9-year prison term for fatal drunk driving accident

By Colleen Lehmann
Judge Dan Flannell sentenced 29-year-old Edgar M. Maza of Decatur to nine years in the Illinois Dept. of Corrections and two years mandatory supervised release on Aug. 18, 2014 in a Douglas County courtroom.

Maza was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence, a Class 2 felony, after an Oct. 10, 2013 accident that resulted in the death of 47-year-old Harold Anthony Adamson of Atwood. Adamson was on a scooter less than a mile from his home, returning from work, when Maza’s SUV hit him from behind, causing numerous, massive, fatal injuries.

Marina Fleener, the victim’s sister, read her victim impact statement at the sentencing. She noted, “Mr. Maza was speeding down a highway at more than 100 miles an hour. What he did was so reckless, with no regard to others who were on that highway. Minutes prior to striking my brother, he passed a car with a mother and her two children. This letter could easily have been written by their family as well.”

Fleener said Adamson was her parents’ only son, and helped her in taking care of and providing transportation for their mother. “He was a good, kind man who was a hard worker and loved by those who knew him. He had a fantastic, boisterous laugh that everyone loved.”

Maza will have to serve at least 85 percent of his prison sentence, and was given credit for 311 days spent in county jail.

Piper Justynn Pierce

1-Piper Pierce birthwebLittle girls are so much fun, we thought we’d have another one! Piper Justynn Pierce arrived on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 12:27 p.m. She weighed 9 lbs., 2 oz. and measured 21 1/2 inches. Waiting with open arms were her parents, Riley and Megan Pierce of Sidell, and big sisters, Miley Jo (5) and Laurilei Jae (3).

Other proud relatives include Papa and Mimi (David and Lauri Quick of Tolono), Oma and Opa (Linda and Brent Wininger of Sidell), Pops and Lalaloopsy (Wally and Heather Pierce of Mahomet), Great-Grandma (Delores Hageman of Newman), Great-Grandpa (Paul Quick of Atwood), Nannie (Donna Walker) and Uncle Justin Quick of Tuscola, and Uncle Creighton Pierce of Champaign.

August 27, 2014

AUGUST 24, 2004
Headlining musical acts for this year’s Harvest Festival were The Kentucky Headhunters and The Van Dells. Tuscola’s own Allison Branca would also be performing, following country singer Steve Hargis.

Atwood resident Brad Wall and wife Karen recently purchased Dixie Cream Donuts from the Dallas/Kappes family. Brad recently quit his job at CILCO to take on the new venture.

Tuscola First Christian Church was the setting for the July 4, 2004 nuptials of Kelly Lynn McDonald, daughter of Fred and Joie McDonald of Tuscola, and Scott Douglas Clarkson, son of Steve and Kathy Clarkson of Champaign.

Derek Evans, son of Doug and Sherri Evans of rural Tuscola, won Reserve Grand Champion Polled Hereford Heifer at the Illinois State Fair Junior Show.

Tuscola Storm girls travel softball team ended another successful season with a 30-15 record and fourth-place finish at the USSSA State Tourney. Kelsi Hoey was the leading pitcher with a 20-10 record.

AUGUST 23, 1994
Enrollment for Tuscola School District broke a record dating back 10 years, according to Supt. Jim Voyles. As of first day of school the district total stood at 1,078, up 20 students from the 1993-94 year. Enrollment at TCHS was up 10 percent, from 303 to 337.

Gaylord Gangloff recorded a hole-in-one on the par 3, 152-yard 13th hole at the University of Illinois Blue Course. Gangloff used a 4-iron to hit the shot that was into the wind.

Sisters Jessi and Sara Trinkle of Tuscola took second place in the vocal group category at the Illinois State Fair talent contest, singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” The daughters of David and Maureen Trinkle, Jessi was a sophomore at TCHS and Sara a seventh-grader at East Prairie.

Top five finishers in the men’s Douglas County Golf Tournament at Kaskaskia Country Club were Troy Cannon, first place; Bruce McNary, second place; Van Anderson, third place; Mike Jacobs, fourth place; and Don Payne, fifth place.

AUGUST 28, 1984
Marijuana plants numbering over 5,000 were part of the Operation Cash Crop discovery made by local officers and volunteers in a tri-county area.

The annual 4-H livestock auction, held Aug. 25 at Tuscola’s Ervin Park, grossed $20,532.76. Forty-seven animals were offered at public auction by county 4-H members, with Harlan Henderson doing auctioneer duties.

U.S. Congressman Dan Crane visited Tuscola last week, arguing the need for additional financial and military aid in war-torn Central America.

In a double-ring ceremony conducted July 29, 1984, Kathleen Caulfield of Mt. Prospect became the bride of John Pflum of Tuscola.

AUGUST 22, 1974
The Corner Grocery in downtown Tuscola was now open for ‘round-the-clock service. Owners and managers Julie Hoetker and Kathy Clevidence leased the approximately 1,850 square feet in the front part of the Youth Center building.

Farmer Cleo Duzan of Oakland was seeing positive results from an unconventional planting method. Duzan had planted a bean field in uncleared wheat stubble, dropping the seeds from an airplane.

Master Sgt. James D. Barbee, a native of Tuscola, was awarded the Army Commendation Medal upon his July 31 retirement from the U.S. Army in Dallas. Sgt. Barbee enlisted in the Army after his graduation from Tuscola High School, and went on active duty at Camp Chaffee, Ark. in 1954.

Michael Edwards, a former Tuscola resident now living in Anaheim, Cal., would be entering a small engine repair school in Los Angeles next week. Making this unique, as Michael’s former classmates know, is that Michael is blind.

Downtown businesses marking milestones

By Colleen Lehmann
It takes a lot of guts, in this day and age, to become a small business owner. Following your passion, stepping away from the steady paycheck and saner hours for the uncertainty of being your own boss is not for the faint of heart.

But while the risks and sweat equity are undeniable, the rewards can be so very sweet, as at least two downtown Tuscola businesses have found, and they are each about to mark milestones in their respective journeys. It’s been a decade since Flesor’s Candy Kitchen put a new twist on their family’s historic business at the corner of Main and Sale, and just down the block off Main Street The Vault Arts Collective will be celebrating the one-year mark since it brought all things artistic to a former bank building.

•10 years and counting for Flesor’s Candy Kitchen
It all started with a sign and a bottle of wine. A little more than a decade ago, Ann Flesor Beck noticed the building formerly housing the Flesor family’s candymaking operations was for sale, and brought a bottle of wine to younger sister Devon Flesor Story to talk over the possibility of re-establishing the family business that first began with their grandfather Gus, a Greek immigrant.

The story is an irresistible one … replete with nostalgia, family drama, good old-fashioned hard work, and of course, chocolate. And that allure is evidenced by the wide variety of media attention over the years … stories in Candy Industry Magazine, Chicago Tribune, and American Profile magazine among others; as well as segments on local and national news, including the CBS Evening News.

“But the really amazing thing is, even though we have watched our kids and the kids who’ve come here and worked for us grow up, we haven’t aged a bit ourselves,” says Devon, who counts having a sense of humor as a key ingredient to the staying power of the business.

“That and we don’t know the definition of ‘quit.’ We are bull-headed, determined people, sometimes beyond sanity,” she confessed. “And of course, without our wonderful bankers, and our loyal customers, and our fabulous employees it would also not be possible. Ann and I are so very appreciative of all of them. We love being ‘that place’ that brings people back to Tuscola to reminisce, a place for far-flung friends to meet up year after year.”

The sisters, who recall long days working in the business when their parents were the proprietors, get tickled by youngsters who now come in and are thrilled with the power of sitting at the soda fountain concocting their own soda flavors.

But while much is the same—candy recipes, dipping techniques, even much of the original fixtures in the shop—just as much has changed this time around.

“Ingredients and groceries are so expensive now. We employ more people so we have a higher payroll. One thing that is different that you might not think about—when my grandfather and father were doing this, air conditioning wasn’t the norm, so you didn’t make and sell candy in the summer, because it would melt. Now, of course, we do so year-round. Another difference making an impact is technology—with the advancement of smartphones and the Internet, folks can use those search engines to help find us.”

Stepping back into the candy-making business, a career choice for a number of Greek immigrants at the turn of the last century, proved to have rewards beyond the culinary for one of the sisters.

“Ann began to do research on the history of Greeks coming to America and becoming candymakers. She ultimately turned it into a dissertation topic for her Ph.D., which she earned this past spring. Now we have this historic tome connecting us to a larger piece of history,” said Devon.

“We have also become a repository for town memorabilia … and people’s extra veggies from their gardens. We welcome both in equal measure,” she added.

And a fourth generation of Flesors has dipped its fingers into the family business, something mom Devon says has been a good thing for them.

“I think my own kids, by coming in here and working alongside us, have learned skills they might not otherwise. It is nothing for them to easily talk to and interact with adults of any age. They’re proud of our family’s history. I don’t necessarily expect them to take over the store, but we certainly wanted them capable of doing so if, someday, they ever chose to.”

As for Devon and Ann, they plan to keep doing what they’ve been doing for the last 10 years, at least as long as they are able to, as the job is pretty physically demanding.

•Happy birthday The Vault Arts Collective
–Anniversary celebration taking place Sept. 6
John McDevitt says he was comfortable with, and confident about, his decision to relocate to Tuscola the arts collective studio he had established in his hometown of Sullivan. A year later, he remains regret-free.

“It feels comfortable here, like we’re really settled. Sometimes it’s like we’ve been around forever, and other times I feel like I blinked and here we are.”

“Here” is the former First Mid-Illinois Bank building at 100 North Main Street. McDevitt loved the space the minute he pulled up in front of it while on the hunt for a new home for his Yellow Dog woodworking studio and arts collective.

“It is kind of the complete opposite of what we had going in Sullivan, in the old Brown Shoe Factory building. There, it was all about the creation of art, with 90 percent of the spaces being utilized as working studios, and 10 percent as retail space. Here in Tuscola it’s flipped—90 percent retail display space and maybe 10 percent used as artist working space.”

And reality has exceeded expectations, says McDevitt. “We started with our original seven artists who made the move here, and now we have twice as many as at our peak in Sullivan. We have about 60 artists currently involved, and could probably accommodate about 10 more, depending on their medium.”

The Tuscola location appealed to McDevitt for two reasons—a more centralized location to take advantage of proximity to Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, and Mattoon-Charleston; and a more accessible location to encourage foot traffic.

“That proved to be the case right from the start. I was here the first day we were open, sitting at the counter, and I saw a young mother pushing a stroller go by. She stopped and looked in the door, saw we were open, turned around and came in. That couldn’t have happened in Sullivan with the building we were in and being on an upper floor.”

The first anniversary celebration will take place Saturday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 10 p.m. As with all the Vault’s gatherings, there will be food, drinks, music and (duh) art.

“Typically, many of our artists will be in attendance, and we will be featuring Karl Jendry, a speed painter who will be doing live demonstrations of his craft. We have a very talented guest artist coming in—Darin Doty, who is a Millikin grad and does a really wide and interesting variety of paintings. Our musical guests are Them Gringos, which includes some of the folks that were kind of our ‘house band’ from our Sullivan studios mixed in with some other musicians,” says McDevitt.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Aug. 27, 2014 edition

Dorothy Roller

1-Dorothy Roller obitwebDorothy Mae Roller, 87, of Tuscola, passed away at 5:10 a.m., Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at her daughter’s residence near Effingham. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, August 29, 2014 at Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola, with Pastor Robert Hartley officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the services at the funeral home. Burial will be in Resthaven Memorial Gardens, Mattoon.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Sept. 3, 2014 edition

Tommy Chapman

1-Tommy Chapman obitwebThomas “Tommy” A. Chapman, age 23, of Oakland, formerly of Mattoon, passed away at 6:20 a.m., August 23, 2014 north of Ashmore, from injuries resulting from an automobile accident.

The funeral service in his honor will begin at 1 p.m., Saturday, August 30, 2014, at Mitchell-Jerdan Funeral Home, 1200 Wabash Avenue, Mattoon, IL 61938, with Rev. Dennis Strawn officiating. Interment will be at Dodge Grove Cemetery in Mattoon, with military rites conducted by V.F.W. Post 4325 of Mattoon. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 10 a.m. until the service begins.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Sept. 3, 2014 edition

Mary Jeffers

1-Mary Jeffers obitwebMary Eileen Jeffers, 90, of Sullivan, passed away 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Decatur, surrounded by her family. Graveside services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, August 22, 2014 at Marrowbone Township Cemetery in Bethany. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at McMullin-Young Funeral Home in Sullivan.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Aug. 27, 2014 edition

Ernie Bartholomew

1-Ernie Bartholomew obitwebErnest ”Ernie” Bartholomew, Jr., 82, of Arthur, died at 8:04 p.m. Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at his residence in Arthur.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 23, 2014 at Arthur United Methodist Church, 128 E. Illinois Street, Arthur, with Rev. John Stewart officiating. Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Shrader Funeral Home, 431 S. Vine Street, Arthur, with Masonic rites at 8 p.m. Graveside services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at Washington Street Cemetery in Casey, with military rites accorded.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Aug. 27, 2014 edition

Phyllis Gallagher

1-Phyllis Gallagher obitwebPhyllis Pauline (Vogel) Gallagher, 83, of Tuscola, formerly of Arcola, died at 2:53 a.m. Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at her residence in Tuscola.

Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. Saturday, August 16, 2014 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Arcola, with Father Delix Michel officiating. Burial followed in Arcola Cemetery. Visitation was held from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday at the church. Shrader Funeral Home, 204 N. Locust Street, Arcola, is in charge of arrangements.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Aug. 20, 2014 edition

Leroy Harting

1-Leroy Harting obitwebLeroy C. Harting, 78, of Tuscola, passed away at 6:35 p.m., Thursday, August 14, 2014 with his wife and daughter by his side, at Carriage Crossing in Arcola. Celebration of Life services were held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at the Smith House, 400 South Main Street, Tuscola. Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola, is in charge of arrangements.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Aug. 20, 2014 edition