Photo of the Day | Spartans dance their way to the final four

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Tolono - Young Spartan fans dance during a timeout at the Rocket Center during St. Joseph-Ogden's sectional semifinal game against Kankakee McNamara on February 28, 2013. Tied at 56-all at the end of regulation time, SJO outscored the Fightin' Irish 10-3 to advance to the sectional title game against Monticello.

Four of the five Spartans who scored in the postseason game finished with double-digit scores. Chase Patton led the team's effort with 21 points, and Brent Schluter, a force in the paint, added another 20 in the victory. Nate Michael finished with 12 points, including a critical trey in the extra session. Louis Acklin drained a pair of free throws in OT to finish with 11 points. Corbin Hesterberg rounded out the scoring effort with a first-quarter field goal.

Despite a quick turnaround and exhausting contest against McNamara, SJO's Fab Five returned to the Rocket Center 24 hours later to dominate Monticello in the sectional title game 65-38 on the school's first IHSA Final Four appearance.

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After school shooting last week, survey finds teens can obtain a loaded gun in under 15 minutes

Jabba from Pixabay
by Markian Hawryluk
Kaiser Health News
KHN - One in 4 Colorado teens reported they could get access to a loaded gun within 24 hours, according to survey results published Monday. Nearly half of those teens said it would take them less than 10 minutes.

“That’s a lot of access and those are short periods of time,” said Virginia McCarthy, a doctoral candidate at the Colorado School of Public Health and the lead author of the research letter describing the findings in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The results come as Coloradans are reeling from yet another school shooting. On March 22, a 17-year-old student shot and wounded two school administrators at East High School in Denver. Police later found his body in the mountains west of Denver in Park County and confirmed he had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Another East High student was fatally shot in February while sitting in his car outside the school.

The time it takes to access a gun matters, McCarthy said, particularly for suicide attempts, which are often impulsive decisions for teens. In research studying people who have attempted suicide, nearly half said the time between ideation and action was less than 10 minutes. Creating barriers to easy access, such as locking up guns and storing them unloaded, extends the time before someone can act on an impulse, and increases the likelihood that they will change their mind or that someone will intervene.

“The hope is to understand access in such a way that we can increase that time and keep kids as safe as possible,” McCarthy said.

The data McCarthy used comes from the Healthy Kids Colorado Study, a survey conducted every two years with a random sampling of 41,000 students in middle and high school. The 2021 survey asked, “How long would it take you to get and be ready to fire a loaded gun without a parent’s permission?”

American Indian students in Colorado reported the greatest access to a loaded gun, at 39%, including 18% saying they could get one within 10 minutes, compared with 12% of everybody surveyed. American Indian and Native Alaskan youths also have the highest rates of suicide.

Nearly 40% of students in rural areas reported having access to firearms, compared with 29% of city residents.

The findings were released at a particularly tense moment in youth gun violence in Colorado. Earlier this month, hundreds of students left their classrooms and walked nearly 2 miles to the state Capitol to advocate for gun legislation and safer schools. The students returned to confront lawmakers again last week in the aftermath of the March 22 high school shooting.

The state legislature is considering a handful of bills to prevent gun violence, including raising the minimum age to purchase or possess a gun to 21; establishing a three-day waiting period for gun purchases; limiting legal protections for gun manufacturers and sellers; and expanding the pool of who can file for extreme risk protection orders to have guns removed from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearms became the leading cause of death among those ages 19 or younger in 2020, supplanting motor vehicle deaths. And firearm deaths among children increased during the pandemic, with an average of seven children a day dying because of a firearm incident in 2021.

Colorado has endured a string of school shootings over the past 25 years, including at Columbine High School in 1999, Platte Canyon High School in 2006, Arapahoe High School in 2013, and the STEM School Highlands Ranch in 2019.

Although school shootings receive more attention, the majority of teen gun deaths are suicides.

“Youth suicide is starting to become a bigger problem than it ever has been,” said Dr. Paul Nestadt, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.

“Part of that has to do with the fact that there’s more and more guns that are accessible to youth.”

While gun ownership poses a higher risk of suicide among all age groups, teens are particularly vulnerable, because their brains typically are still developing impulse control.

“A teen may be bright and know how to properly handle a firearm, but that same teen in a moment of desperation may act impulsively without thinking through the consequences,” said Dr. Shayla Sullivant, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. “The decision-making centers of the brain are not fully online until adulthood.”

Previous research has shown a disconnect between parents and their children about access to guns in their homes. A 2021 study found that 70% of parents who own firearms said their children could not get their hands on the guns kept at home. But 41% of kids from those same families said they could get to those guns within two hours.

“Making the guns inaccessible doesn’t just mean locking them. It means making sure the kid doesn’t know where the keys are or can’t guess the combination,” said Catherine Barber, a senior researcher at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center, who was not involved in the study. “Parents can forget how easily their kids can guess the combination or watch them input the numbers or notice where the keys are kept.”

If teens have their own guns for hunting or sport, those, too, should be kept under parental control when the guns are not actively being used, she said.

The Colorado researchers now plan to dig further to find out where teens are accessing guns in hopes of tailoring prevention strategies to different groups of students.

“Contextualizing these data a little bit further will help us better understand types of education and prevention that can be done,” McCarthy said.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

Throwback Thursday | SJO makes first basketball final four appearance

(Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
PEORIA - Sophomore Tyler Harms dribbles the ball away from Winnebago's Dalton Langholf during St. Joseph-Ogden's third-place 2A game at Carver Arena a decade ago. SJO finished the season 29-6 at the state tournament after falling 67-54 to the Indians in the program's first final four appearance in school history. Three years later, the Spartans would return to Peoria to take home the Class 2A title.

Top recommended diet by nutrition experts could also reduce risk of dementia

by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare

SAVOY - Among the New Year’s resolutions worldwide, many people have pledged to find and stick with a healthy diet. But there’s a lot more to it than just grabbing every “reduced fat” item off the grocery store shelf.

Karen Whitehorn, MD, an OSF HealthCare internal medicine physician, hears questions all the time about diets. Her first question back is usually: what do you want out of your diet? Do you want to be healthy? Lose weight? Manage a medical condition? Sort through the details, and you’ll find the best option.

Photo: Dana Tentis/PEXELS

Exploring the popular options

U.S. News and World Report recently consulted a panel of medical and nutrition experts to rank the best diets. The Mediterranean diet topped the list. Dr. Whitehorn says this diet is based on the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a plant-based diet, incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, brown rice and seafood.

An added benefit: new research shows the Mediterranean diet could reduce dementia risk.

“The Mediterranean diet is actually pretty easy to follow. But you need to make sure you have the right food in your home,” Dr. Whitehorn says. “It might be a little more difficult during the winter to get fresh fruits and vegetables. If you can’t, frozen is OK. Canned is OK. But we recommend you rinse the canned food first to decease some of the salt.”

Number two on the U.S News list is a plan Dr. Whitehorn recommends often: dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or the DASH diet. It recommends foods that are low in sodium and high in magnesium and potassium.

Some people may incorporate fasting into their diet. Dr. Whitehorn says fasting, when done in consultation with a medical expert, can work. But she’s hesitant to recommend it broadly.

"Our bodies need nutrients every couple hours. So to not eat anything for 12 hours can cause other problems," Dr. Whitehorn says. "If you’re diabetic and don’t eat for 12 hours, your blood sugar could drop too low. Then when you eat, it could go too high."

Avoid misinformation and fads

Watch out for fad diets on social media, Dr. Whitehorn says. Remember the saying: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

"Fad diets are not consistent. They’re not healthy. They don’t provide you the nutrients you need. If it requires you to take a pill or drastically reduce your calories, it’s not really a healthy diet. It can only be followed in the short term."

On the contrary, working out a diet plan with your health care provider has a better chance of achieving long term results.

"A healthy diet gives you the energy you need to do everyday activities," Dr. Whitehorn says. "It has been shown to increase your life expectancy. And it helps prevent chronic medical problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and heart disease."

Roch's to host Fine Arts program fundraiser this weekend

ST. JOSEPH - The St. Joseph-Ogden High School Fine Arts is holding a fundraiser this Sunday at Roch's Place in downtown St. Joseph.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the fine arts program at the high school.

"Bring your family, your requests, and your wallets and let's pack the place for the SJO Fine Arts!" organizers wrote on Facebook.

Logan Allen Music is headlining the three-hour event slated to start at 3 p.m.

In the Know | Recent articles you might have missed

Illinois tennis team suffers first conference loss, Illini fall 4-0 to #2 OSU
Tennis player Mathis Debru
Illinois' Mathis Debru celebrates after he and doubles partner Oliver Okonkwo tie up their match at 4-all. The duo fell 6-4 to Ohio State's Robert Cash and Justin Boulais. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

URBANA - One would have thought the steady 20mph breeze at Shahid & Ann Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex would have been ideal conditions for Illinois to upset #2 Ohio State (19-2) on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the 70º day, blessed with plenty of sunshine, did not fair well for the Fighting Illini (13-8), who lost the home match 4-0 to Buckeyes in their second Big Ten match of the season.

The key to OSU's victory and Illinois' demise was the basic 'brains over brawn' approach.

Rockets win softball season opener in Tennesse, and then some
JACKSON, TN - Lindy Bates went 3-for-3 in the Rockets' season opener earlier this month against Millington Central at the Sarah Beth Whitehead Tournament. Unity plated three runs in the third inning to beat the Trojans after five innings 4-2 on March 16.
Two healthy snack options for families on the go
Family Features - School days offer nearly endless opportunities for learning and exploration in the classroom, but education doesn’t have to end with the final bell. Parents can ensure their students feel energetic, creative and confident by inspiring snack choices ....
URBANA - Vocalists Elena Negruta and Ingrid Kammin preform a classical piece at the The CATsNAP Benefit Concert on Sunday afternoon at the Rose Bowl Tavern. The three-hour fundraiser also featured performances from the Church Street Ramblers, the Peter Tijerina Quintet, and Tania Arazi Coambs Trio.
Recipe: Orange Shrimp Quinoa Bowls
Family Features - From salads and snacks to breakfast, lunch and dinner, rounding out a full menu of healthy meals shouldn't be a chore. In fact, you can still enjoy your favorite flavors and tickle your taste buds with nutritious recipes that capitalize on powerful ingredients you actually want to eat.

Good sleep habits help weight loss and cardiovascular health
Improving one’s sleep health is something everyone can do to improve their cardiovascular health

DALLAS - People who reported getting regular, uninterrupted sleep did a better job sticking to their exercise and diet plans while trying to lose weight, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023. The meeting will be held in Boston, February 28-March 3, 2023, and offers the latest science on population-based health and wellness and implications for lifestyle and cardiometabolic health.

"Focusing on obtaining good sleep — seven to nine hours at night with a regular wake time along with waking refreshed and being alert throughout the day — may be an important behavior that helps people stick with their physical activity and dietary modification goals," said Christopher E. Kline, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of health and human development at the University of Pittsburgh. "A previous study of ours reported that better sleep health was associated with a significantly greater loss of body weight and fat among participants in a year-long, behavioral weight loss program."

72 freshmen at SJO earn High Honor Roll recognition

St. Joseph - Earlier this week, St. Joseph-Ogden High School announced the third quarter Honor Roll and High Honor Roll recipients. This year's freshman class labored to produce 72 scholars who earned High Honor recognition.

St. Joseph-Ogden High School Honor Roll To receive Honor Roll recognition at SJO, students must earn a grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students whose GPA is above 3.74 are recognized as High Honor Roll students. Below is the list of this semester's students who achieved High Honor Roll recognition. Follow this link to see the names of students who made the Honor Roll.


Alyssa Acton
McGwire Atwood
Kaytlyn Baker
Olivia Baltzell
Cara Blanchard
Taylor Burch
Tyler Burch
Maddux Carter
Yamilka Casanova
Ariana Chambers
Madelynn Cook
Morgan Cramer
Aiden Cromwell
Zachary Dahman
Aleah Dial
Emily Elsbernd
Leah Finley
Joselyn Frerichs
Jessica Gadbury
Brent Golladay
Kennedy Greer
Kylie Greer
Andrew Guelfi
Mikyla Haley
Hayden Henkelman
Maya Hewkin
Taylor Hug
Shayne Immke
Emily Jeffries
Peyton Jones
Cameran Kelley
Jade Kelley
Jacob Kern
Aaron Lane
Collin Livesay
Haleigh Maddock
Kyle Meccoli
Teagan Miller
Courtney Myren
Ava Northen
Madeline Osterbur
Allegra Pearman
Ty Pence
Jack Robertson
Kirsten Schaefer
Johanna Schmitz
Jack Setterdahl
Isabel Sexton
Paige Siegmund
Payton Vander Logt
Taylor Voorhees
Alayna Wagle
Emma Ward
Maggie Ward


Edward Alewelt
Logan Allen
Aden Armstrong
Owen Baltzell
Samantha Beetz
Chloe Burkhalter
Payton Carter
Rachel Divan
Sadie Ericksen
Addison Frick
Grace Getty
Chloe Harper
Rachel Harris
Brody Hausman
Annabelle Hueber
Tanner Jacob
Kya Jolley
Helene Jones
Lauren Lannert
Hayden Lewis
Quinn Lewis
Taylyn Lockhart
Addisyn Martinie
Shannon McMahon
Talan Miller
Isaiah Mock
Caleb Ochs
Macy Reed-Thompson
Addison Roesch
Addison Ross
Daniel Santiago
Addison Seggebruck
Lucas Skelton
Logan Smith
Dylan Smoot
Drew Thurman
Emma Thurman
Braxton Waller
Elissia Ward
Colin Wayland
Corbin Wells
Hayden Williams
Peyton Williams
Spencer Wilson


EJ Beckett
Audrey Benoit
William Besson
Sul Bonny
Preslee Christians
Madison Clampitt
Ella Dietiker
Luke Ditchfield
Jackson Ennis
Savanna Franzen
Addison Funk
Tayton Gerdes
Olivia Getty
Makennah Hamilton
Lauren Harris
Maebree Houston
Paige Johnson
Dylan Jones
Amilliya Kindle
Madison Lankster
Logan Mills
Gabriel Mortlock
Grace Osterbur
Chayse Palmer
Sonia Patel
Nathan Phillips
Audrey Ruppel
Charles Schmitz
Kyler Swanson
Collin Thomey
Samantha Uden
Kailynn West
Reese Wheatley
Charley Wright
Fiona Xiao


Trevor Ames
Kylie Barrowman
Lexie Barrowman
Kaitlyn Beyers
Emily Bird
Tim Blackburn-Kelley
Aiden Bonny
Addison Brooks
Sara Bytnar
Shelby Campbell
Jacob Carlson
William Carlson
Rudra Chaudhary
Adelyn Childers
Christopher Coffey
Katie Ericksen
Callie Evans
Abigail Getty
Camden Getty
Brandon Goodwin
William Haley
Zachary Harper
Claire Hartman
Amelia Huckstadt
Lydia Huckstadt
Adalyn Jannusch
Kaelyn Jolley
Sophia Kasper
Madilyn Kelley
Cooper Kietzman
Alexis Lackey
Ryker Lockhart
Mackenzie Loschen
Michael McDaniel
Isabelle McGinnis
Emma McKinney
Kodey McKinney
Patrick McMahon
Ava Midkiff
Ashlyn Miller
Hannah Mock
Delaney Nekolny
Allison Ochs
Brennan Oleynichak
Kayla Osterbur
Colton Overstreet
Garrick Page
Branson Pearman
Kaleb Peoples
Asher Pruemer
Ainsley Rhoton
Lily Rice
Landon Roberts
Amber Ruppel
Cameron Schluter
Allison Schmitz
Trevor Sexton
Landon Smith
Lucas Smith
Tao Smith
Karleigh Spain
Quinn Stahl
Sydney Steinbach
Hadley Sweet
Carlee Taylor
Luke Tranel
Hunter Van Meenen
Sophia Vliet
Madeline Wells
Wyatt Wertz
Logan Xiao
Cyrus Zadeh

96 students earn a spot on St. Joseph-Ogden High School Honor Roll

St. Joseph - St. Joseph-Ogden High School announced the third quarter Honor Roll and High Honor Roll recipients.

St. Joseph-Ogden High School Honor Roll To receive Honor Roll recognition at SJO, students must earn a grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students whose GPA soared above 3.74 are recognized as High Honor Roll students. Below is the list of this semester's students who achieved Honor Roll status. Follow this link to see the names of students who made High Honor Roll.


Madison Adams
Owen Birt
Ethan Blackburn
Kaylee Brown
Payton Carter
Abigail Dow
Katie Earley
Grace Flessner
Alex Funk
Joseph Gherna
Connor Hale
Jay Hess
Aliya Jones
Hunter Ketchum
Shane Logan
Carter Mabry
Aidan McCorkle
Katherine McDermott
Katelynn Oehmke
William Page
Emma Rydell
Katharine Short
Trinity Tapia
Mallory Wagner
Gracelyn Warns
Rebekah Weinmann
Jackson Wetzel


Kyler Brown
Tyler Buss
Garrett Denhart
Joseph Frasca
Mia Frederick
Alana Frerichs-McCurry
Jayci Hayes
Holden Jones
Tori Kibler
Carson Maroon
Rowan Musselman
Cole Pruitt
Kaydence Reynolds
Madison Stevens
Ethan Vaughan
Brody Weaver
Mitchell Wright


Olivia Allinger
Jared Altenbaumer
Rylie Barton
Dillon Bear
Eli Birt
Macie Blakley
Holden Brazelton
Landen Butts
Lauren Dewese
Lyla Frerichs
Kaiden Gaines
Richi Gomez
Haley Hesterberg
Kendrick Johnson
Sara Kearney
Aiden Krall
Jeffrey Kuchenbrod
Logan Lackey
Lillian Lanter
Logan Patton
Sydney Reitmeier
Haley Rudolph
Tanner Siems
Corbin Smith
Thea Smith
Coy Taylor
Merial Yeager


Caroline Aden
Cade Crozier
Nathan Daly
Caleb Dwyer
Parker Fitch
William Franklin
Charles Hale
Erica Hardimon
Brayden Hollingsworth
Bryanna Hood
Bryson Houchens
Nick Jackson
Jordan Johnson
Malachy Kates
Sami Kelso
Vance McComas
Jackson Mohr
Graham Ray
Lance Retz
Jaxson Reynolds
Logan Rosenthal
Ethan Sanders
Gracyn Sjoken
Jacek Slowikowski
Emma Wells

Kitchen Magic: How to take care of your cast iron pots and pans like a pro

Cast iron pans are a great investment
Photo: Ernest Roy/Pixabay

Cast iron cookware has made a comeback in recent years, and for good reason. It's durable and inexpensive, plus it can be used for years without losing its effectiveness. Cast iron is also incredibly versatile. It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven and will retain heat well enough to keep your food warm after you take it off the stove. But there are some things that you should know before using cast iron so that your cooking experience remains pleasant.

Avoid washing cast iron in the dishwasher

Since this type of cookware is perfect for different recipes, you might be tempted to wash it in the dishwasher. However, caring for your cast iron cookware will require special treatment:

  • Avoid washing cast iron in the dishwasher.
  • Cast iron is very durable, and you can wash it by hand, but dishwashers are not kind to it. The high heat and harsh detergents can damage your cookware, causing rust spots or warping, making the pan unusable.
  • Try using a stiff brush to remove stuck-on food

     if you're looking for an easy way to clean up after cooking with cast iron. You can do it before wiping out any remaining residue with paper towels or kitchen cloths soaked in hot soapy water. Then, rinse any food particles left behind before drying thoroughly with a clean cloth or paper towel.

  • Make sure to season it every few months

    Seasoning is a coating of oil that helps prevent rust. It is essential to season your cookware regularly and renew it every few months or whenever you wash the pan.

    Seasoning should be renewed after washing because soap removes the seasoning and leaves a sticky film behind, which can attract more dirt and dust than if there were no seasoning at all!

    If you're feeling adventurous, try an off-the-shelf product like Barkeeper's Friend or Easy Off Oven Cleaner. Both are cornstarch-based cleaners that gently remove stubborn stains while adding another layer of protection against rust.

    Use salt instead if you want to go natural with your cleaning methods. All you need to do is sprinkle some coarse salt on top of any stubborn food residue before heating some water over medium heat until it boils. Then, let everything sit for about 15 minutes so everything gets nice and softened before rinsing off again. Just make sure to do this once it's cool enough not to burn yourself. This should take care of just about anything except egg yolks.

    Don't use soap on cast iron cookware

    Since you can make everything from cooked dishes to homemade pizza with this cookware, you should know how to clean it. However, one of the biggest mistakes is using soap on cast iron cookware.

    Soap can strip away the seasoning, leaving your pan vulnerable to rust. Not to mention it's easier for food to stick to it. If you're using a pan for sauteing meat or vegetables, it's best to wipe it down with oil after use instead of washing it with soap. The fat will help protect your pan from oxidation and keep it looking shiny!

    Clean the surface of your cast iron with a sponge and water only

    Hot water and a sponge are the best way to clean your cast iron cookware. Do not use soap or any other cleaning product unless you are trying to remove food residue from the pan's surface.

    If so, scrub gently with soap and water and dry immediately after washing off all traces of soap from your cast iron pan.

    You can also use a Scotch-Brite pad or steel wool. These products will help remove any burned-on food residue from your cast iron pan. Rinse the piece well with hot water, and then dry it thoroughly before storing. Store cast iron flat when it's not being used When you're not using your cast iron cookware, it's important to store it flat. If you need to set up your new kitchen after moving in, make sure to find enough place to store your cast iron cookware. If you keep it flat, it will prevent rusting and allow the oil that naturally builds up in the pan to seep back into the pores of the metal.

  • Don't stack your pans on top of each other – this will cause them to scratch and damage each other over time.
  • Make sure not to store it in an oven or microwave – the heat from these appliances can warp or crack the handles of your pans.
  • Don't put them in a dishwasher – the harsh chemicals used by most detergents are damaging for any cookware, but especially so for cast iron since they'll strip away any seasoning from previous uses as well as leave behind residue that may cause food sticking problems later on down the road.
  • Cast iron can last for decades if you treat it right

    Cast iron cookware is durable, long-lasting, and versatile. It can be used on the stovetop or in the oven, over an open fire, and even under a broiler if you're feeling adventurous. Cast iron is also easy to clean – wipe it out with a paper towel when you're done cooking!

    However, it's important not to get your cast iron too hot: never put any part of your body near direct heat while cooking with cast iron. This includes touching handles or lids. Keep these items away from anything that could cause burns when exposed to high temperatures for extended periods. As you can see, making food with this cookware has many benefits. Cast iron must be seasoned before use. This process creates a protective coating on its surface which helps prevent rusting over time. Also, it makes food stick less often than regular stainless steel pans do.

    There's no need for soap or oil during washing up afterward either – just rinse under running water until all residue has disappeared. Then, wipe them dry with paper towels before storing them away.

    Cast iron is an excellent investment for any kitchen. It's durable, lasts forever, and can provide delicious meals for years if you take care of it properly. We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to care for your cast iron cookware so that it will last even longer!

    Every kitchen needs an assortment of cast iron cookware. Cooking with cast iron pans not only infuses iron into food, it enhances the natural flavor in our favorite warm food items.
    Photo: Memoaaguilar/Pixabay

    Illinois tennis team suffers first conference loss, Illini fall 4-0 to #2 OSU

    URBANA - One would have thought the steady 20mph breeze at Shahid & Ann Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex would have been ideal conditions for Illinois to upset #2 Ohio State (19-2) on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the 70º day, blessed with plenty of sunshine, did not fair well for the Fighting Illini (13-8), who lost the home match 4-0 to Buckeyes in their second Big Ten match of the season.

    Tennis player Mathis Debru
    Illinois' Mathis Debru celebrates after he and doubles partner Oliver Okonkwo tie up their match at 4-all. The duo fell 6-4 to Ohio State's Robert Cash and Justin Boulais. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    The key to OSU's victory and Illinois' demise was the basic 'brains over brawn' approach.

    Physically, Ohio State's roster, compared pound-for-pound, did not measure up to the lightning quick, ball-bashing, uberfit Illinois squad.

    "We have the student athletes to get the job done," head coach Brad Dancer said, clearly disappointed of the team's performance after the match. "It was evident today we are not in the mindset to take control of the Big Ten. Tennis matches are like prize fights – you have to hit with your best and you have to take your opponent's best. The difference is you can't get KO'd."

    The sustained wind out of the south played havoc for both squads. Typical low-percentage shots that Illini players make routinely missed wide far too often. Groundstokes tended to stay a loft too long, only to bounce a foot or two out of bounds.

    Across all six courts during singles, the Buckeyes adjusted their style of play and stopped trying to slug it out toe-to-toe with the Illini. OSU opted for a new strategy focused on keeping the ball in play, while Illinois kept going after the big shots and settling more often than not unforced errors.

    The tactical change worked. Playing smart tennis, OSU's JJ Tracy soundedly defeated Illinois' William Mroz, 6-1, 6-2. Minutes later, Mroz' teammate, Nic Meister, was packing his racquet bag after falling Jack Anthrop, 6-2, 6-1.

    "So you walk on the court and start punching and start defending and you have to get used to getting punched in the gut, and punching back and realize this is tennis. It doesn't go away, so get comfortable fighting and being tough. When this team is able to consistently do that we will have a great squad. Until we can be consistent in that then we are what we are."

    Right: Oliver Okonkwo chases a ball off the court during his #2 Doubles match with partner Mathis Debru. Left: Junior Hunter Heck returns a serve to his backhand during his doubles match with Karlis Ozolins. The pair was trailing 5-4 in their #1 Doubles match against OSU's Andrew Lutschaunig and James Trotter when play was ended after the Illini recorded losses on the #2 and #3 doubles courts. Photos: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    The remaining four singles matches went to a third set tie-break. Despite down 3-0 on the north scoreboard, Illinois still had a chance to engineer an upset until Ohio State's James Trotter, who forced the breaker after taking the second set 6-3, sealed the team victory with his third set 6-2 win over Illinois' Alex Petrov. Petrov won the opening set between the pair 6-4.

    Earlier, in doubles competition Alex Petrov and Kenta Miyoshi were the first shake hands after dropping the match to OSU's Cannon Kingsley and JJ Tracy, 6-2. Then, with a stroke of luck, Buckeyes Robert Cash and Justin Boulais slid by Oliver Okonkwo who partnered with Mathis Debru in a dramatic 6-4 finish to secure the doubles point.

    This weekend the Fighting Illini men's tennis team are on a two-match road trip to face Purdue University on Friday and then head south to Bloomingon, Indiana, for another conference match against Indiana University on Sunday.


    Ohio State 4, Illinois 0

    1. #49 Hunter Heck/Karlis Ozolins (ILL) vs. #7 Andrew Lutschaunig/James Trotter (OSU) 4-5, unfinished
    2. #36 Robert Cash/Justin Boulais (OSU) def. #56 Oliver Okonkwo/Mathis Debru (ILL) 6-4
    3. Cannon Kingsley/JJ Tracy (OSU) def. Alex Petrov/Kenta Miyoshi (ILL) 6-2

    1. #33 Karlis Ozolins (ILL) vs. #2 Cannon Kingsley (OSU) 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 4-4, unfinished
    2. Hunter Heck (ILL) vs. Justin Boulais (OSU) 2-6, 6-4, 5-1, unfinished
    3. #25 James Trotter (OSU) def. Alex Petrov (ILL) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
    4. #15 JJ Tracy (OSU) def. William Mroz (ILL) 6-1, 6-2
    5. Oliver Okonkwo (ILL) vs. Alexander Bernard (OSU) 6-3, 5-7, 4-3, unfinished
    6. Jack Anthrop (OSU) def. Nic Meister (ILL) 6-2, 6-1

    Over 200 spectators enjoyed the warmest day yet this spring watching the Illini battle OSU at Atkins Tennis Center. The Illinois team plays at home next on April 14 for Mom's Day and again April 16 for Senior Day. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Recipe | Spaghetti with turkey and beef meatballs

    Family Features - Making small changes to focus on your health, like following a healthy eating plan, can make a big difference in protecting your heart.

    Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life. It requires no special foods, and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals to help lower two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high LDL (bad) cholesterol.

    As an added bonus, sharing DASH-friendly meals with your loved ones can help take the guesswork out of putting nutritious dinners on your family’s table. For example, this easy and delicious Turkey and Beef Meatballs with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti recipe is one the entire family can help prepare.

    In addition to a following a healthy eating plan, other self-care habits like taking time daily to destress, being more physically active and getting enough quality sleep can all benefit your heart. It’s also important to know what your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are and what a healthy weight is for you.

    Learn more about the DASH eating plan and find recipes at

    Turkey and Beef Meatballs with Whole-Wheat Spaghetti
    Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cook time: 20 minutes
    Servings: 4

    • 3 quarts water
    • 8 ounces dry whole-wheat spaghetti
    • 2 cups chunky tomato sauce
    • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, rinsed, dried and chopped

    Turkey Meatballs:

    • 6 ounces 99% lean ground turkey
    • 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
    • 2 tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk
    • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped

    Beef Meatballs:

    • 6 ounces 93% lean ground beef
    • 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
    • 2 tablespoons fat-free evaporated milk
    • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, rinsed, dried and chopped
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and chopped
    1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
    2. In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, bring water to boil.
    3. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
    4. To make turkey meatballs: In bowl, combine ground turkey, breadcrumbs, evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese, chives and parsley; mix well. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons turkey mixture and roll into ball using hands. Place meatball on nonstick baking sheet. Repeat until eight turkey meatballs are made.
    5. To make beef meatballs: In separate bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese, chives and parsley; mix well. Measure 1 1/2 tablespoons beef mixture and roll into ball using hands. Place meatball on nonstick baking sheet. Repeat until eight beef meatballs are made.
    6. Bake meatballs 10 minutes until minimum internal temperature of 165 F is reached.
    7. Warm sauce, if necessary.

    To serve: Serve four meatballs with 3/4 cup pasta, 1/2 cup sauce, 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and 1 pinch basil per portion.

    Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

    Attention consolidated election candidates

    Are you running for a seat on your village board of trustees, an open or contested spot on your school board, or a position on the county board?

    The Sentinel is currently welcoming Letters to the Editor from area candidates in Urbana, St. Joseph, Tolono, Ogden, Philo, Sidney, Royal, Ivesdale, and Pesotum who are running for office in the upcoming consolidated election.

    Tell us and our readers, in 1,200 words or less, which office you are running for and why. Explain what you hope to accomplish or fix during your tenure, and, of course, why you are the right person to serve them and your community. Submissions that have an axe to grind, threats, senseless tirades, or self-serving advocacy in nature will not be considered for publication.

    Please include in your cover email a short note containing your name, address, and daytime/cell phone number. An editor will contact the authors for all submissions prior to publishing to verify that you submitted the letter we have received. A short biography, two sentences at most, to run at the end of your letter would be appreciated but not mandatory.

    The deadline for your submission so it is published ahead of Tuesday's election is noon on Thursday, March 30. Email your Letter to the Editor submission to

    Does your business qualify for the ERC Federal Assistance Program?

    Photo: StartupStockPhotos/Pixabay
    StatePoint Media - The strength of the country relies on its estimated 33.2 million small businesses, which comprise 99.9 percent of all American businesses. COVID threatened, and in some cases forced, the closure of many small enterprises and tens of thousands are still reeling from the aftermath of the full pandemic.

    In an effort to offer some relief, the federal government created the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Program under the IRS that has already helped thousands of qualifying businesses receive up to $26,000 per employee. Unfortunately, not enough small business owners are aware of the program. Others don’t think they will qualify, leaving billions of dollars on the table that could help them recover and continue to move forward.

    Companies such as ERC Helpdesk,, have been created to help small businesses determine their qualifications and navigate the ERC program. Now is the perfect time for business owners around the country to see if they make the cut.

    A small business can receive an ERC even if it received PPP. The program is flexible enough that most businesses will likely be eligible. The average claim is $150,000, but there is no cap on the amount.

    "I was the owner of a marketing business that assisted dozens of small business owners so I witnessed firsthand the challenges and sweat equity involved in taking such a big risk," said ERC Helpdesk chief marketing officer, Greg Ross-Smith. "Our founder was and remains a small business owner himself who was initially told his businesses would not qualify for an ERC and there was nobody he could find to make sense of the program. When he finally learned about the program details and what the actual qualifications are, not only did he apply and receive funds, he decided to create a way to assist other small business owners in taking advantage of the funding available for their businesses."

    Here are the basics to see if you qualify:

    • Your business is based in the United States.

    • You retained and paid W2 employees during 2020 and 2021.

    • Your business was impacted by COVID restrictions in one or more of the following ways:

    1. Loss of revenue

    2. Supply chain disruptions

    3. Full or partial shutdown of your business

    Now a growing industry, ERC companies are popping up all over so be wary about who you work with. Ideally, try to work with a company you know, or at least one that understands the needs and inner workings of a small business. Often, it helps to work with a smaller sized ERC business that’s accessible and that will work with your submission on a one-on-one basis. Bigger isn’t always better in this industry. Of course, partnering with a company that maintains a high approval rate for its clients is a critical point of measurement as many companies can waste your time and get your hopes up by simply submitting anything knowing the chances of success are slim. Finally, to the degree you can determine it, try to work with a company that will process your application as quickly as possible while focusing on reducing errors that can delay the process.

    "So many small businesses are built organically with the participation, support and hard work of family and friends. As a result, we understand the investment of time, resources and relationships that go into every business we work with," said Ross-Smith. "In the ERC business, integrity, trust and customer service rule and that’s what I’d urge all applicants to consider in navigating their eligibility for the program. Our only goal is to help them qualify and then maximize their efforts and amount of compensation they receive."

    Fighting Illini battle to upset #2 OSU falls short

    URBANA - Illinois tennis players Mathis Debru (left) and Oliver Okonkwo celebrate after tying up the score at 3-all in their doubles match against Ohio State's Robert Cash and Justin Boulais. Later on a beautiful but windy spring day, the Fighting Illini duo fell 6-4. The #2 nationally-ranked Buckeyes won the Big 10 match 4-0 at Atkins Tennis Center. Illinois (13-8, 1-1) looks to rise above .500 after they return from Purdue next Friday and their league match with the Boilermakers.
    Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

    Rockets win softball season opener in Tennesse, and then some

    JACKSON, TN - Lindy Bates went 3-for-3 in the Rockets' season opener earlier this month against Millington Central at the Sarah Beth Whitehead Tournament. Unity plated three runs in the third inning to beat the Trojans after five innings 4-2 on March 16.

    Starting the bottom of the third down 2-1 on the scoreboard, Unity's Jenna Adkins went down swinging to give Millington the first out. Next, Ruby Tarr stepped up to the plate to face Trojan starter Breanna Hulsey. Tarr took her third pitch smacking leather out to center field, only to be caught by MC's Rilee Ervin.

    With two outs on the board, Bates wasted no time and pounded the ball to right field, rounding first and on to second for a double. She later moved to third courtesy of a line drive from senior Reese Sarver.

    With Unity bats now ignited, senior Ashlyn Miller, who scored on an error in the previous inning, knocked in the tying run on a fly ball out to left field while Sarver made her way to scoring position on third.

    Then, tied at two-all, the Unity line-up kept their hands on the throttle scoring two more runs on a line drive double to right from Maegan Rothe to lock in the first win of the season.

    Two days later, the Unity bats were still glowing. The Rockets amassed 27 runs across four games to finish the out-of-state tournament 3-1.

    Unity bombs Peabody

    The Rockets scored ten runs in the first inning of their second tournament game to stun the Golden Tide of Peabody High School, 12-0.

    Ashlyn Miller and Reece Sarver booked two RBIs apiece, while Jenna Adkins, Lindy Bates, and Lauren Haas delivered one each in a contest that lasted just two and a half innings.

    Jenna Adkins, Chloey Duitsman, Reagan Little, and McKayla Schendel padded their baserunning stats with one stolen bag each.

    Striking out a trio of Peabody batters, Bates picked up the win, throwing just 28 pitches in the first two innings.

    Adamsville falls victim to Rockets' firepower

    Three hours after the start of the first game on Saturday, March 18, Jenna Adkins crushed the ball over the right field fence for a solo home run to knot the score at one-all in the first inning of the Rockets' Round of 16 game against the Cardinals.

    UHS retired the next three Adamsville batters in the top of 2 before piling nine runs on the scoreboard to go up 10-1.

    The Rockets enjoyed a bunted single by Maegan Rothe; doubles from Chloey Duitsman, Lindy Bates, and Ashlyn Miller; and a two-out two-RBI triple from Rothe on her second appearance in batter's box in the frame.

    In the bottom of the third inning, Abbie Pieczynski, batting for Bates, tapped a ground ball to the pitcher. Tossed out at first, the senior's play allowed McKayla Schendel to score from third.

    Up 11-1, Unity stretched their early season win streak to three games, outscoring opponents 27-3 after Sarver flew out to center field.

    Unity suffers first loss

    Camden scattered five unanswered runs across four innings against the Rockets in their tournament quarterfinal game. In a hole too deep to climb, UHS was eliminated from medal contention after a 6-4 finish.

    Lindy Bates, who absorbed the pitching loss, had one hit and tallied two stolen bases. Sophia Beckett, Lauren Haas, and Ruby Tarr logged one stolen base a piece.

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