District 85 preparing for changes to take place in 2017-18 school year

The District 85 board members discuss the new Chromebooks that teachers will be using in the upcoming school year. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Shiloh School District 85 is spending the summer by preparing for the many changes that are coming to the district. Staff, building, administration, and technology changes all are coming for this next school year.

Fourth grade classes have officially been moved over to the Shiloh Middle School building, and more preschool rooms have been added at Shiloh Elementary School to allow for the regular Preschool for All program, as well as the new tuition based program beginning in the fall. The tuition based program has 15 out of 20 spots filled with room for a few more children. 39 preschoolers recently went through the screening process to gauge their needs. Teachers of both preschool and fourth grade will have the rest of the summer to make the rooms their own.

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Larry the Flag Man travels the Midwest to pay tribute to fallen soldiers

Larry “the Flag Man” Eckhardt stands with members of the Patriot Guard to honor U.S. Navy Seaman First Class Robert Temple at the conclusion of his funeral. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Larry Eckhardt is a simple man who wants nothing more than to honor fallen heroes.

Known as Larry The Flag Man, he recently brought more than 3,300 flags to line the pathway of the funeral for U.S. Navy Seaman First Class Robert Temple, a sailor who was killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. His remains were recently identified and brought home to Shiloh to finally give his family some closure through the funeral that they never got to give him all those years ago. Larry the Flag Man came to make sure that Temple had a hero’s welcome.

While Temple’s funeral was not the first he had ever taken his flags to for a World War II veteran, Eckhardt said the fact that he was killed during Pearl Harbor held some unique significance.

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O’Fallon man to serve as Rotary International Director

Incoming Rotary International Director Greg Yank with incoming District 6510 Governor Jill Pietrusinski at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Rotary club member Greg Yank will have a new title on July 1. Yank will become a Rotary International Director, a two year appointment. Yank is passionate about his service, and explained some of what his new position entails, and what great things he believes Rotary International will soon be celebrating.

There are 35,000 Rotary clubs in 200 different countries around the world with a total of 1.2 million Rotarians world wide. O’Fallon is home to the Rotary Club of O’Fallon, Illinois, the Rotary Club of O’Fallon Sunrise, and the St. Clair County Sunset Rotary Club. The clubs have performed many acts of service for the community, including Habitat for Humanity homes, scholarships, donations to the food pantry, playground additions, sponsoring Little Free Libraries around town and much more.

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Summer Bucket List: Time for Movie Magic

Now that it’s a couple weeks into summer break, families may have settled into a comfortable routine, but others may be searching for ways to combat boredom. With just over seven weeks, it’s the perfect time to create a Summer Bucket List of fun activities to help ward off the dreaded words “I’m bored.” While children don’t need around the clock entertainment, summer break is the perfect chance to squeeze in some fun activities that there just isn’t time for during the school year. Each week up through mid-August, we’ll release a theme with activities around O’Fallon and Shiloh that families can have fun with, and we’ll ask you to share your photos with us on social media by using a special hashtag, #ofallonweeklySBL.

Week One of the O’Fallon Weekly Summer Bucket List is “Movie Magic.” Summer is a special time for movies. Blockbusters and family favorites are often released to capitalize on the feeling of relaxation and fun, and I’m sure most of us have sought refuge in a frosty theater on a hot summer day. There are several different ways to bring “Movie Magic” to your summer.

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District 104 confirms summer athletic camps, discusses school consolidation possibilities

School Board President Sarah Svoboda talks with fellow board members about the need for a feasibility study to determine whether or not consolidation would be a viable option.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – Joseph Arthur Middle School parent Stephanie Afogho addressed the Central 104 School Board at their June board meeting with questions about the recent non-renewal of coaches contracts, including boys basketball coach Todd Porter. Afogho also questioned whether or not camps would even happen this summer.

“Only one board member voted against it, so I ask myself ‘couldn’t the contracts have been handled differently?’ The coaches that reapplied, when will they find out if they have been rehired? Will we even have basketball camps this summer,” asked Afogho.

School Board President Sarah Svoboda answered “I don’t think we can answer that at this point.” She clarified “I’m absolutely sure that we are working on getting the camps going.”

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Local school districts discuss possible consolidation

District 90 Board Member Jason Boone speaks to Central 104 Board Member Brent Whipple about reasons for consolidation as other board members look on.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – Members from all four local school boards met at Shiloh Middle School on June 6 as part of the BEST Committee retreat. Michelle Heninger, Principal Consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education, spoke to the board members about consolidation and the process that it encompasses. The night ended with a very frank discussion between the boards that had heated moments.

According to Heninger, there are multiple kinds of consolidation, but for the O’Fallon and Shiloh districts, there are a few distinct possibilities. One is called a Combined Elementary School District which would combine Shiloh Village School District 85, O’Fallon Community Consolidated District 90, and Central School District 104, a Unit District Formation which would combine the elementary districts with O’Fallon Township High School District 203, and then a Hybrid Formation which would be District 203 combining with one or more of the elementary districts.

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Streit named MVP of undefeated Shiloh Middle School chess team

Streit stands with his MVP award (Submitted Photo)

SHILOH – Jay Streit was named MVP of the Shiloh Middle School Chess Team, which just finished their second undefeated season in a row. Streit, who will be going into eighth grade in the fall, spoke about why he thinks the team has been so successful, and what went into him being the MVP.

He was second chair, meaning second best, in fifth and sixth grades, but was made first chair in his seventh grade season, and began playing at an early age. “I started learning from my father in third grade. We practiced every day playing each other, with me normally losing until one day I beat him and the epic feud began. I now play him every time I can and try to beat him,” Streit said. His younger sister, Vivian, is also beginning to learn.

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State Street parking narrowed to make way for cyclists

The new parking stripe, located to the left, of the old stripe, which can still be lightly seen, has been moved closer to the curb to allow for bike lanes. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Parking spaces on State Street were recently narrowed by the O’Fallon Public Works Department in an effort to make way for cyclists. The changes were part of a federally funded grant project through the Surface Transportation Enhancement Program to expand the Illini Bike Trail.

In response to residents’ concerns that parking spaces in front of local spots like the O’Fallon Historical Society Museum and Gia’s Pizza are now too narrow, Director of Public Works and City Engineer Jeff Taylor pointed out that according to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, eight feet is the mandate on parking. “The spaces were taken in by maybe two feet. There’s still eight feet of parking space, which doesn’t include the gutter that’s there. There’s definitely still adequate parking space,” he said.

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Retired Police Chief joins Shiloh Planning Commission

Planning Commission Member Howard Steffey stands with newly appointed member Jim Stover
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH – The Shiloh Planning Commission held a public hearing then special meeting to swear in a special new board member and to make recommendations on variances for three residents.

Recently retired Shiloh Police Chief Jim Stover was sworn in as a member of the Shiloh Planning Commission. “I was asked to be a part of the commission, and I feel I still have a lot to contribute to contribute to the Village, and the safety and issues of the residents, Stover said. He joked that the commitment is minimal on his time, but also gives him a new purpose. Stover also mentioned that he would be bringing his knowledge and experience to the table with him, and was looking forward to serving

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Shiloh to allow for backyard chickens

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier awards former Shiloh Planning
Commission Member BJ Berger with a plaque thanking him for 15 years of service.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

SHILOH -At their regularly scheduled June board meeting, Shiloh Village Trustees unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow for backyard chickens.

The ordinance was modeled after surrounding communities in Southern Illinois, as well as the ordinance for backyard chickens in suburban Chicago. The ordinance is subject to regulation to ensure that residents are following it properly, including not owning roosters and keeping coops to the previously determined size of 20 total square feet, and sanitary conditions.

Shiloh residents will be limited to six chickens if they have less than one acre of property or twelve chickens if they have more than one acre.

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Monthly flag ceremony honors U.S. Army Sergeant Paul Weil

Woman’s Club honored United States Army Sergeant Paul R. Weil at their June flag ceremony. The veteran was honored by Girl Scouts and their leaders from troops in O’Fallon and Shiloh.

Sgt. Weil “was born on a farm in Shiloh Valley, Illinois, a son of Walter P. and Eleanore (Jung) Weil. He was a member of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Shiloh. He enlisted into the United States Army on April 21, 1941 and was a member of an infantry tank platoon at Camp Somerset, Westover, Maryland,” wrote Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society President

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District 90 talks state financing issues, honors retirees and board members

District 90 says goodbye to their 2017 retirees and honors them for their outstanding years of service. Pictured from left to right: District 90’s School Board President, John Wagnon; Lora Handy; Jane Oberneufemann; and Mary Jane Hilden. (Submitted Photo)

The BEST committee, which features two representatives from each of the four O’Fallon school districts will be holding a retreat this June where they will discuss the largely looming idea of consolidation. The committee formed as a way to allow the districts to consolidate their buying power and collaborate in things like transportation and food service.

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Norm Etling

Etling named Acting County Engineer

Norm Etling

Norm Etling

The St. Clair County Board approved the appointment of former Shiloh Village Engineer, Norm Etling as the Acting County Engineer at their monthly meeting Tuesday night. Etling replaces current county engineer, Jim Fields, who is retiring from his position at the County Highway Department.

Etling was chosen in a unanimous vote. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1973 before moving on to graduate school. His work experience includes three years as the Assistant Engineer for the City of Belleville, two years as the City Engineer for the City of Belleville, and 31 years as the Village Engineer for the Village of Shiloh.

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Parents allege retaliation following racial controversy at Central 104

Todd Porter addresses the Central School District 104 Board of Education in February regarding a teacher who allegedly called his child a “slave”. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Jeff Egbert)

O’FALLON – After months of allegations of racial prejudice, Central School District 104 finds itself at the center of a related controversy as parents allege retaliation for speaking out. Four parents, who worked in the district, were recently removed from their positions, they feel, as a direct result of their stance supporting students and parents during the recent controversies.

At the May 8 school board meeting, the board voted to approve the non-renewal of contracts for a list of six coaches which included Chris Boykin, Marcus Gregory and Todd Porter, Senior. Days later, Porter’s wife, Krista, was reassigned by Aramark from working as a cashier at Joseph Arthur Middle School to a dishwasher position at another area school. The four parents have all been vocal about students being called “slaves”, the need for more cultural awareness, and other problems facing minority students and their families.

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Eighth grade students head to Washington D.C.

Eigth Grader Dylan Kirchoff takes a moment in front of the White House to read the O’Fallon Weekly. (Submitted Photo)

Carriel and Fulton eighth graders recently embarked on their annual sojourn to the nation’s capital. 191 students went to Washington D.C. with staff and parent chaperones from both schools for two and a half days of learning and fun.

“This year we had a really good group, and a great student to adult mix. There were two buses from each school and then one bus that was a mix of students from both schools, an overflow bus. It was incredibly hot, and it was really crowded. The students had to walk between six to ten miles a day, waking up as early as 6:00 a.m. to get ready, and they did really well and had a good time. I definitely want students to get the most bang for their buck” said Shane Flaar, a teacher at Fulton Junior High and one of the four sponsors of the trip.

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