How to deal with your child and bullying

Lee Batsakis
OSF Healthcare

PEORIA -- According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, one in five students reports being bullied – but the actual number is believed to be even higher, perhaps even one in three kids, as some cases are not reported. Bullying can be verbal, emotional, or physical and can be based on a variety of aspects – from looks and size to academics and athleticism, and more.

During the peak of the pandemic, a decline in bullying was seen as so many kids were learning from home. Now, with schools back in full swing and in person, kids are spending more time with classmates than they have since early 2020. Talking to your kids at home each day is important to not only learn more about what is going on in their lives, but it also helps to identify potential bullying.


"Whether it’s politically or racially or spiritually, sometimes we end up in this spot where we don’t focus on the commonality that we have."

Joseph Siegel
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

"A good 10 to 15 minute conversation every day about what happened during the day, what was good, what was bad, and what did they struggle with. Use open-ended questions and don’t necessarily try to solve problems they are experiencing, but just listen and understand what they’re saying and how they’re feeling in these situations. That is an important first step," says Joseph Siegel, an OSF HealthCare licensed clinical social worker.

This conversation can turn into part of your daily routine by starting the discussion before bed, or any point after your kid is home from school. If your child indicates that he or she may be experiencing bullying, Siegel advises to first try to understand their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to have these conversations and keep their responses short when asked about their day. In these cases, Siegel recommends an app for your phone, such as Gather – Conversation Starters, to help get the conversation flowing.

If in conversation you find out that your kid might be a victim of bullying at school or elsewhere, a whole range of emotions may be stirred up and you might not know where to begin. Many adults tend to want to immediately get all the details from their child, but parents need to understand their kids’ feelings should be a priority. Most importantly, Siegel strongly advises against telling your child to respond to a bully with violence. For example, a parent may tell their kid that if another kid shoves them to shove them back. This advice may worsen the situation.

"Sometimes the bully is acting out of the desire to provoke and they want an angry response, so if the person is calm and says to stop and then walks away from the situation, that could be somewhat helpful because not it is not elevating or becoming worse," Siegel advises.

If you want to ensure your child is able to stand up for his or herself, there are ways to do so appropriately and safely. Siegel adds that being assertive is different than being violent, and that there is nothing wrong with being assertive.

"Assertive, nonviolent behavior and communication should be the goal. They need to be able to express themselves – which they can with a bully – without letting it get into a situation that can be violent and become out of control, turning into a situation where they can no longer handle," explains Siegel.

Siegel recommends having a plan in case your child is approached by a bully. This could include advising your child to either ignore them altogether and hold their head high, or helping to create some type of brief yet appropriate verbal response such as “please stop” or “no thanks, not today” or simply “I prefer you don’t do that” – and then walking away.

In addition to implementing these responses for your child, Siegel advises parents to take the same approach. While you may feel the desire to reach out directly to the parents or guardians of the bully, this is something that should be avoided.

"It is recommended that we try to resist calling the other parent. That often can make the situation much more complex or even taken to a different level completely. That is what schools do – they mediate these kinds of conflicts all the time and are very good at it. If you feel like you need to talk to the other parent, then it’s probably better to talk to the school instead so they know what is happening and can document it," Siegel says.

Many times, bullying stems from a bully not accepting someone for their differences. Siegel says it is important to watch how you speak and act in the presence of your child, adding that setting a good example is important.

"We live in a very diverse state and our language often is about differences. Whether it’s politically or racially or spiritually, sometimes we end up in this spot where we don’t focus on the commonality that we have. And focusing on the commonality just in our everyday conversation with our kids is going to help a lot with their level of acceptance at school," advises Siegel.

If your child is not disclosing bullying, some signs to look for include the child “losing” or misplacing things, coming home with unexplained injuries, developing a change in eating patterns or sleep disruption, and experiencing head or stomach aches that could be caused by increased stress and anxiety. Other changes in a child’s behavior that might indicate bullying include not wanting to go to school or a change in their social relationships.

If your child has disclosed they are being bullied, start by documenting what you have learned and contacting their school. If the bullying continues and is taking a toll on your child’s mental health, Siegel advises setting up an appointment with a mental health professional for your child.

Most importantly, sticking to those daily conversations with your child is key for getting them to open up to you. Additionally, creating a home environment that is based around acceptance plays a significant role in not only reducing the chance of bullying, but also helping your child identify when bullying is happening.

For more information and resources, go to https://www.stopbullying.gov/.

Latest social media trend deemed dangerous by doctors

Libby Allison
OSF Healthcare

PEORIA -- The popularity of entertainment app TikTok continues to skyrocket. It has been installed on devices over three billion times worldwide, and has surpassed Google and Facebook as the world’s most popular web domain.

Dr. Kaninika Verma
The video sharing app seems to have something for everyone – from makeup trends and relationship advice to comedy sketches and life hacks. In fact, the company’s tagline in TV commercials is even, “TikTok taught me.” While recipes, fashion finds or cleaning hacks found on the app can certainly provide a smile, improve your life or save you time – sometimes the advice from TikTok influencers can fall flat, especially when that advice is medical in nature.

One of the latest TikTok trends that has medical professionals concerned is mouth taping, which is being touted as a sleep treatment. It is exactly what it sounds like; people are taping their mouths closed before bed. Dr. Kaninika Verma, the clinical sleep director for OSF HealthCare, explains.

"So this started with this TikTok challenge, where people would tape their mouth before they went to sleep,” she says. “They thought they were sleeping better because it prevented them from opening their mouth, and somehow or another made them sleep better because they were forced to breathe through their nose."

But before you reach for that tape, be aware that many medical providers, including Dr. Verma, believe the risks of mouth taping far outweigh the benefits. Taping one’s mouth shut while sleeping could exacerbate breathing problems, worsen some risk factors of sleep apnea or simply cause sleep disruption.

"Most of us physicians when we when we first saw this, we thought this was a joke. But clearly it's not. You can buy these mouth tapes on Amazon and CVS, and all these places. So it's clearly a real thing, but it is not safe at all," Dr. Verma warns.

Mouth taping enthusiasts claim that the practice helps with dry mouth, bad breath, oral hygiene and snoring prevention. Dr. Verma disagrees, and says taping your mouth shut to improve shuteye is not only dangerous, but could mask the root cause of a sleep problem.

"So the bigger question is, why are you using that mouth tape? Is it because you're snoring? Is it because you're a mouth breather? Is it because your nasal passages are blocked, or what is going on that's making you do this? So there needs to be a bigger question that needs to be asked, and to take a deeper dive about that issue with a physician or a trained professional," says Dr. Verma.

Mouth taping is just the most recent TikTok trend branded as health or wellness advice. Dr. Verma warns that health trends popularized via sites like TikTok can have significant consequences, and any health advice coming from these platforms should be interpreted with caution. When in doubt, ask a professional.

"A lot of these are just fads. There are people doing this for entertainment. So be very cautious and very careful what you believe. If you have an issue – any health care issue – please reach out to your health care professional. You know, most of us – we've trained our whole lives to do this. We've dedicated our lives to this."

Sleep disorders are serious medical conditions. Running on a sleep deficit compromises your ability to learn, hinders the immune system, and may raise your risk for other health conditions.

If you think you are having issues with snoring or mouth breathing you should consult your doctor or a sleep specialist. Visit osfhealthcare.org/sleep to learn more about OSF Sleep, including programs and services available.

Sports Nutrition webinar for coaches coming up

EVANSTON -- Katie Knappenberger, Director of Performance Nutrition at Northwestern University, will lead a discussion with Illinois coaches on how to help their athletes stay fueled for peak performance during every game. The online talk via Zoom will held on September 7 at 4pm.

Pre-registration for the free webinar sponsored by Midwest Dairy can be done here: IHSA and Midwest Dairy Nutritional Conversation for Coaches.

Among her other qualifications, Knappenberger is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Athletic Trainer Illinois.

Prep Sports Notebook: SJO soccer, volleyball notch wins


Spartans roll over Lady Shoes

Shayne Immke goes up to block for SJO

St. Joseph-Ogden's Shayne Immke goes up to block a kill attempt by Teutopolis' Molly Pals. The senior outside hitter put away six kills and chalked up four aces in the Spartans' 2-0 win (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

ST. JOSEPH -- The St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team evened-out their season-record on Thursday after defeating the visiting Lady Shoes of Teutopolis, 2-0. The Spartans, now 3-3, got six kills each from senior Shayne Immke and junior Addie Roesch.

After a few miscues at the start and Immke at the service line, SJO grinded out a five-point run to go up 7-3 in the first set. Their opponent later answered a five-point rally of their own to pull within a score 11-10 before the momentum shifted back to the Spartans's favor for the remainder of the game. Head coach Abby McDonald's team closed out the opening set with six consecutive points for a 25-16 win.

The Spartans' won the second set by an even wider margin, 25-12. The Lady Shoes called a timeout while nursing a 5-point deficit on the score board, 11-6. When the two teams returned to the floor, SJO took total control of the contest giving up just six points out of the last 20 exchanges.

Setter Taylor Hug tallied up 18 assists, and hammered an ace in the first set. Roesch led the team with five digs defensively. Meanwhile, Immke's four aces led the team's offensive effort.


Unity suffers soccer loss on the road

MACON -- Unity goal keeper Cole Saunders made four saves during his team's road match at Meridian High School. After an unassisted score from Hawks in the first half, the Rockets were unable to respond.


Dow celebrates Senior Day with a win

URBANA -- St. Joseph-Ogden senior Abbey Dow picked up a win at #1 doubles with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Watseka's Emma Simmons. She and five other seniors were honored at the tennis team's final home match of the season.

In doubles action, two other SJO seniors pulled out wins. Duo Hallie Harms and Katie Earley defeated Warriors' Annika Greene and Marisa Clarke on the #3 court, 6-2, 7-6.

The team's six senior members include Dow, Earley, Harms, Jessica Gadbury, Isabel Sexton, and Katie McDermott.


Cafarelli shoots a 40

RANTOUL -- Spartans' Ashten Cafarelli carded 40 strokes on the back nine holes at Willow Pond golf course, but it wasn't enough as the St. Joseph-Ogden golf team finished in third place in a three-team meet in Rantoul.

Monticello, with three players turning in scores lower than Cafarelli's, won the day with a 159. Rantoul slipped by SJO with a six-man score of 173.

Maddux Carter (43), Jacob Kern (45), McGwire Atwood (49), Jack Robertson (51), and Tyler Buss (51) rounded out the Spartans' top six players on Thursday who counted 177 strokes.


Lockhart scores game winner

ST. JOSEPH -- Freshman forward Ryker Lockhart second-half shot on the Hoopeston Area (3-2) goal found the back of the net to give St. Joseph-Ogden (3-1-1) their third win of the season. Hunter Ketchum, a senior, had 12 saves in the keeper position in the 1-0 thriller.

Cornjerker goalie Owen Root fended off eight solid attacks from SJO including one on a penalty kick.


Rockets' volleyball squad sweeps Tuscola

TOLONO -- The Unity volleyball team defeated visiting Tuscola in straight sets 25-21, 25-20.


Attention area high school coaches

Haven't seen the latest news or result about your program on OurSentinel.com? If you are a coach at Unity, Urbana Uni-High, Urbana High School or St. Joseph-Ogden, send us your box scores, statistical leaders for each game, and other info is via email to sports@oursentinel.com or editor@oursentinel.com.

Recipe: Lentil Bolognese Penne, the perfect pasta dish

FAMILY FEATURES -- Weeknight meals are all about putting tasty dishes on the table in a short amount of time so you can share precious moments together despite busy schedules. In a matter of minutes, you can prepare this Lentil Bolognese with Veggie-Based Penne for a quick yet flavorful recipe that can be enjoyed by little ones and adults alike.

Using Veggiecraft Farms Cauliflower Penne as its key ingredient, this family meal makes it easy to incorporate vegetables without sacrificing taste. Available in popular shapes like penne, spaghetti and elbow, and made with lentils, peas and cauliflower, zucchini or sweet potato, the veggie-based pastas are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, Kosher and good sources of protein and fiber.

Make an extra batch for healthy leftovers or to take to work for lunch the day after. Serve with fresh garlic bread and a simple lettuce salad for a complete meal.

Photo provided

Lentil Bolognese Penne

What you'll need:

1 cup dry French green lentils or brown lentils
1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 box Veggiecraft Farms Cauliflower Penne

Toppings:
fresh basil
Parmesan cheese
red pepper flakes
fresh crushed garlic


How to make it:

Cook lentils according to package directions. Drain then return to pot and add marinara and vegetable broth. Stir well and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes.

Cook penne according to package directions.

Top cooked pasta with lentil Bolognese, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Visit veggiecraftfarms.com for more information and family-friendly recipes.

CUPHD issues warning concerning rabid bats found in the area

CHAMPAIGN -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District alerted the public today that a second bat was discovered and tested positive for rabies. Since the rabies virus can be transmitted to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by an infected animal, they want to make sure the public is aware of the possible danger in the county.

Public Health officials recommend not killing or releasing bats trapped in your home or office and instead ask that you contact them or your doctor to determine if you have been exposed and the level of treatment you may need.

"If a bat enters your home or work area, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) states, it will need to be captured," said the health department in a news release earlier today. "To capture the bat, try to confine it to a room. If you can do it safely, trap the bat in a box and slide cardboard underneath. Wear leather gloves when doing this and avoid any skin contact with the bat."

The bat will be tested to determine if you or persons with close contact with the animal will possibly require medical care or preventive treatment. If you are afraid to capture the bat, call Champaign County Animal Control for assistance.

For more information on rabies, visit the CDC site at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html.

The original released statement is below.

Prep Sports Notebook for last week of August 2022


SJO golf team improves to 7-0

Photo provided by Lori Kern

The St. Joseph-Ogden golf team preserved their unbeaten dual match record unblemished after cruising by the Danville Vikings by 33 strokes to a 170-203 finish on Wednesday.

Spartan Jacob Kern led the field, turning in a 38 on the front nine at Turtle Run in Danville. Teammate Ashten Cafarelli turned in the next best score on the course with a 43. McGwire Atwood finished one stroke behind Caferelli with 44.

The Vikings were led by Colin Lomex's 46 strokes and Cale Osborn's 48-stroke finish.

The Spartans are back on the links later today at Willow Pond in Rantoul to face the Monticello Sages.


Match results:
St. Joseph-Ogden: Jacob Kern – 38, Ashten Cafarelli – 43, McGwire Atwood – 44, Maddux Carter – 45, Jack Robertson – 52, Connor Hale – 52. Team total: 170

Danville: Colin Lomex – 46, Cale Osborn – 48, Ryan Jaruseki - 52, Jordy Martinez - 57, Zach Spencer – 59


Rockets fall in second match of the season

The Unity soccer team suffered their first shutout of the season last Saturday with 7-0 loss to Argenta-Oreana. The Rockets looked to improve their 1-1 record in their next contest at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond on the following Monday.

The 2022 squad will be back on their home pitch on Monday, September 5, against Warrensburg-Latham and again September 8 against Judah Christian.


Spartan volleyball falls at Mahomet

Despite Shayne Immke nine match-kills, the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball fell 2-0 to Mahomet-Seymour. SJO dropped both sets 25-22 in the non-conference road match.

Addie Roesch served-up three aces and contributed another four kills to the Spartan cause. Taylor Hug logged 14 assists and six digs. Mikayla Haley led the defensive effort with seven digs.

Immke also leveled five digs and three blocks during the evening. She and the SJO squad host Teutopolis this evening in the main gym at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.


Williams rains kills on St. Teresa

Payton Williams tallied ten kills in Monday's home volleyball match against St. Teresa.

Senior Taylor Hug led the team's serving attack with a pair aces. She scattered 18 assists as well as played a key roll in SJO's defensive effort with six digs.

Fellow senior Shayne Immke pummeled the Bulldogs with seven kills. Mikyla Haley contributed on ace and had eight digs across two sets.


Mabry sees action in the box

Carter Mabry recorded three saves at goalie in St. Joseph-Ogden's road soccer match at Schlarman Academy on Monday.

Jackson Greer scored two first-half goals after an earlier shot by Ryker Lockhart to put the Spartans up 3-0 before the mid-game break.

SJO kept the foot on the peddle, finding the net two more times with scores from Collin Thomey and then one from Logan Mills.

Starting keeper Hunter Ketchum recored four saves in the non-conference match as the Spartans improve to 2-1-1 on the season.

Five players, including Alex Acosta, Logan Mills, Spencer Wilson, Aiden Cromwell,and Will Childers, were credited with assists.


Thurman/Earley duo get tennis win at doubles

Teaming up at #3 doubles, Emma Thurman and Katie Earley earned St. Joseph-Ogden's only win at Monday's home match against Gibson-City-Melvin-Sibley.

After dropping her first set 6-2, McKennah Hamilton forced a third-set tiebreak after rallying back to win her second set, 6-4. She nearly pulled out a victory at #5 singles, falling in a 10-8 decision to her Lady Falcon's Kadence Crowley.

Meanwhile, one court over, SJO's Izzy Sexton battled tenaciously against GCMS' McKenna Crowley. Unable to get the breaks she needed fell in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

Before starting their last home match of the season, the St. Joseph-Ogden girls tennis team will celebrate Senior Night at Atkins Tennis Center before taking on the visiting Warriors of Watseka High School.


Unity volleyball loses tough 3-setter on the road

After dropping the first set 25-14, the Unity volleyball team rallied back to take the second 26-24 on the road against Champaign Central. The Rockets fell in a hard-fought third set, 25-22.

Unity will try and rebound from the non-conference loss hosting Tuscola tonight starting with the freshman match at 5pm and the varsity main event after the JV match-up at 6p.



Attention area high school coaches

Haven't seen the latest news or result about your program on OurSentinel.com? If you are a coach at Unity, Urbana Uni-High, Urbana High School or St. Joseph-Ogden, send us your box scores, statistical leaders for each game, and other info via email to sports@oursentinel.com or editor@oursentinel.com.

Editor's Note .::.
9/2/22 - The brief "Spartan volleyball team slide by Bulldogs" - now Spartan volleyball falls at Mahomet - has been corrected. The Sentinel originally reported the Spartans prevailed in the road match 2-0, when in fact they lost in two sets.

Spartans, Rockets, and Tigers - Oh, my! Today's available sports streams

Watch your Sentinel area team play live on your favorite streaming device. Here is a list of today's games available on the NFHS Network. Click on the links below to watch your team play in real-time tonight or later at your convenience.




** 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.

5 ways to lower your heating and energy bill this fall

Photo: Brandpoint

BPT -- Cooler weather is on the way. As temperatures begin dropping this next month, rising energy costs for electricity and natural gas are something to be concerned about.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple, proactive steps you can take that will save on energy and expenses for your home — while also increasing comfort — today and well into the future. On top of that, you will also be helping to increase the value of your home with these effective energy-saving measures.

Consider these 5 steps to help your home become more energy-efficient.

1. Give your furnace or boiler a checkup

Get in the habit of having your furnace or boiler professionally tuned up and cleaned at least once a year, ideally just before the weather starts turning colder. Just as you perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, make sure your entire HVAC system is in top condition — and replace your furnace filter at least every 90 days — to help your HVAC system run more efficiently. This will reduce your utility bills over time, while keeping you and your family warmer.

2. Go tankless

Looking for a great way to cut down on energy usage and also ensure more consistent access to hot water? Upgrading to a tankless water heater will save on energy and expenses compared to a traditional water heater. For example, Noritz EZ Series high-efficiency, condensing tankless water heaters are engineered to replace larger, conventional storage tank-type units, cutting both installation time and costs substantially. The wall-hung technology also has zero footprint in your home, which is a great space saver for smaller homes or if you just need more areas for storage. Tankless water heaters efficiently provide continuous hot water — meaning no more cold showers — along with big energy savings. In addition, tankless water heaters like the Noritz EZ Series also result in reduced carbon emissions and have a longer life expectancy than traditional models. Tankless water heaters use top-mounted water connections, avoiding the need for additional and costly plumbing. Even better, you can often find money-saving rebate programs from your local gas utility for your new tankless water heater that will help cut the installed cost even more.

3. Insulate your attic

You’re probably aware that heat rises — so if your attic is not properly insulated, you may be losing a lot of heated air through your roof every winter. Lack of good attic insulation can also lead to damage from ice buildup, which is costly to repair. If you own an older home, it's a good idea to have your attic inspected for insulation before winter sets in. And while older homes are the least likely to have properly insulated attics, even if you have a newer home it’s worth having a professional check to see if your attic is under-insulated. This can make a big difference when it comes to heating costs.

4. Make your thermostat programmable

If it’s been a while since you upgraded your thermostat, you may be surprised at what new programmable thermostats can do to help keep your home comfortable while also saving on utility bills. The latest models provide much better fine tuning when setting your thermostat, allowing better control of the energy you’re using to heat (or cool) your home. You can make sure you're not overheating your house when you're asleep or not at home. Traveling or on vacation? New smart thermostats allow you to adjust your home's thermostat controls remotely, using your phone or another electronic device.

5. Check for leaks

Every year, homeowners lose a lot of heated (or cooled) air through leaks around areas like windows, doors and chimneys. Inspecting your home for leaks can alert you to spots where you may need to improve caulking, flashing or weather-stripping for a fairly low-cost fix. For a longer-term solution, you may want to consider replacing older, less energy-efficient windows and doors with new ones. For help finding leaks, call your utility company. Many provide energy audits to help customers locate trouble spots in their homes.

By taking a few of these proactive steps, you can help your family stay cozy and comfortable all winter, while also helping to save energy and protect your budget.

Visit EZSeries.Noritz.com to learn more about how you can save energy, space and expenses on heating water for your home.

Ways to reduce food insecurity for toddlers and infants in your community

Family Features -- Food insecurity isn't a new problem in the United States, but the economic upheaval created by the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the problem.

During the pandemic, households in the United States with children experienced an increase in food insecurity, despite overall rates of food insecurity staying the same. In 2019, 13.6% of households with children were food insecure, but by 2020, that number increased to 14.8%, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In general, child food insecurity rates are higher than overall food insecurity rates, according to the annual Map the Meal Gap study conducted by Feeding America, a nationwide nonprofit network of food banks. According to data from the Children's Defense Fund, this is particularly prevalent among low-income families, single mother households and Black and Hispanic households.

What Food Insecurity Means for Children
Food insecurity and hunger are closely related but not quite the same. People who are food insecure don't have reliable, ongoing access to an adequate supply of affordable, nutritious food. Hunger is a physical condition; food insecurity reflects barriers to obtaining food such as finances, physical location and transportation.

Infants and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies because their nutrient needs are high, especially in relation to the size of their stomachs and appetites. Caregivers in food-insecure households may have little choice but to settle for cheaper, energy-dense but nutrient-poor foods. As a result, food-insecure infants and toddlers are not receiving adequate nutrition even when they may be receiving enough calories to satisfy hunger.

Even if a child isn't physically starving, inadequate nutrition can negatively affect health in numerous ways, including immune system function, low weight, learning and developmental delays, vitamin deficiencies and more.

Ways to Help Promote Better Nutrition
Support good nutrition during infancy and toddlerhood for your own children and others in the community with these practical tips:

* Participate in (or introduce those in need to) aid programs. Government nutrition assistance programs help provide essential nutrition needs during infant and toddler years. One example is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides a variety of resources including food and health care referrals to support mothers and young children at nutritional risk, including pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, as well as infants and children up to age 5.

Another example is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides benefits low-income families can use to purchase nutritious foods. For children and adults who are enrolled in certain care programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) helps ensure they have access to nutritious meals and snacks.

* Make purchases that work extra hard. In addition to producing foods that encourage better nutrition for children, some brands also make contributions that help offset food insecurity. For example, for every box of Plum Organics Super Smoothies purchased, the company donates a pouch to a child in need through its "The Full Effect" program. The smoothie is a specially formulated blend of fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains with no added sugars designed to fight malnutrition and help fortify the diets of children who don't have access to regular, healthy meals.

* Act as a role model for healthy choices. Children learn by example, so be sure your little ones see you enjoying nutritious snacks, filling your plate with appropriate portions and preparing well-rounded meals. When kids are exposed to a wide range of healthy options early in life, those food choices become the norm as they grow older.

* Volunteer at a food bank. Getting hands-on by donating your time at a local food bank can help you understand the complexity of food insecurity. Many nutritious selections are perishable, and transporting and storing perishable goods is costly. Volunteers help offset a food bank's operational expenses by contributing labor to sort donated items, prepare deliveries and more.

To find more information about foods that provide infants and toddlers the nutrients they need, visit plumorganics.com.

Urbana's Canopy Club offering "Fee-Free" weekend starting Friday

URBANA -- The University of Illinois' popular campustown live music venue has released a list of more than 25 upcoming acts this fall.

Starting Friday, September 2nd at midnight through Monday, September 5th at 11:59 pm online purchase of tickets for any of the upcoming shows will not include any additional fees during the venue's Fee-Free Weekend. Concert-goers and live music fans can use the code "FEEFREE" in the promo code box during checkout to skip paying administrative fees.

The Canopy Club has been the home of live music, entertainment, and nightlife in east central Illinois since 1998. Each month there is a show to fit nearly any music fan's taste from rock and roll to hip-hop as well as EDM, jazz, and house music.

The club's upcoming concert schedule includes:

Sat, Sep 3 - DJ Zay Latin Night ft. Gianni Blu
Wed, Sep 7 - PUP
Thu, Sep 8 - Megalodon
Sat, Sep 10 - Lines of Loyalty
Tue, Sep 13 - Black Carl! & Saka Rush Hour Tour
Thu, Sep 15 - RAGS AND RICHES
Fri, Sep 16 - Latin Night:Freakitona w/ DJ Zay
Sat, Sep 17 - DOGMA and Friends
Sun, Sep 18 - The Frank White Experience (A Tribute To The "Notorious B.I.G.")
Tue, Sep 20 - Nightrain (Guns n Roses Tribute)
Fri, Sep 23 - Ignition House: Dubvision
Sat, Sep 24 - MisterWives
Thu, Sep 29 - Maddy O'Neal w/ zoska
Fri, Sep 30 - Show Up & Show Out - Pride Fest Party
Sun, Oct 2 - Falling Through April / Hazen
Fri, Oct 7 - 22 & good 4 u
Sat, Oct 8 - Boombox Cartel
Fri, Oct 14 - Borgore
Sat, Oct 15 - Dropsixx w/ Emperors & Angels
Sun, Oct 16 - Mac Saturn
Thu, Oct 20 - Blunts & Blondes
Fri, Oct 21 - UH2BT Presents: K-POP DJ Night
Sat, Oct 22 - Smoakland
Wed, Oct 26 - Kingdom Collapse
Thu, Oct 27 - Autograf
Fri, Nov 11 - Here Come The Mummies

For more informationk about upcoming concerts and events, visit the Canopy Club website here.

Recipe: A heaping serving of homework motivation

Family Features -- Heading back to school doesn't have to mean forgetting the fun of warm weather treats. Once the homework is done and you've enjoyed dinner with loved ones, turn your attention to a dessert that tastes like it was prepared by a professional baker.

This S'mores Skillet starts with a sweet brownie base made with Domino Light Brown Sugar and is then infused and topped with traditional s'mores ingredients. Just combine in a skillet then bake - or grill for that familiar outdoor feel - until warm and gooey.

The next time you invite friends over to celebrate after a home football or volleyball game victory, try this easy-to-make recipe that will light up any party with ear-to-ear grins.

Find more dessert ideas to sweeten up the back-to-school season and postgame celebrations at DominoSugar.com.

S'mores Skillet

Prep time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Domino Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup mini marshmallows, divided
6 graham crackers, roughly crumbled, divided

Step-by-step

Preheat oven or grill to 350 F.

Place medium heat-proof bowl over medium saucepan simmering with water. Add butter, 1/4 cup chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate; melt. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool 15 minutes.

In small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.

In large bowl, mix eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup mini marshmallows and three graham crackers to batter.

Pour mixture into 8-inch skillet. Top with remaining mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers. Grill or bake 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill. Cool 10 minutes and serve.

Commentary: Stop throwing your life away doing nothing

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Enjoyable weather is coming soon. For many parts of the country September through November offers many pleasant days. Don’t waste them by spending all your time starring at the television or Facebook. You still have some life to live. Spending four or five hours a day watching what everyone else is doing is a waste of your time.

There are programs you enjoy and news events that grab our attention. There are a few people you enjoy keeping up with via social media. After this, get a life. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with your head bent down starring at a tablet or a cell phone? You might get to a point where all you can do is sit in your chair and stare at the television. I’ve seen many good people who at the end of their lives who could do nothing but watch television or stare into space. Often our bodies get to where that’s all we can do. Is this all you can do now? Consider your daily options.

Stop throwing your life away doing nothing. Have verbal conservations with people on the telephone. You can overdo this as well but it’s at least human interaction. Keep moving, stretching and exerting yourself. Plan your meals and eat as healthy as possible and don’t overeat. Save some for your next meal. You’ll live till the next one.

Go somewhere when you can. Going someplace is better than no place. A change of pace and being outdoors is mentally good for you. Your travel may be across the street but the key is to move and get out.

You will get depressed if all you are doing is eating, starring at your cell phone and flipping television channels. If you are physically able, work ten to twenty hours a week. Somebody will hire you.

Everyone needs something to do, someone to talk to and something to look forward to doing. You also need someone to love and first you always have God. God loves you now and if you’ll open your heart, he will fill your life with his love. There are people to love. Love your family, love friends, love people at work and church. Love the people with whom you socially gather. Some people aren’t easy to love and some are impossible. Keep in mind that all things with God are possible. Keep your heart filled with God’s love. Love yourself. You can’t love others very well if you don’t love yourself. Forgive and take care of yourself. You’ll then have something you can give others, love and kindness.

It's sad to be around bitter people who have never resolved life’s issues and embraced their own lives. Everyone has potential to excel and achieve. Too often people get bogged down with failures and are totally destroyed. Some failures are just events in your life in which you will learn about you and others. You can use failure to grow, reposition and redevelop your life.

You know what the political candidates are saying. You don’t have to spend hours watching political ads, unless you are bored stiff.

Enjoy the season. Make this next one a great one.


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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.

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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 editor@oursentinel.com.


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