All that jazz

Alto saxophone player Issac Hanson
With well-renowned saxophone player Chip McNeil looking on, Issac Hanson belts out a series of notes while playing the alto version of the instrument during a jazz tune with the Tito Carillo Quintet on Wednesday evening. Hanson, a 15-year-old high school sophomore and student of McNeil, performed before a crowd of 40 or so patrons under the outdoor tent at the Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana. This weekend the Rose Bowl and several other venues in Urbana will host live music performances for the annual C-U Folk and Roots Festival.
(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

Prep Sports Notebook: SJO beats BCC in two, Rockets go the distance at Rantoul

Bleecher, Knudsen notch 12 kills at Rantoul

The Eagles of Rantoul proved no match for the visiting high-powered Unity volleyball team on Thursday. The Rockets added another mark in the win column after a 2-1 finish on the road in their final regular-season match of the season.

Both Emma Bleecher and Macie Knudsen tallied 12 kills apiece in the three-set affair. Bleecher also led the team with eight digs, Knudsen had five.

Unity won the first set 25-13 and was forced into a third after dropping the second set, 25-19. Back in system, the Rockets rolled to a 25-11 third set finish.

Maddie Reed was credited with 31 assists and contributed seven digs in the three-setter. Taylor Henry was the defensive leader with 13 digs.

Spartans overpower Central Catholic

St. Joseph-Ogden picked up a road win in their last regular-season dual match on Thursday. Addie Roesch notched seven kills and Kennedi Burnett chalked up six more in the 2-0 Spartan volleyball win over Central Catholic.

Roesch, a sophomore, had three digs and an ace. Burnett had nine of her own and served up five aces.

SJO won the first set of the conference match 25-18 and took the second one, 25-10.

Becca Steinbach dished out 20 assists while Rachel Divan led the team's defensive effort at the net with three blocks. Divan, also a sophomore, had four kills.

231 Unity Junior High students make first quarter Honor Roll

Earlier this week, Unity Junior High School announced the names of students who achieved honor roll and high honor roll status during the first quarter. Congratulations to the students who earned the requisite grade point average to celebrate the honor.

6th Grade Honor Roll

Beckam Krystopher-Wayde Brown
Brayden Michael Burke
Sadie Jo Carpenter
Garrisan Martin Cler
Shamya Merari Davis
Andrew Patrick Donovan
Kinzey Nicole Duitsman
Nolan Myles Elliott
Zoe Margaret Fish
Shae Lin Fournier
Makayla James Goff
Nathaniel Howard Hammer
Brady Cullen Harris
Brooke Raelynn Henson
Kane William Knudsen
Tysen Mac McConaha
Clint Michael McCormick
Payten Renee Niles
Larissa Marie Parr
Clayton Wyatt Pruitt
Mia Lynn Reifsteck
Lillian Yvonne Ring
Caleb Arthur Saxon
Riley May Schendel
Sophia Grace Seidlitz
Caleb Joshua Siegwald
Lillie Jean Vanderpool
Austin James Wiersema
Adilynn Michelle Wilson
Reece Earl Winfrey
Cole Thomas Zorns

6th Grade High Honor Roll

Joseph William Willard Baird
Patrick Benjamin Baxley
Cooper Charles Beckett
Brilynn Creola Cain
Jackson Christopher Cheely
Skyler Andrew Chilton
Soren Lovell Davis
Dillon Michael Ellars
Kaylee Grace Estes
Carson David Fairbanks
Reagan Elizabeth Lisle Fisher
Mackinzee Brooke Gumm
Hallie Lynn Handal
Jordan Stephen Harmon
Roman James Hastings
Tessa Lynn Horn
Eve Oksana Isberg
Karleigh Grace Jamison
Lincoln Banner Johnson
Joseph Brooks Kamradt
Tatum Anne Kirby
Bryan Michael Kleiss
Nolan Mark Tempel Meharry
Dalton Robert Moose
Rhianna Olivia Ocasio
Kandace Lachelle Reed
Khison Able Reifsteck
Carter Charles Schmid
Bradley Scott Jr Smith
Kole David VanSickle
Gavin James Warren
John William White
Olivia Ann Williams
Olivia Ruth Witheft

7th Grade Honor Roll

Andrew David Berkey
Paige Nicole Bradley
Jackson Robert Dylan Briggs
Maddix Jacob David Briggs
Aelyas Brito
Aiden Jacob Sharples Brooks
Brody Ray Butler
Ronin Carman
Addison Tyler Davis
Austin Michael Drewes
Elizabeth Lynn Farney
Reese Bella Frye
Bailee Mae Gadeken
Ava Nicole Grace
Ava Fay Jones
Mackenzie Michelle Jones
Rush Matthew Little
Carson Wesley McCune
Landrey Michelle Mohr
Nicole Elizabeth Paeth
Evan Alexander Puckett
Max Warren Rossi
Gabrielle Marie Spanglo
Maggie Jean Weckle
Andrew Jackson III Weller
Ava McKenna Wolf Rice
Rylan Kade Wolf

7th Grade High Honor Roll

Dominic Russell Baxley
Grace Michele Bickers
Alex Martin Bromley
Clare Faustina Bryant
Cadence Marie Chandler
Berkley Jane Cloud
Caleb Benjamin Coy
Hudson Lee DeHart
Danika Ann Eisenmenger
Allison Renee Fenter
Journey Maddison Gabbard
Walker Dale Hall
Colton Ray Harmon
Dustin Rose Harris
Broderick Wayne Irwin
Avery Nicole Kamradt
Kathryn Clara Knoll
Cash Cohen McCann
Audrey Claire McDaniel
Brooklyn Marie Mumm
Sadie Jane Polonus
Adam Lucas Reedy
Ethan Daniel Schaefer
Lane Edward Sexton
Allyson Lynn Shaw
Isaac Benjamin Siegwald
Evalyn Alexandra Skibbe
Madison Amanda Spohn
Piper Estelle Staley
Grace Lynne Tempel
Jacob Michael Ward
Leah Marianne Watson
Elizabeth Johnna Wayne
Grace Ann Wherley
Addison Danielle Wyatt
Kendal Lea Zerrusen

8th Grade Honor Roll

Athea Elizabeth Baird
Derilynn May Behm
Andrew Kenneth Bryan
Matthew Parker Chavira
Graydin Martin Cler
Kaylee Marie Cooke
Chloe Noelle Cousins
Taylor Renee Daly
Olivia Breann Egelston
Dane Robert Eisenmenger
Lilly Ann Griffin
Kenley Jo Harris
Brayden Jonathon Henry
Tyler Jason Henry
William Robert Hoggard
Matthew Eric Hollett
Tyler Reed Huntington
William Ryan Hutson
Miles Kennedy Johnson
Cameron Elise Kaiser
Connor John Kleiss
Anna Maeve Kuhns
Coleton James Langendorf
Johanna Ilene Langley
Isabelle Joy Levingston
Sade Jean Lybarger
Maxwell Cort McCabe
Travis Lane McCarter
Isaac Julian Neverman
Brody Michael Osterbur
Reagan Lynn Paceley
Olivia Grace Rawdin
Kyla Lanae Reed
Theda Marva Roether
Jillian Brooke Schlittler
Shelby Lynn Smith
Lauren Patricia Stratton
Maddix Douglas Sutherland
Ian John Taber
Olivia Danielle Tempel
Anna Vasey
Evan Eugene Vlahovich
Kadince Rilee Wells
Paula Louise Wilson
Austin Stephen Winters

8th Grade High Honor Roll

Anna Carolyn Amias
Aria Eve Battaglia
Mylie Lynn Castle
Cameryn Dayle Cobb
Eli Samson Crowe
Chason Robert Daly
Ella Jean Darnall
Annaliese Birtukan DeNeal
Crewe William Gene Eckstein
Callie Marie Ellars
Camden Michael Fairbanks
Tanner Elizabeth Gallivan
Margaret Rose Garcier
Collin William Graven
Isabel Grace Grob
Samantha Nicole Gumbel
Brooke Autumn Hartman
Joshua Todd Heath
Caden Maddox Hensch
Lucas Alexander Hood
Logan Phillip Jeurissen
Faith Lyn Lampe
Kallista Jean Lancaster
Mylie Emily Margaret Loftsgaard
Claire Lynn Meharry
Ethan Lee Mohr
Phoenix Sky Molina
Deakin Frederick Moore
Leah Jolynn Nickle
Mason Robert ONeill
Harry Matthew Polonus
Dallas Jordan Porter
Mackenzie Rose Pound
Ty Steven Rodems
Katie Marie Ruggieri
Vanna Lee Schriefer
Liana Grace Sheets
Hunter James Shike
Annalise Rose Shunk
Caden Alexander Stierwalt
Ginna Mae Stierwalt
Madelyn Rose Stierwalt
Emma Marie Swisher
Bailey Nicole Tompkins
Sophia Louise Jean Toney
Alexander Lane Wells
Desmond Mychel Winfrey
Claire Morgan Zorns

Photo Gallery: Unity football shuts out PBL for senior night win

Photo provided
Senior wide receiver and lineback Trustan Price poses for a photo with his parents during Unity's senior night celebration last Friday. Price and the Rockets take their 8-0 season record to Monticello to face the 7-1 Sages.

Photo provided
Senior Chance Ingleman plants a kiss on his mother during Unity's senior night recognition ceremony. The Rockets, riding a 12-game win streak over the past two seasons, honored 14 senior athletes before the start of the team's last regular season home game.

Photo provided
Unity wide receiver Dillon Rutledge makes a catch during their home game against Paxton-Buckley-Loda. The Rockets kept their unblemished intact defeating the Panthers at Hicks Field, 35-0. See more photos at Unity Rocket Football.

Blake Kimball avoids a Panther tackler

Photo provided
Rockets' quarterback Blake Kimball avoids a Panther tackler on Friday night. At 8-0, Unity faces 7-1 Monticello tonight in their final game of the season for the outright possession of the Illini Prairie Conference title. The Rockets football program, ranked 5th in Class 3A, has not lost a football game since a November 2019 loss to McNamara in the IHSA postseason quarterfinals.

Tyler Hensch provides a lead block

Photo provided
Tyler Hensch provides a lead block for running back Matt Brown.

Unity student fans tolerate the rain

Photo provided
Unity student fans tolerate the rain while cheering for their football team at Hicks Field. The Rockets, who have won the last two games via shutouts, have scored 344 points while allowing opponents to score just 90 this season.

Tyler Hensch and Austin Langendorf celebrate

Photo provided
Tyler Hensch and Austin Langendorf celebrate after the Rockets stopped a fourth-and-one Paxton-Buckley-Loda play on the 43-yard line. Failing to secure the upset victory over Unity, PBL needs to beat St. Joseph-Ogden, also with a 5-3 record, tonight to guarantee an automatic bid in the 2021 postseason.

the Unity Dance team performs their routine

Photo provided
In spite of the steady rain from above, the Unity Dance team performs their routine during halftime while the two football teams enjoy refuge in their respective locker rooms. At this point in the rain-soaked evening, Unity led 21-0 on the scoreboard. The Rockets would tack on another touchdown in each of the remaining two quarters for the 35-0 shutout.

Damian Knoll makes a catch in the end zone

Photo provided
With teammate Dillon Rutledge looking on, senior Damian Knoll makes a catch in the end zone during third quarter action for a Unity touchdown on fourth-and-goal play from the 8-yard line. See more game photos at Unity Rocket Football.

Singin' in the rain

St. Joseph-Ogden student fans
Die-hard, dedicated St. Joseph-Ogden student fans sing "Hey Baby" with the football team cheerleaders while enduring four quarters of a rain-soaked home football game last Friday. The Spartans secured their fifth consecutive win over the visiting Rantoul Eagles, 26-6. The team, who will play their final regular season game at Paxton-Buckley-Loda on tonight, needs the victory to guarantee themselves a spot in the 2021 playoffs. See more photos from SJO's last home game of the season here . . . .

PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Philo Exchange Bank to open new bank in St. Joseph

PHILO -- The Philo Exchange Bank announced this morning its plan to open a new bank facility in St. Joseph. The new location at 109 N. Main Street is tentatively scheduled to open on December 1, 2021.

The bank will be located across the street from the Busey Bank branch office which will cease operations almost two weeks earlier on November 19.

In addition to bank teller operations, the branch will also have an in-house loan department overseen by Royal native Les Hoveln. Formerly with Gifford State Bank for the past 16 years, he will serve as Executive Vice President and Senior Lender. Hoveln, who transitioned to the new position on August 3, has more than 35 years of financial lending expertise.

According to today's press release, the Main Street location "will serve as a temporary facility for the bank as it establishes a permanent location in the next 12 to 24 months."

"We are excited for this opportunity to expand our bank footprint to the St. Joseph area," Hoveln said. "We look forward to providing the community with a banking partner that can assist in all banking needs while providing friendly customer service that has served six generations of customers."

Opening its doors back in 1883, Philo Exchange Bank has grown to operate three existing locations in Philo, Allerton, and Broadlands.

It's back, the German Christmas Market returns to Riggs

Last week, Riggs Beer Company announced the brewery will host its second annual German Christmas Market. This November would have been the third installment had it not been for the state's Covid-19 mitigations mandates.

The market will host local vendors who will be selling homemade candles, local honey, decorative holiday wreaths, beer soap, and more from huts surrounding the beer garden. There will also be traditional German cuisine such as bratwurst, crepes, potato pancakes and warm drinks - hot spiced wine and hot cocoa - in addition to Riggs award-winning beer.

The market will be open on Thursday and Fridays from 4 to 8 pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 pm.

Riggs Beer Company is located at 1901 S. High Cross Road in Urbana. For more information call (217) 718-5345.

Prep Sports Notebook: Unity, St. Joseph-Ogden post senior night wins

Reed tallies 21 assists on Senior Night

After honoring seniors Maddie Reed, Gracie Renfrow, Taylor Wiersema, Emma Bleecher, Macie Knudsen, Taylor Henry, and Payton Kaiser, the Unity volleyball team added another tick in the win column after defeating visiting Rantoul 25-17, 25-21.

As she has done all season, Bleecher led the Rockets' offense with 10 kills and five digs. Knudsen supported her effort with six kills of her own and four digs.

Reed distributed 21 assists in Unity's last home match of the season. Renfrow took advantage of four of those passes to earn four kills for herself.

Wiersema rounded out the stat leaders in Tuesday night's match with eight digs and three aces.

The Rockets finish the final week of the regular season on the road at Olympia on Thursday. Hosting regional competition in the Monticello sectional, the squad returns to action on Tuesday as the #1 seed. The senior-laden team starts postseason play against the winner of the quarterfinal match between Paris (10-seed) and Sullivan (9-seed) on Monday.

Burnett leads SJO in Senior Night three-set thriller

After dropping the first set by two, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team rallied back to defeat Paxton-Buckley-Loda 23-25, 25-21, 25-17.

Kennedi Burnett finished the final regular-season home match of her high school career with five aces, eight kills and 13 digs. The senior, who was honored before the start of the contest was also credited with two blocks and one assist.

Fellow senior Becca Steinback had 29 assists, 10 digs and one kill in the Senior Night match. Hannah Fox, also appearing in her last home match, delivered 13 digs, two assists and added another ace to the Spartans' effort.

Shayne Immke and the Spartans take the floor again on Thursday evening in Bloomington to face the Lady Saints of Central Catholic. Immke, a junior, had 11 digs and eight kills in SJO's three-setter on Tuesday.

Area Sports Scores

2A IHSA Regional
Urbana 6 - Danville 0


Unity def Rantoul
25-11, 25-10

St. Joseph-Ogden def PBL
23-25, 25-21, 25-17

2021 Toyota of Danville boys basketball tournament schedule released

Ty Pence
Ty Pence looks for an open teammate to pass the ball during St. Joseph-Ogden's 2020 Toyota of Danville Classic game against LaSalette. After a pandemic hiatus in 2020, the eight-team tourney returns starting on November 30. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Formerly known as The Leader Classic, the annual Toyota of Danville Classic boys basketball tournament will tipoff at 5pm on November 30 with the opening game between Schlarman and Oakwood.

This year's eight teams include Georgetown Ridge-Farm, Watseka, La Salette, and Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond in Pool A.

Pool B teams include Cissna Park, Schlarman and Oakwood, along with the hosts and the 2019 champions, St. Joseph-Ogden.

St. Joseph-Ogden will play their first game on Tuesday, November 30 at 8pm and face Oakwood 24 hours later on December 1. The team will play their final pool game on Friday at 8pm against Schlarman.

Admission fees for this year's tournament are $4 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets will be available at the ticket booth at the main entrance before each game.

2021 Toyota of Danville Classic
Tuesday, 11/30/21:
5:00 PM: Danville Schlarman vs. Oakwood
6:30 PM: LaSalette vs. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond
8:00 PM: Cissna Park vs. SJO

Wednesday, 12/1/21:
5:00 PM: Danville Schlarman vs. Cissna Park
6:30 PM: Watseka vs. Georgetown Ridge-Farm
8:00 PM: Oakwood vs. SJO

Thursday, 12/2/21:
5:00 PM: Georgetown Ridge Farm vs. LaSalette
6:30 PM: Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond vs. Watseka
8:00 PM: Cissna Park vs. Oakwood

Friday, 12/3/21:
5:00 PM: Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond vs. Georgetown Ridge Farm
6:30 PM: LaSalette vs. Watseka
8:00 PM: SJO vs. Danville Schlarman

Saturday, 12/4/21:
1:00 PM: 7th Place Game
2:30 PM: 5th Place Game
4:00 PM: 3rd Place Game
5:30 PM: 1st Place Game

Guest Commentary: Americans will see increasing financial hardship

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Cargo ships waiting to unload at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach California could keep some of America’s store shelves bare for a while. These two ports handle the bulk of cargo coming from China. Cargo keeps coming from China, making the congestion craziness only worse. The dozens of ships floating in the pacific are carrying products that used to be some of America’s good paying jobs.

Today, about 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is transported by container. Modern container ships carry over 21,000 TEUs and rival crude oil tankers as the largest commercial vessels on the ocean. A TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) is a measure of volume in units of twenty-foot-long containers. If you have ever seen any of these cargo ships come into the port at Savannah, Georgia, or these California ports then you know its mind blowing the amount of cargo stacked and transported across the ocean. The weight of the cargo is estimated between 15,000 to 18,000 tons on most of the ships.

General cargo vessels carry packaged items like chemicals, foods, furniture, machinery, motor vehicles, shoes, clothing and more. Dry bulk carriers carry coal, grain, ore and other similar products. Reefer ships are refrigerated ships which specifically carry perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products. Roll-on ships are designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels.

China’s exports to the United States were $452.58 Billion during 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. The top goods exported from China to the U.S. and their total values for 2018 were electrical machinery ($152 billion), machinery ($117 billion), furniture and bedding ($35 billion), toys and sports equipment ($27 billion), and plastics ($19 billion).

Japan’s exports to the United States were $118.79 Billion during 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. These products are vehicles, machinery, electronics, optical and medical, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, plastics, rubbers, toys, games and sports equipment. United States Imports from Germany were $117.39 Billion during 2020, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. We import most of the same products from Germany as we do Japan including $78 billion dollars in mineral fuels including oil.

We continue to hear about all the job openings in the United States. Amazon needs employees, Federal Express, UPS and all the trucking companies are begging for workers. I’ve seen several big banners on trucks begging for drivers at a starting salary of $2,500 a week. Walmart advertises all the time for truckers with a beginning salary of $84,000 a year. There is obviously a lot of work in delivering goods from the shipping ports of America. The shipping ports are all products made in China, Japan, Germany, and other places. We have and are pumping these countries with billions and billions of dollars.

We hear a lot about infrastructure. We need good roads and bridges, Internet, new pipe lines throughout America to carry our water supply and American made chips for our cars, computers and phones and more. We also must start making all the products just mentioned in America.

Our President and Congress must give companies every opportunity in reasonable tax breaks and incentives to compete with foreign countries. If we can bring manufacturing back to the United States then we will return to real jobs in this country that pay enough money for people to raise a family, own a car and save for retirement. Until this happens Americans will only see increasing financial hardships and more jobs floating away.


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


Photo Gallery: Spartan football wins 5th straight game

SJO quarterback Evan Ingram
St. Joseph-Ogden's Evan Ingram takes a snap from center Conrad Miller during the first quarter of their final regular-season home game. Both Ingram and Miller were honored before the start of Friday's game during a ceremony recognizing and thanking all the SJO seniors on the team .
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Alex Funk celebrates

Pumping his fist after a play, Alex Funk celebrates a fumble recovery in the Spartans' favor. St. Joseph-Ogden went on to defeat visiting Rantoul, 29-6. Funk and this year's football squad need just one more victory to guarantee a playoff berth and a regular-season 6-3 record.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Alex Funk blocks for Miller

Opening up a running lane, Spartans' Alex Funk gives teammate Coby Miller a lead block on a play during the first quarter against visiting Rantoul.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Enduring the endless rainy conditions, SJO cheerleaders lead fans in a cheer.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Bob Glazier keeps a watchful eye

SJO assistant coach Bob Glazier keeps a watchful eye on his defensive players during his last regular-season game on the sidelines at Dick Duval Field. Glazier, who taught physics at the school during his teaching career, started his coaching career at SJO three decades ago and is a member of the IHSFCA Hall of Fame.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO's Braxton Waller blocks Rantoul's Rashon Allen during first half action.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

 Keaton Nolan, Mark Miller and Coby Miller

Spartans' Keaton Nolan, Mark Miller and Coby Miller stop quarterback Keddrick Terhune in his tracks.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO head coach Shawn Skinner talks to players during a timeout in the second half.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Kis Donald-Wheeler hauls in a pass
During one of the moments of heavy rainfall during the game, Rantoul receiver Kis Donald-Wheeler hauls in a pass before carrying the ball over the goal line for his team's only touchdown of the game.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Coby Miller looks for a hole

Coby Miller looks for a hole while carrying the ball during first quarter action against the Eagles.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Mark Miller and Owen Birt

St. Joseph-Ogden's Mark Miller and Owen Birt wrap up Rantoul running back Rashon Allen.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Rain at Dick Duval Field
The field lights at Dick Duval Field bounce light off the steady fall of rain during the game.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

While Spencer Fitch and teammates look on, Spartan Griffin Roesch hoists Evan Ingram after a touchdown.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan Spencer Fitch runs to join teammates

After shaking hands with Rantoul players, Spartan Spencer Fitch runs to join teammates with the remaining student fans who endured the rain-soaked home game to sing the school fight song. Like his teammates, Fitch was ecstatic after picking up their fifth consecutive victory on Friday.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Shawn Skinner talks to his players

SJO head coach Shawn Skinner talks to his players after their 29-6 conference win over Rantoul. Skinner and the Spartans need just one more win to guarantee a spot in the 2021 playoffs.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Looking for photos of a specific player from either team or from this season? Email us at with the athlete's name and jersey number for details.

Cuddling up: Cuffing season has started

The weather in central Illinois has started to turn cooler, the days are getting shorter and shorter. Gazing out the window, fall foliage is starting to appear. The sun's daily path crossing lower and lower on the southern horizon. This means not only that fall is here but for those of us single people not in some form of a committed relationship(s) that cuffing season is now open.

Photo: Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

Fuel by a combination of biological need, psychology, societal pressure, and of course, creative holiday marketing, "Cuffing", is a phenomenon where men and women attach themselves to a romantic interest through the fall and winter months. According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, cuffing season is "... the time of the year when the weather starts to turn cold and single people begin the active search for romantic partners in the hope of having someone with whom to ride out the colder, snowier, bleaker months." Coincidentally, enclosed in what is considered a five-month season are the big three romantic holidays of the year.

While the practice of cuffing has probably been around since the dawn of mankind when humans migrated to cooler climates, the term "Cuffing Season" was popularized back in 2011 in the online Urban Dictionary. The phenomenon has been researched and debated by scientists and matchmakers alike. Commonly seen as monogamous winter frolicking among Millenials, cuffing knows no age barrier.

Cuffing can best be described as an extended Netflix & Chill, a winter test drive, or a four-month stand, all to stave off loneliness during the dreary winter months and fill the need for companionship under the sheets and in social settings. Depending on the expert you talk to, the season usually ends by mid-April. If you have ever started dating someone new between September and mid-November, then find yourself ghosted by your cuddle buddy around the first week of May, you were cuffed.

For the rookies and veterans alike, cuffing season closely resembles a typical championship series in professional sports. There are regular-season events like holiday office parties, dinner with the parental units, and gatherings at the homes of married friends itching to get you hitched just like them to attend. Then, there are four mandatory "championship" events - Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and the Super Bowl of the season Valentine's Day - that paired up couples and companions to celebrate together.

Cuffing buddies are guaranteed dates, hands to hold, and arms to cling on as they make the social rounds during the holiday season. They are crucial in deflecting the annoying, endless queries wondering when will your serial singledom end. The best part for many is when the DJ spins a crowd favorite, they have a warm body to do the Double D or Electric Slide by their side. In addition to regular nocturnal activities and late-night footsies under the comforter, trapped cuffees with nowhere to run often must endure uninteresting minutiae from their partner's otherwise boring life, bad grooming habits, and sometimes embarrassing social grace.

Like college and pro sports, there is a recruiting process that can start as early as August. Prospective cuffs are evaluated, covertly tested, and vetted for the upcoming season during the three-month tryout period better known as 'summer flinging'. By the time Halloween - cuffing season's preseason event - is two or three weeks away, the attaching process started weeks earlier in the form of tailgating, pumpkin picking, and frequent Uber rides home together after last call.

In major cities like Denver, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, cuffing is played at another level with combines, so to speak, in the form of extravagant parties for singles to mingle and look for their winter bae. There is even a new cuffing season drink, mainly vodka and maple syrup, making a splash.

Cuffing season is Thanksgiving dinner with your new partner's family or yours. Cuffing season is a romantic romp on Christmas morning before opening gifts. Cuffing season is dinner, drinks, and New Year's Eve kisses. Cuffing season is dinner and shiny trinkets for Valentine's Day.

Cuffing season is officially over, some say, the day after Cupid has left the house on February 15. The uncuffing process usually takes another 30 days or so for one party or the other to weasel their way out of the relationship. Sometimes they will seemingly disappear completely off the face of the Earth. Sometimes, the breakups can be bitter, especially when one party develops stronger feelings of attachment.

However, cuffers sometimes beat the odds and move into a long-term, committed relationship. Couples that have enjoyed a variety of memorable shared experiences beyond the living room sofa are more apt to keep their relationship intact months longer into the summer and beyond.

Illinois reproductive-rights organizations protest bans before SCOTUS session

By Lily Bohlke, Public News Service
Photo: Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash

Reproductive-rights advocates took to the streets across Illinois and the U.S. over the weekend to protest the new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the nation's most restrictive abortion law. It is one of 90 anti-abortion bills that have been passed by state legislatures.

Brigid Leahy, senior director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Illinois, said they already are seeing Texas patients fleeing the ban and traveling long distances to get care.

"It's over 1,000 miles to get to Illinois, but people are doing that," Leahy reported. "And there are people who cannot travel. The barriers are just too much, and they are being forced to continue pregnancies that they do not want to continue."

The events -- 600 total nationwide -- came days before today's start of the U.S. Supreme Court session, during which judges plan to hear a case concerning a 15-week Mississippi abortion law, which, if upheld, could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Leahy noted when former President Donald Trump took office and promised to appoint Supreme Court justices who would be amenable to overturning Roe v. Wade, Illinois lawmakers began working on bills to protect the right to abortion at the state level, such as the Reproductive Health Act of 2019.

She pointed out many states are taking similar steps, but many others are now going the other way, including many Midwestern states.

"It was really important to recognize the full range of those rights and put them in our state law so that when Roe v Wade falls, we are protected in Illinois, not just for the people in Illinois, but the people in the states surrounding us," Leahy contended.

Polls show nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the decision establishing a woman's right to an abortion, and more than 900 state lawmakers from 45 states recently signed a letter urging the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade in their decision on the Mississippi law.

Healthcare workers around the country sound alarm on rising violence on the job

By Bram Sable-Smith and Andy Miller

The San Leandro Hospital emergency department, where nurse Mawata Kamara works, went into lockdown recently when a visitor, agitated about being barred from seeing a patient due to covid-19 restrictions, threatened to bring a gun to the California facility.

It wasn’t the first time the department faced a gun threat during the pandemic. Earlier in the year, a psychiatric patient well known at the department became increasingly violent, spewing racial slurs, spitting toward staffers and lobbing punches before eventually threatening to shoot Kamara in the face.

"Violence has always been a problem," Kamara said. "This pandemic really just added a magnifying glass."

In the earliest days of the pandemic, nightly celebrations lauded the bravery of front-line health care workers. Eighteen months later, those same workers say they are experiencing an alarming rise in violence in their workplaces.

A nurse testified before a Georgia Senate study committee in September that she was attacked by a patient so severely last spring she landed in the ER of her own hospital.

At Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, security was called to the covid unit, said nurse Jenn Caldwell, when a visitor aggressively yelled at the nursing staff about the condition of his wife, who was a patient.

In Missouri, a tripling of physical assaults against nurses prompted Cox Medical Center Branson to issue panic buttons that can be worn on employees’ identification badges.

Hospital executives were already attuned to workplace violence before the pandemic struck. But stresses from covid have exacerbated the problem, they say, prompting increased security, de-escalation training and pleas for civility. And while many hospitals work to address the issue on their own, nurses and other workers are pushing federal legislation to create enforceable standards nationwide.

Paul Sarnese, an executive at Virtua Health in New Jersey and president of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, said many studies show health care workers are much more likely to be victims of aggravated assault than workers in any other industry.

Federal data shows health care workers faced 73% of all nonfatal injuries from workplace violence in the U.S. in 2018. It’s too early to have comprehensive stats from the pandemic.

Even so, Michelle Wallace, chief nursing officer at Grady Health System in Georgia, said the violence is likely even higher because many victims of patient assaults don’t report them.

"We say, ‘This is part of our job,’" said Wallace, who advocates for more reporting.

Caldwell said she had been a nurse for less than three months the first time she was assaulted at work — a patient spit at her. In the four years since, she estimated, she hasn’t gone more than three months without being verbally or physically assaulted.

"I wouldn’t say that it’s expected, but it is accepted," Caldwell said. "We have a lot of people with mental health issues that come through our doors."

Jackie Gatz, vice president of safety and preparedness for the Missouri Hospital Association, said a lack of behavioral health resources can spur violence as patients seek treatment for mental health issues and substance use disorders in ERs. Life can also spill inside to the hospital, with violent episodes that began outside continuing inside or the presence of law enforcement officers escalating tensions.

A February 2021 report from National Nurses United — a union in which both Kamara and Caldwell are representatives — offers another possible factor: staffing levels that don’t allow workers sufficient time to recognize and de-escalate possibly volatile situations.

Covid unit nurses also have shouldered extra responsibilities during the pandemic. Duties such as feeding patients, drawing blood and cleaning rooms would typically be conducted by other hospital staffers, but nurses have pitched in on those jobs to minimize the number of workers visiting the negative-pressure rooms where covid patients are treated. While the workload has increased, the number of patients each nurse oversees is unchanged, leaving little time to hear the concerns of visitors scared for the well-being of their loved ones — like the man who aggressively yelled at the nurses in Caldwell’s unit.

In September, 31% of hospital nurses surveyed by that union said they had faced workplace violence, up from 22% in March.

Dr. Bryce Gartland, hospital group president of Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare, said violence has escalated as the pandemic has worn on, particularly during the latest wave of infections, hospitalization and deaths.

'Front-line health care workers and first responders have been on the battlefield for 18 months," Garland said. "They’re exhausted."

Like the increase in violence on airplanes, at sports arenas and school board meetings, the rising tensions inside hospitals could be a reflection of the mounting tensions outside them.

William Mahoney, president of Cox Medical Center Branson, said national political anger is acted out locally, especially when staffers ask people who come into the hospital to put on a mask.

Caldwell, the nurse in Kansas City, said the physical nature of covid infections can contribute to an increase in violence. Patients in the covid unit often have dangerously low oxygen levels.

"People have different political views — they’re either CNN or Fox News — and they start yelling at you, screaming at you," Mahoney said.

"When that happens, they become confused and also extremely combative," Caldwell said.

Sarnese said the pandemic has given hospitals an opportunity to revisit their safety protocols. Limiting entry points to enable covid screening, for example, allows hospitals to funnel visitors past security cameras.

Research Medical Center recently hired additional security officers and provided de-escalation training to supplement its video surveillance, spokesperson Christine Hamele said.

In Branson, Mahoney’s hospital has bolstered its security staff, mounted cameras around the facility, brought in dogs ("people don’t really want to swing at you when there’s a German shepherd sitting there") and conducted de-escalation training — in addition to the panic buttons.

Some of those efforts pre-date the pandemic but the covid crisis has added urgency in an industry already struggling to recruit employees and maintain adequate staffing levels. "The No. 1 question we started getting asked is, ‘Are you going to keep me safe?’" Mahoney said.

While several states, including California, have rules to address violence in hospitals, National Nurses United is calling for the U.S. Senate to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act that would require hospitals to adopt plans to prevent violence.

"With any standard, at the end of the day you need that to be enforced," said the union’s industrial hygienist, Rocelyn de Leon-Minch.

Nurses in states with laws on the books still face violence, but they have an enforceable standard they can point to when asking for that violence to be addressed. De Leon-Minch said the federal bill, which passed the House in April, aims to extend that protection to health care workers nationwide.

Destiny, the nurse who testified in Georgia using only her first name, is pressing charges against the patient who attacked her. The state Senate committee is now eyeing legislation for next year.

Kamara said the recent violence helped lead her hospital to provide de-escalation training, although she was dissatisfied with it. San Leandro Hospital spokesperson Victoria Balladares said the hospital had not experienced an increase in workplace violence during the pandemic.

For health care workers such as Kamara, all this antagonism toward them is a far cry from the early days of the pandemic when hospital workers were widely hailed as heroes.

"I don’t want to be a hero,” Kamara said. “I want to be a mom and a nurse. I want to be considered a person who chose a career that they love, and they deserve to go to work and do it in peace. And not feel like they’re going to get harmed."

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Photo Gallery: SJO volleyball overpowers visiting Hawks

Addie Roesch and Ashley Eldridge enjoy a light moment
Spartans' Addie Roesch and Ashley Eldridge enjoy a light moment during the team's home match against Prairie Central. After their road loss to Tri-Valley, St. Joseph-Ogden extended their win streak to three matches with the 2-0 conference win over the Hawks.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Kerigan Fehr
The ball flies toward the back wall after Prairie Central's Kerigan Fehr tried to pass a St. Joseph-Ogden serve during the first set.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Addie Roesch tips the ball over the net while playing on the front row during the first set for the Spartans.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Hannah Fox celebrates
Hannah Fox and the Spartan bench celebrate a point for SJO on ten-point scoring run during the first set.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartan junior varsity players dance to YMCA during a timeout during set one of the varsity game. St. Joseph-0gden picked up another conference win after defeating visiting Prairie Central in straight sets, 25-15, 25-4.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph-Ogden outside hitter Kennedi Burnett hammers the ball for a kill against Prairie Central. The senior finished the varsity match with two aces, four kills, and 16 digs.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Prairie Central's Gracie Edelman passes the ball during the second set while SJO's Rachel Divan and Kennedi Burnett prepare in the background to counter the Hawks' attack.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Called up to fill the junior varsity roster, Spartan freshman Reese Wheatley tries to block a tip by Hawks' Callie Eisenmann.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

With Hawks' Adeline Kilgus opposing her, Spartan hitter Josey Frerichs pounds the ball over the net during the second set of the JV match. SJO earned the match victory, 2-0.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Addison Ross attempts to block the ball during SJO's junior varsity match.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Before the varsity contest, Peyton Williams puts the ball down on a big swing around Gyllian Davies during second set action in St. Joseph-Ogden's JV match.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Spartans Madison Atwood and Taylor Wells attempt to block a hit from Prairie Central outside hitter Alyssa Stein.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Alexandria Hari
Hawks' Alexandria Hari sets the ball during set of the match against SJO.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Looking for photos of a specific player from either team or from this season? Email us at with the athlete's name and jersey number for details.

Prep Sports Notebook: Uni-High wins regional title, SJO girls win again

Spartans defeat Grey Ghost, 2-0

The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team got three blocks and six kills from senior Ashley Eldridge in the team's road win at Illinois Valley Central on Saturday. SJO won the conference match 25-20, 28-26.

Becca Steinbach chalked up 26 assists and six digs for the Spartans. Addie Roesch also had six digs and was responsible for eight kills. St. Joseph-Ogden's offense was once again led by Kennedi Burnett, who recorded 10 kills and 10 digs. She also aced IVC once in the two-setter.

Rachel Divan also finished the match with three blocks. Meanwhile, Shayne Immke contributed four kills and seven digs to round out the team's top performers.

Cornjerkers fall in regional title match

Hoopeston Area suffered an 8-0 defeat to Bloomington Central Catholic in their bid for the Iroquois West Regional title on Saturday. The Cornjerker season comes to a close with a 19-6-1 overall record and undefeated conference season at 11-0. Members of the senior class finished their high school career with 60 wins against 23 losses and four ties during their four-year stint.

La Nave scores five times to advance Illineks

Noah La Nave scored five goals in University High's 5-0 shutout over Fisher-Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley to win the Fisher regional soccer title.

Teo Chemla assisted on two of the goals while Arya Thirodira and Henry Wang were credited with one assist each on the first crisp fall day of the season.

Uni-High advances to the Bloomington Central Catholic sectional to take on the hosts on Tuesday, October 19, at 7pm. The winner will advance to face the winner of the second match between the Monticello Sages and the Normal U-High Pioneers for a shot at the sectional title next Saturday.

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