Council considers scope of Community Building reno

By Craig Hastings
What to do next with the Tuscola Community Building? City council members started early Monday evening, Sept. 22, 2014, beginning their bi-monthly meeting with a 6:45 p.m. study session. Representatives of the Farnsworth Group were in attendance to discuss preliminary plans to update one to three areas of the building. The Farnsworth Group was hired by the city to engineer the project by providing ideas and cost analyses of a possible three-phase renovation and remodel.

Council members were asked to provide their own thoughts and ideas as to what direction the project should go, i.e. what is renovated, how much is spent, and when to do it. Everyone agreed the first areas to address are the HVAC and electrical upgrades. Both are not adequate to date and haven’t been so for some time. Should the ceiling be lowered, and if so how much? The ceiling reconstruction is an area of much discussion.

The question of adding space and just how to accomplish that was wide open for discussion, with several council members along with Mayor Dan Kleiss weighing in with opinions.

At the conclusion of the discussion everyone at the table agreed it is important to get this project right, right now, and do a job that will carry over for the next five generations of Tuscolians. Farmsworth representatives left with a lot to think about and much to prepare for their next meeting with the council. The proposal will be presented in three phases, with each one subject to council approval or rejection.

Longtime Tuscola resident Scott Day was appointed by Mayor Kleiss, and approved unanimously by the seven sitting council member, to fill the vacated seat in Ward 2 last held by Tim Seip. Seip stepped down in order to relocate his residence outside of city boundaries.

Day is married to East Prairie Middle School teacher Kirsten Day. They have three children: high schoolers Griffin and Morgan, and Mason who attends East Prairie. Scott Day is employed full time at Cabot Corporation, just west of Tuscola. He will serve as Ward 2 representative until a candidate is chosen in April 2015 election.
–Full story in The Tuscola Journal Sept. 24, 2014 edition


September 24, 2014

SEPT. 21, 2004
Tuscola High School seniors Jahaun Shirazi and Elizabeth Scribner were crowned as royalty of the 2004 Homecoming dance Saturday night, amid a celebration featuring a Beatles theme. Crown bearers were Zach Pankau and Gemini Pettry.

One year after breaking ground at 1106 East Northline Road, Brookstone Estates was opening its doors to seniors looking for carefree, independent retirement living. The 32-unit facility welcomed its first tenants to their new homes Sept. 18.

Abandoned mobile homes in the 800 and 900 blocks of East Overton Street generated some spirited discussion at the Sept. 13 city council meeting.

David and Lauri Quick of Tuscola would be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a dance reception at Tuscola Moose Lodge on Friday, Sept. 24, 2004. The couple and their children, Justin and Megan, celebrated earlier in the summer with a trip to Hawaii.

Seniors Wade Hoey and Brian Bosch led a vicious old-school Warrior attack on Arcola this past Friday as Tuscola upended the Purple Riders 41-0 in the history-making 100th meeting between the two schools. The Cola War—first played in 1896—is the 17th longest rivalry in the nation, and second longest in the state.

SEPT. 20, 1994
King and queen candidates for this year’s TCHS Homecoming were Kim VonLanken, Chad Hausmann, Tracy Baird, Kurt Hettinger, Andrea Wax, Aaron Hastings, Shannon Hatfield, Mike Kremitzki, Kim Fauke, and Doug Hettinger.

Teachers new to Tuscola School District were invited guests at a recent Tuscola Rotary Club meeting. They included Cindy Surma, Elizabeth Chamberlain, Sharon Lamb, Jan McGuire, Bryan Smith, Brian Bradshaw, Stephanie Clem, Denise Downey, Linda Hance, and Trixie Flavin.

The vocal duo of Allison Branca and Danna Bishop took first place in their portion of a talent contest held Sept. 10 during the Arcola Broomcorn Festival. The girls sang “Does He Love You” by Linda Davis and Reba McEntire.

Tuscola High School girls cross country team won the Tuscola Classic street race Sept. 17 with a low score of 48 points to top the 13-team field. This time it was Candy Ard (12:52) who came across the finish line first for Tuscola, taking fifth place overall. Frank Tarantino finished second overall on the boys’ side.

Tuscola had a near-record 28 first downs and controlled the ball for 27:40 minutes in a 34-7 win over Arthur-Lovington. Shannon Duckwiler was the leading Warrior rusher with 148 yards in six carries.

SEPT. 25, 1984
A construction plan for the new Douglas County Jail was approved at the county board meeting. The 18-prisoner facility would also contain headquarters for the county sheriff’s department, and came with an estimated price tag of $1.5 million plus architect’s fees, furnishings, moving expenses, and moving and/or replacing the law enforcement radio tower.

Over 300 people toured the antique-filled Samuel B. Ervin house during the three days it was open to the public throughout the 1984 Old-Fashioned Days celebration in Tuscola.

A pumpkin displayed at Old-Fashioned Days by Florent Ochs and Dennis Ochs weighed in at 232 pounds, shattering all previous pumpkin weight records.

If Tuscola could have played the first half over, they likely would have felt much better about their outing against Marshall Friday evening. The Warriors spotted Marshall 26 points in the first two quarters, then dominated second-half play to take home a 32-15 loss.

SEPT. 19, 1974
The 40-minute Old-Fashioned Days parade was probably the biggest ever presented in Tuscola. Local business owner Jim Higgins, driving his Wheel Horse Stage pulled by four garden tractors, was a big hit with the crowds of onlookers.

“The Exorcist” was playing at Tuscola’s Drive-In Theatre this week.

Margaret Meyer was this week’s feature subject in Maggie Parker’s Favorite Recipe column. Meyer–an RN, wife of Wayne Meyer, and mom to Mike, Jean, Jim, Anna, Dan, and Jaci—offered recipes for Chinese Chews and Baked Beef Stew.

Coach Bill Burress’ harriers suffered a severe blow this week when three of the 10-man team suffered injuries. That included Greg Weaver out for the season with a knee injury, Phil Weaver with a temporary hip injury, and Neil Sudduth out for the season with a broken foot.

A diversified Warrior offense rolled by Villa Grove 26-0 Friday night in the first home game of the season. Coach Lynn Strack called it a “blocking victory.” Scoring was divided between Randy Frye and Don Payton.

Warrior volleyball front line getting stronger with every outing

By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola High School’s volleyball team was strong out of the gate this past week, winning a pair of non-conference outings on consecutive days, upending Chrisman on Monday, Sept. 8 25-23, 24-26, 25-12; and Arcola on Tuesday, Sept. 9 25-23,26-24; before falling to the always tough Tri-County Titans in a heartbreaker 25-23, 20-25, 20-25 on Thursday, Sept. 11. The Lady Warriors’ front line is getting better every time they take the floor.

Head Coach Lydia Benson has more than a few options at the net, and any one of five players are viable options for Tuscola setter Morgan Little. Little spreads the wealth among Taylor Bosch, Maddie Allen, Lani Little, Brooke Little, and Karli Allen. The fearsome fivesome accounted for 75 kills and 14 blocks in the three-match week. M. Allen led the way with 19 of those kills, with Bosch right on her heels adding 18 kills of her own to the season stat sheet.

The Warriors moved to one game over .500, improving to 3-2 overall with the win against Chrisman in the week’s opener. Both squads fired up the offense early, trading points throughout the first two sets, and each collected a win forcing a third game. Bosch and L. Little were pivotal in the first two games, combining to donate nine kills to the cause. Bosch led all with eight kills in the match, while L. Little and M. Allen were right behind her with seven each.

M. Allen did most of her damage in the third game, fueling a pair of five-point runs that ultimately led to double-digit advantage midway through the contest, solidifying the victory. M. Little was big in the match, posting a team-high 15 assists. Benson, however, leaned on another setter as well. Courtney Brewer served up a career-best 11 assists in the match.

Senior Noura Sutton led the way on defense with six digs. Classmate Peyton Shelmadine collected a few saves of her own, checking in with five digs, while M. Little and Nicole Lough provided four each.

One night later it was a balanced offensive attack fed by M. Little in a thrilling two-game sweep of the Arcola Purple Riders. Little found five players in all at the net, leading to 16 assists. She also dominated at the service line, accounting for 14 service points, including six aces in the match. Bosch, L. Little, and M. Allen led the way with four kills each.

It was a hard-fought win for the Warriors, posting a late run in game one to erase a three-point advantage in securing a first-game victory. In the second skirmish it was an unlikely player adding to the kill total that led to another thrilling two-point win. Brewer stepped away from her setter spot twice in the game, notching two of her career-best three kills. Lough was extremely strong in the third game as well, diving her way to five of a match-high 10 saves.

On Thursday, late runs by the Tri-County Titans were too much to overcome in the second and third sets as the Warriors fell in three despite their biggest kill tally of the year. M. Little killed two of her own and then set the foursome of Bosch (6), B. Little (6), L. Little (5), and M. Little (8), adding a season-best 21 assists to her stat sheet.

Tuscola opened the match with a two -point victory in game one, leaning on M. Allen up front. The sophomore posted four of her match-high eight kills in the game. Lough switched up her defensive skills; instead of diving her way to saves in the third game she blocked three balls at the net, but it was not enough as the Warriors fell to 4-3 overall. Shelmadine led the way in the back row with four saves in the match.

Coach Benson’s JV squad lost for just the second time this season. After winning the first two matches of the week they fell to Tri-County, moving to 5-2 overall. Tuscola swept Chrisman and Arcola, winning in two sets, but the Titans returned the favor by posting eight-point runs in the first two games, leading to a two-game sweep of the Warriors.

Manselle, Watson, Wallace lead way for Warrior golfers

By Lenny Sementi
Tommy Watson was low man on the totem pole in a week opening match in Mattoon. The senior turned in a season-best 38 but it was not enough, as the Warriors fell to Arcola by one stroke 159-158 in a road outing hosted by Charleston. The Trojans moved the match to Mattoon late in the day due to overbooking at the Charleston Country Club.

Next up helping the Warriors past the Trojans, in the fourth spot overall, was Seth Icenogle. The sophomore broke the 40-stroke plateau, shooting a 39. One stroke back at 40 was Jarrett Wallace. Gunner Campbell was next up for Tuscola with a 42, while David Manselle’s 44 rounded out the scoring. Logan Grace was the alternate, rounding the course in 48 strokes.

Tuscola rebounded from the loss with a 24-stroke victory over Effingham St. Anthony on Thursday, Sept. 11 at Ironhorse Golf Course, 160-184. It was Wallace and Manselle taking their turns at the top, placing first and second respectively in the match. Icenogle, Campbell, and Watson were next in line, taking control of the next three spots, as Coach Matt Frank’s team swept the first five places.

Wallace carded a 38, while Manselle turned in a career-best 39. Icenogle was one back at 40, followed by Campbell and Watson at 43. Logan Grace also toured the course as alternate at the varsity level, checking in with a 47. Cole Thomas, Ethan Henley, Blake Woodard, and Cordale Kerns took their swings with the JV, ending the night with a 208. Thomas led the crew with a 48.

Taylor Reifsteck held down the one spot for the Lady Warriors in the battle with a very strong St. Anthony squad. The senior finished the night with a solid 45. Next up for Tuscola was Emma Sementi, who utilized a birdie on number five to pencil in a 52 on the day. Maddie Meinhold was one shot back carding a 53, followed by the very consistent Sydney Hoel (58) who has been within a five-stroke swing in all matches this year.

Ponder battles to cross country title at Peoria Invitational

By Lenny Sementi
Warrior Eric Ponder not only battled more than a few runners at the Peoria Invite title on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, he also overcame a tough week of training. The senior leader of the Tuscola boys cross country team wasn’t at the top of his game this past week, but found a way to take home the trophy.

“I didn’t quite feel I was at my best on Saturday,” stated Ponder. “I didn’t feel great all week long leading up to the race.” One of the state’s top-ranked runners, Ponder rounded the East Peoria course at Detweiler Park in 15:19.

“The pace was a good one I thought,” Ponder stated. “It felt a little fast at times in some places on the course because there were so many runners.”

It was a good day to get out front and stay there, as the Peoria Invite is the biggest small-school event in the state, and this year tallied over 530 runners. In the end entering the chute it was just Ponder, as the senior pulled away in the final 100 yards to seal the deal on the win. It was his second-fastest time on the course, where the state meet is held. He turned in a 15:06 last year to take home All-State honors with a fifth-place finish on a less congested course.

Trent Ponder was next up for the Warriors, ending up in 131st place overall with a personal-best time of 17:53. Taking residence in the three spot for Coach Doug Robinson was Jon Hill with a 20:58. Josiah Lemay and David Spillman rounded out the scoring for the Warriors, which finished 38th out of a field of 48 teams.

Emma Henderson was the top runner in the girls race for Coach Robinson. The second-year runner finished in the top 50, ending up in 46th overall with a time of 20:08, leading the Lady Warriors to a 38th place finish as well.

Maria Meyer turned in one of her better outings of the season on the tough Detweiler course, finishing with a time of 24:52 to put her in the top half of the field. Mariah Lemay and Mikhala Sumption were a few seconds behind, holding down the three and four spot for Tuscola, while Megan Quick rounded out the scoring for the Lady Warriors 12 places behind Meyer. Madeline Clabaugh, Amber Tabeling, Michelle Van Cleave, and Lexi Sluder also made the trip, all turning in their lowest times of the season.

Dismal weather, dismal loss puts Tuscola Warriors 0-1 in CIC

By Missy Chappell
The weather in Sullivan was cold and raw Friday night as the Tuscola Warriors and Sullivan-Okaw Valley Redskins faced off in each team’s first Central Illinois Conference game. Both teams were 2-0 headed into the Sept. 12, 2014 matchup and both were somewhat untested. The Warriors were entering the game without the leg of Evan Sutton who had been near perfect in extra points and on point with kickoffs so far this season. Sutton, out with an injury, is questionable to return this season.

The game started positively for the Warriors. They had good field position from the opening kickoff, set up on their own 32-yard line. On second-and-8 from the 34, Nick Bates kept the ball and rushed up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion pass to Cole Evans put Tuscola up 8-0 just 53 seconds into the game.

Freshman Andrew Erickson handled kickoffs for the Warriors last Friday, stepping into a difficult position under adverse weather conditions and performing as well as could be expected. According to Coach Rick Reinhart, “We found out Wednesday that Evan won’t be kicking for quite some time, so we held tryouts for kickers. We had two freshmen that outperformed everyone else and they got the starting nod for the game. Those kids did the best they could in a rain game.”

SOV started around its own 40 most of the evening, making the challenge even greater for the defense. SOV’s opening drive resulted in a three-and-out.

Tuscola’s next drive ran a fair amount of time off the clock. A big run by Dalton Hoel to give the Warriors a first down was negated by a holding penalty. Two plays later a roughing-the-passer call against SOV brought Tuscola up to midfield. However, another Tuscola penalty, followed by a sack of quarterback Bates, forced Tuscola to punt on fourth-and-20.

SOV’s next possession resulted in a touchdown with 1:50 left in the first quarter. The Warriors managed to stop the two-point conversion, only to get flagged for interference, which SOV answered by getting the two points on a big second effort push across the line to tie the score at 8.

Tuscola earned three first downs on its next drive with a couple of nice catches by Zach Bates and some hard runs by Kaleb Williams and Nick Bates. However, the Warriors were forced to punt on fourth-and-9 from SOV’s 34. Five plays into SOV’s next drive Tuscola forced them to punt on fourth-and-5 from Tuscola’s 49-yard line. A penalty for roughing the kicker gave SOV a second chance to score, but an incomplete pass followed by a big tackle from Nick Bates and another pass broken up by Josh Knight once again forced a Redskins punt.

QB N. Bates rushed for 22 yards in the Warriors’ final scoring drive of the half. He showed additional athleticism when he recovered a snap that went over his head and managed to get off an 18-yard pass to Hoel to put Tuscola within two yards of the end zone. Williams took the next handoff into the end zone, and a failed two-point play gave Tuscola a 14-8 lead, which they would take into the locker room at halftime.

In the second half it was SOV that came out strong, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter while holding the Warriors scoreless.

Tuscola entered the fourth quarter of play on offense down 22-14. A drive that took them down to the 9-yard line of the Redskins, ended in sack on fourth-and-15. The defense held the Redskins scoreless on their next drive and the offense answered, scoring another touchdown on a 31-yard pass to Knight with 5:55 left in the game. N. Bates made a leaping dive over the goal line to give Tuscola two more points and tie the game at 22.

SOV’s final scoring drive of the night started at its own 42 after the kickoff. Ray Kerkhoff, Keagan Kibler, and Josh Knight made some big stops for the defense, but it wasn’t enough to keep SOV’s Nick Frerichs out the end zone on a quarterback run from two yards out. The kick was no good, so SOV led 28-22 with 3:44 to play.

N. Bates was sacked twice for losses of five and 10 yards on the Warriors’ final drive and SOV ran out the clock.

Post-game comments from fans made it evident that the loss came as a shock to many who expected the Warriors to lose very few games this season. Statistics don’t always provide an explanation, after all the Warriors offense spent less time on the field in the first two games than their opponents, but they came away with convincing wins.

However, the statistics last Friday are telling of some things that went wrong for Tuscola. Josh Knight, the Warriors safety, led the team in tackles with 12 total, followed by Nick Henderson, who had eight total. He had three tackles for loss; and starting lineman Clayton Turner, who had seven tackles total, had two for losses. N. Bates, who rushed for 91 yards on Friday, had five rush plays for a total loss of 25 yards. He hadn’t been tackled for a loss a single time in the previous two games.

After reviewing film, Coach Reinhart had the following observation about line play on Friday night.

“The positive we can take away is that we gave tremendous effort on every play. The negative is that that effort was not always channeled into the right spot, so we’ve got to go back and learn our roles. We need to remember that if a guy is making up for someone else who is not doing his job, then we’ve got two roles being underperformed. Our defense front ran up against a good, veteran quarterback on Friday and he beat us. Our discipline, which has been a mainstay on both side of the ball so far this season, was just not there Friday. The great thing about football is that it’s a team game and we’ve got to get back to everyone performing as a team. When we watched film, guys owned their mistakes, I owned my mistakes and we move forward getting ready for the toughest team in the conference on Friday.”

Reinhart continued, “Dalton Hoel played a great game for us. He got crushed several times and the thing is, getting crushed at 5’3” is different than when you’re 6’1”. But here’s the thing about Dalton, Nick has confidence in him because he runs the right routes, he catches the ball and then makes athletic moves for yards. We have to give props to him for his play on Friday.”

Looking ahead to Friday night, Tuscola will face a Shelbyville team who enters the contest 3-0 on the season after they crushed Clinton 50-19 last Friday at home. Coach Reinhart knows it won’t be easy.

“This week we have a lot of work to do on getting our discipline back and redefining our roles. ‘Do your job’ will be our motto this week. We’ve got some younger kids in key positions and we have confidence in them. We’ll be ready to face a Shelbyville team that is probably the toughest game on our schedule.”

Due to the rigorous schedule many of the freshmen and sophomores have faced the past week, many of them playing five games in seven days, the freshman game scheduled for Thursday night at Shelbyville has been cancelled. The team will play a frosh/soph game at home Monday, Sept. 22.

Quick turnaround no problem for Tuscola JV football

By Missy Chappell
Playing for Tuscola’s JV football team was no easy task last week, especially for the freshman and sophomore members of the team. Many of the JV players have roles on the 2014 varsity team, so after playing Saturday, Sept. 6 for varsity, Monday, Sept. 8 for JV, Thursday, Sept. 11 for the freshman squad, and Friday, Sept. 12 at Sullivan, these guys got up for an 8 a.m. bus to Sullivan Saturday morning and came away with a 28-12 victory.

The Warriors scored three times in the first half. Kaleb Williams had a four-yard run on the opening drive. Brock Tackitt scored on a 44-yard run up the middle, then Tuscola ended the half on a three-yard run for a touchdown by Tackitt.

The defense gave up a touchdown on SOV’s opening drive. SOV scored again on a kickoff return that was not well executed by the Warriors special team to keep the game close. However, Ezekial Culp had an interception to make certain that Tuscola went into the locker at the half with a lead.

The defense stepped it up in the second half, not letting SOV in the end zone on its first drive. SOV drove the ball to a first goal at the 8-yard line. The Warrior defense came up with four big stops in a row to hold SOV scoreless on the drive. Dalton Hoel later intercepted a pass, and Kaleb Williams scored on an eight-yard run to put the nail in the Redskins’ coffin.

Williams and Tackitt combined for over 220 yards rushing. This was possible because of the outstanding effort by offensive linemen Will Bosch, Anthony Guo, James Ross, Chase Robinson, and Hunter Woodard. Coach Drew Sterkel was masterful in his play calling.

Defensively, the Warriors play was also quite impressive. Defensive ends Mitchell Farley and Brandon Stewart had multiple stops behind the line. Jaret Heath and Chase Robinson had multiple tackles at the linebacker positions.

After the game, Coach Ted Minger was quite pleased with the team’s play.

“It was a great team effort, led by the dominance of our offensive line and the tough running of Tackitt and Williams. Some of these guys played a few snaps on Friday night, and it was a difficult chore to get up and play the next Saturday morning, but these guys got after it. I was extremely proud of our effort.”