Transition: Eileen Welch, 99, of St. Joseph

Eileen Welch, 99, was born October 12, 1920 at Sadorus, the daughter of John and Anna (O'Neil) Gallagher. The St. Joseph resident passed away on Friday September 25, 2020 at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, just short of celebrating 100 years on God's Earth.

She married William F. Bushue, who preceded her in death, and later married James Albert Welch, who survives. Eileen was preceded in death by her parents, son James, daughter Linda, and grandson Troy Waller.

Eileen is also survived by her daughter, Sandra Waller of St. Joseph, and her son, Dustin Ragle of St. Joseph. Grandchildren, Jeanne Lord, Joseph Ragle, and Everett Bushue. Great grandchildren, Blake (Katlyn) Waller, Ty Waller, Joseph (Alex) Ragle Jr, Josh Ragle, and two great-great grandchildren Riley and Anna Snyder.

She was employed at the University of Illinois and retired there. She also was a former manager at TCBY Yogurt store.

Eileen was active in her retirement and cherished family gatherings. She enjoyed mowing her yard until the age of 94 as well as sewing, cooking for her family, and family get-togethers.

Funeral services will be 1:00 P.M. Thursday October 1, 2020 at Freese Funeral Home 302 E. Grand Ave. St. Joseph. Entombment will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Urbana. Visitation will be Thursday from Noon-1:00pm.

'Temporary' tax increases always become permanent in Illinois

Ben Szalinski
Illinois Policy

State politicians have repeatedly reduced backlash from tax hikes by calling them temporary. That’s what they did in 1989 and 2011 but voted later to break their promises and make the increases permanent.

In 1989, former Republican Gov. Jim Thompson was pushing for a permanent 40% tax increase. Thompson lacked support from Democrats and reached a compromise with Speaker of the House Michael Madigan to temporarily raise taxes by 18% for the next two years by raising the rate from 2.5% to 3%.

State tax news
At the time, Madigan said Illinois did not need more tax revenue. Thompson disagreed, saying it was necessary to address concerns over school funding and property taxes. He said a temporary hike just pushed the problems to the future.

Two years later, lawmakers again voted to extend the temporary increase. In 1993, the General Assembly made it permanent.

Following the Great Recession in 2011, former Gov. Pat Quinn and state lawmakers jacked taxes up from 3% to 5%, again with the promise it would be temporary. Quinn said the increase was to help the state pay the bills and regain sound financial footing. Former Senate President John Cullerton promised it would help pay for pensions without borrowing.

“The point of this income tax increase is not to expand programs, not to do brand new things in Illinois state government, it is only intended to pay our old bills and deal with the structural deficit,” said former House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie.

Lawmakers planned to partially sunset the tax to 3.75% in 2014 and 3.25% in 2025. The decrease did happen in 2014, but it was short lived.

The General Assembly passed the largest tax increase in Illinois history in 2017 by raising rates back up to 4.95%.

The temporary 2011 hike solved few problems for Illinois and the 2017 increase has been no better. The state still struggles with the nation’s worst pension crisis and the deficit has quadrupled since 2011.

Illinois' net position worsens dramatically despite two major tax hikes

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is now asking taxpayers to play this game again with a progressive income tax structure. He wants a small percentage of Illinois taxpayers to pay more in taxes to bail out the state’s financial mismanagement.

However, the governor’s revenue projection falls short. Pritzker says a progressive income tax will net the state an additional $3.4 billion. Analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute found it would only generate $1.4 billion more.

There is no possible way Pritzker can fulfill all of his spending promises, pay down billions in debt and still cut taxes for 97% of Illinoisans, as his proposal claims. Eventually, lawmakers will be back seeking another tax increase but with greater power to put unfair burdens on smaller groups of taxpayers, including taxing retirement income like every state with a progressive tax.

The Illinois Constitution contains a flat tax protection, meaning you pay more when you make more and pay less when you make less – but everyone pays the same rate. Lawmakers pay a political price when they raise everyone’s taxes, as happened in 2017 when resignations and voter backlash cleared out the General Assembly.

Giving the General Assembly a progressive income tax would be equivalent to handing them a blank check. They will be able to spend however much they want and selectively target different segments of the population for more taxes, reducing the number of angry taxpayers at any one time.

Illinois voters for the first time in 50 years have a chance Nov. 3 to tell Springfield what they think about tax increases. Lawmakers need to fix basics, such as pension growth and 20 years of deficit spending, before making another promise to taxpayers that history shows is bound to be broken.

Originally published by Illinois Policy on September 16, 2020. Published by permission.

Photo of the Day - September 26, 2020

Blake Speckman wrestles his freshman year at SJO

State qualifier in the making

St. Joseph-Ogden wrestler Blake Speckman settles in for a pin on a Unity wrestler his freshman year at home dual meet held on January 22, 2004. Speckman, a two-sport athletes for the Spartans, rose to become a three-time state qualifier in the sport during his last three years of high school.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Photo of the Day - September 25, 2020

Tyler Clark makes a catch for the Unity Rockets against STM

Big Catch, Unity Rolls STM

Unity receiver Tyler Clark makes a catch in his team's road game at St. Thomas More on October 3, 2014. The Rockets blasted the Sabers 49-14 in their Okaw Valley Conference contest. Unity, crowned conference champions that year, went on to finish the season 9-2 after their loss in the IHSA semifinals to rival St. Joseph-Ogden on November 8.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Small business and retirees could suffer under progressive tax plan

Ben Szalinski and Adam Schuster
Illinois Policy

Illinois state Treasurer Michael Frerichs confirmed what many believe would be a new possibility in Illinois if voters pass the progressive income tax amendment: taxing retirees.

"One thing a progressive tax would do is make clear you can have graduated rates when you are taxing retirement income," he said while speaking at an event hosted by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce. "And, I think that’s something that’s worth discussion."

State tax news
According to the Daily Herald, Frerichs said he knows people who receive annual pensions over $100,000 but pay no state income taxes. He said under the flat tax there is no way to differentiate between retirees who take home hundreds of thousands from those who get little.

Illinois voters on Nov. 3 will decide whether to remove the Illinois Constitution’s flat tax protections and give state lawmakers greater power to set tax rates.

All 32 states with a progressive income tax impose some sort of tax on retirement income from 401(k)s, IRAs, Social Security and pension benefits. Mississippi limits its retirement taxes to the income of those who retire before age 59.5.

The constitution’s drafters in 1970 included a flat tax guarantee in order to ease voters’ fears that the state’s first income tax – which went into effect in 1969 – could be raised easily in Springfield. Flat taxes treat everyone the same and make it harder for lawmakers to raise rates on everyone because voters can hold them responsible. A graduated tax allows politicians to decide who should be taxed how much and allows them to gradually increase taxes on smaller segments of the population, eventually hitting the middle class where most taxable income resides.

That is what happened in Connecticut, the only state in the past 30 years to impose a progressive tax. Middle class taxes rose 13%, property taxes spiked 35%, poverty increased by 50%, more than 360,000 jobs were lost and the state economy took a $10 billion hit. All that, and the state still failed to balance its budget.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has billed a progressive income tax as a way to increase taxes on the rich without also increasing taxes on the poor and middle class. But for a low-income resident making $12,400 a year, the tax would save them $6 while they are still taxed $1,800 a year.

The bigger problem is the tax’s impact on small businesses, which are just starting the economic recovery from Pritzker’s COVID-19 lockdown orders. A progressive tax would mean up to a 47% tax increase on over 100,000 small businesses, the state’s most prolific jobs creators.

Taxing retirement is not a new idea in Illinois. Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed taxing retirees with incomes over $100,000 last year, while the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago proposed taxing retirement income over $15,000 per year.

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board even tied the two together, writing "Pritzker’s progressive income tax plan can set the stage for far greater tax fairness. Next, that tax should be expanded to include the highest retirement incomes."

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former state Sen. Daniel Biss also agreed with Frerichs’ position that a progressive tax is needed in order for Illinois to tax retirement income.

While government leaders argue for more taxation, Illinoisans want to move in the opposite direction. A 2019 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found 73% are against taxing retirement incomes, while just 23% believe it is a good idea. Illinois is one of three states that does not tax retirement income.

With no retirement tax, Illinois can more easily retain retired workers without losing them to more tax-friendly states. Since 2013, Illinoisans over age 65 have been the least likely to move out.

Illinois' tax exemption for retirement helps retain state's older residents

Connecticut’s progressive income tax hits single filers on $50,000 and joint filers on $60,000 of retirement income. Unsurprisingly, Connecticut loses retired residents at a faster rate than Illinois.

If the Land of Lincoln changes tax structures and imposes a progressive income tax that taxes retired workers on their income, these trends can easily change. More Illinoisans over 65 will pack and move to states with better climates and lower tax rates.

Illinois leaders who want to ensure fairness and economic recovery should protect the current tax structure. Progressive taxation and taxing retirement income will not fix the state’s spending problem, but will send more jobs and retirees to other states.

Originally published by Illinois Policy on June 24, 2020. Published by permission.

Photo of the Day - September 24, 2020

SJO linebacker Jordan Hartman
Spartans surprised by Sabers on the road
Sophomore Jordan Hartman tries to fight his way into the St. Thomas More backfield for the Spartans in their 2011 Sangamon Valley Conference road game on September 30. St. Joseph-Ogden fell 14-12 in a thriller to the Sabers. After winning the next three games to finish the regular season playoff eligible with 6 wins and three losses, Hartman and Spartans made an early departure after falling to Monticello on their home turf, 42-14.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
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Turkey hunting permit lottery starts October 6

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced this week new updates to the process for hunters who want to enter the lottery for Spring Wild Turkey permits. The new application procedure, adopted earlier this year, will streamline the lotteries for turkey hunters, making it easier to obtain all three of their permits online rather than a combination of online and over-the-counter.

"We hope this new process will be simpler and more straightforward for our hunters," said Luke Garver, manager of the IDNR Wild Turkey Project in a release to the public. "Resident hunters can now apply in all three lotteries, whereas previously they would only be able to apply in the first and third. Hunters also will have the opportunity to get more permits for their favorite public land spots via the lottery."

Three changes to the lottery process includes a stipulation that only resident hunters may apply for one turkey hunting permit. This excludes hunters who have received or will receive a landowner property-only hunting turkey permit for the spring season. Applications for this lottery, also known as the First Lottery will be accepted starting on October 6 and will close on December 1.

In the Second Lottery, all hunters are eligible to apply for one turkey hunting permit, but hunters who have not already been awarded a permit will receive preference. Applications for this phase will be accepted through the first working day after Jan. 10.

Finally, the Third Lottery allows any to apply. The statement from the IDNR says "hunters may apply for up to three permits during this period, except that no one may exceed the limit of three permits in total for spring turkey hunting." The three-permit total includes all other allowable lottery-drawn, landowner, youth, and OTC permits. Applications for this lottery will be accepted through the first working day after Feb. 8.

For additional information or questions on Wild Turkey Hunting in Illinois, visit click here:

Photo of the Day - September 23, 2020

SJO girls track senior night

Spartans celebrate track senior night

With her mother looking on, St. Joseph-Ogden senior Hannah Graham receives a congratulatory kiss from her father, Chris, during senior night recognition at the 2012 Lady Spartan Classic. Graham, a three-sport athlete, was a member of the state qualifying 4x200 and 4x400 squads that advanced to state weeks later. The SJO girls finished 16th in the team standings at the state finals Charleston.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Photo of the Day - September 22, 2020

SJO's Connor Janes carries the ball through the PBL defensive line in 2014

SJO notches win in season opener

Connor Janes evades a pair of Panther tacklers while carrying the ball while teammate Jake Renfrew provides additional protection during a fourth quarter play in the Spartans home opener on Friday, August 29, 2014. The Spartans kicked off the 2014 season with conference victory over visiting Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 27-7. Janes, who carried the ball 8 times for 42 yards and caught two passes good for 61 more, finished the night with 103 all-purpose yards. St. Joseph-Ogden went on to finished the season with one regular season loss to Unity. SJO would avenge the 35-7 loss by kicking the Rockets out of the postseason with a 41-14 second round victory on their way to a 11-2 record.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Transitions: Wayne Sage, 81

On Friday September 18, 2020, Wayne L. Sage 81, of Ogden passed away at 1:25 P.M. surrounded by family at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.

Wayne was born May 26, 1939 in Compromise Township, the son of Fred and Reka (Albers) Sage. He married Roxie Schweineke on October 15, 1961 in Broadlands. She survives.

He is survived by his children: Sandra Lynne (Bill) Whalen of Crane, MO, SueAnn Denise (Jim) Billimack of Metamora, and Kevin Wayne (Lisa) Sage of Ogden; nine grandchildren: Emily (Cody) Scott, Rachel (Caleb) Gibbens, Mitchell (Haley) Billimack, Grant Billimack, Sydney Billimack, Janssen Sage, Jo Hannah Sage, Michael Sage, and Olivia Sage; two brothers: Darold (Millie) Sage of Venice, FL, and Myron Sage of Gifford; one sister: Donna (Carl) Beard of Tavares, FL; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Wayne was a member of St. John Lutheran Church, Royal where he was baptized and confirmed.

His greatest love was his family and spending time with them. He also enjoyed Hereford cattle and attending Hereford cattle shows and events.

He was a member of the American Hereford Association and the Illinois Hereford Association. He was named the Illinois Hereford Man of the Year by the Illinois Hereford Association, received the Illinois Golden Breeder Award, and was honored as the American Junior Hereford Association Advisor of the Year.

Wayne was a lifelong farmer and was named the Champaign County Young Farmer of the Year in 1970. He also worked as a St. Joseph rural mail carrier for many years.

Visitation will be held from Noon to 2:30 P.M. Monday September 21, 2020 at St. John Lutheran Church, Royal. Masks are required during the visitation. Graveside services will be held at 3:00 P.M. Monday at Kopmann Cemetery with Pastor Jay Johnson officiating. Freese Funeral Home 302 E. Grand Ave, St. Joseph is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the National Hereford Youth Foundation or Kopmann Cemetery Association.

Transitions: Edwin Dalton, 82

Born October 8, 1937, in rural Piatt County, Edwin D. Dalton was the son of Harlin and Bernadeane Dalton. At the age of 82, passed away on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at Kirby Hospital, Monticello.

He married Alice Jane Rawley on November 26, 1961 in Philo, Illinois. She preceded him in death on March 2, 2007. Also preceding him in death was his brother Ellis, sister Phyllis and both parents.

He is survived by his children, Bill (Renee) Dalton and Glenda Dalton and one brother, George (Dianna) Dalton. Also surviving him are grandchildren Jacob (Erin) Dalton, Lucas (Cara) Dalton, Megan (Devon Mitsdarffer) Rawley and Gavin Rawley and great grandchildren Brecken and Eleanor Dalton.

Ed was a tenant farmer in the Monticello area as a young man then in 1961 was employed at the University of Illinois where he retired in 1994 from the Steam Distribution Shop.

Ed and Alice enjoyed camping and traveling. He was involved in the boy scouts, youth baseball and the Philo ESDA along with being active in Zion Lutheran Church of Philo. Ed enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and cruising Philo in his golf cart.

The family would like to thank the wonderful staff of the Piatt County Nursing Home, Harbor Light Hospice, and Kirby Hospital for their exceptional care.

A private family service will be held at a later date. Interment will be in Locust Grove Cemetery, Philo, Illinois.

Memorial donations may be given to Zion Lutheran Church, 101 East Van Buren, Philo, Illinois 61864.

Photo of the Day - September 21, 2020

Jolee Paden finishes first at SJO 5K
Winning spirit
Jolee Paden is all smiles behind her first book Spiritual Runner after running in the 2014 St. Joseph 5K. She finished the race in first place for the women's 19-24 title. Paden, who self-published the title just a few weeks before the race, was a product of the St. Joseph-Ogden cross country and track program. She was recently was promoted to Director of Operations for Southeast Asia FCA.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
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Youth wrestling club announces change in leadership

The SJO Youth Wrestling Club welcomed a new board of directors this month after three members, Mike Birt, Abby Klitzing and Travis Eastin resigned from their positions. Eastin plans to remain a member-at-large to assist in the transition.

The board for the 2020-21 season are:

President - Bill Gallo
Vice President - Richard Vetter
Head Coach - Billy Gallo
Equipment - Chad Carter
Stats - Ben Gorman
Treasurer - Randi Jones
Secretary - Bailey Schiff
Public Relations - Matthew Ware
Fundraising - Adrienne Umbarger
Member at Large - Travis Eastin

Photo of the Day - September 20, 2020

Brayden Weaver hugs his dad on senior night

Basketball seniors honored at SJO

With his mother, Angie, looking on and enjoying the moment, St. Joseph-Ogden senior Brayden Weaver hugs his father Blake during senior night introductions before the start of SJO's final home basketball game of the season earlier this year on February 14. Weeks later before the Coronavirus rose to the level of a national pandemic, Weaver, a three-sport athlete, decided to continue his athletic career by playing football at Illinois College. The Spartans went on to defeat their guests Illinois Valley Central, 60-54.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The only way to overcome racial injustice is to stand together

By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

I haven't watched much professional sports over the last few months. Last Thursday, I did tune into the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns football game. My attention grew when I saw both teams on the field, arm in arm standing together for the national anthem.

I didn't see three or four kneeling or one team in the locker room and another team on the field. I didn't see anyone standing on their heads or someone else doing flip flops or something else. Both teams were standing, arm in arm in attention for the national anthem. I watched the entire game. The Bengals and Browns played one of the best games I've watched in some time. The game was fun to watch.

What they did was so simple yet so profound.

They stood arm in arm for the national anthem. On the state flag of Missouri, we find these words, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." This is also the state motto for Kentucky. Of course, words are only words if they are not backed by action.

The only way to deal with and overcome racial injustice in America is for all of us to stand together.

We must all stand against inequality. There is no room for bad police in America. We must all stand against all police acts that are unfair and eliminate all police who are not mentally stable to wear a badge. We must fund and support those who do wear the badge and put their lives at risk to protect us. We need a strong and good police force in every American community.

If we will stand together in America, we can protect our nation from being over taken by evil forces. We can strengthen our infrastructure. We can keep our military strong. We can keep Social Security and Medicare solvent for our aging population. We can make healthcare accessible for every American regardless of income or preexisting conditions. If we stand together, we will find a vaccine for Covid-19. We can bring our strong economy back and America will continue to be a great country.

What could happen in America if Congress would all stand together in unison for something?

Regardless of the issue or the vote the other political party is demonized for their stance on almost every issue. What could happen if Congress would stand with our President and try to help him tackle our difficult national problems? Regardless of what he wants to do the Democrats fight him and undermine him. Regardless of what the Democrat's want to do the Republicans fight them. This isn't working for our country.

What could happen if far left winged media in this country would stand with our President and try to help him? Instead, they fight him on his every move and every word.

A nation is no greater than her people.

America is filled with great people but we aren't a great country when we are fighting each other. The sure way to lose our country is to devour each other. If we devour each other, China, Russia, or whoever will take whatever is left.

Then, they will be telling us when to stand, sit or kneel. We can keep our freedom if we stand together now.


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.


A lib hoax or a serious public health issue, tell us your COVID experience

According to Champaign-Urbana Public Health statistics, 253 residents in our readership received confirmation they tested positive for COVID-19. As of today, out of the 382 reported active cases in the county, 31 cases or 8.1%, are neighbors in our area.

Do you have a personal experience with the Coronavirus you'd like to share?  How is your family handling life during a pandemic? 

Most people suffer the infection anywhere from just five days to a couple of weeks, but there is segment of the population whose symptoms simply will not go away.  Are you a long-hauler?  

Historically, viral pandemic outbreaks worsen during cold, winter months.  However, there are many who vehemently believe the Coronavirus is a hoax dreamed up and put into play by the liberal left to stymie President Donald Trump's reelection bid. Do you believe the outbreak will magically disappear on November 4?

The Sentinel would like to share your view, your story, your experience with our readers. Please email your story, tips or commentary to

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