Viewpoint: Do your self a solid, Get that green thumb on

By Clark Brooks, Editor & Publisher

I've seen a lot of grumblings over the last five weeks or so of shelling with friends and followers on social media unclear on why nurseries, hardware stores and large chains operations with garden departments like Farm & Fleet, Wal-Mart and Meijer are considered essential in Governor J.B. Pritzker's executive order to shelter-in-place and other stores that offer similar merchandise but without the garden centers were forced to close.

There is a perfectly logical reason and here's why: These stores are deemed essential not because the sell luscious philodendrons or gorgeous varieties of potted of irises and tulips, but because they are the main source pandemic gold - seeds. Specifically, seeds that produce fruits and vegetables.

Seeds are absolutely essential in catastrophic disaster and pandemic management. Also necessary to the growing process fertilizer, herbicides and hardware is available in these retail outlets. When Michigan forced nurseries in its state to close during in their stay-at-home order, that was a pandemic fail.

So why are seeds so important? Duh. So that people can grow and harvest food their own food.

If I owned or lived in a house with a lot of any size, I would grow as much food as I could squeeze in the available area this summer. What I can't eat, can or store by late September, I would happily share with my neighbors or those less fortunate and in need.

You might not consider gardening a good idea when you can order online and do a curbside pickup a few days later, but during a pandemic gardening is a solid investment.

Contrary to popular belief, pandemics don't disappear overnight or in months. The Spanish Flu lasted from January 1918 until December 1920, Cholera attacked the world population in three waves from 1832 to 1866 and a small pox epidemic broke out from 1633 to 1634. Historically, they can linger for years until the herd, those of us with superior immune systems are left still standing.

Growing your own food helps your household budget fight inflationary and predatory pricing when inventories wane due to the inability of farmers or produce companies to transport goods to marketplaces. Growing your own food can help stretch unemployment dollars if an employer is forced to downsize or trim hours.

If you haven't already noticed, food prices have been increasing nationwide. Buyers are spending 2.6% more on food in April. According ABC Channel 7, prices rose 5.8% compared to a year ago in Chicago. Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs have increased 4.7%.

This September, why spend $6.89 on a pound of tomatoes when you can go in the backyard in pick them and a couple bell peppers for homemade salsa for free.

SJO grad and spiritual runner Jolee Paden, appointed director of operations post

Jolee Paden, who graduated from St. Joseph-Ogden High School in 2012, recently accepted a new role that will take her to the other side of the planet. Her new title and role as Director of Operations for Southeast Asia FCA will take her to Malaysia in a leadership role that offers an extraordinary opportunity to experience other cultures and promote the Christian organization's mission of leading "every coach and athlete into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His church."

She wrote on Facebook:

This wasn't in my "plan," but what good thing ever is? It is hard to imagine leaving my DC fam for now, but it is clear to me that God is moving me into this new opportunity. I would love to share more with you if you want to hear it!

Of course, we had to spill the beans on this SJO grad's amazing journey.

In Malaysia, she will be working with the Vice President of the Southeast Asia to pioneer and strategize for sports ministry across the 11 countries of this region for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"Much of my role will include recruiting, hiring, training and mobilizing staff in their countries," she said via an email interview. Her territory covers Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. "I will be doing a lot of traveling across Southeast Asia and frequently coming back to the States. In many ways, I will create a bridge between these two places."

While at SJO, Paden ran both cross country and track for the Spartan program. Her best time in the two-mile distance was 12:02 and she cruised the three-mile course to a career best 18:49.

She said the lessons along with her relationship with her teachers and coaches in high school help paved the way for her to enjoy an exciting career. Many of her teachers were special but one stood out in the conversation.

"The feedback from Ms. (Susan) Pensinger in my English and Journalism classes challenged and encouraged me," Paden said, who later wrote and published her first book while a sophomore at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. "We still keep in touch today with letters here and there."

Then, there was running Coach John McDannald.

"(He) invested in me as first a person before the athlete," she said. "In FCA, we train on 3-Dimensional Coaching. Coach McD was training me to be a 3D Coach before I even knew what that meant.

He used running as a tool for learning about our ourselves and life."

After volunteering at the Champaign-Urbana FCA Power Camp over the summer, she helped launched FCA at SJO her junior year.

Paden is glad she grew up in the tight-knit community of runners and friends in St. Joseph. "I'm grateful to have grown up there and continue to have those roots to always go back to in places and people," she says. "My community in SJO continues to be a vibrant source of support for me -- relationally, prayerfully and financially."

Jolee Paden runs the course at the 2011 Cow Chip Classic. Helping the Spartan girls win this year's team title, the senior distance specialist ran the three-mile course in 20:04 finishing in second place in the Number 2 runner race. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
Sometime later this year near the later part of 2020, Paden, who graduated from college back in 2016 with a dual degree in Business Administration and Recreation Leadership and Sport Promotion, will move to her new home in Malaysia. With a population close to 30 million, the country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Fifty percent of the population are Malay, with a large number of Chinese, Indians, and indigenous peoples, who are the minorities. Islam is the country's established religion, but the constitution there does grant the freedom of religion to non-Muslims.

"I will be working with the Vice President of the Southeast Asia to pioneer and strategize for sports ministry across the 11 countries of this region," Paden said. "Much of my role will include recruiting, hiring, training and mobilizing staff in their countries. I will be doing a lot of traveling across Southeast Asia and frequently coming back to the States. In many ways, I will create a bridge between these two places."

To hit the ground running, Paden said she has regular ZOOM meetings with her new team in Southeast Asia. She is looking forward to meeting everyone in person.

"I am both nervous and excited to be in a completely new environment and culture," she said. "You learn new things about yourself in new places, and I believe this will be no different. Also, I have heard the food is amazing."

She her tenure with FCA at George Washington University in January of 2018. Almost 20 months later she transitioned into the Collegiate Director role where she was responsible for building and maintaining relationships across the eight universities in the Washington, DC, area.

"During my time, we launched a new FCA student ministry at GW. The students now meet weekly in a large group and small group Bible studies based on sports team. I volunteered as an Assistant Coach with GW cross country and track team," she said. "Before the season ended this last spring semester, I took on a Character Coach role for the Howard University softball team."

Jolee Paden runs to a 14th place finish at the 2011 Spartan Classic. Paden crossed the finish line at 11:48.0. Host St Joseph-Ogden finished third in the overall team standings with 164 points. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
With her promotion and shifting focus on her new roll in an office over 9,200 miles from St. Joseph, a new George Washington FCA staff representative has taken over her responsibilities and now oversees the George Washington chapter working with a group of helpful local volunteers.

After high school, Paden's running career blossomed. As a collegiate runner Paden competed in both cross country and track & field. She earned All-ODAC Second Team recognition in three consecutive cross country seasons from 2013 to 2015. She was also named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Cross Country Team in 2014 and was honored as Royals Athlete of the Week that year.

It was during that time she penned her first book, Spiritual Runner: A Runner After God's Own Heart and self-published it in July 2014. She even created a website to promote the book.

"I just finished my sophomore year of college," she stated. She explained how the idea started much earlier while she was in high school. "But, I did most of my writing during my spring 2014 semester abroad in the Middle East.

Rather than going through an extensive publishing process, I decided to self-publish. It was more about the words being written than any publicity or attention it would get."

ViewPoint |
There is something not right about all this

By Michael Dilley, Guest Commentator

The Zone gym was forcefully closed yesterday by the Champaign County Sheriffs Office in conjunction with State's Attorney Julia Reitz and Judge Tom Difanis. Like many other shuttered businesses in the State of Illinois, the Zone and it’s employees are suffering tremendous set backs and loosing their livelihoods, and it just continues.

As with many other in Illinois, the Zone believes their Constitutional rights have been violated and chose to exercise what they believed to be their right. They did it properly with precautions and notified their members. They pursued legal council and duly informed the proper organizations ahead of time. May I remind one that this is America, with founding documents protecting our freedom and rights. Those who detract from that fact may find themselves needing it someday. To allow this to occur without opposition is the first step in losing these very important rights, no matter what your opinion might be on what the Zone did. Just ask our Jewish friends or those in Communist China how this ends. Just because an autocratic politician declares something, does not make it correct. In the words of Sir John Dalberg-Acton, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

In an order released by Judge Difanis, he stated "The Zone is significantly endangering the public health and welfare of people". This is a false narrative and not based in any data or science out of St. Joseph. They told us that this shutdown was to the flatten the curve. St. Joseph has not only flattened the curve, we have never had one. This is not Chicago, this is St. Joseph, you cannot use the same one size fits all for the entire state. This is an arbitrary and capricious application of these standards.

There is so much wrong about this it’s hard to know where to start. One has to wonder how it is permissible to allow weed sale businesses and liquor stores to be allowed to stay open, call them “essential” and maintain it is for health reasons, but a small gym with a few members are not. Has anyone seen the line of people standing next to each other outside the weed store?

How is it that places like Wal-Mart and numerous other big box stores can stay open, but little mom and pop stores like those in St. Joseph with 4-5 customers at a time that sell the same items cannot. Something wrong with this logic. When things like this don’t add up one has to wonder what else is going on here?

This all is a demonstration in how our Governor and some other public officials are out of touch with the common man. It shows the Governor has little to no understanding about how things operate outside of Cook County. He makes dictative decrees without allowing the Legislative representatives in areas outside of Cook County to participate. He makes other out of touch politicians, like the Mayor of Chicago, his confidants. He violates Illinois law and the Constitution and scoffs at and attacks those who call him out on these injustices. It is politicians like him that the framers of the Constitution envisioned when they developed that great document.

Then we have some of our local officials and politicians choosing to follow the Governor along in his blatant disregard of our Constitutional rights like little puppy dogs.

There is something not right about all this. It is my hope that in the end there will be a big debate about how wrong this has been and how we never again need to so easily give up our God given rights.

About Michael Dilley: Michael has been a resident of Champaign County for well over 60 years. He has had a 40 plus year career locally in Public Safety, holding numerous positions in Public Safety Organizations. He has taught and trained many others throughout the Public Safety community. He has volunteered and coached youth athletics in the local community and has volunteered in his church. He is a big believer in the United States Constitution and it’s importance to our communities.

CDC issues new guidelines for American K-12 schools

The Center for Disease Control announced new guidelines for schools Kindergarten through the 12th grade.

With the very real prospect of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing into the next academic year, the purpose of the flow chart is guide school administrators in making the right choices when it comes to opening their districts and the schools within them.

The document reminds school officials that "it is important to check with state and local health officials and other partners to determine the most appropriate actions while adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community."

When schools reopen, teachers and staff member, many who have become techno conferencing wizards over the past two months, will also have to add health administration to their skill set. The national public health organization suggest schools come up with daily routine and set of procedures to check students and employees for COVID-19 symptoms.

Click on the graphic above to read the CDC's new learning tree.

No one is in The Zone, St. Joseph business closed with TRO

Yesterday, The Zone open its doors for the first time after the Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order temporarily closing all "non-essential" business. Today, upon receipt of a temporary restraining order, the business is closed.

The Zone is being assisted in reopening with the help of attorney Thomas DeVore, who gained recent notoriety after obtaining an exemption from the states shelter-in-place order for State Representative Darren Bailey. DeVore's plate is full as he navigates the state attempting to help small businesses in more than 30 counties reopen in opposition to the governor's executive order.

He sent a letter to Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on May 6 stating that the gym was planning to reopen if they did not take formal, legal action against it by Wednesday.

The CUPHD promptly responded with a cease and desist letter taped to workout facility's door sometime on Tuesday. To the delight of members, The Zone's Facebook page announced the reopening at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday to the public. Meanwhile, the Champaign County State's Attorney office worked to obtain the TRO.

Erik Hyam, an attorney from the Silver Lake Group, the law firm handling the next stage of The Zone's fight, followed up with a letter to CUPHD administrator Julie Pryde yesterday.

2020.05.13 Letter to Champa... by MarissaMiller on Scribd

Today, around 3:45, about 31 hours into their revival while nearly a dozen clients were working out, The Zone was served with the TRO issued by Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis. According to WAND-TV, patrons were escorted out and the doors locked.

A hearing before Difanis is on the docket for May 21 at 9 am. State’s Attorney Julia Rietz indicated should the business attempt to reopen between now and the court date, the gym could be in contempt of court and suffer civil and criminal penalties.

The Sentinel attempted to reached out to the business owner for comment, but has not received a response.

The Zone also operates gym facilities in Greenville, Metropolis, Shelbyville, Virden and Pana.

The Big Picture: SJO baseball bounces back with 9-4 win over Westville

After dropping a non-conference game against Centennial at home 24 hours earlier, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team hosted the Tigers from Westville in Illini Prairie vs Vermilion Valley Conference showdown. The Spartans rolled to a 9-4 win with juniors Joey Acton and Drew Coursey taking turns on the hill.

As we said in our first Big Picture photo page, we were lucky to captured a number of really nice action and feature photos of juniors and a few sophomores that were on the varsity roster last year. The Sentinel is happy to present this page feature members from this year's Class of 2020. This page is sponsored by an anonymous donor.


Unlock this gallery page

This page is sponsored by an anonymous donor. Athletes and parents feel free to download any image on this page to share on your social media platforms, with family and friend or to save with your family memorabilia for generations to come by clicking on any photo you want. The Sentinel is looking for another sponsor for this page. Help us add ten additional images from this game on this Big Picture page. Sponsors will also receive special recognition at the top and bottom of the page so readers know who to thank for their generosity. Ready to sponsor? Click here . . .

2014 SJO graduate Logan DeWeese promoted while working on MBA

Logan DeWeese, a 2014 graduate from St. Joseph-Ogden High School, was recently promoted to Inventory Specialist for College of Engineering at the University of Illinois.

His new duties includes completing property accounting and business-related tasks for the college, inventory processing for required reporting, maintaining updates as well as revising inventory and equipment records.

Concurrently, DeWeese is also work on his MBA through an executive program through SIU-E. His area of concentration is business analytics and he will finish the program this August.

"I felt this masters degree would give me a wide range of business career opportunities in the business environment," he said. "Also data analytics are a growing industry that I have a strong interest in."

His program has a 15 credit hour limit per semester and is designed to accommodate working professionals. There is no mandatory meeting times.

Due to the U of I campus closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Deweese said he was only on campus with his new job for about two months before the shutdown.

"I have been working home for about two months now," he explained. "Certainly one challenge is getting to know all the staff, and the other would be remembering where all the buildings are."

After leaving SJO when he graduated, DeWeese attended Parkland College for two years. Earning an Associates degree in General Studies, he transferred to Eastern Illinois University to continues his studies picking up a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems.

For student who want to go to college but may not have the resources to for a four-year institution, he says they should consider starting with at two-year program.

"Attending a community college like Parkland or others community colleges in the area, allows you to save money and isn't costly to change your major as it would be at a four year university or private school," he explained. "I highly advise that high school graduates who don't have a scholarship, financial aid assistance, or grants not go straight into a four-year university depending on your financial circumstances."

He said his involvement in high school sports has paid dividends.

"Playing football in high school really installed in me how to operate and function in a team mentality which can be very crucial in a workplace environment. Making sacrifices and adjustments are all part of the process," DeWeese said. It has helped him "to make sound decisions in any situation."

Prior to his acceptance into the MBA program and taking a position at the University, DeWeese was an Inventory Controller and Delivery Coordinator at Menards in Champaign nearly six years.

He's pumped to play college soccer, Spartan Spotlight with Brayden Grimsey

If you know Brayden Grimsey, sports, and more specifically soccer, is a huge part of his life. He loves the rush of dribbling and passing, mounting an offense attack while pushing the ball down the field.

The soccer, a sport he has been playing since the age of 5, will continue to be a large part of his life. For the next four years he will play at the collegiate lever at Illinois College starting this August.

But, when asked to choose between having a Prom, a spring sports season or graduation his senior year, sports took a back seat.

"Well, I wont lie," the player from last fall's soccer team that was probably most underappreciated asset on the pitch. Grimsey, who also runs track, was sentimental about his choice. "I want to say sports but there is nothing more important than graduation and walking across the stage with my class."

The St. Joseph native enjoys playing video games, being outside, and playing basketball and soccer. He also has a creative, artistic side, although he said he has done much with it other than what he has produced for his art classes at SJO.

Like most students at the high school, finishing his senior year at home through electronic conferencing was less than satisfying, certainly not ideal.

"I dont like it! (I) miss my teachers, friends and the atmosphere," he explained. "Being home is nice for a while because you can sleep in and do homework whenever."

Understandable. It is hard to make lasting teenage memories quasi-trapped in quarantine-like confinement.

His greatest memories at SJO include playing soccer with his friends on the field, going to home football games, and qualifying for the IHSA Track and Field State Competition during his junior year.

Hoping to make a repeat, consecutive trip to the state meet, Grimsey competed in three indoor meets this spring before the COVID-19 pandemic forced athletic events around the country to a unwelcomed halt. Out of the eight events he ran in his final season as a Spartan, his 4x200-meter relay squad placed first at the UNI Indoor meet on February 21.

Now that track is over and high school classes done for the semester today, he can focus on the next chapter of his life. He is jazzed about playing soccer at the next level.

"I'm PUMPED!" he exclaimed. "I'm looking forward to playing at this level, a dream of mine for a long time. I'm hoping to contribute to a new team and coach with a winning season."

You will be able to get a glimpse of Grimsley in his new uniform on August 23 in Decatur when the Blueboys take on Millikin University in a preseason scrimmage.

Majoring in Human Services, the two-sport athlete isn't sure what he will do after college.

"I hoping to be a a part of an athletic team," he said. "Graduate school is something I'm open to."

However, his dream job would working with a professional soccer team. He said it would be great to work around so many amazing players that he idolizes.

The four-year veteran has a little advice for teammates he leaving behind: "Keep your heads up, never give up and always play with your heart," he says. "I'll be back to watch!"

Meanwhile, for incoming freshmen students, he said they should enjoy their time in high school because it goes by so fast.

Grimsey's favorite classes at SJO were all of his science-related classes with Mrs. Jeanna Kerner and Mrs. Stacey Kietzman, two of his favorite teachers. He also enjoy every class he he ad with Mr. Don Beckett. He singled out Mrs. Kirk at St. Joseph Grade School and Mr. Steele at St. Joseph Middle School as two other teachers he really liked before entering high school.

"Mrs. Kietzman is a very sweet kind teacher who has always encouraged me and supported me," he said. "Mrs. Kerner, I wont lie she is pretty relaxed and very honest, and her sarcasm and humor matches mine."

As mentioned earlier, Grimsey like to play videos games in his free time. He likes Call of Duty, FIFA and NBA2K. If e-gaming was an IHSA sport and there was a state trophy at stake, he left no doubt his Spartan gaming team would bring home hardware like every other sport at SJO. With his five-man special ops team comprised of himself along with covert buddies Zac, Downing, Trevon, and Wes, they would be a superior gaming force for the competition to reckon with.

"We are Call of Duty gods. We'd take 'em down."

Transitions: Brian K. Renfrew

Brian K. Renfrew, 54, of St. Joseph, IL, passed away at 5:11 PM, May 8, 2020 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana.

Brian was born February 25, 1966 in Urbana, IL, son of Micheal and Bonnie (Adams) Renfrew.

Brian loved his family, airplanes – both repairing and flying them, riding his mountain bike, St. Joe football, and making people laugh. He was proud to be a Marine and served his country from 1984 to 1990. He was loyal and loving with a famous smirk. He loved motorcycles and enjoyed watching Luke race. He was very proud of Jake becoming a pilot following in his footsteps. He enjoyed watching movies on wars and very much loved history. He loved hanging out with his family, camping, and long family vacations.

He married Bobbie Delmotte on October 5, 1996 in Georgetown, IL. She survives. Also surviving are two sons, Jake Renfrew and Luke Renfrew, both of St. Joseph, IL, a daughter, Jennifer Ogle of Barren Springs, VA; three grandchildren, Chelsea, Easton and Keely Ogle, all of Barren Springs, VA; his mother, Bonnie Renfrew of Urbana, IL, sisters Christine (Greg) Renshaw of Mahomet, IL, Kathryn (Thomas III) Wimmer of Rantoul, Megan (Jarrod) Reed of Reno, NV and a brother, Micheal Jayson Renfrew of the Philippines.

Brian was preceded in death by his father, Micheal Renfrew, maternal grandparents, Oscar and Alice Adams, paternal grandparents, Bob and Rosemary Renfrew, uncle Marc Renfrew and aunt Lish Renfrew.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at this time, the family is having a private viewing only. The burial will be at a later date.

Condolences may be offered at

Go to work and be part of the solution

By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

America is now opening back up. People are starting to venture back to church. Places of work are reopening. Restaurants are reopening. State parks are reopening. The beaches are opening many places.

Most Americans are breathing a sigh of relief. Americans are sick and tired of Covid-19. We're tired of hearing about it and we're tired of the repercussions from it.

More Americans now are unemployed since The Great Depression. More unemployment claims have been filed than ever before. Many Americans have filed for unemployment weeks ago and still haven't a penny of money. I continue to hear from people who haven't received a stimulus check.

We are tired of the news and the latest countdown of every county's death stats from Covid-19.

If you want to increase our risk of mental illness just keep watching television eight hours a day as many Americans have been doing. In my town we have to hear about how many have died from every county in three states. Our hearts break and grieve for these families. It's just tough hearing the stats every day about so many counties in so many different states.

What must be next?

We must find a vaccine for Covid-19. We must develop it in our country if at all possible and we must not enrich China with billions of dollars with anything that comes out of that country. China has done and given us enough. We don't need more from China of anything. By the way, quit buying anything made from China.

Use commonsense! Be safe, be smart.

Don't go to church if you don't want to! If you have health or age issues stay home or go walk the park. People in church are going to be in close proximity. It cannot be avoided totally. Hallways are narrow and restrooms are small at church. You are going to be close to somebody. You can go to church later.

Pray at home, read your Bible at home and if you have any income you can mail your church a check. However, if you want to go to church then go but respect other people. Wear your mask for now and be distant. Be courteous.

Go back to work if you still have a job. Your employer doesn't want you to be sick. Your employer is financially struggling now, too. He wants to keep the factory or the business safe and healthy. They can't make it if everybody gets sick. Go to work and be a part of the solution. Don't be the problem.

Go somewhere if you can. America and actually the entire planet are stir crazy. Keep your mask handy and wash your hands a lot. Carry your disinfectants with you. Clean everything often. Respect social distancing. Be safe.

Next, start thinking about how you are going to vote this fall. If you don't like how your elected leaders are leading then you can change it by voting.


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.


Featuring the Class of 2020's Adamaris Fuentes, Ethan Hinrichs & Eliza Lewis

Adamaris Fuentes

Clubs & Activities
Spanish Club, Spanish Club Leader, Cheer (1 year), Drama Club, Maroon Platoon, Maroon Platoon Leader

St. Joseph

Dancing, baking, and giving her time through volunteer work.

Favorite SJO memories:
Meeting new people, and she was thankful for all of the new opportunities each year at SJO.

Favorite classes:
Spanish with Senor Zak Sutton, PE with Mr. William Billman, and English with Ms. Susan Pensinger

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Risley and Mrs. Kinney at St. Joseph Middle School and Senor Sutton, Mr. Kevin Simondsen, and Mrs. Lianne Rash at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, Majoring in Pre-PA Biology.

Advice to future SJO students:
Do not take anything for granted.

Graduating from college with an undergraduate or advance degree? Let us know. Read more ...

Ethan Hinrichs

Clubs & Activities
Marching Band (4 years)
Track and Field (1 year)
Soccer (2 years)
Scholastic Bowl, Rube Goldberg Team, We The People

St. Joseph

He has seven siblings: one older sister, two younger brothers, and four younger sisters.

Reading and working

Favorite SJO memories:
Marching Band trip to Washington D.C. when he was a freshman and going to Chicago as a part of the We The People team. Ethan has also enjoyed spending time with his teachers throughout the years at SJO.

Favorite classes:
Physics, AP Chemistry, and all of his classes with Mr. Marshall Schacht and Mr. Jeff Kieffer.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. McDonald at St. Joseph Grade School; Mrs. Mabry and Mr. Steele at St. Joseph Middle School; and Mr. Schacht, Mr. Jeff Kieffer, Mr. Robert Glazier, and Mr. Kevin Simondsen at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

He will attend the Parkland Pathways program and will transfer to the University of Illinois to major in aerospace engineering.

Summer Plans:
After high school, Ethan plans to work two jobs over the summer.

Advice to future SJO students:
Be social and to get out more.

Eliza Lewis

Clubs & Activities
Cheer (4 years)
We The People, Spanish Club, Spanish Club Leader, Bible Club Leader, SADA, NHS, Drama Club

St. Joseph

One older sister and one younger brother.

Working, Bible journaling, drawing, watching YouTube, and hanging out with friends.

Favorite SJO memories:
Eliza’s greatest memories at SJO centered around the wonderful memories she made with friends at lunch time.

Favorite classes:
Geometry with Mr. Kiel Duval, Sociology with Mr. Jeff Kieffer, AP English III with Mr. Ryan Searby, Horticulture with Mrs. Darcy Nekolny, and Economics with Mr. Marshall Schacht.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Mabry at St. Joseph Grade School; Mr. Risley and Mrs. Lubinski at St. Joseph Middle School; and Mr. Kieffer, Mr. Duval, Senor Zak Sutton, Ms. Kelly Steffen, and Mr. Don Beckett at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Judson University, majoring in Architecture and minor in Spanish and Christian Ministries. She will also be on the cheer team and the dance team.

Advice to future SJO students:
Enjoy your time in high school because high school is such a special time in your life.

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

The Big Picture: SJO baseball drops 2-1 decision to Centennial

On March 27, 2019, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team hosted Centennial in a non-conference contest. The Spartans lost the pitchers duel in a close, 2-1 finish dropping to 5-4 in early season play.

Luckily, we captured a number of really nice action and feature photos of juniors and a few sophomores that were on the varsity roster last year. Over the next week or so, The Sentinel will publish the best six photos from each of the seven games in our photo archives with a special focus on the members from the Class of 2020.

Here is the first installment of The Big Picture, starting with this home game against the Chargers featuring five of this year's seniors.

Click to learn more

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Sponsor this page and we'll remove the watermark from all the images on this page for the athletes, coaches and parents to save and share their memories for generations to come. In addition to removing the watermark on each photo, with your sponsorship, The Sentinel will add ten additional images from this game on this Big Picture page. Sponsors will also receive special recognition at the top and bottom of the page so readers know who to thank for their generosity. Ready to sponsor? Click here . . .

Senior Spotlights with Nate Marshky, Andrew Calton & Samantha Blobaum

Andrew Calton

Clubs & Activities
Art Club

St. Joseph

Four sisters and two brothers

Working. He enjoys babysitting, house sitting, working at a daycare, and working at Monical’s Pizza.

Favorite SJO memories:
His junior year during the Homecoming assembly when the SJO chorus was singing, and all of the lights were turned off as the entire crowd got into the chorus’ performance. This was an inspiring moment for him.

Favorite classes:
Art, Physical Science, and Algebra I.

Favorite teachers:
Mr. Miller and Mrs. Mabry at St. Joseph Middle School, and Mr. Robert Glazier and Mr. Jake Beccue at SJO.

Western Illinois University, majoring in Criminal Justice.

Advice to future SJO students:
Try your best and do not slack off.

Samantha Blobaum

Clubs & Activities
Drama Club, Art Club, FFA

St. Joseph

Being outside, reading, working on arts and crafts, and hiking at Homer Lake.

Favorite SJO memories:
Prom, post prom, all of the school plays, and being able to hang out with all of her friends.

Favorite classes:
Art, Horticulture, and all of the classes she had with Mr. Don Beckett and Mr. Jeff Kieffer.

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Pirtle and Mrs. Stevens at St. Joseph Grade School; Mr. Risley, Mr. Thompson, and Mrs. Ford at St. Joseph Middle School; and Mr. Kieffer, Mr. Beckett, Mr. Jake Beccue, and Mrs. Heather Lindenmeyer at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Parkland College/University of Illinois, Majoring in Architecture

Advice to future SJO students:
Get their work done on time and to get involved with extra-curriculars.

Nate Marshky

Clubs & Activities
Coffee Club, STEP Program

St. Joseph

Two younger brothers

Walking his dog and cat, and he enjoys going to the Disc Replay store in Champaign.

Favorite SJO memories:
Over the years, he has really enjoyed making coffee every Thursday for the SJO staff with other students in Mrs. Beckett’s class. Nate has enjoyed many field trips over the years, especially going to the pumpkin patch and Apple Dumplin. He has enjoyed dressing up for Halloween at school, and he remembers the gas leak during his sophomore year when he got out of class for a while.

Favorite classes:
All of his science classes

Favorite teachers:
Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Kim Ward, Mrs. James, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. McCoy, Mr. Risley, Mrs. Mabry, Mrs. Bayles, Mrs. Don Beckett, and Mr. Richard Vetter.

After high school:
Nate is excited to find a job, and he wants to learn how to box.

Advice to future SJO students:
Work hard.

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

If there is a fall sports season, it will be epic

By Clark Brooks, Editor & Publisher

The fall sports season should be epic this year.

I can't wait to get back to work covering Spartan football. I can't wait for the upcoming volleyball season because I think SJO is definitely a final four contender next November. I'm looking forward to questioning coach Abby McDonald if her squad is in system after a big game.

The soccer team has a new head coach and will have a new look with a number of players whose stories I can't wait to share.

I believe it will be an epic season because the stakes will be higher. Every player worth their salt will practice like it could be their last. Every game could be the last one of the season. Every week, every match or game, yesterday's practice could be the last. Every moments with teammates and coaches will be precious.

At anytime, as we experienced in March, the fall sports season could vanish into oblivion, pulled out from under us with a rug in the shape of an executive order. If that happens, you can bet winter sports won't be happening this academic year either.

The prospect of no winter sports, especially wrestling, when I hope to witness senior Isaiah Immke place take his place on one of the top three spots in his weight class on the IHSA podium, would be tragic. Honestly, I've looked forward to watching Immke enjoy success as a Spartan athlete for nearly a decade after he asked if I was legendary Spartan kicker Nick Krisman's dad at a SJO softball game. I was flattered, and to this day still find his innocent question amusing.

All of this is assuming that level of infections from the Coronavirus declines to requisite numbers over the next three months. Unfortunately as I write this, I have a hard time seeing the start of the fall sports season.

As it stands at the moment, according to the Governor's Restore Illinois plan, the state or areas of it, would need to reach Phase Four of the plan for schools to open. The Revitalization stage is when gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance. Schools from Pre-K to 12, higher education, all summer programs, and child care will open with Illinois Department of Public Health approved safety guidelines.

Here is what's needed:

Cases and Capacity: The determination of moving from Phase 3 to Phase 4 will be driven by the COVID-19 positivity rate in each region and measures of maintaining regional hospital surge capacity. This data will be tracked from the time a region enters Phase 3, onwards.

•At or under a 20 percent positivity rate and increasing no more than 10 percentage points over a 14-day period, AND
•No overall increase (i.e. stability or decrease) in hospital admissions for COVID-19-like illness for 28 days, AND
•Available surge capacity of at least 14 percent of ICU beds, medical and surgical beds, and ventilators

Testing: Testing available in region regardless of symptoms or risk factors

Tracing: Begin contact tracing and monitoring within 24 hours of diagnosis for more than 90% of cases in region

At this point, schools reopening and sports resuming around the state isn't looking promising when we are currently stuck at Phase Two and the likelihood of moving to beyond three by August a pipe dream for a couple of reasons.

Considering that nearly every state that borders Illinois is opening up, a combination of warm weather and frustrated/bored Illinoisans traveling outside of the our state for a taste of 'freedom' will either become infected or drag one of the 14 thus far identified strains to their hometowns. Visitors to the state or passing through from Missouri, Iowa and and Indiana will ignite a hot spots that might possibly radiates into an entire region.

If epidemiologists' projections are correct, this will likely push the state back to Phase Two and we are all shelling again. Students are back in the living room attending digital class and parents back in their role as employee-teachers for an even longer round of sheltering-in-place.

Meanwhile, the Hoosiers next door have already announced that "school sponsored summer activities may resume on July 1, 2020." Providing his state's pandemic indicators make the anticipated decline, Governor Eric Holcomb's five-step plan has Indiana completely open on July 1. The Indiana High School Athletic Association released a statement last Wednesday that would allow for high school athletes and coaches to practice on school grounds on that day.

In a Facebook Live interview with State Rep. Emanuel Welch (D-Westchester), Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Carmen Ayala did not offer a reassuring outlook. She said parents should be prepared to continue homeschooling their children in the fall as the state's K-12 schools could remain closed according to a story from Prairie State Wire.

Ayala is suggesting school district superintendents "have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C" for the upcoming academic year.

Then, there is the issue of a second wave. Most likely areas of the country will see a resurgence in late October, early November when the temperature and humidity will become more favorable for the virus according scientist who study viruses. Anything short of a vaccine and I'll be stuck covering local campaigns and zoom school board meetings.

Not exactly the epic fall I'm expecting.

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