Spartan football: What spectators need to know this season

SJO students cheer for the Spartans during the team's 2019 home football game against Central Catholic. St. Joseph-Ogden issued the school's ticketing and admissions policy for the upcoming football season.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

This week, St. Joseph-Ogden High School announced its guidelines for fan and spectator attendance for this season's home football games.

With IHSA and Illinois Department of Public Health agreeing to increase fan capacity at outdoor events to 20%, the school will allow 735 spectators into the facility to view varsity home games. Through the school's ticketing system 115 tickets are allocated for visiting fans, 100 will be distributed among the student body and 520 will be available for general admission into the two home varsity contests this season.

The ticketing system will not be used for the five total Junior Varsity and Freshman/Sophomore home games. The Fresh/Soph team will open their season at the newly renamed Dick Duval Field on March 22 with a 6pm battle against Illinois Valley Central.

The varsity squad will take play the first of their two home games on March 26 against Pontiac. SJO senior football players, cheerleaders and band members will be honored for their contribution and dedication before kickoff that evening.

Key points in the guidelines that fans and spectators will need to remember are masks must be worn at all times, only spectators with printed tickets will be allowed to enter, and failure to follow any of the established IDPH guidelines "will result in immediate removal from the facility." Fans will be able to enter through any of sports complex's three gates into the Glenn Fisher Athletic Complex.

Fans for both home and away teams unable to secure a game ticket or who would rather enjoy at watch party at home can watch games via the NFHS streaming services. The SJO Fan Club purchased a video system that now allows home football games to be streamed live as well as recorded for later viewing. If you are not already a subscriber, follow this link sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to watch SJO athletics live. Monthly passes are just $10.99 each or save 47% and purchase an annual subscription at $69.99. A portion of the annual purchase is donated to the school by NFHS.

Otherwise, admission to the game for both home and away fans is $4 per person. SJO students will be admitted at no charge.

Fans and spectator can familiarize themselves with the guidelines available here: St. Joseph-Ogden Guidelines for Spectators.

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Food | Breakfast treat: Easy to make cherry coffee cake

(Family Features) There is nothing better than tasty pastry treat to go along with your morning coffee or hot chocolate. You can add some sweetness to your breakfast routine with this no fuss, no mess recipe. This delicious, easy-to-make Cherry Coffee Cake can be served for dessert, too. Just add ice cream or whipped cream on top to make that food coma even more enjoyable.

What's great about this recipe is it requires almost no prep time and requires just three ingredients. Throw it together, pop it in the oven and it's ready by the time you've finished your morning shower. How easy is this to make? Check out the video. Find more breakfast recipes like this at

Cherry Coffee Cake

Here's what you will need:

Nonstick cooking spray
1 can (12.4 ounces) refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
1 1/2 cups (21-ounce can) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup slivered almonds or pecans (optional)
Now put it all together: First, heat your oven to 375º F. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Next, separate cinnamon roll dough into eight rolls. Cut each roll into quarters and place dough rounded-side down in pan.

Spoon pie filling over rolls. Then sprinkle almond slivers or pecans over cherry filling, if desired.

Depending on your oven bake between 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

While still warm, placed a plate or cutting board over the pan and flip so that the pastry fall out. Place your serving plate on top of the upside down rolls and invert again.

Remove lid from icing and microwave the contents for 3-10 seconds until the mixture is creamy. Stir icing and drizzle over warm coffee cake.

Serve warm.

Did you try this recipe? Tell us in the comment section below how it went for you.

Photo Gallery | St. Joseph-Ogden opens soccer season with Olympia

Mid-fielder Jared Emmert dribbles the ball away from Olympia defenders before making a short pass to a teammate. The Spartan fell in their season opener 3-1 to the visiting Spartans. Read game summary here.
Defense specialist Emily Elsbernd throws the ball in on a restart in the first half.
Mid-fielder Jackson Greer pushes the ball down the field during first half action on Wednesday.
Will Page lines up a long ball to send deep into Olympia territory.
Junior Brennan Haake changes directions to keep the ball away from an Olympia defense man.

See a photo on this page you would like to have? Buy us a coffee and we'll send it to you or click here on how to order.

Sudoku | March 11, 2021

While the name is obviously Japanese in origin, Sudoku puzzles were created by a Swiss mathematician in the 18th Century. The logic-based puzzle was first called "Latin Squares". In 1895, a French newspaper published what is considered to be closest and earliest predecessor to modern Sudoku. Nearly one hundred years later, sometime in 1984, the puzzles were introduced in Japan and their rise to a world-wide phenomenon began.

Click on the puzzle below and save it to your computer. Print and complete as you have time. It's good for your brain!

Here is the solution to last week's puzzle:

Vacci-Dating: Is it wise to share your vaccination status online?

by Victoria Knight
couple on the beach
Photo by Alireza Helmi/Unsplash
As cold weather descended upon Washington, D.C., last fall, I deleted my dating apps.

I had tried a few video-chat dates when the pandemic was new last spring. They were fun and novel at the time, and felt like a “quarantine experience.” By summer, I went on several physically distant dates in the park.

But once the temperature started dropping, meeting outside lost its appeal. First dates are awkward enough without shivering as your breath freezes to your mask, all while trying to uncover the title of someone’s favorite book. So I bailed.

Something happened recently, though, that made me return to the dating app world. A local website published an article about people announcing their vaccination status in dating app profiles. Other news outlets followed. I had to see it with my own eyes.

So, I redownloaded my favorite apps: Hinge, Bumble and Tinder. I disclosed in my bio that I was a journalist working on a story about people announcing their vaccination status in dating profiles. Then, I spent the next three hours madly swiping.

Wen gave me the reality check I expected, and kind of deserved.

Lo and behold, I found several 20- and 30-somethings proudly displaying their vaccine status. One wrote at the top of his profile, "I got both doses of the Pfizer, Covid vaccine!" Another said, "im covid19 free got vaccinated too."

I messaged them all. Noel, a nurse who lives in the D.C. area, got back to me. He said he put "COVID vaccinated" in his bio as a statement for what he stands for. (KHN is not identifying Noel by his last name because he’s concerned about being identified by his employer.)

“I take very seriously the responsibility to care for myself in order to keep others safe,” he wrote. Noel, who has received both vaccine doses already, said his status announcement has gotten him only positive responses so far. Some people even seemed reassured by it.

It made me wonder: Should this declaration give people the peace of mind to start increasing the frequency of in-person dates? When considering whether to meet up with someone who is vaccinated versus unvaccinated, vaccinated does sound safer. It even initially gave me a spark of hope. But should it?

I polled a few friends who use dating apps. They told me they had indeed spotted the same trend. One who lives in Los Angeles is even going on a FaceTime date with a guy who had "PS I’m vaccinated" in his Hinge bio. She still opted for a video chat, though. "Can’t they still be carriers even if they’re vaccinated?" she texted me.

The next day, I called Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency room physician, public health expert and visiting professor at George Washington University.

I asked her what those of us who might be swiping on the apps should think if we come across someone who advertises that they have been vaccinated.

First, Wen gave me the reality check I expected, and kind of deserved.

"It’s not a free pass," she said. "We don’t know whether ‘if’ somebody is vaccinated means they will no longer be a carrier of coronavirus. They may still be able to infect you even if they are safe from coronavirus themselves."

Studies have shown that the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the three vaccines currently available in the U.S. under emergency use authorizations, significantly reduce covid symptoms and are effective in preventing hospitalizations and death from the disease. But it’s still possible for those who are vaccinated to get sick with covid. And research is pending on how great the risk is that those who are vaccinated can carry the virus and pass it on to others.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a recent White House covid-19 press briefing that early studies from Spain and Israel indicate vaccination seems to lead to lower viral loads in the body, which can mean a fully inoculated person is less likely to pass covid on to someone else. But questions remain about transmissibility.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who are vaccinated continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance as the vaccine rollout proceeds. Public health experts also point to the emerging covid variants that are finding a foothold in the U.S. The available vaccines appear to be less effective against the variants, another reason for people to be vigilant.

Wen said if two unvaccinated parties who match on a dating app want to meet up, they should take the precautions we’ve heard about since the beginning of the pandemic: meet outdoors, keep 6 feet apart and ask about your favorite book from behind a face-fitting mask.

If both unvaccinated people eventually want to meet indoors, she added, and they both live alone, they could. But it is not exactly a romantic process. They could quarantine for several days. Then both could get a covid test and, as long as they both have negative results, meet up.

However, if you’re like me and live with roommates, and especially if your new paramour also lives with others, too, then that adds more layers of complications.

"Then you take on the risk of all those individuals that live in the other house," said Wen. "Let’s say all those other people have relationships with someone else, who then have extended networks too. Now your pandemic pod is not with four roommates, it’s potentially with dozens of individuals."

"You’re only as safe as the highest-risk person," she added.

There is one silver lining, though, said Wen. She believes if two people are vaccinated they can safely get together.

"We don’t know this for certain, but here’s what I would say for people who are vaccinated and live alone," said Wen. "I actually think you could pretty safely see somebody else who is vaccinated."

If it’s not something the person is willing to discuss, then perhaps they aren’t someone with whom you want to meet up.

Wen issued this advice, she said, with the assumption that both people are trying to mitigate their covid transmission risk by wearing masks in public, washing hands, minimizing social circles and not frequenting indoor spaces. Matches should discuss what safety precautions they’re taking before meeting up.

This recommendation also applies to us unvaccinated daters — we should all be having open conversations with our matches about what covid precautions we’re taking and in what circumstances we would feel comfortable meeting in person.

Think about this open communication the way you would talk to a potential sexual partner about the precautions you’re taking to prevent sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy. If it’s not something the person is willing to discuss, then perhaps they aren’t someone with whom you want to meet up.

But, never fear. As eligibility for the covid vaccine opens up to groups that may include younger people, it’s likely vaccine status will gain more prominence in dating profiles. While vaccines were initially limited to health care workers, long-term care facility residents and those 65 and older, eligibility categories in some states are widening to include other essential workers and people with underlying medical conditions.

It also seems possible that dating app companies may eventually roll out a feature to select or highlight your vaccination status in your profile, rather than having to write it in the bio, said Jennifer Reich, a sociology professor at the University of Colorado-Denver, who studies vaccine attitudes.

"I think we could imagine a range of things around covid. We could imagine fields about working from home, vaccine status, antibody status," said Reich. "Adding these to your profile could help users figure out how they want to manage risk in their lives and what levels of risk they want to take."

As for me, now that the dating apps are downloaded on my phone again, maybe I’ll give video dates another shot. At least until it’s summer again or I get my own vaccine — whichever comes first.

Prep Sports Notebook | Basketball season coming to a close, SJO soccer starts

Rockets lose another close one

Blake Kimball delivered points in all four quarters of Unity's road loss to Bloomington Central Catholic on March 9. The junior star led the team with 20 points and was 6-for-7 from the free throw line.

Will Cowan and Nate Drennan chipped in seven points a piece in the last game of the Rockets' 2021 basketball season. The team finished 3-9 overall, 2-6 in conference play.

St. Joseph-Ogden falls to Olympia

More than 40 spectators were on hand on a super windy Wednesday to watch SJO's first game of the season. The outcome wasn't what the Spartans had hoped for falling 3-1 to visiting Olympia in the season opener.

A little under four minutes after the visitors scored the first goal of the game at 26.:56, SJO senior Logan Ingram answered with unassisted shot in the center slice to tie up the game 1-all in the first period.

Olympia added two more scores, one with 15 and half minutes left in the half and the other early in the second period to seal the conference win.

The Spartans are back in action for another Illini Prairie Conference dual next week on Tuesday at Unity.

Pence has another 30-plus game

Ty Pence scored 36 points in St. Joseph-Ogden's 59-51 win over St. Thomas More at home last night. Logging yet another double-double this season, the sophomore baller hauled in 13 of the team 29 rebounds against the Sabers.

Making 57% of his shots from the field, Jackson Rydell finished with 8 points. Meanwhile, Evan Ingram and Andrew Beyers contributed in the reschedule game from February with six points apiece.

SJO (8-3) plays their final game of the season on Friday against Bismarck-Henning tomorrow evening in non-conference competition. The Spartans completed their conference campaign with a 5-2 record.

St. Thomas More (4-3, 3-3) was paced by the 6-foot-3 Averi Hughes with 26 points and 12 boards.

New bill in committee would grant 'police powers' to General Assembly members

by Patrick Andriesen, Communications Intern
Illinois Policy
A bill in Springfield would grant “conservator of the peace” powers to all members of the Illinois General Assembly.

After Illinois state representatives and senators completed a law enforcement training course, House Bill 724 would allow them to:

  • Arrest or cause to be arrested, with or without process, all persons who break the peace or are found violating any municipal ordinance or any criminal law of the state
  • Commit arrested persons for examination
  • If necessary, to detain arrested persons in custody overnight or Sunday in any safe place or until they can be brought before the proper court, and
  • Exercise all other powers as conservators of the peace prescribed by state and corporate authorities.
  • State Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, has raised concerns about the proposed bill.

    "Who’s going to carry the liability insurance? Who’s going to wear body cameras and when is that going to be required?" Caulkins said to WAND-TV. "Do you want political people with the power to arrest someone that they may not agree with politically? I mean, I think there’s a lot to be thought about."

    The concerns Caulkins expressed over mixing the lawmaking powers of representatives with law enforcement echo criticisms long aimed at Chicago aldermen.

    Alderman have been considered “conservators of the peace” under Illinois law since 1872, granting them the power to make arrests and carry a concealed handgun in the case they or someone else is under immediate threat of bodily harm. They also have badges.

    But because Chicago is a home-rule municipality, city alderman were able to pass legislation making themselves exempt from the state-mandated firearm training required of law officers to carry firearms, despite possessing similar policing powers.

    The bill was assigned to the House Executive Committee on March 2.

    survey tool

    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.

    Basketball Player of the Week

    February 21 - 27, 2021

    Sentinel basketball player of the week February 1-6, 2021

    ~ Boys ~

    Blake Kimball


    Kimball dropped an impressive 30 points on Paxton-Buckley-Loda in Unity's 54-57 back on February 20. While he only collected 10 points in the Rockets seven-point victory over Olympia, he was instrumental attracting attention to get teammates into open scoring positions.

    Honorable Mention:
    Austin Langendorf, Unity
    Evan Ingram, SJO
    Jackson Rydell, SJO

    ~ Girls ~

    Taylor Henry


    The Rockets leading rebounder recorded a double-double performance in her team's conference game against Prairie Central. Two days later against Olympia, Henry scored 11 points and added another eight rebounds and three steals to her season stats.

    Honorable Mention:
    Atleigh Hamilton, SJO
    Payton Vallee, SJO
    Katey Moore, Unity

    Baby steps toward 'sports normal', good news for local athletes

    The Illinois High School Association made two announcements that made high school athletes, coaches and fans giddy.

    The first on Monday, the high school sports organization said number of spectators allowed at outdoor events could increase to 20 percent of the facilities capacity instead of the 50 people only limit previously set by the IDPH. Indoor sports such as wrestling, volleyball and badminton were not affected by spectator expansion.

    St. Joseph-Ogden goalkeeper Hunter Ketchum makes a save during the Spartans home game against Monticello. SJO's soccer season starts today with a home opener against Olympia.
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    "We have been adamant in our discussions with IDPH that we believe we can safely and responsibly expand spectator guidelines without risking the general public to greater exposure to COVID-19," IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in are released statement. "This felt like a commonsense change, especially as we evaluated collegiate and pro sport spectator guidelines in the state, and are happy for the student-athletes who will be participating in IHSA outdoor sports this spring and summer, as well as for their families and friends."

    Later in the day, the IHSA Board of Directors announced that there will be state finals competition held for badminton, baseball, softball, bass fishing, boys gymnastics, boys tennis, boys volleyball, girls soccer, journalism, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls track and field and boys and girls water polo.

    This was even better news for St. Joseph-Ogden senior Crayton Burnett.

    "When I found out we were going to have a full season and a postseason I was extremely grateful," Burnett said. "We as a team knew nothing was guaranteed with the pandemic. It means a lot to be able to put on a Spartan uniform one more time and to be able to compete alongside my teammates."

    Burnett, who has committed to Dan Hartleb's Fighting Illini baseball program, and the Spartans will start official team practice on April 5.

    This month, competition for three sports are already or will get underway. Boys soccer started practice on March 1. Unity played their first match yesterday against Bloomington Central Catholic. St. Joseph-Ogden's season opens today with home match against Olympia.

    In preparing for the game, the Spartans' twitter feed announced the protocol for spectators: "New phase 4 guidelines are available on the parent face book site. Summary is: 4 spectators per athlete, masks, minimum 10 ft off game field, maintain social distancing. Blue x's have been marked to help facilitate spacing."

    SJO basketball game canceled, Unity soccer loses opener

    Viking free throws sink Spartans

    St. Joseph-Ogden dropped their home game to Danville, 59-53. Despite have three players in double figures, the Viking's Erin Haupt nearly single-handedly matched their effort with a game-high 30 points.

    Ella Armstrong and Payton Jones scored 11 points apiece for SJO. Payton Jacob added another 10 points to the Spartans' side of the scoreboard.

    Haupt, who converted 10 of her 11 free throw attempts, sank eight in the fourth quarter of the non-conference game.

    The Spartans travel to Bloomington Central Catholic on Thursday for their final game of the season.

    Unity opens soccer season

    The Unity soccer team opened the 2021 season with a 9-0 loss to Illini Prairie Conference foe Bloomington Central Catholic.

    The Saints' Jaylen Bischoff scored four times against the Rockets.

    Unity travels to Monticello for their first road match of the season on Friday.

    SJO soccer opens at home tomorrow

    The first game of the season for DeJarnette Era and the Spartan soccer team will be played Wednesday at 4pm at the St. Joseph-Community Park. First-year head coach William DeJarnette will lead SJO against visiting Olympia in a conference match originally schedule for Thursday.

    Under the state's modified Phase 4 protocol, each athlete can have four spectators attend games. Masks will be required and spectators must remain a minimum 10 feet away from the playing surface. Social distance between groups must be observed and the school will have blue x's marked in the spectator area to help maintain the required spacing.

    Basketball game canceled

    Four hours before it was to set to begin, St. Joseph-Ogden's road basketball game at Monticello was canceled as a precautionary measure for a possible COVID contact. According SJO Activities Director Justin Franzen, with the season ending on Saturday, the game will not be made up.

    "We will base the games we have played in the conference off of percentages to determine end of the year standings," Franzen said. "We were able to practice tonight to prepare for St. Thomas More tomorrow."

    St. Joseph-Ogden will host make-up JV game at 5:30pm tomorrow and follow up with a varsity contest around 7:00pm against St. Thomas More.

    An unusual season: Coaches describe basketball challenges and success

    St. Joseph-Ogden's Nolan Grindley tries to reel in a loose ball in the Spartans' home game against Teutopolis on March 5.
    As teams head into the final week of prep basketball, The Sentinel contacted our four area coaches to get their thoughts on probably the shortest high school basketball season in the history of Illinois as it winds down to a close this weekend. Restricted fan access, wearing masks while playing and other health mandates is likely a season student-athletes and coaches won't forget.

    Sentinel: This is the last week of the basketball season. What are your thoughts going into it?

    Dave Ellars, Unity girls head coach: "Glad we got to play. The girls gave outstanding effort, win or lose. They are a great bunch of girls and glad I have the opportunity to coach them this year."

    Kiel Duval, St. Joseph-Ogden boys head coach: "I hope our guys finish strong. It has been tough knowing there is not a post season. I've been proud of the guys daily approach. They have grown as a team. I just wish we could have had them for an entire year."

    Kevin Taylor, St. Joseph-Ogden girls head coach: "It’s hard to believe the season is almost over. It has gone really fast. Overall I’m glad the girls got a chance to play But we would like to finish as strong as we can. Even with no postseason I feel it’s important to have a good finish."

    Matt Reed, Unity boys head coach: "I'm just relieved that we got the entire season in. We didn't miss any games. We had a few kids get quarantined, but no one was tremendously sick, so that was a blessing."

    Sentinel: How well did you and the team handle the COVID protocols? Of all the things required, what was the hardest to adapt?

    Ellars: "I think we handled it very well, we were didn’t have any cases. The hardest thing is playing and coaching with a mask. Not having any fans at most away games was tough on the kids."

    Taylor: "No question the girls have done an amazing job dealing with all the covid protocols. It is very difficult to play in a mask and try to maintain social distancing. But they have done the best they could."

    Matt Reed: "The kids adapted very well. The biggest issue with all teams was the kids wearing the masks properly. Its hard to tell a kid to constantly pull up their mask when they are playing as hard as they can, but that was the mandate."

    Sentinel: What did you learn personally coaching basketball this season and what has been the most memorable moment so far?

    Matt Reed: "Our team has really improved from the beginning of the season. We have had a chance to win every game since our game with St. Joe. We competed well in that game, beat PBL and Olympia, then lost two straight games by 2 points."

    Ellars: "Kids are willing to adjust so they can play. Senior night, In January I never thought we would have a season."

    Taylor: "This year, seeing the emotional struggle of the pandemic and seeing how it has affected everyone. The thing I had the chance to realize is how important the team atmosphere is. Seeing everyone go through tough times but In the end how the girls have come together and develop that team bond and support each other has been a really good thing to see as a coach."

    Unity goes toe-to-toe with Tuscola Warriors

    by Daniel L. Chamness
    Special for The Sentinel

    The Unity Rockets and the Tuscola Warriors are not that far apart. How close were they?

    For three and half quarters, the Rockets, playing in the friendly confines of Rocket Center, hung in there. With 4:30 left to play, the Rockets and the Warriors were tied up at 47-47. Jalen Quinn, the Warriors superstar junior, had just hit a three pointer to tie up the score. It was that last four and half minutes the Rockets could not stay with one of the better teams in the area.

    Quinn would lead the run as he would nail an old fashioned three pointer at the 2:37 mark in addition to his game-tying three pointer. Quinn would finish the final quarter with 11 points to lead Tuscola, who were playing without four seniors, to a 64-54 victory.

    The fourth quarter started with Unity up by five points.

    They stayed one step ahead of the Warriors until the middle of the final period after Unity got points from Blake Kimball, Austin Langendorf and Tyler Hensch early in the quarter.

    Tuscola was not idle either. Preston Brown and Quinn scored in the first minute of the quarter and with a a pair of Josiah Hortin three pointers, one at 6:03 and another at 5:01, had clipped the lead to one, 45-44. Kimball gave Unity their final lead of the game, when he scored at the 3:35 mark.

    Tuscola Warrior junior Jalen Quinn brings the ball up the court, while Unity sophomore Will Cowan keeps a close eye on him and plays defense. The visiting Warriors defeated the Rockets at the Rocket Center 64-54 on Saturday afternoon.
    Photo by Daniel L. Chamness

    "We love to play Tuscola," said Matt Reed, Unity's head coach. "Quinn is a special player, anyone can see that.

    "Both teams play hard and with intensity and energy. We did not want Quinn to beat us on his own."

    Reed then explained: "We lost our composure in the fourth quarter. We play physical so we have a chance to win. We had a 10-point lead and with a team like that it does not take much to close that gap. We had a couple of bad possessions and they made us pay for it. Hortin's treys turned the momentum of the game."

    Other than the final, the Rockets led at the other three breaks.

    Holding a three-point lead (11-8) at the end of the opening stanza, a two-point (28-26) lead at the end of the first half and a five-point advantage (39-34) at the end of the third period.

    Unity drew first blood in the contest, as Unity junior guard Damian Knoll hit a three pointer at the 6:15 mark. They closed the quarter with a trey as well, as senior Nate Drennan found the hole from the right wing with 1:35 left in the quarter.

    The Rockets would extend their lead to as many as ten points, 28-18 with 2:17 left in the first half. Kimball nailed a three-pointer only to have the Warriors would clip the lead to just two by halftime.

    After Quinn snagged a bucket in the first minute of the second half, Unity went to work.

    They went on an 11-0 run as their lead ballooned to 39-28. The run started with a short jumper by Langendorf, followed by a lay in by Langendorf. Kimball would score the next five points, starting with a three pointer at 5:05 followed by a pair of free throws at the 3:20 mark. With 2:22 to play, Drennan put the ball through the rim on a regulation bucket to complete the run.

    "We have played Unity four times over the last three years and they are always a physical team," said Tuscola head coach Justin Bozarth. "Unity threw some great defenses at Quinn, trying to get the ball out of his hands or denying him the ball totally. They did great on some junk defenses." The Unity Rockets are 3-9 overall. Tuscola improved to 11-4 overall. Kimball was in double figures with 24 points. Quinn led all scorers with 28 points.

    Prep Notebook | SJO get road win, Miller snags 9 rebounds for Unity

    Spartans pick up conference win

    St. Joseph-Ogden made 66% of their free throws in 65-41 win on the road against Monticello.

    Ella Armstrong and Taylor Wells tied for team-high scoring honors for the Spartans with 13 points apiece. Payton Vallee added 8 points while Atleigh Hamilton and Nora Walden chipped in another six piece to help SJO improve to a 7-1 record in the Illini Prairie Conference.

    The Sages (IPC 2-2) were led by Lizzie Stiverson's game-high 16 points. The junior was perfect from the free throw line hitting all seven attempts. Renni Fultz contributed 10 points in the team's second straight loss.

    Rockets fall 54-36

    Chloee Reed led the Unity's offensive attack with 15 points, but it wasn't enough to get past the visiting Lady Saints from Bloomington Central Catholic. The senior added one steal and five rebounds to her effort.

    Meanwhile teammate Erika Steinman also reached double figures with 11 points. Lauren Miller led the team's defensive effort with nine boards and three steals.

    BCC's senior Abby Davis delivered a 24 point performance after making eight long-range three-point field goals.

    Still single? Five tips for the online dating scene

    StatePoint Media
    Trying out online dating for the first time or frustrated by the experience?

    Below are five online dating tips from Andrea McGinty, premier dating expert and founder of 33 Thousand Dates, a coaching platform designed to help millennial and Gen X women and men navigate online dating. In her 20+ years as a matchmaker, McGinty arranged over 33,000 dates, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about dating successfully!

    Photo: Farah/Burst

    1. Enlist help. With over 104 million singles in America and over 30 million dating online, your online dating profile needs to stand out. A dating expert can help you craft a profile you’re proud of – and one that isn’t full of clichés like "long walks on the beach." You hire professionals to help you exercise, clean and shop, so why not hire a dating pro to help reflect your individuality? At 33 Thousand Dates, for example, they take a personalized, proactive approach and handle the heavy lifting so that clients can have all the fun.

    2. Refresh your photos. Time to cull from the thousands of photos saved on your phone for five to 10 terrific shots. If they're more than a year old or low-resolution, consider scheduling a photoshoot with a friend or a professional. Pose in natural light, ideally outdoors, and show off your smile. Avoid selfies and sunglasses, and include at least one full body shot that conveys your interests, whether you’re hiking, doing a tree pose, or walking along the shore. For men, shirts on unless it's a great surf shot or you're spiking a volleyball on the beach. Lastly, most photos should be solo – pets are warm and welcoming, but limit the shots including friends or family.

    3. Be proactive. Start with only one or two dating platforms. You can add more later, but you don't want to be overwhelmed by all the "likes" you’ll receive! Once live, don’t wait for messages to bombard you. Instead, use the platform’s filters so you see the type of people you’re looking for – don't be shy about knowing what you want!

    "After coaching thousands of people and playing a part in 4,200 marriages, I've found that those with the highest level of dating success proactively work the system in person and online," says McGinty.

    4. Arrange video chats. Set up short virtual dates to determine whether you’re willing to meet in person. Keep conversations to 10 minutes – this is enough time to get a feel for personality, looks and mannerisms. Ask important questions early to ensure your values align, and remember, chemistry only comes in person!

    5. Have fun. Now it's time for the good stuff! Arrange drinks, coffee or brunch al fresco – these dates are less pressure, more relaxed and don't drag on. If you’re ready to leave, say you have errands to run or evening plans. A coach can help with this part, too – 33 Thousand Dates offers expert advice on how to communicate and follow up on dates. Keep in mind, you're seeing if you like the person enough to go on a second date, not marry them! And if it doesn't go well, those millions of other singles are waiting to meet you.

    For more tips and to learn more about enlisting help from pros, visit

    Don’t continue to tread water. Take proactive steps now to date online with confidence.

    Minimum wage is a starting job rate

    by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

    One problem with all Americans making a minimum of $15 an hour is that some business owners don’t make $15 an hour.

    Hundreds of thousands of small business owners struggle every day to keep the lights on and the doors of their business open. The only way they can afford help is with people who are willing to work for a low wage. This is tough for all. In most cases the business owner would like to pay more and the employee needs to make more.

    You can’t economically survive on $290 a week. Apartment rent can easily be $500 to $3,000 a month depending on where you live. Add utilities, cell phone, transportation and you can forget eating much if any. The reality is that minimum wage workers can barely survive. They end up applying for public assistance, standing in food bank lines and eventually face deteriorating health and often homelessness. You cannot care for yourself on $7.25 an hour. Living out of your car or in a tent is not the American dream.

    It is time for a federal minimum wage increase. Eleven to $12 an hour would be a push for many small business owners but we all need to push and try to get there together. Eventually everything goes up in price but it’s some relief for millions of Americans in the short-term. Even $12 an hour is only $480 a week, but if you are surviving on $290 per week it would have to seem like winning the lottery. However, consider the impact this will have on a mom and pop business that has five employees and suddenly the payroll has just jumped by almost $1000 more per month. It will be tough. A $15 minimum wage means $600 a week or more than doubling everyone’s pay. How many businesses in America can just flip the switch and double everyone’s pay?

    If you are the employee you are desperate for higher wages. If you are the employer you worry about how you will pay the higher wage.

    The Congressional budget office reported the higher $15 minimum wage would lift 900,000 out of poverty. On the other hand, the same CBO reported 1.4 million would lose their jobs by 2025.

    The only place in America who currently has a $15 minimum wage is Washington, D.C. If you have ever gone out to eat in D.C. then you know $15 an hour is not enough in that town. Washington state is $13.69. California is $14. New York is $12.50. West Virginia is $8.75. Kentucky is $7.25. Indiana is $7.25. Texas is $7.25. Florida will be $10 soon. Utah is $7.25.

    The bottom line for us all is do not settle for any minimum wage forever. Work hard for a promotion or move to a better paying job. Minimum means a starting job rate. It doesn’t have to mean your maximum pay rate forever.


    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


    No one is going to tell you if you have a COVID variant

    by Christina Jewett ann JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Health News and Rachana Pradhan

    Covid-19 infections from variant strains are quickly spreading across the U.S., but there’s one big problem: Lab officials say they can’t tell patients or their doctors whether someone has been infected by a variant.

    Federal rules around who can be told about the variant cases are so confusing that public health officials may merely know the county where a case has emerged but can’t do the kind of investigation and deliver the notifications needed to slow the spread, according to Janet Hamilton, executive director of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

    "It could be associated with a person in a high-risk congregate setting or it might not be, but without patient information, we don’t know what we don’t know," Hamilton said. The group has asked federal officials to waive the rules. "Time is ticking."

    The problem is that the tests in question for detecting variants have not been approved as a diagnostic tool either by the Food and Drug Administration or under federal rules governing university labs ― meaning that the testing being used right now for genomic sequencing is being done as high-level lab research with no communication back to patients and their doctors.

    ... "legally we can’t" tell him or her about the variant because the test is not yet federally approved ...

    Amid limited testing to identify different strains, more than 1,900 cases of three key variants have been detected in 46 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s worrisome because of early reports that some may spread faster, prove deadlier or potentially thwart existing treatments and vaccines.

    Officials representing public health labs and epidemiologists have warned the federal government that limiting information about the variants ― in accordance with arcane regulations governing clinical labs ― could hamper efforts to investigate pressing questions about the variants.

    The Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists earlier this month jointly pressed federal officials to "urgently" relax certain rules that apply to clinical labs.

    Washington state officials detected the first case of the variant discovered in South Africa this week, but the infected person didn’t provide a good phone number and could not be contacted about the positive result. Even if health officials do track down the patient, "legally we can’t" tell him or her about the variant because the test is not yet federally approved, Teresa McCallion, a spokesperson for the state department of health, said in an email.

    "However, we are actively looking into what we can do," she said.

    Lab testing experts describe the situation as a Catch-22: Scientists need enough case data to make sure their genome-sequencing tests, which are used to detect variants, are accurate. But while they wait for results to come in and undergo thorough reviews, variant cases are surging. The lag reminds some of the situation a year ago. Amid regulatory missteps, approval for a covid-19 diagnostic test was delayed while the virus spread undetected.

    ... the B117 variant, first found in the United Kingdom, could be the predominant variant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. by March.

    The limitations also put lab professionals and epidemiologists in a bind as public health officials attempt to trace contacts of those infected with more contagious strains, said Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. "You want to be able to tell [patients] a variant was detected," he said.

    Complying with the lab rules "is not feasible in the timeline that a rapidly evolving virus and responsive public health system requires," the organizations wrote.

    Hamilton also said telling patients they have a novel strain could be another tool to encourage cooperation ― which is waning ― with efforts to trace and sample their contacts. She said notifications might also further encourage patients to take the advice to remain isolated seriously.

    "Can our investigations be better if we can disclose that information to the patient?" she said. "I think the answer is yes."

    Public health experts have predicted that the B117 variant, first found in the United Kingdom, could be the predominant variant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S. by March.

    As of Tuesday, the CDC had identified nearly 1,900 cases of the B117 variant in 45 states; 46 cases of B1351, which was first identified in South Africa, in 14 states; and five cases of the P.1 variant initially detected in Brazil in four states, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, told reporters Wednesday.

    A Feb. 12 memo from North Carolina public health officials to clinicians stated that because genome sequencing at the CDC is done for surveillance purposes and is not an approved test under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program ― which is overseen by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ― "results from sequencing will not be communicated back to the provider."

    Earlier this week, the topic came up in Illinois as well. Notifying patients that they are positive for a covid variant is “not allowed currently” because the test is not CLIA-approved, said Judy Kauerauf, section chief of the Illinois Department of Public Health communicable disease program, according to a record obtained by the Documenting COVID-19 project of Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation.

    The CDC has scaled up its genomic sequencing in recent weeks, with Walensky saying the agency was conducting it on only 400 samples weekly when she began as director compared with more than 9,000 samples the week of Feb. 20.

    The Biden administration has committed nearly $200 million to expand the federal government’s genomic sequencing capacity in hopes it will be able to test 25,000 samples per week.

    “We’ll identify covid variants sooner and better target our efforts to stop the spread. We’re quickly infusing targeted resources here because the time is critical when it comes to these fast-moving variants,” Carole Johnson, testing coordinator for President Joe Biden’s covid-19 response team, said on a call with reporters this month.

    Hospitals get high-level information about whether a sample submitted for sequencing tested positive for a variant, said Dr. Nick Gilpin, director of infection prevention at Beaumont Health in Michigan, where 210 cases of the B117 variant have been detected. Yet patients and their doctors will remain in the dark about who exactly was infected.

    "It’s relevant from a systems-based perspective," Gilpin said. “If we have a bunch of B117 in my backyard, that’s going to make me think a little differently about how we do business.”

    It’s the same in Washington state, McCallion said. Health officials may share general numbers, such as 14 out of 16 outbreak specimens at a facility were identified as B117 ― but not who those 14 patients were.

    There are arguments for and against notifying patients. On one hand, being infected with a variant won’t affect patient care, public health officials and clinicians say. And individuals who test positive would still be advised to take the same precautions of isolation, mask-wearing and hand-washing regardless of which strain they carried.

    "There wouldn’t be any difference in medical treatment whether they have the variant," said Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory. However, he added that “in a public health emergency it’s really important for doctors to know this information.”

    Pandori estimated there may be only 10 or 20 labs in the U.S. capable of validating their laboratory-based variant tests. One of them doing so is the lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.

    Dr. Alex Greninger, assistant director of the clinical virology laboratories there, who co-created one of the first tests to detect SARS-CoV-2, said his lab began work to validate the sequencing tests last fall.

    Within the next few weeks, he said, he anticipates having a federally authorized test for whole-genome sequencing of covid. "So all the issues you note on notifying patients and using [the] results will not be a problem," he said in an email.

    Companies including San Diego-based Illumina have approved covid-testing machines that can also detect a variant. However, since the add-on sequencing capability wasn’t specifically approved by the FDA, the results can be shared with public health officials ― but not patients and their doctors, said Dr. Phil Febbo, Illumina’s chief medical officer.

    He said they haven’t asked the FDA for further approval but could if variants start to pose greater concern, like escaping vaccine protection.

    "I think right now there’s no need for individuals to know their strains," he said.

    Prep Notebook | All four area teams take one on the chin Saturday

    The St. Joseph-Ogden girls basketball team didn't score a single point the first quarter of their road game against Teutopolis in their non-conference game on Saturday. By the end of the first half, Taylor Wells led SJO's scoring effort in the 43-27 loss to the Lady Wooden Shoes on Saturday.

    After the final buzzer, it was Payton Jones and her team-high 10 points, all earned in the second half, that was the only bright spot for the Spartans (7-4). SJO received another six points from Ashlyn Lannert.

    Still at #2 in the Illini Prairie Conference, St. Joseph-Ogden plays #4 Monticello, in a three-way tie with St. Thomas More and Olympia, at the new Arthur “Buz” Sievers Center tomorrow night.

    Katey Moore big on the boards

    Unity's Katey Moore was responsible for 12 of her team's 30 rebounds in their 51-40 loss at Tuscola on Saturday. Senior Chloee Reed led the Rockets charge with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Maddie Reed added nine points to the cause with a three-pointer in each of the first three quarters. Meanwhile Lauren Miller tallied 7 rebounds and four assists for the team. She finished with seven points to round out the top Unity scorers.

    The Lady Warriors had three players in double figures. Erica Boyer turned in a game-high 16 points with Sophie Kremitzki and Marissa Russo each adding another 13 points apiece in the victory on their home court.

    Kimball has another big game

    Unity's Blake Kimball scored 24 points in the team's 64-54 loss at home on Saturday to Tuscola. Nate Drennan, who was quiet in the final quarter, managed to finish with nine points and Austin Langendorf buried four field goals for eight points.

    The Warriors were led in scoring by Jalen Quinn who poured in 28 points the last three quarters of the contest. Tuscola also had a double-digit performance out of Josiah Hortin with four treys.

    Spartans split weekend bill

    The St. Joseph-Ogden boys basketball team dropped their home game on Saturday to Teutopolis, 69-48. The loss comes after a dominating 81-58 win over Olympia in Illini Prairie Conference action less than 24 hours earlier. The Spartans are on the road again this Tuesday in a conference game against Monticello.

    Photo of the Day - March 7, 2021

    Hayden Brazelton's shoe is left behind

    One shoe left behind
    Hayden Brazelton's right shoe stays out of St. Joseph-Ogden's fray with visiting Teutopolis on Saturday momentarily during the fourth quarter. During scrum for a loose ball, the junior guard's shoe came off. He hustled down the floor and continued playing until officials called time out for Brazelton to pick up the orphaned sole. Unfortunately, the Wooden Shoes were too much for the Spartans, who won a tough road game against Olympia less than 24 hours earlier. The lads from T-town went on to stroll to a 69-48 win over SJO.

    (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

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