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Illinois reproductive-rights organizations protest bans before SCOTUS session

By Lily Bohlke, Public News Service
Photo: Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash

Reproductive-rights advocates took to the streets across Illinois and the U.S. over the weekend to protest the new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the nation's most restrictive abortion law. It is one of 90 anti-abortion bills that have been passed by state legislatures.

Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Illinois, said they already are seeing Texas patients fleeing the ban and traveling long distances to get care.

"It's over 1,000 miles to get to Illinois, but people are doing that," Leahy reported. "And there are people who cannot travel. The barriers are just too much, and they are being forced to continue pregnancies that they do not want to continue."

The events -- 600 total nationwide -- came days before today's start of the U.S. Supreme Court session, during which judges plan to hear a case concerning a 15-week Mississippi abortion law, which, if upheld, could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Leahy noted when former President Donald Trump took office and promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would be amenable to overturning Roe v. Wade, Illinois lawmakers began working on bills to protect the right to abortion at the state level, such as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019.

She pointed out many states are taking similar steps, but many others are now going the other way, including many Midwestern states.

"It was really important to recognize the full range of those rights and put them in our state law so that when Roe v Wade falls, we are protected in Illinois, not just for the people in Illinois, but the people in the states surrounding us," Leahy contended.

Polls show nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the decision establishing a woman's right to an abortion, and more than 900 state lawmakers from 45 states recently signed a letter urging the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade in their decision on the Mississippi law.

Healthcare workers around the country sound alarm on rising violence on the job

By Bram Sable-Smith and Andy Miller

The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility.

It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in the year, a psychiatric patient well known at the department became increasingly violent, spewing racial slurs, spitting toward staffers and lobbing punches before eventually threatening to shoot Kamara in the face.

"Violence has always been a problem," Kamara said. "This pandemic really just added a magnifying glass."

In the earliest days of the pandemic, nightly celebrations lauded the bravery of front-line health care workers. Eighteen months later, those same workers say they are experiencing an alarming rise in violence in their workplaces.

A nurse testified before a Georgia Senate study committee in September that she was attacked by a patient so severely last spring she landed in the ER of her own hospital.

At Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, security was called to the covid unit, said nurse Jenn Caldwell, when a visitor aggressively yelled at the nursing staff about the condition of his wife, who was a patient.

In Missouri, a tripling of physical assaults against nurses prompted Cox Medical Center Branson to issue panic buttons that can be worn on employees’ identification badges.

Hospital executives were already attuned to workplace violence before the pandemic struck. But stresses from covid have exacerbated the problem, they say, prompting increased security, de-escalation training and pleas for civility. And while many hospitals work to address the issue on their own, nurses and other workers are pushing federal legislation to create enforceable standards nationwide.

Paul Sarnese, an executive at Virtua Health in New Jersey and president of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, said many studies show health care workers are much more likely to be victims of aggravated assault than workers in any other industry.

Federal data shows health care workers faced 73% of all nonfatal injuries from workplace violence in the U.S. in 2018. It’s too early to have comprehensive stats from the pandemic.

Even so, Michelle Wallace, chief nursing officer at Grady Health System in Georgia, said the violence is likely even higher because many victims of patient assaults don’t report them.

"We say, ‘This is part of our job,’" said Wallace, who advocates for more reporting.

Caldwell said she had been a nurse for less than three months the first time she was assaulted at work — a patient spit at her. In the four years since, she estimated, she hasn’t gone more than three months without being verbally or physically assaulted.

"I wouldn’t say that it’s expected, but it is accepted," Caldwell said. "We have a lot of people with mental health issues that come through our doors."

Jackie Gatz, vice president of safety and preparedness for the Missouri Hospital Association, said a lack of behavioral health resources can spur violence as patients seek treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorders in ERs. Life can also spill inside to the hospital, with violent episodes that began outside continuing inside or the presence of law enforcement officers escalating tensions.

A February 2021 report from National Nurses United — a union in which both Kamara and Caldwell are representatives — offers another possible factor: staffing levels that don’t allow workers sufficient time to recognize and de-escalate possibly volatile situations.

Covid unit nurses also have shouldered extra responsibilities during the pandemic. Duties such as feeding patients, drawing blood and cleaning rooms would typically be conducted by other hospital staffers, but nurses have pitched in on those jobs to minimize the number of workers visiting the negative-pressure rooms where covid patients are treated. While the workload has increased, the number of patients each nurse oversees is unchanged, leaving little time to hear the concerns of visitors scared for the well-being of their loved ones — like the man who aggressively yelled at the nurses in Caldwell’s unit.

In September, 31% of hospital nurses surveyed by that union said they had faced workplace violence, up from 22% in March.

Dr. Bryce Gartland, hospital group president of Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare, said violence has escalated as the pandemic has worn on, particularly during the latest wave of infections, hospitalization and deaths.

'Front-line health care workers and first responders have been on the battlefield for 18 months," Garland said. "They’re exhausted."

Like the increase in violence on airplanes, at sports arenas and school board meetings, the rising tensions inside hospitals could be a reflection of the mounting tensions outside them.

William Mahoney, president of Cox Medical Center Branson, said national political anger is acted out locally, especially when staffers ask people who come into the hospital to put on a mask.

Caldwell, the nurse in Kansas City, said the physical nature of covid infections can contribute to an increase in violence. Patients in the covid unit often have dangerously low oxygen levels.

"People have different political views — they’re either CNN or Fox News — and they start yelling at you, screaming at you," Mahoney said.

"When that happens, they become confused and also extremely combative," Caldwell said.

Sarnese said the pandemic has given hospitals an opportunity to revisit their safety protocols. Limiting entry points to enable covid screening, for example, allows hospitals to funnel visitors past security cameras.

Research Medical Center recently hired additional security officers and provided de-escalation training to supplement its video surveillance, spokesperson Christine Hamele said.

In Branson, Mahoney’s hospital has bolstered its security staff, mounted cameras around the facility, brought in dogs ("people don’t really want to swing at you when there’s a German shepherd sitting there") and conducted de-escalation training — in addition to the panic buttons.

Some of those efforts pre-date the pandemic but the covid crisis has added urgency in an industry already struggling to recruit employees and maintain adequate staffing levels. "The No. 1 question we started getting asked is, ‘Are you going to keep me safe?’" Mahoney said.

While several states, including California, have rules to address violence in hospitals, National Nurses United is calling for the U.S. Senate to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act that would require hospitals to adopt plans to prevent violence.

"With any standard, at the end of the day you need that to be enforced," said the union’s industrial hygienist, Rocelyn de Leon-Minch.

Nurses in states with laws on the books still face violence, but they have an enforceable standard they can point to when asking for that violence to be addressed. De Leon-Minch said the federal bill, which passed the House in April, aims to extend that protection to health care workers nationwide.

Destiny, the nurse who testified in Georgia using only her first name, is pressing charges against the patient who attacked her. The state Senate committee is now eyeing legislation for next year.

Kamara said the recent violence helped lead her hospital to provide de-escalation training, although she was dissatisfied with it. San Leandro Hospital spokesperson Victoria Balladares said the hospital had not experienced an increase in workplace violence during the pandemic.

For health care workers such as Kamara, all this antagonism toward them is a far cry from the early days of the pandemic when hospital workers were widely hailed as heroes.

"I don’t want to be a hero,” Kamara said. “I want to be a mom and a nurse. I want to be considered a person who chose a career that they love, and they deserve to go to work and do it in peace. And not feel like they’re going to get harmed."

Subscribe to KHN's free Morning Briefing.

Photo Gallery: SJO volleyball overpowers visiting Hawks

Addie Roesch and Ashley Eldridge enjoy a light moment
Spartans' Addie Roesch and Ashley Eldridge enjoy a light moment during the team's home match against Prairie Central. After their road loss to Tri-Valley, St. Joseph-Ogden extended their win streak to three matches with the 2-0 conference win over the Hawks.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Kerigan Fehr
The ball flies toward the back wall after Prairie Central's Kerigan Fehr tried to pass a St. Joseph-Ogden serve during the first set.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Addie Roesch tips the ball over the net while playing on the front row during the first set for the Spartans.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Hannah Fox celebrates
Hannah Fox and the Spartan bench celebrate a point for SJO on ten-point scoring run during the first set.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan junior varsity players dance to YMCA during a timeout during set one of the varsity game. St. Joseph-0gden picked up another conference win after defeating visiting Prairie Central in straight sets, 25-15, 25-4.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden outside hitter Kennedi Burnett hammers the ball for a kill against Prairie Central. The senior finished the varsity match with two aces, four kills, and 16 digs.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Prairie Central's Gracie Edelman passes the ball during the second set while SJO's Rachel Divan and Kennedi Burnett prepare in the background to counter the Hawks' attack.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Called up to fill the junior varsity roster, Spartan freshman Reese Wheatley tries to block a tip by Hawks' Callie Eisenmann.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With Hawks' Adeline Kilgus opposing her, Spartan hitter Josey Frerichs pounds the ball over the net during the second set of the JV match. SJO earned the match victory, 2-0.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Addison Ross attempts to block the ball during SJO's junior varsity match.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Before the varsity contest, Peyton Williams puts the ball down on a big swing around Gyllian Davies during second set action in St. Joseph-Ogden's JV match.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartans Madison Atwood and Taylor Wells attempt to block a hit from Prairie Central outside hitter Alyssa Stein.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Alexandria Hari
Hawks' Alexandria Hari sets the ball during set of the match against SJO.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Looking for photos of a specific player from either team or from this season? Email us at with the athlete's name and jersey number for details.

Prep Sports Notebook: Uni-High wins regional title, SJO girls win again

Spartans defeat Grey Ghost, 2-0

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team got three blocks and six kills from senior Ashley Eldridge in the team's road win at Illinois Valley Central on Saturday. SJO won the conference match 25-20, 28-26.

Becca Steinbach chalked up 26 assists and six digs for the Spartans. Addie Roesch also had six digs and was responsible for eight kills. St. Joseph-Ogden's offense was once again led by Kennedi Burnett, who recorded 10 kills and 10 digs. She also aced IVC once in the two-setter.

Rachel Divan also finished the match with three blocks. Meanwhile, Shayne Immke contributed four kills and seven digs to round out the team's top performers.

Cornjerkers fall in regional title match

Hoopeston Area suffered an 8-0 defeat to Bloomington Central Catholic in their bid for the Iroquois West Regional title on Saturday. The Cornjerker season comes to a close with a 19-6-1 overall record and undefeated conference season at 11-0. Members of the senior class finished their high school career with 60 wins against 23 losses and four ties during their four-year stint.

La Nave scores five times to advance Illineks

Noah La Nave scored five goals in University High's 5-0 shutout over Fisher-Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley to win the Fisher regional soccer title.

Teo Chemla assisted on two of the goals while Arya Thirodira and Henry Wang were credited with one assist each on the first crisp fall day of the season.

Uni-High advances to the Bloomington Central Catholic sectional to take on the hosts on Tuesday, October 19, at 7pm. The winner will advance to face the winner of the second match between the Monticello Sages and the Normal U-High Pioneers for a shot at the sectional title next Saturday.

Win #5: Spartan rain TDs on Eagles in 29-6 win

Keaton Nolan and Mark Miller
St. Joseph-Ogden defensive players Keaton Nolan and Mark Miller bring down Rantoul's Keddrick Terhune during the first quarter of their game as Mother Nature dumps buckets of rain over the area. The Spartans picked up their fifth win of the season with a 29-6 victory over the visiting Eagles. Hoping to secure a spot in the 2021 IHSA playoffs, SJO faces Paxton-Buckley-Loda next Friday in a bid for a sixth, playoff-qualifying win. Check back in a few days for more Sentinel game photos.

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Commentary: The road to success is filled with disappointments and constant rejection

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Steady cash flow comes from steady work. If you want money you have to do something that produces money.

Much of what we want to do in life does not always produce cash. We may experience fun, enjoyment, fulfillment and entertainment but it may not render dollars. Often, much of what we enjoy in life typically costs us money and usually a lot of money.

You may love to play golf and even aspire to make a professional tour. You could spend most of your life and tens of thousands of dollars on green fees, memberships, lessons, travel and more and still never make a dime from playing golf.

You may love movies, theatre and plays and spend years in drama schools and Hollywood and never get a job that pays any money. This story is true for those who dream of making it big in music. I’ve talked to numbers of singers in Nashville, Tennessee who have spent years singing for tips and often for free. They pursued their dream relentlessly and some ended up homeless because while they pursued their dream, dollars were not coming in to support them.

Writers have spent their lives trying to write one great book that someone would notice. Painters often paint their entire lives without much fanfare or few sales. Would be entertainers and artsy folks from all walks of life know that the road to success is filled with disappointments, constant rejection, little to no support and poverty.

I was a weird guy in high school as I aspired to be a full-time minister. Sixteen years old was an odd time in life to start shunning my electric guitar, lose my passion for basketball and aspire to be a minister. It also didn’t do a lot for my dating life either.

My dad thought I was crazy but never said a whole lot. Once he did say, "Why don’t you get a good job and preach on the side?" I thought that was a crazy idea because I knew of too many ministers who had full time careers and seemed to do okay. Thus, I went to school until I was 29 years old to be a full-time minister. The post college degrees that I attended full-time for seven years were enough time for medical school, Law school or whatever but I pursued my calling and followed my heart.

I don’t regret pursuing my dream. I had about 35 years of being an average wage earner as a minister and sometimes did better than average. However, my dad had respectable advice as parent’s usually do. Today I give the same advice. Follow your dream but you need a sawmill on the side for stable cash flow. Church has changed. Many churches are small and can’t afford a full-time minister. Sadly, often ministers and congregations can’t survive in harmony for more than a couple of years so this makes for a very unstable life.

When I say, "you need a sawmill on the side," I mean you need something in your life you can count on. You need a plumber’s license, a teaching certificate, carpentry skills or a business of some kind that renders dollars. Why? You can’t always depend on what you love doing to produce income. It may be what you love to do and you may be terrific at what you do but often you can’t count on it financially.

Find a work that people must have or want very badly. If you are in a work that someone must have then there will be financial rewards. If they want very badly want you have to offer there will be financial rewards. If they want and need it both you are golden.

It may not be your passion but you will generally make enough money from your "sawmill" so you can sing, dance, paint, entertain, write, act or even preach on the side. When you do what you love to do without the constant pressure of needing money then you are free to do it enjoyably without the stress of wondering from where your next meal will come.


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 The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


Prep Sports Notebook: Rockets, Spartans sweep volleyball opponents

Unity football celebrates senior night

Unity's unblemished record will be on the line as the Rockets will host 5-2 Paxton-Buckley-Loda at Hicks Field tonight. It is the first time the two teams have met on the gridiron since 2006.

Fourteen senior athletes, who have already clinched a playoff spot for their 7-0 team, will be recognized at the football team's last home game of the season prior to kickoff.

This year's senior players include Nat Nosler, Blake Kimball, Tyler Hensch, Braxton Manuel, Dillon Rutledge, Damian Knoll, Trustan Price, Liam Alt, Oran Varela, Karson Richardson, Austin McDaniel, Cameron Marvin, Colby Loftsgaard, and Chance Ingleman.

Rockets pick up 23rd win

The Unity volleyball team battled past Pontiac in straight sets 27-25, 25-19 improving to 23-3 on the season after the conference match.

Emma Bleecher pounded 12 kills and had nine digs against the Indians. Three-sport star Taylor Henry had 13 digs of her own.

The Rockets also got 14 assists and 8 digs from senior Maddie Reed. Payton Kaiser, also a senior, contributed a pair of kills of her own next to seven digs.

Up next, Unity hosts Urbana on the upcoming Monday evening. A freshman bout will start at 5pm and the varsity main event somewhere around 6pm.

Burnett double-double lifts SJO

Outside hitter Kennedi Burnett posted 10 kills and recorded 10 digs in the St. Joseph-Ogden road match at Olympia last night. Libero Hannah Fox also contributed 10 digs to help SJO cruise past the other Illini Prairie Conference Spartans, 2-0.

Becca Steinbach notched 19 assists while Rachel Divan, who was a wall at the net with three blocks, contributed three kills.

SJO's Shayne Immke added another four kills and chipped in another seven digs in the conference sweep that ended, 25-8, 25-15.

The Spartans play again at Illinois Valley Central tomorrow at noon.

Photo Gallery: Spartan soccer season ended at regional semifinal

Senior Jared Emmert dibbles the ball early in the first half in the last game of his prep career. Emmert and the Spartans fell 7-0 to the Monticello Sages in their regional semifinal game. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Collin Thomey, Charles Schmitz and Brennan Haake form a line of defense for the St. Joseph-Ogden as Monticello's Will Trimble pushes the ball toward the sideline. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartans' Jackson Greer and Sages' Biniam Lienhart collide while going up for a header. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Logan Mills dribbles the ball

Logan Mills dribbles the ball in the first half. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Monticello's Ben Williamson

Monticello's Ben Williamson steals the ball from the control of SJO's Collin Thomey. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Brennan Haake pushes the ball across the field

Brennan Haake pushes the ball across the field during the first half. Soon after, the Sages went on a two-goal scoring spree before the break. Monticello followed up with five more goals in the second half to win, 7-0. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Will Childers shields the ball

Will Childers shields the ball while Monticello's Biniam Lienhart flies past him during first half action on Wednesday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Keeper Hunter Ketchum lunges unsuccessfully at a ball heading toward SJO's goal by Dylan Ginalick. Ginalick's ball found net for the first score of the game. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden's Jackson Greer and Monticello's Trevor Fox collide while going up for header. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Hunter Ketchum

SJO keeper Hunter Ketchum deflects a shot on his goal as Monticello midfielder Cohen Neighbors and striker Malachi Manuel move in to finish their attack in the second half. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Carter Turner

With teammate Brennan Haake trailing, SJO's Carter Turner tries to pass the ball down the field to Owen Baltzell. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan Owen Baltzell

Spartan Owen Baltzell pursues Sages' Tucker Williamson and Cohen Neighbors as they dribble the ball down the field in the second half. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Looking for photos of a specific player from either team? Email us at with the athlete's name and jersey number for details.

Sages shove Spartans out of soccer postseason

SJO soccer falls in regional semifinal
St. Joseph-Ogden's Logan Mills battles for ball possesion with Monticello junior Biniam Lienhart during first half action of the two team's regional semifinal at St. Thomas More on Wednesday. After a scoreless 36 minutes, the Spartans gave up the first goal with 3:53 left on the clock and second with just over a minute to play in the first half. Monticello would go on to score five more goals advancing to the title match against Oakwood on Friday on a 7-0 victory. The Spartans finish the season with a final record of 13-9-1. Click to view the match gallery.
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Spartan volleyball team ace Sages at home match

Kennedi Burnett, Addie Roesch, and Shayne Immke combined effort produced 10 service aces to help the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball beat visiting Illini Prairie rival Monticello in straight sets 2-0 on Tuesday evening.

Ashley Eldridge
Senior Ashley Eldridge pounds the ball for an SJO point during set one against Monticello. The Spartans took the first set easily, 25-7. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
The Spartans jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first set before Monticello used a timeout to regroup. Five points later, with the Sages looking at a ten-point deficit at 13-3, Monticello head coach Kim Allison called for another break.

Ranked 27th in Class 2A and 102 in the state by MaxPreps, SJO's defensive effort allowed just four more points in the 25-7 first set finish.

However, the start of the second set was not as pretty as the first set for the St. Joseph-0gden team coming off a 2-0 loss to Tri-Valley on Monday. Down 4-0 and plagued by inconsistent play, McDonald called timeout to allow her team to regroup.

When the set resumed, the Spartans carefully worked their way back into the game despite a streak of tenacious play from the Sages. The two teams would tie eight times, the last at 24-all. Two exchanges later, SJO prevailed 26-24 to win the match.

"It's been a bit of a rollercoaster. Some nights we're on. Some nights we've been off finding that leadership role, that determination to be able to finish and play consistent," said head coach Abby McDonald. "We hope that we are learning from these opportunities we've been given."

Roesch led the Spartan offensive effort with seven kills and two aces. Burnett added another four kills to the mix and led the team serving effort with five aces. Immke, with three aces, notched three kills and led the defense with 11 digs.

"I thought when the pressure was on they kept their composure," McDonald said. "That's something they have done well throughout the season. They don't get rattled. It was good for them to be able to finish in a tight set like that."

Despite a tough 25-14, 25-15, non-conference loss to the Vikings of Tri-Valley a little more than 24 hours earlier, McDonald was happy with how her team performed.

"We had a rough night last night," she added. "To be able to bounce back without practice and without time to really discuss some of the things we need to fix, I thought they did a nice job of finishing."

Becca Steinbach had 15 assists and was credited with three digs. Hannah Fox also delivered nine digs in the win.

"I am proud of the kids. There were a lot of distractions tonight and a lot of different emotions in this building," Abby McDonald said, referring to the Dick Duval scholarship fundraiser the team was also heavily involved in. An early estimate of $14,000 had been raised for the memorial scholarship to honor the former SJO educator and football coach. "I thought they handled themselves well, considering everything that was going on."

The SJO volleyball team plays again this week on Thursday against Salt Fork.

SJO recognizes the voice of Spartan sports, Keith Sjuts inducted into Hall of Fame

Keith Sjuts joins Hall of Fame
St. Joseph-Ogden school district superintendent Brian Brooks presents Spartan alumn Keith Sjuts with a Hall of Fame plaque during a halftime ceremony at Friday's home football game against Central Catholic. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Keith Sjuts was one of four individuals inducted into the St. Joseph-Ogden Athletic Hall of Fame at Friday's Homecoming game Bloomington Central Catholic. He joins Kelly Duitsman Hunt, Dick Duval, and Stan Harper among the Class of 2021 inductees.

A lifelong member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Flatville, Sjuts was the voice of SJO football and basketball for more than 20 seasons. He wore the Spartan basketball uniform all four years of his prep career and earned first-team recognition for both all-conference and all-area teams his senior year at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Learn more about his athletic career and success after high school in his bio below.


Keith Sjuts is a 1977 graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School. In high school, Keith played baseball for one year and ran track for one year. He played basketball all four years of his high school career. Keith was selected to the 1st Team All Area and 1st Team All Conference teams his senior year.

After high school, Keith became Branch Manager of Safety Clean, as well as a member of Corporate National Blitz Team for Safety Clean. He was a Co-Owner of TK Wendl’s. In 1994, he started working at Zep, Inc. and was the National Rookie of the Year. He was also the National Account Manager and Sales Trainer of Zep Inc. Besides work, he was able to have some fun and continue his athletic career by playing on the Regional Traveling Softball Team with his brother Mark and brother-in-law Wally.

Keith was the voice of the Spartans for over 20 years, serving as the announcer for both the football and boys basketball teams. One of his favorite memories was announcing the only state semi final football game hosted at SJO against Williamsville. He also always enjoyed the rivalry games between SJO and Unity.

Keith has been a lifelong member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Flatville where he has held several positions on the council, including President of the church council. Keith takes great pride in being a part of the St. Joseph-Ogden community his entire life.

He wants to thank his team of people who have surrounded him to help him earn this great accomplishment, especially his most valuable team member, Roger Koss.

Keith’s greatest joys are his son Ryan, daughter Rylee and granddaughter Charlie.

* Biography provided courtesy of St. Joseph-Ogden High School

A monstrously delicious treat you will want to make this Halloween

(Family Features) - Among the scary decorations, unique costumes and fun parties, there’s perhaps nothing quite like sharing a wonderful homemade holiday treat at the office or sending a bags full to school with your kids to share with classmates on Halloween.

This year, you can add to the fun with a new annual activity by creating a delightful dessert with the help of little ones and adults alike. Start a new tradition to pass along to your next generation of trick-or-treaters. With an easy recipe like Peanut Butter Saltine Candy that calls for just a handful of ingredients, you can get the whole family involved in the kitchen.

provided photo

Photo provided

Ask your little helpers to measure out ingredients while a grownup prepares the pan and use the stove. Once the base is finished baking, call the kids back into action to sprinkle chocolate chips and peanut butter chips over the top.

After your candy creation is cooled, just break it into pieces meant to be shared with the entire family. An added benefit: all can enjoy the nutrient-rich flavor of peanuts, which rise to superfood status by delivering 19 vitamins and minerals and 7 grams of protein per serving.

Find more holiday recipes at

Peanut Butter Saltine Candy

Yield: 45 pieces

Nonstick cooking spray (butter flavor)
1 sleeve (4 ounces) regular saltine crackers
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup rough chopped, dry roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 10-by-15-by-1-inch pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray then lay saltines flat in single layer on prepared pan. Set aside.

In heavy duty, 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, peanut butter and sugar. Stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted, bringing mixture to boil. Boil 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour cooked mixture over saltines and bake 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over saltines. Let cool 3 minutes then spread melted chocolate completely over saltines.

Sprinkle peanut butter chips evenly over chocolate. Return pan to oven 1 minute to soften chips. Pull pointed tines of fork through softened peanut butter chips to partially cover chocolate. Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top, gently pressing into candy.

Let cool on rack about 15 minutes then place in freezer 3 minutes. Remove from freezer and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.

Illinois immigration allies urge congress to pass bill for pathway to citizenship

Photo: Maria Teneva/Unsplash

By Lily Bohlke, Public News Service

Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to eight million undocumented immigrants.

They asserted they will not stop fighting for comprehensive immigration reform, despite the Senate parliamentarian's decision, which stated current rules do not allow the proposal to be included in the budget reconciliation package in Congress.

Omar Awadh, community organizer for Arab American Family Services in Chicago, who is a Temporary Protected Status holder, said there is no time to waste.

"The different communities, undocumented communities have been living in fear, with the harassment from ICE," Awadh observed. "They fear that their families will be broken, they will be separated from their families, they are going to be separated from their livelihoods."

In recent polling, 65% of Americans think undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship. More than 80% said they support citizenship for recipients of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The citizenship proposal in the budget reconciliation package applied to those Dreamers, farmworkers, essential workers and people with Temporary Protected Status.

Awadh hopes to see all undocumented residents have the opportunity to become citizens, especially since members of Congress and the President committed to immigration reform in their election campaigns.

"We will not accept the fact that using us as pawns for the campaigns, talking about citizenship, and then forget about us," Awadh asserted. "They must hold themselves accountable."

The push for immigration reform comes as resettlement agencies in Illinois are working to support Afghan refugees beginning to arrive to the state. Chicago alone is expected to become home to more than 500 people fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Spartans bounce back

Hannah Fox lunges toward the ball
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Hannah Fox lunges toward the ball to keep it in playing during St. Joseph-Ogden's home game against Monticello. SJO rebounds from a 2-0 loss against Tri-Valley 24 hours earlier defeating the visiting Sages from Monticello 25-7, 26-24. The Spartans play again on Thursday in a road match at Salt Fork.

Spartans induct Kelly Duitsman Hunt into Hall of Fame

Kelly Duitsman Hunt receives her Hall of Fame plaque from St. Joseph-Ogden superintendent Brian Brooks during halftime during the Spartans' home football game against Central Catholic. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Kelly Duitsman Hunt was one of four individuals inducted into the St. Joseph-Ogden Athletic Hall of Fame at Friday's Homecoming game Bloomington Central Catholic. She was joined by Dick Duval, Stan Harper, and Keith Sjuts as members of the Class of 2021 inductees.

Duitsman Hunt was a two-sport athlete for the Spartans who earned state-wide recognition for her success on the softball field. In addition to her own record-breaking accomplishments, she was intrumental in the SJO softball program winning its first regional title.

Learn more about her success as an athlete and after high school in her bio below.


Kelly Duitsman Hunt is a 1996 graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School.

Kelly was Salutatorian of her class, an Illinois State Scholar, Junior Class Vice President, a member of Student Council, National Honor Society, and a part of the Principal’s Advisory Committee. She was also awarded the Parkland College Presidential Board of Trustees Scholarship.

Kelly was also a two-sport athlete. In volleyball, she was selected to the All Conference team 3 years, the All Area team 2 years and was on the team that won the school’s first ever Regional title and first Sectional Championship appearance.

In softball, Kelly was selected to the All Conference and All Area teams all four years of high school. Her senior year, Kelly was player of the year, and selected to the All State Team and the Chicago Tribune Super 60 Classic All Star Team. In 1995, her team made it to the Sweet 16 at the State tournament. Not only did Kelly’s teams succeed, but she also personally broke multiple school records of her time, with 19 season doubles and 47 career doubles (which were both a new state of IL record), 200 career hits, 62 season hits, 154 career RBIs, 50 season RBIs, 9 season home runs, a .473 career batting average, a .590 season batting average, 153 career runs, and 42 season runs.

After high school, Kelly earned an Associates in Business Administration from Parkland and a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois. She earned her CPA designation in 2000 and began working at Martin Hood Friese and Associates until 2016.

In 2016, she became the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Farm Credit Illinois and is still currently working in that capacity.

Kelly is a former Champaign-Urbana Schools Foundation Board Member and Treasurer. Currently, she is a Board Member and the Treasurer of the Parkland College Foundation. She is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Illinois CPA Society, and the Executive Club of Champaign County. In 2013, she was a part of the Central Illinois Business Magazine 40 under 40, and in 2018 she became a Parkland College Distinguished Alumna.

Kelly lives in Champaign and is married to Greg Hunt. She has two daughters, Avery and Annie Loschen.

* Biography provided courtesy of St. Joseph-Ogden High School

SJO Hall of Fame welcomes Stan Harper

Stan Harper inducted into SJO Hall of Fame
Stan Harper receives his Hall of Fame plaque from St. Joseph-Ogden superintendent Brian Brooks during halftime during the Spartans' home football game against Central Catholic. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Stan Harper was one of four individuals inducted into the St. Joseph-Ogden Athletic Hall of Fame at Friday's Homecoming game Bloomington Central Catholic. He is joined by Dick Duval, Kelly Duitsman Hunt, and Keith Sjuts in the Class of 2021 inductees.

Harper earned nine varsity letters as a student at St. Joseph-Ogden High School. After graduating from the University of Illinois, he went on to serve his community as president of the Ogden-Royal Fire Protection District and president of the Prairieview-Ogden school board.

Learn more about Harper's contributions and accomplishments in his bio below.


Stan Harper is a 1973 graduate of St. Joseph-Ogden High School. In high school, Stan was a member of the National Honor Society. He also earned 9 varsity letters; 3 in basketball, 3 in football, and 3 in track.

After high school, Stan graduated from the University of Illinois in 1977 with a major in Agriculture Industry. He has been farming the Harper family farm since 1977.

For 22 years, he was a Trustee of the Ogden-Royal Fire Protection District and was President of that district for 17 years. He was also a member and the President of the PVO School Board for 22 years. For 9 years, he was a member and the President of the Illinois Shorthorn Association. He was an SJO Golf Outing chairman for 10 years, and he ran the clock/scoreboard for SJO boys basketball for 16 years.

Currently, he is serving his 9th year on the Champaign County Board.

Stan has been married to his wife Sandy for 41 years. Their son Michael and daughter Laura are both SJO graduates. Michael, his wife Samantha and their son Max live in Royal. Laura, her husband Mitch and their children, Shane and Jillian live near Flatville.

* Biography provided courtesy of St. Joseph-Ogden High School

Dick Duval inducted into SJO Hall of Fame

SJO football coach Dick Duval
Dick Duval was one four individuals inducted into the St. Joseph-Ogden Athletic Hall of Fame at Friday's Homecoming game Bloominton Central Catholic. He is joined by Stan Harper, Kelly Duitsman Hunt and Keith Sjuts in the Class of 2021 inductees.

A well-deserved honor, Duval built a football dynasty that saw five IHSA football state championship games, six semi-finals playoff games, and the IHSA football quarter-finals 16 times. In addition to coaching and teaching math, Duval was also served as athletic director before his retirement.


Dick Duval attended Herscher High School. In high school, Dick was a member of National Honor Society. He was a three-sport athlete in basketball, baseball, and football. He was the Captain of both the baseball team and football team. He was also President of the Letterman Club.

Coach Duval graduated from Illinois State University in 1978 where he majored in Mathematics, with a minor in Physical Education. After college, he taught for three years at Herscher Grade School and coached grade school basketball and high school football. He then taught for seven years in the Kankakee School District, where he coached three sports at the high school level: football, basketball, and baseball. During this time, he was also the defensive backs coach at Olivet Nazarene University.

In 1988, Coach Duval took a position at St. Joseph-Ogden High School as a math teacher and was both the head football and baseball coach. Coach Duval coached baseball at SJO for 16 years, winning more than 200 games during a time when schools played a lot fewer regular season games. At SJO, Coach Duval was the head football coach for 28 years from 1988-2015 and in that time, never had a losing season. In 1989, his second year as head football coach, he took the Spartans to his first state championship game.

Dick Duval and players talk to the media after the Spartans' 2013 state title game against Stillman Valley. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Before his career was over, SJO went to the playoffs 25 consecutive years, and made it to the IHSA football state championship game five times, the IHSA football semi-finals six times, and the IHSA football quarter-finals 16 times. His final record was 251 wins and 75 losses. During his career at SJO, Coach Duval earned a position as an assistant coach in the 1990 and 1998 Illinois football All-Star games. He was awarded the Chicago Bears High School Coach of the Week on October 9th, 2000. On April 5th, 2008, Coach Duval was inducted into the Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame where he was recognized for his ability to inspire his athletes to the highest in discipline and spirit.

Sara Ulbrich Greenstein, a member of the SJO Hall of Fame class of 2014 recently cited Dick Duval as one of her five influences that helped her become a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

After retiring from teaching and coaching, Dick Duval was the main scorekeeper for the SJO boys basketball team. He also was scorekeeper and announcer for many of the basketball tournaments hosted by SJO.

Surrounded by family members Lynda Duval holds a plaque with a photo of her late husband Dick who was inducted into the St. Joseph-Ogden Hall of Fame. Standing with Lynda are her daughter Bobbi and husband Cory Busboom and son, Kiel and his wife Katie, and three grandchildren. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

On August 20, 2021, the SJO football field was dedicated to Coach Duval and is now the Dick Duval Field.

Coach Duval fought a courageous battle against pancreatic cancer, but passed away on August 26, 2021.

Dick is survived by his wife, Lynda, daughters Bobbi and Toni, son Kiel, their spouses and his four grandchildren.

* Biography provided courtesy of St. Joseph-Ogden High School

Prep Sports Notebook: Unity volleyball gets conference win, Spartans miss the cut in golf

Unity cruises to win over Paris

Emma Bleecher posted 10 kills and three digs in Unity's 2-0 win on the road against Paris. Sophomore Katy Moore added another four kills as Unity roared past the Tigers 25-13, 25-12.

Meanwhile, Maddie Reed served up three aces and had 33 assists to help the Rockets improve to 22-1 on the season.

SJO golf season ends

Two St. Joseph-Ogden golfers who advanced to today's sectional at Beecher failed to make the cut for a slot at this weekend's state tournament in Bloomington-Normal.

Jacob Kern finished 24 strokes over with a 91 on the PAR 72 course at Balmoral Woods Country Club on Monday. Teammate McGwire Atwood turned in a score of 102 in 85th place.

Kern was 70th in the overall standings and Atwood in 85th place in the field of 110 athletes at the sectional meet.

Cornjerkers post shutout

Hoopeston Area held Clifton Central scoreless winning 3-0 at home. Talan Gredy-Nelson and Ben Brown scored a goal apiece in the first half. Brown, a senior, scored the third goal for a 3-0 lead on a header. Nick Hofer book the assist on all three scores.

Goaltender Derek Drayer had seven saves to earned another Cornjerker victory and shut-out.

Hoopeston Area will have their Annual Pink Night Kick Cancer and celebrate senior night at Tuesday's home game against Bismarck-Henning Rossville-Alvin.

Oakwood football field dedication on Friday

Oakwood - This Friday, the Oakwood High School football field will have a new name. The athletic program will christen the field with its new name, "Marty McFarland Field" before the Comets kick off their week seven game against visiting Hoopeston-Armstrong.

During his 23-year career guiding the OHS football program, McFarland won 126 games, four conference championship titles, and led the Comets to nine IHSA playoffs appearances. He is also the only coach in school history to reach a state football quarterfinal game. A 1998 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, he was selected as an assistant coach for the annual East/West All-Star football game during his final season with the Comets.

The dedication ceremony are scheduled to begin at 6:30p on Friday.

Oakwood High School to name football field after legendary coach

Oakwood - This Friday, the Oakwood High School football field will have a new name. The athletic program will christen the field with its new name, "Marty McFarland Field" before the Comets kick off their week seven game against visiting Hoopeston-Armstrong.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 6:30p with the unveiling of the sign and former Oakwood football head coach Marty McFarland receiving a commemorative plaque.

Coach Mac, who will be presented a plaque by Oakwood Superintendent Larry Maynard and Oakwood School Board President Randy Smith, started his teaching and football coaching career at Oakwood High School in 1970. He later went on to coach girls track (1980-1992), during which he won five straight conference titles, and he was an assistant wrestling coach from 1978-1985.

During his 23-year career guiding the OHS football program, McFarland won 126 games, four conference championship titles, and led the Comets to nine IHSA playoffs appearances. He is also the only coach of the school's football program to reach the state quarterfinals. A 1998 Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee, he was selected as an assistant coach for the annual East/West All-Star football game during his final season with the Comets.

Guest Commentary: They are coming here and moving in

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Imagine a family of six people coming to your house. They knock on the door. They look tired, frail, dirty and very hungry. They are desperate. Two of the six people are under six years old. Their clothes are rags and their shoes are barely still on their feet. They tell you about their plight. They have traveled a long way. They left their country in search of a better life. They need you to help them. They need you to give them shelter, food, clothes and some cash. They need to stay with you for a while.

What if your sole income is $2,000 a month in Social Security? What if your pantry is no longer overstocked? What if you have trouble saving enough money each month to pay your utility bills and keep your car running? Your heart goes out to these people.

You would like to help them, but you don’t have the means to care for yourself and so you have to say, "I can’t. The reason I can’t is because seriously, I just don’t have the financial means to do so."

The next thing that happens is they totally ignore what you’ve just said and come into your house anyway. They scatter out to your bedrooms and begin to make themselves at home. They open your refrigerator and eat the food you have and then ask you to fix them more. Next, they need money.

"Do you have money you can please give us?" they ask. You ask them to leave but they remind you they are desperate people who need for you to help them.

Next, they insist you go to the bank and draw out your life savings and hand it over to them. They are desperate and need money. They promise they will leave. Now you are scared.

You wonder what’s next? You call The White House. You talk to Joe Biden and he lets you know that Kamela Harris is on top of this and hangs up. Of course, you don’t see any of them moving in with him. Delaware is a long way from the border. He doesn’t figure Immigrants will be much of a problem up there when he retires.

At least sixty thousand immigrants are coming to the border of Mexico to enter the United States. They are all desperate people in search of adequate housing, jobs, free education, free medical insurance and more.

Panama’s Prime Minister sounded a warning that a massive group is passing their county and many of them are coming from Haiti. Erika Mouynes is reported to have notified the White House of the most recent migration surge. She recently described how her country has seen 80,000 Haitian immigrants and evacuees crossing from South America, through Panama, headed to the United States this year.

Outlaws rob out of desperation. Drug addicts steal and kill out of desperation. Rapists assault out of deranged desperation. We don’t overlook these criminal acts in America.

They are coming here. They are moving in. They are desperate for shelter, food, free education, free Medicare, free transportation and more. Their desperation doesn’t make it right.

America is a nation of immigrants. Most of them have come legally and followed an orderly process. If our national leaders do not gain control of our border crisis a further humanitarian crisis unlike, we’ve ever seen is fast approaching.


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 The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


Photo Gallery: Three-game win streak, SJO clobbers BCC for Homecoming

SJO cheerleaders Alexis and Emily
Ready to enjoy another Homecoming tradtion, cheerleaders Alexis Taylor and Emily Jeffries share a pregame smile before the start of the St. Joseph-Ogden's homecoming game against Central Catholic. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ethan Vanliew
Ethan Vanliew slaps hands of fans as he runs down the tunnel during team introduction for the Spartans. Vanliew would intercept a Bloomington Central Catholic pass in their end zone and run the ball back for a one-hundred yard pick six in the second quarter. He also caught three passes for 25 yards in St. Joseph-Ogden 33-0 shutout on Friday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden head football coach Shawn Skinner shares a big smile with assistant coach Nick Bialeschki before the opening kickoff between his Spartans and visiting Saints from Central Catholic. About two and half hours later, Skinner had an even better reason to smile with the homecoming win in the books and the program record improving to 3-3 on the season. "Defense was phenomenal from the very beginning," said Skinner, who pointed to the tenacity of his defensive backs and their attention to detail. SJO picked off two passes, one that was returned 100 yards for a TD in the second quarter. "We had a good scouting report, but our kids had to execute it and they were fabulous."

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Lineman Conrad Miller and linebacker Alex Funk

Spartan lineman Conrad Miller and linebacker Alex Funk bring down a Saints' ball carrier during first quarter action. In their best performance of the season, the SJO defense held BCC scoreless and just 144 yards in total offense. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Evan Ingram hurls a pass to an open receiver in the first quarter. The senior signal caller completed eight of 17 passes for 63 yards against the Saints.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Seniors Conrad Miller (77) and Keaton Nolan (8) explode off the line while playing defense in the second quarter for the Spartans. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Peyton Sarver, Keaton Nolan and Ramsey Primmer celebrate

A game official signals touchdown while Spartans Peyton Sarver, Keaton Nolan and Ramsey Primmer celebrate the score in the west end zone after teammate Ethan Vanliew ran an interception back 100 yards for a TD in the second quarter. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Ramsey Primmer breaks up a pass play for SJO
St. Joseph-Ogden defensive back Ramsey Primmer breaks up a pass play to Central Catholic receiver Nick Mardis during the second quarter.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Jett Morris

Spartans' Jett Morris fights off Central Catholic lineman Michael Mier while battling in the trench during second quarter action. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden student fans in the Maroon Platoon section catch comemorative footballs tossed into the stand by cheerleaders. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO Cheerleaders perform at halftime
SJO cheerleaders perform a stunt for during their portion of the halftime show. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Baritone saxophone player Wyatt Loghry and members of the Spartan marching band perform their competition piece during Friday night's halftime show. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Eri Shimada performs with the SJO Marching Band
Eri Shimada performs with the St. Joseph-Ogden High School Marching Band during halftime.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Coby Miller carries the ball through the Saints defensive line during the second half. The senior tallied up 178 yards in game six of the season on 20 carries. He also caught one pass for three yards in the Homecoming game. Miller and the Spartans play at home again in two weeks against Rantoul and will celebrate senior night at the last regular season home contest of the season. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Braxton Waller plays offense for SJO
Sophomore Braxton Waller looks to pick up a downfield block while playing on the the offensive line in the second half of the game.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan linemen Mitchell Wright and Austin Cotter move with the flow of the play while playing on the defensive line during the fourth quarter. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Alex Funk

Junior Alex Funk takes a well-earned drink on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the game. Funk was a key figure on defense and finished the game with 5 receiving yards and 20 rushing yards. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO players and student fans sing the school fight song together after the school's big homecoming football victory. St. Joseph-Ogden, improving to 3-3 on the season, needs just three more wins to quarantee a berth in this year's IHSA playoffs. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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