Teacher instills positive affirmations at Shiloh school

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – Shiloh Elementary School teacher Charlee Dixon spent time decorating the school’s bathroom stalls with inspirational quotes to motivate District 85 students. 

Some of the positive messages were quotes like, “Be your own kind of beautiful,” and “Your mistakes don’t define you.”

Dixon said at the Aug. 20 District 85 board meeting that she had seen a post on Facebook with other school’s decorating their stalls. 

“I just threw it out there and had a bunch of people jump on right away,” Dixon said. 

Dixon said that Shiloh parents and other teachers helped Dixon with her idea. “Without them, it would have never happened.” 

“The kids were very excited,” she said. 

REMAX Preferred partners with O’Fallon PD, OTHS to provide students ability to anonymously send tips to authorities

By Annabelle Knef

The O’Fallon Police Department and O’Fallon Township High School partnered with REMAX Preferred to provide OTHS students with the ability to anonymously provide tips to the police department and the school. 

On Thursday, Aug. 23, REMAX presented a check to the O’Fallon Police Department for $2500. The check will fund the anonymous tip app, P3 Campus, for the 2018-19 school year. 

In an O’Fallon Police Department press release, it is stated that P3 Campus was designed specifically for the educational community. 

“P3 Campus is a vital tool in keeping schools and students safe. School community members can report about a wide range of concerns, from mental health issues to threats of violence through our P3 Campus mobile app or through any web browser at P3Campus.com.” 

General Stephen Lyons takes command of U.S. Transcom at Scott Air Force Base

U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis (left), U.S. Air Force Gen. Darren W. McDew (center) and U.S. Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons (right) pay respect to the colors during a U.S. Transportation Command change of command ceremony at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, Aug. 24, 2018. Lyons is the first U.S. Army officer to lead the command since it was established 31 years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Paul Villanueva II)

By Annabelle Knef

SCOTT AFB – U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Lyons took command of the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base on Friday, having succeeded Air Force Gen. Darren McDew, who retired after 36 years of military service.

Officiating the change of command ceremony was the U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

“When you see the connectivity and the capability and this remarkable Transcom, any doubts about America’s military might fade immediately,” Mattis said. “What remains is the deep respect for how General McDew has lead the way during his tenure at the devotion of this joint command civil military team.”

“Thus recognition of the high expectations that we hold for General Lyons as he takes on the responsibilities of his new role of the commander of the U.S. transportation command – the ones that I call miracle workers,” he said.

Mattis recognized the importance of Transcom’s mission.

“From the earliest times in history, the ability to swiftly move troops and equipment to the front lines have been in the central condition for military victory,” Mattis said.

Mattis addressed McDew and said that he was “very sorry” to see him leave active service.

“You have shown an unwavering commitment to the protection of this nation from any foe,” Mattis said.

“On behalf of the Department of Defense, thank you to the entire Transcom team for your efforts,” he said. “All that you do to keep America strong – you can be certain that America and our allies feel the impact of your actions every day.”

Mattis quoted Winston Churchill, “Victory is the beautiful, bright colored flower. Transportation is the stem without which it could not have blossomed.”

In addressing Lyons, who was promoted to the rank of general prior to the Friday morning ceremony, Mattis said that as the primary guardian of the most responsive, strategic mobility capability in the world, “I trust you to tend to that stem for it will connote to be the backbone of our military success. I have no doubt your command will remain the best in the world.”

Gen. Lyons speaks with the assembled media following the change of command ceremony on Friday, August 25. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

After the change of command ceremony, Lyons said that “it’s good to be home” after what he described as a short stint at the Pentagon.

Lyons congratulated McDew for his “exceptional” tour of duty as Transcom commander and for the culmination of 36 years of “exceptional leadership and selfless service to our nation.”

He thanked Mattis for officiating the ceremony and for his trust and confidence “but more importantly for your leadership and your selfless service at this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Lyons said that Transcom only exists for one purpose, “to protect and sustain military power globally.”

“For decades the United States has enjoyed dominance in every operating domain – air, land, sea and cyberspace,” Lyons said. “We could generally deploy our forces when we wanted, assemble them where we wanted and operate how we wanted. Today, however, every domain is contested and the continental U.S. is no longer a sanctuary.”

Lyons said that the team of professionals at Transcom has a reputation for agile, adaptive and innovative leadership and it understands the imperative to evolve.

“History tells us that the future is unknown and ever changing,” he said. “Just as Transcom has adapted over the last 30 years, we will continue to change to maintain relevancy to the national defense strategy and anticipate the ever changing character of war.”

Local nursery vandalized in broad daylight

By Annabelle Knef

FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS – On Friday, Aug. 17, an individual vandalized the Creative Landscapes and Garden Center office building during regular business hours. 

“Somebody came in during our business hours while nobody was over there and created havoc,” owner of the business Josh Martie said.  

Martie said that “no one really broke in” because the building stays unlocked while the business is operating. 

The vandalism occurred between 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. while two of Martie’s employees were on staff.

“They didn’t steal anything. They tore up the house – knocked over shelves, spray painted computer monitors and dumped transmission fluid all over the floor,” he said. 

Martie said that he thinks it’s bizarre that the vandalism took place in the morning. 

Martie said that he notified Fairview Heights Police Department after his landscape manager discovered the vandalism. 

“There’s not much they could do for us because the person didn’t steal anything,” he said. “They said it would be impossible to take finger prints because there are so many people who touch stuff over there.”

Martie said that the odd thing is that the vandal came to the property two different times – the latter time to spray paint the computer monitors. He said the second time occurred sometime in the afternoon. 

“We are assuming it’s a disgruntled ex-employee,” he said. 

Martie said that what is most concerning is that the business has been having issues at night with an individual stealing plants out of the garden center. 

“Unfortunately, we’re pretty wide open because we cary most of our stock outside,” he said. 

Martie said that he doesn’t think the two crimes are connected.  

“I don’t think it’s the same person,” he said. “One is vandalism and one is theft. If it was related, I think they would have stolen something when they came in to vandalize the place.” 

Martie said the Creative Landscapes will adopt a new outdoor security system and cameras in the next couple of days “to oversee the property.” 

He also said that Fairview police is going to  “step up their patrols” and try to keep an eye out near his business. 

“It’s unfortunate because it seems like it’s a common problem on Old Collinsville Road,” he said. 

Gateway Arch Park Foundation encourages community members to view new renovations

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – Gateway Arch Park Foundation Director of Development Sarah Melinger hopes that a recently completed $380 million makeover will inspire more folks living in nearby communities to start thinking of the Arch grounds as a “national park where you live.”

Melinger was guest speaker at a recent O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber lunch and said that while 85 percent of visitors come from at least 200 miles away, her group is looking at offering events that draw in visitors from within the community.

“We’re committed to doing events there that are free that people can enjoy,” she said. For instance, yoga, “dog days,” and an ice rink that is free.

“Last year (when the renovations were unveiled) people said it was like Rockefeller Center (in New York), but Rockefeller Center doesn’t have an Arch,” she said.

Melinger said the mission of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, founded in 2009 for the purpose of renovating the Arch, museum and surrounding park, is to make sure the grounds “remain beautiful and amazing for generations to come.”

The public-private partnership that helped fund the Arch grounds renovations was the largest of its kind in national park history, Melinger said, and without private investment, the improvements could not have been possible.

Of the $380 million in renovation costs, Melinger said that $250 million was raised from community investors. And of that, $220 million went toward construction and $29 million was set aside in an endowment for future needs.

Studies done in advance identified increasing the number of visitors as the number one goal of renovation, followed by economic impact interests, she said.

“We know that when more people visit the Arch and we give them a reason to stay longer, they will spend more money in downtown St. Louis and surrounding communities,” she said. “We wanted to make sure that whatever we were doing – we were being good stewards to the environment. We wanted to actually physically connect downtown St. Louis, the Arch and the river.”

In addition to one of the most obvious improvements – the creation of a seven acre park where old parking grounds used to be – was making the grounds more usable by raising the riverfront by 30 inches, she said.

“All of those little rains that made the riverfront unusable, they are now usable,” she said.

Melinger added that Kiener Plaza also has been completely redone and the museum has been “reimagined.”

“What you see now when you come to the museum is the role that St. Louis plays (with the arch),” she said. “The museum is free, so you can visit as much as you’d like.”

While it is not yet wheelchair accessible, a live camera feed of the top of the arch is available for Gateway Arch visitors. 

R.P. Lumber opens new showroom in Lebanon

Pictured is Gabel presenting company and store leaders from R.P. Lumber with a plant to celebrate the new space. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

LEBANON – The Lebanon Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for Lebanon’s new R.P. Lumber showroom on Tuesday, August 14. 

R.P. Lumber Company, Inc. is a full service retail home center and building materials supplier that will offer many products and services to the Lebanon community in its new showroom. 

While they have been open since earlier this summer, Chamber President Rebeca Gabel said that R.P. Lumber will have a grand opening on September 15 “to recognize their new retail space where the IGA used to be.” 

Scenes from Friday at City Fest

O’FALLON – The inaugural City Fest began at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 17, in Community Park. Rides, games, and a rock climbing wall were all available, as well as plenty of food and drink. The weather was fantastic and the crowd enjoyed the evening. 

City Fest will continue on Saturday, August 18, with a car show and a biathlon both starting at 8 a.m. Rides, games, and food will all open by noon. City Fest will run until 10 p.m. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Annabelle Knef)

To view photos from Saturday’s parade, click HERE

To view photos from the second day of City Fest, click HERE

Lebanon being considered for site of film production

By Annabelle Knef

LEBANON – California-based producer Andrew Jones spoke to Lebanon officials and Illinois South Tourism members on Monday about producing a movie in the area. 

Jones said that his film is called Harriet Houdini and is about a teenage girl who is “very shy” and has a “love of magic.” 

He also said that it’s a “feel good” family film and tackles themes such as anti-bullying and female empowerment. 

“The film takes place in a small midwestern town so I’m looking for a place that is very picturesque,” Jones said.

Some of the locations that would be featured in the film are a main street, a farm house, a magic shop, a diner and an auditorium. 

“Budget wise, we tend not to build much,” he said. 

Jones said that filming in Lebanon would offer a fun opportunity for local actors to be a part of the movie. He also expressed how filming in small towns is “really good for tourism.” 

Jones said that one thing he would need from the city of Lebanon is support – both financial support and community support.  

“It’s harder and harder to get funding for these movies.”

Jones said that what is unique about this film is that it’s set up as a non-profit due to a sponsorship from an anti-bullying group. 

Jones said that the film would shoot for 20 to 25 days and take place next spring or summer. 

Jones said that he will continue to stay in touch with the city of Lebanon about the potential to make his film in the area. 

Jones has produced and directed many movies and television shows, one of them being – Discovery channel’s Naked and Afraid. 

Matt Seipp Baseball Classic raises $2,600 for St. Louis Children’s Hospital

Members of the Seipp family and District 90 Athleteic Director Tracy Lauderdale present a check for $2,600 to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef & Sam Scinta

O’FALLON – Working around some untimely rainstorms, the Seipp Family, alongside the Amelia Carriel Jr. High Baseball team, made a generous donation to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

The donation was presented at the 25th Annual O’Fallon Matt Seipp Baseball Classic at the O’Fallon Sports Park on Wednesday, August 8.

The Matt Seipp Classic is a baseball and softball tournament for junior high schools throughout Southern Illinois and honors the late Matt Seipp, a former O’Fallon baseball player and industrial arts teacher at O’Fallon Township High School. Seipp passed away at age 33 on May 6, 2013, after an accident at his home. Seipp was the owner of Seipp Lawn Care.

The Matt Seipp Classic was originally called the O’Fallon Classic and began in 1994. It was named after Matt shortly after his passing, and is focused on raising money for charitable causes in his memory.

This year, the baseball teams from Fulton Junior High School and Carriel Junior High School faced off in the final championship game, with Carriel taking home the win.

Osborne Family Chiropractic welcomes Dr. Brandon Daniels to practice

Dr. Brandon Daniels and Dr. Corey Osborne

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – Not a day goes by that chiropractor Dr. Corey Osborne of Osborne Family Chiropractic in O’Fallon isn’t amazed at what his profession is capable of doing for patients.

As a child who grew up with asthma and headaches, Osborne was drawn to the career field after finding that chiropractic care provided relief from his chronic conditions.

“I got into chiropractic because I was a very sick kid. I started seeing a chiropractor and I have not had an asthma attack since the age of 12,” Osborne said.

Before choosing chiropractic studies, Osborne said he struggled between chiropractic and medicine.

“I actually started out taking the MCAT to get into trauma surgery – then the big man upstairs lead me to this,” he said.

Osborne said that his practice, which began in 2002, is more about preventative health. He called a “hierarchy” between chiropractors and functional doctors a “phenomenal” thing.

“We’re not just chiropractors. We use chiropractic, functional medicine and other services to try and fill our patient’s needs. I definitely see a strong future with chiropractic and functional medicine in the medical world,” Osborne said.

Osborne said that while “chiropractors can’t cure everything,” when it works, “it works amazing.”

He said that a patient may come in with back pain – but after a few visits will notice other health problems dissipating, such as heartburn.

“There’s never been a day that goes by where I’m not amazed at what this profession can do,” he said.

He said that the focus of his practice is centered on “what’s right for the patient.”

Osborne said that O’Fallon is “beyond” his home. “We have phenomenal patients here.”

He said that the favorite part of his profession is being able to “find the gap” in a patient’s health care.

“We really don’t have a specialized patient – it’s the patient that’s not getting answers.”

Osborne said that he is currently working toward his functional neurology post-doctorate degree.

In March of this year, Osborne welcomed Dr. Brandon Daniels to his practice. Daniels grew up in the O’Fallon community and recently received his doctorate in chiropractic from Logan University.

While he was attending OTHS, Daniels suffered a soccer injury.

“I was told that I couldn’t come back for the rest of the season and most likely the whole year after that,” Daniels said. “I ended up coming here to Dr. Osborne into this office.”

Daniels said that thanks to Osborne, he was back to playing soccer in about six to eight weeks.

That experience, he said, opened his eyes to the interworking of the human body and “how unique and powerful it is.”

Daniels said he is “happy” to be working Osborne Family Chiropractic where he was formerly a patient.

“It has been fantastic,” he said. “There’s no time I’m happier than being with my patients.”

Daniels said that he always knew he wanted to be some form of doctor because helping people has always been his passion.

“I want to do it for the rest of my life,” he said.

Daniels said that he is currently working toward his functional medicine certification.

“We approach how the body works as a whole and not specifically on one system in the body,” he said.

Moving forward, Daniels said that his goals are to “always keep learning” and continuing to “help patients.”

Osborne said that his practice is thriving with the addition of Daniels.

“He’s getting a ton of his own referrals and is doing great,” Osborne said.

Both Osborne and Daniels are licensed in Illinois and are In-network with Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

O’Fallon District 90 welcomes 17 new teachers and staff

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – O’Fallon District 90 hired 17 new staff members for the 2018-19 school year. 

Those hired include: Jordan Thoele, Samantha Wiegand, Stephanie Szilagyi, Morgan Schulte, Tom Clark, Jessica Heidemann, Kathryn McNeil, Danielle Schnable, Katie Shannon, Logan Maggio, Ann Hughes, Linda Sudduth, Jennifer Allen, Katie Terziovsky, Catherine Long, Amy Little and Allison Zeisset. 

Superintendent Carrie Hruby said that District 90 is “very pleased” to welcome the new staff. 

“Once again this year we had strong candidates and this group rose to the top,” Hruby said. “We look forward to seeing their successes for many years to come in our classrooms.”

Cox sworn in as Lebanon’s newest police officer

Gregg Cox is sworn in as the city’s newest police officer.

By Annabelle Knef

LEBANON – At the Lebanon City Council meeting Monday evening, Aug. 13, officer Gregg Cox was sworn in as a member of the Lebanon Police Department. 

Lebanon Chief of Police David Roth introduced Cox to aldermen and other’s gathered at Monday’s meeting. 

“It’s my pleasure and honor to introduce Gregg Cox – we met many years ago back when he was working for the O’Fallon Police Department. He worked for O’Fallon then moved on to Illinois State Police and put in 22 years,” Roth said. “I spoke with him about being a part of the Lebanon family and he was excited about it.” 

Cox said that he is “very excited” to be a part of the Lebanon community.

O’Fallon’s newest city council member embracing new role

By Annabelle Knef

The newest member of the O’Fallon City Council, Ward 5 Alderwoman Gwendolyn Randolph, is embracing her new role and diving deep into the inner workings of the city. 

Sworn into office on August 6, Randolph was appointed as alderwoman by Mayor Herb Roach to replace Courtney Marsh, who stepped down from the council after she moved out of her ward. 

Randolph said that it’s very exciting being appointed to the council and that “historically it is monumental.” 

“I’m really here to do the best job that I can for my constituents and for the city of O’Fallon,” Randolph said.

Randolph said that she heard about the council opening at a recent township meeting. 

“I went home and thought about it because every community I have lived in I’ve always been very active so I thought this is a great way to really get to know my neighbors better and my community and to serve,” she said. 

Randolph said that in the week she has been in her position, she has been meeting a lot of people and also reading through old archives “to try to get a knowledge base so I could know how to best serve.” 

Randolph will serve on two city committees: Public Works and Public Safety. 

“I have a criminal justice background so public safety is huge for me. One thing about where I live – I feel very safe,” she said. “I think O’Fallon has done a great job and I want to help sustain those things that are already in place.”

Randolph is a single mother of a 27-year-old son and currently works as the science content specialist at East St. Louis District 189. 

“I have 18 years in education,” she said. 

She also has a military background – she was a United States Navy air traffic control facility watch supervisor over over seven years. 

Randolph said that O’Fallon city officials have all been “very helpful.”

“I’m still learning – I’m sure I’m going to have a lot of questions, but everyone has been so helpful,” she said. 

Randolph said that she plans on reaching out to former Ward 5 alderwoman Courtney Marsh “to find out what the burning issues were.” 

Randolph said that she is “very excited and happy” to be serving the community. “I do plan to be around for a while.”

Illinois bicentennial celebration to take place Aug. 25 in O’Fallon park

Fair St. Clair 200 will take place Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at O’Fallon Community Park

O’FALLON- A celebration of Illinois statehood will take place Saturday, Aug. 25 at the O’Fallon Community Park.

The Fair St. Clair 200 is a sanctioned event by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, according to historian and curator at the St. Clair County Historical Society Will Shannon.

“Especially [St. Clair County] being the state’s oldest county, we figured we would do it up big,” Shannon said.

Shannon said that the bicentennial event is a “big collaborative effort” and it doubles as a celebration and as a way to showcase the county’s historical society that “preserves and promotes our history.”

The event is free aside from a concession stand that is being run by the St. Clair Pomona Grange, which is made up of all the grange chapters in the county.

“If you have ever been to a grange event and you leave hungry, you did something wrong,” Shannon said.

“We will have the Belleville Stags, which is our vintage baseball team. They will be playing a game in Community Park against the Springfield Long Nine,” he said.

Shannon said that there will be music from the Philharmonic Society of Belleville, reenactments in period dress and a Civil War rifle demonstration. There will also be an “interactive exhibit hall” inside the Katy Cavins center.

“Organizations like ours – we try and blend education and entertainment,” Shannon said. “We want to teach people lessons and teach people local history but do it in a fun and entertaining way.”

The O’Fallon Historical Society is one of the partner organizations for Fair St. Clair 200 along with 25 local community organizations and the REALTOR Association of Southwestern Illinois.

Brian Keller, president of the O’Fallon Historical Society, said that the city’s exhibit will be in the Grange Hut, the log cabin in Community Park, for the duration of the fair.

“We will be bringing some of our more portable historical artifacts from the museum illustrating O’Fallon area history including maps and photos,” Keller said. “We’ll also have information about the historical society’s various programs including the Cemetery Detectives.”

Shannon said that the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. fair “should be a big afternoon” with a large turnout. “We are looking forward to it.”

Sweet Katie Bee’s caters to “Keto” community in O’Fallon with new desserts

O’FALLON- Sweet Katie Bee’s is no stranger to organic and gluten- free treats, but the cafe’s owner Beth Hendrix said that she had “no idea” the newly added Keto desserts would be so popular in the community. 

“I had no idea that this was such a big community,” Hendrix said. “We would have done this a long time ago if we had any idea there were so many people dying for dessert.” 

“Keto” or a the ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate way of eating. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, the cafe announced in a Facebook post that it had “Keto cakes” on the menu. 

The cupcake’s ingredients consisted of almond flour, Swerve [natural] sweetener, flax seed, cocoa, local eggs, cream cheese and organic butter. 

“It blew up,” Hendrix said. “People were sharing [the post] in St. Louis and a person in California asked where our cafe was. People have been calling and asking if we will ship to them.” 

Hendrix said that she has experience modifying food items because her child has dealt with food allergies. 

“I had to learn the hard way,” she said. “Way back when gluten free options weren’t available. It was a full time job.” 

Hendrix said that something she would like to do in the future after the cafe relocates to a bigger space – is bring in parents from around the community and have a cooking class “to show them how to make certain options.”

Hendrix said that the Keto desserts, along with gluten free and organic options “gives people an option.” She said that it also allows for “more community involvement.” 

Since last week, Sweet Katie Bee’s has offered Keto cupcakes and also cheesecakes. Hendrix said that there are other menu items compatible with the diet – like the BLT salad and the chicken tortilla soup.