Tuscola getting buzzed briefly by honeybees

DSC_0228There has been a large number of tourists in and around town this summer, and their presence has caused a bit of a stir among some of the locals who encountered them on their brief stay.

“We have had a few reports around town, over the last six to eight weeks, of honeybees swarming. There is only one instance I’m aware of that involved an actual hive. It was in a hollow of a tree limb on right-of-way, and we paid to have the hive removed,” said city Administrator Drew Hoel. “On Sale Street, we put up some signs since it is a pedestrian area. I have no idea why we are seeing more of it this year, but I can’t recall ever dealing with it before.”

The buzz on honeybees swarms, according to the Honey Bee Zen Web site, is as follows.

“Swarming is a natural phenomenon for honey bees and is part of the natural process. What’s happened is that the home hive the bees have come from has filled to capacity and the hive has made a collective decision to split in half. They’ve created a new queen and are in the process of looking for a new home. The ball of bees that leave with the old queen can be in the few hundreds, but more likely in the few thousands.

“Honey bees usually depart their old home midday on a nice day. The sound is unmistakable; beekeepers have described it akin to the sound of a jet engine. The swarm often makes a transitory stop in a nearby tree, on a fence, the side of a house or anywhere that makes a ‘safe’ resting spot. The ball is created because the worker bees want to surround the queen bee, who emits pheromones. Within a day or two scouts usually have located a permanent new home and the swarm will depart for it.

“Swarms are, contrary to popular myth, generally quite gentle and aren’t about to harm you if left alone. It is usually not necessary to kill a hive, and you don’t have to call a pest removal company. (They often simply kill the hive.) Swarms can often easily be rehoused by a beekeeper and in fact can become another productive hive.”

Izatt, Lewis planning nuptials

Marissa Lynn Izatt and Christopher Eugene Lewis will wed on August 24, 2013 at their residence in Homer. A reception will follow at the Tuscola Community Building.

The bride-to-be is the daughter of Deborah and Perry Draper of Mahomet and Bill Izatt of 1-Izatt,Lewis engTaylorville. She is a 2004 graduate of Mahomet-Seymour High School. In 2010 she earned a degree in surgical technology from Parkland College. She is employed as a surgical technologist at Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana.

The prospective groom is the son of Tuscola residents Ron and Pat Lewis. He is a 1996 graduate of Tuscola High School and 1997 graduate of ITT Technical Institute, with a major in computer-aided drafting. He works as an architectural lighting designer at Chartersills in Champaign.

The couple plans a honeymoon in Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Lenora G. Peecher

1-Lenora Peecher obitLenora G. Peecher, 88, of Tuscola, passed away at 12:30 a.m., Thursday, July 18, 2013, with her daughters by her side, at Tuscola Health Care Center, Tuscola.

Visitation was held from 1 to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 20, 2013 at the Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main Street, Tuscola. Graveside services with military graveside rites accorded were held immediately following the visitation at the Tuscola Township Cemetery, with Rev. Linda Peyla officiating.

Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal July 24, 2013 edition

Emmanuel H. Fauke

Fauke Obit PhotoEmmanuel H. Fauke, 65, of Atwood, IL, passed away at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 22, 2013 at his residence.

Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, July 27, 2013 at Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 66 East US Highway 36, Atwood, IL.  Visitation will be held 2 hours prior to the services on Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Cartwright Cemetery, rural Tuscola, IL with military graveside rites accorded.

Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal July 24, 2013 edition

Paula Jean (Marrs) Uphoff

1-Paula Uphoff obit

Paula Jean (Marrs) Uphoff, 53, of Arcola, passed away at 10:07 a.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at her residence.

A memorial service was held at noon on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at Walnut Grove Christian Church, 12930E CR 1700N, Arcola. Rev. Brandon Hatfield officiated. A fellowship meal followed in the church basement, with a celebration of her life at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at Daron Green’s residence, 125N CR 1200E, Arcola. The Edwards Funeral Home assisted with arrangements.

Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal July 24, 2013 edition

Robert H. “Bob” Reece

ReeceRobert H. “Bob” Reece , 94, of Tuscola, IL passed away at 8:48 a.m. Friday, July 12, 2013 at the Tuscola Health Care Center, Tuscola, IL.

Private family services will be held. Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 S. Main St., Tuscola, IL is assisting the family with arrangements.

Full obituary in The Tuscola Journal July 24, 2013 edition

Local minister charged with sexual assault

1-BrattenBy Colleen Lehmann

A Tuscola resident and minister is being charged with criminal sexual assault in Douglas County court. Jack A. Bratten, Jr., who will turn 30 on July 27, was taken into custody Wednesday, July 17, 2013, and faces a Class 1 felony charge of criminal sexual assault. He posted bail on a $25,000 bond, which included conditions that there be no contact—directly, indirectly, by third party, or through use of social media—with the alleged victim.

Bratten, the spiritual leader at New Hope Baptist Church on Pembroke Street in Tuscola, is accused of committing an act of sexual penetration against a 34-year-old woman, according to court documents. The information alleges Bratten, who is 6’ 1’’ and weighs 240 pounds, overcame the victim by use of strength and physical restraint.

Bratten is due back in court on Aug. 5, 2013 for arraignment.

11/12 All-Stars take District 2 championship

Tuscom Little League 11-12 All-Stars won the District 2 championship July 11, 2013 at Tuscola’s Ervin Park to advance to sectional play July 16 at Olney. Team members are Haden Cothron, Dalton Grover, Blake Schultz, Cade Kresin, Lucas Kresin, Will Little, Tyler Meinhold, Cameron Ochs, Noah Pierce, Luke Sluder, Logan Tabeling and Brayden VonLanken. Coaches are Josh Ochs and Tim Meinhold.
Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 17, 2013 edition

Senior nutrition program undergoing major change


After getting the coffee started, Helen Hurt gets ready to prepare Tuesday’s meals at the Tuscola Senior Center. Begining in October, a frozen meal plan will take the place of Peace Meals.

After getting the coffee started, Helen Hurt gets ready to prepare Tuesday’s meals at the Tuscola Senior Center. Begining in October, a frozen meal plan will take the place of Peace Meals.

By Colleen Lehmann
The Peace Meal program as Tuscola and 13 other area communities have known it for 40 years will no longer exist as of Oct. 1, 2013. Instead, the Eastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging has elected to replace the hot-meal lunch program with a frozen meal program furnished through Danville-based CRIS Healthy-Aging Center.

CRIS officials say they will “use several formats to provide meals, including a variety of frozen meal entrees that can be reheated at congregate dining sites using conventional oven, microwave oven, or flashbake oven, and then served on plates along with fruit, bread, and milk.”

Patrons eligible for the home-delivered meals will receive a supply of frozen entrees twice a week, and according to CRIS “Deliveries will be supplemented with telephone calls to check on the well being of clients at home.”

The CRIS meal program is slated to begin October 1, under a one-year contract that will expire Sept. 30, 2014.
Full story in The Tuscola Journal July 17, 2013 edition

New leaders for Tuscola churches

Rev. Robert Williams

Rev. Robert Williams

Father Delix Michel

Father Delix Michel

First Christian Church of Tuscola and Forty Martyrs Catholic Church in Tuscola (and St. John the Baptist in Arcola) have recently welcomed new religious leaders at their houses of worship.

Rev. Robert Williams is now the senior minister at First Christian, having received a very positive—99 percent—affirmation vote from the congregation in May. Rev. Williams and his wife, Deb, joined the Tuscola church June 16, 2013, after most recently serving a church in the Dayton, Ohio area. First Christian had been without a senior minister since Scott Zorn moved to Morris in May 2012.

Rev. Williams’ educational background is from Indiana/Purdue University, St. Louis Christian College, and Johnson Bible College. The Williams have three children. Brooke and her husband, Blake Myers, live in St. Louis, Mo. with their recently adopted daughter, Emma Rose, from Taiwan. They also have twin sons: Adam serving with the Marines in South Carolina, and Shawn, who was deployed to Afghanistan in April with the Army Airborne.

Father Delix Michel said his first Masses on Sunday, July 7, 2013. A native of Haiti, he graduated magna cum laude from Grand Seminaire Notre-Dame. He has attended law school, and also graduated cum laude from Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He speaks 11 languages.

In 1994, Father Michel began serving in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, and most recently served as parochial administrator of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Alton, before being assigned to the Catholic parishes of Tuscola and Arcola.