Staying sun-smart: Remembering Jimmy Buffett

When enjoying the warm rays of the sun, use sun block. It is recommended you read the instructions for how often to apply it because it does wear off exposing your skin to harmful rays from the sun.
Photo: Igor Shalyminov/Unsplash

Matt Sheehan
OSF Healthcare

Evergreen Park - The month of September started on a somber note when country music superstar Jimmy Buffett passed away. The Margaritaville creator died from an aggressive form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), a disease he battled the past four years.

MCC is a much rarer form of skin cancer, the Skin Cancer Foundation says, with one case per 130,000 people in the United States. Roughly 3,000 new cases are diagnosed a year, and the foundation says this is expected to increase to 3,250 cases a year by 2025.

OSF HealthCare advanced practice registered nurse Banesa Chavez warns people not to underestimate the signs of skin cancer.

“People think ‘oh this lesion is nothing,’ but you don’t know what’s underneath that lesion you see,” Chavez says. “You can have it there for years and it could have already spread elsewhere.”

If you notice any changes to your skin -- a lesion that’s growing, or something that’s new -- make sure you address it.

Chavez says the aggressiveness of Buffett’s MCC should be cause for concern for people, and a reminder to take good care of your skin.

“They found it (the cancer) in the last couple of years, so it progressed quickly. Or it was already metastasized by the time they found it.”

Chavez says skin cancer doesn’t discriminate based off age or overall health. But she notes it is harder to battle skin cancer at an older age.

“You’re healthier when you’re younger. When you’re older, your organs aren’t functioning as they would for a 20 or 30-year-old person,” Chavez says. “So your treatment options may vary based on your health.”

Tips to protect skin:

“If you notice any changes to your skin -- a lesion that’s growing, or something that’s new -- make sure you address it. Don’t ignore it. Also, apply sun block. When you apply sun block, look at the recommendations for how often you’re supposed to apply it. Because it does wear off.”

Chavez adds to wear a hat when you’re outside to avoid sun damage as well. She says if you do notice any changes in your skin, see your doctor as soon as possible so they can refer you to a dermatologist.

Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer. About one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. When diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate for people with skin cancer is 99%.

To check on your skin’s health, you can get a baseline exam with a dermatologist. You can visit the OSF HealthCare website here to find a location near you to get seen.

For non-traditional families routines are key to successful parenting

by Tim Ditman
OSF Healthcare
Dr. Jill Schreiber
OSF Healthcare
ALTON - Helping children feel comfortable in their home will lead to healthier and more successful times during those formative years. But it’s easier said than done, especially for non-traditional families. That’s why Jill Schreiber, LCSW, Ph.D., an OSF HealthCare psychotherapist, is making parents aware of resources and best practices.

Defining caregiving

Dr. Schreiber says while families look different across the world, in the United States a traditional family is seen as a mother, father and children. A mom and dad with adopted children would also fall into this category because the kids are a permanent part of the home.

A non-traditional family is any unit that falls outside of the traditional definition. Examples include parents who have divorced and re-married other partners, grandparents caring for kids, two moms or two dads in a family, adults co-parenting and children in care. Dr. Schreiber says children in care is the modern, accepted way of describing foster children, or children who are in a home temporarily. The adults are simply called caregivers, not foster parents. Dr. Schreiber, herself, is a former caregiver to children in care and a parent of adopted children.

Establishing routines

Dr. Schreiber says routines allow life to be “less chaotic and more predictable.” Settling into routines will take time. But Dr. Schreiber says when a child enters a new home, it can be scary. So having some structure right away is a good idea. Talk to the child about when it’s time to sleep, eat, do chores, do homework and have play time. For example, run through the morning routine – getting out of bed, having breakfast, getting ready in the bathroom and heading to school. Same for the wind down at the end of the day.

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Certain parts of the year, like back-to-school season, are busier. Kids with attention deficits, for example, may need more help sticking to routines. A child who always got dinner from the gas station may not know what setting the dinner table is all about.

“Adjusting is constant,” Dr. Schreiber says. “Kids continue to evolve, develop and get older. You quit having naps, for example. You have to develop new routines as you go along.”

As the child adjusts, it’s good to review successes and struggles to modify expectations. Routines also may be different in different homes.

Don’t forget the essentials

While it may not fit the definition of a routine, Dr. Schreiber says non-traditional families should also have essentials for their children. Those things we take for granted are just as important to make the youngsters feel comfortable: working heat, air conditioning, plumbing and lights; safety items like smoke detectors; keeping items like guns locked away.

“It’s helpful for kids to have their own space, and it’s helpful for kids to know where their space is,” Dr. Schreiber adds.

“Kids who have come into care often come with garbage bags of their possessions. That’s such a tough symbol for children to feel like their stuff is garbage. So, to help them put their stuff into drawers or onto shelves is a really important step to show their value and connection to the family.”

Resources for parents

Parents who need help setting up routines can talk to a mental health professional, read a parenting book or take a parenting class. There are also “parent networks” like online forums where you can exchange advice. Those informal “networks” could also take the form of bonafide support groups. Your state’s child welfare agency may also offer tips. In fact, caregivers of children in care must undergo formal training from an organization like that.

Guest Commentary | Life changes, sometimes it means never playing again

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

National football star Aaron Rodger’s football career may be over, but maybe not. It’s hard to keep a good man down. Sometimes, there is too much to overcome to come back.

Many of us watched the mega media debut of Rodgers as a New York Jets quarterback. His move from Green Bay after 18 seasons catapulted him to New York City celebrity status. He came to the Jets after a hugely successful career with the Packers. His accomplishments were many and include a Super Bowl ring. He was received the Super Bowl MVP award and four NFL MVP awards. He was touted as the man who would revitalize the Jet’s program and lead them to glory.

Rodger’s financial package to make the move from Wisconsin to the Jet’s program was $75 million dollars over two years. The money is guaranteed even though he may never play again. Rodgers reportedly took a salary cut to make the move.

Regardless of the size of the financial package, doctor’s report, health, prior success, or talent, none of us can count on anything for sure.

During last week’s Monday night football game on the fourth play of the game, Rodger’s Achilles heel tendon was torn during the play. The injury requires surgery and the rest of the season to rehabilitate. The spirit of the electrified crowd spiraled south as Rodgers was transported off the field.

Unfortunately, Rodger’s injury goes along with the game of football and can happen in most any sport. People can and do get hurt. There are no guarantees.

Life has no guarantees. We aren’t guaranteed another day. Regardless of the size of the financial package, doctor’s report, health, prior success, or talent, none of us can count on anything for sure.

We can say we are going to travel to a certain city and do business. Yet, there is no guarantee we will be able to complete the trip. We can promise we will work a job for ten years but it all depends on our health and good fortune. We aren’t assured of another day. We hope, we have faith, we trust, we believe, and we try to make good on our commitments. After this, it’s all in the hands of God.

We do hope Aaron Rodgers recuperates and is able to end his career on a higher note. I suspect that today he might be happy to end his football career by simply being able to play and walk off the field.

Depending on our circumstances, our lives and perspectives seem to always be changing.


He is the author of 13 books including UncommSense, the Spiritual Chocolate series, Grandpa's Store, Minister's Guidebook insights from a fellow minister. His column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to



Photo Gallery | Urbana is back, Tigers lose first game in two years

After a two-year hiatus, the Urbana football program is back in action in the Big 12 Conference. As expected, the road to rebuilding a quality football program will be brutal for the Tigers. With just six players - Lucas Pankau, Jaydon Riggs, Ayden Palmer, Tahaji Haymer, Aveon Vann, and Seth Pierson - who make up the senior class on this year's squad, the Tigers haven't won a game after the first three weeks of play in the regular season.

This past Friday, Urbana fell 92-0 to the Peoria High School and dropped their Week 2 contest a week earlier to Peoria Notre Dame, 72-0.

Those scores might be a cause for concern, but keep in mind the program's youth and varsity inexperience outside of the efforts of a lone senior, it is the team's underclassmen doing the heavy lifting in the stat book.

Sophomore Sorrell Darough, Jr., has 116 all-purpose yards so far, and freshman Christian Porter has tallied 70 yards after making appearances in two games for Urbana. Kyree Hillsman, who has 23 rushing and 12 passing yards, is also a sophomore.

Pankau is leading the Tigers' offensive effort in his final season of eligibility with 198 yards.

Riggs, the starting quarterback, has completed 16 of 54 passes for 233 yards and has tallied 13 yards rushing.

Below are photos from the team's season opener against Centennial on Saturday, August 26. Despite a running clock in the second half, Urbana scored two touchdowns during the fourth quarter in the 49-14 loss.

Urbana football team walks on to Tommy Stewart Field

Locked arm-in-arm, (left to right) Kamario Kersch (So.), Tahaji Haymer (Sr.), CJ Blanden (So.), Jaydon Riggs (Sr.) and Kyree Hillsman (So.) lead members of the 2023 Tigers football team on to Tommy Stewart Field to take on the Centennial Chargers in their season-opener. The group is the first to represent the Urbana athletic program in two years. Keeping in mind, not one athlete on the team saw time on a varsity squad, Urbana played with heart and determination displaying occassional glimpses of their future potential.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sorrell Darough, Jr., is wrapped up by Chargers' defender during first quarter action. After three games, the sophomore is averaging 3.8 yards per carry for the Tigers.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana's Jaydon Riggs drags a Centennial player on a play during the first quarter. The senior ran for six yards and went 6-for-14 for 119 yards passing.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Tiger's CJ Blanden provides pass protection during a first half play.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Tigers' defensive back Jaydon Riggs drags down a Charger ball carrier for a loss.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sorrell Darough, Jr., is tackled by a Centennial Charger. UHS trailed 14-0 after the first quarter of the game. Darough would go on to finish the game with six carries good for 51 yards.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Surrounded by the opposing team, Jaydon Riggs looks for running room against the Chargers. The senior would score the team's only rushing touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Despite their team's struggle on the field in front of them, Urbana student fans were supportive and cheered enthusiastically at every opportunity.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana sophomore ball carrier Anthony Portis hangs on to the ball after taking solid licks from Centennial defenders while returning a kickoff.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana fans watch their team during the season-opener on Saturday in Champaign.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Centennial cornerback Trunique Harvey breaks up a pass play to Urbana's Alexander Davis.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The Urbana Tiger plays rock-paper-scissors with a Tiger fan during halftime. At the break, UHS was down 42-0.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Urbana head coach Curtis Blanden

Urbana head coach Curtis Blanden goes over the team's second half game plan with Kyree Hillsman. The sophomore carried the ball twice gaining 15 yards in the conference loss.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

A young football fan shows off his dance moves during a timeout while music is played over the P.A. system during the fourth quarter.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Sorrell Darough, Jr., races to the end zone to score the first, and so far, only passing touchdown of the season. The sophomore made two catches for a total of 59 yards against the host Chargers.
Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

The Rolling Stones are still Rocking!

by Jim Runyan
Full disclosure, I am a Rolling Stones fan and have been since the summer of 1978 when the album “Some Girls” came out. Now, some 45 years later, The Rolling Stones have a new album being released. On October 20th, Hackney Diamonds will be the 26th Rolling Stones album released in the United States, and it has been 18 years since they last released an album of original music (they snuck in an album of blues covers in 2016 called Blue and Lonesome).

In true Rolling Stones fashion, they announced the album with a worldwide event hosted by Jimmy Fallon. The event was streamed live around the world and could be seen locally at 8:30am on Wednesday, September 6th. You can watch a replay of the announcement at

The interview and event with Jimmy Fallon are fun to watch. The Rolling Stones consist of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood (80, 79, and 76 years old, respectively). Their longtime band mate, Charlie Watts, passed away in 2021 and Hackney Diamonds is their first album without him, although his work will be heard on several tracks.

The band seems relaxed, happy, and glad to be producing new material. They explain in the interview that “Hackney Diamonds” is slang for something like “smash and grab,” like when a windshield (or “wind screen” as Mick calls it), is broken and the bits of glass on the street are called “Hackney Diamonds.” Hackney is a district in London and the announcement came from the Hackney Empire Theater in East London. After all, as Keith puts it, “It’s a London band.”

Following the event came the debut of the first single and video from the album. “Angry” is a straightforward rocker with a classic Stones guitar hook, vocals about a confused lover whose partner, for unknown reasons, is angry with him, and of course, a bluesy, ripping guitar solo which is often a hallmark of Rolling Stones rockers.

As expected, the video for the song is done with high production value and is very clever. A woman (Sydney Sweeney) is frolicking on the back of a cherry-red Mercedes Benz convertible rolling down Sunset Boulevard while passing billboards that have come to life with Rolling Stones scenes and performances.

The classic theme of the billboards reveals a bit of history in that Rock & Roll billboards were once an iconic staple on the Sunset Strip in the late 1960s with the first one advertising The Doors’ first album. The older videos are synchronized to seem as if they are playing the current song and the whole thing comes together seamlessly and should appeal to tried-and-true fans and newcomers alike.

Overall, having a new Stones song, and a new Stones video, and a new Stones album just seems right. If nothing else, it is worth celebrating a band that has been in existence for 61 years (1962-present) and has seen a thing or two on their times around the block. Keep an eye on this space for a full review after the October 20th release of Hackney Diamonds.

Jim Runyan is an avid tennis player, BBQ enthusiast and dart player. He enjoys craft beers and writing fiction and is the author of Ravage the Moon and Other Short Stories available on Amazon.

Stylish and sustainable: Eco-Friendly home makeovers for the back-to-school season


Sentinel News Service - As the autumn leaves fall, the back-to-school buzz resounds. However, the season isn't just about new books or outfits. It's an opportunity to rejuvenate our living spaces. Ponder this: Why not intertwine style with sustainability? Delving into eco-friendly home makeovers can transform your space into a haven of responsibility.

Furthermore, embracing a green lifestyle during this season sets a precedent for the whole year. This post will journey through sustainable ideas that marry function with flair. After all, cultivating an eco-conscious abode not only benefits our planet but also nurtures our well-being.

Why Sustainable Makeovers Matter
Every design choice makes a ripple. Consider the environmental footprint of that trendy yet non-sustainable coffee table. It's alarming. Now, think about the perks of green makeovers. First off, eco-friendly designs slash our carbon footprint. Secondly, natural materials often translate to healthier indoor air — no sneaky chemicals or pollutants.

Moreover, this green switch promises financial savings. Imagine fewer replacements and lower energy bills. Therefore, sustainable transformations are more than just fashion statements. They're commitments — to the environment, our health, and even our wallets. To sum it up, sustainability is the new smart and something homeowners should champion.

Organization is essential, especially in kids' rooms that can quickly resemble the aftermath of a mini tornado if not carefully managed.

Room-by-Room Eco Makeover Tips
Embarking on an eco-friendly home makeover is more than just a design decision; it's a commitment to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle. Here's a look, area by area, of simple changes you can do to make your space more sustainable.

Living Area
Shifting our attention to the living area, our central hub of relaxation. Seating solutions like jute or hemp sofas make for stylish yet sustainable choices. Moreover, throw pillows made of organic fabrics can add a splash of color without compromising eco-values.

In terms of decor, recycled materials are your best allies. Old wine bottles can be transitioned into chic vases. Meanwhile, thrifted art or sculptures can be refreshing conversation starters.

Electronics play a vital role in our daily unwind ritual. Hence, when purchasing, consider energy efficiency ratings. An energy-saving television or sound system reduces electricity consumption, ultimately trimming your bills.

Venturing into the bedroom, especially for kids, the realm of imagination meets reality. Firstly, ensure their beddings are made from materials like organic cotton or bamboo. Soft, hypoallergenic, and environmentally sound. Perfect for a restful night after school shenanigans.

Regarding furniture, upcycled pieces reign supreme. Seek out pre-loved treasures at local thrift stores. Repainting or reupholstering can breathe new life into them. Furthermore, when painting the walls or furniture, aim for eco-friendly paints. They lack harmful chemicals, safeguarding both the environment and your child's health.

An old wooden crate, for instance, can be upcycled into a stylish bookshelf. It's about blending functionality with sustainability.

Organization is essential, especially in kids' rooms that can quickly resemble the aftermath of a mini tornado if not carefully managed. Using old tins for stationery, mason jars for small treasures, or vintage suitcases for toys sparks creativity and is an eco-friendly exercise for youngsters. As you introduce these sustainable practices, it's a great opportunity to help your child get organized and teach them to keep it neat in the middle of their daily activities. Instilling the habits of organizing their room early on shapes future eco-conscious and organized adults.

The Study Space
At the heart of every academic triumph is a conducive study space. Let's initiate our eco journey there. Start with a sustainable desk, perhaps one crafted from bamboo or reclaimed wood. Not only are these materials eco-friendly, but they're also durable. Transitioning next to lighting, opt for LED lights. Bright, energy-efficient, and perfect for those long study hours.

And don't forget about indoor plants. Beyond their aesthetic value, they purify the air. Succulents, for instance, are low-maintenance choices. Also, consider ferns for that touch of greenery, aiding concentration as well.

Storage is key. And when selecting storage solutions, think of repurposed materials. An old wooden crate, for instance, can be upcycled into a stylish bookshelf. It's about blending functionality with sustainability.

DIY Sustainable Decor Ideas
Crafting our own decor brings personal flair to eco-friendly home makeovers. First off, consider reusable fabric bunting. Bright, festive, and zero-waste. Perfect for any celebration or as a whimsical touch in kids' rooms. Moreover, upcycling old containers introduces a creative twist. Those discarded jars? Now, they're quirky vases or candleholders.

But there's more. Nature provides a plethora of craft materials. Take pinecones, for instance. Gathered and arranged, they transform into rustic centerpieces. Similarly, dried flowers encapsulate beauty without the environmental toll of plastic decor. So, let's recap. Making our own sustainable decor champions the environment and ignites our creativity.

Encouraging Sustainable Habits Post-Makeover
So, your home now sparkles with sustainable charm — what’s next? Maintaining these eco-friendly strides is crucial. Firstly, integrate recycling into your daily routine. Easy access bins can make a world of difference.

Composting? That's a game-changer, especially for organic waste. As you bask in your green haven, consider embracing minimalism. Fewer items often mean less waste. And when shopping, remember: quality trumps quantity. Teach your kids this ethos, too. By doing so, you're planting seeds of sustainability in their minds.

The eco-makeover journey doesn't end with decor. It's an ongoing commitment, a lifestyle. Let’s keep the momentum going and inspire others along the way. Green living? It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Eco-friendly home makeovers offer more than aesthetic appeal. They intertwine style with responsibility. Such makeovers go beyond trends; they reflect conscious choices for a healthier planet. Each sustainable touch in your home echoes a commitment to tomorrow.

So, as we've journeyed together through these green ideas, remember the lasting impact. Small changes, when collectively embraced, pave the way for significant transformations. So, why wait? Dive into the world of sustainable decor. Inspire, get inspired, and watch as your home evolves into an eco-haven. Together, we craft a brighter, greener future, one room at a time.

Volleyball milestone reached, SJO's McDonald reaches the 400th match win

Members of the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball program pose for a group photo with head coach Abby McDonald after her 400th win on Monday. The milestone came after the Spartans defeated Hoopeston Area at home in two sets, 25-13, 25-22. Under McDonald's leadership the program has also won nine regional titles, two sectional sectional plaques, and two state trophies, one in 2016 and another three years later in 2019.

Modest about her accomplishment, she said the credit goes to all the players who contributed to the program's success. "Honestly, it's just a number on paper. What I hope it does is inspire them to continue the tradition that not only they have been a part of - this is going to age me - but also the hundreds of girls before them."

Now in her 18th year with SJO, 16 as head coach, with the exception of the abbreviated 2021 season, her teams have posted 20-plus wins every year. SJO is eight wins away from another 20-win season heading into Wednesday night's non-conference home match against the Danville Vikings.

Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Congrats Coach McDonald

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St. Joseph-Ogden's Anna Wentzloff, Alex Frerichs, Hannah Umbarger and Shayne Immke celebrate a point for the Spartans with head coach Abby McDonald during game three of their Class 2A supersectional match against Chicago Christian...

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Quick tips on how to reduce your stress for your next dental appointment

Photo: oswaldoruiz/Pixabay
NAPSI - If you experience anxiety and stress while visiting your dentist, you're not alone. For many people, the idea of going to the dentist stirs up anxiety; however, it's so important to combat those thoughts to keep your smile strong and healthy. To help, here are four tips so you can remain calm while your teeth receive care:

Talk to your dentist: Be open about your anxieties and stress before the appointment so the dentist can ease your mind. If you want to know what's happening during the appointment, they can explain the procedure to you. If you would rather not know, your dentist can tell you when to close your eyes or distract yourself. Work on a signal with your dentist for instance, if you raise your hand during your appointment, it could mean you need a break, or something hurts. Don't be afraid to communicate what you need for a successful trip to the dentist's chair.

Use tools to distract yourself: If the tools or sounds of the dental machines cause you anxiety, find ways to busy yourself. You can bring headphones to listen to your favorite music or podcast while you lounge in the dentist's chair. Objects such as stress balls or fidget spinners are also a great way to keep busy.

Practice mindfulness: To keep your mind off your dentist's appointment, you can practice mindfulness both before and during. Focus on breathing while you're in the waiting room or in the dentist's chair with slow, deep breaths. Relax all the muscles you can, one at a time, with a body scan. Start from your feet all the way up to your neck and shoulders while you're reclined for your appointment.

Bring a friend: Do not feel embarrassed or shy to ask for support! If you have a trusted friend or family member who makes you feel safe, see if they can help you in facing your fear of the dentist. While these tips may not get rid of dental anxiety completely, they are a great place to start so any patient can conquer any dentist appointment.

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Therapeutic dental treatment can reverse the effects of gum disease

TKent Splaingard, DMD, recalls decades ago when he learned his mother had stage three gum disease. Her dental providers told her that dentures were likely in a few years.

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

Make cooking dinner a family activity: A pair of recipes for you and the kids

Family Features - Busy fall schedules often leave little time for the things that matter most – sharing special moments with those you love. This year, as time seems to speed up during another school year, making family bonding a priority in your household can start with a few simple tricks.

Connect with your loved ones this fall while juggling hectic routines with this advice:

Schedule Family Nights
Desiring evenings spent with your nearest and dearest and actually making them happen are two separate things entirely. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season with days that feel too long and evenings that are often too short. Putting dedicated family nights on the calendar is a good way to avoid last-minute commitments that take away from important bonding time. Incorporate some favorite activities, whether your loved ones are board game enthusiasts or movie buffs, to give everyone something exciting to look forward to.

Make Cooking Together a Family Activity
Making dinner for the family shouldn’t take up valuable time that could be used for quality moments together. Seeking out quick and easy recipes leaves more hours in the day to spend with family members – or you can even make preparing dinner a family activity.

Teaching kids how to make your favorite recipes creates great memories and can maximize time spent together. From making kid-approved lunchbox sliders together to preparing time-saving, weeknight-friendly sliders as a family after school, King’s Hawaiian Rolls and Slider Buns have the power to help unite busy parents and picky kids. Plus, they’re soft and fluffy with the right touch of sweetness, and sliders are customizable, easy, fun and always a crowd pleaser. These Ham and Swiss Sliders or Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sliders offer ways kids can help, from layering meats and cheeses to spreading peanut butter. Everyone can lend a hand in the kitchen while enjoying quality time together.

Encourage Extracurricular Participation
Beyond those special moments at home, there are plenty of ways to connect with your kiddos. Encouraging them to participate in extracurriculars, like sports, band, theater, dance, choir or other activities, provides a great way to enjoy something together as you watch your children branch out and try new things. If they happen to try an activity you used to (or still do) participate in, it’s an easy way to make a unique connection by sharing your own memories, offering helpful tips or even passing down old equipment like sports gear or an instrument.

Find more inspiration for family bonding with delicious meals and snacks by visiting

Ham and Swiss Sliders

Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 package (12 rolls) King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • 1 pound shaved deli ham
  • 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Melt butter and set aside.
  2. Cut entire pack of rolls in half horizontally, keeping all top and bottom halves intact.
  3. In 9-by-13-inch pan, place bottom halves of rolls and cover with ham and cheese.
  4. Cover ham and cheese stacks with top halves of rolls. Drizzle butter mixture over tops of rolls.
  5. Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes. Separate rolls for serving.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sliders

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4-6

  • 1 package (12 rolls) King's Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls
  • 4 tablespoons salted peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  1. Cut entire pack of rolls in half horizontally, keeping all top and bottom halves intact.
  2. Spread peanut butter on bottom halves followed by strawberry jam. Top with banana slices then top halves of rolls.


How social media fuels today's gun violence - ‘All We Want Is Revenge’

Photo by Max Kleinen on Unsplash
by By Liz Szabo
Kaiser Health News

Juan Campos has been working to save at-risk teens from gun violence for 16 years.

As a street outreach worker in Oakland, California, he has seen the pull and power of gangs. And he offers teens support when they’ve emerged from the juvenile justice system, advocates for them in school, and, if needed, helps them find housing, mental health services, and treatment for substance abuse.

But, he said, he’s never confronted a force as formidable as social media, where small boasts and disputes online can escalate into deadly violence in schoolyards and on street corners.

Teens post photos or videos of themselves with guns and stacks of cash, sometimes calling out rivals, on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. When messages go viral, fueled by “likes” and comments, the danger is hard to contain, Campos said.

“It’s hundreds of people on social media, versus just one or two people trying to guide youth in a positive way,” he said. Sometimes his warnings are stark, telling kids, “I want to keep you alive.” But, he said, “it doesn’t work all the time.”

Shamari Martin Jr. was an outgoing 14-year-old and respectful to his teachers in Oakland. Mixed in with videos of smiling friends on his Instagram feed were images of Shamari casually waving a gun or with cash fanned across his face. In March 2022, he was shot when the car he was in took a hail of bullets. His body was left on the street, and emergency medical workers pronounced him dead at the scene.

More than a year later, Shamari’s death remains unsolved.

In Shamari’s neighborhood, kids join gangs when they’re as young as 9 or 10, sometimes carrying guns to elementary school, said Tonyia “Nina” Carter, a violence interrupter who knew Shamari and works with Youth Alive, which tries to prevent violence. Shamari “was somewhat affiliated with that culture” of gangs and guns, Carter said.

Shamari’s friends poured out their grief on Instagram with broken-heart emojis and comments such as “love you brother I’m heart hurt.”

One post was more ominous: “it’s blood inna water all we want is revenge.” Rivals posted videos of themselves kicking over flowers and candles at Shamari’s memorial.

Such online outpourings of grief often presage additional violence, said Desmond Patton, a University of Pennsylvania professor who studies social media and firearm violence.

More than a year later, Shamari’s death remains unsolved. But it’s still a volatile subject in Oakland, said Bernice Grisby, a counselor at the East Bay Asian Youth Center, who works with gang-involved youth.

“There’s still a lot of gang violence going on around his name,” she said. “It could be as simple as someone saying, ‘Forget him or F him’ — that can be a death sentence. Just being affiliated with his name in any sort can get you killed.”

The U.S. surgeon general last month issued a call to action about social media’s corrosive effects on child and adolescent mental health, warning of the “profound risk of harm” to young people, who can spend hours a day on their phones. The 25-page report highlighted the risks of cyberbullying and sexual exploitation. It failed to mention social media’s role in escalating gun violence.

Acutely aware of that role are researchers, community leaders, and police across the country — including in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. They describe social media as a relentless driver of gun violence.

Social media is an extremely powerful tool for metastasizing disrespect

Michel Moore, the Los Angeles police chief, called its impact “dramatic.”

“What used to be communicated on the street or in graffiti or tagging or rumors from one person to another, it’s now being distributed and amplified on social media,” he said. “It’s meant to embarrass and humiliate others.”

Many disputes stem from perceived disrespect among insecure young adults who may lack impulse control and conflict-management skills, said LJ Punch, a trauma surgeon and director of the Bullet-Related Injury Clinic in St. Louis.

“Social media is an extremely powerful tool for metastasizing disrespect,” Punch said. And of all the causes of gun violence, social media-fueled grudges are “the most impenetrable.”

Calls for Regulation

Social media companies are protected by a 1996 law that shields them from liability for content posted on their platforms. Yet the deaths of young people have led to calls to change that.

Photo by dole777 on Unsplash

“When you allow a video that leads to a shooting, you bear responsibility for what you put out there,” said Fred Fogg, national director of violence prevention for Youth Advocate Programs, a group that provides alternatives to youth incarceration. “Social media is addictive, and intentionally so.”

People note that social media can have a particularly pernicious effect in communities with high rates of gun violence.

“Social media companies need to be better regulated in order to make sure they aren’t encouraging violence in Black communities,” said Jabari Evans, an assistant professor of race and media at the University of South Carolina. But he said social media companies also should help “dismantle the structural racism” that places many Black youth “in circumstances that resign them to want to join gangs, carry guns to school, or take on violent personas for attention.”

L.A.’s Moore described social media companies as serving “in a reactionary role. They are profit-driven. They don’t want to have any type of control or restrictions that would suppress advertising.”

Social media companies say they remove content that violates their policies against threatening others or encouraging violence as quickly as possible. In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Jack Malon said the company “prohibits content reveling in or mocking the death or serious injury of an identifiable individual.”

As a company, we have every commercial and moral incentive to try to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on Facebook.

Social media companies said they act to protect the safety of their users, especially children.

Rachel Hamrick, a spokesperson for Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said the company has spent about $16 billion in the past seven years to protect the safety of people who post on its apps, employing 40,000 people at Facebook who work on safety and security.

“We remove content, disable accounts and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety,” Hamrick said. “As a company, we have every commercial and moral incentive to try to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on Facebook. That’s why we take steps to keep people safe even if it impacts our bottom line.”

Meta platforms generated revenue of over $116 billion in 2022, most of which came from advertising.

A spokesperson for Snapchat, Pete Boogaard, said the company deletes violent content within minutes of being notified of it. But, Fogg noted, by the time a video is removed, hundreds of people may have seen it.

Even critics acknowledge that the sheer volume of content on social media is difficult to control. Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly users worldwide; YouTube has nearly 2.7 billion users; Instagram has 2 billion. If a company shuts down one account, a person can simply open a new one, said Tara Dabney, a director at the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago.

“Things could be going great in a community,” Fogg said, “and then the next thing you know, something happens on social media and folks are shooting at each other.”

Playing With Fire

At a time when virtually every teen has a cellphone, many have access to guns, and many are coping with mental and emotional health crises, some say it’s not surprising that violence features so heavily in children’s social media feeds.

High school “fight pages” are now common on social media, and teens are quick to record and share fights as soon as they break out.

“Social media puts everything on steroids,” said the Rev. Cornell Jones, the group violence intervention coordinator for Pittsburgh.

Like adults, many young people feel validated when their posts are liked and shared, Jones said.

“We are dealing with young people who don’t have great self-esteem, and this ‘love’ they are getting on social media can fill some of that void,” Jones said. “But it can end with them getting shot or going to the penitentiary.”

While many of today’s teens are technologically sophisticated — skilled at filming and editing professional-looking videos — they remain naive about the consequences of posting violent content, said Evans, of the University of South Carolina.

Police in Los Angeles now monitor social media for early signs of trouble, Moore said. Police also search social media after the fact to gather evidence against those involved in violence.

“People want to gain notoriety,” Moore said, “but they’re clearly implicating themselves and giving us an easy path to bring them to justice.”

They can come and scream and I won’t fuss at them.

In February, New Jersey police used a video of a 14-year-old girl’s vicious school beating to file criminal charges against four teens. The victim of the assault, Adriana Kuch, died by suicide two days after the video went viral.

Preventing the Next Tragedy

Glen Upshaw, who manages outreach workers at Youth Alive in Oakland, said he encourages teens to express their anger with him rather than on social media. He absorbs it, he said, to help prevent kids from doing something foolish.

“I’ve always offered youth the chance to call me and curse me out,” Upshaw said. “They can come and scream and I won’t fuss at them.”

Workers at Youth Advocate Programs monitor influential social media accounts in their communities to de-escalate conflicts. “The idea is to get on it as soon as possible,” Fogg said. “We don’t want people to die over a social media post.”

It’s sometimes impossible, Campos said. “You can’t tell them to delete their social media accounts,” he said. “Even a judge won’t tell them that. But I can tell them, ‘If I were you, since you’re on probation, I wouldn’t be posting those kinds of things.’”

When he first worked with teens at high risk of violence, “I said if I can save 10 lives out of 100, I’d be happy,” Campos said. “Now, if I can save one life out of 100, I’m happy.”

KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs at KFF—an independent source of health policy research, polling, and journalism. Learn more about KFF.

Under the lights, SJO soccer team drops home contest on new turf

Despite the efforts of Illineks' Robert Tu, St. Joseph-Ogden keeper Jacek Slowikowski makes a save during second half action of the SJO's home match against University High. The sophomore made 12 saves on 18 shots defending the Spartans' goal. The game on Saturday was the first soccer game under the lights at the newly renovated Dick Duval Field. Physical and disciplined on the pitch, Uni-High prevailed over St. Joseph-Ogden, 6-3. Look for a photo gallery from this game later this week on The Sentinel.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

SJO football tied at #1 with BCC after Week 3 game

Spartans' Sam Shonkwiler
St. Joseph-Ogden Sam Shonkwiler blocks Prairie Central's Jacob Vega during first half action of their Week 3 game at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

St. Joseph - After three weeks of play, St. Joseph-Ogden and Bloomington Central Catholic remain undefeated and at the top of Illini Prairie Conference competition. The two teams will meet at Dick Duval Field on Septemeber 29.

The Saints, who have scored 163 points this season, have given up just two touchdowns against in their wins over Pontiac (1-2, IPC), Rantoul (0-3 overall - 0-2, IPC), and Paxton-Buckley-Loda (2-1, overall - 1-1, IPC).

Challenging BCC for the top spot in the conference, St. Joseph-Ogden beat Monticello (1-1, overall/IPC) and Prairie Central (1-2, overall/IPC) at home on Dick Duval Field. Week 2, the Spartans capitalized on a late game turnover to survive at Hicks Field over Unity (2-1, overall/IPC), 38-35.

SJO looks to extend their unblemished record to 4-0 later this week when they host Illinois Valley Central for Homecoming on Friday. Meanwhile, Unity, who crushed IVC 49-9 last week, will host St. Teresa in a non-conference match-up at 7 pm.

Week 3 Illini Prairie Football Standings
1. Bloomington Central Catholic 3-0
1. St. Joseph-Ogden 3-0
3. Tolono Unity 2-1
4. Monticello 1-1
4. Paxton-Buckley-Loda 1-1
6. Prairie Central 1-2
6. Pontiac 1-2
8. Rantoul 0-2
9. Illinois Valley Central 0-3

Related articles:

SJO off to a solid start, beats Prairie Central
Six moments from St. Joseph-Ogden's home game against Prairie Central.

Photo Gallery | Spartans posts road win at Unity
34 great photos from this year's gridiron thriller at Hicks Field.

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