chloe-scroggins
Author

Chloe Scroggins | Contributor

Chloe Scroggins was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities, and is now the Mail Agriculture Columnist. She is from Danvers, Illinois, and is currently attending Southern Illinois University to study Ag Communications.

 


A Diversity of Crops
Farm News

A Diversity of Crops

Although Illinois is known for being a leading producer in corn and soybeans, the state has a larger diversity in the crops grown than just those two crops. The climate and soil types that vary throughout the state allow for farmers to grow wheat, oats, grain sorghum, fruits, and many vegetables. Some specialty crops that are able to grow include buckwheat, horseradish, and Christmas trees. Illinois is able to grow such a wide variety because our state extends 400 miles from the northern border to the most southern part of the state. Within the 400-mile range, temperatures can vary 10 to 12 degrees, allowing for different growing seasons. For the soil, 89% of the state’s farmland is considered prime farmland according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. McLean County has soil known as “drummer soil”, and it is some of the best soil in the world.   READ MORE...

Farm News  |  October 10, 2021
Get to Know the National FFA

Get to Know the National FFA

FFA is a youth organization focused on agriculture and leadership. There are local FFA chapters (like the Olympia High School FFA Chapter), state FFA associations (which are made up of the local chapters), and the National FFA Organization. The National FFA Organization is led by a board of directors and six student national officers. There are just above 735,000 National FFA members. Before we dig deeper into the National FFA Organization, it is important to understand and appreciate how the organization is able to do what it does today. 

Farm News  |  October 3, 2021
Harvest 2021 Update

Harvest 2021 Update

Since the first day the combines were able to get into the field this season, there has been almost a non-stop flow of work to be done. Harvest 2021 is moving fast this year, especially for farmers who have corn to harvest. The corn has dried down really fast. Some farmers are finishing up harvesting their corn already. Soybeans aren’t moving at quite the same pace as corn is and are actually in need of a little bit of rain. September was a dry month for Central IL in terms of rainfall. A lot of soybeans are too dry right now, causing many farmers to hope for rain. 

Current News/Happenings  |  September 26, 2021
Hurricane Ida's Agricultural Damage

Hurricane Ida's Agricultural Damage

Although we are roughly 850 miles away from where Hurricane Ida struck land, the effects on agriculture from the hurricane can be felt across the nation. While the damage is more detrimental to Louisiana residents, we will highlight a few of the areas where we could feel the effect here in Central IL. First, it is important to look at what damage has been done to Louisiana agriculture to understand the effects that it could have on us. 

Agriculture at Home  |  September 19, 2021
Fall Vegetable Garden

Fall Vegetable Garden

Gardening season is here yet again! This phrase seems “wrong” to say at this time of year with fall harvest occurring, but it is possible to plant a fall vegetable garden outside despite the declining temperatures. To harvest your crop in time you will want to begin soon. This is dependent on what you choose to plant, but a great rule of thumb is to take the average first fall frost date and work backwards with the amount of time the vegetable needs to grow. If possible, you will want to add a little extra time because of the shorter amount of sunlight than in the spring. Frost typically begins in our area mid-October, so this would be a good year for vegetables with a short harvest season. However, knowing that a fall vegetable garden can be planted is useful information for all future fall seasons! If you do want to try to plant something that takes longer to grow, it is not impossible. Crops can be covered with an old sheet, blanket, or tarp when frost is in the forecast and some vegetables you may choose to plant can withstand a frost that stays at 32℉. Spinach, cabbage, radishes, and broccoli can survive frost temperatures down to 28℉.

Farm News  |  September 12, 2021
Farm Progress Show

Farm Progress Show

Decatur, IL welcomed the Farm Progress Show to their town August 31st through September 2nd. The annual event alternates between the Decatur location, on odd-numbered years, and a location in Boone, Iowa, who hosts on even-numbered years. The first Farm Progress Show made its appearance as an event on October 2, 1953. It was held at the Earl Bass Farm in Armstrong, IL and had over 75,000 visitors in attendance. The purpose of the event is to display progress that is currently being made in equipment, seed varieties, and chemicals. The Farm Progress Show website summarizes the show’s history into three sentences. They state, “Every day, agribusinesses and manufacturers are hard at work designing and building products. If you want a better glimpse of what tomorrow’s agriculture will look like, the Farm Progress Show is a must-stop. After all, this has been the legacy since the show began.” The show first arrived in Decatur in 2005. The Decatur location can now host over 600 exhibitors and more visitors than ever. The Farm Progress show is sponsored by Grinnell Mutual, John Deer, and Syngenta. 

Farm News  |  September 5, 2021
Harvest Safety Tips

Harvest Safety Tips

Harvest is right around the corner, and it is critical to know about safety on the road, safety for the field, and equipment safety. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevent, often referred to as the CDC, agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. The CDC states, “Farmers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries; and farming is one of the few industries in which family members (who often share the work and live on the premises) are also at risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries.” Everyday about 100 workers in the agriculture industry will suffer an injury that will take them out of work for any given amount of time. This information doesn’t take into account rural residents that don’t work in the industry and have encounters with farmers during harvest. 

Farm News  |  August 29, 2021
Armyworms Invasion

Armyworms Invasion

Armyworms have invaded hay fields all across Central Illinois, and many local farmers took action against the insect this past week. The armyworms, which are fall armyworms or scientifically named spodoptera frugiperda, invade in late summer or early fall. They are unable to survive the cold winter months. The fall armyworm prefers drought-like conditions. They are usually most active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. 

Top Story  |  August 22, 2021
Danvers Days and Waynesville Fling Return

Danvers Days and Waynesville Fling Return

This weekend brought back two loved events in our community. Danvers Days was a Friday through Sunday event and the Waynesville Fall Fling was a Friday and Saturday event. Both celebrations were filled with activities for community members to enjoy. If you missed the fun, here is an overview of the events that occurred!

Spotlight  |  August 15, 2021
Noah's Ark Small Animal Hospital

Noah's Ark Small Animal Hospital

The phrase “dogs are a man’s best friend” applies to lots more animals than just dogs when you are talking about Veterinarian Shawn Hohulin. Doctor Shawn runs Noah’s Ark Small Animal Hospital in Minier, IL and is one of the best in the business.  Noah’s Ark Small Animal Hospital is located on Route 122 just outside of Minier to the west. The business began in the 1990s in the town of Miner, but moved to the current location in the mid-to-late 1990s. 

Athlete of the Week  |  August 15, 2021
Andrew Nichols

Andrew Nichols

Our last athlete of the week spotlight before the start of the 2021-2022 school year highlights 2021 Olympia High School graduate and Danvers native, Andrew Nichols. Nichols was a member of the varsity baseball and basketball teams and also a member of National Honor Society and Student Bank Board. He was a three-year starter for the varsity baseball team and would have been a four year starter if his junior season wouldn’t have been lost due to the pandemic. This year, he will be attending Illinois State University to study finance. Although Andrew’s athletic career is over, his leadership impact on his younger teammates will be apparent especially in the baseball program for many more years. Nichols, along with former teammate Hayden Stork, have been working with younger generations of Olympia baseball players. They work to help the young athletes improve their game and develop into the future of Oly baseball. 

Top Story  |  August 8, 2021
Bumper Crop of Local Produce

Bumper Crop of Local Produce

Looking for local and fresh produce? No need to look any further! We have lined up a list of where you can find fresh produce in our Central Illinois area. Our first find begins in Atlanta, IL.

Community Spotlight  |  August 8, 2021
Church Celebrates 150 Year Anniversary

Church Celebrates 150 Year Anniversary

McLean’s Ebenezer United Methodist Church celebrates their 150th anniversary! A committee was set up to plan events for this whole year to celebrate, but like many other things, the pandemic forced the church to halt their plans. One thing from the agenda that was able to be accomplished was a history book that holds information from the start of the church to current day. The book is available to be seen in the church and contains interesting artifacts. These artifacts include: pictures, recipes, and items from events such as weddings, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving celebrations. 

High School Sports  |  August 8, 2021
Basketball Coach Tom Garriott

Basketball Coach Tom Garriott

This week’s coaches spotlight brings us to the basketball court, where boys’ basketball coach Tom Garriott discusses his coaching career, his time at Olympia, and the culture of his basketball team. So far, Garriott’s favorite part about coaching at Olympia has been the player’s work ethics and attitudes. He explained that the players have kept a positive attitude, despite all the challenges COVID restrictions brought to the season. The work ethic and attitude of the Spartan basketball players fits right into the culture Garriott wants in his basketball program. “Hard work, great attitudes, and putting the team before all individual accolades is a culture most coaches strive for. So far, I like the direction we are going,” stated Garriott. 

Community Spotlight  |  August 1, 2021
K & R Country Band

K & R Country Band

K & R Country Band is a local band that performs classic and outlaw country music. The band consists of six members who are: Kelly VanDyke, Roger VanDyke, Jimmy Birkey, Rick Tackett, Marty Davis, and Mark Martin. The band began in the spring of 2019 when Kelly and Roger VanDyke would play music at the Kentuckiana Kampground outside of Hopedale, IL. They would have 15 to 20 other people from the campground sit and listen to songs, and even sing along. Roger and Kelly began the band as a duo, and they would play for small venues. They invited Jimmy Birkey to a practice, and they all clicked together perfectly. It didn’t take much time for Marty Davis and Rick Tackett to join. Kelly VanDyke plays the rhythm guitar and leads vocals, Roger VanDyke plays the rhythm guitar and does vocals, Jimmy Birkey plays the lead guitar and does vocals, Rick Tackett plays the bass guitar, Marty Davis plays the drums, and Mark Martin does the soundboard. 

Community Spotlight  |  August 1, 2021
OHS Adds Chicken Coop in Honor of Local Farmer

OHS Adds Chicken Coop in Honor of Local Farmer

The Olympia High School agriculture department has recently added a chicken coop outside of the school where they will raise hens and have hands-on learning opportunities. Richard “Dick” Johnson of Atlanta passed away last year, and his family chose Olympia FFA to be one of the organizations to donate some memorial money to. Johnson was a local farmer who had an egg delivery business, so the Olympia agriculture department found it fitting to buy a chicken coop for the school. The high school agricultural science class already raises chickens every year as part of their class experience. The class does a feed trial to learn about animal nutrition and the basics of taking care of animals. In the past, the hens would be sent to a local farm, but the new chicken coop offers the opportunity to keep the hens on campus for a year-round experience with the animals.

Athlete of the Week  |  August 1, 2021
Savanah Beavers

Savanah Beavers

This week’s athlete of the week is Savanah Beavers, a hardworking and dedicated student-athlete. Savanah is a 2021 graduate from Olympia High School and Danvers native who ran cross country and track and field during her time as a Spartan. Savanah has competed in the State Meet for cross country every year since she was in 6th grade at Olympia Middle School. She has also competed in the State Meet for track in two seasons. She holds five all-state honors along with multiple all-conference, regional, and sectional awards. On top of all of that, Savanah has collected multiple awards and honors from different places in our area. She is the 3200m school record holder in track and field with a time of 11 minutes, 4.33 seconds. Throughout all of those achievements, Savanah believes that the 2017 cross country season stands out as her favorite. She stated, “The 2017 season stands out as being my favorite for the team's camaraderie and the personal growth I experienced. Throughout the season, we surprised ourselves with winning some meets and then finishing 8th at State.” She struggled with some health problems that season and learned to prioritize team success when she wasn’t able to perform her best individually.

Top Story  |  July 25, 2021
Mosquito Populations Explode

Mosquito Populations Explode

Mosquitoes are described as small flies that are part of the family of dipteran flies, with females that have organs adapted to puncture the skin of animals to suck their blood. Or, more simply stated, small flies that leave itchy, annoying bites. Mosquitos have hit hard in our area this year, especially in areas that have had a lot of rain the last few months. Knowing this, it is easy to wonder what our local governments are doing to fix the problem. Here’s the answer. 

High School Sports  |  July 25, 2021
Softball Asst. Coach Darrel Dubree

Softball Asst. Coach Darrel Dubree

Darrel Dubree is the Olympia High School softball assistant coach. Dubree started his coaching career at Olympia in 2009 as a volunteer coach for the high school team. That year, the Spartans won a state championship. Since then, he hasn’t turned back from working with the Spartans. Dubree has spent his entire coaching career at Olympia. He became the high school assistant and the middle school assistant coach in 2011, then became the middle school head coach in 2016. Before his time working with school softball, Dubree coached travel softball throughout the years that his daughter played for the Oly Fire organization. His first year in that role was in 2001, and he has filled assistant and head coaching roles throughout the last 20 years. It is safe to say that Dubree is committed to Olympia softball.

Community Spotlight  |  July 18, 2021
Danvers Town Band

Danvers Town Band

To the outsider, small towns may seem boring and uneventful. However, we know that is not the case. From festivals to tractor pulls, there are lots of things that bring excitement to small towns. Town bands also bring excitement, and this week we spotlight the Danvers Town Band. President of the band, Andrew Argo, is unsure exactly when the band first started, but they have pictures of a Danvers Band from 1905. Many families have had generations of members in the band. Argo is a fourth-generation member. At the beginning of the 1900s, many little towns had a community band to give entertainment to the people living in each town, according to Argo. The Danvers Town Band began playing on Saturday nights, but changed performances to Sunday nights in the 1990s because it was easier to get members to play in the band. In over a century, the band has only missed two years of performances. These two years were during World War II.

Spotlight  |  July 18, 2021
Earlybird Grain and Fertilizer

Earlybird Grain and Fertilizer

Stanford’s Earlybird Grain and Fertilizer is a family business that you can trust with your ag inputs and chemical and fertilizer application needs. The business began in 1964, making this the 57th year Earlybird has been in business. Their helpful staff members include: Gerry Doehrmann, Shawn Desch, Erica Motes, Scott Freitag, Bill Carpenter, Justin Hodges, Andrew Knoll, and Quentin Frost. While describing the type of customer service they provide, Bill Carpenter stated, “Everybody here cares about every customer. Whether it is a big or small customer, everyone is treated the same. We work hard to please everyone.”

Athlete of the Week  |  July 18, 2021
Danika Frazier

Danika Frazier

This week’s athlete of the week is Danika Frazier, a member of the class of 2024 at Olympia High School from Danvers, IL. Frazier plays softball, volleyball, basketball, and participates in key club and FCA. While she is a well-rounded athlete, Frazier excels in softball. She is a right-handed pitcher that also brought power to the Spartan’s lineup. This previous season, where the Spartan Softball team finished top 16 in the state, she had over 200 strikeouts in the circle and 11 home runs up to bat. Her 11 home runs led the Illini Prairie Conference in home runs. She was also the RBI leader. 

Top Story  |  July 11, 2021
Warriors Hike To Prevent Veteran Suicides

Warriors Hike To Prevent Veteran Suicides

The Irreverent Warriors, a group with an impactful mission. The Irreverent Warriors are an organization working to improve mental health and prevent suicide among Veterans. They strive to create a healthy culture among their members. They work to accomplish their goals through events, creative engagements, and strong Veteran-based support networks.

Meet The Chief  |  July 11, 2021
Bob Stroud

Bob Stroud

This week we go to Armington for our “Meet the Chief” series. Bob Stroud has been Armington’s Fire Chief since January 2021. When asked about what the best part of being the chief is, Stroud proclaimed, “The best part is being a part of a good group of people who are there to help out when others need it.” Armington’s Community Fire and Rescue Protection District was founded in 1948. The firefighters are all volunteer workers. Their district services parts of Logan and Tazewell counties. 

High School Sports  |  July 11, 2021
Girls Swimming Coach Jenny Gillis

Girls Swimming Coach Jenny Gillis

Jenny Gillis is going into her 5th season as the Olympia High School Head Girls Swimming Coach. Gillis is also a 4th grade teacher at Olympia North Elementary School, but her Olympia ties do not end there. She grew up outside of Danvers and attended Danvers Elementary then continued at Olympia through high school. During her time at Olympia, she swam for Olympia Country Swimmers from when she was 10 years old through middle school. During high school, she swam for the Olympia High School team all four years. After her time at Olympia, Gillis went on to study at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL. 

Community Spotlight  |  July 4, 2021
Waynesville's Gingerbread Park

Waynesville's Gingerbread Park

Gingerbread Park is a park located on the corner of Isham and 4th in Waynesville. There is playground equipment, a basketball court, green space for playing ball, and a pavilion. Gingerbread Park began in 1975, when the pavilion was built. The next additions were the merry-go-round and swings from the Waynesville Grade School after it closed. The park has only developed greatly since then, and much of the credit can go to the Waynesville Women’s Club. 

Spotlight  |  July 4, 2021
Cremeens U-Stor-It

Cremeens U-Stor-It

Cremeens U-Stor-It provides storage needs for three of our local towns. The business has locations for self-storage set up in Hopedale, Minier, and Delavan, IL. Cremeens U-Stor-It is a family owned and operated business that began in 1993. Myrna Cremeens and her husband built two storage buildings as a way to make a good retirement income. Those first two buildings were located in Hopedale and Minier, with one in each town. Myrna explained that they kept adding buildings to each location as they felt it was necessary and expanded to Delavan about 7 years ago.

Athlete of the Week  |  July 4, 2021
Taylor Nowaskie

Taylor Nowaskie

A dominant three sport athlete, great student, and even better person. What more could you ask for out of a high school role model in the community? Taylor Nowaskie, a soon-to-be senior at Olympia High School, is this week’s athlete of the week. Nowaskie plays basketball, volleyball, and competes in track and field for the Spartans. During the 2020-21 school year, she was even a four-sport athlete. Nowaskie, a Danvers’ native, participated in cross country during what would’ve ended up being an offseason due to rearranged seasons because of COVID.

Top Story  |  June 27, 2021
Hopedale’s Annual 4th of July Celebration

Hopedale’s Annual 4th of July Celebration

Independence Day: “the annual celebration of nationhood”. July 4th brings excitement and celebration across our entire country. In our small towns we have many options for fireworks and fun in honor of the day the United States officially became its own nation. The annual 4th of July Celebration in Hopedale is approaching fast and you do not want to miss out. Here is what the small town has in store for the Fourth of July weekend.

Meet The Chief  |  June 27, 2021
Michael Kemp

Michael Kemp

How can you tell when someone truly loves their job? Danvers’ Police Chief, Michael Kemp, shows his passion and love for his job. In this week’s edition of “Meet the Chief” we learn about why Chief Kemp became a police officer, what it is like working in his profession, and why he loves his job. 

High School Sports  |  June 27, 2021
Coach Courtney Hoffman

Coach Courtney Hoffman

Courtney Hoffman is the softball and girls basketball coach at Olympia High School. She moved into the Olympia district in 2015, and only coached basketball her first year at the school. Since then, she has been a two-sport coach and is leaving an impact throughout our community. Hoffman is a PE teacher at Olympia High School. She is also the head coach of the 12u Oly Fire Softball team that her daughter Finley plays on. 

Community Spotlight  |  June 20, 2021
Summer Fun in Area Parks

Summer Fun in Area Parks

The beginning of summer always brings excitement to our small towns because of the nice weather and break before the next school year. Without school to fill the time during the days for the children in our community, what is there to do? Our local park districts have you covered! Here is what each town has to offer:

Spotlight  |  June 20, 2021
JD's DJ Service:  The Soundtrack for Cruise Nights

JD's DJ Service: The Soundtrack for Cruise Nights

Everything happens for a reason. This well-known phrase holds true in our business spotlight today. Jeff McGee experienced a no-show for the DJ he hired for his wedding. He improvised and took over the responsibilities of DJ and groom. After working as the DJ for a friend’s weekend, his business never looked back. JDs DJ Service started on November 23, 1991 and began with working weddings and parties. Since then, the business has shifted to working automotive events. The mobile DJ service caters to car shows and cruise nights. McGee’s DJ service is located out of Delavan, IL and has different options for the services that can be provided.

Athlete of the Week  |  June 20, 2021
Kennedy Smith

Kennedy Smith

Kennedy Smith is an Olympia 2021 graduate from Waynesville who was involved in National Honor Society, Blue Crew, Varsity Basketball, Varsity Softball, and was a Middle School Softball Coach during her time at Olympia High School! She has participated in a year of sports unlike the rest of her time as a high school student. Despite this, she still enjoyed her time as an athlete and made unforgettable memories with her teammates and coaches.

Top Story  |  June 13, 2021
55th Annual Tremont Turkey Festival

55th Annual Tremont Turkey Festival

The Tremont Turkey Festival ran from June 11th through the 13th this year! It was the 55th year that the festival has occurred. Last year it was not able to happen because of COVID restrictions, so this past weekend was an exciting time in Tremont, IL. The event is organized by community volunteers, who do an excellent job at making the festival an exciting time for the community. 

Community Spotlight  |  June 13, 2021
Madison Jones Crowned Miss Tremont

Madison Jones Crowned Miss Tremont

After missing last year’s contest due to COVID, the Miss Tremont Pageant was able to happen on June 6th. In order to compete for the title, one must be a female, junior or senior in high school, and a Tremont resident. Madison Jones was crowned Miss Tremont for 2021. She is going into her senior year at Tremont High School. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to conduct an interview with her, where we discussed all aspects of the pageant. 

College Softball  |  June 13, 2021
2021 Women’s College World Series

2021 Women’s College World Series

The 2021 Women’s College World Series was nothing short of exciting and lived up to all expectations given from missing the 2020 WCWs. The eight teams competing were (1) Oklahoma, (2) UCLA, (3) Alabama, (5) Oklahoma State, (10) Florida State, (11) Arizona, Georgia, and James Madison University. All 17 possible games were played throughout the tournament. 

Spotlight  |  June 6, 2021
Simply Sweet Cakes

Simply Sweet Cakes

Simply Sweet Cakes is a specialty cake and cupcake shop located at 107 W Pearl St in Tremont, IL. Throughout the year, the shop offers over 120 flavors of cupcakes and will have up to 30 flavors available daily. Flavors available for each month can be found by going to the “flavors and fillings” tab on the Simply Sweet Cakes Website. Three flavors that will be offered for cupcakes in June include: lemonade, hot fudge sundae, and turtle. Their cakes are covered with homemade buttercream icing. Simply Sweet Cakes claims to offer “the most unique cakes and cupcakes around central Illinois”. Based on the pictures shown on the business’ Facebook and website, their claim seems to be true. Each cake truly is a unique piece of art.

High School Sports  |  June 6, 2021
OHS Weekly Sports Recap

OHS Weekly Sports Recap

On Monday, softball and baseball both competed at home versus Prairie Central. Softball won 5-4 with a walk-off bunt from Freshman Jordyn Turner. Mariah Maris tied the game with a squeeze play bunt that brought in Kennedy Smith. Baseball won big over the Hawks, with Ryan Cleinmark leading the team to a 9-1 win. Cleinmark had four hits for the Spartans.

Top Story  |  May 30, 2021
Memorial Day: Remember and Honor

Memorial Day: Remember and Honor

On Monday, May 31st, Americans celebrate Memorial Day. Memorial Day is celebrated to honor the men and women who have died while serving in our United States military. The holiday is always observed on the last Monday in May and was originally called Decoration Day. It was originally called Decoration Day because it isn’t an observation of one particular battle.

Community Spotlight  |  May 30, 2021
Willis Snowmobile Museum

Willis Snowmobile Museum

When you think about the small towns in our area, the first word that likely comes to mind is farming. However, we know that all small towns have their own gems that distinguish them aside from farming. Atlanta has The Bunyon Giant, Danvers has Danvers Days, but what about Hopedale? Well, Hopedale has the Willis Snowmobile Museum. The Willis Snowmobile Museum began with a small collection of snowmobiles and has grown rapidly since. They have about 150 on display at all times, but more than double that amount in their total collection. Willis Snowmobile Museum is located in a refurbished general store in downtown Hopedale, IL. Two generations of the Willis family have been involved with the museum. Russel Willis and his three sons, Danny, Darrin, and Donny, find the snowmobiles for the collection and take care of the museum. The family keeps the snowmobile museum as a hobby and passion of theirs, more than just running it like a business.

Spotlight  |  May 23, 2021
Paws Awhile Dog Grooming

Paws Awhile Dog Grooming

Paws Awhile Dog Grooming is a dog grooming business based out of Stanford, IL. Stephanie Smith began her business about three years ago. She was given the idea from local people in the area telling her how convenient it would be to have a dog groomer for all of the small towns in the area. Smith discussed that she started grooming out of her house part time until she had built up enough business to have a full-time shop. Paws Awhile has nothing but positive reviews and comments from the business’ Facebook customers. One review left stated, “We absolutely love bringing our dogs to Stephanie! She is a wonderful groomer, patient and extremely affordable. And our dogs like it there too.” Smith’s business is rated five out of five stars from the customers. 

High School Sports  |  May 23, 2021
OHS Weekly Sports Recap

OHS Weekly Sports Recap

On Monday, baseball and softball were scheduled to play at Central Catholic and soccer was scheduled to play at Riverton. All activities were cancelled due to the weather.

Top Story  |  May 16, 2021
How Climate Change Impacts Local Farms

How Climate Change Impacts Local Farms

Climate change has been apparent throughout the world’s history due to natural forces such as solar radiation, volcanoes, etc. However, humans can also impact climate change. The current climate change situation in the world is the cause of a mix of natural and human forces. What does climate change look like in our state?

Community Spotlight  |  May 16, 2021
CORE of McLean

CORE of McLean

Our community spotlight for the week highlights CORE of McLean. The nonprofit organization is made up of a small group of volunteers who are dedicated to bringing more pride, life, and activity into the town of McLean. CORE President, Katie Funk, stated “We want to make McLean a great place to live as well as a community that attracts visitors and businesses.” Along with President Katie Funk, CORE’s other board members are Jeff Hake, Vice President, and Tom Ludlam, Treasurer. The small group of volunteers help with the organization’s projects and events. The organization’s motto is: Pride in our Past, Progress in the Present, Prosperity in the Future. Katie Funk has been involved with CORE since 2013 and has been their President since 2017. While discussing her involvement with the organization, Funk proclaimed, “My favorite part is seeing people enjoying the fruits of our efforts, whether that's taking a photo in front of our mural, admiring the beautiful flowers on the square, or having a great time at our run/walk. Seeing people's smiles is always the best part.”

Spotlight  |  May 9, 2021
Grayco Heating and Cooling: Quality and Service

Grayco Heating and Cooling: Quality and Service

Tim and Julie Gray began Grayco Heating and Cooling 36 years ago, and have been based out of Danvers, IL for the last 26 of those years. The heating and cooling company repairs existing furnaces and air conditioners and installs new ones as well. They are an authorized AMANA dealer. The local company is an entirely family-owned business. Tim is the chief engineer and Mason and Michael are the HVAC service technicians. Mason and Michael are the ones who service and install all of their units. Julie is the office manager and answers the phones, oversees the scheduling, and handles payments and financing.

High School Sports  |  May 9, 2021
OHS Weekly Sports Recap

OHS Weekly Sports Recap

Baseball and softball kicked off the week at home versus the Monticello Sages. Both games were cut short due to weather conditions, but the softball team had played a complete game, winning 4-0 in five innings. However, the baseball team had just tied their game 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning when the game was called, so it was not a complete game for them.

Top Story  |  May 2, 2021
The End of an Era

The End of an Era

This week we are celebrating the retirement of Billie Cheek as an Alderman of the Atlanta City Council. Cheek has served on the council for 38 years. Aldermen help to govern the city, while making decisions and presentations for the betterment of Atlanta. Cheek has seen and worked on many changes throughout her time serving as an Alderman.

Community Spotlight  |  May 2, 2021
Olympia FFA

Olympia FFA

Olympia FFA has been a FFA chapter since 1972, the same year that the area high schools consolidated. However, most of the individual high schools had their own FFA chapter. This year Olympia has 114 members, including 9 students on the officer team. The 9 officers for the 2020-2021 school year are: President- Tyler Miller, Vice Presidents- Chloe Scroggins, Adam Swartzendruber, and Kailey Little, Secretary- Kari Simpson, Reporter- Tarah Hilt, Treasurer- Noah Reber, Sentinel- Ethan Davis, and Historian- Brooke Rogers. The Olympia FFA Chapter installed next year’s officers a few weeks ago at their end of the year banquet on April 18th. However, the year is not over for this year’s FFA members because spring is their busiest season of events. 

Spotlight  |  April 25, 2021
Leann's Something For You

Leann's Something For You

Leann Boyd is a mom of two children with a passion for selling rare and unique items. Boyd began the business “Leann’s omething For You” to fufill her passion. Located in Armington, IL, she sells antiques, jewelry, home decor, books, music, and other unique items. She will also be selling flowers and plants throughout the warmer months. Boyd also has a passion for gardening, and will sell quality plants that have been taken care of well. She has been running this business for over a decade, so you can expect high quality items from the shop. Many of the reviews on the business’ eBay shop state that the items are packed very well, the shipping is quick, and that Boyd is easy to work with. Boyd’s average rating for the business within the last 12 months are: five stars for accurate description, shipping speed, and communication and four and a half stars for reasonable shipping cost. 

High School Sports  |  April 25, 2021
OHS Weekly Sports Recap

OHS Weekly Sports Recap

It’s time for another transition of sports seasons during this unusual school year. This week the sports that typically run in the fall season wrapped up their season, and one of the spring sports had their first competition. 

Top Story  |  April 18, 2021
The Unseen True First Responders

The Unseen True First Responders

April 11th through the 17th was National Public Safety Telecommunications Week. What better way to celebrate than to learn more about our very own Tazewell and McLean County dispatch teams! This week of celebration was first established in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of California. The celebration is in place to celebrate and thank all of the telecommunicators who serve their areas. 

Community Spotlight  |  April 18, 2021
Tremont Museum and Historical Society

Tremont Museum and Historical Society

The Tremont Museum and Historical Society started in 1985 as a way to gather the history of the town. It is a non-profit organization that has had two presidents since it began. Jan Lee was the president for 30 years until Richard Sauder took over about 6 years ago. Tremont has both a historical museum building and an agricultural history museum building. Tremont was set up as an agriculture town, so there is a lot of agriculture history for the area. In the regular history museum, you can find artifacts from someone very famous. Abraham Lincoln came to Tremont during his time working as a lawyer. During Lincoln’s time frame, Tremont was the Tazewell county seat, so he would argue cases at the courthouse that was in the town. The museum is very nice with clean, well put together displays. The people who keep the museum as nice as ever are all volunteers. Lori Fuoss, secretary for the Tremont Museum and Historical Society, proclaimed that they have a great group of volunteers to help take care of the museum.

Spotlight  |  April 11, 2021
Breezy Bluff Riding Academy

Breezy Bluff Riding Academy

Breezy Bluff Riding Academy started in 1983 with 4 neighborhood kids as the customers with only word of mouth to grow the business. The business has grown to 35 to 50 students per week. Betty Broadfield is the owner of the business and she has been instructing since the business began. She is the author of any material provided with the lessons given. At the academy, they teach western to eastern on the flat style, and to use verbal cues and natural aids while riding. The youngest riders are 4 years old, and their oldest student is in her 70s. They can take riders up to 285 pounds, which is more than other stables typically take. They have been in business for almost four decades and Breezy Bluff Riding Academy still has a perfect safety record. Betty would want a potential customer to know that one phrase that describes her company is “safety first”. 

High School Sports  |  April 11, 2021
OHS Sports Recap

OHS Sports Recap

This week was an exciting week of sports for the Olympia Spartans! Boys soccer, volleyball, and football all played a thrilling week of games. On Monday, boys soccer had a rough start to the week at Central Catholic, losing 7-0. Although it was a rough start for the Spartan boys, they bounced back quickly and had strong appearances the rest of the week.  

Top Story  |  April 4, 2021
The History of Easter Traditions

The History of Easter Traditions

April 4th is Easter Sunday! Many families around the community have prepared to celebrate. Easter Sunday follows the Gregorian Calendar and always falls on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th. According to History.com, “Easter typically falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox.” 

Community Spotlight  |  April 4, 2021
Danvers Township Library

Danvers Township Library

Danvers Township Library is a public library that serves 1,925 residents in Danvers Township. They offer a variety of different services which are: a collection of more than 20,000 books, 35,000 E-books, 3,700 DVDs & Blue-Ray discs, 120 audio books, over 30 specialty cake pans, and periodicals, plus a variety of reference materials. There is also internet usage, faxing, printing, copying, & laminating available to the public. The library holds different activities for different age groups of people. 

Spotlight  |  March 28, 2021
Arcadia Arcade Museum

Arcadia Arcade Museum

Arcadia is a playable arcade museum packed with vintage arcade games. Arcadia is located in downtown McLean, IL about 12 miles south of Bloomington-Normal on Interstate 55. John Yates opened the family friendly business in 2009 with the purpose of recreating an arcade from the 80s/90s. He wants it to be a place where families can go and enjoy what it would be like to go to an arcade from that era. Yates stated that he opened the arcade as a way to take his mind off of a recent failed internet startup. He had been collecting arcade games since he was in high school and he already owned the building, so he decided to go for it. He had tried to open an arcade in the McLean location about five years prior to the opening of Arcadia, but unfortunately it didn't work out. He debated remodeling the building into a coffee shop, but decided to try again. Perseverance paid off for Yates, with Arcadia being a unique arcade business that has been running for twelve years now. 

High School Sports  |  March 28, 2021
OHS Sports Recap

OHS Sports Recap

Boys Soccer kicked off the week of sports for the Olympia High School Spartans on Monday with a game at home vs St. Thomas More. Going into the game the Spartans were 3-1, but unfortunately they lost to the Sabers 4-0. When asked about the game senior Payton Carroll stated, “I would say that even though we lost there was definitely an improvement from how the game went last year against St. Thomas More, and it’s nice to see the improvement that we’ve made.”

Community Spotlight  |  March 21, 2021
Hopedale Rescue Squad

Hopedale Rescue Squad

The Hopedale Rescue Squad is a volunteer rescue squad that is a part of the Hopedale Protection District. The rescue squad has 15 members, 10 of which are EMTs and five are first responders. Brian Reed is the EMS Chief in Hopedale. When asked about the squad Reed commented, “We come from all backgrounds and we kind of share the responsibilities. We are primarily a transport unit that transports to all of the local hospitals. We don’t do medical transports, but 911 type transports.” The rescue squad started in 1971, so this year the squad will be celebrating their 50 year anniversary. 

Top Story  |  March 21, 2021
Olympia St. Jude Run

Olympia St. Jude Run

Beginning in 2020, right before the COVID pandemic hit, a group of people from the Olympia Community put together an Olympia to Peoria St. Jude Run team. St. Jude Runs are to fundraise in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. There are 37 total runs, with the main run being from Memphis to Peoria. The other 36 runs are satellite runs, which is what the Olympia to Peoria Run is.

Spotlight  |  March 14, 2021
The Farm Sitter

The Farm Sitter

The Farm Sitter is a dog walking, pet and farm sitting business from Mackinaw, IL. that owner Chris Youngmark opened in 2018. When asked about how he got started, he proclaimed, “I began The Farm Sitter based on the premise of helping farmers in rural areas with pet care when they are away from their residence, specifically in the Mackinaw Area where I reside.”

High School Sports  |  March 14, 2021
OHS Sports Recap

OHS Sports Recap

This week at Olympia High School the Spartans officially wrapped up winter sports and began the sports that are typically played during the fall season. Boys and girls basketball concluded, while football, volleyball, and boys soccer began their seasons. 

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