Lady Warriors continue to garner hardware in off season

By Lenny Sementi
Long after the stinging regional softball loss to Maroa Forsyth, Tuscola’s Lady Warriors are still hauling in some hardware. The two main culprits, First Team All-Okaw Valley selections Erin Walker and Anna Watson, are the two doing most of the damage.

Walker extended her high school career a few more weeks, taking a Sunday off from her summer team on June 15 to play in the Super 60 game in Peoria. It hosts the top 60 seniors in the state, dividing them up into four teams for a two-game tournament. She is the third consecutive representative from Tuscola to be part of the All Star weekend.

Her white squad won the first game against the blue team, in which she pitched four frames against some of the best hitters in the state, giving up three runs on four hits and no walks. She fanned four in the outing while also donating on the offensive side with a 1-for-2 effort at the plate that included an RBI single, and a walk. The Warrior standout entered in relief in the second contest, giving up four runs, but once more added to the squad’s offensive numbers, reaching base three times delivering two walks and a hit.

“I had a great time,” stated Walker after the experience. “It was fun to play with that many good players.”

The now Tuscola alum wrapped up a high school career, garnering All State honors for the fourth straight year. Walker has been part of the Illinois Coaches Association since her freshman year, earning third team honors this season thanks to a 22-4 record on the mound for the Lady Warriors. She fanned over 200 batters on the year while walking just 24 total, posting a .965 ERA–one of the state’s lowest. ?All this added up to a First Team All Area nod as well in the Champaign News Gazette.

The future Kankakee College player was a First Team selection for the second time in the last three years. She was top dog for pitchers in the K column, second in wins and third in ERA, setting school records in total wins with 76 and strikeouts with 651 in her career.

Joining her on both the All State squad and the First Team All Area roster was sophomore sensation Anna Watson. The second-year player hit the ground running, literally, swiping a whopping 88 stolen bases in 32 games. It was just four bags short of a state record, but good enough for second place on the state’s all-time single-season steals list.

She also led the way in the Champaign area with a .661 batting average, scoring 52 runs on the season. She has continued her decimation of opposing defenses this summer on her Premier Fastpitch squad that travels the country. The overall speed has turned more than a few college coaches as the summer marches on, one of which was the University of Kentucky out of the vaunted SEC.

Also making the rounds with Watson this summer is Amber Tabeling. The soon-to-be senior is also getting noticed by college coaches, and has a tripped planned to Florida once the summer season ends for a few official visits as the recruiting process begins. She was selected by the team as a captain of her and Watson’s Orange Premier squad that has earned a spot in the nations 16U tournament–the American Softball Association’s Gold Division–boasting the top 48 teams in the nation.

Junior-to-be Karli Allen is also making the rounds this summer, playing for the Central Illinois Diamonds. She landed on the News-Gazette’s Second Team, thanks to a team-best 46 RBI and eight home runs. Also getting recognition were two juniors, Peyton Shelmadine and Morgan Little, listed as Honorable Mention All Area players.

Parkland’s Kohlbecker earns national academic honor

Parkland College student-athlete Samantha Kohlbecker of Tuscola has earned the Award for Superior Academic Achievement for students attaining a 3.80–3.99 GPA, from the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Kohlbecker, a Parkland Cobras women’s basketball player, was recognized for this outstanding academic achievement for the 2013-14 school year. The Cobras softball, volleyball, and golf teams were also honored as NJCAA Academic Teams of the Year for compiling an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher for the school year.

Mo-Do Junior Legion baseball wins Firecracker Tourney

By Missy Chappell
The Moultrie-Douglas Junior American Legion baseball team entered the seventh annual Mattoon Firecracker Wood Bat Tournament with an 8-6 record. After three days of play and six straight wins, the local team walked away with an overall 14-6 record and the championship trophy.

•Mo-Do 6, Effingham 0
Mo-Do opened play against Effingham at Lakeland College on Mon., June 23, 2014. Zach Hrvol (Sullivan) was given the nod on the mound for Mo-Do and threw four scoreless innings before giving way to Blake Woodard (Tuscola), who finished up the three-hit shutout for Mo-Do.

Mo-Do got on the board in the bottom of the first. Designated Hitter Drew Beachy (Arthur Okaw Christian) drew a one-out walk and stole second. He scored on Dakota Clayton’s (Sullivan) two-out single to give Mo-Do the lead that carried them to the win. In the bottom of the second, Joe Jeffers (Okaw Valley) led off with a single and stole second. Kaleb Williams (Tuscola) singled, advancing Jeffers to third. Jeffers then scored on Josh Knight’s (Tuscola) sacrifice fly to put Mo-Do up 2-0. Mo-Do added four more in its half of the third. Dalton Hoel (Tuscola) led off with a single, followed by a single by Beachy. Nick Bates (Tuscola) then singled to score Hoel, and Clayton grounded out, scoring Beachy. After a walk to Dylan Hart (Sullivan), Jeffers singled, driving in Bates and Hart to put Mo-Do up 6-0. Hrvol and Woodard combined giving up only three total hits, striking out seven, and walking one.

•Mo-Do 11, Robinson 3
The Mo-Do squad headed to Mattoon High School after their win for game two. Mo-Do pounded out 12 hits enroute to a resounding 11-3 victory over Robinson. Seth Still (Arcola) went the distance, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking two. Offensively, the 1-3 Mo-Do hitters were on base nine of 10 plate appearances. Leadoff hitter Dalton Hoel was 2-2 with a base on balls and hit by a pitch. He scored twice and had two RBI. Hitting from the #2 spot, Drew Beachy was 2-3 with an RBI, scoring twice. Nick Bates, hitting in the 3 hole, was 3-3 with a double, triple, and home run, accounting for five RBI and scoring in all three appearances.

•Mo-Do 5, Rantoul 1
On Tues., June 24, Mo-Do faced a Rantoul team that they had played just 10 days earlier and came away with another win in game three of the tourney. Mo-Do’s Drew Beachy went the distance on the mound, giving up one run on four hits, one base on balls, and four strikeouts.

Mo-Do bats were slow to get going in this game. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Dakota Clayton led off with a single in front of Dylan Hart, getting on base via error. Jeffers then sacrificed Clayton to third and Hart to second before Kaleb Williams singled to score Clayton. Dalton James (Heritage) grounded to short and Dylan Hart beat the throw to the plate to give Mo-Do a lead it would not relinquish. Blake Woodard then singled, scoring Williams, followed by a single from Hoel, scoring James, to put Mo-Do up 4-1 after four. Mo-Do plated its final run in its half of the fifth. James singled with one out and stole second. Hoel’s two-out single then scored James to make the score 5-1 Mo-Do.

•Mo-Do 11, Danville Gold 3
The second game played by Mo-Do Tues., June 24 was against a strong Danville Gold team that had already beaten them twice this season. That wouldn’t be the case this day, as Mo-Do finished pool play 4-0 and advanced to the semifinals with a quality 11-3 victory. Tyler Hale (Tuscola) picked up the win and was supported by outstanding defensive play and small ball played at the highest level.

•Mo-Do 6, Danville Blue 4
Mo-Do earned top seed going into the Wed., June 23 semifinals. They faced a Danville Blue team that beat them in a tourney semifinal 10 days earlier. This time Mo-Do came to play, beating Danville Blue 6-4 in a terrific ballgame.

Mo-Do 6, Mattoon 2
The championship game paired Mo-Do against host team Mattoon. Zach Hrvol came back to pitch for Mo-Do after throwing only 42 pitches in game one, and was spectacular. Hrvol allowed two runs on seven hits, walking none and striking out four. Mattoon was up 2-0 after two and a half, but Mo-Do got things rolling in the bottom of the third. Dalton James led off with a single and went to third on Drew Harris’ double. With one out, James beat the tag at home after Drew Beachy had grounded to short. Nick Bates then singled, driving in Harris to make the score 2-2.

Mo-Do took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Bates singled to lead off the inning, stole second, and scored on Dylan Hart’s single. The bottom of the sixth saw Mo-Do put the game away with three more runs. James got his third single of the game to lead off the inning. He then stole second and third base. Dalton Hoel was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners before Beachy flew out to right, sacrificing in James. Hoel stole second and scored on Bates’ third single of the game. Bates stole second and scored on Clayton’s single, putting Mo-Do up 6-2. Hrvol struck out the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh before allowing a double in front of a pop flyout to the second baseman and another pop flyout to the catcher, ending the game and giving Mo-Do the championship.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 2, 2014 edition

Alexa Reilly MacDonald

Joe and Jayne MacDonald of Fishers, Ind. are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Alexa Reilly, on June 12, 2014 at Indiana University North Hospital in Carmel, Ind. Alexa weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 22 inches long.

She was welcomed home by her two big brothers: Trey Michael, age 8; and Chase Joseph, age 4.

Maternal grandparents are Jean and the late Michael Hajek of Town and Country, Mo.

Paternal grandparents are Carolyn Cunningham MacDonald and the late Prof. Bruce MacDonald of Tuscola, Ill. Paternal great-grandparents are the late Dr. and Mrs. C.J. Cunningham of Villa Grove. Alexa is the 96th great-grandchild for the late “Doc and Nelle’s” family.

Webber sworn in as associate circuit judge

By Colleen Lehmann
Judicial swearings-in are getting to be as frequent a Douglas County Courthouse event as some of the legal proceedings on the docket.

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, the recent ceremony officially placing Roger Webber on the bench as associate judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit was the second such event in as many weeks. Webber, age 55, of Savoy, was sworn in by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman on Wed., June 25, 2014. He takes the place of Judge Richard “Rick” Broch, who on June 16, 2014 was sworn in as resident judge of said sixth circuit.

Webber, a longtime associate and partner in the Beckett & Webber law firm—with offices in Urbana and Tuscola—was chosen for the judicial position from what Justice Garman characterized as “a very strong field” of 15 candidates.

Webber graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 1983, and was admitted to the bar the following year. He served as assistant public defender in Champaign County from 1984 to 1986, and from 1986 to 1990 was first assistant state’s attorney in Douglas County. He joined what would become Beckett & Webber Law Firm in 1990, becoming a principal in the firm five years later.

Garman reiterated the importance of treating all who come before the court in a fair and impartial manner, and dispensing justice with humility, adding, “Respect is owed to the function of the position, not to you personally.” That said, she noted, “Having seen Roger conduct himself in the courtroom, I have no doubt he will have great success and is an excellent choice for the job. I am confident he will rise to the occasion.”

For his part, Judge Webber offered thanks to a number of people, most of whom were in the courtroom to witness the ceremony. He noted his parents, wife Jane, his son, former law partner Steven Beckett, and his former as well as most recent colleagues, all of whom he said played a crucial role in helping him to this day.

While a full courtroom of friends, family, and fellow attorneys were in attendance, there was very little time to offer good wishes to the newest associate circuit judge, as Chief Judge Dan Flannell had scheduled Webber for court duties in Clinton at 10 a.m., leaving him little time after the 8:30 a.m. ceremony.

Mo-Do Fair offers full week of family entertainment

By Doris Elmore
The sweat is dripping down your back, you wonder if your all day deodorant will hold out until noon, but if you are showing livestock at the Moultrie-Douglas County Fair, the show must go on. Find your coolest clothes and don’t forget to pack an umbrella because it’s time for the 84th annual Moultrie-Douglas County Fair July 6-12, 2014 in Arthur. Fairgrounds are located just behind Arthur High School on Route 133, and there will be no main gate admission this year.

Anticipation is in the air with Grand Ole Opry star Lorrie Morgan highlighting the entertainment at the fair this year. Her appearance is sponsored by C.H.I. Overhead Doors and Lift Master of Arthur. Lorrie will perform on Saturday night, July 12 on the Main Stage, beginning at 7 p.m. General public admission will be $5.

The 2014 Moultrie-Douglas Fair Book is dedicated to Ernest (Ernie) Bartholomew Jr. of Arthur, in honor of the numerous years of service he has given to the fair. Bartholomew started as a fair board director in 1984, resigning from the board in 2000. However, he has helped with the tractor pull almost every year since he left the board. Bartholomew’s accomplishments can be found in this year’s fair book.

A county fair would not exist without the fine arts, textiles, and hobby items. Entries will be from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Merchant’s Building. The Arthur Ministerial Association will sponsor a church service and gospel music on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. Partners In Praise will provide the music.

Entries for culinary, horticulture, floriculture, and agriculture will be accepted between 8 and 10 a.m. on Monday. Judging will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The concessions and Merchants Building will open at 5 p.m. The all-breed market barrow and market gilt show will begin at 5 p.m. on Monday.

Get ready for fun, because the carnival rides will be in full swing from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; and 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday. POP (Pay One Price) nIghts will be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday and Thursday you can pay $14 and ride until they close, or until your stomach says whoa! Price for POP on Friday will be $15. What a good deal … riding as much as you can.

The dairy show will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, followed by the beef show. Then the breeding gilt and breed barrow swine show will begin at 5 p.m. on the same day.

Fair queens put the beauty and “sparkle” into fair activities. The 2013 Jr. Miss Moultrie-Douglas, Amaya Abernathy, will relinquish her crown during the pageant on Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m. Admission will be $7 per person. There will be 12 Jr. Miss contestants vying for the title this year.

Miss Moultrie-Douglas 2013 Christine Fortney and Little Miss Addi Erwin will crown their successors at the Miss & Little Miss Pageant on Tuesday, July 8, at 7 p.m. Admission will also be $7 per person. There will be 18 Little Miss contestants and 14 beautiful girls competing for Miss Mo-Do. The winner of Miss Moultrie-Douglas continues on to compete in the Illinois County Fair Queen pageant in Springfield in January 2015.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 2, 2014 edition

Manzella, Root assume new roles at FMIB


Jaci Manzella


Debbie Root

First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust recently announced Jaci Manzella has been promoted to assistant vice president, retail loan officer. Jaci began her career at First Mid in 2002, having held multiple positions including branch manager, loan administrator and retail loan officer. She specializes in helping customers with consumer and residential lending in the Tuscola area.

Jaci is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a B.S. degree in Agricultural, Consumer, & Environmental Studies, and is certified through the Fair Credit Reporting Act to resolve all credit bureau disputes on behalf of the bank. She is a member of Kiwanis Club, serves as a eucharistic minister with Forty Martyrs Catholic Church, and volunteers for North Ward Elementary School PTO.

Debbie Root has been appointed to the position of branch manager. In her new role, she is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day deposit operations in the Tuscola banking center at 410 South Main Street.

Debbie has held various roles since joining First Mid in 2003, having worked as a teller, customer service representative, CSR supervisor, loan support staff, and branch cashier. Prior to joining First Mid, she worked for Community Bank & Trust in Charleston and Tuscola National Bank.