O’Fallon Public Library Announces Writing Contest Winners

 

O’FALLON – Four local authors are celebrating after being named the winners of the O’Fallon Public Library’s first Adult Writing Contest. The categories for the pieces were Best Poem, Best Essay, Best Short Story, and Best In Show.

Pieces had to be original and unpublished, and had to adhere to length requirements. Each piece was judged by a panel of four anonymous judges. There were 80 entries total into the contest.

“I was surprised by the number of entries. It turned out to be a manageable number. A part of my brain was afraid we’d get swamped with hundreds of entries, and another part was afraid we would get very few. The 80 or so we received turned out to be just right,” said Ryan Johnson, Assistant Director.

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O’Fallon Woman’s Club Honors BMC2 Miller

Boy Scout Troop 46 with their leader, Liz Fulford, and singer Rachel Hayden. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Eden Simmons)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Woman’s Club honored the memory of BMC2 Glendle Lee Miller at their September flag ceremony at Memorial Observance Corner. Boy Scout Troop 46, led by Liz Fulford, performed the ceremony.

Miller attended O’Fallon schools, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1939.

“He was one of the survivors of the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was later assigned to the Curiser New Orleans and saw considerable action in the South Pacific. It was while stationed on the New Orleans that he was killed in action November 30, 1942. He was the third O’Fallon man to sacrifice his life for his country during World War II,” wrote O’Fallon Historical Society President Brian Keller.

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Girl Scout works with O’Fallon Garden Club for Gold Award Project

Girl Scout Victoria Birchem closes out her first tour for her Girl Scout Gold Award project by posing for a photo with attendees. From left to right: Anne Birchem, Harriet Baker, Sydney McAuliffe, Faith Sims, Mikaella Moreland, Avery Hoover, Madison Frederick, Sophia Ward, Victoria Birchem, Mary Birchem and Susan Jeanmougin. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

A local Girl Scout’s Gold Award project will not only have lasting impacts at the O’Fallon Community Garden, but also helped to educate other local Girl Scout Troops. Victoria Birchem spent the 80 hours of service for her project by helping the O’Fallon Garden club catalog the various beds at the community Garden, replacing hard to read plant signs with new long lasting labels, and leading garden tours for fellow scouts.

Birchem, who’s in Girl Scout Troop 915, has been wanting to help the garden club for a long time. She pitched several ideas to them before finalizing this project. She walked the various beds at the community garden and created a spreadsheet for garden club members to use moving forward. It describes which plants are in each bed.

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OUSART team raises funds to continue community support

The OUSART team takes a break from serving barbecue to stand in front of their truck. From left to right- Tim Sontaug, Mark “Smokey” Stevens, Dan Loyet, Mike Smith, Brian Powell, Gary Ahring, Sean Kelley, and Chris “Dawg” Sauerhage. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Underwater Search and Recovery Team recently held a fundraising barbecue. The non-profit team of volunteers were raising funds to help fund their equipment, building, and annual Christmas party for local needy children.

There are currently 15 members of OUSART, travel through St. Clair, Madison, Randolph, Clinton, and Monroe counties and more. “Wherever the need arises, for whatever the need be, we’ll be there,” said Commander Brian Powell.

In addition to aiding law enforcement in the recovery of drowning victims, they also recover “cars, tackle boxes, fishing poles, weapons, jewelry- whatever goes in that someone wants back out,” he continued. There is no charge for their services, however they do accept donations.

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City Council gives early approval to roof variance request

Detective Carl Walker (center right) received the Law Enforcement Award from the Illinois State Bar Association for his efforts creating a system to automate the sharing of details related to criminal incidents, law enforcement contacts, and resources. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – The City Council gave early approval to a variance request relating to the amount of covered structure that can be on a lot.

Jared and Sarah Stone have requested an area-bulk variance to allow for their home at 302 S. Augusta Street to have a lot coverage of 34.81 percent. City code allows for a maximum lot coverage of 30 percent.

Ward 3 Alderman Matthew Gilreath said he is proud of the council’s actions on this matter.

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Shiloh District 85

District 85 commends PTO for help with start of school year

Shiloh District 85SHILOH – The school year may have just begun, but the Shiloh District 85 PTO has already been very busy. They assisted in taking photos for student ID’s, are manning the school library to assist students, and many assisted with solar eclipse events.

Superintendent Dale Sauer thanked his staff for a great beginning to the school year, and then thanked the PTO, and President Gavin Mattheny in particular.

“On Friday, Gavin came in and mounted four projectors. On Saturday, he came in and mounted three projectors.  On Sunday, he came in and set up two video projectors to stream the eclipse. That kind of commitment from our PTO and others here is spectacular. It’s simply things that we would not get done. It’s very hard to start a year and not thank our PTO,” Sauer said.

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O’Fallon Historical Society explores Schildknecht Funeral Home

Cur Schildknecht presents Brian Keller with a metal sign orginially used for Doctor H. T. Bechtold’s Office, which was located at the current site of Schildknecht Funeral Home.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Historical Society held their most recent meeting in a seemingly unusual location- a funeral home. Members headed to Schildknecht Funeral Home to get a tour from Curt Schildknecht and receive a donation for the O’Fallon Historical Museum.

The original portion of the funeral home was completed in 1904 by a beloved local physician,  Doctor Herman Theodore Bechtold. Bechtold saw patients on the first floor and had living quarters on the second. He was also an esteemed community member, serving as the first OTHS Board of Education President from 1919-1926, on the McKendree Board of Trustees for four years, and as a member of several community organizations.

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Shiloh Police Department hosts annual National Night Out event

Shiloh Police officers George Fender, Gary McGill, Kyle Bade, and Jesse Phillips pose with Captain America, Officer Kurt Schmulbach of the Lebanon Police Department. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Shiloh Police Department recently held their annual National Night Out celebration at Three Springs Park. First responders were able to connect with the community members that they serve, and they also had free food and prizes for attendees.

Target, who helps sponsor the event each year, gave away school supplies, toys, and bedroom décor to each attending child, and also held a drawing for brand new backpacks full of supplies and bicycles. Cold Stone Creamery, another sponsor, was on hand with cool treats, and Roy-El Catering served up dinner options.

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Shiloh Commission recommends approval for two luxury complexes

Planning Commission Chairman Brian Manion voices his concerns about The Savannah, one of the complexes that was ultimately approved. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Both proposed multi-family housing complexes received recommendation for approval from the Shiloh Planning Commission. The Savannah and the Retreat at Shiloh are both luxury complexes that hope to bring a new element to housing diversity in Shiloh.

The Savannah would be located on 26.44 acres at Cross Street and Tamarack Drive. The complex would have 335 units, community gardens, pocket parks, a dog park, a recreational lake, clubhouse, pool and more. Crevo Capital President Corey Wenzel presented to the planning commission about the impact on schools, noting that based on a metric of eight percent, there would be potentially 28 children that would attend Shiloh schools, and a tax revenue of $485,000. An estimated $210,000 of that would go to Shiloh schools. Wenzel also said “This would be a core asset for Crevo Capital and we would retain ownership for a very long time.”

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Monroe steps down from Central Board of Education

Says he cannot be a part of the Board due to “…decisions and collective actions of the Board.”

Chris Monroe, center, reads his letter of resignation at the beginning of Monday’s meeting of the Central District 104 Board of
Education. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Central School District 104 Board Member Chris Monroe resigned at their August board meeting, effective immediately. The meeting opened with Monroe reading his resignation letter out loud and then taking a seat in the audience.

Monroe has been a member for more than a decade, and said “When I came on as a board member, I vowed myself into doing what was right for the community, the parents, and the kids. The kids, parents, and community are being affected by the way this board does business. They are not making the necessary cuts, it’s been indicated by other board members that they’re going to ask to raise the tax levy, they promised a superintendent search this fall, which they are postponing for a year to give Dawn (Elser) the opportunity. My conscience won’t let me sit on a board that’s not letting me represent the taxpayers, students, and parents.”

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Mayor Vernier gives State of Shiloh Address

Mayor Jim Vernier spoke about the various projects and upcoming developments in Shiloh during his State of the Village address at the monthly Chamber of Commerce luncheon. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Mayor Jim Vernier gave the State of Shiloh address at a recent luncheon event at Klucker Hall for the O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce. Attendees learned about the exciting, large and small developments that will take place in Shiloh over the next couple of years.

According to Vernier, Shiloh is poised to be one of the fastest growing cities in the Metro East area. A recent special census upped Shiloh’s population to 14,200, and St. Louis Business Journal recently named it as one of the most affluent cities in America, and the number one most affluent city in the Metro East, with neighboring O’Fallon as number two. Vernier also mentioned that Shiloh has very little debt.

Vernier also announced that Shiloh’s various departments will be adding more employees as the Village grows. Two new public works officers will be added, and two new police officers will also be added.

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Dr. Neville joins Memorial Medical Group

 

O’FALLON – Dr. Jennifer Neville has joined Memorial Medical Group and is available to see patients starting August 15.

Dr. Neville is an internal medicine physician with clinical interests in preventative health, women’s health and geriatric health.  She completed her medical education at Southern Illinois University and her medical residency at University of Cincinnati.

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Two local schools open to a different style of learning

O’Fallon District 90’s Laverna Evans and J. Emmett Hinchcliffe Sr. Elementary schools both have open concept floor plans, something many local parents had questions and concerns about during the recent discussions about redrawing District 90 boundaries. Parents expressed during Board of Education meetings whether an open concept environment could be truly beneficial to the students.

Laverna Evans’ Principal Ryan Keller saw both the good and bad reactions from the community.

“You don’t know what you don’t know, and the unknown is kind of scary. Let’s say that you’re car shopping, and someone tries to sell you a car, but you want a different one. You’re going to say all of the things that you don’t like about the car because you don’t want it. Part of the issue is misconceptions, but the other part is making a case for why I don’t want that, as opposed to why I want this instead. You end up with negative connotations. Instead of saying ‘This is why I want to go to this school, it was ‘I don’t want to go to that one’,” Keller said.

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City honors Bill Kuzma for his 30 years of public service

Bill Kuzma (left) was honored at Monday night’s City Council meeting for his 30 years of
volunteer service to the city. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – The City of O’Fallon honored a longtime public servant during the city council meeting Monday evening.

Mayor Herb Roach proclaimed August 7 to be Bill Kuzma day. “I enjoy honoring this man for all he’s done for this community for over 30 years, but I hate to do it because it’s the end of the cycle of 30 years of his volunteerism,” Roach said.

Kuzma recently resigned from the Fire and Police pension boards, but had also served on the Planning Commission ad Zoning Board of Appeals.

“You have played a vital role in the responsible growth in the city of O’Fallon and you will be greatly missed by all of us who’ve had the good fortune to have worked with you, and who have appreciated your exemplary service, said Roach.

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City of O’Fallon updates residents on their Economic Development Plan

O’FALLON – At O’Fallon’s recent Committee of the Whole meeting, there was an Economic Plan Update. Grant Litteken, Assistant to the City Administrator, spoke to residents about new efforts through social media and other avenues to try and get new businesses to come to O’Fallon.

City Administrator Walter Denton mentioned the July 10 Community Development meeting, saying “As you know, we’re in the process of submitting Request for Proposals for economic development services like a website, and marketing and public relations, search engine optimization, doing videos and things out on the web to help attract businesses. In the midst of that, we have received some questions over the last few weeks and months about what kinds of things we do internally to try to support and promote economic development, whether it’s trying to attract new businesses or working with developers who are working on bringing businesses to town, or working with the businesses that are already here.”

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