polizzi, St. Joseph
AAS, Business: Management

Austin R Rein, Ogden
AAS, Agricultural Business: Precision Ag Technology

Ileana L Roberts, Sidney
AAS, Nursing

Carson T Robinson, Sidney
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Samantha J Roderick, Tolono
AA, General

Cori B Rodriguez, Ogden
AAS, Nursing

Paige N Sappenfield, Philo
AAS, Nursing

Megan K Schumacher, St. Joseph
AAS, Veterinary Technology

Sydney J Schurvinske, Sidney
AA, General

Briley L Smith, Tolono
AA, Elementary Education

Katleyn M Smith, Ogden
AAS, Radiologic Technology

Nash C Stanfield, Sidney
AAS, Business: Management

Derek L Stevens, Tolono
AAS, Emergency Medical Services: Paramedic

Andrew J Stewart, St. Joseph
AA, Psychology

Kaitlyn R Taylor, St. Joseph
CER, Practical Nursing

Mitchell R Thompsen, St. Joseph
AS, General

Carrie J Turner, Tolono
AAS, Business: Management

Jordan M Turner, St. Joseph
CER, Automotive Technician

Kyle E Vansickle, Sidney
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Kimberly A Vecchio, Philo
AAS, Business Administrative Technology

Jason M Waldeck, St. Joseph
AS, Computer Science/Computer Information Systems

Emilee M Walters, Tolono
AA, Psychology

Ethan F Warren, Philo
CER, Automotive Technician

Israel D Wells, Sidney
AGS, Associate in General Studies

Kenneth A Wells Jr, St. Joseph
AAS, Respiratory Care

Madison R Wilson, Philo
AS, General

Sarah E Wiseman, St. Joseph
AFA, Art and Design

Nicole L Woller, St. Joseph
AS, General

Casey J Young, Tolono
AA, General

Jordan T Hall, St. Joseph
AAS, Nursing

Tenneal Frerichs, St. Joseph
AAS, Nursing

State Farm Holiday Classic basketball tournament put on hold

Just hours ago, the organizers for the annual State Farm Holiday Classic announced this year's basketball tournament, which was scheduled to run from December 28-31, has been cancelled in a post to Facebook. It is the first break in the event's 42-year run.

Riley Baker looks to pass
SJO's Riley Baker looks to pass the ball while playing during the 2016 State Farm Holiday Classic. The annual tournament was cancelled for the 2020 season amid health concerns for athletes, spectators and officials. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
With the possibility of a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic during the winter months and the restrictions on the number of spectators allowed by the Illinois Public Health Department at sporting events, it was a decision makes financial sense for the long term viability of the tournament.

"Please know this is not a decision we made lightly, but in order to ensure the safety of all participants (players, coaches, administrators, fans, officials, volunteers, tournament staff and sponsors), we find it best to not organize a tournament this year," the statement read. "Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this difficult time! We wish all of our schools and their athletic programs nothing but the best this year, and we hope everyone remains safe and healthy!"

Making its debut in 1975, the tournament was originally named the Illinois State Classic. Since then the tournament has grown to be one of the largest coed holiday basketball tournaments in the country. Through out its history there have been dozens high school athletes who went on to become not only professional basketball players, but also NFLers and Olympic athletes.

Each year the games are played at four venues in Bloomington-Normal: Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center, Bloomington High School, Normal Community High School and Normal West High School. This would have also been the 24th installment of the girls tournament and the 19th of the Ron Knisley Memorial Special Olympics Shootout, which is also hosted by organizers.

Last December, the St. Joseph-Ogden boys squad was the #6 seed and finished in 6th place. The Spartans opened their 2019 tournament appearance with a 47-42 win over #11 Annawan on their way to a 2-2 finish.

On the ladies side, SJO brought home a 5th place trophy after a 3-1 run logging wins over Bishop Mac, Annawan and Illini Prairie Conference rival Bloomington Central. The team's only loss was to eventual small school champion Normal University.

Tournament organizers vows the tournament will return in 2021. Dates for the event are scheduled December 27-30.

In order to adhere to the guidelines set forth by both the Illinois High School Association and the State of Illinois,...

Posted by State Farm Holiday Classic on Tuesday, August 18, 2020

UIUC confers degrees to 27 area residents

Despite a global pandemic, 9,261 students from the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois finished their degree programs to officially graduate. Among the recipients were 27 residents from The Sentinel's area of coverage.

Two students, Jocelyn Harmon and Nicholas Shapland, completed their education as double majors. Harmon, who graduated from the Gies College of Business, earned a second degree in Marketing. Meanwhile, Shapland completed the requirements his additional degree in Political Science.

Shapland graduated with High Distinction from his department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Two other Unit 7 alumni in addition to Harmon, Madeline Wilson and Sierra Benson, were awarded High Honors distinction for their academic performance. High honor students finish their college degree with at least a 3.80 grade point average. Students with a GPA of 3.5 to 3.75 graduate with Honors.

Students with a GPA of 3.9 or higher are recognized with Highest Honors. Two undergraduates, Tolono resident Dawson Dodds and Ogden native Carly Frerichs, earned the academic titles upon graduation last May.

Highest honors are awarded to students upon recommendation by his or her department at the University through outstanding performance in course work and in supplementary activities of an academic or professional nature along with an undergraduate thesis or a special project of superior quality.

This year's degree recipients include:

Raghida Abdallah Yassine, St. Joseph
Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Mary Adams, St. Joseph
Master of Social Work

Nicolette Baccadutre, St. Joseph
Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Cole Berry, St. Joseph
Master of Accounting Science

Ty Brown, St. Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Carly Delzell, St. Joseph
Master of Social Work

Kinze Ehmen, St. Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications

Alexander Izard, St. Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Michael Rajlich, St. Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering

Erin Smith, St. Joseph
Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Patricia Stevens, St. Joseph
Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Carly Frerichs, Ogden
Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology

Max Daly, Sidney
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Susan Mantell, Sidney
Master of Science in Nutritional Sciences

Nicholas Shapland, Sidney
Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jesse Kiser, Philo
Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Gracie Schweighart, Philo
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Sierra Benson, Tolono
Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media

Dawson Dodds, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Finance

Dawson Dodds, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management

Jocelyn Harmon, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management and in Marketing

Tatum Hawkins, Tolono
Master of Science in Information Management

Keegan Payne, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Younis Ramahi, Tolono
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Lucas Stark, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Technical Systems Management

Katrina Widholm, Tolono
Master of Education

Madeline Wilson, Tolono
Bachelor of Science in Journalism

The list above is provided by the university and based on the address supplied by students. This list may not include individual graduates conferred after July 15. If you suspect a problem with this list, contact the University of Illinois at (217)333-1085 or them at News Bureau. Did you, your son/daughter or a grandchild graduate from a public or private university back in May or this month? Let us know by sending their 2020 college graduation information.

Former SJO baseball stars receive academic recognition at UIS

St. Joseph-Ogden alumni Colton Hale, from St. Joseph, and Mason Coon, from Ogden, are two of 675 students who earned Dean's List recognition for their work in the classroom at the University of Illinois in Springfield this past Spring semester.

Mason Coon takes a swing at a Murphysboro pitch during SJO's state semifinal game in 2016. Coon and Prairie Stars teammate Colton Hale were nominated to the Dean's List at UIS this semester. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
In order to qualify for the Dean’s List, the pair were required to take at least eight graded semester hours, maintained a grade-point average of at least 3.75 for the semester and did not receive an incomplete grade for any class they were enrolled during the semester.

Hale, who red-shirted the 2019 season, appeared in 18 games with one start in 2018. On the hill, he has collected an 8-1 ERA with one save. Opposing batters had .256 batting average against him.

In the 33-1/3 innings he hurled in his first season, the former Spartan struck out 42 batters. He earned his first NCAA postseason victory after allowing one run and two hits, and striking out three hitters for the Prairie Stars.

He appeared in four games this spring before the season was halted due to the Coronavirus.

Coon, who was named to the GLVC All-Academic team, played in 14 games, including two postseason games during his career at UIS.

Like Hale, he played in four contests for the Prairie Stars during the 2020 season. In his best outing, the 6-3, 190-pound southpaw recorded four strikeouts against Southern Indiana on March 8. Coon recorded a pair of singles and two doubles at bat during early season play.

34 area students make the Spring 2020 U of I Dean's List

Last week, the University of Illinois announced the students recognized outstanding academic achievement with the release of the Spring 2020 Dean's List. Thirty-four area students who studied at Illinois' flagship university were among the 13,183 earning recognition for their academic performance.

Students named to the UIUC Dean's List must complete coursework and grading to fall into the top 20% of a student’s college class or curriculum. Due to the complications from the Coronavirus pandemic, students who earned a spot on this semester's list took of 12 credit hours for a letter grade or received a final grade of "Pass" in classes that shifted to or was offered in a pass/fail format. Under normal circumstances, the University of Illinois requires students to have enrolled in a minimum of 14 credit hours. Classes taken pass/fail are not counted toward their academic standing for this award.

The list below does not include Dean's List honorees added after Jan. 27 or students who did not list their hometown as Royal, Ogden, Philo, Tolono, Sidney or St. Joseph with the University.

Benjamin Albrecht, Senior, St. Joseph / Kinesiology
Elanor Atkins, Freshman, Tolono / Animal Sciences
Cody Ayers, Senior, Ogden / Molecular and Cellular Biology
Sierra Benson, Senior, Tolono / New Media
Kathryn Bigger, Sophomore, St. Joseph / Elementary Education
Emily Bluhm, Sophomore, St. Joseph / Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Nicholas Cagle, Sophomore, Ogden / Economics
Max Daly, Senior, Sidney / Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Dawson Dodds, Senior, Tolono / Finance
Carson Florey, Junior, St. Joseph / Linguistics
Lauren Gherna, Senior, St. Joseph / English
Jocelyn Harmon, Senior, Tolono / Supply Chain Management
Evan Hawkins, Junior, St. Joseph / Advertising
Makenzie Heyen, Junior, Sidney / Graphic Design
Mason Housenga, Junior, St. Joseph / Physics
Ian Hulette, Senior, St. Joseph / Human Development and Family Studies
Riley Knott, Junior, St. Joseph / Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications
Kristen Kurtz, Junior, Ogden / Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Mark Maddock, Junior, St. Joseph / Political Science
Robert Malmberg, Senior, Tolono / Philosophy
Camryn McKee, Sophomore, St. Joseph / Political Science
Mira McLain, Senior, St. Joseph / Integrative Biology
Abigayle Mizer, Sophomore, Ogden / Political Science
Adalyn Parke, Junior, St. Joseph / Psychology
Keegan Payne, Senior, Tolono / Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Allison Place, Junior, St. Joseph / Crop Sciences
Corynne Roberts, Junior, Ogden / Materials Science and Engineering
Abigail Schlueter, Sophomore, St. Joseph / Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications
Arthur Schmidt, Junior, Tolono / Technical Systems Management
Rylee Sjuts, Sophomore, St. Joseph / Undeclared
Benjamin Snodgrass, Junior, Tolono / Kinesiology
Ashlee Walters, Senior, Tolono / English
Israel Wells, Junior, Sidney / Kinesiology
Madisyn Welsh, Junior, St. Joseph / Social Work

Neither the post office or Congress wants to deliver

By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Some of America's problems can be fixed easily. One of them, voting by mail in the November election, should not be one of them for Americans.

I suggest the polls remain open for at least two days. Every state should open their polls from 6am until 8pm. Some states already have later evening hours like California where residents may vote until 8 PM and in New York where voters can vote as late as 9pm.

Some states allow you to show up at the courthouse and vote early. It should be easy to vote on one of the voting machines like always if you aren't available to vote on November third.

Indiana will allow voters to come in as early as October sixth to cast their ballot. It's called "Absentee in-person voting". This would be a good idea for every state. You will never have more than one or two people in front of you when you vote early. Social distancing occurs, you pick the day and you know for sure your vote has been cast.

The stage for a fiasco is set for any kind of mail-in ballots this year.

It's a big issue. Some people want it and others don't. This is not the year to try it out. People are hollering social distancing and Covid-19. Yet, these same people are walking through Walmart without a mask.

One idea for handling the election day voting is to let Chick-fil-a handle the process.

I've never seen anyone take the orders of fifty cars and have all their food to them in ten minutes like they do at our local Chick-fil-a. Every time I go there, I think, "Wow, this being closed on Sunday is just killing them." I say that as a joke, of course, as their business is better and greater than ever.

The United States post office has timed their demands for money at the right time. They've declared they can't guarantee delivery of mail-in ballots on time because of lack of funds.

Can they ever really guarantee delivery? I mail stuff out priority mail occasionally and sometimes it shows up ten days down the road. The promised delivery time is sometimes much shorter than actual delivery. I would never depend on my vote making it to the courthouse via mail. Oregon uses mail entirely for voting. Washington state has a lot of mail-in votes.

I'm sympathetic with the needs of the post office. I think they should eliminate delivery and close the post offices on Saturday. This should save some money.

Go ahead and raise all the postage costs five percent. Many Americans pay their bills online. Christmas cards are going out online for many.

Oh, and someone needs to make sure Amazon is paying a fair price for delivery of their goods. Free delivery of Amazon products is not really free. Someone is paying the cost.

For seniors over 70 on minimal incomes, give them some free stamps very month to mail their bills. They're already hurting enough.

Some of America's problems can be fixed. Our greatest problem is fixing Congress. They are the greatest obstacle in solving most of our problems.


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.


Area youth football season suspended

"It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that we are canceling our 2020 season," wrote Brittany Elliot on the SJO Youth Football Facebook page nearly two weeks ago. The decision mirrors others from youth football programs from the state due to mandates by state offices restricting youth sports competition.

Four days ago, Governor JB Pritzker announced new restrictions on youth sports in the state that would have ended the youth football program's season on August 15.

"I know our hearts break when we hear the word 'restrictions,' especially when it comes to our children's love for their sports. Whether this year is their first time on the court or it's their senior season - this isn't the news anyone wants to hear," said Governor Pritzker during his pandemic update this week. "But with rising rates of spread of the virus, with rising positivity rates throughout Illinois and the United States, this is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest one. Therefore today, my administration is releasing new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois. We have worked in consultation with the governing bodies of many of these organized sports programs, and collectively we hope that, when metrics and risks improve measurably, we will be able to restart these sports."

Elliot wrote the decision, made long before the governor's latest decree, was tough despite working diligently the past couple of months to figure out some way to salvage the season. She said it wasn't easy.

"We understand that football is an important outlet for our kids so we are going to continue to meet as a board and hopefully come up with some creative ideas to keep the kids involved."

The Spartan program is the smallest in the Central Illinois Youth Football League. Champaign, Danville, Rantoul and Urbana are the other league members that fielded teams from three age groups.

Money Matters:
The taxing side of real estate investing

This is part 3 in this Money Matters series with guest columnist Jake Pence. You can read part one What's the best way to invest in your future here and part two on the importance of Liquidity and diversification.

by Jake Pence, Guest Columnist

For the majority of investors, taxation should never be the main driver behind an investment. However, taxation should absolutely be considered in an efficient investment portfolio. At the end of the day, how much money you keep is more important than how much money you earn.

The Internal Revenue Source (IRS) has written a painfully long book called, "The Internal Revenue Code" otherwise known as the tax code. The tax code isn’t painfully long and dense because of the many different ways the IRS can collect taxes. In fact, the collection of taxes is rather simple. If you make “X”, then you pay “Y.” Rather, the tax code is so long because of the many ways you can legally reduce your tax liability.

Individuals are able to reduce their tax liability if they perform actions that the government likes. One of the government’s favorite actions is providing housing to the public; therefore, there are many great tax benefits for real estate investors. One of the great real estate tax benefits is depreciation.

Real estate depreciation allows you to deduct the costs of a property over its useful life (as determined by the IRS) which reduces your taxable income. This is known as a “paper loss” because on paper it looks like the value of your investment decreased when, in reality, the value of your property likely increased due to appreciation and you collected monthly cash flow from the property if your income was greater than your expenses.

The tax benefits of real estate are very powerful and warrant their own article; however, this is how the wealthy stay wealthy. They buy real estate and legally reduce their taxable income, so they keep more of their money and then use that money to buy more real estate. It’s not complicated, and it’s 100% legal.

When it comes to taxation, real estate is the belle of the ball; however, stock market investors are able to place investments in tax efficient accounts and control the timing of their capital gains. The main tax benefit available to stock market investors is the ability to defer taxes through retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs. Additionally, you are able to choose the timing of the taxation by electing the account to be a “traditional” or "Roth" retirement vehicle.

With a traditional IRA, you are able to deduct your contributions in the year they are made, but you must pay taxes on them once you withdraw the funds. This is ideal for someone who thinks they will be in a lower tax bracket once they are retirement age. You contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth IRA, so this is ideal for someone who thinks they will be in a higher tax bracket once they retire. If you hold a specific stock for longer than a year, then you are no longer subject to the highest capital gains tax and this will allow you to keep more of your earnings.

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.

Junior high sports back, new restrictions will limit 2020 fall season

There are a lot of happy 7th and 8th grade athletes in Illinois now that junior high sports is back.

After canceling the fall activities of golf, softball, baseball, and cross-country for 2020 season during their meeting on July 23, the Illinois Elementary School Association board of directors reversed that decision a week later. Following in the footsteps of the Illinois High School Association, who announced a major schedule change of sports seasons in response to the strict parameters set by the governor and Illinois' public health department, the IESA approved a plan for the return of regular-season contests in these three sports with a limited post-season championship.

Baseball, softball and cross-country teams are cleared to start practice on August 3 and can play in their first game or contest on starting on August 15. All meets and games previously schedule on or before the 15th must be canceled or rescheduled. The new plan also limits team to a maximum of two contests per week with no tournaments or events with more than three teams. Baseball can play three games a week if one contest is a doubleheader.

In its official release, the association stressed that "It is a very fluid plan and circumstances/guidelines/mandates may change any part of the plan at any time."

The board also approved a modified plan for for all remaining junior high sports and activities. The plan is a blueprint providing schools, administrators, coaches, parents, and officials with information to plan for the remainder of the athletic and academic year.

Incorporated into the changes, winter sports will run from January through March. Competition for boys basketball, girls volleyball, wrestling, and cheerleading would be played during this period.

Spring sports, which will include girls basketball, boys and girls bowling, and boys and girls track and field, will start in February and end in May.

The fall post-season will include a regional-only level of the state series for softball and baseball to be held the week of September 21 and a sectional-only for cross-country sometime between October 10-17. Golf will have a sectional tournament on Wednesday, September 9.

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