Guest Commentary:
May this Christmas be worth remembering

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

We had difficulties when we were growing up in Martin county, Kentucky but overall, we thought we were doing okay. President Lyndon Johnson came to Inez, Kentucky in 1964 to let us know we weren’t doing very well. He began his campaign in our community and we became the poster child for American poverty. We hadn’t really thought of ourselves as poor until we started hearing about ourselves in the news.

I had numerous friends who didn’t get much for Christmas. Often it was one or two small gifts or nothing at all.

Several classmates at my elementary school in Tomahawk, Kentucky were fortunate if they had a coat to wear in the winter. Ragged looking shoes on a kid’s feet during the winter was a common sight.

Several classmates came to school to wash their faces and hands in the boys’ bathroom. The school lunch was the only decent meal some of the kids ate during the week.

It was a while before President Johnson’s 1964 promises started helping our area. Even with the roll out of government assistance many families subsisted until the coal boom of the seventies which has almost died. Today our county is reinventing itself with agriculture, a service center to aid bitcoin mining, tourism and small businesses.

I don’t remember every Christmas, but I remember one. My dad broke his back falling off a barn when I was a child. He was out of work for several months and in those days, we didn’t have government safety nets to see us through tough financial times. Christmas came as usual and we did put up a tree. Our family gathered on Christmas Eve and we had food, fellowship and laughter. We always raised a garden and my parents stored food so it came in handy during tough times.

I expected nothing for Christmas that year because the heaviness of family financial pressure was obvious even as a child. Surprisingly, my mother handed me a small wrapped box that Christmas Eve and said Merry Christmas. I was shocked because I expected nothing that year. Opening the box, I found a watch that had numbers that glowed in the dark. It may have cost $5 but it was priceless to me. I was thrilled and wore it every night to just look at the glowing numbers.

Dad was recuperating that Christmas. His temporary disability and our financial stress made life gloomy for us that year. Yet, here I am remembering that Christmas as one of the best of all. It was during that Christmas that I remember the presence of family. Mom and dad were alive. We had food to eat. We had a roof over our heads and our family had each other.

This may not be your best Christmas, but maybe, just maybe you can still have Christmas.

The empty chair is painful. Depression is real. Financial or other personal difficulties may have disabled you. Millions have died from Covid-19. Thousands are suffering from horrific tornadoes and loss of life. Hurricanes have pounded us in the East and fires have incinerated our West. In the midst of all this inflation eats away at America’s paychecks like an unchecked malignancy.

The message of Christmas is the story of peasant parents, enduring difficult travel, taxes to be paid and no place to sleep but a barn and a cow’s trough for their newborn baby. Somehow, they found strength in each other and in God who brought them and their baby through a very difficult time. We never forget their story and their plight, it’s truly a Christmas worth remembering.

We are going to remember this Christmas, no doubt. Somehow, someway, with God’s help and each other, may this be a Christmas worth remembering.


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


This week at the Rose Bowl Tavern

The Rose Bowl Tavern is the quintessential and longest-running entertainment hotspot in downtown Urbana. Open since 1946 and under new ownership since 2019, the bar now offers live shows across several genres. While you may catch a country or Bluegrass performance a couple of times a week, the Rose Bowl now offers regular jazz shows, jam sessions and a comedy open mike night. Located at 106 N Race Street, there's plenty of free parking after 5pm in the city lot just outside the side entrance on the north side of the building.

Here's this week's live entertainment line-up:

For more information on upcoming shows, special hours and promotions, visit their website at and on Facebook at @RoseBowlTavern.

Area COVID Dashboard for December 13, 2021

Active Champaign County Cases:


Net change in the county: -129

Current local cases 12/8/21
Number in parenthesis indicates change over previous report on 12/7/21

Ogden • 12 (1)
Royal • 5 (0)
St. Joseph • 92 (7)
Urbana • 469 (32)
Sidney • 29 (1)
Philo • 32 (1)
Tolono • 75 (2)
Sadorus • 13 (1)
Pesotum • 13 (1)

Total Active Local Cases:


Net change in local cases: -64

Total Local Confirmed Cases: 12,211

New cases: 46

The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District at the time of publishing. Active cases are the number of confirmed cases reported currently in isolation. Local is defined as cases within the nine communities The Sentinel covers.

Still improving, Urbana Tigers just misses their first win

The Urbana girls' varsity basketball team was just a stone's throw away from winning their first basketball game of the season on Saturday. Though they delivered a solid defensive effort, the Tigers (0-9) fell at home 42-32 to Peoria Manual (2-5).

McKenzie Sprague brings the ball down the court in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' home game against Manual. She finished the game with eight points.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks
"Defensively, when you hold a team to 42 points that is a great defensive effort. Throughout the game we had some really great defensive moments with our press where we were forcing turnovers and getting points off of those turnovers," said head coach Bobby Boykin. "We just need to continue to be smarter defensively, and continue to work on our communication."

Urbana took a one-point lead, going up 4-3, midway into the first quarter. The home team later stretched their advantage to as many as three before Manual's Alexis Smith hit a jumper to erase the deficit and tie the score at 11-all with 1:39 left in the period.

After a free throw from Thiah Butler with 7:48 left in the half, the Tigers enjoyed a brief lead for the last time during the conference game at Oscar Adams Gym before falling behind at the end of the second quarter, 22-18.

Gabrielle Mboyo-Meta played her best game of the season, collecting a season-high 12 points. By the end of the first half, she tallied all but two of her game-high finish.

Starting the second half with an 18-22 deficit, Urbana held the Rams scoreless for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Back-to-back steals, the first by junior McKenzie Sprague followed up another from Gabrielle Mboyo-Meta, helped fuel a 10-point run to put the Tigers up 28-22 with 5:15 left in the third quarter.

Unable to sustain their dominance, Urbana gave up six unanswered points in the last two minutes and 42 seconds of the quarter only to fall behind, 34-30.

"We are improving as a team," Boykin added. "We just need to put everything together for four quarters."

Senior Zineria Edwards pulls down an offensive rebound in the fourth quarter for the Tigers. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Despite their best effort, the Tigers could not get a ball through the rim until Jasmine McCullough came off the bench with almost a minute left on the game clock to hit a field goal for the team's only points in the second quarter. The nearly nine-minute shooting drought starting in the third quarter quashed Urbana's chance to notch their first victory of the season.

"Offensively, we did a great job of getting the ball into their zone and then relocating. We just have to finish our shots." "As a team, this was probably our best performance of the season thus far," Boykin said.

Sprague was 2-for-2 from the free throw line and contributed eight points as the team's second-leading scorer. Butler and Destiny Barber added another four points apiece. Mboyo-Meta was also perfect from the charity stripe sinking the ball on both attempts.

The Rams were led on offense by sophomore guard Antaya Taylor who matched Mboyo-Meta's 12 points. Manual also got double-digit output from senior Jazzlyn Latta.

"This was a game that we were really close to pulling out," the first-year Urbana coach pointed out. "The turnovers at the end really took a toll on us. It just comes down to execution at the end."

Box Score

Final: Manual 42 - Urbana 32

Urbana --
Mboyo-Meta 10-2-12, Sprague 6-2-8, McCullough 2-0-2, Barber 2-2-4, Butler 2-2-4, McCullough 2-0-2, Hall 2-0-2

Manual --
Mack 4-3-7, Bryant 2-2-4, Taylor 8-4-12, Latta 9-1-10, Randle 3-0-3, Hinkle 2-0-2, Smith 2-0-2.

Area Covid-19 Dashboard for December 12, 2021

The number of active local cases of COVID-19 fell for a third straight day from 857 cases down to 804. The number of cases countywide also fell by 85 cases to 1,832.

Active Champaign County Cases:


Net change in the county: -85

Current local cases 12/12/21
Number in parenthesis indicates change over previous report on 12/11/21

Ogden • 13 (1)
Royal • 5 (0)
St. Joseph • 102 (8)
Urbana • 504 (33)
Sidney • 32 (1)
Philo • 40 (1)
Tolono • 80 (5)
Sadorus • 13 (3)
Pesotum • 15 (0)

Total Active Local Cases:


Net change in local cases: -53

Total Local Confirmed Cases: 12,165

Change: 52

The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District at the time of publishing. Active cases are the number of confirmed cases reported currently in isolation. Local is defined as cases within the nine communities The Sentinel covers.

Hitting the right notes

Eric Lund plays trombone at the Rose Bowl Tavern
Bandleader and trombonist Eric Lund performs with his group "Eric Lund' Jazz Friends" at the Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana. Lund and his quintet with Jeff Helgesen on trumpet, guitarist George Turner, bass player Emma Taylor, and percussionist Ricardo Flores on drums played before a small, but appreciative crowd early on Friday evening at the downtown nightspot. Lund said he and his Jazz Friends play every other Friday at the bar.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

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