Photo of the day - October 17, 2020

SJO legend Randy Wolken talks to team
Wolken scripts decisive SJO win
Head coach Randy Wolken talks to his players during St. Joseph-Ogden's away game against Centennial in Champaign. Behind the pitching prowess of Alexandria Boaz, the Spartans pounded the Chargers 11-1 in the non-conference affair on April 9, 2014.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Photo of the Day - October 16, 2020

SJO volleyball player Payton Vallee

Spartans post 2-1 victory in STM road win

St. Joseph-Ogden's Payton Vallee attempts to hammer the ball past St. Thomas More's Maci Walters and Anna McClure (right) during their Illini Prairie Conference regular season match on September 20, 2018. After dropping the first set 25-22, SJO rallied back to pull out a 25-21 and 26-24 wins over the host Sabers. Vallee collected a kill and two digs on the road trip for the Spartans.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Get out and vote, and then back to the usual

By Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Occasionally, we all feel like we are living in a rut. Our days and weeks are filled with the same activities and schedules.

We mow grass, rake leaves, clean the house, sweep out the garage and do the same jobs. We go to the same grocery store on a certain day, wash our car at the same place and see the same people along the way. We go to the same place of worship, and read the same daily or weekly newspaper. Our lives are made up of routines, schedules and the usual.

Occasionally we get bored with the usual and do something different. We enjoy the change briefly. There is always a rush of adrenaline with something different. For example, you may change grocery stores for the week or even drive out of town to try out a restaurant. You may even take a trip to a distant part of the state to see something different. While the unusual is stimulating it often makes us tired and we pine to return to the usual.

The usual is the known and the expected. We've done it so many times and usually have the same results. The same results are good if they make us happy. You know what to expect at the little coffee place you frequent and that's why you keep returning. The grocery store has what you need and you know where to find everything. Unless they change everything around in the store and this drives us crazy until we learn our way around again.

We visit with the same people and often have the same types of conversations because those conversations are within our comfort zone. The usual things we do are all about our comfort levels. With Covid-19 you may not feel comfortable doing a lot because of the unknown.

People's comfort levels have changed over the last year. Worship attendance has dramatically changed. Work places have changed. Community gatherings have changed or don't exist.

Whatever your usual is, try to continue to enjoy the familiar and the routine. Keith Urban sings a song about "All that wasted time." One line in the song says, "The best years of my life was all that wasted time."

We seldom see the usual we do as wasting time. Usually it's moving forward with the routines of life. It's going to school. Doing our homework. Going to work. Earning a paycheck. Saving some money. Paying our bills. Maintaining our houses and cars. Going to the doctor and caring for ourselves. When you really think about it, we're very fortunate if we have daily and weekly routines. The best of life is often what we do every day.

We don't vote often. Once or twice a year we may go to the polls. Break with your routine and do something great for your local, state and national government.

Go vote. When the election results come in then you'll know you did your part when you return back to doing your usual.


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.


Kickball league forming in Tolono

A newly formed adult kickball league in Tolono is looking for teams next month.

Games will be played every Sunday during the month of November at the Small Diamond in Tolono. Teams can be co-ed with players no younger than the age of 16. The official schedule will be released once the number of teams have been set.

Teams will play 7 inning contest or for 55 minutes, whichever comes first.

The registration fee for each team is $300, which will cover the cost of lights, umpires and balls.

For more information contact Ashley Kolakowski via messenger on Facebook.

Photo of the Day - October 15, 2020

Chelsea Blaase runs during 2012 state track meet

Blaase qualifies for title race at state

Chasing a solo runner in front of her, St. Joseph-Ogden distance specialist Chelsea Blaase extends her lead on the main pack during the Class 1A 1600-meter run at the IHSA Track & Field State Finals in Charleston in 2012. The senior finished the qualifying race with a time of 5:04.96 to finish second in her heat behind GCMS' Sydni Meunier. Two days later, both Blaase and Meunier ran slower times in the championship race on Saturday, but their position in the final standings remained the same at one-two. Blaase won the two-mile state title to lift the St. Joseph-Ogden girls track team to a third place finish in the team standings.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Photo of the Day - October 14, 2020

Loren Brooks pole vaults at state track

Up & Over

St. Joseph-Ogden pole vaulter Loren Brooks starts over the bar on her way to clearing 8'6" during Thursday's prelims at the 2012 IHSA Track and Field State Finals. Brooks, a sophomore, failed on this attempt but later cleared the bar. She failed to make the qualifying height in order to advance to Saturday's finals.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

St. Joseph resident to send care packages to US troops abroad

Sarah Czerwinski, from St. Joseph, has a heart of gold.

A close friend, Alyssa Artola, deployed with the Urbana-based Illinois National Guard's 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team to the Ukraine in June. Artola and her unit of approximately 165 soldiers are part of a Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine deployed to support U.S. European Command operations.

Their mission is part of ongoing efforts by the U.S. to contribute to Ukraine’s long-term military reform and is provided at the request of the Ukrainian government. Observing a "train-the-trainer" approach, the Urbana based unit along with NATO allies and partners, are in-country to advise and mentor the Armed Forces of Ukraine Observer Controller / Trainers at the Combat Training Center located near Yavoriv.

They will not be involved in conflict operations.

Raised in a military family, Czerwinski, whose father retired at major after 20 years of service in the Army, wanted to send her friend a care package several weeks ago. In a conversation with Artola she learned that troopers "get excited when they get mail", no matter what it is.

"I thought it was sad that people don't get mail," said Czerwinski, who decided not only to send her friend a care package, but one to every trooper in the brigade. "I thought it would be nice, something for them to look forward to."

She hatched a plan to gather as many items and boxes as she could through the month of October and then ship them out in time for to be received on Veteran’s Day.

"I wasn't really sure where to start," Czerwinski admitted. She posted a couple of messages on Facebook asking for donations and was pleasantly surprised by the response. "It's been a wonderful experience so far. The number of people willing to donate has been touching."

A member from the high school student council reached out and after receiving approval from the school administration, boxes will available at St. Joseph-Ogden High School starting this week to collect donated items.

There is also a box at Chris Booth State Farm, where she works, on the corner of Fox and State in Champaign, for donations. Czerwinski has also had people drop off items at her home.

Suggested items include:
Snack bars
Seasoning salt
Hot sauces
Flavor packets for water
Energy bars
Beef jerky
Instant rice/Mac-n-cheese
Small toiletries
Shower items
Board games
Playing cards

If residents have any extra holiday decorations or working lights lying around, she would love to ship them to the American men and women serving our country.

"They may not have a tree, but the decor and lights would be great," she said.

The cost of shipping a box weighing up to 10 pounds is $20. Czerwinski is also accepting monetary donations to help cover the postal fee. She plans to deliver all the boxes and parcels she can to the post office in St. Joseph on October 30.

For more information on you can help, residents can contact Czerwinski via Facebook or send an email to

"I really appreciate all the support from people."

Photo of the Day - October 13, 2020

Unity's Taylor White scores TD

Rockets blast the Bombers for playoff victory

Unity quarterback Taylor Black leaps into the arms of teammate Danny Shroyer after scoring a touchdown during their IHSA quarterfinal football game against Macomb. After rolling past St. Thomas more in the first round and rivals Monticello the week after, Unity enjoyed home field advantage to defeat the visiting Bombers 35-7 on November 12, 2011.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Spartans finish in top 3, Rockets in 4th at IPC meet

Spartan distance runner Brandon Mattsey
SJO's Brandon Mattsey runs during the 2019 IHSA state cross country meet. The senior, who finished 4th overall, led the Spartans to a third-place finish at this year's Illini Prairie Conference meet on Saturday.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Brandon Mattsey, Charlie Mabry and Carson Maroon completed their run within 18 seconds of each other for 21 team points at the 2020 Illini Prairie Conference Meet on Saturday. The combined effort secured the St. Joseph-Ogden boys cross country squad a third place finish on Saturday.

Twenty-five seconds off his personal best in the 3-mile race, Mattsey was the first Spartan to cross the finish line at 16:07.43. His fourth place finish coupled with Mabry coming in 8th place and Maroon in 9th less than three seconds apart provided a commanding lead over the rest of the field in the team competition.

Connor O'Donnell led Unity's first three runners over the line stopping the clock at 16:29.35 and was the 10th finisher in the varsity race. Teammates Jarrett Cox then finished three seconds later in 11th place and Benjamin Gravel ended his run on the course in 16th place at 16:54.41.

The trio along with Nolan Miller and Thomas Cler secured the Rockets fourth place finish with 96 points.

SJO tallied 60 points to finish third behind Monticello's 44 points and the newly crowned IPC champs of 2020, Olympia with 39 points.

Illini Prairie Conference meet results:

4Brandon MattseySJO16:07.43
8Charlie MabrySJO16:22.22
9Carson MaroonSJO16:25.25
10Connor O'DonnellUnity16:29.35
11Jarrett CoxUnity16:32.92
16Benjamin GravelUnity16:54.41
19Elijah MockSJO17:08.02
20Luke StegallSJO17:08.73
22Logan WolfersbergerSJO17:16.19
28Nolan MillerUnity17:40.45
31Thomas ClerUnity17:48.72
44Spencer WilsonSJO18:23.18
46Clayton JamisonUnity18:46.65
50Bryson DennyUnity19:33.67

Progressive income tax would put heavy burden on small Illinois business

by Bryce Hill, Senior Research Analyst
Illinois Policy

COVID-19 and state-mandated restrictions already damaged Illinois small businesses, but the extra challenge of a 50.3% marginal income tax rate awaits if Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s "fair tax" is added to their state and federal income tax burdens.

Despite wide-spread agreement that you should not raise taxes during an economic downturn, Pritzker insists Illinois needs his $3 billion income tax hike now more than ever. But massive job losses and stubbornly high unemployment rates mean there might not be a worse time for a tax hike. Hiking taxes during a recession, or just as the economy attempts to get back on its feet, would be a clear policy mistake. One reason is the income tax hike would hit the state’s largest job creators – small businesses – the hardest.

Small businesses are responsible for 60% of the net job creation in Illinois and are the businesses most at risk from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Changing to a progressive income tax in Illinois could mean a massive tax hike for these businesses and create marginal income tax rates in excess of 50% when all state and federal income taxes are included. Research has shown an increase in the top marginal tax rate is associated with a decrease in hiring activity of entrepreneurs and lower wages for their employees.

When considering all of the layers of income taxes Illinoisans face, small businesses – who pay taxes as individuals – could be left paying 50.3% of their top-end income in taxes. Total marginal income tax rates would range from 31.6% to 50.3% thanks to federal income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, state income tax, and Illinois’ Personal Property Replacement Tax.

The increase in the state income tax from the current flat rate of 4.95%, to up to 7.99% under the progressive income tax, would mean that some small businesses would face a state income tax hike 5 times larger than big businesses.

While the total corporate income tax rate – including the Personal Property Replacement Tax – will be hiked by 10% (from 9.5% to 10.49% when including the replacement tax), the tax hike for pass-throughs could be up to 47% (6.45% to 9.49% when including the replacement tax).

Research from April showed fewer than half of all U.S. small businesses expected to re-open this year if the crisis lasted more than four months. For the small businesses that do manage to survive, the last thing their owners and employees need is a tax hike to crush them while they’re attempting to get back on their feet.

Small businesses such as S-corps, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors make up a large majority of business establishments in Illinois, representing 71% of all private for-profit businesses, totaling more than 210,000 establishments. These small businesses also employed nearly half of Illinois’ private for-profit workforce prior to the COVID-19 downturn, or more than 2.3 million Illinoisans.

Contrary to the governor’s claims, a progressive income tax hike is the exact opposite of what Illinois lawmakers should be doing in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Nearly 700,000 Illinoisans remain out of work as a result of the pandemic. That is after the first year on record in which Illinois lost private-sector jobs amid a national boom.

Imposing marginal tax rates exceeding 50% for Illinois’ largest job creators during the current economic crisis would be a painful mistake.

Originally published by Illinois Policy on October 8, 2020. Published by permission.

Photo of the Day - October 12, 2020

Lucas Gones carries the ball for SJO

SJO piles on the TD

St. Joseph-Ogden's Lucas Gones races to the end zone on a long punt return on October 17, 2009. The senior was tripped up short of the TD but scored later in the home game on a pass from quarterback Blake Hoveln. The victory also clinched SJO's 19th consecutive playoff appearance with their 41-7 win Saturday afternoon.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Village sewer rate increase goes into effect in St. Joseph

At the beginning of this month a scheduled sewer rate increase went into effect for the Village of St. Joseph. The new rates will be reflected on residents' upcoming November billing.

Village of St. Joseph news
The schedule rate increase, approved in April 2019 by the St. Joseph Board of Trustees and put on hold due COVID-19 pandemic, will pay for upgrades as the aging plant nears its maximum operating capacity according to a release from the village.

The 15-year plan created last year is a detailed road map to ensure costs, operating expenses and plant capital maintenance needs are met to keep pace with the community's growth. The plan included incrementally increasing rates, which will be determined annually by the board, on a yearly basis rather of one or more large jump in monthly fees.

While the increase will impact low volume users minimally, heavy users will see likely see a noticeable change on their statements.

The new rate, starting on October 1, is $17.50, up from $15.00, for the first two units. Each additional unit used will be billed at at $1.75 more then the previous amount of $5.25 at $7.00 each.

Unity takes 2nd at conference meet, SJO girls 5th

Unity's Taylor Joop runs at 2019 state meet
Unity's Taylor Joop runs the first lap around the course at the 2019 IHSA cross country state meet. Joop finished in 9th place at Saturday's Illini Prairie Conference meet in St. Joseph.

Photo: PhotoNews Media

Fourteen area long distance runners competed in this year's Illini Prairie Conference meet held Saturday at the Woodard Family Park and Sports Complex. By the time trodden grassy surface settled, the Unity girls cross country squad learned of their second place team finish via 45 points tallied in the team competition. Ninety-six points behind them, host St. Joseph-Ogden finished in fifth place with 136.

Individually, Rockets' Erica Woodard paced all area runners around the course closing out her race in 18 minutes, 18 seconds for a fourth place overall finish. Nearly a minute later, teammates Caelyn Kleparski (8th) and Taylor Joop (9th) crossed the finish line at 19:12 and 19:15, respectively.

Ava Knap let the Spartan contingent finishing the 3-mile course with a time of 20:19.21. She was followed over the line by Helene Jones and Chloe Burkholter to round SJO's top three finishers. Jones finished two spots behind Knap in 23rd place overall. Meanwhile, Burkholter ended her run 30th out of 56 runners on Saturday.

This year's meet champion was Monticello with 29 points. Olympia won third place honors with a score of 90 points.

Illini Prairie Conference meet results:

4Erica Woodard Unity18:18.00
8 Caelyn Kleparski Unity19:12.99
9 Taylor Joop Unity19:15.09
11 Elizabeth Hulick Unity19:26.23
13 Olivia Shike Unity19:38.08
16 Malla Fairbanks Unity19:55.97
20 Ava Knap SJO20:19.21
22 Helene Jones SJO20:28.93
26 Audrey Remole Unity20:45.34
29 Chloe Burkholter SJO20:58.85
31 Malorie Sarnecki SJO21:03.39
34 Kailyn Ingram SJO21:11.77
35 Addie Allen SJO21:22.56
39 Ashlyn Lannert SJO21:49.06

Village Administrator job on St. Joseph board agenda

The Village of St. Joseph moves one step closer to hiring a Village Administrator. A proposal from the Finance, Personnel, and Economic Development department will ask the board to approve a job description and new ordinance for the position of Village Administrator at Tuesday's board meeting.

The Village Administrator would be responsible for day-to-day operation of village services, keep track of financial health and capital projects, assist in zoning enforcement as well as ensuring permit fees are collected.

"The way we do things now, we are far from being efficient," said Tami Fruhling-Voges, Village President/Mayor. "The Village should be ran like a business."

She said the Village Administrator is needed to help her and the trustees with research and policy recommendations. The person in the new position would also actively apply for state and federal grants.

"It will truly be a benefit to the community."

According to agenda for Tuesday, Mayor Fruhling-Voges will present a new Village Public Works calendar and announce the recipient of the St. Joseph's first Employee Appreciation Award. She will also unveil a Halloween Proclamation as well as tax levy comparisons and late distributions from the County Treasurer's Office.

The board will also hear and vote to approve an audit report from Feller & Kuester CPAs LLP, receive an updated from the recent Sewer Committee meeting and an update on the Linden Street retention pond.

If you have something that you want to bring up at the Village Board Meeting but do not want to attend, residents are encouraged to email the information to Your email should include your full name, address and phone number.

If you would like to attend the meeting in person, please use the side door which enters directly into the Village Board room. It will be the only door available for entry. Visitors may address the Board /Committee on subjects listed and not listed on the agenda during the Public Comment portion of the meeting. Speakers will must state their name and address for the meeting records. Masks and social distancing will be observed.

You can find the October 13 agenda here.

Photo of the Day - October 11, 2020

St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball players celebrate a point against STM

SJO upsets Sabers, 2-1

(left to right) Lindsey Aden, Kennedi Burnett, Rylee Stahl, Kenly Taylor and Payton Vallee celebrate a point for St. Joseph-Ogden in their Illini Prairie Conference road match at St. Thomas More in October 2018. After dropping the first set 25-22, the Spartans rallied back to take the last two for the victory, 25-21 and 26-24.

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

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