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To the Editor: Focus on mental health year-round

Dear Editor,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it has probably never gotten as much public attention as it has this year. That’s both good and bad.

To address the stigma around mental health disorders, we must talk about them openly and honestly year-round. As the Rosecrance Central Illinois Executive Director, it has been refreshing to see mental health in the spotlight for a sustained period.

Unfortunately, I also know that is because many of us are struggling. Mental illness affects one in five adults and one in six youth in a normal year. With COVID-19, that number doubled for adults. The past 12 months have been particularly difficult for those who struggle because they had to adjust to isolation and care by phone or video.

It is tough to talk about something this sensitive, but maybe now is the best time any of us might have to ask how our loved ones truly are doing. Once you have that first conversation, don’t let it be a just a May thing, or wait until we’re reminded again during Recovery Month in September. Make relationship-building check-ins a part of your life every day. The more you connect, the brighter someone’s world becomes through the joy of real relationships.

If you’re a little nervous about speaking up, or if you’re struggling with mental health now, know that you’re not alone. Whatever your concerns, there are many resources available to help you find information, support groups, or treatment. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is one place to turn. The Illinois Department of Health Call 4 Calm text line (text “talk” to 552020) is another great resource for emotional support. And, as always, caring Rosecrance Central Illinois staff would be delighted to talk with you or point you to valuable groups and resources.

Please remember that together we can help those who struggle with mental illness, and we can continue to work to end the stigma.

Life’s waiting.

Joey King, Central Illinois Executive Director
Rosecrance

New library rules now in effect

With the state entering a new phase in its pandemic mitigation strategy, the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library has updated their visitor rules in accordance to Illinois' newly relaxed restrictions.

St. Joseph, IL Effective yesterday, the library will allow 25 people in the building. That maximum number includes both staff and patrons. Patrons, who must also wear mask when admitted, will be allowed 30 minutes a day inside. Restrooms and water fountains will not available for public use.

The library will continue to offer curbside service for those who can not or object wearing masks inside the building.

Residents and patrons who have a question about the updated policy can contact the St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library by phone at (217) 469-2159 or via email at stjosephtownshiplibrary@gmail.com.

Pix & Six | Six questions with Damian Knoll

A while back the Sentinel found Damian Knoll watching the Unity softball team's early season home game against Westville. Earlier in the week, the three-sport athlete drove in the winning run in his baseball team's season opener against Hoopeston Area.

Unity's Damian Knoll ty
Damian Knoll hits a foul ball during his second trip to the plate in the Rockets' April home game against Hoopeston Area. In the bottom of the 5th inning he tripled putting across the winning run for an 11-1 victory. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)


Relatively sure that Knoll will make huge impact in every sport he playes during his senior year for the Rockets starting next fall, we asked six questions so we would get to know the junior better.


Sentinel: What is your dream job?
Knoll: Police officer or DNR officer


Sentinel: Who are three people you would want to spend a month long vacation with?
Knoll: Kevin Hart, Duwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Nolan Arenado.


Sentinel: Name one thing you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
Knoll: How dedicated I am to sports.


Sentinel: If you were a superhero what would your alias be and what would be your super power?
Knoll: Dam Dollar. My main special power would be the ability to read people's minds.


Sentinel: If you inherited a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy?
Knoll: A brand new truck.


Sentinel: Finally, where is your favorite place to eat?
Knoll: Monical's.


Damian Knoll slides into second on steal

Inches away from a safe call, Knoll is tagged out just before reaching the bag on a steal attempt at second base. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Viewpoint: Now that you have the diploma, how to work toward early retirement

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator


Families across America are celebrating high school and college graduations.

Young adults are now faced with going to work or pursuing more education. Employers across America are looking for workers. Colleges are looking for students. Will you spend $25,000 to $60,000 per year to go to school? Or, will you go to work and earn $25,000 to $60,000 or more?

Some of America’s graduates will find jobs working for state or federal government entities. One acquaintance went to work for her state government and retired by the time she was 46. With a full state retirement benefit she started a part-time business that seems to do well. She did not have one day of college education. She started out at an entry level job but worked hard, showed up and received several promotions that provided her with a good income and a very good government retirement.

A high school graduate can enlist into the military. He or she will start out on the bottom but show up and work hard every day and have a retirement by the time they are 38 years old. It’s only 50% of their salary but it’s a respectable check which will provide them financial security for the rest of their lives.

If school teachers start teaching at the age of 23 many can retire by about 51 years old.

Retiring at 46 or 51 is seldom on the mind of someone 18 or even 23. Often, just finding an enjoyable job that is maintainable is the main goal. However, give some thought to the type of work you are pursuing. What kind of financial stability and security will it provide for you and when will it afford you retirement income?

You don’t have to quit working at 46 or 50 just because you have obtained a monthly retirement check. There is a world of opportunities you can pursue. You can start a different career. You can work part-time. Or, you can stay with the job you are doing. Or, just enjoy life.

There is a sacrifice to a lot of jobs. Many jobs may be fulfilling but often come up short on solid retirement plans. Pursue and enjoy what you do but you can’t make a retirement plan happen out of thin air when you hit sixty. Keep in mind you can save a little bit of money every month and it will grow. Be diligent about this every month and you’ll eventually see results. Start now.

The career you went to school for may also allow you to retire at 55 if you want to. You may also train for a job that you will enjoy doing into your late sixties or even seventies or older. An acquaintance of mine is 82. He’s been in the hotel business for many years and loves his work. Another friend was a college President until he was 78 and loved every minute of his work. One of my friends is a surgeon and is 72. He loves working every day.

Today is a good time to think about what you are doing and where it will take you. Consider what you want life to look like when you arrive at your destination.


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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.

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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 editor@oursentinel.com.


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Tolono village-wide garage sale May 14-15


May 14 and 15
362 County Road 1200 East
Boys and girls clothes, junior clothing, Fisher Price Power Wheel Jeep, dishes, Tupperware and Hallmark ornaments.

May 14 and 15
801 E. Boone
Concrete tools, lumber and miscellaneous household items.

May 14-15
802 E. Boone
Anything you need for a BABY. Swing, sleepers, carseat covers, socks, girl 6m-12m & 7-10, womens clothing, tools, home decore and more.
May 14 & 15 starting at 8am
201 North Condit
HUGE STAMPIN UP SALE. 100+ stamp sets, dies, designer paper, ink, punches, punch boards, etc. Supplies to make Cheer Bows (or just big hair bows), fabric all kinds, Norwex and more. Sale will be at the side drive on Holden.

May 15, 8am-2pm
408 South Bourne
Many household items and decorations/ women’s, juniors and men’s name brand clothing/ women’s shoes size 7, 7.5 and 8/ children’s clothing size 3T and 4T/ Mary Kay make up and some other cosmetics/ small TV stand/ three end tables/ stained quarter round/ flooring-ceramic tiles and much more!

May 14, 7:30am to noon
504 Deerpath
Women and Boys Clothing size Medium & Large. Also lots of household items.


May 14-15
418 Deerpath
Kids toys, puzzles, games, clothes. Lots of household items.
May 14-16
202 E. Washington St.
Moving sale so LOTS of stuff. We will start at 12:30pm and run until later in the evening, plus all weekend. Lots of baby boy clothes, baby items (new pump & supplies, bottles, etc.), toys, games, room furniture, some FREE items. I’m still going through stuff!





From the editor: Here is a map created by a third party showing the locations above as well as other sale locations - Tolono Garage and Yard Sales.


Kitchen Delight | Fruity Lemon Cheesecake

(Family Features) -- Fresh fruit is finally in season. When the sun is out and kids are hitting the pool, it’s also time to indulge in some sweet fruit flavors. Watermelon, berries, bananas and more can all be found near perfect ripeness at grocery stores or farmer’s markets during the warm summer months.

Lemon Cheesecake
Photo provided
On a hot day, there is almost nothing better than trying something new that sounds delicious. Throw your apron on, prepare your kitchen and get baking.

If you’re craving something sweet with no ideas where to start, try this sweet Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit. It’s tangy and rich, and allows you to escape to the summer oasis of your dreams, at least for a few minutes.

It has the smooth, creamy texture of cheesecake mixed with a hint of tart lemon juice. Topped with raspberries, mint and oranges, the burst of fresh fruit enhances the cheesecake flavor. It’s the perfect sweet treat for summer for people of all ages with its bright colors and varying flavors.

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter then press into a springform pan.

Beat cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, three eggs, lemon juice and vanilla extract then pour it on top of the graham cracker mixture.

Bake for 50-55 minutes before cooling completely in the fridge and adding fruit and mint leaves.

The outcome is a fluffy cheesecake with a small hint of lemon topped with your favorite fresh fruits. It’s a delightful, sweet and satisfying recipe your family can make again and again to enjoy during those warm summer months.

Find more recipes perfect for summer at Culinary.net.


Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Fruit


Cheesecake
Photo provided
Servings: 6-8

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, peeled and separated
8 raspberries
3 mint leaves, for garnish


Directions

Heat oven to 350 F.

In medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into 9-inch springform pan.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs, fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract; mix until combined.

Pour into pan. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until center springs back when lightly pressed. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. Arrange orange slices around border of cake and place raspberries in middle. Top with mint leaves.

It's out of here!

SJO's Kennedy Hudson crushes home run
St. Joseph-Ogden's Kennedy Hudson watches the ball she put in play fly out to left field on Saturday during the Spartans' home softball game against Salt Fork. Hudson's ball was good for a two-run homer to put SJO up 7-4 in the bottom of 6th inning. The Storm rallied back to get within one run of putting the game into extra innings before fally 7-6 in the non-conference contest. Hudson finished the game with a hit and 2 the pair of RBIs.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Prep Sports Notebook: Softball and baseball teams notch wins

Alyssa Acton hits a foul ball against Olympia

Alyssa Acton hits a foul ball during SJO home game against Olympia. Today, in the Spartans' road game at Rantoul, the sophomore had 3 hits including a home run and 4 RBIs.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Spartans pick up 10th win of the season
Alyssa Acton put a shot over the fence in the fifth inning for a two-run homer to increase the St. Joseph-Ogden softball team's commanding lead over Rantoul, 11-4. In the next frame, Shayne Immke drilled a three-run, inside-the-park home run in the Illini Prairie Conference duel to put the Spartans up, 16-4.

Any hopes of an Eagles comeback was extinquished 1-2-3 by Acton, who was throwing heat from the circle. In her five-inning appearance, the sophomore slugger averaged just 12 pitches per frame to help the SJO pick up their 10th win of the season.

Emily Curtis, who gave up a pair of home runs and a double on 13 hits, earned the loss for the Eagles.

It was another superb outing also for Kelsey Martlage, who went 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs, Immke with 2 hits and 3 RBIs and Maggie Ward (2-for-3) with two of the team's 11 stolen bases and a pair of RBIs.



Unity shuts out IPC foe
Every Unity batter that stepped in the box in today's home game today against Pontiac booked at least one hit in win #8 for the Rockets after handing the visiting Indians a 9-0 shutout.

Pitcher Taylor Henry, now 4-0 overall for the season, struck out 14.

The Rockets enjoyed back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the third, first from freshman Ruby Tarr, who went 2-for-4 on the day, and then from Henry, the next batter in the lineup, on a 3-1 count.

Madeline Reed and Gracie Renfrow hit a double during one of their three trips to the plate. Reed scored twice and contributed an RBI. Renfrow's offensive contribution included a pair of runs and 2 hits. Elise Swanstrom hit a triple and put two runs over the plate.

Unity improves to 3-0 in conference play. Next up, the Rockets take on IVC at home on Saturday with the first game of the twin bill starting at noon.



Spartan baseball team rebounds
It is hard to keep a good team down.

After dropping a disappointing heartbreaker to Maroa-Forsyth one day earlier, the St. Joseph-Ogden baseball team picked up their 13th victory of the season after beating Rantoul 8-7 on the road this afternoon.

Down 7-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning, SJO rallied back scoring five runs in the last two innings of the game for the win.

The key moment came on a one-out sacrifice fly ball from Andrew Beyers's in the top of the six that allowed senior Crayton Burnett to cross the plate from third for the go-ahead run.

The Spartans relied on three pitchers to get through their toughest conference game so far this season. Connor Hale was on the bump for two innings, Griffin Roesch saw action for just over an inning and Avian Gerdes three complete innings. The trio tossed 157 pitches and combined for nine strikeouts.

Hayden Brazelton and Isaiah Immke had two hits apiece. Ty Pence, Crayton Burnett and Keaton Nolan scored two times each for SJO.



Create lasting keepsakes for Mother's Day


StatePoint Media-- In today’s world, intimacy can sometimes be sacrificed for immediacy. We often send texts or emails to family and friends rather than hand writing letters, cards or notes.

However, handwritten notes are a beautiful way to capture meaningful moments and create something tangible that goes beyond the digital. In the past, writing by hand was an integral part of daily life -- letters were written to soldiers overseas, travel journals and diaries were kept, and cards were sent to celebrate birthdays. Today, we have to be much more intentional about crafting these handmade mementos.

This year for Mother’s Day, get inspired by the art of handwritten communication and celebrate Mom with one of these lasting keepsakes:

Tap into Nostalgia: Does your mom still have your kindergarten macaroni art or hand-drawn valentines lovingly tucked away in a drawer? Take her for a sweet trip down memory lane by compiling a scrapbook or memory box of your childhood masterpieces. Make sure to include a handwritten note from the present day for a heartfelt finishing touch.

Feed Mom’s Soul: Preparing food and sharing meals is one of the most common ways families connect. If your mom has a collection of handwritten recipe cards, consider binding them into a cookbook, complete with a title page inscription from her favorite kitchen helper (you!). Not only will it make her feel like an accomplished chef, it’ll preserve these treasured treats for the next generation of kids and grandkids to enjoy.

Capture the Everyday: The first step to preserving treasured memories is to record them. Gift your mom some stunning stationery, a sturdy leather-bound journal or even high-quality card stock and encourage her to do some writing of her own. Journaling is proven to be an effective tool for relaxation and self-reflection. For moms who give so much of themselves to their families, a lovely journal might be a welcome invitation to spend some much-needed time with herself. Pair your gift with a smooth-writing, long-lasting gel ink pen, like the G2 from Pilot, to ensure Mom’s words flow as effortlessly as her love.

Give Mom the Ultimate Upgrade: Complete Mom’s gift and make sure she’s ready for any writing task with a Decimo fountain pen. The slimmer barreled cousin to Pilot’s classic Vanishing Point fountain pen features a unique, retractable design and a rhodium plated 18K gold writing nib that is as durable as it is sophisticated.

However you celebrate Mom this year, be sure to skip the e-card and handwrite something from the heart, instead.

By embracing the art of the written word, you can create lifelong memories and treasured heirlooms this Mother’s Day.

Pix & Six | 6 questions with Unity's Tyler Hensch

Unity pitcher Tyler Hensch

While the girls' softball team was wrapping up their non-conference win over visiting Westville a week ago this past Tuesday, the Sentinel caught up with three-sport Rocket athlete Tyler Hensch. The junior, who also plays football and basketball, was on the mound for his team's opening game against Hoopeston Area. He pitched five innings for Unity, giving up one hit and one run while striking out seven batters.

We fired six random questions at him and here's how he responded.

Sentinel: What is your dream job?
Hensch: A pilot for the Navy.


Sentinel: Name three people you would spend a month long vacation with?
Hensch: Mariano Rivera, Jeff Bezos, and Derek Jeter.


Sentinel: What movie or TV show best describes your life right now?
Hensch: Friends.


Sentinel: Name one thing you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
Hensch: "Work ethic is everything".


Sentinel: You just inherited a million dollars. What would you would buy first?
Hensch: I would buy a sports car - a Ford GT350.


Sentinel: Name your favorite place to eat?
Hensch: Chick-fil-A.


Above: Putting wood on leather, Tyler Hensch puts the ball in play for the Rockets during the team's first home game of the season on their new turf field. At the top: Hensch hurls a pitch against Hoopeston Area during the second inning. (Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Celebrate Mother's Day and the memories now and in the future

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator


Plan your telephone call to say hello to mom this Sunday. Better yet, if possible, make a visit with a card or even some flowers or maybe some brownies or a special treat.

Moms deserve to be treated special. Take her out to lunch or dinner if possible. It doesn’t have to be Sunday, maybe Saturday would work better. Tell mom what she means to you. Let her know that you love her and that you give thanks for all she has done for you. Let her know she was a good mother and that you are grateful for everything. Moms need to hear it and you’ll be glad for everything you do for your mother.

However, you may not be so fortunate.

My mother Eula Hinkle Mollette, passed away many years ago. My son’s mother Karen Mollette passed away in 2002.

The years go by quickly. For too many, Mother’s Day can be a sad day because mom is no longer here. All you have is your many memories and too often memories are filled with mixed emotions. You remember what was wonderful but you may start thinking about all you wish you had done or could do if you had her today. If you have your mother today then celebrate in every way you can.

Sadly over 200,000 women are in prison or jail in the United States today. Eighty percent of these women have minor children. Mother's Day is a painful day for these women and their families.

Millions of children live with parents who are addicted to alcohol or drugs or both.

These children are raised in sad environments where they have had to emotionally and often even financially help their parents. Often, these daily struggles make it difficult to celebrate the "picture perfect" day that is touted by the flower and card companies. They may go to buy a Mother's Day card but just cannot find one that really expresses how they feel.

Many children have been raised in painful, abusive environments and Mother’s Day is depressing because they can’t conjure up that many good memories of mom. Many of these children want mom to be well and healthy. They want to know that they are loved by mom. Unfortunately, there are so many adults who have mothers who could never turn their lives around. They are often exhausted from trying to make "Mom and family" work.

Mother’s Day is our opportunity to try to do the right things again. Using words like, I care, love, appreciate, thank you, and any that express your heart’s desire to be connected are worthwhile expressions. When you do the best you can do, you can at least look back and know that you tried.

When Mom and our loved ones are no longer with us then all we have are our memories. If you have any time left to work on your Mother’s Day memories you won’t regret it in the years to come.


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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.

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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 editor@oursentinel.com.


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Prep Sports Notebook: Unity beats VG, Spartan softball pounds STM


Still undefeated, Rockets bounce Villa Grove
Taylor Henry and Taylor Joop tallied three hits apiece in Unity's non-conference home game against Villa Grove.

The Rockets, who are ranked #17 in Class 2A in this week's ICA softball poll, collected at least one run in five of the six innings they played to beat the Blue Devils, 6-1.

Unity will put their undefeated 7-0 record on the line in their Illini Prairie game against Pontiac at home on Thursday.



SJO demolishes STM
Sophomore slugger Maggie Ward drove in four runs to help St. Joseph-Ogden pound St. Thomas More on the road, 18-1.

Alyssa Acton picked up the pitching win after giving up just two hits and one run out of her 58 pitches. The sophomore struck out seven Sabers after coming into the game in the bottom of the first inning.

Ward along with Kelsey Martlage (3 RBI) tapped out a pair of hits for the 8-4 Spartans.



SJO baseball robs bases at will from St. Thomas More

The Spartans rolled up ten stolen bases in their road game at St. Thomas More on Tuesday.

Andrew Beyers, Coby Miller and Ty Pence stole two bases each in SJO's 11-2 domination of the Sabers. Miller crossed the plate three times.

Tyler Altenbaumer surrendered just three hits on 86 pitches and struck out seven. Ty Pence closed out the contest with 22 pitches sacrificing one hit.



Viewpoint: Lying isn't leadership

Op-Ed by Darren Bailey


Gov. J.B. Pritzker's lie about taking politics out of reapportionment and pushing "fair and independent maps" wouldn't be so shocking if he hadn't said it so often and with such conviction and sincerity.

All through his 2018 campaign for governor, Pritzker said he supported an amendment to the state Constitution to take congressional map-drawing out of the hands of state legislators and into those of an independent commission.

He went so far as to say he'd veto legislative maps, "in any way drafted or created by legislators, political party leaders and/or their staffs or allies." Instead, he said, he would hand it over to an independent panel.

This is not some new, untried experiment. Neighboring Missouri has instituted an independent map-drawing commission, and so have Michigan, Colorado, and Utah.

With Pritzker facing reelection next year, though, it appears he's willing to allow his Democratic allies in the legislature one last go at picking their voters by drawing Republicans into concentrated and ludicrously configured districts.

"We need a governor who keeps his promises."

Lying isn't leadership. And J.B. Pritzker has broken his word more often than he spends his money to buy elections.

Last week, Pritzker said he "trusted" the Democrats in the House and Senate to send him a fair map.

"I look to the Legislature for their proposal," Pritzker said. "I'll be looking to it for its fairness."

The governor might want to invest in a microscope because he's going to have to look hard.

This is Illinois, a state where corruption and cynicism compete with one another as the political class builds its power base and their special-interest handlers line their pockets.

Let me be clear. I'm a conservative Republican. But I also know that there are some things bigger than politics – things like honesty, transparency, and fair play.

I'm committed to seeing an end to the inside-dealing that has dominated our redistricting process. Voters should pick their elected officials, not the other way around. That's why, as governor, I'll use the bully pulpit to reform the system by which we draw our districts.

Illinoisans deserve better than the current, worn-out system.

We were asked, by this very governor, to expect better. And it was all a lie.

Pritzker will argue that a constitutional amendment is absolutely necessary to take politics out of partisan hands and into those of a bi-partisan, or even non-partisan, commission. He should read his state's Constitution.

While the law assigns the power to redistrict to the legislature, it does not prohibit them from assigning the work of map-drawing to a less-partisan body. The legislature's job is to enact the maps.

And remember the governor's pledge to veto any partisan plan?

The Constitution provides for a commission, appointed by the legislature, to handle the task. And if that commission deadlocks, there's even language providing for the Supreme Court to pick a ninth member – by lottery if need be – to break deadlocks.

Let's not forget that after each of the past four censuses, the legislature proved itself unable to come up with a plan for new districts. As ever, it ended up in the courts because hardline partisans showed themselves incapable of governing legislatively.

We need a commission. And we need a governor who keeps his promises.

That doesn't sound like much, and it's far from perfect. Still, it's considerably better than the unpalatable task before us now that J.B. Pritzker has broken his word and made this process about partisan politics instead of how we can best provide Illinoisans the representation they deserve.


Darren Bailey, currently the Representative from the 109th District, is a Republican candidate for the 2022 Illinois gubernatorial election.

Serious Covid cases on the rise in young adults

The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public at events and gatherings when they are around other people in settings they can not observe social distancing.
Photo: Matt Moloney/StockSnap

By Will Stone
After spending much of the past year tending to elderly patients, doctors are seeing a clear demographic shift: young and middle-aged adults make up a growing share of the patients in covid-19 hospital wards.

It's both a sign of the country's success in protecting the elderly through vaccination and an urgent reminder that younger generations will pay a heavy price if the outbreak is allowed to simmer in communities across the country.


The explosion of cases in Michigan underscores the potential fallout of loosening restrictions.

"We're now seeing people in their 30s, 40s and 50s — young people who are really sick," said Dr. Vishnu Chundi, a specialist in infectious diseases and chair of the Chicago Medical Society's covid-19 task force. "Most of them make it, but some do not. … I just lost a 32-year-old with two children, so it's heartbreaking."

Nationally, adults under 50 now account for the most hospitalized covid patients in the country — about 36% of all hospital admissions. Those ages 50 to 64 account for the second-highest number of hospitalizations, or about 31%. Meanwhile, hospitalizations among adults 65 and older have fallen significantly.

About 32% of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated, but the vast majority are people older than 65 — a group that was prioritized in the initial phase of the vaccine rollout.

Although new infections are gradually declining nationwide, some regions have contended with a resurgence of the coronavirus in recent months — what some have called a "fourth wave" — propelled by the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, which is estimated to be somewhere between 40% and 70% more contagious.

As many states ditch pandemic precautions, this more virulent strain still has ample room to spread among the younger population, which remains broadly susceptible to the disease.

The emergence of more dangerous strains of the virus in the U.S. — including variants first discovered in South Africa and Brazil — has made the vaccination effort all the more urgent.

"We are in a whole different ballgame," said Judith Malmgren, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington.

Rising infections among young adults create a "reservoir of disease" that eventually "spills over into the rest of society" — one that has yet to reach herd immunity — and portends a broader surge in cases, she said.

Fortunately, the chance of dying of covid remains very small for people under 50, but this age group can become seriously ill or experience long-term symptoms after the initial infection. People with underlying conditions such as obesity and heart disease are also more likely to become seriously ill.

"B.1.1.7 doesn't discriminate by age, and when it comes to young people, our messaging on this is still too soft," Malmgren said.


Hospitals Filled With Younger, Sicker People

Across the country, the influx of younger patients with covid has startled clinicians who describe hospital beds filled with patients, many of whom appear sicker than what was seen during previous waves of the pandemic.

"A lot of them are requiring ICU care," said Dr. Michelle Barron, head of infection prevention and control at UCHealth, one of Colorado's large hospital systems, as compared with earlier in the pandemic.

The median age of covid patients at UCHealth hospitals has dropped by more than 10 years in the past few weeks, from 59 down to about 48 years old, Barron said.

"I think we will continue to see that, especially if there's not a lot of vaccine uptake in these groups," she said.

While most hospitals are far from the onslaught of illness seen during the winter, the explosion of cases in Michigan underscores the potential fallout of loosening restrictions when a large share of adults are not yet vaccinated.

There's strong evidence that all three vaccines being used in the U.S. provide good protection against the U.K. variant.

One study suggests that the B.1.1.7 variant doesn't lead to more severe illness, as was previously thought. However, patients infected with the variant appear more likely to have more of the virus in their bodies than those with the previously dominant strain, which may help explain why it spreads more easily.

"We think that this may be causing more of these hospitalizations in younger people," said Dr. Rachael Lee at the University of Alabama-Birmingham hospital.


"We don't yet have enough younger adults vaccinated to counteract the increased ease with which the variants spread."

Lee's hospital also has observed an uptick in younger patients. As in other Southern states, Alabama has a low rate of vaccine uptake.

But even in Washington state, where much of the population is opting to get the vaccine, hospitalizations have been rising steadily since early March, especially among young people. In the Seattle area, more people in their 20s are now being hospitalized for covid than people in their 70s, according to Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health chief officer for Seattle and King County.

"We don't yet have enough younger adults vaccinated to counteract the increased ease with which the variants spread," said Duchin at a recent press briefing.

Nationwide, about 32% of people in their 40s are fully vaccinated, compared with 27% of people in their 30s. That share drops to about 18% for 18- to 29-year-olds.

"I'm hopeful that the death curve is not going to rise as fast, but it is putting a strain on the health system," said Dr. Nathaniel Schlicher, an emergency physician and president of the Washington State Medical Association.

Schlicher, also in his late 30s, recalls with horror two of his recent patients — close to his age and previously healthy — who were admitted with new-onset heart failure caused by covid.

"I've seen that up close and that's what scares the hell out of me," he said.

"I understand young people feeling invincible, but what I would just tell them is — don't be afraid of dying, be afraid of heart failure, lung damage and not being able to do the things that you love to do."


Will Younger Adults Get Vaccinated?

Doctors and public health experts hope that the troubling spike in hospitalizations among the younger demographic will be temporary — one that vaccines will soon counteract. It was only on April 19 that all adults became eligible for a covid vaccine, although they were available in some states much sooner.

But some concerning national polls indicate a sizable portion of teens and adults in their 20s and 30s don't necessarily have plans to get vaccinated.

"We just need to make it super easy — not inconvenient in any way," said Malmgren, the Washington epidemiologist. "We have to put our minds to it and think a little differently."

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Picking the right engagement ring tells your love story


NewsUSA - Engagement rings mean many things -- romance, love, commitment. Each love story is unique, each engagement ring is the start of a new love story, and each will be a witness to a lifetime of memories.

An engagement ring embodies the memories of each couple's unique courtship. The memories begin with first glance and a warm smile meeting for the first time.

Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

If an engagement ring could talk, it might tell you a story of "boy meets girl" and how an awkward guy got up the courage to approach the girl across a crowded room. It might tell the story of fun dates to concerts, sporting events and hanging out with friends. Trips to new cities together, boating in the Ozarks, exotic vacations to destinations abroad. The story continues to meeting the parents for the first time.

An engagement ring might reflect on a couple's firsts. That first vacation together or the first long romantic walk. The ring will grow in sentimental value as memories are shared over and over of how the future bride's personality captivated their partner into popping the all-important question.

A ring might recall asking a father's permission, sneaking a sample ring from a drawer to determine the perfect size, and even providing some inspiration for a design that would bring her to tears when she said "yes."

Engagement rings are followed by wedding rings, which tell the story of a bright day full of joy as two become one in front of family and friends. In the future, these rings will experience years of holding hands, warming hearts, rubbing shoulders, holding babies, and serving as a reminder of a lifetime of love with the love of your life.

Custom diamond engagement rings from Cornelis Hollander can help you tell your unique love story with timeless beauty. Their engagement and wedding rings represent your love, energy, and commitment to each other.

The story doesn't stop with the walk down the aisle some bright day in June, it is only beginning, and their team of skilled designers are honored to help start your journey together. The Arizona-based company has four decades of awards and testimonials for its customized engagement ring designs that range from classic to modern, with stunning settings and sparkling gems.

"Your ring is the ultimate storyteller of your style and commitment," according to Cornelis Hollander's son, Walter Hollander, who inherited the company from his father in 2017. "Our diamond rings are exceptional because they are made uniquely for the wearer, making them exclusive, memorable, and personal."

For more information go to cornelishollander.com to explore their unique collection of handcrafted diamond ring designs.

Put your end of life choices in writing


Photo: Davide Ragusa/Unsplash

Public News Service - On National Healthcare Decisions Day, advocates for end-of-life options are urging people to make a formal plan for the health care they want.

One in five Americans say they weren't prepared to make critical end-of-life decisions when a family member got very sick or even died during the pandemic.

Amy Sherman, Midwest regional campaign and outreach manager with Compassion & Choices, said that making a plan is a way to reduce stress for loved ones during a challenging time, in addition to ensuring that patients have a say in how they die and what kind of health care they do or do not want.

"It's also a way to avoid conflict in your family or minimize conflict in your family," said Sherman. "Because often in these very tense situations, we have seen that family members may have different views around care."

Recent surveys show 60% of 50- to 80-year-olds have had conversations with partners, family or friends about end-of-life medical care. And just under half have an advance directive - a legal document that can help make sure a patient's end-of-life decisions are met.

Sherman said even though talking about end-of-life issues can be difficult, and putting documents in place can seem daunting, it's worth it to take the time.

"Don't wait until you're in the car on your way to the hospital to have this conversation," said Sherman. "Make sure to have the conversation in advance."

A pair of videos in English and Spanish from the group Compassion & Choices echo the importance of preparation - and the group also has developed an online toolkit in both languages that helps people write down an advance directive, name someone as a health-care proxy or delegate power of attorney.

Sweet victory for Rockets

Unable to contain her emotions, Unity pitcher Taylor Henry jumps with joy after watching teammate Allyson England catch a pop-up from Central Catholic's Isabelle Campbell in the top of the seventh inning signaling the last out of the game. The Illini Prairie Conference contest was knotted at four-all until Rockets' Ruby Tarr doubled on a 0-1 count allowing Taylor Joop to fly around the bases, from first to home, for the go-ahead run and the 5-4 victory. Henry pitched a complete game recording 13 strikeouts after 104 pitches tossed for the Class 2A state-ranked Rockets who improved to 5-0 on the season after the thrilling victory.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

IPC names volleyball First Team

Payton Vallee lines up a kill during St. Joseph-Ogden's Class 2A third place game against Rockford Lutheran. Vallee and six other Sentinel area volleyball players earned all-conference recognition for their efforts during the shortened 2020-21 season. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Last week, the best volleyball players this season in the Illini Prairie Conference were announced late last week. Kennedi Burnett and Payton Vallee from St. Joseph-Ogden High School join Unity's Emma Bleecher were awarded First Team All-Conference honors by the Illini Prairie Conference last week.

Rockets' Emma Flesman and the Spartans' Hannah Fox were two of ten players who earned Second Team honors from the conference coaches.

Three-sport athlete Taylor Henry and teammate Macie Knudsen, both from Unity, received Honorable Mentions.

Below is a complete list of this season's honorees.

2020-21 IPC All-Conference Volleyball Team


First Team

Kenna Wollard, Illinois Valley Central
Kaitlin Dean, Olympia
Caroline Kerr, Saint Thomas More
Renni Fultz, Monticello
Kennedi Burnett, Saint Joseph-Ogden
Payton Vallee, Saint Joseph-Ogden
Colleen Hege, Saint Thomas More
Emma Bleecher, Unity

Second Team

Mairen Mannon, Illinois Valley Central
Amaya Webb, Illinois Valley Central
Allie Carr, Monticello
Brooke Fox, Pontiac
Jenni Slagel, Prairie Central
Bella Shields, Rantoul
Hannah Fox, Saint Joseph-Ogden
Mallory Monahan, Saint Thomas More
Maci Walters, Saint Thomas More
Emma Felsman, Unity

Honorable Mention

Abby Cox, Central Catholic
Steph Hebel, Central Catholic
Mia Brady, Pontiac
Addison Masching, Pontiac
Natalie Graf, Prairie Central
Briley Hoffman, Prairie Central
Ashlee Freeman, Rantoul
Taylor Henry, Unity
Macie Knudsen, Unity

Prep Sports Notebook: Unity softball wins 2, SJO baseball rebounds for a conference win


Unity's Joop and Jones earn All-Conference accolades
Unity's Taylor Joop and Logan Jones learned last week that they are All-Conference Scholar Athletes for the 2020-21 academic year by the Illini Prairie Conference. Both received recognition at luncheon held at Illinois State University on April 29.



Rockets' Taylor Joop puts the ball in play during her team's home game against Central Catholic. Joop, who plans to continue her academic and athletic career at Heartland College, scored the game-winning run in Unity's 5-4 win on Saturday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks


Knott sets new school record in the shot
St. Joseph-Ogden senior Hayden Knott raised the bar in the shot put setting a new school record with a throw of 17.14 meters on Saturday at the Rantoul Invite. The toss was also good enough to secure a first place finish in the event with throwers from Hersher, Danville and Pleasant Plains among the field of 17 competitors.

Knott also placed first in the discus throw beating his nearest competition by nearly 2 meters. His winning throw went 53.70 meters.



Miller, Altenbaumer pile on RBIs
Together, St. Joseph-Ogden's Coby Miller and Tyler Altenbaumer tallied nine RBIs, four and five respectively, in the Spartans' 17-9 win over Monticello on Saturday.

Miller was 3-for-3 and Andrew Beyers (3 RBI) added a 3-for-5 performance from the batter's box.

Zach Martinie picked up the win for the Spartans while Monticello's Cole Dasher suffered the loss after the conference pairing.

SJO improves to 10-1 on the season following their 3-run loss to Mahomet-Seymour at home on Friday.



Unity softball picks up second conference win
Unity Taylor Joop scored the winning, go-ahead run on a fly ball from Ruby Tarr in the bottom of the 6th innning in the Unity softball team's conference game against Central Catholic on Saturday.

Pitcher Taylor Henry had 3 hits and on RBI. Hailey Flesch secured one hit in four trips to the plate and delivered a pair of RBI.

Facing 29 batters, Henry gave up 9 hits and 4 runs after 104 pitches.



Good Graces win for the Rockets
Grace Frye earned a pitching win after seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits, striking out five and walking one in a 6-2 softball decision over Newton.

Meanwhile, Gracie Renfrow was 3-for-3 and pushed 2 runs across the plate for the Rockets. She collected a triple on a fly ball to center on her third pitch in the bottom of the 3rd inning allowing Erica Steinman to score and homered two innings later on a solo shot to right field.

The win keeps Unity season untarnished at 6-0. Frye and Renfrow host Villa Grove on Monday at 4pm and have a game 2 rematch against Central Catholic on the road on Tuesday.



Spartan track team win Invite title
The St. Joseph-Ogden boys track team tallied 178 points to win this year's Rantoul Invite title.

Monticello finished in second place with 162 points and host Rantoul collected 106 points for a third place finish. Unity finished 6th (77 points) in the 12-team field.

SJO's Brady Buss took second in the 200-meter dash, Brandon Mattsey clocked a 4:53.12 in the 1600-meter run for the meet title and Hayden Knott won both throwing event to lift the Spartans on Saturday.



Unity baseball team drops first loss
After a dominating 2-0 start, the Rockets' baseball team fell 7-4 on the road to Illinois Valley Central (7-1) on Saturday.

Damian Knoll took the loss after a two-inning appearance scattering 4 hits and 3 walks.

Knoll (1 RBI) along with Blake Kimball scored one run apiece. Tyler Hensch, 1-for-3 from the plate, also had one RBI and double.



3 Spartan homers crush Sages
Sandwiched between two home runs by Shayne Immke, St. Joseph-Ogden's Kaylee Ward went deep in the seventh inning for one of her own. Immke put the first of two homers out of the park in the 1st inning and repeated her effort with another in the fifth.

The hot bats, which helped SJO to improve to a 7-4 season, allowed the Spartans to easily win, 12-6.

Scoring in five of their seven innings, St. Joseph-Ogden tacked on a pair of runs in each of the last three innings of the game to pull away on the scoreboard.

Pitching duties were shared with Alyssa Acton, who earned the win after five innings, and Sophia Martlage closed out the game with 20 pitches in the last 2 innings.


Prep Sports Notebook: Unity drops conference game, SJO hammers Monticello


Rockets suffer first loss of the season
The Unity baseball team (2-1) scored four runs but it wasn't enough to slide by Illinois Valley Central (7-1) in their road conference game on Saturday. The Grey Ghost handed the Rockets their first loss of the season, 7-4.

On the hill, Damin Knoll, who went 1-for-3 at the plate, surrendered 4 hits and 3 walks in the pair of innings to suffer the loss. The junior was responsible for one-quarter of the Rockets' runs. Blake Kimball batted .500 on the day and turned in one as well.

Tyler Hensch pounded a double and pushed one RBI across the plate.



Spartan baseball team burn Sages on the road
The bats were smoking hot for St. Joseph-Ogden on Saturday morning during their 11th game of the season. Putting runs on the board in every inning, the Spartans burned their Illini Prairie Conference rival, 17-9.

Down 5-3 at the top of the third, the Spartans'ignited a huge 13 run rally scoring five runs, then four and another four across the middle three frames.

Zach Martinie earned the win throwing 62 pitches during his four-inning appearance after relieving junior Hayden Brazelton on the mound.

Coby Miller and Tyler Altenbaumer paired up to drive in nine of the Spartans' 17 runs. Miller had all three of the Sages' pitchers numbers going 3-for-3 with a 2-run homer in the top of the fifth and double in the earlier frame.

Meanwhile, Alterbaumer's two hits yielded 5 RBIs.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
SJO 1 1 5 4 4 1 1 - 17 13 3
Monticello 2 3 0 3 0 0 1 - 9 11 6

Pitching
Hayden Brazelton 3.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R , 5 K, 5 BB
Zach Martinie 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R , 3 K, 1 BB

Batting
2B: Andrew Beyers, Zach Martinie, Coby Miller 2, Ty Pence; 3B: Tyler Altenbaumer; HR: Coby Miller

Baserunning
Stolen bases: Tyler Altenbaumer, Andrew Beyers 2, Hayden Brazelton 2, Isaiah Immke 2



Four area soccer players earn all-conference recognition

SJO's Logan Ingram dribbles the ball
St. Joseph-Ogden forward Logan Ingram dribbles the ball down the field during the Spartans' home soccer match against St. Thomas More on April 13. Ingram and three other are seniors earned all-conference recognition from the Illini Prairie Conference. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Four area seniors earned all-conference soccer team recognition from the Illini Prairie Conference coaches last week.

Logan Ingram and Mason Behrens from St. Joseph-Ogden along with Unity's Zach Ohlsson were named to the conference's 2nd team selections.

Unity midfielder Andrew Miller earned an Honorable Mention for his performance this season.

Below is a complete list of this season's honorees.

2021 IPC All-Conference Soccer Teams

First Team

Seniors:
Jake Edmonson, Monticello (unanimous)
Justin Siebert, Olympia (unanimous)
Jonah Bergman, IVC

Juniors:
Blake Staab, St. Thomas More (unanimous)
Dylan Ginalick, Monticello (unanimous)
Alexandro Gonzalez, Rantoul (unanimous)

Sophomores:
Biniam Lienhart, Monticello (unanimous)
Martin Mondala, St. Thomas More (unanimous)
Jaylen Bischoff, Central Catholic

Freshmen:
Jacob Jongky, Central Catholic
Gavin Young, Central Catholic
Joe Carter, Central Catholic


Second Team

Seniors:
David Broadbear, Central Catholic
Ethan Brakke, Monticello
Mason Behrens, St. Joseph-Ogden
Logan Ingram, St. Joseph-Ogden
Zach Ohlsson, Unity
Cole Smith, Monticello
Noah While, Olympia

Juniors:
Malachi Manuel, Monticello
Tristan Baker, IVC

Sophomores:
Dane Taylor, St. Thomas More
Cabott Craft, St. Thomas More
Eliud Echeverria, Rantoul

Freshmen:
Boyden Chaon, Central Catholic


Honorable Mention

Seniors:
Joshua Jongky, Central Catholic
Payton Carroll, Olympia
Jake Mitchell, Olympia
Dylan Smith, Olympia
Johan Guerrero, Rantoul
Andrew Miller, Unity

Sophomores:
Austin Koch, Central Catholic
Jarrett Wieduwilt, Central Catholic
Ben Williamson, Monticello Gannon Wille, Olympia
Cooper Hannagan, St. Thomas More
Anthony Hoffman, St. Thomas More
Adam Price, St. Thomas More

Freshmen:
Jack Tanner, Monticello
Warren Tomczak, Central Catholic

Yet to tackle big problems in the state, Illinois House passes bill to regulate balloons


by Brad Weisenstein, Editor
Illinois Policy


It was 1984 when a German pop group made "99 Red Balloons" the No. 2 song on the Billboard charts, but by 2022 they might face a fine for releasing so many balloons in Illinois.

The Illinois House on April 21 voted to make it illegal to release 50 or more balloons in Illinois. Do it once, get a warning. Twice, a $500 fine. A third time, a $1,000 fine.

And that's for each group of 50 balloons: "The release of more than 50 balloons shall constitute a separate violation for every 50 balloons," according to House Bill 418, which passed the Illinois House 90-23. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022, if it passes the Illinois Senate and is signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, said balloons are an environmental threat and recently caused a power outage for over 1,000 customers in Champaign. After released balloons come down, they create problems for farmers and wildlife.

Interestingly, government agencies and universities are exempt from these rules, according to the bill.

Illinoisans face the highest state and local tax burden in the nation and the No. 2 property taxes. There’s a $317 billion public pension deficit eating away at state finances.

Springfield has yet to tackle those big problems. But at least Illinoisans will be safe from too many balloons, if HB 418 becomes law.

Welcome home, Flesch delivers two-run magic

Hailey Flesch receives welcome at home plate after hitting a home run
Members of the Unity softball team prepare to smoother Hailey Flesch after she steps on home plate in yesterday's home game against Westville. Flesch crushed the ball for a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning to give the Rockets a 2-0 advantage. Unity piled on an additional four runs, two in the fifth and a pair in the sixth, to beat the visiting Tigers, 6-0. The Rockets face Bloomington Central Catholic today at 10am for their second Illini Prairie Conference game of the season.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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