Village Crier: December 31, 2020

Local news briefs for St. Joseph and Tolono

Active COVID cases remain low

According to the Champaign-Urbana Health District there are 65 active COVID-19 cases, five more than the area's six week low of 60 on Sunday, within the six villages covered by The Sentinel.

To date, there has been 73 positive cases in Ogden, 36 in Royal, 426 in St. Joseph, 6 in Sidney, 11 in Philo and 324 identified in Tolono since March of this year.

St. Joseph IGA open New Year's Day

Looking for additional snacks for tonight's countdown to 2021? The St. Joseph IGA will be open today from 6a-8p. The store will also be open on January 1, New Year's Day, from 6a-6p for last minute shopping needs.

Recycling reminder for Tolono residents

The Village posted a reminder that users should only place approved items in are recycling bins and asks that all boxes be broken down or flattened in order to make plenty of room for the increase in material due to the holidays.

Recycle bins use is for Tolono residents only. If the bins are full, residents are asked to take items back with them. Leaving boxes and recyclable material on the ground next to bins is considered illegal dumping. Illegal dumping is punishable with a $500 fine from the village. There are surveillance cameras to record activity at the bin location.

Here is a list of acceptable items that can be disposed at recycling bins.

Possible winter storm on New Year's

Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a Winter Weather Advisory for today starting at 4:03am until 12pm on January 1. In addition to Champaign County, the advisory also covers Edgar, Vermilion, Shelby, Coles, Piatt and Douglas counties.

The area is expected to see a mixture of precipitation late tonight and Friday. A winter storm system is expected to bring snow, sleet and freezing rain to the area. While the exact track and strength of this storm has not been determined, the threat for ice and snow now appears to be likely to make road conditions hazardous during early hours New Year's Day.

Current prediction calls for snow accumulations up to a half inch, sleet accumulations between one and two tenths of an inch, or ice accumulations between one- and two-tenths of an inch.

For the latest road conditions throughout Illinois visit

Forest preserve collecting Christmas trees

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is accepting Christmas trees now until mid-January. Only undecorated trees will be accepted. Artificial trees or commercial drop-offs will not be taken as they cannot be used for the natural recycling by the Preserve District.

The tree can be dropped off any day of the week between 7am and sunset. Once you arrive at the park, there are signs to direct vehicles to the following drop-off locations:

• Homer Lake – drop trees off near the Maple Sugar Grove
• Lake of the Woods – drop trees off at the west maintenance entrance off Rte. 47.
• Middle Fork River – drop trees off at maintenance building

The trees are chipped and used for trails and landscaping at forest preserves throughout Champaign County. When the lakes freeze over, the trees are dragged onto the lake with cinder blocks attached to them. These will sink when the ice thaws to provide a natural aquatic habitat.

Billy Bob's closed

On December 11, the Champaign County public health agency suspended the health permit for Billy Bob's in Ogden. Yesterday, Judge Roger Webber granted a restraining order sought by the agency barring the restaurant from operating without a valid health permit.

Billy Bob's, represented by attorney Tom DeVore, will be back in court at 9am on January 12, when the TRO expires, for another hearing to force the restaurant to comply with the state's ban on indoor dining.

Judge Ben Dyer was replaced on the bench by Webber after a request submitted by DeVore, who had hoped for a friendlier court after Dyer shot down a pair of earlier attempts by DeVore to keep two other clients open, the Apple Dumplin' and Mary Ann's Diner in Champaign.

The timing could not be worse for the establishment which will now be closed during a typically profitable New Year's celebration. On their Facebook page, a message stated that the restaurant will be open "for carry-out in the near future".