Bernadine Holland

holland_obitBernadine Louise Holland, age 92, of Dallas, Texas, formerly of Tuscola, Ill., passed away on December 25, 2013. A funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. January 25, 2014 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 3826 Gilbert Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75219.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 22, 2014 edition

Kevin Smith

1-Kevin Smith obitKevin Richard Smith, 52 of Arcola, passed away at 8:18 p.m. on January 15, 2014 in St Peter.

Visitation with casual attire welcomed will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, January 20, 2014 at Edwards Funeral Home in Arcola. A celebration of his life will be held at the Arcola Fire Station on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 1 to 5 p.m., with a memorial service starting at 3 p.m. Rev. Kenny Cripps will officiate.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 22, 2014 edition

Gladys Connour

1-Gladys Connour obitGladys Connour, 98, of Tuscola, passed away at 10:25 a.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at her residence.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola. Visitation will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Tuscola Township Cemetery.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 22, 2014 edition

Pete Peterson

1-Pete Peterson obitLester “Pete” A. Peterson, 95, of Arthur, died at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at the Arthur Home.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 18, 2014 at Shrader Funeral Home, 431 S. Vine Street, Arthur, with Rev. Kenneth Roedder officiating. Burial will follow in Zion Church Cemetery, rural Arthur. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 22, 2014 edition

Jane Welch

1-Jane Welch obitJane Welch, 96, of Rockville, Ind., formerly of Tuscola, Ill., died at 4:47 a.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in her residence.

Services were held at 7 p.m. (Indiana time) Friday, January 17, 2014 in Gooch Funeral Home at 112 W. Howard Street, Rockville, with Pastor Dave Marty officiating. Visitation was held an hour before services, at the funeral home. Burial was at 11:30 a.m. (Indiana time) Saturday, January 18, 2014 at Tuscola Township Cemetery in Tuscola, Ill.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 22, 2014 edition

Warriors 2-0 in OVC after win over Sullivan

By Missy Chappell
Last Friday night against the biggest hometown crowd of the season, the Warriors battled to a 56-38 win over conference opponent Sullivan Redskins. In a Jan. 10, 2014 game that more closely resembled a football game or wrestling match at times, head Coach Matt Franks said, “The team played hard and fought from beginning to end, which is exactly the type of play we need to continue winning in the conference.”

Visiting Sullivan never held the lead in a very physical game. Josh Knight scored on a lay-up with 7:08 left in the first to put the first points of the game and the board and the Warriors never fell behind. Tuscola had only a three-point lead at the half, but as Zach Bates said after the game, “We came out of the locker room fresh and were able to settle into a rhythm.”

Nick Bates once again was the leading scorer for the Warriors, despite sitting out a big portion of the second quarter. With just over six minutes lefts in the second, he was driving the lane when he was tripped by a Sullivan player and landed under the basket on his face. He suffered a cut over his right eye that was given a temporary patch by the athletic trainers, allowing him to continue playing.

Josh Knight played a great game defensively, leading the team with four steals, and Zach Bates had one of his best games of the season, bringing down 11 rebounds and contributing six points to the victory.

After the game, when asked about the physical play and the lack of fouls being called, Zach said that Sullivan is a big and physical team and it became clear that he was going to need to play bigger than his size in order to be effective.

And effective he was. At one point in the third quarter, he was bent over under the basket fighting to gain control of the ball between his legs, while a Sullivan player was lying across his back.

Senior Austin Martin, another six-point contributor on the night, also commented on the unrefined play last Friday. While the game was fun because they were “allowed to play,” it was also important for him to “keep his composure and slow things down” so that the team could execute its game plan.

The win over Sullivan gave the Warriors a 2-0 record in conference play, and a 6-5 record overall.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 15, 2014 edition

Little comes up big in overtime thriller

By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola High School’s girls basketball team broke the ice of the New Year with a thrilling four point (48-44) overtime victory on their home floor Jan. 9, 2014 over a scrappy Tri-County squad. Morgan Little was big for head Coach Tim Kohlbecker, scoring a game-high 16 points, including three treys. The junior guard set the tone with a deep ball early in the game, and then hit one from outside the arc in the extra period to help solidify the win.

Kohlbecker’s Warriors took one on the chin a few nights later, falling to a very good St. Joe squad 40-26. The coach changed his strategy against the speedy Spartans, worrying about foul trouble, and it worked. Tuscola held the home team well below its season average, but it was SJ-O fouls that proved to be costly. The Lady Warriors were just good on 6 of 16 from the charity stripe in the Jan. 11 game, limiting their offensive output.

“If we convert our free throws at 60 to 70 percent, the complexion of the game changes and impacts our strategies,” noted Kohlbecker.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 15, 2014 edition

Hornet boys basketball teams survive JHOC first round

By Colleen Lehmann
The East Prairie Hornets boys basketball teams went into the Junior High Okaw Conference Tournament as a number-two seed behind host Okaw Valley, and easily survived the first round of play on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Both teams will play again on Tuesday, Jan. 14—the seventh grade at 6 p.m. and eighth grade at 7:30 p.m. at Okaw Valley Middle School.

•EP 8th 44, Bement 12
There was only one Tuscola game on Jan. 11, as the Hornets seventh-grade boys basketball team earned a victory over seventh-seed Bement without ever taking the floor, via forfeit. When the elder Hornets squared off against Bement they didn’t encounter much resistance either, posting a 44-12 win.

Tyler Meinhold connected on four of nine treys and one of three field goals to lead Tuscola scorers with 14, and was also second in rebounds with four. Next up was Kevin Miller with seven points, a team-leading six rebounds, and two steals. Jacob Craddock made his presence known with six points, three rebounds, and four steals.

A trio of Hornets—Caleb Arends, Dalton Hoel, and Cale Sementi—had four points. Hoel also contributed six steals, three assists, and two rebounds; Arends had a steal; and Sementi grabbed a rebound. Dalton Conner entered the books with three points, two steals and a board; Caleb Stumeier kicked in with a bucket; and Dakota Denny had two steals and a rebound in the easy win.

Earlier in the week on Jan. 9, the Hornets traveled to Champaign to take on St. Matthews. The seventh-grade team came home with a victory, while the eighth grade was not able to defeat their hosts.

•EP 7th 38, St. Matthews 25
The Hornets were large and in charge right from the beginning against St. Matthews, jumping out to a 24-16 lead at halftime and ending the contest with a 38-25 victory. Cade Kresin led the charge with 14 points, two rebounds and assist, and two steals. Another double-digit contributor was Luke Sluder, pumping in 10 points, one rebound, three assists, and a steal.

Haden Cothron kept busy by making three buckets, grabbing three boards and two steals, and dishing out one assist. Turner Hastings was good for four points, two rebounds and a swipe; Brayden VonLanken had two points and two rebounds; and Noah Woods had two points and one board. Will Little had two each in the rebound and steal categories, and C.J. Picazo grabbed a board.

•St. Matthew 38, EP 8th 26
The score of the eighth-grade game was almost identical to the opener, but this time Tuscola was on the losing end, by a 38-26 count. Dalton Hoel and Tyler Meinhold each had nine points, Hoel also leading the team in steals with five, while Meinhold had two rebounds as well.

The rest of the scoring came in the form of two points each from Caleb Arends, Caleb Stumeier, Jacob Craddock (two rebounds, one steal), and Kevin Miller (one rebound, one steal). Dakota Denny had three rebounds, and Dalton Conner grabbed a board.

Broc Smith nominated to military academy

Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) recently announced his nominations to the military service academies. The Congressman nominates, and then the academies themselves make the final determination whether a nominee receives an appointment to attend that academy.

“The academies look at academics, leadership, and physical fitness in order to assure a young person is well-rounded and able to cope with the uniqueness of attending a military school,” Shimkus said. “As a West Point graduate, I am very proud of these young men and women for considering an academy for their college choice and am grateful for the honor of being able to nominate.”

Among those nominees is Tuscola High School senior Brockton Smith, for the United States Air Force Academy. Smith is the son of Emily Smith of Tuscola.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 15, 2014 edition

City Hall remodel makes for cozy council meeting


Remodeling of City Hall began in earnest last week. A wall is being constructed to divide the lobby into two separate areas, among other things.

By Colleen Lehmann
It was a cozy gathering … the Jan. 13, 2014 city council meeting … made so by the renovations going on at City Hall to make the space more conducive to the multiple purposes it serves. The council table and chairs and the “audience” seating generally take up most of the public space when you enter City Hall, but on this evening a tarp cutting through the middle of the area—covering the skeleton of a wall being built–meant about half the square footage normally used was available.

“We hope you’ll pardon our mess as we move forward with our remodeling plans. This is a bit awkward with our traditional layout, but we will have a new council table set-up to accommodate the revised space,” explained city Administrator Drew Hoel. “This area we are in now will be council chambers when construction is completed.”

The south “side” of the wall will be dedicated council chambers, while the north side will be where the public will enter into a reception area. Part of the space will be fashioned into a smaller meeting room, just outside the space where employee offices are currently located. The Water Department will remain on the far south side of City Hall, accessible by a separate entrance.

Hoel said he anticipates the remodeling, which started in earnest last week, will likely take several months to complete.

City Treasurer Alta Long reported that in December, the city was able to pay off its Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bonds, a 20-year debt that allowed the city to pursue ambitious and otherwise out-of-reach projects and developments, as well as assist local businesses with start-up and/or renovation efforts.

With the “sunsetting” of TIF in 2023, there was brief discussion about pursuing something that could offer similar financial incentives to local businesses and developments. Alderman Tim Seip inquired about a revolving loan fund, perhaps using TIF funds now to establish a base fund. The general consensus was that efforts would be made to research the legalities and requirements of some kind of financial incentive program for businesses when TIF is no longer a tool in the city’s belt.

And speaking of TIF, the green light was given to a request by Richard and Donna Kidwell for a $115,000 grant and $80,000 zero-interest loan to establish a Daylight Donuts operation at 901 East Southline Road, in the building which formerly housed a Hardee’s restaurant. Hoel noted the entire is subdivided, with the Kidwells purchasing the west end—including the building and parking lot. He said the Kidwells hope to eventually have the eatery offer sandwiches and bakery items in addition to the donuts the name suggests.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Jan. 15, 2014 edition