Hopedale Mail

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. 

New Restaurant Opens in Mackinaw

Mackinaw gained a new restaurant with the opening of Eddy’s Kitchen Family Restaurant on June 28th. Providing a wide variety of menu options for breakfast and lunch, local residents are sure to find something delectable that will make Eddy’s a community staple. Chef Eddy’s wife, Iris, tells The Mail how Eddy’s Kitchen Family Restaurant came to fruition. 

Lions Club and Dee-Mack Boosters Announce Golf Outing

Grab your clubs and finest Higdon hat for the Mackinaw Lions Club Golf Outing at Quail Meadows Golf Course in Washington, on Saturday, August 13th. $90 per person covers green fees, a golf cart, and lunch at the course starting at 11:30 A.M. prior to tee off. Golfers can form their own team of 4 or sign up individually and be assigned to a team. 

Waynesville Library’s Horse Program

At the beginning of the month, the Waynesville Library had a horse program open to the public.The horse program was organized as part of the summer reading program. The Waynesville Library is taking place in Off the Beaten Path - Camp IREAD.

Stanford Good Old Jubilee

On Saturday, July 16th Stanford and Allin Township came together to host Stanford Good Old Jubilee, a new installment of the old Stanford Good Old Days festival. This newly remodeled festival is different from the one of the past. For example, instead of occurring over three days the Stanford Good Old Jubilee festival occurred only on one day. Different activities were featured at the festival with things like the Quilt Show at the Church of God, a variety of entertainment at the pavilion, and activities at the Township Building such as TAPS. While there are many changes to the festival, things like the fireworks show, which is being put on by the same company hired in prior festivals, was similar to what attendees have seen in the past.

Emily Whitson, COO and Beth Horner, RN

Prahl & Horner Are Honored at Hopedale Medical Complex

Focused on patients, residents, staff and community, Hopedale Medical Complex (HMC) Employees strive each day to advance the mission and vision that is rooted in the foundation of the medical complex. Each month, HMC Employee Empowerment hosts an awards ceremony for those employees, who are recognized by their peers, for the outstanding work that they are doing in one of the numerous departments that are a part of the HMC campus.

Lincoln’s Legacy Free Event

The City of Atlanta, Illinois is excited to announce an Abraham Lincoln focused event, Lincoln’s Legacy. July 21 at 4:30pm inside Union Hall located at 114 SW Arch Street, Looking for Lincoln Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area will screen their new short film, 1875 Emancipation Celebration: A Grand Old-Style Barbeque in Atlanta, Illinois. Looking for Lincoln will give a short presentation and introduction to the film and film-making/research process, screen the film, and answer questions the audience may have. This event is free to attend.

Dee-Mack Wrestling Hosts Open Gym Nights

In preparation for a rapidly approaching wrestling season, the Dee-Mack wrestling program has decided to host “Open Gym Practices” every Tuesday and Thursday this summer, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. During the open gym practices, aspiring wrestlers of any age and ability level will have the opportunity to practice with both senior wrestlers and Dee-Mack coaches. Practices will run like a typical practice during the wrestling season and will consist of a warm up routine and then work on basic fundamentals of the sport.

A Night Out With the Stanford Police

Honestly, I was a bit surprised to receive an invite for a ride-along from Stanford Police Chief Dustin Carter. While Chief Carter has shown himself to be more than willing to work with local media - I’ve spoken with him a few different times on past articles - it’s quite the jump to go from answering press questions over email to inviting the local media into a squad vehicle to see what police see. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity. After finalizing a date and then having to take a rain check due to my pesky full time job, we settled on meeting at the Stanford Town Hall at 4:00 P.M. on Saturday, July 2nd.

Danvers Launches New Website

Recently a new website for the Village of Danvers has been created offering a new place to learn more about the town and upcoming events. The new website opens up with a short description of the town, its population, and where it is located. Contact information is provided such as the Danvers Village Hall, the Danvers Water Emergency, Danvers Police Station, and Danvers Fire and Rescue contact info as well as many other important groups' contact info. Also provided under the contact info page is a map of the Village including links to local weather and village data info.

Get Your 6.6 on Route 66

Instead of Get Your Kicks on Route 66, Get Your 6.6 on Route 66 this year! The 9th Annual Route 66 race is occurring on Saturday, August 27th. The CORE of McLean sponsors the event as a nonprofit organization. All proceeds go to benefit the community of McLean, IL.

Offering Help for Those in Need

When it comes to helping local residents in need, the Mackinaw Community Center Food Pantry is stepping in to help in a big way. Located in the Mackinaw Community Center at 101 S. Orchard St, the organization is currently ramping up their efforts as need in the community grows. This week, pantry board members invited The Mail to come down and check out their operation in the hopes of getting the word out about the big plans that are in the works.

View of Main Street in downtown Galena, Illinois.

Staycation Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

During a time when the price of, well, pretty much everything keeps increasing, many families find themselves feeling like long and luxurious vacations are simply out of the picture. Instead, many families are opting for a “staycation” - a smaller trip, or multiple small trips, closer to home. A staycation can drastically cut the cost of fuel and lodging, while also providing an opportunity to learn about the places that are closer to home that one might otherwise have passed up. If you’re feeling like that trip to the Gulf of Mexico or beyond just isn’t in the budget this year, here are some ideas for smaller trips within state lines:

Atlanta Celebrates Christmas in July

It’s about Christmas time… for July. Christmas in July is happening in Atlanta this year on July 23 & 24. Saturday it is from 10 am-4 pm and Sunday from 11 am-4 pm. This event is being run at the same time with the 2nd Annual Market Weekend on Route 66. Right in downtown Atlanta the streets will be decorated for Christmas. The tourism director, Whitney Ortiz, writes “it is all like Christmas, just without the cold & snow.” The specific location is Arch Street, known as the former U.S. Route 66. 

The Stanford Sportsman Club

Founded in 1957 the Stanford Sportsman Club consists of two fishing lakes that have almost 5 acres of fishable space. Bill Haynes represents the Club as President, Gary Hawkins as acting Secretary/Treasurer, and Johnny Greathouse, Brain Park, Dave Able, and Jo Beth Smith as Board Members. While the club offers the lake properties for members to fish it also offers camping and picnicking for the whole family to have fun.

Food Banks Help Address Summer Hunger

Schools may be out of session and concerns about grades may be temporarily abated, for many students, this is the season of “Summer Hunger”. For kids who rely on school meals for the majority of their nourishment during the school year, summer can quickly turn into 3 months of hunger and tension. Past research shows that family grocery costs can increase as much as $300 a month during the summer. In the Summer of 2022, one might expect those increased costs to rise even further, leaving many low-income families in a precarious situation.

Police Respond to Attempted Child Abduction

Residents of Armington were shaken up last week with reports of an attempted child abduction on Wednesday, June 16th. A social media post gained area-wide attention stating that an officer from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department had approached residents seeking information relating to the incident that happened in the town park. While details on the incident are sparse at this time, one source familiar with the investigation tells The Mail that multiple police agencies responded to the area to investigate the report.

Teen Assailants Appear Before Judge

The alleged teen assailants in the assault against Danny Hale in the Mackinaw Casey’s parking lot that occurred on the evening of May 12th have had their first appearance in court last week. 4 adult teens were arrested by Mackinaw Police following the alleged assault, along with an unnamed teenage minor. The 4 adults: Blake Huffman, Ryan Robertson, Jorge Santana, and Jacob Ragon were transported to the Tazewell County Jail and charged with Mob Action and Aggravated Battery of a Senior Citizen, the last charge could possibly be upgraded to a Class 2 Felony.

Community Rallies for Team Reed

In April 2019, Reed Fry was diagnosed with cancer. With local communities rallying around the young man, Reed fought against his ailment and eventually won. Last month, the 13 year old and his family received more bad news: Reed’s cancer is back. In light of the news, local communities once again rally around the Fry family in an attempt to make Reed’s fight as comfortable as possible. 

Having been raised by a single father, Sonora Smart Dodd, fought for equal recognition and celebration of fathers.

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a day to celebrate fatherhood and honor fathers and father influences many have had in their lives. Despite the day’s long history globally, albeit in different forms and names, the United States' first celebration was on June 19th, 1910 in the state of Washington. While this was the first day it was celebrated in the country the holiday wouldn’t become a nationwide holiday until 1972, some 58 years after Mother’s day had become a national holiday.

Construction Underway at CLA

The Christian Life Academy in Hopedale has officially started construction for the new addition to the school. This building will serve as a high school classroom building for CLA and will open up more opportunities for their students in the years to come. The goal for the construction is to get the exterior and a portion of the interior finished over the summer so high school students can use the new space for the 2022-2023 school year.

Waynesville native Al Furman standing in front of the Iwo Jima memorial.

Local Resident Takes Ride on Honor Flight

Waynesville native Al Furman was recently recognized for his service to the country by a group known as the Honor Flight Network. The national group selects men and women who have served in the U.S. military, and flies them to Washington D.C. for an exciting day seeing the nation’s memorials and experiencing the gratitude and appreciation of a thankful country. “I’d been asked to go in the past”, Al tells The Mail, “but I’d always thought it was more appropriate to let the ‘older guys’ go ahead of me. But, I’m 81 now. So I guess it was just my turn.”

Local Group Takes Aim at Windmill Farms

Tazewell County residents gathered at the Tazewell County Justice Center in Pekin on Wednesday and Thursday of last week to voice their opposition to the proposed windmill farms, known as the Rail Splitter 2. Since the proposal of the windmill farm, an opposition group has formed, known as the United Citizens of Tazewell County (UCTC). As part of their efforts, the UCTC has hired counsel who was allowed 90 minutes to make opening statements on Tuesday evening. During that time, the attorney spoke about the important issues as seen by UCTC. In short, these issues come down to the distance between homes and each individual windmill, along with wanting improvements made to sound limits, shadow flickers which results in a strobe light effect to those who may live in the shadows of windmills, along with addressing the red strobe lights that rest atop the windmills. The group hopes to succeed in being granted a moratorium on development, to grant more time for further research into the impact the windmill farm will have on local residents.

Local Festivals for Summer Fun

Summer festivals and celebrations are around the corner and there are many you don’t want to miss out on in the community. Tremont’s 56th annual Turkey Festival begins Sunday, June 5th with the Miss Tremont Pageant at the Tremont High School Gym. Then, on Thursday, June 9th there will be Merchants’ Day activities and a Carnival. On June 10th, 11th, and 12th there are a variety of activities and events to attend including the carnival, a car show, a parade, tournaments, and shows. All entertainment is free and this is a fun festival for all ages to have fun. To learn more visit the festival’s website at turkeyfestival.com.

Mt. Hope-Funks Grove Park District

This week’s community spotlight, is on the Mt. Hope-Funks Grove Park District. The Park District is located at 107 N. West Street in McLean. To start off, I interviewed the director, Stacey Reinhardt. She turned over some of the questions to the board president, Jenny Denham, to get more information on the history of the building. 

Benefit for Brian Waldon

Last fall, local business owner Brian Waldon suffered 2 massive strokes that took his vision and impaired his memory. Unable to continue working, Brian fell under the care of his mother and father. Despite help from his family, Brian’s medical bills kept piling up - the 2 largest total over $500,000 -the Waldon family knew that it was time to act accordingly. With the help of the Deer Creek American Legion, a benefit is being planned. 

Shooting in Uvalde: Are We Prepared?

On Tuesday, May 24th, 18 year old Salvador Ramos entered Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde Texas, armed with a rifle and pistol. Reportedly carrying 1,600 rounds of ammunition, Ramos went on an hour-long shooting spree that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead, while also wounding over a dozen others. Ramos was eventually shot dead by Border Patrol agents who entered the school; of their own accord, while Uvalde police forces remained inactive in a nearby parking lot. The lack of police action on that day has left Americans struggling to answer certain questions, the main question being “What can we expect from local police if a similar event happens in my town?” However, to even start to answer those types of questions, it is worth becoming familiar with procedures currently in place within law enforcement entities.

Area Summer Reading Programs

As school ends and summer starts, reading programs at local libraries begin. The program at H.A. Peine District Library in Minier has already started and reading logs can be picked up. The library will host weekly programs every Wednesday in June from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. The first program will be on June 1st featuring the Forest Park Nature Center. Each of the programs will take place at St. John’s UCC Faith Fellowship Hall except for the final program which will be hosted at the West Park in Minier.
The Danvers Township Library will also be hosting a summer reading program which will begin on May 31st and will be for ages up to 17. There will be two programs per week but those signed up for the program only have to attend one each week. The programs are either on Tuesdays or Fridays with the first one on June 7th at 10:00 am at the Historical Society featuring the Wild Times Exotic Animals. Then, on June 10th at 10:00 am at the park in Davers the second program will be hosted featuring Swords and Roses.

After School Program Fills Community Needs

Busy parents looking for a faith based after school program need look no further than New Castle Bible Church. Located on Dee-Mac road, between Mackinaw and Deer Creek, the church has opened its doors to school aged children who are in need of a safe place to hang out after school. The Mail spoke with Program Director Melanie Burge to find out a little more.

Poppies Bloom for Memorial Day

Every year Americans take time out of their busy lives to acknowledge Memorial Day, a holiday enacted, originally, to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice during our civil war that raged from 1861 to 1865. Originally known as “Decoration Day”, American citizens were encouraged to visit the graves of those who fell at battles such as Bull Run, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg. In modern times, “Decoration Day” has turned into “Memorial Day” and is meant to honor the American citizens who have fallen in all American wars. Proof of the evolution of this holiday can easily be seen with the prevalence of the Red Poppy. 

Jake Steve (left) and WGU Strategic Partnerships Manager Dan Winkler (right) .

Olympia Middle School Teacher Receives Grant From WGU

Jake Steve, an eighth-grade science teacher at Olympia Middle School in Olympia CUSD 16, has received a $1,000 grant through WGU’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used to purchase materials for his students to engineer their own model cars and use them to test out different variables that make a car speed up and slow down. Steve learned he was selected for the grant on May 11 when WGU staff surprised him with a check presentation at his school.

Local Youth Grabs Gold

Local teen Jadon Nafziger traveled with his family to Hillsdale, Michigan last weekend to compete in the National Junior Paralympics Regional Championships, where he brought home the gold medal for precision shooting. Jadon competed in the under 15 para standing precision air rifle event over the course of 3 days, shooting twice in competition. This week, The Mail was granted exclusive access to The Champ to find out more.

Palm’s Grill Cafe to Become a Bakery

Missy Gaither who runs Missy’s Cupcakes, Cookies, and More is opening up her own bakery storefront in Atlanta at the old Palm’s Grill Cafe venue. Missy got the lease on May 1st  and the bakery will be open for business come the beginning of June. Missy has run Missy’s Cupcakes, Cookies, and More for 10 years and up until she acquired the lease in Atlanta, she has run the business out of her home. Missy used her Facebook page to take orders and would then deliver the orders to her clients or have them pick them up. Now that she will have her own storefront she won’t have to run around delivering orders which will save her a lot of time. There will also be a wider variety of flavors of cupcakes and cookies with the opening of the storefront and she will offer a Route 66 cookie as well.

Jake Steve (left) and WGU Strategic Partnerships Manager Dan Winkler (right) .

Olympia Middle School Teacher Receives Grant From WGU

Jake Steve, an eighth-grade science teacher at Olympia Middle School in Olympia CUSD 16, has received a $1,000 grant through WGU’s “Fund My Classroom” initiative. The funds will be used to purchase materials for his students to engineer their own model cars and use them to test out different variables that make a car speed up and slow down. Steve learned he was selected for the grant on May 11 when WGU staff surprised him with a check presentation at his school.

Abigail Hamilton (left) and Emily Whitson, COO (right).

HMC Staff Honored at Awards Ceremony

Focused on patients, residents, staff and community, Hopedale Medical Complex (HMC) Employees strive each day to advance the mission and vision that is rooted in the foundation of the medical complex.  Each month, HMC Employee Empowerment hosts an awards ceremony for those employees, who are recognized by their peers, for the outstanding work that they are doing in one of the numerous departments that are a part of the HMC campus.

Mackinaw resident Danny Hill displays the injuries he suffered after his altercation with multiple teenagers in the parking lot of the Casey’s General Store.

Assault at Casey’s Leads to Arrests

A large altercation involving multiple teenagers occurred at Casey’s gas station, in Mackinaw on Wednesday, that lead to the arrests of 4 teenagers by the Mackinaw Police Department. Some time that evening, the teens exited the gas station and created a disturbance in the parking lot, at one point surrounding the vehicle of a 31 year old mother who had chided the teens for their misbehavior, witnesses say. At one point, the teens indicated that they were willing to resort to violence, however, local resident Danny Hale stepped in.