Harold Goeken

Harold G. Goeken, 87, of Tuscola, passed away at 4:42 a.m., Friday, April 11, 2014 at Brookstone Estates, with his loving wife, family and friends by his side.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, April 14, 2014 at Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Sunday, April 13, 2014 at the funeral home. Burial will be in Tuscola Township Cemetery, with military graveside rites accorded.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal April 16, 2014 edition

Darrel Traxler

1-Darrel Traxler obitwebDarrel W. Traxler, 90, of Arthur, died at 9:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, 2014 at Mason Point in Sullivan.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Shrader Funeral Home, 431 S. Vine Street, Arthur, with Pastor Mitch Flesch officiating. Burial will follow in the Arthur Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal April 16, 2014 edition

Softball Warriors double down with decisive victories last week

By Lenny Sementi
The Tuscola High School softball team has had more than a few games cancelled in the early going, but this past week they took advantage a few makeup contests thanks to hard-working Warrior AD Ryan Hornaday. The Lady Warriors ran past Neoga 11-1 on Tues., April 1, 2014, and then jumped out early on Villa Grove Sat., April 5 and never looked back, downing the Lady Blue Devils 15-1.

Senior hurler Erin Walker collected the win in both contests, working 10 innings in all, giving just four hits and a walk while striking out 18. Teammates Karli Allen and Anna Watson did their share of the damage at the plate. Allen touched ‘em all in each of the games, adding three hits, two home runs and nine RBI to her season stats. Watson, on the other hand, sped her way around the bases, going 5 for 5 in the two games, scoring six runs while swiping five stolen bases.

•Tuscola 11, Neoga 1
Watson tripled to open the game, but a coaching snafu cost the Warriors a run on a sac fly by Amber Tabeling as the Warriors went down scoreless in the first. Walker fanned the first two in the bottom half, then induced to Allen at first base for the third out of the inning. Madeline Meinhold walked to open the second, moved on a ground ball by Peyton Shelmadine, and scored on a triple by Alexis Giuliani, making it 1-0 Warriors.

Tuscola broke it open in the third with a four spot, kickstarted on a bunt single by Watson. The speedy sophomore quickly stole second and then scored on a single to right by Tabeling, who then scored one batter later on a 2-run home run by Allen, adding two more runs to the scoreboard. Meinhold reached on her second walk of the game, and then scored on a line drive base hit by Shelmadine to make it 5-0 Warriors.

Walker gave up her first hit of the game on a two-out single, but the senior did the rest, fanning the next batter to strike out the side. Watson walked with one gone in the top of the fourth, stole second and third, then scored on a sac fly by Allen.

Tuscola blew it wide open in the sixth, starting with a leadoff triple by Halle McCrory. She scored one batter later on a bunt single by Watson. Tabeling followed with a walk to load the bases and Walker took one for the team to push McCrory across the dish. Meinhold followed with a sac fly to score Watson, then Shelmadine reached on an error, scoring Tabeling. Morgan Little then singled, putting two more in the book to wrap up the scoring.

•Tuscola 15, Villa Grove-Heritage 1
The Lady Warriors were offensive minded early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first, and never looked back. Watson reached on a walk, and stole second and third before Allen and Walker both were hit by pitches to load the bases. Enter Shelmadine. The junior center fielder doubled to right center, adding two RBI to her season stat sheet. Little followed with a sac fly to push Walker across, making it 3-0 Warriors after one.

It was more of the same in the second as Tuscola put five more on the board running out to an early 8-0 advantage. McCrory led off with a single, moved on a single by Jacobs, and then scored on a sac bunt by Watson. Jacobs was 3 for 3 on the day with three runs scored. Tabeling followed with a slap single, driving in Jacobs, and then stole second. Allen doubled to the fence to push in one more. Walker and Shelmadine followed with back-to-back base knocks, pushing two more across to end the scoring in the frame.

They added to the lead again in the third, tallying four runs on hits by Jacobs, Watson, and Tabeling. Allen then put the cherry on top with a laser-beam grand slam to left that cleared the bases. McCrory, Jacobs, and Watson opened the bottom of the fourth with base hits, and all three scored to make 15-1 Warriors. VG got on the board in the top of the fourth thanks to a hit and an error, but in the fifth Walker closed them out by striking out the first two to step to the plate before Giuliani squeezed a fly ball to first to end the game.

•JV wins two
Morgan Day homered for the second straight contest and the third time this year in the JV game that followed, leading the Warriors to a 12-0 victory. Emma Sementi reached all three times in the game, scoring twice, while Anna Kaufman added two hits to her resume.

Day and Abbey Walsh both led off the JV game in Neoga with back-to-back dingers as the Warriors cruised to victory. Allen joined with Meinhold to collect the win at Neoga, and then partnered with Day for the win against VG-Heritage.

Lady Warriors open outdoor track-and-field season

By Lenny Sementi
The Tuscola High School girls track team opened its 2014 outdoor season Tuesday, April 1, 2014 in Sullivan. The girls, like every other spring athlete, were happy Mother Nature took a day off to give the team a gauge as to where they are at entering the early part of the schedule.

“We took second in our first meet at Sullivan,” stated Coach Drew Sterkel. “For a first meet I thought everything went very smooth; all the girls were very positive and we had some great times.”

Freshman Peyton Kresin and sophomore Brooke Hennis donated their share of the team points to the second-place effort. Kresin took first in the discus with a toss of 97 feet and third in shot put throwing in 28-5. Hennis was right in front of her in the shot in second place (29 feet) and right behind in the discus (89-10.5).

“It is great to have throwers who can consistently score points for your team,” stated the coach. “Both of these girls work so hard and will only get better as the season progresses. I fully expect them throwing over 100 feet in the discus and 30 feet in the shot by the end of the year.”

Logan Hale also donated to the cause in the field events, placing second in the high jump with a leap of 4-6. Clarisa Phillips placed third in the same event, clearing 4-4. Hale also placed fourth in the 400-meter run. Mikahla Sumption was one place better, in third, with a time of 1 minute 8 seconds, while Emma Henderson led the Tuscola crew with a second-place effort of 1:05.

“Emma ran an unbelievable 400,” noted Sterkel. “I knew she posted a good time, but after seeing the result, I believe that the 400 may be her race.”

Henderson led the way in the 4×400-meter relay. She joined with Sumption, Baylee Tackitt and Lexi Sluder. They broke the tape and a set a personal best, turning in a time of 4 minutes 42 seconds.

“I believe that this group should be down in the 4:32 range by mid-season; every time out they continue to get better.”

Sumption was also part of a solid group that turned in a respectable 56.72 in the 4×100-meter relay. Caylen Moyer, Phillips, and senior Felicia Tucker joined her to surprise the coach.

“That’s an excellent time for this team, this early in the year,” Sterkel said. “We had some handoff issues and still ran a great time. This team is going to have a great year if they can all stay healthy.”

Warrior outdoor track season opens in Sullivan

By Missy Chappell
The weather cooperated enough for the Tuscola High School boys track team to get one meet under its belt last week. The team traveled to Sullivan for a dual meet with the host Redskins and Cerro Gordo.

On the track, the relay teams put in fantastic performances, taking first place in the 4×100, the 4×400 and the 4×800 relays. The team came in second in the 4×200. Relay team runners and times are listed below:

4×100 in 57.1 for 1st place–Joe Lopez, Brock Tackitt, Adam Bratten, Keagan Kibler

4×200 in 1:45.8 for 2nd place–Nick Kemp, Tanner Robinson, Chandler Kerns, Kyle Pugh

4×400 in 3:45.0 for 1st place–Nick Kemp, Tannter Robinson, Eric Ponder, John Evans

4×800 in 9:36.0 for 1st place–Nick Kemp Trent Ponder, Chandler Kerns, Kyle Pugh

Three individuals took first place with their performances on the track, including Eric Ponder in the 3200 meters with a time of 9:46.0, John Evans in the 800 meters in 2:09.0, and Adam Bratten in the 300 hurdles in :49.3.

Other notable track performances included: Philip Spillman in the 300 hurdles in with a third-place time of :50.2; Joe Lopez finishing fourth in the 100 meters in :12.5; Brock Tackitt third in the 200 meters in :26.7; Clio Means in third in the 800 in 2:23.0 and second in the 1600 in 5:28.0; Trent Ponder third in the 1600 in 5:30.0; and Chas Campbell finishing second in the 3200 in 12:00.0.

The Warriors also performed very well in the field events. Several of the shot putters threw season or even lifetime bests. The team had 10 individuals in each shot put and discus, and entries in every other field event except triple jump.

John Evans took second in the high jump at 5-2, while Tanner Robinson took second in pole vault at 9-0. Stephen Gibson came in first in shot put with a throw of 47-10 and second in discus with a throw of 115-6. Also placing in throwing events were Dave Manselle finishing third in shot put with a throw of 37-2 and Anthony Guo third in discus with a throw of 114-6.

Up next for the track team is the Arthur Invitational this Wednesday, April 9, followed by the Saber Invitational at St. Thomas More on Thursday, April 10.

Scribner to play volleyball at Millikin

TCHS senior Hannah Scribner has indicated her plans to attend Millikin University in Decatur and play volleyball for Big Blue Head Coach Debbie Kiick. A high honors student, Scribner plans to major in biology at Millikin.

“Hannah is a versatile and explosive hitter who works hard and can contribute to our team in many aspects,” said Kiick.

Scribner earned four varsity letters in volleyball at Tuscola High School, where she played outside and middle hitter. As a senior, Scribner was named Tuscola’s Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Offensive Player, leading her team in kills with 351.

Scribner is a member of the TCHS National Honor Society and serves as the organization’s president. She is the daughter of Tony and Linda Scribner.

Kiick just completed her 13th season coaching the Big Blue volleyball team. Under Kiick’s leadership Millikin has won 20 or more matches in 11 of her 13 years. Kiick is looking for a group of recruits to add to the talented returners expected back in 2014.

TCHS baseball continues winning ways

Tuscola Warriors Clash With Pirates In Slugfest

Warrior Tucker Robinson crosses home plate during varsity action against the Cumberland Pirates.

By Missy Chappell
Despite the dreary weather last week, the TCHS Warrior baseball squad managed to get a few games in on the diamond. On Tuesday, April 1, 2014 the Warriors were at home against Cumberland, a game that ended in a 12-11 loss to the visiting Pirates.

Austin Martin was the losing pitcher, giving up eight hits in the first two innings. Cumberland scored eight runs in the first two innings of play. In the second inning, Tuscola gave up five runs, three of which were unearned due to three errors in the field. Jackson McCrory took over on the mound for Martin in the third inning and allowed one run. In the fourth inning the team failed to complete a double play and the result was three more runs by Cumberland.

Even with defensive woes, the Warriors managed to keep themselves in the game with their bats. A five-run sixth inning brought them to within one run of Cumberland, however they couldn’t get the hits to score the winning runs.

Nick Bates was 3-for-4 with three RBI. Tommy Watson went 2-for-4 on the night, and Clayton Turner was 2-5 with three RBI.

After the game, head Coach Duff Hoel had this to say: “I was proud of the way we battled back, but when you give up as many unearned runs as we did it is very difficult to win. We should come out on top of any game in which we score 11 runs.”

The weather finally cooperated on Saturday, April 5, with the Gibson City games being moved to Tuscola’s Ervin Park. The Warriors took on Gibson City in the first game, winning 5-2. Austin Martin was on the mound again for the Warriors, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on six hits, no walks, and recording three strikeouts.

The Warriors played again after the Gibson City/Prairie Central game, taking on Prairie Central. Nick Bates was on the mound for the Warriors in the 10-4 victory. Bates pitched three innings, allowing two runs on two hits, allowing five walks and recording two strikeouts.

Tuscola baseball season record currently stands at six wins, four losses. Next up for the baseball squad is a game at Argenta-Oreana on Tuesday, April 8. That will be followed by a game at St. Joe-Ogden on Wednesday, at home against Maroa-Forsyth on Thursday, and capping off the week with the Tuscola Invitational Friday and Saturday at Ervin Park.

Ruggieri earns Ambassador Award at annual meeting

2-RuggieriwebAlex Ruggieri of Tuscola was recognized by Sperry Van Ness at its annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas with a special Ambassador Award. Ruggieri, CCIM, GRI serves as senior advisor for Sperry Van Ness/Ramshaw Real Estate based in Champaign.

The Ambassador Award is given every year to an advisor who embodies the Sperry Van Ness culture and helps contribute to the success of the entire organization. Ruggieri promotes the trade through his media work locally, regionally and nationally.

Locally, Ruggieri advocates as a contributor and host to the ciLiving Business Insider segment on WCIA Channel 3. For this segment, he conducts interviews with local businesses to gain insight into their products or services.

He is also the host of Central Illinois Business Radio on NewsTalk 1400 WDWS AM, as well as author for articles in the Illinois Association of Realtors magazine and Commercial Connections magazine. Ruggieri has also contributed to articles published in Heartland Real Estate Business and Midwest Real Estate News.

Nationally, Ruggieri is recognized for his media work as the host and executive producer of the Commercial Connections podcast, a twice monthly podcast by the National Association of Realtors.

Ruggieri has over 33 years of commercial real estate industry experience. He is recognized as a Top 10 Advisor with Sperry Van Ness and was the recipient of the Partner’s Circle Award in 2007, 2012 and 2013, the company’s highest sales award.

East Prairie roof project draws four bidders

–Bid submissions well under engineer estimate
By Colleen Lehmann
Four roofing companies submitted bids for the East Prairie Middle School roofing project, and those submissions were opened Wednesday afternoon, April 2, 2014. Apparent low bidder was Top Quality Roofing out of Mt. Zion—whose total bid of $667,200 was $80,800 lower than the next closest bid and approximately $152,000 lower than the highest of the four submissions.

“The only thing is we know is the low bidder–then Randy has a few days to verify they can do the job, and the board will have to approve a bid winner at the April 28 board meeting,” noted Supt. Michael Smith.

Engineer Randy Etnire with The Upchurch Group in Mattoon had given the school board a total bid estimate of $834,000 for the project—with breakout estimates of $416,000 for base bid, $46,500 for alternate bid 1 (east roof coating), $335,500 for alternate bid 2 (west roof), and $36,000 for alternate bid 3 (west roof coating).

“I was a little surprised by the bid amounts—materials costs apparently are coming down since I priced out the project,” said Etnire after last Wednesday’s bid opening. A new roofing system on 27,000 square feet of the middle school’s 45,000-square foot span will be replaced this summer, with the remainder done during the 2015 summer break. The Upchurch Group is doing design work, overseeing the bid process and construction, and handling project closeout details. The fee for doing so is 10 percent of the winning bid award.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal April 9, 2014 edition

Wilke death ruled accidental

The March 9, 2014 death of Matthew J. Wilke of Tuscola has been ruled accidental, according to a statement released by Douglas County Coroner Joe Victor on April 7, 2014.

“After a case review, the manner and cause of death have been ruled to be accidental due to multiple blunt force injuries to the body,” wrote Victor regarding the 26-year-old’s death. Those results were determined following an autopsy performed by Dr. Shiping Boa.

Wilke was walking near the railroad tracks in the early morning hours when he was struck by a train at the corner of Ohio Street and East North Central Avenue in Tuscola.