Minier Mail

Hayden Stork

Hayden Stork | Correspondent, Columnist

Hayden Stork was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities, and was the Mail Sports Columnist until July 2022. He is from Danvers, Illinois.

American League MVP Race

The American League MVP race is going to be a close one between two players who have both had historic seasons. The Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani has been one of the most fascinating players since coming to the United States from Japan in 2018. Ohtani is a two-way player, meaning he can hit and pitch. Right now, Shohei is one of a kind in the MLB, making him that much more special. Many people say that there hasn’t been any other player in the history of baseball that can pitch and hit at the level that Ohtani is doing it at right now. As of Tuesday, September 28th, Shohei has 45 home runs and a 9-2 record and a 3.18 ERA in his 23 starts for the Angels. Ohtani has been very impressive but someone who has been having an MVP season as well is Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As the only player in the MLB with more home runs than Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., or Vladdy, has also had an impressive season. Vladdy currently leads all the MLB in homeruns, runs, and total bases and leads the American League in hits, on base percentage and slugging percentage. So how will there possibly be a decision between these two guys who have both had incredible seasons?

Minier Corn Daze

The Minier Corn Daze is a festival held in Minier by the Olympia Kiwanis Club. This year, the Corn Daze will be held on Saturday, July 31st and Sunday, August 1st. There will be many different activities that can be enjoyed by attendees. On Saturday, there will be a Softball Tourney and a Fire Department Water Fight. Sunday will have, “all the sweet corn you can eat”, a Cruise-in, tractor pulls, a community church service at 10 AM, a vendor fair, a pedal tractor race, a lawn mower tractor pull, multiple events for kids, a car show, live music, and lots of food. 

Minier Lanes Bowling Alley

Minier Lanes is a bowling alley that provides family fun to locals by way of bowling. They host many bowling leagues and events throughout the year that are enjoyed by citizens in Minier and the surrounding area. Some of their events include the 9 Pin no Tap Team Tournament, 9 Pin Snake Bite Tournament, and open bowling on the weekends. They have leagues available for children and adults to compete and have fun. Minier Lanes has extremely positive feedback with 4.9 stars out of 5 from 46 Google reviews. It is also highly recommended by Olympia High School’s IHSA State bowler Trevor White. 

Olympia Kiwanis Club

The Olympia Kiwanis Club is a part of the global Kiwanis organization of volunteers that are “dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.” The Olympia Kiwanis Club sponsors a bunch of different events throughout the year that bring the community together. A few of these events are a house decorating contest around Christmas, a Christmas parade, The Olympia Kiwanis Corn Daze, and community Easter Egg Hunts. The Olympia community has always enjoyed these events that the Kiwanis Club puts on. 

Adam Swartzendruber

This week’s Olympia Athlete of the Week is Adam Swartzendruber. Adam is from Minier and will be a senior at Olympia High School this upcoming school year. Ever since his freshman year at Olympia, Adam has been an athlete for the Spartans. Adam has been a basketball and baseball player for Olympia starting his freshman year and just last football season, in his junior year, Adam also started playing football for the Spartans. 

Curry Becomes 3 Point King

On Tuesday night, Stephen Curry broke Hall of Famer Ray Allen’s all-time record for the most three-pointers in NBA history. Coming into the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Steph only needed two threes to break the record. About halfway through the first quarter, Curry made a 28-foot jump shot that put him ahead of Ray Allen in threes. Allen, who finished his career in 2014, held the previous record with 2,973 three-pointers. In the 13th season of his great career, Steph leads the NBA with 142 threes made this season and he now is the NBA’s all-time three-point king. In 2015, Curry set the record for the most threes made in a single season, making 402. 

College Football Playoff Preview

This college football season has been anything but normal. With College Football Playoff mainstays like Clemson, Ohio State, and Oklahoma not even reaching their conference championship games, college football fans knew that the Playoff would probably look different this year. Even Alabama was at risk of not making it to the College Football Playoff before they took down the undefeated, number one ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship game, locking in a trip to the CFP for the seventh time in eight years. Alabama was the underdog in this game for the first time in 93 games, but the College Football Playoff was not about to crown a national champion without having the Crimson Tide in the mix. There are still three fairly unfamiliar faces in the CFP this year with number two Michigan, number three Georgia, and number four Cincinnati. Georgia has made the Playoff one time before, but both Michigan and Cincinnati are in for the first time. All four of these teams are clearly very talented, making it to the top four and having the opportunity to play for a national championship, but which team will come out on top?

Lincoln Riley Chooses USC

The college football world was shaken up last Sunday afternoon after Oklahoma Sooners head coach, Lincoln Riley, announced that he will be the head coach at the University of Southern California next season. After last weekend’s loss to the Sooners’ rival, Oklahoma State, Riley was asked to comment on the many rumors that he was set to become the next head coach at Louisiana State University. Before the inquiring reporter could even finish his question, Riley stopped him and said, “Let me stop you right there, I’m not going to be the next coach at LSU.” Oklahoma’s loss last weekend was their first loss to Oklahoma State since 2014 and the Sooners will be missing the Big 12 championship game for the first time since 2003. Although this was a devastating loss for Oklahoma, Riley’s postgame interview gave the Sooners’ fans hope that their successful young coach would be staying in Norman. Unfortunately for them, Riley had other plans. He didn’t lie to his team and his fans at Oklahoma in his postgame interview, he just didn’t tell them the whole truth. 

Thanksgiving Football

The National Football League has been playing games on Thanksgiving Day since its inception in 1920. The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day games have traditionally included one game hosted by the Detroit Lions since 1934, one game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys since 1966, and a third prime-time game has been played since 2006. This prime-time game has no fixed host and features different teams every year, mainly consisting of division rivals ever since 2012. This year the Lions host the Bears, the Cowboys host the Raiders, and the primetime game will be the Bills against the Saints in New Orleans. Since the NFL has been playing games on Thanksgiving Day, there has only been one team to not play on the holiday, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Thanksgiving Football

The National Football League has been playing games on Thanksgiving Day since its inception in 1920. The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day games have traditionally included one game hosted by the Detroit Lions since 1934, one game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys since 1966, and a third prime-time game has been played since 2006. This prime-time game has no fixed host and features different teams every year, mainly consisting of division rivals ever since 2012. This year the Lions host the Bears, the Cowboys host the Raiders, and the primetime game will be the Bills against the Saints in New Orleans. Since the NFL has been playing games on Thanksgiving Day, there has only been one team to not play on the holiday, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Redbird Basketball Season Preview

The 2021-2022 college basketball season is just about under way and the Illinois State Redbirds are poised for a bounce back season after going 7-18 last year. The Birds have three out of their five starters returning and eleven out of their fifteen letterwinners returning for this upcoming season. Having that many players returning is always a plus, especially when two of them are Antonio Reeves and Josiah Strong. Last season, Reeves and Strong both averaged double digit points per game. Reeves averaged 12.4 points per game and had 82 rebounds and 36 assists while making starts in 24 out of the 25 games Illinois State played last season. Strong averaged 11.5 points per game, made 37 percent of his three pointers, and had 59 assists. With these productive playmakers returning for Illinois State and a handful of key new guys coming in, the Birds could have an exciting 2021-2022 season. 

Atlanta Braves 2021 World Series Champions

On Tuesday night, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series in game six against the Houston Astros. This is the Braves first World Series Championship since 1995 and their 4th championship in franchise history. This Atlanta Braves team was an exciting team to watch for all baseball fans, not just Braves fans. With guys like Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Joc Pederson and the World Series MVP Jorge Soler, this team was easily likeable. The combination of a bunch of guys that are easy to root for and a great story to this season made it seem like all of baseball’s fans were pulling for the Braves, except maybe Astros fans. 

Brady Throws 600th Career Touchdown

Last Sunday, in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers rolled the Chicago Bears 38-3, and improved their record to 6-1. The Bucs have been having a great start to their season, with some impressive wins and their only loss coming to a very strong Los Angeles Rams team. Tom Brady has definitely made his impact on the Buccaneers, already winning them their second Super Bowl in franchise history last season, in only his first season with the team. Already this season with the Bucs, Brady has made history in the recordbooks with two incredible passing records. In week four, the Buccaneers traveled to Brady’s home for his first twenty years in the NFL, New England. Going into the game against the Patriots, Brady needed only 68 passing yards to surpass Drew Brees’ all time career passing yards record of 80,358 yards. It didn’t take long for Brady to set the record, as he completed a 28 yard pass to Mike Evans in the first quarter. The Buccaneers would also end up beating the Patriots in what could have been Brady’s final game in New England. Brady also joined a group of only three other quarterbacks, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks that have beaten every team in the NFL. It was quite the historic night for Tom Brady in his homecoming game against the Patriots. 

Chicago Bulls Season Preview

The NBA season has just recently gotten underway, with games tipping off this past Tuesday. The Chicago Bulls, a team with a lot of excitement and anticipation, started their season on Wednesday against the Pistons. Bulls fans have many reasons to have faith in this newly assembled team. After an offseason filled with roster changes, there are going to be plenty of new faces playing in Chicago, many of which will see plenty of playing time or even be starters for the Bulls in the 2021-2022 season. A couple major additions that the Bulls made in the offseason included DeMar DeRozan from Toronto, Lonzo Ball from New Orleans, Derrick Jones from Portland, Alex Caruso from the Lakers, and Ayo Dosumnu from the University of Illinois. All of these additions showed Bulls fans that the management thinks that Chicago can win right now. In the past couple of years, the Bulls have had their struggles, finishing the last five seasons with a winning percentage under .500. When the Bulls decided to trade Jimmy Butler in 2017, Chicago knew that they were heading into a rebuilding stage. The Bulls future pretty much depended on the progression of Zach Lavine. While Lavine was a solid scorer during each of his first three seasons with the Bulls, he took his game to another level last season. He averaged a career best 27.4 points per game last season. The Bulls will look to Lavine to lead the team to their first postseason appearance since 2017. 

Blackhawks Season Preview

The NHL season has just gotten started this week, with the first matches being played on Tuesday. The Chicago Blackhawks are looking for a bounce back season after finishing one game under .500 in their shortened 2021 campaign. The Blackhawks really struggled with holding onto a lead last season. The one, two or even three goal leads that the Blackhawks failed to maintain last season was enough to drive their fans crazy. Another lead that they failed to maintain last season was their standing in the central division. At the beginning of March, nearly two months into the season, the Blackhawks were only three games back from first place, sitting at fourth in the division. By the end of the season, Chicago ended up finishing sixth in the division and twelve games out of first place. That was quite the drop-off for a team that looked like they could legitimately compete for a spot in the NHL Playoffs. Although the overall season was not a “success”, there were plenty of positives that came from Chicago’s 2021 season. Kevin Lankinen emerged as a potential long-term goalie option, Patrick Kane showed that he is still a great player and Alex DeBrincat rebounded from a subpar 2019-2020 season and turned into a star. 

Fields Named Starting Quarterback

The Chicago Bears are coming off of a big time bounce back win against the Lions last week to move their record to 2-2 going into week five. The Bears will travel to Las Vegas this week to play the Raiders with rookie quarterback, Justin Fields, officially being named the starting quarterback by head coach Matt Nagy. After Fields’ first start against the Cleveland Browns in week three, there were many questions facing the Bears and their offense after only gaining 47 total net yards on an average of 1.1 yard per play. The Bears total of 47 yards was their worst offensive performance in 40 years. In his first start, Fields was hit 15 times and sacked 9 times, losing 67 yards on those 9 sacks. With only 68 total passing yards, Fields’ net passing yards for the game was only 1 yard. After this brutal performance from Chicago’s offense, they desperately needed a bounce back game against the Lions in week four. During the week between the loss to the Browns and the upcoming game against the Lions, the starting quarterback for the game against Detroit was not determined until the Thursday before the game. Justin Fields was once again named the starter for the second consecutive week over Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. Although his first NFL start was a complete disaster, Bears fans had faith in Fields and were excited to see how the rookie quarterback would come back from the loss against the Browns. 

American League MVP Race

The American League MVP race is going to be a close one between two players who have both had historic seasons. The Los Angeles Angels Shohei Ohtani has been one of the most fascinating players since coming to the United States from Japan in 2018. Ohtani is a two-way player, meaning he can hit and pitch. Right now, Shohei is one of a kind in the MLB, making him that much more special. Many people say that there hasn’t been any other player in the history of baseball that can pitch and hit at the level that Ohtani is doing it at right now. As of Tuesday, September 28th, Shohei has 45 home runs and a 9-2 record and a 3.18 ERA in his 23 starts for the Angels. Ohtani has been very impressive but someone who has been having an MVP season as well is Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As the only player in the MLB with more home runs than Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., or Vladdy, has also had an impressive season. Vladdy currently leads all the MLB in homeruns, runs, and total bases and leads the American League in hits, on base percentage and slugging percentage. So how will there possibly be a decision between these two guys who have both had incredible seasons?

Cardinals Make a Postseason Push

The St. Louis Cardinals have been heating up just at the right time. As the MLB regular season is coming to an end soon, the playoff picture is beginning to be set. There have been three teams already punch their ticket to the postseason, the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. As of Tuesday, September 21st, the Cardinal hold the second Wild Card spot with an 80-69 record. They are three games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the Wild Card race and four games ahead of the San Diego Padres. This past weekend, the Cardinals came up with a huge three game series sweep over the Padres to put themselves in a great position to seal the deal on that second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Cardinals have won their last nine games, with all of those games being against National League teams in contention for the second Wild Card spot. Just two weeks ago, on September 7th, the Cardinals had a 2.8% chance to make the postseason. After their recent surge of winning, St. Louis improved that chance to earn a spot in the postseason to a 73.7% chance. 

Fantasy Football

With the NFL season just getting underway with week one starting last Thursday and many more games being played on Sunday, NFL fans are more excited than ever for football to be back. After a 2020 season with no fans in the stands, there was a ton of excitement in the stadiums during week one. With this excitement and having fans back in the stadiums, the NFL is calling this season the “biggest season ever” and have used that quote on many commercials already. Football is a sport that is continuing to grow and gain more and more popularity. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the continuing growth of the NFL has been fantasy football. 

Bears Season Preview

The Chicago Bears ended the 2020 season with an 8-8 record and managed to just barely sneak into the last Wild Card spot over the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears would go on to get beat 21-9 in their Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints. After this game, a couple major changes took place in Chicago. Starting out bold, the Bears decided to not exercise Mitch Trubisky’s fifth year option, making their second overall pick from just four years prior a free agent. Going into free agency, the Bears’ General Manager Ryan Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy were on the hot seat. Fans speculated that this offseason could have been the beginning of the Bears turning things around or it could have been the continuation of what had seemed like a steady decline. After a free agency period that brought back Allen Robinson and addressed a lot of depth needs, Nagy and Pace seemed to be on the right track. When the Bears missed out on a couple big name quarterbacks in free agency, they ended up signing former Cowboy backup, Andy Dalton, towards the end of free agency. This move was a bit of a head scratcher for most fans, but fans were generally pleased about the free agency period as a whole.

Redbird Football Preview

The Redbirds of Illinois State University will be opening their season Saturday, September 4th after a short off season due to the 2021 spring season. To make up for no games played in the fall of 2020, Illinois State and the Missouri Valley Conference agreed to play a ten-game schedule in the spring of 2021. Unfortunately for the Redbirds, due to COVID issues, ISU was only able to play four of their ten games and ended with a 1-3 record. The Birds come into this new season with high hopes. Sophomore quarterback Bryce Jefferson is returning after a shaky spring season. Jefferson did show flashes of great ability, but overall, there were constant mistakes. Jefferson does have some experience winning, as he was the starting quarterback at the end of the 2019 season, after starting quarterback Brady Davis suffered a season ending injury late in the regular season. In that 2019 season, Illinois State made it to the FCS quarterfinals with Bryce Jefferson under center, so he has shown that he can be the guy for the Redbirds. 

Miguel Cabrera Hits Home Run Number 500

On Sunday, August 22nd, longtime Detroit Tigers first baseman, Miguel “Miggy” Cabrera made history as he became the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs in a career. To put it into perspective just how impressive it is for a player to hit 500 home runs in their career, the MLB has been in existence for 152 years and only 27 players have achieved that milestone, before Miguel Cabrera became the 28th. Just to give an even better understanding of how impressive this feat actually is, throughout the 152 years of Major League Baseball, there have been 18,918 players in total, so before Miggy joined the 500 home run club, there was .14% of MLB players ever to hit 500 home runs or more. Cabrera has already had a great career up to this point and hitting his 500th home run has only added to an extremely impressive 18-year career in the MLB. 

Fighting Illini Football Season Preview

After a 2-6 season in 2020, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Football team is looking forward to an improved season in 2021 under a new head coach, Bret Bielema. The Fighting Illini parted ways with former coach, Lovie Smith, after a five-year stint with the program. In those five years, Coach Smith and Illinois went 17-39 with no winning seasons. Illinois did not wait long to find Lovie’s replacement, hiring Bret Bielema off the New York Giants’ staff in December, on the same day as the team’s last game of the 2020 season. The Fighting Illini had no problem with hiring Coach Bielema in a timely manner, as they were very impressed with his Big Ten-heavy background. Coach Bielema is from Prophetstown, Illinois, played football at the University of Iowa and had a long run of success as Wisconsin’s head coach. As Wisconsin’s head football coach, Bielema led the Badgers to three Big Ten championships, six consecutive bowl games and a 68-24 record. This kind of success in the Big Ten is something that the Fighting Illini could not overlook. 

Pacesetters 4-H Club at County Fair

The McLean County Fair was deemed a success by fair manager, Mike Swartz. After a “minimal” fair last year due to COVID, Swartz was very excited to see the success that the fair had this year. Last year, the fair only consisted of a private junior livestock show and seven total vendors for a food fest. With less COVID restrictions this summer, the McLean County Fair was back and better than ever. Swartz said that “Saturday was the biggest Saturday I’ve ever seen in my 17 years as the fair manager.” 

Why Mitch Trubisky can Reset his Career in Buffalo

Former Chicago Bears quarterback and second overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mitchell Trubisky has had an underwhelming start to his career. In the spring of 2020, the Chicago Bears decided against exercising the fifth-year option on the original contract they agreed on with Trubisky, after they drafted him. When that happened, Trubisky tested free agency this past off-season and agreed on a contract with the Buffalo Bills. Although Mitch Trubisky’s time with the Bears was not great, many Bears fans were still sad to see him go. 

Adam Swartzendruber

This week’s Olympia Athlete of the Week is Adam Swartzendruber. Adam is from Minier and will be a senior at Olympia High School this upcoming school year. Ever since his freshman year at Olympia, Adam has been an athlete for the Spartans. Adam has been a basketball and baseball player for Olympia starting his freshman year and just last football season, in his junior year, Adam also started playing football for the Spartans. 

Hopedale Agri Center

The Hopedale Agri Center is an agriculture business located in Hopedale. They sell both equipment and custom feed for cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and pigs. They also have recently added a gift shop, The Mill Gift Shop, filled with many items ranging from fun house decorations to boots and T-shirts located inside the Hopedale Agri Center. Right now, the shop is full of fall themed decor and shirts. The Hopedale Agri Center works well with The Mill Gift Shop, encouraging all their customers to check out the shop when they stop by. 

Vickie Glenn

Vickie Glenn has been the village clerk for thirty years. Vickie is a Danvers Village native, having lived there her whole life. She graduated from Olympia High School. Vickie has had three children, of which all grew up in Danvers. Vickie is a family first person, so her children and grandchildren are very important to her. Vickie has been married to her husband, Dan, for forty years. All three of Vickie’s children are out of college now and have started their working careers. 

Chief Kemp Plans to Retire

Danvers Chief of Police Michael Kemp has recently decided that he will be retiring from his position as Chief on Friday August 13. Chief Kemp has been the Chief of Police for the Village of Danvers since 2013, making many connections with locals during that period of time. Chief Kemp says, “I have greatly enjoyed every moment that I have served the citizens within our jurisdiction.” Chief Kemp was always thinking of what was best for the Village of Danvers. After eight years of being the Chief for Danvers, it is a given that a special connection between Chief Kemp and the community members has been built. 

Olympia’s Return to School Plan

With the end of summer arriving and the start of school getting closer and closer, there have been many questions throughout the community about what school will look like this year. Will students wear masks, will social distancing be enforced, will the COVID vaccination be required, will students have to quarantine? All of these questions were answered at Olympia’s recent board meeting. 

Spartan Baseball Coach Mark Finchum

Coach Mark Finchum has been involved in coaching the Olympia Spartans baseball program for 26 years. Coach Finchum bleeds Spartan blue and white, being an Olympia Class of 1988 graduate. During his time as a student at Olympia High School, Coach Finchum played football and baseball for all four years. In his junior year of high school, Coach Finchum’s baseball team was the first team to make it to the state tournament in 1987. This was only the beginning of what was to come in the future of Olympia baseball. 

The Sip Shack

The Sip Shack is a drive-thru coffee hut located in Atlanta owned by Molly Mowery and Samantha Runge. They have just recently opened on Wednesday, July 21, and they are very excited for their new business to get rolling. Molly and Samantha’s goal for The Sip Shack is to give their customers an experience that is “quality and convenient with a laid-back vibe.” The Sip Shack will be a great spot for locals to stop by and grab a quick coffee, lotus energy drinks, tea, lemonade, or even a smoothie. 

6.6k Run/Walk on Route 66

The 8th annual 6.6k Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, August 28th in McLean. This run/walk is sponsored by CORE of McLean, a nonprofit organization for the benefit of the community of McLean. The 6.6k on Route 66 will be a point-to-point run/walk that starts in Funks Grove, with a shuttle service provided from McLean to Funks Grove. The participants will then run or walk on Route 66 to the new park under the old water tower in McLean. The new park in McLean was funded by previous proceeds from the 6.6k on Route 66. 

Austin Swan

Austin Swan is this week’s Olympia Athlete of the Week. Austin is from Hopedale and will be a senior this year at Olympia. Since his freshman year, Austin has been on the varsity wrestling team and was a starter on the varsity football team in his sophomore season. As a senior, Austin is looking to have another successful year in sports, as he will be back out on the field and on the mat this fall and winter. 

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School is a program that many churches offer nationwide. The purpose of this program is to incorporate enjoyable activities that entertain the children, while also giving them an opportunity to learn more about their religion. Vacation Bible School is an easy way to get kids involved in church. Typically, Vacation Bible School is about a week-long event that takes place in the summer. During this week-long event, children usually attend around three or four hours each day. 

Cross Country Coach Mike Neisler

Coach Mike Neisler had been Olympia’s boys and girls cross country and track coach up until his retirement this year. Coach Neisler had been a student and athlete favorite as one of Olympia’s health and PE teachers. With a long history in athletics, especially running, Coach Neisler was the right guy for the cross country program at Olympia. At Girard High School, Coach Neisler ran track, played basketball, and played football his senior year and says that, “the best day of the season was the day we ran the mile in pads! I won. Maybe I was in the wrong sport.”

Hunter Berges

Hunter Berges from Stanford is this week’s Athlete of the Week. Hunter was a class of 2021 senior and played baseball, basketball for all four years, and football his senior year. Growing up, Hunter was always active and involved in sports. His active childhood led him right into a high school career full of sports. In football, Hunter was a first-year player his senior year, but still managed to do more than enough to help the Spartan football team go 4-2 this spring. Hunter started at both wide receiver and corner for his six games of high school football. His athleticism and length were a lot for opponents to handle on the field. Hunter’s specialty was making the spectacular catch for Olympia. 

Minier Corn Daze

The Minier Corn Daze is a festival held in Minier by the Olympia Kiwanis Club. This year, the Corn Daze will be held on Saturday, July 31st and Sunday, August 1st. There will be many different activities that can be enjoyed by attendees. On Saturday, there will be a Softball Tourney and a Fire Department Water Fight. Sunday will have, “all the sweet corn you can eat”, a Cruise-in, tractor pulls, a community church service at 10 AM, a vendor fair, a pedal tractor race, a lawn mower tractor pull, multiple events for kids, a car show, live music, and lots of food. 

Sweeney Repair: Specializing in On-Site Diesel Work

Sweeney Repair is a diesel repair shop for businesses and farms located in Armington. They specialize in on-site repairs to give their customer’s the most convenient service they can. Sweeney Repair is owned by Ryan and Stacey Sweeney and they got their start in 2010, with Ryan working in their driveway. Soon after, they had a machine shop built and Ryan started working out of the shop. They now own a shop on N Maple Street in Armington. 

Happy Birthday America

On July 4th, Americans celebrate the birth of American independence. The Fourth of July has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of the holiday goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 British Colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. 

Dustin Carter

This week’s edition of “Meet the Chief” features the Chief of Police for the Stanford Police Department, Chief Dustin Carter. Chief Carter grew up around Hoopeston and Leroy and has been around law enforcement his whole life. His father was also a Chief of Police and being in a household that focused on public safety made it feel very natural for Chief Carter to pursue a career in law enforcement. Chief Carter obtained his bachelor’s degree from Lincoln College with a major in Business Management and a minor in Criminal Justice. Although Chief Carter understood that law enforcement was not for everyone, he saw it as his calling. 

Spartan Football Coach Eric Lyons

Olympia Spartan football coach Eric Lyons is this week's Coach of the Week. Coach Lyons has had a life full of football. During his childhood, Coach Lyons grew up the son of a football coach, so he was destined for a future full of football. Lyons played high school football for the South Piatt Co-op, where he was a four-year starter, a two-time Decatur Herald all area player, and earned News Gazette all area player one year as well. At the end of his high school career, Lyons left as the all-time leader in career assists, solo tackles, and tackles for loss. He also held the single season records for each of those categories. His incredible high school football career earned him a scholarship to play at McKendree College. After a freshman year injury, Coach Lyons made the transfer to Eureka College where he was a four-year starter, three year All Illini Badger Conference selection at offensive guard, three-time Nick Award winner for the team’s most valuable Offensive Lineman, and a two-year team captain. Coach Lyons’ playing career was over, but he was not done with football in the slightest. 

Trevor White

Trevor White is this week’s Olympia Athlete of the Week. Trevor is from Minier and went to Olympia his whole life. From a young age, Trevor always enjoyed playing or watching any sports. In his time at Olympia High School, Trevor played baseball, basketball, and even represented the Spartans very well in bowling. Trevor’s basketball career came to an end after his freshman year, when he decided to really focus on bowling, which ended up paying off for him in a big way. In his junior season of bowling, Trevor placed 11th in the IHSA Regional Bowling Tournament with a six-game total score of 1232, which was good enough for him to advance to the IHSA Bowling Sectionals. At Sectionals, Trevor finished 3rd, this time bowling a six-game total score of 1342, earning him a spot in the IHSA Bowling State Tournament. Trevor performed very well at State, in front of many of his friends and family. He ended up bowling a score of 2468 in twelve total games at the State Tournament. This performance was enough for Trevor to start getting noticed by college bowling coaches. After talks with a few different schools and after a couple different visits, Trevor accepted a scholarship offer and committed to bowl at Missouri Valley College. Unfortunately, for Trevor’s senior year, there was no IHSA Postseason Bowling due to COVID concerns. Now a graduated senior, Trevor is looking forward to moving into MVC in August and getting his collegiate bowling career started. 

Carz R Us

Carz R Us is a car dealership located in Armington. Carz R Us sells used cars, car parts, and offers car service to customers. They offer many different types of vehicles such as, coupes, sedans, convertibles, vans, suvs, and trucks. Carz R Us is open from 9 am- 5 pm Monday through Friday. Carz R Us works with customers from all over the Armington area. The statement on the business’ website says, “We take pride in the way we do business. We focus 100% on our customers and believe car-buying should be a fun, hassle-free experience! Our impressive selection of cars, trucks, and suvs is sure to meet your needs.” 

The Origins of Hopedale

Hopedale is a village in Tazewell County that has a lot of history in its past. The first settler of Hopedale was Aaron Orendorff, in the fall of 1827. When he discovered the village, Orendorff first named it Osceola, but later found out that there was already a town in Illinois named Osceola, so the name was then changed to Hopedale. Aaron Orendorff’s youngest granddaughter, Lydia Orendorff, was the town’s first telephone operator and organized the “Hopedale Chapter of Eastern Star and was their first worthy matron.” Lydia Orendorff’s family still owns the original map of Hopedale to this day. Staying in the Orendorff family, Lydia’s uncle, Thomas Orendorff, was in charge of creating the town’s first ever post office in 1852, organizing the first ever bank of Hopedale, and even gave the town it's then 20-acre park. The Orendorff family was also in charge of adding a sawmill, a woolen mill, a lumber yard, a furniture store, and a public hall. The family not only discovered the village of Hopedale, but they also helped set the foundation for a successful small town. 

Olympia Kiwanis Club

The Olympia Kiwanis Club is a part of the global Kiwanis organization of volunteers that are “dedicated to improving the world, one child and one community at a time.” The Olympia Kiwanis Club sponsors a bunch of different events throughout the year that bring the community together. A few of these events are a house decorating contest around Christmas, a Christmas parade, The Olympia Kiwanis Corn Daze, and community Easter Egg Hunts. The Olympia community has always enjoyed these events that the Kiwanis Club puts on. 

2021 Men’s College World Series

College baseball is back and better than ever after having their season canceled last year due to COVID-19. The Division I baseball season has just recently moved into their postseason play. Entering the regional tournaments, which is the first round of postseason play, 64 teams make it to the tournament with 31 conference tournament champions getting automatic bids, and 33 other teams are selected at large. After the 16 regional tournaments are played out, the team that wins each one moves on to the next round of the postseason, called the super regional. The super regional is just a best of 3 series between two regional tournament winners, and the winner of that 3 game series earns a trip to Omaha, Nebraska to compete in the College World Series. 

Illinois Reopens: The Move Into Phase 5

Illinois fully reopened and moved into Phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan last Friday. The continuously declining COVID infection rates and the continuously increasing vaccination rates is what made Governor J.B. Pritzker pull the trigger on moving into the state’s full reopening phase. Although Phase 5 does include the full reopening of Illinois, not quite all of the COVID restrictions have been lifted. According to the governor, entry into Phase 5 “will mean businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, and seated-spectator venues, among others, will be able to operate at full capacity for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Danvers Library Summer Reading Program

The Danvers Township Library sponsors a couple different summer reading programs each summer. This summer, there are programs for 0-4 years of age, 5-12 years of age, 13-17 years of age, and 18 or older. The Danvers Township Library welcomes children, teens, and adults to sign up for these summer reading programs, where they will be eligible to compete for a selection of prizes. Signing up for the summer reading programs has been made very simple by the library. Going to danverstownshiplibrary.com/programs will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to sign up for each of the summer reading programs. All it takes is downloading an app, finding the Danvers Township Library on the app, registering your account, then you just track your reading through the app. This easily accessible reading program is a great way to maintain a great habit over the summer. 

The Gift Box in Atlanta: Locally made unique gifts

The Gift Box is a gift shop in Atlanta located just off Historic Route 66. The Gift Box offers locally made unique gifts and free gift wrapping. Currently, they have 21 local artisans located in Atlanta, Lincoln, Bloomington, and McLean. You can find many different items at The Gift Box including goat soap and bath products, stained glass, laser engraved items, blown glass, candles, wax, handmade jewelry, bird houses, signs, repurposed farm and garden tools, candy, popcorn, t-shirts, Watkins table runners, boo boo bags, aprons, rugs, and many more great gift items. The Gift Box is open Wednesday- Saturday from 10 AM- 4 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM- 4:00 PM. They also offer local delivery and can schedule appointments for any possible wants a customer could have. Artists that work with The Gift Box are more than willing to customize their items to create something that you would be proud to give as a gift.