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.

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