Traffic stop leads to discovery of missing couple

HomannwebOn Tuesday, May 27, 2014 Deputy Lonnie Homann of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) located a 2013 Ford Fusion that had been reported to be driving in an erratic fashion. Deputy Homann made a traffic stop on the vehicle in the parking lot of Mooney Ford, 406 E. Southline Road, Tuscola.

During the stop, Deputy Homann became concerned with the elderly male driver’s disoriented responses and demeanor. The driver was identified as Robert L. Hensley, 85, of Beech Grove, Ind. The passenger was identified as Hensley’s wife, Janet, who also appeared confused and disoriented. Despite accessing multiple law enforcement databases, which revealed that neither Robert nor Janet Hensley were reported missing, the DCSO made a telephone call to Beech Grove Police Department (BGPD) where the Hensleys reside, in an attempt to locate more information about the Hensleys.

While speaking with the BGPD it was confirmed both Janet and Robert Hensley had been reported missing by their family, after the couple failed to return home from a local cemetery where they were going to put flowers on the grave of a fallen veteran for Memorial Day.

Deputy Homann drove the Hensleys in their own car to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, where DCSO personnel stayed with them until their family could come to Tuscola from Indianapolis, Ind. to pick them and their car up and return them safely home.


Douglas earns degree


Breanna Lee Douglas of Tuscola, daughter of Jaclyn Kauffman and Robert Douglas, graduate from Parkland College on May 15, 2014 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in communications, with a focus on photography.

On March 29, 2013 she was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society, for maintaining a high grade-point average.

Douglas plans on continuing her education in the medical field, and will return to Parkland in the fall. She is the fourth generation of Parkland graduates in her family.

East Prairie B.U.G. honor roll

B.U.G. (Bringing Up Grades) is a Tuscola Kiwanis program that gives students attending East Prairie Middle School a goal of improving their grades. East Prairie and Kiwanis work together to support this program. The following students are being recognized as B.U.G. winners for improving their grades from the third nine-week grading period to the fourth nine-week grading period of the 2013-14 school year.

Fifth Grade:
James Boyd, Madelyn Boyd, Ava Cothron, Donovan Chester, Hope Dietrich, Grant Hardwick, Makenna Long, Jessica Martin, Kendal Morgan, Parker Norman, Meadow Picazo, Liam Raney, Tytus Rennert, Jimmy Rexroad-Campbell, Jalen Southard, Benjamin Tiezzi, Creed Yets.

Sixth Grade:
Carissa Denny, Lauren Farley, Elexxa Follett, Molly Liffick, Jake Reed

Seventh Grade:
Gabrielle Ainsworth, Sabrina Alcorn, Cheyanne Conner, Zachery DeVore, Renee Douglas, Dalton Grover, Gabriella Gunther, Joshua Haste, Abigail Heath, Bryce Hutson, Jordan Middleton, Emily Mills, Gage Rexroad, Caroline Rominger, Whitey Root, Blake Schultz, Katherine Smith, Robert Steepleton, Summer Wilson

Eighth Grade:
Caleb Arends, Caitlyn Dellorso, Samantha Geiler, Morgan Harris, Michael Holmes, Tyler Deown, Jennifer Knight, Brodey Kramer, Colter Lewis, Julianna Liffick, Christopher Otto, Zachary Pankau, Gemini Pettry, Miah Phillips, Graham Rodmaker, Ryan Salmon, Saydie Sanborn, Mark Sanchez, Grace Snider, Kimberly Summerville, Parker Taylor, Courtney Wood, Hunter Woodard, Kyle Zimmer


June 4, 2014

JUNE 1, 2004
The TCHS Class of 2004 matriculated from Tuscola’s hallowed halls on Fri., May 28 at 8 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Serving as valedictorians for the class were Justin Bozarth, Amanda Hance, Stephanie Pflum, and Audrey Shoemaker.

Children enrolling in kindergarten next fall would not have the option of attending all day, Supt. Joe Burgess informed a group of interested parents at the May school board meeting. Burgess recommended further review of all-day kindergarten, with the potential to implement it in the 2005-06 school year.

Ne-Co Asphalt of Charleston, with a bid of $169,881, was the low (and successful) bidder for replacement of the running track at Tuscola High School. A bid of $66,627 from Midwest Track Builders for the rubberized surface and striping was also accepted.

Former Warrior standout and state record holder Dusty Burk was now calling signals for the Omaha Beef of the National Indoor Football League. Burk’s team was in second place of the Pacific North division.

The Tuscola Warriors baseball team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen supersectional by upending Paris 13-7 on home turf in the Tuscola Sectional championship game last week. The Warriors bettered their season record to 28-7 overall as they earned the right to face Centralia in the supersectional.

TCHS student-athletes receiving individual recognition at the spring sports awards night included Johanna Wienke (Outstanding Field Performer), Samantha Bean (Outstanding Track Performer), and Brian Anderson (Four-Year Track Performer) for track and field; Audrey Shoemaker (Most Improved), Amanda Hance (Most RBI, co-MVP), and Holly Nichols (Highest Batting Average, co-MVP) for softball; and Matt Wilke (Most Improved), Andy Pollock (Highest Batting Average, Most RBI, co-MVP), and Wade Hoey (co-MVP) for baseball.

MAY 31, 1994
Family-owned and operated Clapper Farms of rural Tuscola has tried many alternative crops in adding diversity to the operation, but the old family tradition of raising popcorn has the potential for high return with a minimal land investment.

On May 27, the 50 graduates that comprise TCHS Class of 1994 made the official transition into adulthood when they received their diplomas. Toni Best, Kim Harris, and Phil Michener served as tri-valedictorians. Earlier in the day at Honors Day, over $14,000 in local scholarship money was awarded.

Members of the children’s committee who helped coordinate the recent Design Day for ths Tuscola Playground Project were Margo Blaudow, Linda Damler, Pam Leonard, Rhonda McCumber, Anna McGillen, and Robyn Wienke.

Tuscola High School’s Frank Tarantino finished second in the 800-meter run at the IHSA track meet in Charleston. Tarantino led all but the last 10 meters of the race. Fellow Warrior and state qualifier George Barnett fell just short in his attempt to make the finals of the shot put.

Tuscola High School baseball team experienced both the thrill of victory and agony of defeat when winning their first-ever regional championship on May 23, then ending the season with a crushing 1-0 loss to Argenta-Oreana at the Robinson Sectional on May 28.

JUNE 5, 1984
There were 65 students graduating from Tuscola High School on May 31, led by valedictorian David Kimball and salutatorian Glenn Hoetker.

A contract dispute with Northern Indiana Public Service Company kept hundreds of Douglas County coal miners uneasy for several months. The loss of NIPSCO’s contract would put hundreds of miners out of work.

Mildred Grubb, secretary at Tuscola High School for 30 years, was the guest of honor at a surprise retirement party.

TCHS alum Dan Meyer was realizing a goal of competing at the university level when he became a walk-on with the University of Illinois track-and-field team as a hurdler.

MAY 30, 1974
City fathers agreed to pay J.D. Crawford $25,200 annually for the next two years to pick up city trash. City council members also agreed to buy two lots adjacent to the Community Building to help with the issue of downtown parking.

Jeanette Lynn McCumber, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight McCumber of rural Villa Grove, became the bride of David B. Lecher of Tuscola during an evening ceremony on Friday, May 3.

Mrs. Juney Rowe was honored on the occasion of her 15th anniversary with General Telephone Company.

Jo Huber, Tuscola’s lone qualifier for the girls state track meet, claimed seventh in Saturday’s shot finals at Charleston by heaving the heavy ball 36-9. This was, by far, her best effort of the year and a school record to boot.

Warrior standout Phil Waters won the high jump event at the Okaw Valley Conference meet, clearing 5-10. Tuscola’s Fred Galey also had a first-place finish, his earned by pole vaulting 11-9.

ARTCo youth theatre camp theme is Aladdin Kids

This summer, the Actors Rural Theatre Company (ARTCo) Youth Theater Camp production will be Disney’s “Aladdin Kids,” under the direction of Cameron Cornell of Urbana. Camp will run June 9-13 and June 16-20. The last day of camp will be performance day, with a 3 p.m. matinee and 7 p.m. performance at Tuscola Community Building.

The camp is geared towards students who have completed first grade through high school. Camp fee is $150, and kids will need to bring a sack lunch and drink for lunch break each day. This camp is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council. There is a 30-student limit, and if a parent has any questions about registration, they can contact ARTCo on Facebook at

5th Annual Amish Country Tractor Cruise set for June 14

The 5th Annual Amish Country Tractor Cruise will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014 in Arthur. A 50-mile cruise will take riders on a picturesque cruise through the Heart of Illinois Amish Country that will feature the communities of Arthur, Zion, Hayes, Tuscola, Galton, and Chesterville, with an extended stopover in Tuscola at Ervin Park from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Anyone desiring to see the tractors may come out to the park to see the tractors on display. The Douglas County Farm Bureau, Tuscola FFA, and Tuscola FFA Alumni Chapter will have special child-friendly activities planned during the day in the park, and everyone is invited out to learn more about agriculture.

Registration for the cruise will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Arthur’s Yoder’s Kitchen, located on IL 133, and then the cruise departs at 8 a.m. Tractors will travel through Arthur at 8:10 a.m. and through Tuscola at about 1:55 p.m. A rest stop will be at Honn Farms, and lunch will be served in Tuscola before returning to Arthur at approximately 3:30 p.m. To participate in the cruise, a driver must be driving a tractor manufactured prior to 1985 that can maintain a speed of 10 mph.

Sponsors for the 2014 cruise are Arthur Area Economic Development Corporation, City of Tuscola, Illini Trailer Rental, Farm Pride, and Rural King Supply. Each year the cruise takes riders on a different route throughout Amish Country. A registration fee of $25 will take care of the tractor and driver and one lunch ticket. Additional lunch tickets may be purchased at the time of registration.

For more information, please contact Jim Fleming at 217-791-1026 or by email at

1-Amish tractor cruise mapweb

Adams earns degree from Cornell University

Christopher Joseph Adams  -  2014  Cornell UniversityChris Adams, a 2010 Tuscola High School graduate, earned a B.A. in mathematics–with distinction in all subjects—from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York during graduation ceremonies held Sunday, May 25, 2014. Adams minored in creative writing, and had an overall GPA of 3.733. He made the Dean’s List six out of his eight semesters on campus. He was also recognized as outstanding undergraduate teaching assistant for his work as head undergraduate teaching assistant for a computer science department course. He was a math tutor for one year, and taught and tutored physics for three years while an undergrad.

Beginning in August, Adams will be teaching physics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, located in the Arabian Peninsula, serving as an enhanced teaching assistant for at least one year. His future plans are to attend graduate school for additional mathematics study.

Adams is the son of Phil and Michelle Jacob of Tuscola, grandson of Susan and Oscar Jacob of Arcola, and Phil and Valerie Jones of Utica, New York.


Edie Bockewitz

1-Edie Bockewitz obitwebEdie Bockewitz, 71, of Tuscola, passed away at 12:07 p.m., Friday, May 30, 2014 at Presence Covenant Medical Center, Urbana, surrounded by her loving family.

Graveside services will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at Tuscola Township Cemetery, Tuscola, with Rev. Joseph Carter officiating. Private family visitation will be held. Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, Tuscola, has been entrusted with the arrangements.
–Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal June 4, 2014 edition

TCHS athletes honored at spring sports awards night

Tuscola High School student-athletes who participated in track and field, baseball, and softball were recognized for their efforts at the annual spring sports awards night, held Mon., May 26, 2014 at TCHS. Individual awards and varsity letters were handed out, and coaches offered recaps of the seasons.

Singled out for special recognition on the TCHS boys track-and field team were Eric Ponder, MVP; Broc Smith, Most Outstanding Track Performer; Stephen Gibson, Most Outstanding Field Performer; and John Evans, Warrior Spirit.

They also earned varsity letters, as did Adam Bratten, Anthony Guo, Joe Lopez, Trent Ponder, Austin Rexroad, Clayton Turner, Chas Campbell, Nick Cler, Chandler Kerns, Nick Kemp, Kyle Pugh, Tanner Robinson, and Philip Spillman.

TCHS girls track-and-field award winners were Emma Henderson, MVP and Outstanding Track Performer; Logan Hale, Outstanding Field Performer; and Clarisa Phillips, Warrior Spirit.

Letter winners—in addition to Henderson, Hale, and Phillips—were Nicole Mannen, Felicia Tucker, Alli Moss, Courtney Brewer, Brooke Hennis, Mariah Lemay, Megan Quick, Lexi Sluder, Mikahla Sumption, Peyton Kresin, Calleigh Miller, Caylen Moyer, Baylee Tackitt, and manager Alli Murawski.

For TCHS girls softball, hardware winners included Erin Walker, MVP; Karli Allen, Most RBI; Anna Watson, Highest Batting Average; and Amber Tabeling, Warrior Spirit.

Those girls and the following were varsity letter winners: Jenna Jacobs, Alexis Giuliani, Morgan Little, Peyton Shelmadine, Anna Kaufman, Halle McCrory, and Madeline Meinhold.

Tuscola Warrior baseball team individual award winners were Tommy Watson, MVP; Nick Bates, Highest Batting Average; Clayton Turner, Most Improved; and Tucker Robinson, Warrior Spirit.

Joining the aforementioned players as varsity letter winners were Austin Martin, Jackson McCrory, Devin Rose, Tristan Williams, Zach Bates, Gunnar Campbell, Griffin Day, Cole Evans, Tyler Hale, Josh Knight, and Blake Woodard.