Hopedale Mail

Serving Hopedale, Illinois since 2020
38°
Clouds
H:42° L:37°

Front row (L-R): Cheyenne Hanlin, Mallory Miller, Nora Collins, Aime Witham and Anna Kindred. Back row (L-R): Reed Naughton, Rylee Robb, Libby Shaffer, Logan Demling, and Keagan Meserole.

Olympia FFA Honors Members at Chapter Banquet

On Sunday, April 16th, the Olympia FFA Chapter held their annual Chapter Banquet. Due to the fire at OHS, the awards banquet was held at Minier Christian Church this year. There were 52 FFA members and over 150 guests present at the banquet. On this night the FFA recognizes all of the FFA members and their accomplishments. 

Yoga4Life Studio in Mackinaw

Yoga may be one of the oldest practices in human history to focus on a person’s happiness - a person’s physical and emotional well-being. In the United States it is estimated that 36 million adults practice yoga on a regular basis. They are likely to practice one of a couple kinds of yoga that derive from Vedic yoga and involve 12 basic postures, with names like cow, cobra, or fish. These kinds of yoga will also involve teaching deep breathing patterns  along with a focus on being present and mindful. Luckily for Mackinaw area residents, we have an expert on the subject: Julie Rhoades of Yoga4Life, located at 107 South Main Street in Mackinaw.

Illinois Unemployment Rates Down for the Tenth Consecutive Month, Jobs up in Most Metro Areas

SPRINGFIELD – The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas in January for the tenth consecutive month according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Jobs were up in twelve metro areas, and were unchanged in one, and down in another.

KDJ Sales and Services in Mackinaw

For this week’s Business Spotlight, I was able to speak with President of KDJ Sales and Services Inc, Dustin Schmidgall, and get a peek into the history of his company and what the future may look like moving forward. Started by Keith Schmidgall in Armington IL in 1978, the company originally focused on residential plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. After about 7 years, the decision was made to move the company to Mackinaw in 1985 and switch focus to doing electrical work on grain elevators. In 1987, the company moved to the Mackinaw Industrial Park, where they remain today. In 1995, KDJ added to their list of services when they added automation and control systems development.

In Time for Spring, 3:7 Garden Shed in Hopedale

Opening up on April 9, 2022, the 3:7 Garden Shed is a gardening shop owned by Jeff and Chris Litwiller but you may also see their four daughters around the shed helping out. The 3:7 Garden Shed took the place of the Hopedale Garden Shop after the owner decided to sell the business to Jeff and Chris Litwiller. Before this, the business originated as Slager Lawn Service in the 1980s. The shed’s name comes from 1 Corinthians 3:7; “Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow”.

F.L. Sons Fire Equipment

With 10 years of experience in fire equipment and the fire safety industry, Fred Lawrence, along with his wife Emily, started Fred Lawrence and Sons Fire Equipment in Pekin in 2010. Business came quickly and before long, the decision was made to incorporate the business to its current name F.L. Sons Fire Equipment Inc. in 2015. Fred and Emily began hiring employees and realized that their current situation: one work truck, a very small 10’x15’ garage, and a spare room in their home acting as an office - just wasn’t going to meet their needs. So, the Lawrence family started to look elsewhere, knowing that they would need a home for them and their 2 sons, along with a separate building to run their business out of.

DIY Fire Pit

With summertime approaching, there is nothing more fun than sitting around a fire pit with your friends or family! Well, maybe a tropical trip! Fire pits are a great way to add some fun to a yard! With a little hard work and some elbow grease, you’ll have one in no time. We put one in at our last home and loved it, I can’t wait to do it again! 

How to Make a Dreamcatcher

In Native American culture, dream catchers were believed to catch and trap bad dreams, whilst allowing good dream to pass through the spider-web design, and drift into the heads of the children that lie sleeping below them. Nowadays, dreamcatchers come in many shapes and sizes, and are an incredibly popular bedroom decor choice! If you’re ready for some sweet dreams, why not learn how to make a dreamcatcher?

Baked to Perfection Ziti

The key to creating a perfect Baked Ziti is to keep it from drying out. This classic Italian baked pasta dish is made by layering penne noodles, sauce and cheese. Once it is prepared correctly, however, it will become the only way you make it.

Small Raised Paver Patio

Sometimes you are in the middle of a project and realize you need something else! This happened to me when I was creating my back garden scape. I placed my new Adirondack chairs in there place. They were a perfect fit, if the ground didn’t slope down in the back! I knew I needed to make an elevated bed for them. I had recently found a ton of old pavers in the yard and knew this was the spot for them. 

Beyond Politics With Real Lives and Real Challenges

We Live Here: The Midwest

Welcome to the Midwest (in my case, specifically Illinois); in WE LIVE HERE: THE MIDWEST, viewers embark on a journey that blends the preconceived ideas of what this part of the country looks like and explores the lives of LGBTQIA+ families in America's heartland. Director Melinda Maerker gathered a collection of stories that are as enlightening as they are heartwarming, marking a significant achievement in documentary filmmaking. This isn't just a tale of overcoming adversity; it's an ode to the enduring power of resilience and love.

A Holiday Delight, Unwrapped With Laughs and Love

Christmas with Jerks

When the holiday season rolls around, there's nothing like settling in with a new holiday-themed film. You know the drill—cozy, heartwarming, and often a tad predictable. But now and then, a holiday movie adds a dash of spice to the traditional recipe. Enter CHRISTMAS WITH JERKS, a holiday rom-com that's a little more than meets the eye. Writer/Director and lead Leanna Adams makes this her project; get ready for a cinematic sleigh ride filled with humor, unexpected twists, and just the correct dose of holiday fun.

Raw Portrayal of Friendship and Loss

Always, Lola

In indie cinema, ALWAYS, LOLA emerges as a gem, not just for its poignant narrative but for the way it deftly navigates the intricate interplay of friendship and grief. Directed by Jeffrey Crane Graham, this film draws us into its world with a blend of raw emotion and remarkable performances, all achieved within the confines of a modest budget. I was immediately immersed in a story that felt both intensely personal and universally resonant. I can’t quite describe the emotions this film made me feel, but you know I’ll do my best!

Eddie Murphy Stars in Festive Family Fiasco!

Candy Cane Lane

In CANDY CANE LANE, Eddie Murphy plays Chris Carver, a suburban father whose main holiday focus is to reign supreme in the local Christmas decoration contest. However, his journey veers into the world of the extraordinary when a deal with Pepper (Jillian Bell), a crafty elf, unleashes a series of magical “events” straight out of the "12 Days of Christmas." This enchantment not only upends this quiet town but also thrusts Chris, his wife Carol (Tracee Ellis Ross), and their children into a spirited quest to undo the magic and restore their cherished holiday traditions.

An Indie Take on Ghostly Encounters

The Waiting

Writer/Director F.C. Rabbath concocts a unique blend of comedy, drama, and supernatural elements in THE WAITING, stepping away from the usual ghost story conventions. The film chronicles Eric (Nick Leali,) a heartbroken man whose life takes an unexpected turn when he begins working at The Lodge and becomes fascinated with the enigmatic room 101. This narrative intertwines various genres, keeping viewers engrossed and guessing at every turn. To be entirely fair, we’ve seen this story before, but Rabbath takes the story and adds a unique zest to it that I wasn’t expecting.

Caring for Your Garden in the Summer Heat

Temperatures are looking to rise again this week, making now a great time to talk about how to help care for your garden crops in the hot and dry times of summer. Late July through August can tend to be very hot and it is important that you are taking proper care of your crops to get them through when they are ready to be picked from the garden. Some plants can tolerate the heat better than others. When you consider that most plants are made up of 85 to 90 percent of water, it makes more sense why plants need extra attention in the heat. 

The Importance of Crop Scouting a Field

Crop scouting is when fields are evaluated for pest and disease problems, or for checking in on growth progress. Scouting is important because if a problem of any kind is found in the field, it can be solved or managed as quickly as possible. This process is critical for farmers to grow their best crops and have the highest yields possible, which allows them to make the most profit. Crop scouting is a critical tool to protect a farmer’s investment in each field.

Agriculture and the Fourth of July

Like many holidays, the Fourth of July is connected to agriculture! In the spirit of celebrating our Independence Day this weekend, we can look at a quote about agriculture from Thomas Jefferson. The Founding Father and former president stated, “Agriculture.. is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to wealth, good morals, and happiness…”. Jefferson proclaimed the importance of agriculture in our country in a letter he wrote to George Washington. 

Dairy Farms in Central Illinois

All dairy products like milk and cheese start by the production and care of dairy cows on a dairy farm. Dairy farming is when farmers raise mother animals and use their milk to feed humans. Other dairy products than milk and cheese include butter, yogurt, ice cream and more. Byproducts from dairy farms are even used for nonfood purposes. Byproducts allow for an operation to produce more goods and be useful for as much as they possibly can. 

Standards Apply for Organic Farming

When you look through a produce section at the grocery store, you will likely find both organic and nonorganic items for sale. To be labeled organic, foods must meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. Companies or farmers can not just label something “organic” without meeting these standards. The USDA sets organic standards for crops and livestock, as well as the handling process. 

Olympia High School Weekly Sports Recap

The sports season for OHS in the 2021-2022 school year concluded on Friday. Friday was the state track & field meet for our boys' team. The boys competed in the prelims on Friday but did not end up making it to the finals on Saturday. The qualifying 3200-meter team consisted of Anthony Ragland, Cooper Phillips, Owen Dare, and Brad Schardan. Owen and Brad wanted to save their energy for the 800 so the alternates, Logan Demling and Caden Clark ran instead. The team ran an 8:42.37 relay. Then, Brad Schardan ran the 800-meters at a personal best time of 2:00.20. Owen Dare was right behind him with a time of 2:00.26. Then, Keagan Uphoff did the 300-meter hurdles and had a time of 44.40. With Keagan being just a sophomore, he has a lot more potential to advance further in the coming years. He is off to a great start and ready for more! 

OHS Boys Track & Field athletes (L-R): Brad Schardan, Owen Dare, Anthony Ragland, and Cooper Phillips.

Olympia High School Weekly Sports Recap

This was regional week for the softball and baseball teams! To begin, the baseball team played Clinton on Monday night, coming away with a 3-2 win. This advanced them to play Pontiac on Thursday. The Spartans were not as good as Pontiac’s baseball team and lost 1-14. Pontiac is now going to the regional championship game on Monday vs Tremont. Olympia High School hosted all these regional baseball games. The high school baseball season has now ended and the boys are ready to play travel ball. The baseball program is grateful for finally having a full season that was very fun and memorable, too!

Olympia High School Weekly Sports Recap

Post-season for Olympia High School athletics is coming into full gear. Just this week Girls Track and Field competed in their IHSA Sectional Meet. Anna Beiber qualified for State at the meet with a time of 2:21.68, just 2 seconds under the state qualifying time. Melissa Bieber just barely missed the qualifying time by .29 seconds with a 47.98 in the 300 hurdles, which is less than a second off the school record. Boys Track and Field will compete in their Sectional this coming week on the 18th.