Fundraiser for future local Olympic figure skater ends next week

ST. JOSEPH -- Catia Schulte, of St. Joseph, has been invited to compete at the 2022 Excel National Festival in Boston. To help cover her expenses to compete at this national ice-skating event, she is doing a Laundry/dish soap fundraiser.

If you would like to help out, you will need to place your orders by Tuesday, February 1. Follow this link to view the available products.

Catia fell in love with figure skating at an early age. Now she has the opportunity to compete against some of the best skaters in her age group from around the country.

"I enjoy how this sport combines the physical challenges - jumping and spinning on the ice - with the grace and beauty of the choreography while skating to music. I really like competing," she said. "From the moment I first stepped on the ice, I felt that this is what I am supposed to be doing."

She added: "My dream is to make it to the Olympics, or even to the US Championship! I love the feeling of putting on my skates and skating my routine."

Catia working hard toward competing at the highest level.

"She stepped on the ice for the first time in January 2019 and received first place in her first competition that summer," said her mother, Carrie Gillespie-Schulte. "Catia is training in preparation of rigorous USFS Moves in the Field and Freeskating tests. Passing these tests gives her the opportunity to participate in qualifying competitions that give her the chance to participate in the events we hear more about: US Championships, World Championships, Olympics, etc." "

The Excel Series competitions bring together skaters of all ages the opportunity to get the feel of a nationwide competition while they improve their technical ability and skills on the ice. Catia's trip to Boston will bring her one step closer to becoming yet another Olympic athlete from St. Joseph.

Time is running out to help. For more information or to place an order to help send Catia to the Excel Series message Carrie Gillespie-Schulte on Facebook.

Photo-of-the-Day: January 28, 2022

Newton running back Isaac Flowers is stopped in his tracks by a trio of Unity tacklers during their first-round IHSA playoff football game on October 30, 2021. UHS defensive end Kyus Root made the initial stop as junior Nick Nosler, and another teammate barrel in to put Flowers on the turf for a loss of yards. The Rockets, who played all four playoff games on their home turf, defeated the Eagles (5-5) at Hicks Field, 46-6. See more photos from this game.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Search the PhotoNews Media archives for more photos:

Search by athlete's name, team, school and more

Get things poppin' with this Cranberry-Orange Carmel Corn treat

What can we say? This looks absolutely delicious.

Sure, a bowl of popcorn with lots of salt and butter is great, but let's be real. You gotta mix it up once in a while and this Cranberry-Orage Carmel Corn is a pretty doggone tasty convergence of Carmel corn, nuts, and cranberries.

This recipe, courtesy of the Popcorn Board, is merely the base. You could substitute walnuts or peanuts in place of the almonds or use all three. Another idea: Dried apricots, apples, or raisins can be used in place of cranberries. Let your kitchen creativity flow and come up with your own signature family movie night snack.

This recipe makes a great personalized gift item, too. Fill a glass canning jar with a batch and wrap with a ribbon. Give as a simple, tasty gift to a fellow employee, your child's favorite teacher, or a gift for graduating players on senior night.

Plain or carmelized, this popcorn treat will last a week or so in an airtight container. If your home is anything like mine, I doubt it will last long.

Cranberry-Orange Caramel Corn

Photo courtesy of the Popcorn Board

Cranberry-Orange Carmel Corn

Time: Figure about an hour total for start to finish
Makes: 10 cups


  • 10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, undiluted
  • 1 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Directions

    Go ahead and preheat the oven between 250 - 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

    While the oven is warming up pop popcorn and remove all the seeds. Put in a large bowl with cranberries and almonds; set aside.

    In a medium saucepan heat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and orange juice concentrate over medium heat until butter is melted.

    Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in extract and baking soda (mixture will foam).

    Pour syrup mixture over popcorn mixture in bowl; stir to coat well. Spread evenly in a large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, lined with foil and sprayed with nonstick spray.

    Bake 30 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. Stir caramel corn as it cools on baking sheet or a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.

    Store in an airtight container.

    Did you make a batch? Send us your photos and we'll feature them below.

    Canine fashion, "Trucker Hats" made for dogs may help protect their eyes

    NewsUSA -- Some clothes for pets are strictly stylish, some are purely functional, and some are both. The idea of a trucker hat for a dog may seem strange, but in fact many dogs, especially those with blue and light-colored eyes, suffer from sun sensitivity that makes them squint and become anxious in bright conditions.

    Tony Choi, an engineer in San Diego, Calif., and his veterinarian wife, Dr. Kathy Burnell, launched the initial PupLid trucker hat for dogs in 2018 to help make dogs comfortable after they found it significantly reduced anxiety in their own sun-sensitive dog, Buddy. They experimented with other dog hats and designs for months, but determined that a modified trucker hat design stayed in place and provided the best protection for Buddy.

    The Six-Panel Camo baseball cap for dogs is the latest addition to the PupLid product line for dogs who prefer a more adventure-ready look. Like the trucker hats, the baseball caps will feature a patent pending "Furfect Fit" system for maximum comfort, stability, and adjustability. Dogs with shorter noses have the additional benefit of protection from sunburn and sun induced skin cancers on the nose.

    Even dogs who might resist a hat will warm up to it with the right approach, according to Burnell and the PupLid website. Start by letting your dog sniff the PupLid and get used to seeing it. Then, put the hat on the dog's head for a few minutes at time, and use treats and rewards as the dog keeps it on for longer periods.

    "When hat wearing is paired with a favorite walk or trip to the park, many dogs start getting excited to see their hat because they know they are about to go on an adventure," says Burnell.

    The hats are engineered to stay put with a five point system -- two-points of contact on each side and one under the chin. The hook and loop fastener under the chin allows for a customized fit, and slider loops on the sides allow for further adjustment. PupLid hats are currently available in five sizes, XXS, XS, S, M, and L, but the company will launch a sixth size later this fall to further refine the fit for more dogs. More sizing information is available on the company website.

    The company also strives to enhance the style factor to dog hats -- the hats are a seamless extension of baseball caps and trucker hats for people, available in five colors and over ten designs. More custom design options are available from PupLid's growing network of wholesale partners, and dog families can even order their own matching "trucker hats for humans" for the ultimate in coordination.

    PupLid is a supplier to retailers as well as organizations seeking a completely unique option to add to their promotional products. Orders of 25 or more can feature a company logo or other design, and preorder options are available to reserve large supplies.

    For more information, email

    Photo-of-the-Day: January 26, 2022

    ST. JOSEPH -- Spartans' Logan Smith hops into the paint to take a shot during SJO's home varsity basketball game against St. Thomas More. The sophomore forward finished with a 14 points in his team's dramatic come-from-behind 45-43 win over the visiting Sabers on Tuesday. St. Joseph-Ogden travels to Monticello Friday for another Illini Prairie Conference showdown. See more photos from this game here.
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Area Covid-19 Dashboard for January 26, 2022

    Active Cases:
    (Champaign County)
    Total Area Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)
    New Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)

    Current local cases as of 1/26/22
    Number in parenthesis indicates new cases since 1/25/22

    Ogden • 12 (3)
    Royal • 0 (0)
    St. Joseph • 42 (11)
    Urbana • 517 (195)
    Sidney • 14 (5)
    Philo • 21 (13)
    Tolono • 53 (19)
    Sadorus • 5 (1)
    Pesotum • 12 (3)

    Net change in local cases: 261

    Total Local Confirmed Cases: 20,848

    Brief Notes:

  • The CUPHD reported two additional deaths for Covid-19 today bringing the total number to 29 for the month of January. There have been seven deaths this week linked to the virus.
  • The Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers reached a compromise with the state to retain teachers by extending benefits to teachers who need to be off work to recover from a Covid-19 infection or to take care of family members.
  • Omicrom BA.2 has about 20 mutation in the spike protein. Referred to as the "Stealth Omicron" it has been indentified in both Europe and Asia.

  • The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and the Illinois Department of Public Health 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.

    Effective 1/16/22, the CUPHD dashboard updated their reporting parameters to reflect the reduction from a 10-day isolation period to 5 days per the CDC guidance issued last month. Under the previous 10-day policy and based on the data released today, there should be approximately 5,363 residents in isolation.

    Rockets drop non-conference bout at Mt. Zion

    MT. ZION -- The first quarter of the game made all the difference in the outcome of the Unity's boy's basketball team's road game at Mt. Zion.

    While the Rockets ran up and down the floor stride-for-stride during the last three periods of the non-conference game, it was the first-quarter eight-point advantage the Braves carved out that sealed their 62-56 win.

    Led by senior Blake Kimball, Unity's starting five delivered the bulk of the team's total score. Kimball, who spent 35 minutes on the floor, finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and two steals.

    The Rockets' second-leading scorer, Henry Thomas, finished with 16 points, six boards, and three assists. Austin Langendor rounded the team's top three scorers with nine points.

    Mt. Zion's Carson Cuddy and Ethan Hamrick finished with 23 and 21 points, respectively.

    Box Score

    Final: Mount Zion 62 - Unity 56

      1 2 3 4 OT F
    Unity 12 12 14 18 0 56
    Mount Zion 20 14 10 18 0 62

    Unity --
    Kimball 8 (1) 0-0 -- 19, Cowan 1 (2) 0-0 -- 8, H. Thomas 4 (2) 2-3 -- 16, Rawdin 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Warfel 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Saunders 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Porter 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, O'Neil 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Price 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, A. Thomas 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Langendorf 2 (1) 2-2 -- 9, Maxwell 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0.

    Mount Zion --
    S. Driscoll 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Adams 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Koester 2 (1) 0-0 -- 7, McAtee 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, J. Driscoll 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Bauman 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hamrick 4 (2) 7-11 -- 21, Owens 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Trimble 2 (0) 0-0 -- 4, Cuddy 4 (4) 3-3 -- 23, K. Clark 2 (0) 1-2 -- 5, R. Clark 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hart 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0,

    Ketchum and Birt pick up wins for SJO at road match

    St. Joseph-Ogden won five matches during their dual meet against host El Paso-Gridley on January 20. The wins were not enought to carry the Spartans to victory who dropped the match, 48-28.

    Emmit Holt picked up the team's only forfeit win at 113-pounds.

    Holden Brazelton (120 lbs), juniors Hunter Ketchum (183 lbs), and Owen Birt at195 lbs, along with frosh Quincy Jones (220 lbs), recorded the Spartans' other victories.

    Brazelton, a freshman, won his match by major decision, 15-3. His other three teammates all won by pinning their opponents.

    The Spartans will celebrate senior night with a triangle engagement verses Hoopeston Area starting at 5:30pm and Westville at around 6:15pm on Thursday, January 27.


    Final Score: El Paso-Gridley 48 - St. Joseph-Odgen 28

    113 Holt, Emmitt (SJO) over Forfeit (EPG) Forfeit 6-0
    120 Brazelton, Holden (SJO) over Gibson (EPG) Maj Dec 15-3 10-0
    126 Roth (EPG) over Butts, Landen (SJO) Fall 1:15 10-6
    132 Greene (EPG) over Forfeit, (SJO) Forfeit 10-12
    138 Melick (EPG) over Denhart, Garrett (SJO) Fall 1:48 10-18
    145 Gentes (EPG) over Falls, Matt (SJO) Fall 0:36 10-24
    152 Jeffereys (EPG) over Forfeit, (SJO) Forfeit 10-30
    160 Whitman (EPG) over Forfeit, (SJO) Forfeit 10-36
    170 Langland (EPG) over Forfeit, (SJO)
    182 Ketchum, Hunter (SJO) over Shaffer (EPG) Fall 1:21 16-42
    195 Birt, Owen (SJO) over Duffy (EPG) Fall 2:38 22-42
    220 Jones, Quincy (SJO) over Blackmore (EPG) Fall 4:30 28-42
    285 Evans (EPG) over Cotter, Austin (SJO) Fall 0:46 28-48

    Girl Scout cookies are coming and Troop 2945 is ready

    TOLONO -- Friday, February 4th is the first day of nearly eight weeks of absolute cookie bliss. It is the first day that Girl Scouts around the country can officially start selling cookies to raise funds for their troop.

    Tolono-based Troop 2945, with 13 members in grades 3 through 5, has just over 2,000 boxes ordered to sell this season.

    Girl Scout Troop 2945

    Photo courtesy Kristina Toney

    "Girls who sell 250 boxes get their Girl Scout fee for the following year waived," Girl Scout leader Kristina Toney told The Sentinel via messenger. "Cookie sales help girls pay for summer camps and they learn a lot of fundamentals with selling cookies."

    The annual cookie sale teaches Girl Scouts fundamental business skills by counting-out change, order fulfillment and delivery processes, and developing customer service skills. Local girl scout councils, prepared for a successful selling season, will be monitoring local data and public health mandates.

    "Girl Scouts across the country will embark on a new adventure with the world's largest entrepreneurial program for girls: the 2022 Girl Scout Cookie Program," the Girl Scouts of America said in a release. "In prior years, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Girl Scouts quickly and cleverly adapted their selling methods to replace the iconic in-person cookie booths with new, innovative options.

    The familiar favorites like Thin Mints, Lemonades, Carmel Delight, Peanut Butter Patties aka Tagalongs, and Shortbread or Trefoils®, are back.

    New this year! Adventurefuls.
    Adventurefuls™ is the newest cookie to the Girl Scouts of the USA line-up. It is a brownie-inspired cookie topped with caramel flavored crème with just a hint of sea salt to make it a satisfying snack. Toffee-tastic®, another new option, is gluten-free and described as "rich, buttery cookies with sweet, crunchy toffee bits."

    Troop 2945 will have booths set up to sell cookies, and a list of sale locations will be available after January 28.

    "We haven't figured out any cookie booths yet around town as we can't officially start selling until the fourth," Toney said, "I have 13 girls in my troop, and we all love to deliver cookies."

    She said anyone who wishes to place a pre-order or get a list of sale locations can contact by email at or via a phone call at (217) 722-7945. Follow Troop 2945 on Facebook here.

    Six area residents on fall SIUC Dean's List

    CARBONDALE -- Six area residents at Southern Illinois University Carbondale earned a spot on the Fall 2021 Dean's List. Full-undergraduate students enrolled at SIUC whose grade point average meets or exceeds the minimum SIU GPA are recognized each semester. This fall, 1,882 students earned recognition for their academic effort.

    Students who make the list transcript receive a special notation on their transcripts identifying semesters where their academic performance excelled. Below are the fall semester's recipients.

    The announcement above does not include Dean's List honorees who did not register Urbana, Royal, Ogden, Philo, Tolono, Sidney, or St. Joseph as their hometown with the University.

    Avian R. Wilkins, Senior
    Chris J. Cross, Sophomore
    Rachel E. Gatewood, Junior
    Alyssa K. Pankau, Freshman

    Connor L. Eastin, Sophomore
    Lauren N. Frost, Senior

    Two area student make WIU fall Dean's List

    MACOMB -- Derek Samson, from Ogden, and Elizabeth Decker, from Philo, are two of 1,164 students named to the Fall 2021 Dean's List at Western Illinois University. Students must earn at least a 3.6 grade-point average on a scale of 4.0 or an A in a minimum of 12 credit hours of graded courses to receive the honor. Samson is a senior and Decker a junior.

    The announcement above does not include Dean's List honorees who did not register Urbana, Royal, Ogden, Philo, Tolono, Sidney, or St. Joseph as their hometown with the University.

    St. Joseph businesses robbed

    ST. JOSEPH -- Salon 192, Geschenk Coffee, Cafe & Gifts, and Country Chics were burglarized early Tuesday morning. The break-ins are still under investigation.

    If you have any information to help solve these crimes, contact the Champaign County Sheriff at 217-384-1213. If you would like to stay anonymous, contact by phone at Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477 or online at

    14 U of I faculty members to become AAAS Fellows

    University of Illinois chemistry professor Martin Burke and 13 other faculty members across campus join 551 scientists from around the world elected as 2021 Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    AAAS Fellows are scientists, engineers, and innovators who are recognized for their ability to converge research, technology, and teaching sharing information in a format for the general public. Recipients are formally recognized at the AAAS Annual Meeting where they are presented with a certificate and blue and gold rosette.

    The 13 other campus professors who were also named include crop sciences professor Brian Diers; physics professor Aida El-Khadra; physics professor Eduardo Fradkin; cell and developmental biology professor Brian Freeman; evolution, ecology, and behavior professor Mark Hauber; plant biology professor Katy Heath; bioengineering professor Joseph Irudayaraj; anthropology professor Lyle Konigsberg; anthropology professor Ripan Malhi; computer science professor David Padua; civil and environmental engineering and geography and geographic information science professor Murugesu Sivapalan; geography and geographic information science professor Shaowen Wang; and computer science professor Tandy Warnow.

    The AAAS Fellowship is a lifetime honor that started in 1874.

    Last-minute heroics lift Spartans over St. Thomas More

    On his way to the locker room after the game, St. Joseph-Ogden's Ty Pence shakes hands with fellow student Conrad Miller after SJO's 45-43 home victory over St. Thomas More. Pence, who drained the game-winning free throw in the last 30 seconds of the game, and teammate Logan Smith finished with 14 points each in the Illini Prairie Conference win. The Spartans improve to 16-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. Pence & Co. play on the road Friday at Monticello, who are 4-1 in the IPC.

    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Area Covid-19 Dashboard for January 25, 2022

    Active Cases:
    (Champaign County)
    Total Area Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)
    New Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)

    Current local cases as of 1/25/22
    Number in parenthesis indicates new cases since 1/24/22

    Ogden • 15 (6)
    Royal • 0 (0)
    St. Joseph • 51 (7)
    Urbana • 579 (107)
    Sidney • 18 (3)
    Philo • 20 (1)
    Tolono • 59 (6)
    Sadorus • 10 (0)
    Pesotum • 15 (5)

    Net change in local cases: 261

    Total Local Confirmed Cases: 20,848

    The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and the Illinois Department of Public Health 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.

    Effective 1/16/22, the CUPHD dashboard updated their reporting parameters to reflect the reduction from a 10-day isolation period to 5 days per the CDC guidance issued last month. Under the previous 10-day policy and based on the data released today, there should be approximately 5,504 residents in isolation.

    Recipe: Savory Cuban Chicken with Salsa Fresca

    Family Features -- If your family gets stuck in a dinner routine rut, it can feel like you're eating the same recipes over and over again. If you are going to break the mold, try more healthy options.

    Committing to healthier habits in the new year often starts in the kitchen. Adding better-for-you recipes to your arsenal is the start of a more nutrition-focused lifestyle, and whether you're a true home chef or just learning the basics, these dishes can be the gateway to a healthier you.

    From fresh spins on family night and quick solutions in a pinch to homemade lunches and satisfying salads, consider adding this delicious and nutritious recipe to your home meals menu in 2022. Even adding a new spice like cumin, oregano, or rosemary to your favorite dish can make it seem new again.

    This fresh and unique recipe for Cuban Chicken with Salsa Fresca might inspire you to think outside the culinary box and give your family members the delightful, satisfying flavor they desire at dinnertime. It is so delicious they will be begging you to make it again and again. With garden-fresh ingredients and its wholesome flavor, Cuban Chicken is the perfect addition to your menu.

    Cuban Chicken with Salsa Fresca

    1 cup grapefruit juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons cumin
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    Salsa Fresca:
    1 cup grapefruit segments
    1/2 jicama, cubed
    1/2 red onion, chopped
    3/4 cup grapefruit juice
    4 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    1 jalapeno pepper, chopped


    Heat oven to 400 F.

    In large bowl, mix grapefruit juice, oil, garlic powder, cumin, paprika and red pepper until combined. Add chicken to bowl and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer.

    To make salsa fresca: In medium bowl, mix grapefruit segments, jicama, red onion, grapefruit juice, olive oil, cilantro and jalapeno pepper until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Remove chicken from marinade. Place chicken in baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

    Serve chicken with salsa fresca.

    Find more recipes and family dinner ideas at

    Plan on making this dish? Send us your pictures and we'll feature them on The Sentinel site! Email photos to

    M.A.S.K. tips & resources can help parents' responsibilites raising their kids

    Mom and dad helping with homework
    Photo: SOFATUTOR/Unsplash
    NewsUSA -- Parenting is hard, and the past year was especially challenging for parents of school-aged kids, as they struggled to juggle their children's virtual school and the loss of many activities and in-person contact with friends.

    The goal of MASK (Mothers Awareness on School Age Kids) is to provide resources for parents, children, schools, and communities that address the challenges facing families and empower children to make safe and healthy choices. MASK is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007, and has evolved into a multimedia format that includes a website, a print magazine, an app, a digital learning platform, and a series of YouTube videos.

    MASK tackles topics that include managing peer pressure, coping with trauma, and negotiating the peaks and valleys of social media, which can be especially challenging as families restore their networks and return to in-person school and activities.

    "MASK programs teach children and their families how to handle the ever-changing landscape that our children are living in," says Kimberly Cabral, CEO, founder, and publisher of MASK.

    Parents and their kids can engage with the MASK tools to build life skills and promote self-esteem through any or all of these options:

    - MASKMatters app. Download the app on Apple or Google Play (also available in Spanish) for easy access to age-appropriate life skills resources that can be used by students, parents, and teachers.

    - MASK Magazine. For those who like their information in print, MASK Magazine is a quarterly parenting manual and is also available through Zinio digital. Each issue focuses on a specific topic, such as Internet safety, with details on how it impacts children from preschool to college.

    - MASK E3 Institute: The digital platform for MASK can be used by schools, community organizations, or families at home. The Institute is designed as a series of year-long comprehensive programs for different age groups: MASK Storytime for pre-K children, MASK Academy for kindergarten through sixth grade, MASK Prep for middle and high school students, and MASK Leadership for colleges students. Each of the age-appropriate programs teach kids social skills and educate them about topics such as bullying, drug and alcohol use, and staying safe online.

    - MASK + Live: MASK offers a series of YouTube videos featuring feature medical doctors, clinical psychologists, professors, and other child health professionals who share their expertise on parenting and offer advice on physical health, mental health, and enhancing your relationship with your child.

    Visit for more information about the full range of MASK materials and programs.

    Photo-of-the-Day: January 25, 2022

    St. Joseph-Ogden's Logan Ingram and Unity's Will Thompson

    ST. JOSEPH -- St. Joseph-Ogden's Logan Ingram and Unity's Will Thompson battle for ball possession during their Illini Prairie Conference game on March 27, 2021. Nearly ten months ago the Spartans prevailed 4-1 over the rival Rockets. Normally played in the fall, the Coronavirus pandemic forced high school sports to be played on a shortened spring schedule. SJO went on to finish the modified season with 4 wins and 8 losses. See more photos from this game here.
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Health tip: Exercise boosts immunity during winter months

    Photo: Nathanael Mosqueda/Pexels

    DALLAS -— Many people think January is a great time to get a fresh start on a new fitness routine, while many of us in Illinois use the cold weather as an excuse to huddle under the covers on the couch. No matter how you approach the new year, the American Heart Association has some important information about how to get healthy – and stay healthy – when the temperatures start to dip.

    "There’s actually some advantages to working out in cold weather – with no heat and humidity to deal with you may be able to work out longer in cold weather which means you can burn even more calories. It’s also a great way to get much needed vitamin D from the sunlight, which can help elevate your mood," said John A. Osborne, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, FNLA, Founder and Director State of the Heart Cardiology, Metroplex Cardiology.

    It doesn't matter if you are in downstate Illinois or the northern part of the state, getting out and exercising is good for you.

    "Research shows that exercise also boosts your immunity during the cold and flu season, which can be especially important in dealing with possible COVID infection."

    Osborne said if you can’t exercise outdoors, there are many online resources available to assist in developing a workout at home, or athletes can still visit a gym or even walk the mall if they use the appropriate precautions to protect against COVID.

    If you are heading outdoors for exercise, winter sports like skiing or skating or if you have to shovel your car out of a snow drift, Osborne has some warnings. Aside from some of the well-known cold weather dangers such as frostbite or unsafe driving conditions, there are cardiovascular risks to consider. The cold causes blood vessels to contract and coronary arteries to constrict, which can raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Photo: Noelle Otto/Pexels

    "Strenuous activities such as walking through heavy snow or snow shoveling can add stressors to the heart that people aren’t normally used to," said Osborne "Our hearts also have to work extra hard in cold weather to keep a healthy body temperature."

    Here are some tips to keep your heart in check during coat season:

  • Stay active safely: Make sure you wear layers to keep warm while exercising outdoors to avoid cold weather hazards like hypothermia and frostbite and take breaks. It’s important to stay active year-round but make sure you’re not overexerting yourself in winter months. When in doubt, ask your doctor. Here are some tips on how to stay active in cold weather.
  • Stay hydrated: Just because it’s cold and you may not feel thirsty, it’s just as important to drink water like you would during a warm weather workout. Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink, even if you aren't sweating as much you still need to hydrate.
  • Watch out for the added calories in cold weather drinks: Comforting drinks like pumpkin spiced lattes and hot chocolate can be loaded with unwanted sugar and fat.
  • Get vaccinated: COVID-19 and the flu are especially dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease.
  • Learn CPR: EMS response times can be slower with inclement weather. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital each ear. If administered immediately after cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
  • Prep basketball tonight: Unity plays on the road, SJO at home vs STM

    Watch Live High School Sports Today

    Watch tonight's area team live on the NFHS Network

    January 25, 2022

    5:30 PM Boys Junior varsity Basketball vs St. Thomas More 7:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball vs St. Thomas More

    5:30 PM - Boys Junior varsity Basketball @ Central Catholic 7:00 PM - Boys Varsity Basketball @ Central Catholic

    Click here to watch these games live or on demand tonight

    ** Just so you know: The Sentinel is reader-supported. When you make a purchase via a link on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission that we will use bring you more area news and sports coverage.

    Guest Commentary: You don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a house

    by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

    Buying almost anything today is expensive because of the current supply and demand. Prices are too high on everything. Inflation is going through the roof.

    Speaking of a roof, everyone needs one over their heads. A place to live is a common need and growing dilemma.

    An elderly friend says she has had other elderly friends ask if they could move in with her? Her response is always, "I don’t want anyone else living with me," and she seems very happy.

    Having to move in with family or a friend is less than ideal and is usually a strain on all involved. Sometimes it happens. Typically, the shortest possible tenure of the residency is better for all.

    Renting is popular. Millions are renting apartments and houses. The average rent in the U.S. is $784 per month. Thirty-five percent of Americans rent. They pay just a little less than homeowners each year for their rent, maintenance costs, and renters insurance which averages $9,477.

    Renting seems like a good plan because you shouldn’t have to worry about maintenance. Remember, everybody is short staffed these days and you may wait a while before someone shows up to fix your leaky toilet. Renters routinely complain about having to beg the property owner to do maintenance. Rent is not a secure way to live. Rent costs usually increase. The owners want to make more money.

    Senior citizens rent apartments not far from where I live. They started out paying $550 for an apartment that included all the utilities. Most of them were thrilled. A lady who lives there now says they have increased the rent to $850 and she expects another increase this year. She moved out of her house that was paid for to live the so called "carefree" senior apartment life. It’s not turning out to be carefree.

    Apartment owners set the rules. They might not allow pets or even children. You won’t be able to play your radio loud and there will be limitations on what you can do to the rental property. Plus, an apartment owner can decide they want to use your apartment for something or someone else and ask you to leave. This might be improbable, but it’s possible and who needs this kind of life insecurity?

    Buying a house is expensive and this may not be for you today. New three-bedroom houses are selling for over $400,000 in a nearby Indiana neighborhood. Down the street a neighbor put his house up for sale asking $250,000 and there was a bidding war from others who wanted the property. The sellers reported they made much more than their asking price.

    You don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a house. Years ago, I bought a four-bedroom house for $80,000 with no money down on a land contract. The interest rate was 10 percent but it was mine and when I sold it, I made $10,000 on the deal.

    A modest house on a small piece of dirt can become your castle. You can work on it along the way. Overhaul the bathrooms, the kitchen and do some painting. You can redo the floors but all in your time and on your schedule. You just need a place where you can stay warm, dry, and rest. Owning your own house is not cheap. Paying for it, maintenance and property taxes all have to be considered, but at least it’s yours. If you want, you can have a pet, kids, or loud music. You can sleep in peace.

    If you are renting, you are not alone. Most of us have rented at one time or another. I lived in an apartment for over four years. You do what works for you at this time in your life.


    Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of Grandpa's Store, American Issues, 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


    Memory Monday: Spartans shine over the Comets

    Ella Armstrong plays varsity basketball as a freshman
    A look back
    St. Joseph-Ogden's Ella Armstrong tries to take the ball down the baseline on Oakwood's Aaliyah Denius in their non-conference home game on December 1, 2018. The Spartans keep their unbeaten varsity streak alive one more week with a 52-45 win over the visiting Comets. See more photos from this game . . .
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Photo-of-the-Day: January 24, 2022

    State relay title dashed
    Charleston, IL -- After a fumbled exchange, the baton floats between Unity's Steven Migut and Jackson Schweighart during their race in the Class 2A 4x200-Meter Relay finals on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the IHSA State Track & Field Meet. The Rockets finished the Class 2A state finals tied in 10th place with St. Laurence and Dixon High School with 22 points.
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Area Covid-19 Dashboard for January 24, 2022

    Active Cases:
    (Champaign County)
    Total Area Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)
    New Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)

    Current local cases as of 1/24/22
    Number in parenthesis indicates new cases since 1/23/22

    Ogden • 14 (0)
    Royal • 0 (0)
    St. Joseph • 61 (1)
    Urbana • 709 (57)
    Sidney • 22 (1)
    Philo • 29 (4)
    Tolono • 80 (5)
    Sadorus • 13 (1)
    Pesotum • 16 (2)

    Net change in local cases: 261

    Total Local Confirmed Cases: 20,848

    The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and the Illinois Department of Public Health 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.

    Effective 1/16/22, the CUPHD dashboard updated their reporting parameters to reflect the reduction from a 10-day isolation period to 5 days per the CDC guidance issued last month. Under the previous 10-day policy and based on the data released today, there would be approximately 5,950 residents in isolation.

    Tips for buying the right boat to fish this year

    Photo: NewsUSA
    (NewsUSA) -- After being couped up inside during the winter months, veteran fishermen and novices are eager to get out and enjoy the challenge and contemplation that comes with pond and lake fishing. In about three months, as the approach of warmer weather draws more COVID-19-weary people outside, the allure of being in nature and out on the water is inspiring a boom in the fishing boat business.

    While it is fun to find a good spot along the shoreline, there are a few inconvenient barriers to bringing home a big catch from your favorite lake or pond. To really go where the fish are in a pond or lake setting, a small fishing boat is essential, and the right boat can get you on your way to a wonderful, "one with nature," experience.

    Many current boat styles used for lake and pond fishing have certain disadvantages. Motors can get caught in vegetation, and deeper draft boats can't navigate shallow coves.

    The Twin Troller, however, is an innovative small water fishing craft distinct from other boats on the market because it's designed specifically to address the criteria for successful pond and lake fishing. Here's how:

    - Maneuverability. The Twin Troller carries two electric motors that are recessed within the boat's hull, eliminating the risk of a motor getting damaged on rocks or tangled in branches, weeds or other debris in shallow water. The in-hull propulsion allows quiet operation, shallow draft, and a 360-degree turning radius. In addition, foot pedal controls allow for a completely hands-free navigation experience, with no paddling required.

    - Safety. The Twin Troller is lightweight and easy to handle. The flat-bottom design and strong sides offer maximum stability, without the tipping risk associated with jon boats, canoes, or kayaks, and anglers of all ages and flexibility levels can step in and out easily.

    - Comfort. Nothing spoils a day of fishing faster than a stiff back or sore bottom from sitting on an uncomfortable boat bench. The Twin Troller features an elevated and padded seat so you focus on fishing.

    "Freedom Electric Marine is dedicated to providing a one-of-a-kind experience for small water fishing enthusiasts through our high-performance Twin Troller boats," says founder Frank Jones.

    Angier, N.C.-based Freedom Electric Marine was founded in 2007 by Jones, an avid fisherman who saw a niche in the market for a small electric motorcraft and assembled a team to help create one. The Twin Troller is manufactured in Madison, Indiana and ships to all 50 states.

    For more information about optimizing your small water fishing experience, visit

    Galentines Day Event at Urbana Country Club

    Common Thread Boutique will host a Galentines Day Event this Thursday from 5p - 8p at the Urbana Country Club.

    Attendees can check out the private club's new hotel and spa facility completed in September of last year. The upgrade and new additions include separate men's and women’s spas, a hair and nail salon, fitness center, event area, and bar. The new facility also features two new guest suites and six guest rooms, each with private balconies.

    The country club also added a new zero-entry swimming, lap pool, wet deck, and diving board with the recent upgrade.

    Looking for nice swag? Vendors from PM Marketing, Aligned Serenity, PS Blink, Second Cup Studios, Hada and and new fashionwear from Common Thread Boutique will be hand.

    The event is free and open to the public. A cash bar and free hors d'oeuvres will be available. Ethan Scott and Darin Goebel will provide live entertainment during the event.

    For more information contact Common Thread Boutique at

    Rockets post another buzzer-beating win to beat Mt. Zion

    MT. ZION -- Brittney Spears' Oops! I did it again might have to be the Unity girls basketball team's new theme song. Earlier this week Lauren Miller hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to give Unity a 45-44 win over Bloomington Central Catholic.

    On Friday, sophomore Katey Moore dropped in a buzzer-beater of her own to give the Rockets a 45-43 non-conference win on the road at Mt. Zion.

    Despite three Lady Braves players finishing with double figures, Unity's unrelenting defensive effort and tenacity proved to be a better asset in yet another thrilling finish.

    In his all of his years coaching high school basketball, head coach Dave Ellars has never won two games in the same seven-day stretch with a shot as time expired. His team improved to 18 wins against five losses after the victory.

    "We won Monday, lost on Thursday, won on Friday," Ellars said. "The girls I have are winners, played on the 4th place state softball, ran on state championship cross country team, went to state track, played on Volleyball team that won 30 matches. We have a lot of confidence that if we get behind we can come back."

    Raegen Stringer led Unity's scoring effort with 12 points. Maddie Reed also finished with double digits piling on another 11 points. The pair contributed three assists apiece.

    Meanwhile, Moore and senior Taylor Henry hauled in a combined total of 21 rebounds. Moore, who also had three blocks and the same number of steals in the contest, recorded 10 of those boards. Henry led the effort with 11 rebounds and two steals in addition to her nine-point finish.

    Unity's Lauren Miller was also active in the paint, pulling down four rebounds and poaching two steals. She finished with six points and three assists against the Lady Braves.

    Denver Anderson led the Braves with 12 points, Bracie Barnes added another 11, and Karsyn Sloan rounded out her team's top three contributors with 10 points.

    Unity returns to their conference schedule to host Pontiac tomorrow evening at the Rocket Center. The JV contest starts at 5:30pm and the varsity game is slated to start directly after.

    Box Score

    Final: Unity 45 - Mount Zion 43

      1 2 3 4 F
    Unity 12 8 13 12 45
    Mount Zion 9 15 14 5 43

    Unity --
    Ray 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Flesch 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Renfrow 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Miller 2 (0) 2-4 -- 6, Steinman 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Stringer 5 (0) 2-1 -- 12, Moore 3 (0) 1-3 -- 7, Reed 0 (3) 2-4 -- 11, Alagna 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, T. Henry 1 (1) 4-8 -- 9, Chandler 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, B. Henry 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0,

    Mount Zion --
    Schmahl 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Becker 1 (0) 0-0 -- 2, Flemming 4 (0) 0-1 -- 8, Sommer 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Meons 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Rockey 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Kendall 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Barnes 5 (0) 1-2 -- 11, Scharf 0 (3) 1-2 -- 10, Anderson 3 (1) 3-5 -- 12, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, () - -- 0, () - -- 0,

    SJO girls basketball team soar over Monticello for IPC win

    ST. JOSEPH -- A huge third-quarter rally led by senior shooting guard Ella Armstrong secured St. Joseph-Ogden's fifth conference win after a 50-29 finish on Thursday. The Spartans (15-6, 5-0 IPC) retain sole possession of first place in the league standings ahead of Unity (5-1) in second place, and BCC and Prairie Central, both with 4-1 records, tied for third.

    Armstrong, who finished with 11 points, and Ashlyn Lannert scored eight and six points respectively of the 21 points tacked onto the Spartans' side of the scoreboard in the third quarter. Lannert led all scorers with 16 points in the rout.

    After a steal and layup less than 30 seconds after the opening tip, Lannert put the first points on the board.

    Almost four and half minutes later, Peyton Jacob's put-back after a rebound at 3:03, extended SJO's advantage.

    Sages' 5'10" senior Renni Fultz got her team's first basket with a minute and a half left in the first quarter to trail, 4-2. SJO quickly responded with a bucket on another layup from Lannert to go up 6-2 at the end of the quarter.

    After two lead exchanges in the second quarter, Monticello's Hannah Swanson tied the game at 11-all after hitting two free throws with 1:16 left in the first half. The Sages took the lead at the end of the half after Lizzie Stiverson was fouled on a layup and sank her free throw to make the score 14-11 with just 16.7 seconds remaining before the break.

    Lannert started the second half with a bucket to tie up the score. From there, SJO methodically pulled away to book their 15th win of the season.

    Monticello (13-9) was paced by Fultz' 10 points. Megan Allen and Stiverson chipped seven points apiece and Swanson rounded out the Sages' scoring effort with five points.

    SJO's Peyton Jones also finished in double-digits with 10 points. She was also a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.

    Box Score

    Final: St. Joseph-Ogden 50 - Monticello 29

      1 2 3 4 F
    St. Joseph-Ogden 6 6 21 17 50
    Monticello 2 12 9 6 29

    St. Joseph-Ogden --
    Lannert 5 (2) 0-0 -- 16, Hug 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Williams 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Frick 0 (1) 0-0 -- 3, Jacob 2 (0) 1-2 -- 5, Wells 2 (0) 1-1 -- 5, Baker 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Baltzell 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Behrens 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Jones 3 (0) 4-4 -- 10, Martinie 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Hamilton 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Kearney 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Armstrong 1 (3) 0-0 -- 11, Harms 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Ward 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0,

    Monticello --
    Leatherwood 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Swanson 0 (1) 2-2 -- 5, Fultz 5 (0) 0-2 -- 10, Allen 3 (0) 1-3 -- 7, Stiverson 3 (0) 1-1 -- 7, Young 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Patton 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, Smith 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0, 0 (0) 0-0 -- 0,

    Spartan wrestling drops dual meet to Clinton, 46-30

    EL PASO -- Despite picking up 16 points in forfeits from Clinton, the St. Joseph-Ogden wrestling team fell 46-30 to the Maroons in a triangle meet at El Paso-Gridley on Thursday.

    SJO senior Matt Falls secured one of two wins after an 8-3 decision over Clinton's Jacob Hubble at 145-pounds.

    Later at 195-pounds, Spartan junior Owen Birt went the distance for a 6-1 win over Kaedyn Sloat-Shannon.

    The Spartans will host their last home meet of the season this Thursday against Hoopeston Area starting at 5:30pm.

    Box Score

    Final Score: Clinton 46 - St. Joseph-Ogden 30

    106 Ortiz (Clinton HS) over Forfeit, (SJO) Forfeit 0-6
    113 West (Clinton HS) over Holt, Emmitt (SJO) Fall 4:38
    120 Wirth, Lexi (SJO) over Forfeit (Clinton HS)
    126 Poole (Clinton HS) over Brazelton, Holden (SJO) Fall 3:44
    132 Fair (Clinton HS) over Butts, Landen (SJO) Fall 0:16
    138 Denhart, Garrett (SJO) over Forfeit (Clinton HS)
    145 Falls, Matt (SJO) over Hubble (Clinton HS) Decision 8-3
    152 Morelack (Clinton HS) over Forfeit, (SJO)
    160 Hibbard (Clinton HS) over Forfeit, (SJO)
    170 Thums (Clinton HS) over Forfeit, (SJO)
    182 Ketchum, Hunter (SJO) over Forfeit (Clinton HS)
    195 Birt, Owen (SJO) over Sloat (Clinton HS) Decision 6-1
    220 Jones, Quincy (SJO) over Forfeit (Clinton HS)
    285 Thayer (Clinton HS) over Cotter, Austin (SJO) Maj Dec 19-8

    Area Covid-19 Dashboard for January 21, 2022

    Active Cases:
    (Champaign County)
    Total Area Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)
    New Cases:
    (Sentinel Area)

    Current local cases as of 1/21/22
    Number in parenthesis indicates new cases since 1/20/22

    Ogden • 17 (8)
    Royal • 2 (0)
    St. Joseph • 60 (32)
    Urbana • 773 (434)
    Sidney • 27 (7)
    Philo • 28 (19)
    Tolono • 83 (57)
    Sadorus • 9 (4)
    Pesotum • 13 (10)

    Net change in local cases: 261

    Total Local Confirmed Cases: 20,848

    The information on this page is compiled from the latest figures provide by the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and the Illinois Department of Public Health 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.

    Effective 1/16/22, the CUPHD dashboard updated their reporting parameters to reflect the reduction from a 10-day isolation period to 5 days per the CDC guidance issued last month. Under the previous 10-day policy and based on the data released today, there would be approximately 5,961 residents in isolation.

    Illini tennis picks up first win of the season in Vegas

    LAS VEGAS -– The Illinois women's tennis team earned its first win of the 2022 season with a 5-2 victory over Brigham Young University on Monday, January 17.

    "I am really happy for our team today," said head coach Evan Clark. "We had a really tough match to start our season yesterday and for them to bounce back today and beat a very good BYU team tells me a lot about the squad we have. These matches will really help us down the road with our tough non-conference and Big Ten schedule. We are excited to be back at Atkins on Thursday night for our home opener vs. Harvard."

    The Illini lost their season opener to #11-ranked Baylor on Sunday, 6-1.

    Illinois secured the doubles point with a 6-1 victory from Josie Frazier and Ashley Yeah, who are 2-0 together at No. 2 doubles. Emily Casati and Illinois newcomer Kasia Treiber also won their match over BYU's Emilee Astle and Kara Lin, 6-1.

    The Illini dominated the #1 and #2 positions in singles with Kate Duong and Ashley Yeah noticing relatively easy wins.

    Back on the court again after her doubles bout, Treiber then sealed the Illinois win with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Emilee Astle at No. 5 singles.

    Heuser, who fell 5-2 with Doung at #1 doubles, turned around and posted a come-from-behind win on court four, 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.

    Box Score

    Illinois 5, BYU 2

    1. Anastasia Abramyan/Yujia Huang (BYU) def. Kate Duong/Megan Heuser (ILL) 5-2
    2. Josie Frazier/Ashley Yeah (ILL) def. Leah Heimuli/Jacque Dunyon (BYU) 6-1
    3. Kasia Treiber/Emily Casati (ILL) def. Emilee Astle/Kara Lin (BYU) 6-1

    1. Kate Duong (ILL) def. Leah Heimuli (BYU) 6-3, 6-1
    2. Ashley Yeah (ILL) def. Jacque Dunyon (BYU) 6-3, 6-3
    3. Anastasia Abramyan (BYU) def. Josie Frazier (ILL) 6-1, 2-6, 6-4
    4. Megan Heuser (ILL) def. Yujia Huang (BYU) 1-6, 6-2, 6-0
    5. Kasia Treiber (ILL) def. Emilee Astle (BYU) 7-5, 6-3
    6. Madison Smith (BYU) def. Kida Ferrari (ILL) 7-5, 1-6, 6-0

    Urbana Park District to host Galentine's Day wine tasting

    The Urbana Park District will host a Galentine's Party from 6-8pm on February 10 at the Phillips Recreation Center.

    Chef Leah Bodine from Blue Dragonfly Catering will be on hand to discuss wine pairing and share samples of some of her dishes. A self-taught chef, Bodine caters to private parties, business events, and weddings. She has also lent her cooking talents preparing dishes for famous recording artists and groups on-tour like REO Speedwagon, Styx, Lyle Lovett, ZZ Top, and Chicago.

    There will be at least three different wines to sample and guests must be at least 21-years of age to attend the event. The party will be held in the James Room Kitchen and participation is limited to 21 guests.

    The park district is currently offering an early bird registration discount of $38 for residents and $57 for non-residents if completed by January 27. After the deadline admission will be $48 for Urbana residents and $72 for those who reside outside the district.

    Participants can register online here or call (217) 367-1544.

    3 Layer Arkansas Possum Pie

    Photo: Courtesy

    ( -- The star of your next spread can be hidden away in the refrigerator for a surprise delight for your guests. It's topped with chocolate syrup and chopped pecans, and your loved ones just may vote it to be their favorite dish.

    It's an Arkansas Possum Pie, made with three delicious layers and crunchy toppings for a show-stopping dessert.

    Whether it's a holiday, birthday or reunion, this pie is a perfect conversation starter. It's sweet, crunchy and filled with creamy, delightful layers of goodness. Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Surprise that special someone and bake it in a heart-shaped pan!

    While you are out shopping this weekend for groceries, why not grab the ingredients below at the store and make one for this week's Sunday dinner?

    Arkansas Possum Pie

    Serves 8


    Crust: 3/4 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups pecans, crushed

    Cream Cheese Layer:
    12 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1 cup powdered sugar
    4 tablespoons heavy cream

    Pudding Layer:
    3 egg yolks
    2 cups whole milk
    1 cup sugar
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Whipped Cream Topping:
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    4 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    chocolate syrup
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    How to bake

    Heat oven to 350 F.

    To make crust: In saucepan, melt butter; add flour, brown sugar and crushed pecans. Stir until combined. Press into 9 1/2-inch deep pie plate.

    Bake 15-20 minutes until crust begins to brown. Cool completely.

    To make cream cheese layer: In medium bowl, mix cream cheese until creamy. Add powdered sugar and heavy cream; mix until smooth. Spread over cooled pecan crust. Refrigerate.

    To make pudding layer: In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add milk; whisk until combined. Set aside.

    In separate medium bowl, whisk sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, flour and salt until combined.

    In saucepan over medium heat, add egg yolk mixture and flour mixture. Whisk constantly until pudding begins to thicken and bubble. Add butter and vanilla extract, stirring until butter is melted. Pour chocolate pudding in shallow bowl. Cover with plastic wrap touching pudding to keep it from forming skin. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

    Pour pudding over cream cheese layer. Cover pie with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

    To make whipped cream topping: In stand mixer bowl, add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Whip until stiff peaks form. Spread whipped cream over pudding layer.

    Drizzle pie with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

    Find more unique dessert recipes at

    If you make this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work and send your photos to us at

    Prep basketball tonight: Uni-High travels to Normal West, Rockets at Rantoul

    Watch Live High School Sports Today

    Tonight's Live NFHS Broadcasts

    January 21, 2022

    6:00 PM - Boys Sophomore Basketball @ Normal West Central

    5:30 PM - Boys Junior varsity Basketball vs Illinois Valley 7:00 PM - Boys Varsity Basketball vs Illinois Valley

    7:30 PM - Boys Varsity Basketball @ Normal West

    5:30 PM - Boys Junior varsity Basketball @ Rantoul 7:00 PM - Boys Varsity Basketball @ Rantoul

    Click here to watch these games live or on demand tonight

    ** Just so you know: The Sentinel is reader-supported. When you make a purchase via a link on our site, we might earn an affiliate commission that we will use bring you more area news and sports coverage.

    At home or away, a personal safety plan can give you peace of mind

    Photo: StatePoint Media
    (StatePoint) -- If you’re concerned about the nationwide spike in crime, you’re not alone.

    According to a June 2021 SafeWise survey, 41 and 42% of U.S. adults are concerned about property crime and violent crime, up 31 and 24% respectively from the previous year.

    "Being prepared means understanding the personal defense devices available and knowing how to use them safely," says David Nance, founder of SABRE Personal Safety Academy and CEO of SABRE, the number one personal safety brand of consumers and law enforcement worldwide.

    To help you develop a safety plan and live confidently, SABRE is offering important insights into common crimes today, as well as recommendations for personal defense devices to use in various situations:

    • Spray or gel? While most people are familiar with traditional pepper sprays, they may not understand the benefits of pepper gel or even be aware of this option. As effective as traditional pepper spray when sprayed across the eyes in an ear-to-ear pattern, pepper gel deploys 20% farther, providing protection at a greater distance.

    Another big advantage of pepper gel is it only affects those it comes in direct contact with, making it safer for users and those they’re with, indoors and outside.

    According to an independent University of Utah study, variability rates in the concentration of active ingredients in pepper sprays have a 30% failure rate. Tested in its in-house laboratory, SABRE guarantees its maximum strength formulation in every gel canister, including its Crossfire Pepper Gel with Belt Clip, which can be deployed at any angle, even upside down, making it more effective against moving threats.

    When parking. According to the FBI, more homicides happen in parking garages than at bars, motels, gas stations or in the woods combined. Be extra vigilant in garages. Keep keys handy for quick access to your car and carry additional protection. For example, SABRE Pepper Gel with Finger Grip and Key Ring attaches to keychains and provides 25 bursts of maximum strength protection at 12-foot range, helping put distance between you and would-be attackers.

    In the car. In 2020, Chicago carjackings were up 134%, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau report. This trend continued in 2021, with the Windy City seeing a 44% increase, Washington, D.C. a 45% increase and New York an 81% increase. Multi-use tools can make road trips and commutes safer. For example, SABRE’s Safe Escape 3-In-1 Pepper Gel with Seat Belt Cutter and Window Breaker helps aid in escape of a vehicle after an accident. For protection, it’s designed to prevent accidental deployment, yet allows the user to immediately deploy in high stress situations.

    Outdoors. Eighty-four percent of women surveyed by "Runners World" have been harassed or attacked on a run. Everyone deserves to feel safe while exercising outdoors. Consider adding the SABRE Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap to your running gear. It provides immediate access to protection and reduces wind blowback, making it safer for outdoor use. A UV marking dye helps authorities identify the aggressor, so you can focus on getting to safety. Bonus: It’s reflective, increasing your visibility to drivers at night.

    At home. Equip your home to be a safe haven with pepper gel. Because it doesn’t atomize like traditional pepper sprays, pepper gel is less likely to foul indoor air. Be sure to store it in an accessible location out of children’s reach.

    When it comes to safety, knowledge is key. Consider enrolling in a self-defense or martial arts course. You can also visit for educational materials and demonstration videos, and to learn more about the Civilian Safety Awareness Program and the SABRE College Safety Program.

    You never know when you may find yourself in a threatening situation. A personal safety plan can provide everyday peace of mind, and help put distance between you and a threat when it counts.

    5 things you need to know about "FREE" at home Covid-19 tests

    Americans keep hearing that it is important to test frequently for covid-19 at home. But just try to find an “at-home” rapid covid test in a store and at a price that makes frequent tests affordable.

    Testing, as well as mask-wearing, is an important measure if the country ever hopes to beat covid, restore normal routines and get the economy running efficiently. To get Americans cheaper tests, the federal government now plans to have insurance companies pay for them.

    The Biden administration announced Jan. 10 that every person with private insurance can get full coverage for eight rapid tests a month. You can either get one without any out-of-pocket expense from retail pharmacies that are part of an insurance company’s network or buy it at any store and get reimbursed by the insurer.

    Congress said private insurers must cover all covid testing and any associated medical services when it passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act. The have-insurance-pay-for-it solution has been used frequently through the pandemic. Insurance companies have been told to pay for PCR tests, covid treatments and the administration of vaccines. (Taxpayers are paying for the cost of the vaccines themselves.) It appears to be an elegant solution for a politician because it looks free and isn’t using taxpayer money.

    1. Are the tests really free?

    Well, no. As many an economist will tell you, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pick up the tab. Initially, the insurance companies bear the cost. Cynthia Cox, a vice president at KFF who studies the Affordable Care Act and private insurers, said the total bill could amount to billions of dollars. Exactly how much depends on “how easy it is to get them, and how many will be reimbursed,” she said.

    2. Will the insurance company just swallow those imposed costs?

    If companies draw from the time-tested insurance giants’ playbook, they’ll pass along those costs to customers. “This will put upward pressure on premiums,” said Emily Gee, vice president and coordinator for health policy at the Center for American Progress.

    Major insurance companies like Cigna, Anthem, UnitedHealthcare and Aetna did not respond to requests to discuss this issue.

    3. If that’s the case, why haven’t I been hit with higher premiums already?

    Insurance companies had the chance last year to raise premiums but, mostly, they did not.

    Why? Perhaps because insurers have so far made so much money during the pandemic they didn’t need to. For example, the industry’s profits in 2020 increased 41% to $31 billion from $22 billion, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The NAIC said the industry has continued its “tremendous growth trend” that started before covid emerged. Companies will be reporting 2021 results soon.

    The reason behind these profits is clear. You were paying premiums based on projections your insurance company made about how much health care consumers would use that year. Because people stayed home, had fewer accidents, postponed surgeries and, often, avoided going to visit the doctor or the hospital, insurers paid out less. They rebated some of their earnings back to customers, but they pocketed a lot more.

    As the companies’ actuaries work on predicting 2023 expenditures, premiums could go up if they foresee more claims and expenses. Paying for millions of rapid tests is something they would include in their calculations.

    4. Regardless of my premiums, will the tests cost me money directly?

    It’s quite possible. If your insurance company doesn’t have an arrangement with a retailer where you can simply pick up your allotted tests, you’ll have to pay for them — at whatever price the store sets. If that’s the case, you’ll need to fill out a form to request a reimbursement from the insurance company. How many times have you lost receipts or just plain neglected to mail in for rebates on something you bought? A lot, right?

    Here’s another thing: The reimbursement is set at $12 per test. If you pay $30 for a test — and that is not unheard of — your insurer is only on the hook for $12. You eat the $18.

    And by the way, people on Medicare will have to pay for their tests themselves. People who get their health care covered by Medicaid can obtain free test kits at community centers.

    A few free tests are supposed to arrive at every American home via the U.S. Postal Service. And the Biden administration has activated a website where Americans can order free tests from a cache of a billion the federal government ordered.

    5. Will this help bring down the costs of at-home tests and make them easier to find?

    The free covid tests are unlikely to have much immediate impact on general cost and availability. You will still need to search for them. The federal measures likely will stimulate the demand for tests, which in the short term may make them harder to find.

    But the demand, and some government guarantees to manufacturers, may induce test makers to make more of them faster. The increased competition and supply theoretically could bring down the price. There is certainly room for prices to decline since the wholesale cost of the test is between $5 and $7, analysts estimate. "It’s a big step in the right direction," Gee said.

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