Area winter and summer U of I grads announced

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced graduates for the fall semester 2020, as well as those who graduated in August 2020 last week. There were 3,428 graduates in December of which 10 are from our area.  In August, one area student was among the 1,626 conferred degrees last year.

St. Joseph native Rachel Gherna, an English major, earned her bachelor degree with High Distinction and graduated Cum Laude in December.

High Distinction is awarded to students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher for exceptional, praiseworthy work in the honors seminars and English courses. The candidate must also write an honors thesis with two out of three readers on the review panel recommending the work for High Distinction.

Cum Laude recognition is given to students in the top 12% of their class that maintains a GPA of at least 3.87.

December 2020 graduates include:

Julie Block, Tolono
Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Graduate College

Robert Malmberg, Tolono
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences

Tara Van Pelt, Tolono
Master of Social Work
Graduate College

Jonam Walter, Tolono
Master of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Graduate College

Kelly White, Tolono
Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Graduate College

Sophie Woolard, Tolono
Bachelor of Social Work
School of Social Work

Lauren Gherna, St Joseph
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences

Kohlten Johnson, St Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Taryn Lempa, St Joseph
Master of Business Administration
Graduate College

Journey Slowikowski, St Joseph
Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Sciences
Liberal Arts and Sciences

August 2020 degree recipient:

Courtney McGraw, Tolono
Master of Social Work
Graduate College

The list above is provided by the university and based on the address supplied by students. Students who used a campus address as their mailing address may not be included in this article. This list may not include individual graduates conferred after February 4, 2020. If you suspect a problem with this list, contact the University of Illinois at (217)333-1085 or them at News Bureau. Did you, your son/daughter or a grandchild graduate from a public or private university back in May or this month? Let us know by sending their 2020 college graduation information.

37 honored on University of Illinois Dean's List

This week, the University of Illinois announced the names of students recognized for outstanding academic achievement with the release of the Fall 2020 Dean's List. Thirty-seven students with ties to The Sentinel area at Illinois' flagship university were among the 10,867 students earning recognition for their scholastic performance.

Students named to the UIUC Dean's List must complete coursework and grading to fall into the top 20% of a student’s college class or curriculum. Classes taken pass/fail are not counted toward their academic standing for this award.

The list below does not include Dean's List honorees added after Jan. 27 or students who did not list their hometown as Royal, Ogden, Philo, Tolono, Sidney or St. Joseph with the University.

Benjamin Albrecht, St. Joseph
Senior, Applied Health Sciences

Elanor Atkins, Tolono
Sophomore, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Emily Bluhm, St. Joseph
Junior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Nicholas Cagle, Ogden
Junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Sarah Chahine, St. Joseph
Sophomore, Applied Health Sciences

Zachary Chalmers, Philo
Junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hailey Collum, St. Joseph
Senior, Fine and Applied Arts

Andrea Cunningham, St. Joseph
Freshman, Education

Carson Florey, St. Joseph
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Tyler Gadbury, Tolono
Freshman, Liberal Arts and Sciences

William Gay, Philo
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Lauren Gherna, St. Joseph
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Christian Hasler, Philo
Junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Evan Hawkins, St. Joseph
Senior, Media

Mason Housenga, St. Joseph
Senior, Engineering

Ian Hulette, St. Joseph
Senior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Kohlten Johnson, St. Joseph
Senior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Riley Knott, St. Joseph
Senior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Mark Maddock, St. Joseph
Junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mira McLain, St. Joseph
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Emma Messman, Sidney
Junior, Education

Abigayle Mizer, Ogden
Junior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Brendan Olauson, St. Joseph
Junior, Engineering

Natasha Plummer, Tolono
Freshman, Applied Health Sciences

Skylar Price, St. Joseph
Junior, Applied Health Sciences

Kassidy Reno, Philo
Sophomore, Applied Health Sciences

Jenna Schaefer, St. Joseph
Sophomore, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Abigail Schlueter, St. Joseph
Junior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Rylee Sjuts, St. Joseph
Sophomore, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Benjamin Snodgrass, Tolono
Junior, Applied Health Sciences

Emilee Sorensen, Ogden
Senior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Abigail Tierney, Philo
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Shelby Turner, Philo
Senior, Liberal Arts and Sciences

Israel Wells, Sidney
Senior, Applied Health Sciences

Madisyn Welsh, St. Joseph
Junior, Social Work

Madison Wilson, Philo
Senior, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Zoey Witruk, St. Joseph
Freshman, Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

The list above does not include Dean's List honorees added after Jan. 29 or students who did not list their hometown as Royal, Ogden, Philo, Tolono, Sidney or St. Joseph with the University. If you were on this semester's Dean's List and your name were omitted from our list above please know it was not intentional. University communications and public affair offices typically provide or make available lists of fall and spring graduates by zip code. Quite often students living off-campus supply their school address in the city they live while attending school as their contact address instead of their hometown address. If you supplied the institution with a different home address, and would like to have your name added to the list hometowns we cover above, email us your information to We'll be happy ato add your name to the listing.

Did you graduate from college with an undergraduate or advance degree in December? Tell us about it!

Commentary: Do your children make you cuss?

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Kirk Dewayne Franklin is an American choir director, gospel musician, singer, songwriter, and author. He is best known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs such as The Family, God's Property, and One Nation Crew. He is a beloved and influential figure in the gospel music world.

Instagram exploded recently with an audio of the famed gospel singer Franklin berating his 32-year-old son. The son posted the audio of the verbal exchange between he and his father. The audio was a profanity laced call that included his father the elder Franklin threatening to break his son’s neck.

According to the elder Franklin there has been a 14-year rift between he and his son. Many counseling sessions and the family’s attempts at trying to resolve the conflict have apparently remained unsuccessful.

For many years according to reports his son has avoided family dinners, holidays and other gatherings.

National television and various media outlets reported Franklin saying, "Recently, my son and I had an argument that he chose to record. I felt extremely disrespected in that conversation, and I lost my temper. And I said words that are not appropriate. And I’m sincerely sorry to all of you. I sincerely apologize," Franklin said.

Good Morning America, The Washington Post and various other national media sources have reported this story which is a sad personal family drama. For many years this tension has been a difficult rift for this very famous family. It’s unfortunate that the adult son chose to play it out on social media which has now become national news.

Many families have struggles and no one is perfect, including Kirk Franklin. He proves once again that most people have a breaking point and it’s never pretty when it happens. Most of the time it’s the people who we love the most and do the most for who have a way of flipping our switch.

We often can take a lot from strangers and casual acquaintances because we really don’t care that much what they think or even what they say. However, when it’s a child who you have invested your entire life into stomps on your heart then emotion and passion have a way of taking over. As Franklin proves, words may be said that are later regretted.

It’s unfortunate that even the best of people have feelings and words that can come out so ugly. Where do they come from? Ugly words often come from unresolved hurt and pain that have become toxic. Poison is deadly.

We allow poison to be bottled up deep in our hearts. In verbal altercations like the Franklin’s the bucket falls deep into the well of the heart and sadly what comes up is the pain and poison of past hurts that have been unresolved.

We all have to guard our hearts and what we allow to take root. None of us need anything that might spring up to hurt us and others.

Let’s pray for the Franklins. Most families have had moments not scripted for the national spotlight.


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


Village Crier: Easter Bunny coming to Sidney, area COVID cases soar

Easter Bunny coming to Sidney

The Easter Bunny will be in Sidney on Saturday, April 3.

At 10am, the Sidney Fire Department will escort the Easter Bunny around town, who will be tossing bagged candy to onlookers. The fire department says they are planning on the same route as last year and will post it online prior to the event. In case of rain, the even will proceed on Sunday, April 4th at 10am.

Cam's Auto Detailing accepting new clients

Now that the weather is much warmer and winter is on its way north, Cam's is open once again offering quality auto detailing and cleaning services at affordable prices in Tolono. Gift cards are available. For further questions contact Camden Hesterberg at (217) 607-7529 or

Online quotes are available on their website.

Fundraiser to help Tolono woman in progress

A friend of a Tolono resident who was attacked and received a stab wound to one of her eyes have set up a GoFundMe for the victim to help her and her family with bills and medical costs.

"I have know her for 42 years or longer and she helps anyone she can," it says on the page organized by Kathy Burkham. "She cannot go back to work and take care of her clients in the group homes. I know she misses them and they miss her. Please donate what you can."

So far, 19 people have donated $1,510 toward the $15,000 goal. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so on the page here.

According to The News-Gazette, three women, a 19-year-old and two 18-year-olds were charged with mob action in the incident.

Area Covid-19 cases soar

On March 11 there were just 18 active Covid-19 cases. It was the lowest total since November 13 in The Sentinel area. Today, just seven days later, that number tripled to 54.

After weeks of steady decline, the number cases started to surge last Sunday. Today, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District reported 20 new cases in addition to the 15 cases identified on March 14. In all this week, 47 new cases have popped in our six village area.

Forty-two of those cases occurred in the Unit 7 school district, prompting Unity to suspend all athletic activities this week.

Church of Christ to hold Easter Egg Hunt

The St. Joseph Church of Christ is having a Easter Bunny scavenger hunt on Saturday, April 3 from 10am to 12pm.

This rain or shine event is for families that have children ages 12 and under only. The entire family is welcome to participate, but only those age 12 and under will receive candy at the conclusion of the hunt.

For more information visit the church website at

Commentary: It's been a year now, when we do get back to normal

by Hilary Gowins, Vice President of Communications
Illinois Policy

Most people have spent the past year wondering if and when we’ll get back to normal.

Denetta Flamingo is busy dealing with a new normal. It’s one that cost her the home where she raised her children. It’s taken other assets. Those sacrifices have kept her small business alive.

Still, the dream she invested everything in – Ottawa Nautilus Fit24, a gym in Ottawa, Illinois – is up for sale.

"I’m doing the best I can," she said. "Today I’m at the gym and a regular customer who had not been here since March of last year came in. Everyone was in tears. He has M.S. and came in for me to fix his phone and feel the gym out with the new rules. Although I have stayed in touch with him and many others that still haven’t returned, just having him here and seeing him to make sure he was OK means so much. We are a family – new members and old members. We help each other, whether it’s fixing a phone or just lifting each other’s spirits."

The weight of COVID-19 mitigation crushed the small business sector in Illinois. Owners like Denetta Flamingo sold off equipment and other assets to try and remain solvent.
Photo by Victor Freitas/Unsplash

Nautilus Fit24 has been in business since 1974. Denetta began working at the gym in 2009 and purchased it in 2014 when the previous owner left Illinois.

"How can you let a business that’s been around that long go under?" Denetta said. She’s fighting to keep the gym open, even if that means it’s under new ownership. "A new owner will have the funds to bring this gym back to its prime."

Continuing to fight means struggling. Denetta has been steadily selling off equipment and personal items during the pandemic just to pay her bills. She ultimately had to leverage the equity on her home of 30 years by selling it to keep the business open. She was denied state grant money. She wasn’t eligible for federal Paycheck Protection Program money, either.

There’s a hole in Illinois’ economy. Denetta has been trying to fill her portion with heart and hard work.

Over 11,200 retailers in Illinois were forced to close up shop last year.

Small shops were hit the hardest – 35% of small businesses have closed in Illinois as of March 3, compared to Jan. 1, 2020, according to data from The Opportunity Insights Tracker.

Those retailers represent jobs on a large scale – small businesses have traditionally created the majority of new jobs each year in Illinois. And the loss of these businesses carries worrisome implications for the state’s workforce and its economic recovery more broadly.

So what happens next? How many of the small businesses left standing will survive in the long run?

The short answer is, 2021 will still be a grind.

"With each day that [the government] lets us open up, it is looking better and the weather has been very cooperative," said Kristan Vaughan, who operates Vaughan Hospitality Group, with six Irish pubs across the Chicago area.

It used to be seven pubs.

"We closed one location permanently and are maximizing PPP and Employee Retention Credit, but Illinois still tries to beat the small business when they are down with the property taxes, fee hikes and more," she said.

Those cost burdens are what Illinois needs to get under control. Otherwise, any bounce-back small businesses make will be hindered and likely continue to lag the rest of the Midwest. In Illinois the leisure and entertainment industry, which includes restaurants, lost jobs 61% faster during 2020 than the nation as a whole.

These numbers are a huge problem for Illinois: the people who live and work here, as well as the politicians tasked with running the state. Small businesses are the main job providers in the state – 69% of all new jobs created in Illinois come from firms with fewer than 20 employees.

The pandemic has affected everyone, but the economic fallout has been especially devastating for specific groups. In addition to retailers, restaurant owners and other small business owners, women, working mothers and Black Illinoisans suffered the worst in terms of job losses. So did low-income families – 36% of workers in households earning less than $40,000 lost jobs.

COVID-19 is the reason for devastation of this magnitude. But it’s important to acknowledge that Illinois had been lagging the rest of the country for years on economic gains and opportunities for the people who call the state home, as well as for the people who used to call it home.

If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. If Illinois doesn’t change, it’ll mean more public debt: which drives higher taxes, a decline in services and more people leaving. It’ll also make the odds even longer for business owners trying to survive.

Hilary Gowins is vice president of communications at the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that promotes responsible government and free market principles.

Prep Sports Notebook: SJO VB gets first win, no Unity sports for spell

Spartans open volleyball season with a win

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team opened its 2020-21 season with a 2-0 win over Hoopeston Area at home on Monday.

In both sets, the Spartans played catch-up volleyball after slow starts having to erase 4-1 deficits.

In set one, SJO struggled to keep up falling behind 7-2 on the scoreboard. Kennedi Burnett then hammered back-to-back kills to whittle away at the Cornjerkers' lead. Two serves later she was on the back line hitting well-placed serves tallying a pair aces on two of her three serves, the score now 8-all, before Hoopeston called a timeout.

Two sideouts later, the Spartans would take the lead after a second tie at 9-9 and fight to a 25-15 win.

Much like the first set, SJO trailed until a 7-7 tie on the scoreboard. Another Burnett ace gave the SJO the lead, followed by a tie at 8s. From here, the Spartan offense took control rallying four unanswered points and, never in any real danger of relinquishing their lead, only had to glance over their shoulders once. The team closed out the match rattling off six consecutive points to a 25-13 finish.

Unity athletics on hold

According to an article in The News-Gazette, all sports activities and contests were postponed at Unity this week. Athletic director Scott Hamilton told the Champaign-Urbana paper "that football activities were paused last Friday, followed by those of volleyball and boys’ soccer over the weekend."

Hamilton, who is also the school's head football coach, didn’t cite any specific COVID-19 cases or contact-tracing issues among the Rockets’ spring sports programs that led to this step.

"We felt like pausing everything gave us the best opportunity to keep everybody safe and kind of stop the spread," Hamilton told The News-Gazette, "and get everybody back as soon as we could — and, most importantly, try to keep people safe in our community."

Last Thursday, the number of active cases within The Sentinel's area of coverage dipped to 18, a low not seen since November 13 last fall. As of March 11, the number of active cases reported by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has tripled in the six village area. A 15 case spike occurred last Sunday, 14 of them in the three towns in the Unit 7 school district.

With no practices this week, Unity's opening football game scheduled for Saturday against Olympia won't be played. Due to the IHSA's limited season there is little chance for the game to be rescheduled.

Balancing the benefits and risks as scholastic sports comes back

by Laura Ungar
Photo by Brandon Mowinkel/Unsplash
This spring, high school senior Nathan Kassis will play baseball in the shadow of covid-19 — wearing a neck gaiter under his catcher’s mask, sitting 6 feet from teammates in the dugout and trading elbow bumps for hugs after wins.

"We’re looking forward to having a season," said the 18-year-old catcher for Dublin Coffman High School, outside Columbus, Ohio. "This game is something we really love."

Kassis, whose team has started practices, is one of the millions of young people getting back onto ballfields, tennis courts and golf courses amid a decline in covid cases as spring approaches. But pandemic precautions portend a very different season this year, and some school districts still are delaying play — spurring spats among parents, coaches and public health experts across the nation.

Since fall, many parents have rallied for their kids to be allowed to play sports and objected to some safety policies, such as limits on spectators. Doctors, meanwhile, haven’t reached a consensus on whether contact sports are safe enough, especially indoors. While children are less likely than adults to become seriously ill from covid, they can still spread it, and those under 16 can’t be vaccinated yet.

Less was known about the virus early in the pandemic, so high school sports basically stopped last spring, starting up again in fits and spurts over the fall and winter in some places. Some kids turned to recreational leagues when their school teams weren’t an option.

But now, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, public high school sports are underway in every state, though not every district. Schedules in many places are being changed and condensed to allow as many sports as possible, including those not usually played in the spring, to make up for earlier cancellations.

Coaches and doctors agree that playing sports during a pandemic requires balancing the risk of covid with benefits such as improved cardiovascular fitness, strength and mental health. School sports can lead to college scholarships for the most elite student athletes, but even for those who end competitive athletics with high school, the rewards of playing can be extensive. Decisions about resuming sports, however, involve weighing the importance of academics against athletics, since adding covid risks from sports could jeopardize in-person learning during the pandemic.

Tim Saunders, executive director of the National High School Baseball Coaches Association and coach at Dublin Coffman, said the pandemic has taken a significant mental and social toll on players. In a May survey of more than 3,000 teen athletes in Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin researchers found that about two-thirds reported symptoms of anxiety and the same portion reported symptoms of depression. Other studies have shown similar problems for students generally.

"You have to look at the kids and their depression," Saunders said. "They need to be outside. They need to be with their friends."

Before letting kids play sports, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, coaches and school administrators should consider things like students’ underlying health conditions, the physical closeness of players in the specific sport and how widely covid is spreading locally.

Karissa Niehoff, executive director of the high school federation, has argued that spring sports should be available to all students after last year’s cancellations. She said covid spread among student athletes — and the adults who live and work with them — is correlated to transmission rates in the community.

"Sports themselves are not spreaders when proper precautions are in place," she said.

Still, outbreaks have occurred. A January report by CDC researchers pointed to a high school wrestling tournament in Florida after which 38 of 130 participants were diagnosed with covid. (Fewer than half were tested.) The report’s authors said outbreaks linked to youth sports suggest that close contact during practices, competitions and related social gatherings all raise the risk of the disease and “could jeopardize the safe operation of in-person education.”

Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, an infection control expert in Kentucky who runs the national patient safety group Health Watch USA, said contact sports are "very problematic," especially those played indoors. He said heavy breathing during exertion could raise the risk of covid even if students wear cloth masks. Ideally, he said, indoor contact sports should not be played until after the pandemic.

"These are not professional athletes," Kavanagh said. "They’re children."

A study released in January by University of Wisconsin researchers, who surveyed high school athletic directors representing more than 150,000 athletes nationally, bolsters the idea that indoor contact sports carry greater risks, finding a lower incidence of covid among athletes playing outdoor, non-contact sports such as golf and tennis.

Overall, "there’s not much evidence of transmission between players outdoors," said Dr. Andrew Watson, lead author of the study, which he is submitting for peer-reviewed publication.

Students, for their part, have quickly adjusted to pandemic requirements, including rules about masks, distancing and locker rooms.

~ Matt Troha

Dr. Jason Newland, a pediatrics professor at Washington University in St. Louis, said all sorts of youth sports, including indoor contact sports such as basketball, can be safe with the right prevention measures. He supported his daughter playing basketball while wearing a mask at her Kirkwood, Missouri, high school.

Doctors also pointed to other safety measures, such as forgoing locker rooms, keeping kids 6 feet apart when they’re not playing and requiring kids to bring their own water to games.

"The reality is, from a safety standpoint, sports can be played," Newland said. "It’s the team dinner, the sleepover with the team — that’s where the issue shows up. It’s not the actual games."

In Nevada’s Clark County School District, administrators said they’d restart sports only after students in grades 6-12 trickle back for in-person instruction as part of a hybrid model starting in late March. Cases in the county have dropped precipitously in recent weeks, from a seven-day average of 1,924 cases a day on Jan. 10 to about 64 on March 3.

In early April, practices for spring sports such as track, swimming, golf and volleyball are scheduled to begin, with intramural fall sports held in April and May. No spectators will be allowed.

Parents who wanted sports to start much earlier created Let Them Play Nevada, one of many groups that popped up to protest the suspension of youth athletics. The Nevada group rallied late last month outside the Clark County school district’s offices shortly before the superintendent announced the reopening of schools to in-person learning.

Let Them Play Nevada organizer Dennis Goughnour said his son, Trey, a senior football player who also runs track, was "very, very distraught" this fall and winter about not playing.

With the reopening, he said, Trey will be able to run track, but the intramural football that will soon be allowed is "a joke," essentially just practice with a scrimmage game.

"Basically, his senior year of football is a done deal. We are fighting for maybe one game, like a bowl game for the varsity squad at least," he said. "They have done something, but too little, too late."

Goughnour said Let Them Play is also fighting to have spectators at games. Limits on the numbers of spectators have riled parents across the nation, provoking "a ton of pushback," said Niehoff, of the high school federation.

Parents have also objected to travel restrictions, quarantine rules and differing mask requirements. In Orange County, Florida, hundreds of parents signed a petition last fall against mandatory covid testing for football players.

Students, for their part, have quickly adjusted to pandemic requirements, including rules about masks, distancing and locker rooms, said Matt Troha, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association.

Kassis, the Ohio baseball player, said doing what’s required to stay safe is a small price to pay to get back in the game.

"We didn’t get to play at all last spring. I didn’t touch a baseball this summer," he said. "It’s my senior year. I want to have a season and I’ll be devastated if we don’t."

Scrumptious side dish, it sounds nutty good

(NAPSI) — Imagine this: A few small bites a day can help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of diabetes, gallstones, heart disease and cancer. It’s not some new miracle drug, it’s that long-time favorite of kids and adults alike — the peanut. You may want to try this simple, scrumptious side dish for your next Sunday dinner.

Peanuts are a superfood because just a small handful delivers 19 vitamins and minerals that contribute to your overall good health. Large population studies show that small amounts of peanuts and peanut butter in your daily diet can help reduce the chances of developing a chronic disease.

There is more good news. If you don't suffer from nut allergies, peanuts are both tasty, versatile and you can enjoy them in a variety of delicious dishes that are easy enough to make.

You'll need about two hours to throw this together so plan accordingly and enjoy eating your way to better health.

Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Casserole with Peanut Streusel Topping

Prep time: 25
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 10

For the sweet potatoes:

3 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup low fat milk
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup peanut flour or powder

For the topping:

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped roasted, salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 425°F and wash the sweet potatoes. Lightly prick the skin of each potato with a fork and place it on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender and cooked through. Allow to cool then peel. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. 

Place the peeled sweet potatoes in a large bowl and mash well. Add the sugar, vanilla, eggs, milk, peanut butter, and peanut flour/powder and mix until smooth. Spread evenly into the prepared baking dish. 

To make the streusel, combine the melted peanut butter, brown sugar, and all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Press the mixture together using the back of a spoon. Keep pressing and mixing until the mixture is combined and crumbly. Add the peanuts and mix well. Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato filling and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is mostly set. Serve hot. 

Per Serving: 363 calories, 10.7 g fat, 2.1 g saturated fat, 38 mg cholesterol, 141 mg sodium, 60 g carbohydrate, 7.7 g fiber, 18.1 g sugar, 10.6 g protein, 65% vitamin D, 5% calcium, 12% iron, 27% potassium.

For more recipes plus facts about how peanuts can help your short- and long-term health, from the experts at The Peanut Institute, visit

Doritos are Illinois' favorite game-day snack

The Big Ten Conference championship Fighting Illini will open their 2021 NCAA tournament play on Friday, March 19, against the Dragons of Drexel, winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. Illinois, third in the nation in rebounds, will tipoff at 1:15pm at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

Photo courtesy of Shipt

Like college basketball fans across the country, Illini fans watching the game and other teams play over the next week will need game day snacks. Shipt is one of many companies around the country that will deliver fans their favorite foods just in time for game day.

"Knowing that many fans won't be traveling to stadiums, bars or restaurants to watch games this year, we wanted to offer up a solution to get them their favorite foods come tournament time," said Rina Hurst, Chief Business Officer at Shipt. "One of the advantages to using Shipt for your game day snacks is that you don't need to get off the couch to do so, which is great considering there is nonstop basketball in the coming weeks!"

Illini fans across the country can use Shipt to get their favorite snacks delivered to their door throughout the entire tournament. The delivery service has a number of retail partners such as Meijer, H-E-B, Winn Dixie, Target, Dierbergs, and Kroger, and offers same-day delivery in as soon as one hour through its network of trusted personal shoppers.

Shipt and Kellogg's are offering an exclusive deal to all existing and new customers. Fans who spend $15 on select Kellogg's products through or the app will receive a $3 credit towards their next Shipt order. The offer is valid through the app until March 29.

According to a recent press release, Shipt provides personal shopping and delivery and is available to 80% of households in more than 5,000 U.S. cities.

"Shipt Shoppers go above and beyond, communicating in real time about preferences and substitutions," the company says. "A curated marketplace of retailers, Shipt offers access to a variety of stores and product categories including fresh foods, household essentials, wellness products, office and pet supplies. Shipt is an independently operated, wholly owned subsidiary of Target Corp."

During last year's college basketball season, the company's data points to clear favorites when it came to snack preferences for basketball fans. Shipt's delivered more than 231,000 bags of Doritos, 136,000 boxes of Cheez-Its, 133,000 bags of Goldfish and 107,000 bags of Tostitos.

Like Indiana, home to some of the top snack aficionados last season ordering more than 13,000 bags of Doritos last year, Illinois residents are big on the same Frito-Lay snack, too. Around the rest of the Big10, the Buckeye State tends to be partial to Little Debbie Nutty Bars, a snack didn't even crack Michigan's top five most ordered.

Photo Gallery | SJO falls to a good Teutopolis team

Ty Pence drives to the lane around Teutopolis' Matthew Deters during non-conference game earlier this month. The Spartans suffered their worse lost of the season dropping the non-conference contest 69-48 to Wooden Shoes. Pence led all scorers with 29 points.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Wooden Shoes Evan Wermert screens out Spartan Andrew Beyers during a first quarter rebound. Beyers, who was credited with a game-high seven rebounds, finished with six points against a solid Teutopolis basketball team.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
Lukas Hutcherson tries to dribble past Teutopolis' senior Evan Addis during first quarter action. Hutcherson, also a senior, contributed one field goal and a rebound in the Spartans' effort.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
With St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Kiel Duval looking on, Ty Pence denies Wooden Shoes' Evan Wermert to the opportunity to dribble past him during first half play. Wermert was one of three Teutopolis players to finish in double figures against SJO.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
While Teutopolis' Kayden Althoff towers unknowingly behind him, Spartan guard Hayden Brazelton prepares to take a shot under the basket. Making one of the two shots he took during the game, Brazelton chipped in two points for SJO.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
SJO's Nolan Grindley dribbles the ball down the court late in the game. The junior took just one shot during the contest. Sinking the three-point attempt, he finished the game with the trey in his game stats.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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