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Village Crier: January 4, 2021

Local confectioner taking orders for Valentine's Day

It is not too early to start thinking about Valentine's Day. Danielle Howard, a confectioner and stay-at-home mom from nearby Oakwood, is taking orders for her increasingly popular hot chocolate bombs.

"Hot chocolate bombs are amazing," she said. "They are a thin layer of chocolate filled with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. You put the hot chocolate bomb into a mug and pour hot water, or milk over the bomb and watch the magic happen!"

In addition to making themed hot chocolate bombs for the most romantic day of the year, she is also creating breakable chocolate smash hearts and chocolate covered strawberries.

"We already have orders for Valentine's day in our books!"

Each bomb cost $5 a piece and orders can be placed via her Facebook page Dani Jo's Creations or message her Facebook.

COVID-19 cases on the decline again

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District reports just one new COVID-19 case for our area. There are now 62 active cases spanning the six villages.

According to the latest figures from the CUPHD today, Ogden has 3 active cases, Philo 15, Royal 3, Sidney 3, St. Joseph 17 and Tolono 20.

Champaign County has reported fewer than 700 cases for 13 consecutive days.

Runners finish their first race of the year, Plotner comes in 5th

Five area runners, all from St. Joseph, have tucked their first race of 2021 into their belts on January 2 at the 37th annual Siberian Express trail race. The group made up 125 that finished this year's installment.

To make the race safe to run during pandemic this year, runners competed against each in one of six waves and the field was limited to only 150 individuals. Competitors in each wave had a two-hour time limit to run the course through Kickapoo Park.

The local contingent of runners was led by veteran harrier Corey Plotner who finished the 7.45 mile course in fifth place overall in 58 minutes and six seconds. The top area female runner, Amy Bailey, ran the same trail in 1 hour, 23 minutes and .51 seconds. She was the 19th woman competitor to cross the finish line and was 60th overall.

Other finishers from our area included John North (24 overall, 1:10:25), Scott Hendren (68, 1:25:25) and Linda Berry (110, 1:51:05) who gave a high-five to a finish line worker as she crossed the finish line at 39th in women's division.

Ribs and brisket in Tolono

Traxside smoked brisket
Photo provided

How do mouthwatering ribs sound for dinner this weekend? Traxside at 4 East Holden in Tolono is now taking orders for carryout of their smoked Brisket, pulled pork and pork spare ribs pickup on Friday.

Steak and baby back ribs are available Saturday nights, and regular menu items are available Fridays as well as throughout the week.

"I recommend you pre-order beginning at 10 am on Friday mornings because we sell out fast," guest pitmaster Sean Talbott, who fell in love with cooking at the age of 5, told The Sentinel. "I smoke locally raised meat ... with locally harvested hickory and cherry wood, and allow the meat to smoke for 12 to 15 hours until fully cooked to the perfect temp. I strive to produce the best tasting and tender smoked meat around."

Call (217) 485-1016 to place orders for Friday evening.

A call to all local artists

Carson Mills story

Last spring, The Sentinel had the pleasure of publishing spotlight on several seniors in the Class of 2020 from St. Joseph-Ogden high school. It was then we discovered the amazing artistic talent of senior Carson Mills, one of three in a set of triplets, while writing dozens of stories in April and May. I was struck by her attention to detail and realism.

Back in January of 2004, while taking pictures for The Leader back when it was owned by St. Joseph resident and founder Scott Hunter, this publisher, then a photographer, made a handful of images of author, artist and retired farmer Alvin Decker of Philo.

Alvin Decker of Philo

We know there are more artists in our area. We just haven't met you yet but would enjoy seeing fruits of your creativity. If you paint, draw, sculpt or do metal work, The Sentinel would love to feature your work and share your artistic talent. Do you spend hours at the potter's wheel, dabble in mixed-media, do glass-work or design jewelry pieces? We'd like to hear from you.

Have you been more creative or had more time to focus on your art? One upcoming story idea we are working on ruual art and the pandemic. We are looking artists who have created unique art pieces over the past nine months that reflects life and living during the COVID outbreak.

If you are interested in having your work featured in a story, please send a brief bio in an email with a link to your website or a online gallery featuring your work to editor@oursentinel.com. We very much look forward to sharing your passion and vision with our readers.

Send your business, social or community organization's press release or event information to The Sentinel at editor@oursentinel.com.

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