OTHS Board of Education approves 2017 tax levy

As Principal Rich Bickel detailed in his report to the Board of Education, a group of O’Fallon Township High School students enjoyed a holiday shopping trip at Kohl’s in Fairview Heights on December 20 thanks to the OTHS Family for Families Fund. Members of the OTHS faculty and staff, along with community members, contributed to this annual fund. The shopping trip, organized by Mr. Daniel Cox, Mrs. Caitlin Mueller, and Mr. Dave Crouthers, allowed seventeen students to shop for and purchase new coats, gloves, warm clothes, shoes, and other necessities. The faculty-donated fund also helps provide for other basic clothing needs for students throughout the school year.
Pictured, from left: Daniel Cox, Caitlin Mueller, Melissa Stewart, Tiffany Lugge, Joelle Beck, LaTisha Smith, Beth Schroeder, Megan Spears, and Richard Barlett (Submitted Photo)

New proposed legislation could cause further budget problems for OTHS, area school districts

The OTHS District 203 School Board recently passed their 2017 tax levy, which is a requested increase of 1.85 percent for a total levy of $21,314,521, at their December meeting.

District 203 held a public hearing to go over the tax levy and explain some reasons behind the increase before the board ultimately voted to pass it. Despite budget cuts, the district will be still be in deficit spending according to Superintendent Darcy Benway.

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St. Louis Bread Co. drive-thru proposal receives green light from Shiloh trustees

SHILOH – A drive-thru for the Shiloh location of St. Louis Bread Company got an official green light from the Shiloh Board of Trustees. The variance approval to eliminate six parking spaces to make way for the drive-thru was unanimous.

Parking at the 3120 Green Mount Crossing Drive location will drop from 104 to 98, and the dedicated loading space will be eliminated to make way for the 375 square foot building addition. The drive-thru will have a prep line and staff separate from the eat in and carry out portion of the restaurant to allow for faster service for all patrons.

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Local teachers win prestigious Emerson Award

TOP LEFT: Wendy Kassing with Shiloh Middle School Principal Darin Loepker. TOP RIGHT: Jana Vasquez with Fulton Principal Joi Wills. BOTTOM LEFT: Candace Caveny at the Emerson Award dinner. BOTTOM RIGHT: Emily Auffenberg (center) with Principal Tron Young and District 104 Superintendent Dawn Elser.

Each of the four local school districts in O’Fallon and Shiloh can take pride in being the home of an Emerson Excellence in Education Award winner. Each district’s winner is among the 100 educators in the St. Louis and Metro East region to be chosen for the honor, and was nominated by their colleagues for their commitment to excellence and passion for education.

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Shiloh Bread Co. will cut parking to make way for new drive-thru

In the drawings submitted to the Village by Panera Bread, parking spaces will be cut from 104 to 98, and there would be a 375 square foot addition onto the already 4,990 square foot building. The outdoor dining area could be eliminated to make room for more parking if the drive-thru is fully approved. (Submitted Photo)

The Green Mount Crossing Bread Company location could soon have a drive-thru. After variance requests passed the Shiloh Planning Commission unanimously, the Shiloh Committee at Large also unanimously voted to keep the project moving forward. Panera, the parent company of Bread Company, is asking Shiloh for a variance from Shiloh code due to having to lower the parking, and elimination of the dedicated loading space.

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District 90 authors hold panel at library

Writing club sponsor Katherine Murray stands with authors from both District 90 junior high schools. Front row, from left: Ashlynn Phillips, Mia Thomas, Savannah Kelly, Lily Cooper, Sabrina Phebus, Julia LoBue, Jackie Fischer, Isabella Iffert, Britton Poole. Back row, from left: Olivia White, Rachael Dziaba, Jesse Dittmar, Madison Skaggs, Aidan Johnson, Lauren Meyer, Brandi Kombrink, Tiara Hopper, Claire McDonald, Katherine Murray (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

District 90 Writers’ Club students held an author panel at the O’Fallon Public Library to share their work with their families. Students introduced themselves and their stories, were given superlative awards, and each got to take home a copy of the book that features their short story.

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Siteman Cancer Center to open new location on Memorial East campus

Metro East cancer patients may soon be able to be treated closer to home, as plans were announced for Shiloh to be the home of a new Siteman Cancer Center.

A Certificate of Need application was filed with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board and it could be approved as soon as February.

The application, filed by Memorial Regional Health Services, Metro-East Services, Memorial Group, BJC HealthCare and Washington University Physicians in Illinois, states that Phase II of the expansion on the Memorial East Campus would include “a three-story 70,650-square-foot medical office building with an estimated cost of $38.3 million….”

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Local runners raise funds for Fulton Junior High Student at Holiday Hilltop 5k

Cori White, this year’s beneficiary of the Holliday Hilltop 5k fundraiser, stands with the fundraiser’s creator, Emily Jansen (left) and Corpus Christi Catholic Church’s Reverend Monsignor James A Margason (right). (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Shiloh’s 6th Annual Holiday Hilltop 5k fundraiser saw a large crowd come out to help raise funds for O’Fallon resident Cori White as she battles cancer. Cori and her family were there at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, along with the fundraiser’s creator, Shiloh resident Emily Jansen. It’s estimated that over 600 people ran the race.

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Hartman Lakes adjusts variance requests, receives approval from Shiloh Village Board

Boy Scout Sean Turner asked Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier about proper zoning for planting in his neighborhood. Turner, a member of Shiloh Pack 40, hopes to grow pomegranates. Coming to the meeting was part of his attempt to ultimately earn his Life Scout Rank. Pictured is Turner with Mayor Vernier. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

The proposed Hartman Lakes project was given approval at Shiloh’s December board meeting. After last week’s Committee at Large meeting, Village Administrator John Marquardt worked with the developers to bring their requests closer to Shiloh’s code, as well as add in some other safety variables.

Greenmount Retail Center, LLC has been working on bringing the project back to fruition. The multi-family apartment complex that will sit on just over 55 acres at the corner of Hartman and Thouvenot Lanes has been the subject of heated discussions ranging from buffering to materials.

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Tea’s the Season: Youth Librarians host Christmas Tea event

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Public Library hosted a Children’s Christmas Tea this Saturday. Youth Services Manager Teri Rankin said that it was time to bring the event back for the holiday season.

Children were treated to hot tea, a snack spread that included Wood Bakery treats, ornament crafts, and music from Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra members Kay Bowman, Barb Gutridge, and Kathy Albers.

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Savannah project given initial approval for TIF reimbursement

Attorney Ernesto Segura of Husch Blackwell discusses why the TIF will not negatively impact Shiloh schools (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

The Shiloh Village Board gave initial approval for TIF funding assistance to The Savannah developers at their November Committee at Large meeting.

Village Attorney Terry Bruckert called it a “reimbursement” of the cost of putting in a traffic signal at Tamarack Lane and Cross Street. Developer Crevo Capital representatives and their attorney, Ernesto Segura of Husch Blackwell, were on hand for the contentious discussion.

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District 85 is fifth in St. Clair County PARCC scores despite percentage drops

Seventh graders and ILMEA musicians Braden Neighbors and Elise Yeargin stand with Shiloh Music and Band Teacher Jaqueline Siddel. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Shiloh District 85 got their 2017 PARCC scores back and while they are still in the top five in St. Clair County, they are trying to account for some performance drops.

District 85 has seen a drop in their overall score from 54.8 to 48.7 percent of students meeting or exceeding testing standards, which moved them from the highest scoring district in St. Clair County to the fifth. While there were some scoring increases, such as fifth and seventh grades in Language Arts and sixth grade in Math, the rest of the grades saw a scoring decrease.

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Carriel and Fulton students spread holiday cheer to those who need it most

Cyleease Bean and Mason Cornell, sixth grade students at Carriel Junior High School, work on putting holiday cheer into cards for the project. (Photo by Katherine Murray)

An O’Fallon District 90 study hall teacher, Katherine Murray has asked her students at both Carriel and Fulton Junior High schools to help fill out Christmas cards that will be sent to people who need holiday cheer. The students are still working on their project, but the goal is to get to 500 signed cards distributed to local senior and nursing homes, homebound seniors, and homeless shelters, as well as seniors as far away as Indiana.

Murray came up with the idea last year and completed the project on a smaller scale.

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Community patriotism abounds at Veterans Day Ceremony

Members of VFW Post 805 raise the new flag above the Veterans Monument.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Angela Simmons)

It may have been cold, but O’Fallon residents only felt pride as they attended this year’s Veterans Day Ceremony.

After O’Fallon District 90 fifth graders welcomed guests by singing a patriotic compilation, Mayor Herb Roach gave an introductory welcome. Roach later said he could not begin to put into words what being the mayor of a town with so much military pride feels like. Speaking of he and his wife’s longtime military connection and appreciation, including his own service in the U.S. Army, and said “We are so blessed here to have so many of our family have contacts with the military, and to know that we’ve got people in our community that have served in the various branches is just fantastic for our community. It just makes you really proud.”

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Eagle Scout combines his two favorite things for his final project

Eagle Scout Nate Kellerman stands in front of the batting cage that he rehabbed at O’Fallon Community Park
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Nate Kellerman found a way to help the O’Fallon community through combining his love of baseball and scouting. The OTHS senior completed his Eagle Scout project by rehabbing the batting cage at O’Fallon Community Park.

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Aldi re-opens store in O’Fallon

The store on Highway 50 re-opened for business this morning.

Shoppers are flocking to the newly reopened Aldi in O’Fallon. It opened for business on November 13 after five weeks of being closed for renovations.

The store has been closed since October 8, and employees had been working at other area stores, but the doors opened at 9 a.m. for business on Monday morning, just in time for O’Fallon shoppers to stock up for Thanksgiving.

For more on the store’s re-opening, check out Wednesday’s edition of the O’Fallon Weekly.