Prep Sports Notebook: Henry records shutout for Unity, SJO gets no-hitter

Rockets light up new scoreboard with 11-1 win over Bombers
The Unity baseball team improved to 2-0 on the season after rolling to another mercy win on Thursday. With Blake Kimball on the mound, the Rockets hammered visiting Argenta-Oreana, 11-1.

Kimball earned his first win after giving up 3 hits and an earned run. The junior hurler didn't walk a batter and struck out five Bombers in the five-inning affair.

Unity put five runs on the board in the second inning breaking a 1-all tie. Thanks to a solid defensive outing by the Rockets, A-O was denied every opportunity to score the remainder of the non-conference contest.

Meanwhile, in their second game on their home turf, Unity christened their new scoreboard by putting runs on in every inning of play, including a 4-run rally in the bottom of the fourth to go up 11-1.

Tyler Hench went 2-for-2 and led the team with 3 RBI. Kimball finished 2-for-4 and chipped in a pair of RBI for the Rockets.

Thomas Cler was 1-for-2 with a triple on the day.

Martinie, Altenbaumer team up for Charleston shutout
SJO's Zach Martinie and Tyler Altenbaumer combined efforts for a 3-0 shutout victory over visiting Charleston on Thursday.

The Spartans scored four runs on four hits from Keaton Nolan, Isaiah Immke, Ty Pence and Altenbaumer.

Hayden Brazelton and Andrew Beyers padded their season stats with one RBI apiece.

Altenbaumer earned the win after tossing 95 pitches and striking out 11 Trojan batters. Martinie closed out the game with 16 pitches, nine of them strikes.

Unity softball picks up conference road win
Taylor Joop led her team's offense effort going 3-for-3, including a double on a pop fly to left field in the top of the second, in the Rockets' conference road game at Rantoul.

Taylor Henry, who struckout 13 batters, went the distance from the circle in Unity's 11-0 shutout over the Eagles. She gave up just three hits, including a triple to Eagles' Bella Shields.

Up 6-0 at the top of 6th inning, Unity manufactured a 5-run rally starting with a line drive to right field from Henry scoring Joop from second and Ruby Tarr at first.

Grace Frye stepped up to the plate next and crushed the second pitch she saw from Rantoul's Emily Curtis over the fence for a two-run homer.

Despite striking out nine batters from the Rockets, Curtis surrendered 11 runs on 10 hits.

The Rockets, now 3-0, face Paris this afternoon at home and Bloomington Central Catholic in an Illini Prairie Conference showdown on Saturday.

House bill passes allowing Blockchain financial services

by Patrick Andriesen, Communications Intern
Illinois Policy
The Illinois House unanimously passed a bill to allow financial service companies that operate using cryptocurrency to apply for a charter in Illinois. If the bill becomes law, Illinois will be the second state to allow the practice.

"Our state has the opportunity to lead the way on blockchain technology and cryptoassets, which could make Illinois a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship for future generations – and all the jobs that come with it," said the bill’s chief sponsor, state Rep. Margaret Croke, D-Chicago.

House Bill 3968 has the support of the Illinois Bankers Association, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and other banking organizations that signed on in support of the bill. It is now before the Illinois Senate.

Illinois would be the second state in the nation to allow special trusts to hold digital assets after Wyoming, which drew digital asset bank Avanti and cryptocurrency exchange Kraken to the state with a similar measure in 2019.

The digital asset industry has grown steadily in recent years with the skyrocketing value of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.

An Illinois Blockchain Business Development report produced by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in December stated worldwide investment in blockchain technology startups jumped from just $1 million in 2012 to $4.15 billion dollars in 2018, enticing thousands more to enter the market. The market value of all cryptocurrencies stands at about $758 billion, according to Statista.

But many digital asset companies have found banking with traditional institutions difficult given the significant cost to startups.

HB 3968 would lend stability to the industry by allowing financial technology companies to offer the same financial products as existing trusts, such as banking and payment services, in addition to other digital asset services, sponsors said.

Traditional financial institutions in Illinois have also voiced support for the bill, stating consumers will benefit and that boosting fintech and cryptocurrencies will drive positive economic growth.

"Illinois has every right to win in blockchain, given that we are a unique intersection of financial hub and real-economy hub (manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, etc.)," Outlier Ventures partner Rumi Morales told Payments Dive. "If we connect digital payments innovation to those sectors, the potential is huge."

Patrick is a communications intern with the Illinois Policy Institute. In this role, he focuses on creating and analyzing content to support our published research and experts in the media. Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that promotes responsible government and free market principles. This story was originally published on March 9, 2021.

St. Joseph village board meeting agenda updated

Three additional items were added to tonight's St. Joseph village board meeting for discussion and possible approval by trustees.

In addition to discussing the new village administrator position and taking care of routine budget duties, the board will also listen to a presentation from Roch's on outdoor dining and discuss moving lighting to accommodate potential out dining space.

The board will also discuss and approve the final draft of a new, long-awaited food truck ordinance.

The third addition to the agenda is a discussion on the county's upcoming redistricting options. An informational webpage at offers five possible plans under consideration. The mapping application compares redistricting proposals created by or submitted to the Champaign County Redistricting Advisory Group.

Prep Sports Notebook: Unity baseball wins opener, softball coach gets 100 wins

Knoll RBI forces 11-1, 5 inning decision
Damian Knoll went 2-2 and drove in the game-winning run sealing Unity's 11-1 opening day win over visiting Hoopeston Area. The junior right-hander notched 3 RBIs in the Rockets' first game since 2019.

Tyler Hensch pitched 5 innings for Unity, giving up one hit and one run while striking out seven batters.

Dillon Rutledge, who scored the runs, along with Dylan Moore and Thomas Cler were also 2-for-2 for the Rockets.

Unity coach gets 100th win
Head coach Aimee Davis picked up career win 100 after her Rockets beat visiting Mt. Zion on Saturday in their season opener, 13-3. The milestone happened a year later than anticipated thanks to COVID and the resulting gameless season last year. Davis, now in her sixth season at the helm, and the Unity softball team started the season with a #7 Class 2A preseason ranking by the Illinois Coaches Association.

SJO softball holds off Fisher's 7th innning rally
SJO pitcher Maggie Ward
Maggie Ward earned yesterday's win after the St. Joseph-Ogden softball team held off a seventh inning momentum shift from the Fisher Bunnies to win 5-3. The pitcher surrendered three runs on nine hits over seven innings, striking out six and walking zero. Ward allowed three runs on nine hits while going the distance in the circle.

Striking out six batters and allowing not a single walk in the non-conference road game for SJO, Ward recorded 79 strikes out of the 118 pitches she put across the plate.

The Spartans put 11 hits in the book. Kennedy Hudson, Peyton Jones, Shayne Immke, Kelsey Martlage, and Audrey Short had two apiece and Alyssa Acton rounded out the offense with one of her own.

SJO improves to 5-3 on the season and faces Villa Grove at home on Wednesday.

Knott wins two of four firsts for Spartans
Last Thursday, field event specialist Hayden Knott won both throwing events in dual meet competition against Eureka.

Knott won the discus throw by just over 10 meters throwing the platter 47.93 meters further than runner-up Brock Trimble. The senior won the shot put competition with his best throw at 16.56 meters.

The Spartans also received first place performances from Brandon Mattsey in the 1600-meter run and Logan Wolfersberger in the 800.

Mattsey completed his four laps in 4 minutes and 43.62 seconds, moving closer to achieving the all-elusive sub-four-minute mile. Teammate Carson Maroon finished behind him second at 4:48.94.

Wolfersberger set a new personal record in the 800, finishing the two loops around the track in 2 minutes and 8.65 seconds.

When it comes to your health ask questions

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

You don’t have to stay in the nursing home if you don’t want to. If you can manage to get out and have a place to go then it’s your life. Even if you want to spend your remaining days crawling in the floor to the kitchen or the bathroom then it’s your God given right to live out your days in such a way.

Too often people feel as if they do not have choices. Some nurse or social worker says, "Oh, you can’t leave here."

Really? If you are mentally and physically able then you can show them by getting up, putting on your clothes, if you are able, and walking or crawling out the door.

A few years back, an acquaintance went to the emergency room. After 30 minutes of feeling like she was being treated very poorly, she got up and left.

An attending nurse called for her to stop saying, "Wait, you can’t leave!"

The acquaintance said, "Watch me."

"You have to see the doctor!" the nurse responded.

The acquaintance retorted, "No, I don’t."

"You can’t leave without signing this paper!" the nurse demanded.

"I’m not signing anything," my acquaintance said as she walked out the door.

Most of the time we are submissively obedient to everything the medical community says to do.

Many years ago, when Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV, many of us believed he would die very soon. That was in 1992 and he is still alive today. Johnson once said, "I do what my doctor tells me to do."

It only makes sense to pay attention to our doctors. Most of the time, they know more than we do. If your cardiologist says to take statins or high blood pressure medicine then it would be wise to do so until you can get your numbers under control.

A friend of ours was advised by her doctor that she needed a hysterectomy. The doctor scheduled the procedure. Days before the procedure our friend called to say she had some unresolved questions. The doctor never called her back so our friend called and emailed the doctor’s office to cancel.

The morning of the scheduled surgery, the doctor called the woman from the surgical room infuriated because our friend did not show up.

Our friend said, "Doctor, I never received a return call to answer my questions, so I cancelled the surgery."

The doctor replied, "I can answer those questions here, you need to come on now."

"No, I won’t be there," our friend said. "I have questions about this procedure that I need to have resolved."

The doctor verbally berated her and forbid her to cancel. Our friend did not have the surgery. Months later she got a second opinion and learned she didn’t need the hysterectomy. There was a much less invasive procedure that would remedy her problem.

She had the less invasive procedure and has been fine for several years.

We are entitled to ask questions and get answers when it comes to our healthcare, surgery or any medication. If your doctor will not answer your questions then find a doctor who will.

We also have the right to be informed about all medical costs instead of being blind-sided later and pushed into bankruptcy.

We are thankful for our good doctors and all who help us with our medical needs. It’s important for us to listen to what they say, ask our questions and then determine the right thing to do.

The right thing to do, is to ask questions, get answers, and make informed decisions.


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


6 reason to consider a career in home healthcare

Pexels photo
Photo:RODNAE Productions/Pexels

(StatePoint Media) -- Over the past 13 months unemployment rates nearly doubled their pre-pandemic levels reported in February 2020, the prospect of starting a new career after age 50 may seem unrealistic. However, industry experts say that it’s actually a great time for those in this age bracket to consider making the leap.

"Whether you’re inspired by the healthcare heroes helping patients on the COVID-19 frontlines or you’re looking to take control over your career and future, the recession-proof home healthcare industry may be right for you," says Jennifer Sheets, president and chief executive officer of Interim HealthCare Inc., which is actively recruiting caregivers nationwide.

Here are six reasons to consider home healthcare at this point in your career:

1. To boost happiness
The pandemic has created new sources of stress and unhappiness for many people. Your career is one area of your life where you can take back some control. And the right career can actually make you happier. Research from The University of Chicago shows that jobs that help and serve others are linked to the most satisfaction.

2. To stay sharp
Brains are like muscles -- they have to be used to stay fit. A change in career flexes your brain “muscles” by encouraging you to learn new things, step out of your comfort zone and stay challenged. Medical experts also believe that staying cognitively active may even reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With a home healthcare career, every day is different, offering a diverse array of experiences that use every facet of your skillset.

3. To make extra money
In uncertain economic times, earning extra money can make a big difference for nearly every family, and home care careers often allow you to bring in extra income in a way that aligns with your schedule and priorities.

4. To meet new people
Loneliness is tied to depression and anxiety, and it can even have negative impacts on heart health. Unfortunately, the pandemic has exacerbated this issue for many people. A new career that requires getting out and interacting with new people can alleviate some of this.

5. To make a difference
With headlines touting healthcare heroes, you may be feeling the pull toward a career that allows you to give back. Helping individuals who can’t (or shouldn’t) go out due to a high risk of COVID-19 complications is a valuable way to make a difference in your community.

6. To mix things up
There are job opportunities in home healthcare available for people of all backgrounds. However, for those already working in healthcare, this is a path offering an opportunity to get back to the heart of caregiving by providing personalized care to patients, with all the flexibility and autonomy that go with it.

To learn more about the industry and explore job opportunities available through Interim HealthCare, which has been connecting individuals to rewarding opportunities that advance their career for more than 50 years, visit

Time for the next chapter in your career? Consider whether home healthcare is the right step for you.

Knoll's 5th inning triple seals Rocket opening win

Damian Knoll slides into second
Unity's Damian Knoll is tagged out on a play at second base by a Hoopeston Area player during the Rockets' first game of the season. Later, the junior smacked a 3-RBI triple in the bottom of the 5th innning to make the score 11-1 and secured his team's first victory of the season. Next up, the Rockets host Argenta-Oreana on their new turf diamond on Thursday. The first pitch is scheduled for 4pm.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Are you ready for when your power goes out?

With people still working, learning and shopping from home, everyone must prepare earlier for outages that accompany severe weather.

(NAPSI) -- More Americans suffered extended power outages in 2020 than any year since Superstorm Sandy struck the New York area in 2012, according to Generac, owners of Power Outage Central, a real-time outage tracking service that monitors outages throughout the United States.

Earlier this month, there were three areas in Champaign-Urbana without electrical service thanks to a set of Mylar birthday balloons that came in contact with power lines.

Photo: Artem Podrez/Pexels

Mylar balloons are metallic and conduct electricity, resulting in surges and shorts that can create power outages, start fires, and cause significant damage to the electric grid. Approximately 1,200 Ameren customers were without power for three hours.

Back in November of last year, power was out for about three hours in the south part of Champaign and another area covering Campustown. In eastern Urbana, about 180 customers were without power at the same time. Over 1,500 customers were without power during the incident.

"In 2020, more than one out of three Americans experienced a power outage, and the U.S. power grid suffered more outage hours than it has in years," said Russ Minick, chief marketing officer for Wisconsin-based Generac. "With people still working, learning and shopping from home, everyone must prepare earlier for outages that accompany severe weather."

Outages are statistically much more common than many other threats to the home, according to Generac’s data. In fact, while about 12% of homes are at risk of flooding according to the First Street Foundation’s flood database1, every home is at risk of losing power. Unlike with floods, however, there are multiple ways to safeguard against loss of electrical power.

"There are three key paths to protecting power supply, said Simon Allen, president of Allied Energy, a backup power solution provider in San Diego, Calif. "These include portable generators, which are a short-term solution; home standby generators; and solar energy storage systems. Solar energy storage systems and home standby generators are permanently installed and can provide secure sources of power for longer periods."

Each system requires advance planning, including local permitting and installation, said Allen, but secure power is worth it.

"Life gets very primitive and dangerous when the power is out. With outages lasting longer and occurring more often, all against the backdrop of people working and learning from home, our customers are turning to Generac home standby generators and PWRcell battery storage systems. Effectively, they’re making their homes a sanctuary against Mother Nature’s threats."

Picking the correct solution varies for every homeowner, said Stephen Cruise of Generator Supercenter, a Texas-based provider of power solutions. "A generator will run nearly indefinitely on propane or natural gas," he said. "With correct power management, a solar energy storage system can also power the whole home for extended periods. It comes down to preference, local codes and budget. The best place to start is finding a great local installer who can help make the decision easy."

"Authorized dealers and installers know local codes and are factory trained," said Minick. "They’re experts in local needs and can provide a one-stop solution for every homeowner."

All the resources needed to acquire and install backup power are available at Prices fit most budgets and vary depending on factors such as the size of home, the electricity needed for backup and preference for solar or generator-based options.

Baker sets hurdles PR, SJO girls snag 9 first at home meet

The St. Joseph-Ogden girls track team took first place in nine events in a home dual meet against Eureka last Thursday.

Haleigh Maddock turned in a 31.10 in the 200m Dash. She was followed over the finish line by teammates Yamilka Casanova (32.32) and Jayci Hayes (32.48) to secure the top three spots on the podium.

SJO's Malorie Sarnecki won the 400m Dash with at time of 1:07:53. The performance was prep personal record for the junior middle distance runner.

In the hurdles, Kaytlyn Baker set a new PR finishing the 100m hurdles at 18.10. In her first meet of the Spring 2021 season against Clinton, the sophomore turned in 18.51 in the event.

Baker also placed second the 300m Hurdles following Ashlyn Lannert over the line at 54.47. Lannert, a junior, won the event with a time of 53.47, just a little under her personal best in the race at 51.53.

The Spartans enjoyed first place finishes in two of the four relay events at the meet.

The Womens 4x100m relay quartet of Atleigh Hamilton, Payton Carter, Raegan Crippen and Macy Reed-Thompson finished more than two second ahead of the Hornets contingent at 52.18 to take first.

The same four Spartans joined forces for another first place finish, this time in the 4x200m relay. The foursome's combined efforts yielded a time of 1:53.13.

Reed-Thompson also earned another gold medal worthy finish taking the top honor in the High Jump. The freshman tallied first place points after her best attempt at 1.49m.

Also earning field event points for SJO, Carter cleared 2.9 meters in the Women Pole Vault for another first place Spartan finish.

Finally, it comes as no surprise that the winner of the Women's Long Jump was 2x Class 1A state champion was Atleigh Hamilton.

The senior cleared 5.23 meters, or 17 feet and 1.91 inches, of sand in her home pit to win the pit. Her best mark in the event, set at the 2019 state championships, is 5.68m (18' 7.75").

The Spartans will host their third meet of the season in a quad event featuring Shelbyville, Judah Christian and St. Teresa tomorrow at the Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex starting at 4pm.

Joining the tech workforce is easier than you might think

(StatePoint Media) -- More than 12 million people are currently employed in tech-related occupations in the U.S., either as information technology (IT) professionals or employees of technology companies. Yet employer demand for tech workers is still strong in many markets and industries, including technology, financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, government and education.

Tech jobs in Champaign County are plentiful at the moment. Technology Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently accepting applications for three positions on their Managed IT Services teams. Four days ago, Revature was seeking software developers and Niemann Foods advertised an opening for a Network Administrator with a starting pay at $40K annually.

Most people assume that tech jobs require the ability to write computer or application code. Companies are looking for employees who can solve problems creatively as well as help businesses operate more efficiently and profitably.

The County of Champaign Forest Preserve in Mahomet posted an opening for an part-time IT Technician on April 1. Jeld-Wen in Rantoul recently had an opening for a Senior IT Business Operations Specialist who would support training, data and other technical needs for the company and its business partners.

Unfortunately, misperceptions about tech occupations persist. People assume that in such jobs, you’re relegated to working alone writing software code or that you need to be a math genius or have an advanced academic degree to even get your foot in the door. These misperceptions can discourage qualified candidates from exploring career options in the IT field.

"Today’s IT professional plays a leading role in virtually every business and industry, identifying innovation and technologies that can determine the future of an organization," says John McGlinchey, executive vice president for global certification with CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry. "Companies are eager to hire people who communicate effectively, are comfortable working as part of a team and are creative in identifying how to use technology to make a business more efficient and profitable."

If you don’t believe technology is a viable career choice, consider all of the things you’ve done today that are made possible by technology

In fact, 62% of executives surveyed for CompTIA’s "Workforce and Learning Trends 2020" report ranked soft skills such as relationship building, persuasion, integrity and confidence with equal importance to hard technical skills when it came to hiring for their tech workforce.

For anyone thinking about a career in tech, the best first step is to learn more about the technologies of today and tomorrow, and the occupations associated with these innovations. Many free resources are available. Here are three examples:

The Future of Tech ( is a growing library of resources on what’s new and what’s next in the world of technology. Topics such as artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data and the internet of things are highlighted on the site, which is designed for anyone interested in learning more about technologies that are shaping the way we live and work.

The IT Career Roadmap ( offers insights into a variety of career paths, including tech support, networking, cybersecurity, data and software and web development.

The IT Salary Calculator ( allows you to explore salary estimates for different tech occupations at different levels of expertise. The calculator includes salary data from 400 different metropolitan areas covering 85% of the U.S. population, from an IT support specialist in Portland, Maine ($52,750) to a cybersecurity analyst in Portland, Ore. ($101,530).

"If you don’t believe technology is a viable career choice, consider all of the things you’ve done today that are made possible by technology -- from the car you drive and the streaming entertainment channels you enjoy to a telehealth visit with your doctor and the ease and efficiency of online banking," says McGlinchey.

The IT field is no longer a world of pocket protectors and motherboards. With more people using more devices than ever before to stay connected to one another, industry experts say that today’s IT workforce is open for business for anyone with great curiosity, creativity, personality and versatility.

Backed by plenty of public and private cash, Rapid Covid Tests will be in stores soon

by Hannah Norman

Scientists and lawmakers agree that over-the-counter covid tests could allow desk workers to settle back into their cubicles and make it easier to reopen schools and travel.

But even as entrepreneurs race their products to market, armed with millions of dollars in venture capital and government investment, the demand for covid testing has waned. Manufacturing and bureaucratic delays have also kept rapid tests from hitting store shelves in large numbers, though the industry was energized by the Food and Drug Administration’s greenlighting of two more over-the-counter tests Wednesday.

Corporate giants and startups alike plan to offer a dizzying array of test options, most costing between $10 and $110. Their screening accuracy varies, as does the way consumers get results: collection kits mailed back to a lab, devices synced with artificial intelligence-enabled apps on a smartphone that spit out results within 15 minutes, and credit card-sized tests with strips of paper that must be dipped into a chemical substance.

"At-home tests are one of the key steps to getting back to normal life," said Andy Slavitt, a member of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, during a February briefing.

The Biden administration announced in March it will allocate $10 billion from the recently passed stimulus package for covid testing to expedite school reopenings, and earlier said it would invoke the Defense Production Act to manufacture more at-home tests. Separately, the federal government has already sent millions of Abbott Laboratories’ BinaxNOW rapid tests to states, and California, for instance, is giving 3 million of them to its most disadvantaged school districts for free.

Large employers, like Google, sports leagues and the federal government, have already shelled out millions to regularly test their workers. Amazon just received emergency use authorization from the FDA for its own covid test and home collection kit, which it intends to use for its employee screening program.

In February, the Biden administration cut a $232 million deal with Ellume, whose rapid antigen test was authorized by the FDA in December. Paired with an app, the test takes 15 minutes to analyze after a nose swab.

Individuals who want to buy over-the-counter tests can bill their health insurance plans, which are required by the federal government in most cases to fully cover covid tests that have been authorized by the FDA.

Everlywell, based in Austin, Texas, is an at-home diagnostic company that already sells its collection kit to consumers through its website and Walgreens, and will soon offer same-day delivery via DoorDash in a dozen cities. Dr. Marisa Cruz, Everlywell’s executive vice president of regulatory and clinical affairs, said buyers can seek reimbursement from their insurance plans for the kit’s $109 cost. The tests are also eligible for purchase with pretax dollars from health savings or flexible spending accounts, she said.

Even with vaccines, epidemiologists say, rapid tests are desperately needed because more testing, along with mask-wearing and physical distancing, will get people back in offices and classrooms and help catch cases that go undetected. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, of people with active infections, 44% reported no symptoms.

But the market for over-the-counter tests is risky. Demand for testing has plunged dramatically since the height of the winter surge and may not rebound as more people are vaccinated.

'You clearly are at risk of missing the market,' said Michael Greeley, co-founder and general partner at Flare Capital Partners, a venture capital firm focused on health care technology.

But Douglas Bryant, president and CEO of Quidel Corp., remains unfazed, even after the diagnostics manufacturer’s testing demand dropped by about one-third in the past two months.

"The level of testing for people with symptoms and the 'worried well,' who see others getting tested and think they should, too, is subsiding," Bryant said. "But once we start to get more people vaccinated, the government will move from campaigning to get people vaccinated to saying, 'Please test yourself regularly so we can get back to work.'"

Quidel, headquartered in San Diego, recently unveiled its latest test, the QuickVue At-Home COVID-19 Test, which takes 10 minutes to detect the coronavirus by homing in on specific proteins, called antigens. The FDA authorized the test for over-the-counter use Wednesday, and Quidel plans to announce retail partners in the coming weeks.

The FDA said in mid-March it would speed the pipeline for “screening testing,” including at-home covid tests that don’t require consumers to have symptoms or a prescription.

In February, the Biden administration cut a $232 million deal with Ellume, whose rapid antigen test was authorized by the FDA in December. Paired with an app, the test takes 15 minutes to analyze after a nose swab.

The Australian company currently ships hundreds of thousands of test kits a week to the U.S. from its factory in Brisbane to large companies and the Department of Defense. It plans to be on the shelves of multiple pharmacies by the second half of the year and in one major retailer in April, said Dr. Sean Parsons, the company’s founder and CEO.

"We are going as fast as we can possibly go," he said.

The main holdup for Ellume has been getting enough swabs for its production line. The company is building a factory in the U.S. to reduce international shipping costs and increase production.

Abbott, which dominates the rapid-test market, said in January it expects to sell 120 million BinaxNOW antigen tests to consumers in the first half of the year. People who take the test now must do so under observation by telemedicine platform eMed. But Abbott received authorization from the FDA this week for an over-the-counter version that won’t require remote observation or a prescription. The test will be available in U.S. stores in the coming weeks, the company said.

Throughout the pandemic, the government has depended heavily on medical device behemoth Abbott’s testing options. The company’s rapid-diagnostics arm alone has snared $673 million in federal contracts to combat the coronavirus, according to a ProPublica database. This includes bulk purchases made by the Defense Department, the national prison system, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the State Department and former President Donald Trump's office.

But antigen tests sometimes report false negatives, particularly among people without symptoms, noted Dr. Jac Dinnes, who co-authored a review of 64 covid test studies. By comparison, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests — generally employed by commercial labs — are more sensitive. PCR tests search for the virus’s genetic material over multiple testing cycles, which magnifies what’s in the swab sample, requiring a much smaller viral load for detection.

Antigen tests are the basis for most at-home screening, but the FDA has also authorized two at-home options — made by Lucira Health and Cue Health — that use molecular processes similar to a PCR test.

"I always like to tell people that it is as easy to use as toothpaste."

Still, many experts support the widespread distribution of cheap, rapid tests, even if they aren’t as sensitive as lab-run alternatives, and see a demand. In Germany, the supermarket chain Aldi began selling rapid tests in early March, roughly $30 for a five-pack, and sold out within hours. One recent study found that if a pack of tests was mailed to every household in the U.S. — even assuming that up to 75% would go into the garbage — they would save thousands of lives and avert millions of infections.

"Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good," said study co-author and Yale University professor A. David Paltiel. "This doesn’t have to work perfectly to make a huge difference."

Some companies are working on rapid-testing options that more precisely read samples, such as Gauss.

The Menlo Park, California, health tech company, which before the pandemic created an artificial intelligence-based app to measure surgical blood loss in real time, aims to harness its expertise to improve on the basic antigen test. It took about a week for CEO Siddarth Satish to raise $30 million of venture capital last October.

Its covid-testing app uses facial recognition software to confirm that test-takers correctly swab their noses. The app provides step-by-step instructions and timers. After 15 minutes, an algorithm based on thousands of sample tests interprets the result — which displays as a colored line, as with a pregnancy test — using the phone’s camera.

Gauss and Cellex, which manufactures the Gauss tests, await FDA authorization. In the meantime, they have produced more than 1.5 million kits and struck deals with supermarket chain Kroger and e-pharmacy site Truepill to sell them for about $30.

"A huge part of the accuracy issue with rapid tests is that you have to visually interpret them," Satish said. "Sometimes you get really faint lines, just like with a pregnancy strip, and there’s some guesswork."

Lucira Health, based in Emeryville, California, uses something called loop-mediated isothermal amplification technology, which is similar to PCR tests in precision. In February, the company went public, raising $153 million largely to fund the manufacturing of its all-in-one testing kit, currently prescribed by doctors across the country. The kit comes with a nose swab and a vial of chemicals analyzed by a hand-held device — taking up to 30 minutes for results.

Kelly Lewis Brezoczky, Lucira’s executive vice president, envisions the test kit on the shelf in local pharmacies, perched next to the NyQuil. "I always like to tell people that it is as easy to use as toothpaste," she said.

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Village of St. Joseph board meeting agenda this Tuesday set

The St. Joseph village board meeting will be held this Tuesday at the Municipal Building at 7pm.

After the motion to approve minutes from April 13 and pay Village bills, trustees will consider approving six items on the April 27 agenda.

The following items are up for discussion and approval:

  • A MFT Resolution for Maintenance
  • Approval a contract with Jamaica Fireworks
  • Approval of the bid for directional boring for the streetlights conduit
  • A motion an ordinance and policy prohibiting Sexual Harassment
  • Review and approval a resolution and the employee manual with a drug and alcohol policy
  • Approval of a resolution accepting the low bid for drainage improvement at Meadow Circle

The board will also hear a report from the Finance, Personnel, & Economic Development Department on the current budget and filling the newly created Village Administrator position.

Members of the community are welcome to express their input. If you plan to attend the meeting, only the side door which enters directly into the Village Board room will be open. The rest of the building will not be accessible during the meeting. Guests are required to observe social distancing guidelines. If you have something that you want to bring up at the Village Board Meeting but do not want to attend in person, you may email the information to Please include your full name, phone number, and address in the email.

Members of the community may address the Board/Committee by completing the information requested on the Attendance/Oath Sheet prior to the start of the meeting. After state their name and address for the record, speakers will have the floor for a maximum of five minutes to address the board.

Food | Thursday night special: Gluten-Free Barbecue Skillet Pizza

(Family Features) -- Make everyone under your roof their own personalized mouth-watering pizza using wraps and tortillas. Here is a recipe to get you started in creating fresh specialty pizza at home.

Instead of traditional a tradition bread pizza crust, change things up and try this Gluten-Free Barbecue Skillet Pizza with Toufayan Gluten-Free Wraps.

Photo courtesy Family Features

Made from wholesome, all-natural ingredients with no cholesterol or trans fats, Toufayan wraps are easily foldable and are available in four flavors, making them perfect for a one of kind homemade pizza.

Swap out cheeses, add toppings and create a personalized gourmet pizza for the pickiest eater in your dining room for just pennies. Use Toufayan wraps and pita bread to create satisfying award-winning pizza at home.

Gluten-Free Barbecue Skillet Pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 Toufayan Gluten-Free Original Wrap
3 tablespoons gluten-free barbecue sauce
4 cooked sausage links, crumbled
2 cups diced Mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
fresh Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
fresh fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
crushed red pepper, for garnish (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Here's how to put all together into a delicious meal or party-time snack:

Heat oven to broil.

Heat cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons olive oil; spread to cover bottom of skillet.

Place wrap in skillet, brush with barbecue sauce and add sausage, Mozzarella and green onion.

Fry 2-3 minutes, or until bottom of wrap is golden and crispy.

Place skillet under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Remove from broiler, place on cutting board and sprinkle with Parmesan, fennel fronds and crushed red pepper, if desired.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste; drizzle with remaining olive oil, cut and serve.

For more meal and snack ideas visit

Prep Sports Notebook: Unity softball wins home opener, SJO volleyball post 17 wins

SJO softball splits DH
Addison Frick went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs in game two of St. Joseph-Ogden's road doubleheader against Atwood-Hammond-Arthur-Lovington.

Meanwhile, teammate Kennedy Hudson was 3-4 with a pair of RBI of her own in SJO's 10-4 win.

Alyssa Acton picked up the win after facing 75 batters.

The win came after the Spartans dropped game one, 2-1.

Facing pitcher Makenzie Brown, SJO produced just four hits against the University of Tulsa commit.

Sophia Martlage, who scored the team's only run, took the loss for the Spartans surrendering two runs on six hits over six innings.

Henry earns first pitching win for Unity, Rockets settle game in six
Madeline Reed and Hailey Flesch had three hits apiece to give Unity their first win of the season. The Rockets rolled Mount Zion, 13-3 at home.

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, was softball-less for exactly 700 days since the Rockets' softball team last played a competitive inning.

Reed, along with Gracie Renfrow and Taylor Joop booked 2 RBI apiece.

Junior hurler Taylor Henry gave up seven hits on 100 pitches and struck out eight after six innings of play on her way to her first win of the season.

Spartan baseball team remains undefeated
After seven games, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team's record remains untarnished by a loss.

The latest victory for the 7-0 Spartans was a sweet one on the road at Teutopolis. Back in 2017, the Wooden Shoes denied the SJO program a Class 2A state championship trophy after a 10-2 win over the Spartans.

SJO's Hayden Brazelton, who went 5-for-5 at the plate, doubled in his first at-bat, singled in the second, tripled in the fourth, singled on his next two trips in the sixth and eighth innings. He led the team with 3 RBI.

Sophomore Ty Pence picked up the win bring the heat in the last three innings of a game that went one extra inning. He struck out four Wooden Shoe batters in his three-inning appearance on the hill.

Teutopolis' Derek Konkel, who took the pitching loss, saw a little more than an inning of action giving up two hits and three runs.

SJO volleyball team finishes on a high note
The Spartan volleyball program finished its spring season with an impressive 17 win, 3 loss record on Friday.

Kennedi Burnett led St. Joseph-Ogden with 6 kills, 1 assist, 3 digs and an ace to close out the season against Teutopolis.

Senior Payton Vallee put away 10 kills and notched five digs as the Spartans powered their way past the Wooden Shoes, 25-21 and 25-14.

Ashley Eldridge had five kills and two blocks.

Frick delivers game-high 3 RBI, SJO splits doubleheader on the road

The St. Joseph-Ogden softball squad split their doubleheader this morning against Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammon.

In game one, the SJO faced Makenzie Brown, the best opposing pitcher the team has seen so far this season. Brown struck out 16 of the 23 Spartans she faced across seven innings to lead her team to a 2-1 victory on her home diamond.

Sophia Martlage winds up for a pitch against the Centennial Chargers. The senior went 3-for-4 and stole two bases in game two of the Spartans' road campaign against the Knights of ALAH.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Peyton Jones led SJO with 3 hits and plated a run on line drive to right field that allowed Sophia Martlage to score in the 5th inning. Jones added one stolen base and celebrated at double during the non-conference contest.

Down 2-1 at the top of the 6th and struggling to put the ball in play, the Spartans was able to put the ball in play just three more times across to frames.

Despite striking out just two batters, Martlage, who unloaded 47 strikes out of her 60 pitches, gave up two runs on six hits.

With Brown out of the way, game two was a different tale. St. Joseph-Ogden pounded out 13 hits to take the second game, 10-4.

Between the top of the 3rd and the start of the bottom, the Spartans scored seven runs to go up 7-1 on six singles and four walks.

Jones, Martlage, Halle Brazelton, Grace Goldenstein, Addy Martinie, Addison Frick and Audrey Short all scored in the rally.

Alyssa Acton earned the win in game two for SJO after a 75-pitch, five-inning appearance. She struck out three along the way.

The Spartan offense was led by the trio of Martlage, Hudson and Jones with three hits each. Frick, who had a game-high 3 RBI, and Short had two apiece of the team's 13.

St. Joseph-Ogden, who plays at home on Wednesday against Villa Grove, tallied seven stolen bases on the Knights.

SJO softball team picks up another win

St. Joseph-Ogden shortstop Shayne Immke lunges toward a ground ball during SJO's home softball game against Tri-Valley. The Spartans, thanks to a single run plated in the bottom of the third by Addison Frick, pulled out a 1-0 victory on Wednesday to improve their record to 3-1. The Spartans play at home next on April 28 hosting the Blue Devils of Villa Grove.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

5 strategies to consider for singles heading into retirement

Photo:Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels
(StatePoint Media) -- Planning on retiring single? You aren’t alone.

Nearly 22 million Americans age 65 and older were unmarried in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, representing 41.5% of those in that age category. And for women, it’s more likely to be the case. According to the Administration on Aging, 54% of older women are unmarried, as compared to 30% of older men.

In a study published in the "The Gerontologist", one-third of men and women between the ages of 45 and 63 who responded to the survey were single, most were never married or they were and now divorced. A small number were widowed.

Unmarried Baby Boomers face greater economic, health, and social challenges compared to their married peers in their later years.

"Retirement planning can be especially challenging for singles, who need to prepare without the decision-making and income support of a partner," says Scott Pedvis, financial advisor, Wells Fargo Advisors.

For those setting a course for solo retirement, Wells Fargo Advisors offers these five tips:

1. Create a fallback plan. Retirees commonly discover a gap between what they thought they’d need for retirement and what’s actually needed. And if you’re single, you may not have a second income stream to rely on should finances become unexpectedly disrupted. Periodically review your investment portfolio and build backup plans. Such contingency planning could involve more emergency savings and more robust disability and long-term care insurance protection than couples. You could also choose to take a part-time job for extra income.

2. Build a network of advisors. With autonomy sometimes comes a reluctance to seek advice. Consider forming a team of trusted professionals, including a financial advisor, accountant, attorney and healthcare providers.

3. Count on loved ones—to a point. Friends and family can be a lifeline in good times and times of need. However, ensuring they don’t take advantage of your independent status or create serious financial burdens for you is essential. For example, you should take extreme care before turning over financial matters to others. Stay actively involved and work with a trusted team to help make decisions in your best interests. Evaluate the possibility of engaging a corporate trustee to manage finances, should you become incapacitated.

4. Prepare key documents. According to, more than half of American adults don’t have estate planning documents such as a will or trust. Don’t wait. Even if you’ve put some documents together, they may not ensure your wishes are carried out. Here are the key documents forming the foundation for most estate plans:

• Will
• Power of attorney (POA) for financial matters
• Durable power of attorney for health care
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release authorization
• Living will
• Revocable living trust

To prevent confusion and misdirected bequests, carefully designate beneficiaries of IRAs, employer-sponsored retirement plans, insurance policies and annuities. Lay out clear directions for the distribution of remaining assets. Also, don’t forget about digital assets and accounts. Will your executor or trustee have proper authority to access and manage those items? Talk to your attorney about keeping digital planning secure and up-to-date.

5. Plan for change. Entering into a committed relationship could mean making adjustments. Look at your insurance coverage, emergency fund and future income plan.

Think about having a frank discussion with your new partner about how you’ll divide assets in the event of divorce or death. If ex-spouses or children are in the picture, consider managing finances and estate plans separately. With the assistance of your financial advisor and estate-planning attorney, you can establish a basic estate plan, and, as appropriate, discuss other strategies for preserving wealth.

"Planning for retirement is part of the financial journey. Key planning strategies can help you feel confident as you approach your golden years solo," says Pedvis.

For more information and guidance in planning your retirement, visit

Create a healthier home: 4 tips for your new multi-purpose space

Photo: Avelino Calvar Martinez/Burst
(Family Features) -- Even after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, There are a lot of people not ready to throw caution into the wind and resume pre-pandemic behavior. Individuals and families, vaccinated or not, are planning to continue to spend more time at home until they feel their communities and the places they frequent are much safer to visit.

The additional time at home provides a unique opportunity to make changes to create a healthy living environment.

In many homes spaces traditionally used for socialization and relaxation have evolved into classrooms, gyms and workout space, voice and video production studios, comfortable office space, restaurants, and more.

In fact, a majority of Americans (54%) report being more concerned about having a healthy home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent online survey of 2,000 adults conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Carrier Global Corporation, a leading global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.

The survey also found that of those surveyed who were 18 years of age or older last August, since the COVID-19 pandemic began:

  • 49% are more concerned about maintaining heating and air conditioning filters to reduce dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants.
  • 42% are more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
  • 39% are more concerned about having dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in their homes.

According to the survey, 1,381 of the participants were homeowners.

If you’re looking to improve your living space, consider these tips for making your home the healthiest it can be:

Create an ideal sleep environment . . .
Most people sleep most comfortably when the air is slightly cool, so target a room temperature between 65-70 F. If this is cooler than you keep the home during the day, consider using a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature at bedtime. Also, remove distractions that may keep you awake and, if necessary, use a white noise device for uninterrupted sleep.

Improve indoor air quality . . .
Maintaining heating and air conditioning filters is a concern many homeowners reported. According to the survey, 49% of respondents are concerned about reducing dust, pollen and other indoor pollutants as part of their filter maintenance.

In addition to changing air filters on a frequent basis, air purifiers and humidifiers can help make the air inside homes fresher, cleaner and more comfortable. For example, third-party testing has shown the Carrier Infinity Whole Home Air Purifier inactivates 99% of the select viruses and bacteria trapped on the filter, such as those that cause common colds, streptococcus pyogenes and human influenza. The purifier was also tested by a third party against the murine coronavirus, which is similar to the human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. In that testing, the purifier inactivated 99% of coronavirus trapped on the filter.

Also look at your home's air exchange rate, also known as Air Change Per Hour (ACPH). ACPH or ACH is a measurement that looks at how many times the air within a defined space is replaced each hour with fresh, ideally outdoor air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends homes and offices have a certain number of air changes per hour. For example, bedrooms should have five to six, kitchens seven to eight, and laundry rooms around eight to nine exchanges per hour.

If your home is older and not as tightly-built or weatherized, air exchange can occur through leaks in the exterior envelope, which may not be enough to keep mildew and mold growth under control. With newer, well-sealed constructed home, homeowners may want to consider upgrading your home's ventilation system to remove stale air and pull in more fresher air from outdoors.

Update fire protection . . .
Since the pandemic began, people are also more concerned about fire safety precautions in their homes, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of your house and inside each bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries as needed. Additionally, you should have a fire extinguisher on each level and consider one for the kitchen, as well. Make sure to check extinguishers routinely and replace them every 10-12 years.

Install carbon monoxide alarms . . .
Another cause for concern amid COVID-19 is the potential for dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in homes. CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home and outside sleeping areas, and it’s important to test them monthly. Consider installing alarms with a 10-year battery, such as the Kidde Wire-Free Interconnect 10-Year Battery Combination Smoke & CO Alarm for less hassle. It offers wire-free interconnect capability, a voice warning feature that accompanies the loud alarm tone and verbal announcements such as “replace alarm” at the end of the alarm’s life.

To learn more about creating a safer, healthier home, visit

Photo Gallery | Spartan softball team post opening victory

St. Joseph-Ogden sophomore Maggie Ward winds up for a pitch during the Spartans' season opener last. The Spartans rolled to a 12-7 victory to start the 2020-21 season. Ward threw 64 pitches during her five innings in the circle to earn her first win of the season. The sophomore hurler struck out three and gave up three runs and four hits in her varsity debut.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
SJO softball team greets Acton at home
Audrey Short, Peyton Jones, Kaylee Ward and the rest of team wait to greet teammate Alyssa Acton at home plate after her two-run homer.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Alyssa Acton smiles after her 2-run homer
First base player Alyssa Acton is all smiles after hitting her first home run of the season. The two-run shot extended the Spartans' lead over the visiting Chargers, 10-4. The sophomore, who crossed the plate twice during the contents, also finished the game with two hits and two RBIs.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Starter Sophia Martlage winds up for a pitch during the opening inning of the game. Martlage tossed 40 pitches giving up three hits and four runs during her two-inning appearance for SJO.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Kaylee Ward gets fist bump from head coach Larry Sparks as she heads to the dugout after her 1-out two run homer down the right field line. The senior tallied six RBI thanks in part to her long ball and a double.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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