Shiloh 5K and Kids Fun Run to take place Saturday morning

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – The Shiloh School 5k Run/ Walk and the Kids Fun Run will take place on Saturday, Sept. 22 and will begin and end at Shiloh Middle School. 

The 5k Run/ Walk will begin at 8:30 and will benefit Shiloh School’s running program, according to event coordinator and Shiloh P.E. teacher Jami Richter. 

Richter said that the Kids Fun Run will take place immediately following the end of the 5k at the middle school track and that each participant will receive a paw print medal. 

“We have some amazing sponsors this year,” Richter said. 

Sponsors for the 5k event include Cornerstone Insurance Group, IMPACT Strategies,  CREVO Capital, Richter Cattle Company, Steck-Cooper & Co, North America Central School Bus, Commerce Bank. AllPro Office Technology, Bank of Springfield Shiloh, IL, Town and Country Bank, Bernreuter Sod Farms, Anderson Hospital, Clearwave Communications, Lifetouch, Bank of O’Fallon, The Sauer Family, Stifel-Nicolas, The Storll Family, Dairy King, TriForce Chiropractic – Dr. Eric Toennies, The Shores Family, Toolen’s Running Start, The Matheny Family, Custom Screen Printing, Midstate Produce Co. and PMA Securities, Inc. 

Registration for the 5k will take place on Friday, Sept. 21 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. at the middle school. 

O’Fallon Public Library to host “What’s Aphasia” panel

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Public Library is hosting a panel to inform residents about aphasia on Friday, September 21 at 1 p.m.

Aphasia is a communication disorder that affects speech, comprehension, reading and writing. The leading cause of aphasia is a stroke.

The awareness campaign was created by the adult aphasia group from Fontbonne University’s Eardley Family Clinic for Speech, Language and Hearing, which provides free therapy services for individuals of all ages with communication disorders.

O’Fallon Public Library Program and Social Media Coordinator Jessi Baker said that this is the first time the library will host the aphasia panel. 

“A few months ago, we had a presentation on Parkinson’s disease, but otherwise have not hosted a healthcare panel before,” Baker said. 

Baker said that the library is working to create more informational healthcare programming so that patrons “may not only find information at the library, but also interact with professionals in the field.”

“This event would be great for those experiencing Aphasia and their families or caregivers, as well as those who are experiencing some memory issues after a stroke,” she said. “Speech Pathologists may also be interested.”

According to Baker, the panel will be a combination of those affected with Aphasia sharing their personal experience, as well as Graduate student clinicians in speech pathology from Fontbonne University sharing their insights and treatment approaches.

The event is free and open to the public – not just library card holders.

Recycling facility approaches Lebanon for help through community effort

By Annabelle Knef

LEBANON – The manager of municipal services for Republic Services Joell Aguirre approached the Lebanon city council on Sept. 10 to speak about the “world wide crisis” in recycling. 

“My purpose for being here tonight is not to ask about money or a contract,” Aguirre said. 

Aguirre said that the reason for the crisis in recycling is contamination and China’s role in the importation of recycled goods. 

The contamination consists of things going into recycle containers that “shouldn’t be there” such as yard waste and plastic bags. 

According to Aguirre, China is the biggest importers of recycled goods world- wide. 

“The U.S. exports about 40 percent of their recycling to China,” she said.

Aguirre said that earlier this year, China mandated a new policy which dictates that recycled goods have to be “almost impossibly clean” for it to be imported. 

“We are looking for different countries to export to and different places within the U.S.”

Aguirre said that China has also placed a ban on mixed paper, which is paper that has already been recycled – like magazines or direct mail pieces. 

“There is now a surplus of mixed paper in the U.S.,” she said. Aguirre said that mixed paper cannot be placed in a landfill because it could be a potential fire hazard.

Aguirre said that recycle facilities are now having to store paper. 

“Between the contamination factor being very strict – between the ban on mixed paper – that has caused processing costs to absolutely skyrocket,” Aguirre said. “We had to add more people to sort out contaminated items.”

Aguirre said that municipalities have curb side recycling where the consumer puts recycling into a container outside their place of residence. 

“The hauler comes and picks it up and then it gets taken to the recycling processing facility. There is no change in what is being collected. The collection process is staying the same. Its the processing that is changed.”

“I’m not here tonight to ask Lebanon to increase their spending for recycle. What I want to ask is if Republic Recycle out of the Edwardsville business unit can tap into any communication vehicles that you have with your residents to increase the awareness of how to reduce contamination.”

Aguirre requested that the council put the facility’s website link, recyclingsimplified.com, on the city home page. 

The website, according to Aguirre, informs people on how to recycle “easier, cleaner and faster.”

“I’m asking to tap into what you already have to help with the contamination problem.”

O’Fallon residents rally local support, plan to approach St. Clair County for intersection stoplight installation

Members of the Stoplight Campaign, pictured from left: Deborah LaFreniere, Julie Spengler, Millie Erb, and Sandy Hildebrandt (Submitted Photo)

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – Four O’Fallon residents have started a campaign for a traffic control device to be installed at what they describe as the “dangerous” intersection of Scott-Troy Road, Old Vincennes Trail and Borchers Lane.

Representatives spearheading the “Stoplight Campaign” include Deborah LaFreniere, Julie Spengler, Millie Erb and Sandy Hildebrandt. 

Spengler started an online petition in August as part of the group’s goals of achieving change. 

The goals of the petition are to: Reduce probability of loss or damage to the lives and property of the thousands of persons that rely on Scott-Troy Road as a travel route and to provide safer entrance and exit at this congested location that affects traffic in four directions and increase efficiency of traffic by providing obvious, signal-managed flow. 

“This is a signal light that has to happen,” Hildebrandt said. 

The intersection of Scott-Troy Road, Old Vincennes Trail and Borchers Lane is zoned with the county, as opposed to the township. 

On Monday, August 27, the campaign representatives approached the O’Fallon Public Works Committee requesting guidance on how they should proceed with St. Clair County to get a traffic control device. Alderman Mathew Gilreath made a motion for a resolution recommending the county take action. 

O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach told the Weekly that on behalf of these four residents, he hopes that something develops out of the intersection issue. 

“That was an area in my ward when I was an alderman,” Roach said. 

Roach said that the county will have to approve a traffic control device to be installed in the intersection but that the township and city council have spoken “favorably” in the past about helping with the situation. 

“I’m hoping that we would have the three governments go together to come up with some plan – whether its a stop light, a caution light or turn lanes for the people to get on and off,” he said. “The timing is good because the county is going to be resurfacing that road out there.”

“I hope we can do something to help them out there before somebody seriously gets hurt,” Roach continued.

Roach said that there are a number of things that could be put into place to help traffic at the intersection.

“Even something as simple as a flashing yellow light out there would slow people down,” Roach said. “The traffic on that road is not going to get any less – with the developments along there that are expanding and then the expansion that’s going to be taking place up near Route 50 and the expansion of the Rec Plex – all of that has the potential of adding a lot more traffic to the road.”

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Weekly obtained accident reports for the intersection of Scott-Troy Road, Old Vincennes Trail and Borchers Lane from the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department from over the past five years. 

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office responded with nine accident reports that took place between January of 2014 and August of 2018. Three of the nine accident reports were traffic related incidents, where a driver pulled out onto Scott-Troy Road from Old Vincennes and it resulted in an accident. 

An accident reported in December of 2017 stated that a driver “did not see the vehicle in the northbound lane and pulled in the north bound lane of traffic.” 

Another three of the accidents at that intersection were rear-end collisions at the stop sign at Old Vincennes Trail, where a car thought the driver ahead of them was going to turn and didn’t stop.

In an accident report from March 2014, a driver rear-ended another driver who was attempting to make a left turn onto Scott-Troy Road. “Driver of Unit 1 said he didn’t not pay attention and thought Unit 2 was going to pull out onto Scott-Troy Road, but he struck Unit 2 in the rear,” the report read.

One accident was caused when a driver reportedly looked at his phone and struck a pedestrian on his bicycle. Another accident was caused when a driver struck a deer. The final accident reported at the intersection was caused when a driver on Old Vincennes Trail couldn’t stop due to snow on the road and was struck by a car on Scott-Troy Road.

When asked for any accident reports at that intersection, to make sure none were missed when compiling them for this report, the O’Fallon Police Department said since its a county road they have no reports and referred The Weekly to the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

At an O’Fallon Township meeting held on September 5, Spotlight Campaign representatives spoke to trustees about gaining their support in favor of a traffic control device. 

Campaign representative LaFreniere said to the township officials that what the campaign representatives would like to see are improvements being done to improve safety. 

“We are here to solicit your support,” LaFreniere said. 

O’Fallon Township Highway Commissioner Mark Downs said that he doesn’t have the jurisdiction over the intersection. 

“I’m not a player in this but I always did support it. I don’t have any problems with what you’re asking for. Until St. Clair County jumps on board with this, I don’t see any movement,” Downs said.

The O’Fallon Township pledged their support to the campaign representatives with a letter signed by Township Supervisor Gary Ahle and all of the trustees. 

St. Clair County Engineer Norm Etling responded to a request for comment by the Weekly by stating that the department has not received written communication from campaign representatives. 

“We will be happy to review whatever they would like to submit,” Etling said. 

Follow-up requests for comment on the county’s stance on a potential intersection stoplight installation have not been returned. 

Campaign representative Hildebrandt said that the Stoplight Campaign plans on approaching the St. Clair Transportation Committee in October. 

To find out more information about updates on the intersection and campaign, follow @SpotlightCampaign on Facebook. 

Lebanon declares Sept. 17-23 “Constitution Week”

Members of the Cahokia Mound Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution look on as Mayor Pro Tem Wilbert Jenkins reads the proclamation declaring September 17-23 as Constitution Week in Lebanon. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

LEBANON – During Monday’s Lebanon City Council meeting, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution requested a signed proclamation designating that September 17-23 be considered Constitution Week. 

Serving as Mayor Pro Tem, Wilbert Jenkins granted that the week be officially declared Constitution Week in the city of Lebanon. 

Jenkins read from the proclamation, “Sept. 17, 2018 marks the 231st anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention.” 

The celebration of the Constitution was started by the DAR in 1955. The week long observance of Constitution Week is meant to emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution. 

Wing commander recalls 9/11: Says resilience was key to rising up

Col. Leslie A. Maher remembers her experience during Sept. 11, 2001

Remembering that fateful day 17 years ago, 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander Col. Leslie A. Maher recalled how resilience and caring for others helped the nation rise up from tragedy together.

Maher, who had been assigned to the Pentagon on 9/11 but left the day before for duty in Boston, shared her personal account at a Patriots Day ceremony hosted by Scott Air Force Base, held early Tuesday morning outside wing headquarters.

“Thank you to those who have taken time out of their days to honor this tradition – a tradition we didn’t want. A tradition we never hoped to have,” Maher said.

Maher said that she had worked at the Pentagon in 2001, but had gone to Boston on Sept. 10, 2001.

“When I got to Boston that night, I didn’t call my husband,” she said.

Maher said that as she heard the news of a civilian plane hitting the World Trade Center the next day, all she could think about was how she hadn’t called her husband the night before.

“The second tower was hit while I was attempting to dial,” she said. “I couldn’t even make the call. Not even a few minutes later, flashes of the Pentagon came on the TV. Now I was really regretting not telling my husband where I was at.”

Maher said that she made it back to Washington D.C. 48 hours after the attack and it was “eerily quiet.”

In D.C., Maher worked in the Crisis Center along with medical first responders, psychiatrists and chaplains answering calls “to aid those families who had not heard from their loved ones.”

Maher said that she answered one call from an 18-year-old male who inquired about his mother who he had not heard from in three days. As she was not a professional social worker, she was instructed to pass along the inquiry because it was a directly affected family member who was calling.

Maher said that the young man was taking care of his sister who was nine-years-old and the social worker was working through how to get him the care he would need.

“Yes – his mother had been one of the victims of the Pentagon,” Maher said.

“Days went on like that,” she said. “Us rising up. Working countless hours and helping each other. Half staffed at the Pentagon and the other half somewhere else.”

“People rushed in to help, not running away. That will forever be marked in my mind,” Maher said. “I will never forget it.”

Maher said that “truck after truck” came and parked in the parking lot and donated good to make sure that the responders were taken care of.

“As you know, we each have a story. We need to talk about it. We need to share it,” she said. “We need to make sure that what we do has purpose.”

“Share your story and show how resilient we all are.”

“It’s taking care of each other. It’s rising up. It’s putting a plan into action and it’s getting it done that makes us the greatest nation on this planet.”

Following her remarks, Maher laid a wreath in honor of Patriot’s Day and the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

Shiloh Homecoming shortened by rain

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – The Village of Shiloh hosted its 66th annual Shiloh Picnic on Friday, September 7, at the Shiloh Community Park. Unfortunately, the event was cancelled Saturday, September 8, due to poor weather conditions. 

Village officials have said they are working to reschedule the Smash Band, who was scheduled to play Saturday night, and the fireworks show. However, no dates have been announced.

The Cadence Cloggers performed Friday evening. 

 

General Maryanne Miller takes command of U.S. Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB

Gen. Maryanne Miller takes command of the U.S. Air Mobiliy Command with
a ceremonial flag exchange (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

SCOTT AFB – U.S. Air Force General Maryanne Miller took command of the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base on Friday, having succeeded Air Force Gen. Carlton Everhart II. 

“It is an honor and tremendous privilege to take the flag to lead Air Mobility Command,” Miller said. 

Miller is a command pilot with more than 4,800 flying hours in numerous aircraft. She has commanded two wings and held staff leadership positions at the unit, air staff and joint staff levels.

Prior to Miller’s current assignment, she was the Chief of Air Force Reserve, and Commander of Air Force Reserve Command. 

Miller said that Air Mobility is at the heart of our nation’s military response. 

“Through airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation, mission support, and contingency response we ensure speed of delivery, create decision space for our senior leaders and communicate our resolve as a nation,” she said. 

Miller said that mobility operations must move at the speed of war to ensure that we achieve all of our key objectives in a contested environment. 

“This imperative is foundational to maintaining our competitive edge. As a total force, we will continue to improve our readiness posture and sharpen the edge of our rapid and resilient operations. And we actively stand watch in our role to support and sustain an effective nuclear response,” she said. 

Miller said that there is a common bond which guides all individuals, Airmen and public servants – “the bond of our core values and the inspiration to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves.” 

“As Airmen, we invest in serving this great nation and each other.” 

New townhome development proposed near Scott Troy Road and Highway 50

Assistant City Planner Justin Randall goes over the details for the proposed Aberdeen Village project. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

A 244 unit multi-family townhome development, Aberdeen Village, was presented to the O’Fallon Planning Commission at their meeting held on Tuesday, August 28. 

Assistant City Planner Justin Randall said that Aberdeen Village will be developed north of the Scott Troy Road and Highway 50 intersection. 

“This is the old Rock Springs mobile home park – the Moto Mart sits at that corner with the Subway in it and the car wash is also located there,” Randall said. 

The townhomes will all be two bedroom units and approximately 1,200 square feet in size. There will also be a community building developed near the entrance. 

Randall said that one concern that is going to be addressed is the traffic generated on Scott Troy Road. 

“The existing Scott Troy Road is about to go through some construction that was associated with the McKendree RecPlex development,” Randall said. “There will be some additional lanes added.”

Randall said that these road improvements have been approved by St. Clair County but that certain improvements of Highway 50 will need to be approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation. 

“For this development, they are proposing for a signalized intersection as their main point of access,” he said.

A second point of access for the development will be cross access with the Moto Mart property. 

A traffic study by CBB found that there will need to be a right turn lane into the main entrance. It also recommended a dedicated left-turn be installed.

The development site will require 499 total parking spaces and 20 garage spaces. Also a part of the development proposal are sidewalks to be installed along Scott Troy Road and throughout Aberdeen Village. 

Randall described the design of the development as “fairly modern” but “classic at the same time.”

Shiloh to host 66th annual picnic this weekend

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – The Village of Shiloh will be hosting its 66th annual Shiloh Picnic on Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday Sept. 8 at the Shiloh Community Park.

The event will being Friday evening at 5 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. Both evenings will end at 11 p.m. Arm bands are $18, tickets are $3 each or 10 tickets are available for $20. 

There will be bands performing both nights and a firework display will take place on Friday evening at 9 p.m. Various food and drink vendors along with carnival rides and games will also be available.  

Admission to the event is free as well as event parking. 

Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier said that he is looking forward to the weekend. 

“We will all be praying for nice weather both nights,” Vernier said. 

UPDATED: The rides are opening early at 3 p.m. to give more time since they may have to periodically stop through the night.

Medical office building approved by O’Fallon Planning Commission

A 3D rendering of the proposed medical office building to be located along Regency Park, next door to Enjoy Church.

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Planning Commission discussed a proposed site plan for a new medical office building to be located along Regency Park. 

The 30,882 square foot medical office building will be built 175 feet from the north entrance of St. Elizabeth’s hospital and 200 feet south of the Enjoy Church entrance. The building will house two medical offices, which the applicant, Justin Floyd of Green Mount Enterprises LLC, believes will meet a need for public use and compliment nearby land uses.

Assistant City Planner Justin Randall said that the site plan has the potential to provide cross access to the parcel that would exist to the south. 

“The parking requirements for a medical building of this size requires 139 parking spaces and all spaces must meet dimension requirements,” Randall said. 

Randall said that a landscape plan has provided, which includes the planting of trees along the street and a parking lot island. 

“They are proposing some signage on the front entrance and back,” he said.

The commission made a motion for the cross access easement and connection to the vacant property to the south to be “evaluated closer” at a future meeting. 

District 90 school board discusses policy changes to protect transgender rights

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – At an O’Fallon District 90 meeting on Aug. 21, Board of Education members discussed the Equal Education Opportunities policy that is under a five year review. 

Board Member Rebecca Huller said that the district had received an email “from an outside group” saying that the current policy was discriminatory against transgender students. 

Huller said that the district’s attorney had recommended a newly amended policy, which would protect all students’ rights. “I think we should go with the recommended policy,” she said. 

Board member Steve Springer said that he doesn’t think the current policy is discriminatory. 

“We have one letter from a group who is not local,” Springer said. “I would love to know where the discrimination is.”

Springer said that the current policy states that the district will provide extracurricular activities and resources to all students “all of the time.” 

“I see no discrimination there,” Springer said.

Huller referenced the current District 90 policy which states that students must use the restroom according to their biological gender. “I think that’s discriminatory.”

Board Member Jason Boone agreed with Huller and said that he would like to further explore a policy that would allow student’s to use a name that is associated with their chosen gender on their ID cards. 

Board President John Wagnon said that having looked at the historical changes of different protected classes, he think’s it’s important to make changes to the policy according to current legislation. 

“As the law changes, we are covered,” Wagnon said. 

I think having looked at the historical changes of different protected classes, I think its succinct to say ‘provide opportunities as provided under the law’ that way as the law changes, we’re covered.

Wagnon said that the current policy does allow students to use a gender neutral facility if it’s available. 

Discussion of the policy was a “first review” and no voting on policy changes took place at the August 21 meeting.

O’Fallon community celebrates Illinois statehood at bicentennial event

O’FALLON – A celebration of Illinois statehood took place on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the O’Fallon Community Park. 

The Fair St. Clair 200 was a sanctioned event by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. The O’Fallon Historical Society was one of the partner organizations for the event along with 25 local community organizations and the REALTOR Association of Southwestern Illinois.

At the bicentennial event, there were reenactments in period dress, a Civil War rifle demonstration, a performance from the Belleville Philharmonic Society and a vintage baseball game between the Belleville Stags and the Springfield Long Nine. 

Teachers express concerns to District 85 board members

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – Shiloh elementary and middle school teachers raised concerns with District 85 board members at the August 20 meeting on what they believe are inefficient policy changes and unfulfilled promises.

SMS math teacher Rob Gribbins said that he wanted to ask the board some “very direct” question about the district’s cell phone policy.

“Some things happened or did not happen over the summer that really caused some concern,” Gribbins said.

Gribbins asked the board if they were aware of the end-of-year suggestion forms that Shiloh teachers completed during the 2017-18 school year.

He also asked the board if they were aware of the “large amount” of teachers at the middle school that feel the cell phone policy “needs serious adjustment.”

In the 2017-18 school year, the school board added a clause under electronic devices reading: Electronic devices may be used throughout the school day when under approved supervision of school personnel.    

Gribbins said that he had previously spoken with Superintendent Dale Sauer about his concerns, but he wanted to address the board because they are the “gatekeepers of the policy.”

Board President Leslie Tesluk-Ecker said that the board has a policy on how communication is handled.

“Before anything were to happen we need to refer back to that policy and that needs to be funneled through administration and then we would absolutely be happy to take questions,” she said. “We aren’t doing it through this kind of forum.”

“You emailed me last week Mr. Gribbins and I said we would sit down and talk about it and we will,” Sauer said.

Shiloh P.E. teacher Jami Richter raised concerns to the board regarding technology in Shiloh school’s.

Richter said that during the last school year, the elementary school was promised it would be receiving chrome carts for the 2018-19 school year.

“Back in 2016, we received a long technology progress report stating that $3,000 was committed out of the SES and SMS activity funds,” Richter said. “I think the concern of the union is where is the money and what was it spent on.”

Sauer said that part of the funding had gone toward chrome books for teachers and buying three chrome carts for the middle school.

Richter said that the teachers have followed the “chain of command” and already brought up their concerns to administrators.

“A lot of the teachers left over the year thinking that it was certain that this was going to get changed,” she said.

The board made note of the teacher’s concerns and agreed for further discussion in future meetings.

Meeting held to discuss future of Three Springs Park

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – A master planning meeting was held at the Shiloh Senior Center on Thursday, Aug. 23, to discuss the future of Three Springs Park.

President of DG2 Design Kristy DeGuire explained the goals of the company to improve the Shiloh park. 

DeGuire said the company’s first goal is to “encourage and develop community ownership of the park.”

“A lot of people are already passionate about the park and we need to grow that and awareness of the park,” she said. “Some people in Shiloh aren’t aware of Three Springs Park so that’s something we will continue to help with.” 

The second goal of DG2 Design is to “develop a sustainable vision for the park – how is the park functioning now and how can we help it improve as it continues to grow and enhance.” 

DeGuire said that the point of the public master planning meetings is to include voices and opinions from the surrounding community. 

“We can listen and really understand how you like to use your park and how you would like to use it in the future as Shiloh continues to grow with opportunities,” DeGuire said. 

Another goal of DG2 design revolves around safe access to the park. DeGuire said that she would like to hear from the community if there are any areas in the park where individuals don’t feel comfortable or areas that are currently inaccessible. 

DeGuire said the final goal of DG2 Design is to “maintain open communication.” 

“You can always reach out to us or the village. We will have another meeting and present some of the ideas we will be coming up with.”

DeGuire said that the master planning is in its “very early” stages of the design process. She said that the analysis of the park has been completed and the next step is to “conceptualize.” 

“From there, we will finalize the master plan.”

To give direct feedback to DG2 Design – a survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBYZP9J.