Community invited to meeting to discuss future of Shiloh park

SHILOH- A public meeting will be held at the Shiloh Senior Center on Thursday, Aug. 23, to discuss the future of Three Springs Park.

Village administrator John Marquart said that the purpose of the meeting is to take citizen input as to how the park ought to be developed.

Marquart said that some things that may be discussed at the meeting are what types of activity aren’t there that should be and what types of activity are there that shouldn’t be anymore.

Also, village officials would like to hear feedback about the potential addition of playground space, ball fields or a pavilion.

“We want people to give us their opinion about what they like or don’t like about the park,” Marquart said.

Marquart said that the village is in the process of creating a master plan for the park and its facilities for the next five years.

He said that the village has hired St. Louis- based DG2 Design to help with the future planning of Three Springs Park.

“We have had a chance to chat with them on a couple of occasions,” he said. “They have been out to look at the park.”

For community members not able to attend the public meeting, a survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SBYZP9J to give direct feedback to DG2 Design.

“All of that information will be put together and then they will generate a report,” Marquart said. 

Sweet Katie Bee’s to relocate to East First Street in downtown O’Fallon

Sweet Katie Bee’s has outgrown its current space at 212 E State St. in O’Fallon

O’FALLON- A new location for O’Fallon’s Sweet Katie Bee’s cafe is one step closer to reality with construction of a new facility under way on First Street in downtown.

The new site, next door to the Outdoorsman and Shooters, marks the first new building in downtown O’Fallon “in a long time,” according to assistant city administrator Grant Litteken.

Sweet Katie Bee’s owner and operator Beth Hendrix said that developer Brad McMillin, owner of the Peel restaurant building, first approached her about relocating to First Street.

“We said that we were interested,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix said that the cafe’s original location at 212 E State St. has outgrown its space, especially when it comes to kitchen work.

“We have to shift people on – the pastry chef comes in first and the prep crew comes in after that,” Hendrix said. “It’s so tiny.”

She also said that the small dining area has also created issues for customers.

“People say that they would love to bring the office in but they can’t bring six people,” she said.

Hendrix said that the cafe has signed a lease for November.

Sweet Katie Bee’s cafe will move to East First Street and will be next door to the Outdoorsman and Shooters

“He’s (McMillin) fast,” she said. “I’ve seen some of the things he has built and it goes up very fast.”

Manager Gary Stein said that while the goal has been to be there in November, a lot depends on weather and “other factors.”

Hendrix said the new First Street location will offer double the square footage of its current location, and with that additional space, she’d like to have a Sunday brunch.

She said she would also like to continue to open on certain evenings throughout the week at the new location.

“We started opening in the evening where we just have dinner, dessert and coffee. People will come in and play music. We want to do this at the new place, possibly with wine and beer options,” she said.

“I’ll definitely be able to hire more staff.”

Hendrix and Stein said that the prospect of relocating is “exciting.” 

“We feel like one of those hamsters in a habitrail. We are just running really hard but not able to grow,” Hendrix said. “When we think of it, it’s hard to conceptualize how awesome it is going to be.” 

O’Fallon Chamber welcomes Lion’s Choice with ribbon cutting

The O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce welcome Lion’s Choice to the business community with a ribbon cutting ceremony

O’FALLON- The O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce along with city officials welcomed Lion’s Choice to the community with a ribbon cutting Tuesday, Aug. 7.

Mayor Herb Roach said that he has heard “nothing but positive things” about Lion’s Choice ever since its grand opening in O’Fallon on July 17.

“You’re a great part of the growing business community here in O’Fallon,” Roach said.

Chamber president Sid LeGrand said that he wishes the new Lion’s Choice branch “nothing but the best.”

Michael Kupstas, president and CEO of Lion’s Choice, thanked the city of O’Fallon and the Chamber for everything they have done “to make this an easy process.”

Lion’s Choice CEO Michael Kupstas thanks the city of O’Fallon for welcome into the community

“We are in the process of building quite a few stores right now and I can say that between the city and the Chamber – you have made this the easiest of all of the openings,” Kupstas said. 

Kupstas also thanked the “almost 50 people that work here every day.” “We have shattered every record we have ever had and continue to treat every guest with the individual respect that they deserve as they come through here.” 

Kupstas said that he is “thrilled” Lion’s Choice is back in O’Fallon.

“It’s great that we have made a re-entry and it couldn’t have been easier or more fun,” he said. 

O’Fallon remembers Pvt. Henry Love at monthly flag raising ceremony

(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – A World War I veteran from the O’Fallon area was honored in a special flag raising ceremony on Saturday by the O’Fallon Woman’s Club, Girl Scout Troop 547 and O’Fallon residents who gathered at the corner of Lincoln and East First Street to pay their respects to Henry P. Love.

Love, who was originally from Ridge Prairie, which is now western O’Fallon, served as a private in the United States Army. He was mortally wounded by machine gun fire while in action on the front lines at Marcheville, France.

His biographical sketch, read by Alia Barcus at the memorial observance, in part stated: “At the time, he was the youngest O’Fallonite and only member of St. Clare’s Catholic Church to have given his life for his country. He was just over 20 years old.”

The next flag ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 9 a.m. to honor the service of Private Arthur S. Meyer, a World War I veteran. 

Not so fast… Boundary dispute continuing problem for Carnegie Knolls residents

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – As classes at local schools are about to resume, some O’Fallon families are struggling to understand why school officials can’t stick to what was believed to be a one-year resolution in a boundary snafu.

Scott Albritton is among four families that reside on Carnegie Knolls Road, a road attached to the subdivision Parcs of Arbor Green, and is frustrated that as of now his child is being required to unenroll from Fulton Jr. High and re-enroll at James Arthur Middle School. 

Earlier this month at a District 90 Board of Education meeting, it was announced by Superintendent Carrie Hruby that four students who reside on Carnegie Knolls Road were mistakenly registered and should have been attending Central District 104 schools based on the zoning of the neighborhood.

At the meeting, Hruby said an intergovernmental agreement was made between the two districts to allow the four students to continue to attend District 90 schools for the 2018-19 school year.

According to Albritton, it came as a “complete surprise” when Central District 104 sent out a letter on July 30 stating that these four students are to attend Central District 104 schools – which contradicts the earlier agreement.

Hruby said that District 90 received a letter from Central District 104 last Wednesday that stated there was not an agreement due to the fact that District 90 agreed allow the students to attend its schools for the 2018-19 school year and Central 104 agreed to allow the students to attend District 90 through their eighth grade years.

“I guess originally what happened was District 104 passed their version of the bill which allowed all four kids to attend District 90 schools throughout their academic career until they all start at OTHS (O’Fallon Township High School),” Albritton said.

Albritton said that the agreement was then amended by District 90 to say the students would attend the district’s schools for one school year so that “parents have time to get this issue fixed in the long term for everybody and not just these four kids.”

“We were told that it was all good to go and to register our kids in District 90,” Albritton said.

Central District 104 Superintendent Dawn Elser said that the district had approved the original agreement with the longer terms on Monday, July 9.

“District 90 changed the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement and approved the agreement at their board meeting in July,” Elser said. “We were informed by our attorney that no Intergovernmental Agreement exists since the language in the agreements that were approved by both school boards is not consistent.”

Elser did not respond to follow-up questions regarding if she believes her board of education will take up a newly revised version and adopt it prior to the start of the school year.

“My opinion is that it comes down to the taxing of the houses,” Albritton said. 

Albritton said that if you look at a map of Parcs of Arbor Green – there are two cul-de-sacs – Carnegie Knolls and Shady Parc Court – and there are a total of 28 homes between them.

“(Central District) 104 used to split right down the middle of that neighborhood – they moved it to kind of re-align it but then the cul-de-sac wasn’t completed so it just kind of bordered the districts,” Albritton said.

Albritton said that the few students that reside in Shady Parc Court attend private school and aren’t affected by the public school boundary dispute.

“(Central District) 104 still collects their taxes – and all the homes in Carnegie Knolls cul-de-sac, which is 14 homes – all their taxes go to 104,” he said.

Albritton said that with the Intergovernmental Agreement, the four students would be able to attend District 90, while Central District 104 “would still collect tax (dollars).”

“If we petition to move the District 90 school zone to encompass all Parcs of Arbor Green – which is what the residents of Carnegie Knolls would like to happen – it doesn’t make sense to have a kid that lives one street over to go to a completely different school, which is actually further away then the school nearest to our community,” Albritton said.

Albritton said that Fulton Jr. High, a District 90 school, is approximately 1.2 miles away from his home on Carnegie Knolls Road, whereas Joseph Arthur Middle School is approximately two and a half miles.

“When I originally moved – our kids ended up going to District 90 schools,” he said.

“My son has been going to these school for two years and now all of a sudden they are telling us to move schools because of a boundary issue,” Albritton said. “We tried to work with both of the boards to get this fixed because this was no fault of any parent – this was their doing.”

Albritton’s son will be going into his eighth grade year – at what would have been Fulton Jr. High.

“He’s facing the prospect of going to a school where he knows no one,” he said.

According to Hruby, “Per the law, the only way District 90 can enroll the students is with a tuition status if the resolution is not in place.”

Albritton said that the “worst case scenario” is sending his son to Fulton Jr. High on a tuition basis, which he said would be $8,400 for the school year.

“It’s really not fair to ask us to have to pay when we were already promised that the issue was done and solved,” he said.

Albritton said that his next step in the boundary dispute is to “seek legal council.”

“The long term plan was to eventually encompass all of the Parcs of Arbor Green community into District 90 – so I reached out to HOA today and asked if they were willing to take on that issue with city council,” he said.

Inaugural O’Fallon City Fest to take place in Community Park

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – Festival goers who have long yearned for the city of O’Fallon to get back to hosting a community fair like so many other communities in the area do, don’t have to wait much longer.

From Friday, Aug. 17 through Saturday, Aug. 18 noon until 10 p.m., vendors from within the community will be serving up traditional summer fair – hotdogs, brats, burgers and beer, and much more, according to mayor Herb Roach. 

Roach said that “every” community around O’Fallon has one or more events annually, so “why can’t we have our own festival?”

He said it was obvious there was a lot of enthusiasm for City Fest by the response he and other organizers have gotten.

“I can’t say thank you enough to all of our business community,” Roach said. “They have stepped up and really done a good job on sponsoring and the volunteers that have organized things. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Among volunteer participants are youth groups and seniors overseeing cake stands, he said. 

Other features include a parade through downtown O’Fallon, traditional carnival games in community park and a climbing wall. 

Roach said that all money generated from the climbing wall will go to local first responders and veterans who suffer from PTSD. 

Roach said that he thinks the “scope” of City Fest is different from past O’Fallon picnic events.

“It’s to bring our city together and to do things to help our organizations who help others. We’re not doing this to make a profit.” 

While some money from the event will go to a reserve for next year’s City Fest, “anything beyond the reserve – we are going to split between our police department and our parks department.”

Roach said that the O’Fallon Police Department has done an “excellent job” setting up security for the event. 

“There will be a very full police presence,” he said. “They have been a blessing to us in helping us set up things.”

Roach said that there will be additional lighting in community park to accommodate security. “We are trying to take as many precautions as possible.” 

The parade route will start by the old City Hall and come down Lincoln Avenue and eventually end at community park. 

“We are trying to make it exciting for the community,” he said. 

There will be three bands total at City Fest – one band will perform on Friday and two other bands will perform on Saturday. 

“I cannot say enough about the hours that people have put into this to pull it off,” Roach said. 

Adriana Scagliarini is crowned Miss O’Fallon 2018

Adriana Scagliarini is crowned Miss O’Fallon in the 2018 scholarship pageant

Adriana Scagliarini was crowned the 2018 Miss O’Fallon Saturday evening, Aug. 3.

In Saturday’s scholarship pageant, eight competed to become this year’s Miss O’Fallon. The evening commenced with the contestants plus last year’s Miss O’Fallon Ava Hipskind performing a dance number. The pageant also included a swimsuit, talent and evening gown competition.

Scagliarini said that she was “overwhelmed with joy” to be crowned 2018’s Miss O’Fallon. “I’m so excited.”

The pageant contestants began rehearsing at the beginning of July and Scagliarini said that it was “never competitive” between the girls.

“Everyone was so sweet and genuine toward each other,” she said. “Everyone compliments each other no matter what. We all made a really good bond.”

Eight contestants and last year’s Miss O’Fallon Ava Hipskind dance in the opening number

Scagliarini said that she is looking forward to serving the city of O’Fallon in the coming year.

“I’m really looking forward to all of the parades and meeting the people of O’Fallon. I’m going to thank them for everything they do,” she said. “I love my city.” 

Scagliarini said that one of the things she would like to do in the coming year is start a “little” Miss O’Fallon pageant to “show all girls that it’s not just about beauty – you need to have poise and have manners, confidence and intelligence.”

She said that it’s important to “stick together as girls rather than trying to tear each other down.”

“I want to teach them to stick together and be yourself and that will take you so much further,” Scagliarini said.

The Shiloh and O’Fallon community show support for Scagliarini with matching shirts

Other contestants who received recognition in this year’s pageant was Hailey Eader, who was awarded Miss Photogenic, Anna DeMonge, who was awarded Miss Congeniality and Sienna Salcido, who was awarded with People’s Choice. Second runner up in the 2018 Miss O’Fallon pageant was Sienna Salcido and the first runner up was Laura Edwards.

Also competing in this year’s pageant was Hannah Gibson, Kennedy Kreidell and Zoyalyn Stoll.

The pageant was directed by Kristy Schulte. The $2000 scholarship for Miss O’Fallon was funded by the Bank of O’Fallon, Brian Keller and the Thoman family.

Error at County office leads to residents voting in wrong district for six years

County board candidate hopeful thwarted by boundary error 

Residents along Simmons Road were misclassified by the County Clerk’s office in 2012, causing them to vote in the wrong County Board district for the past six years.

O’FALLON – Rachel Renner of O’Fallon had hoped to run for the County Board District 18 seat as a Democrat in this November’s election, but learned that due to an error in the County Clerk’s office, her political aspirations, at least for now, will have to remain on hold.

Renner was working to be slated to an empty position on the November ballot against republican candidate Matt Smallheer. She collected an appropriate number of signatures required from voters within the district to get her name on the ballot, as well as fill out a variety of other forms and seek approval from party leaders. 

When she went to submit her paperwork, officials at the St. Clair County Clerk’s office informed her that her residence at 1441 Simmons Road had been improperly zoned into District 18 since 2012. She was told that her address actually belongs in District 29, a seat currently held by democrat Carol Clark. 

“There were no Democrats running [for District 18] and I was going to run and get some new ideas and new people in there,” Renner said. 

Renner said that when she went to the county elections office to finalize paperwork in order to run, County Clerk Tom Holbrook informed her that she was not in the “correct district.”

“They just sent out new voter cards telling us that we were in the wrong district,” Renner said.

Margaret Eros, a St. Clair County elections official, informed the Weekly that six addresses on Simmons Road were improperly designated into District 18 and not 29, impacting 15 voters.

Renner said she finds it odd that St. Clair County hadn’t “realized for years” that her street was zoned incorrectly. 

“I told [Holbrook] that everything we were voting for – it was for the wrong people for a minimum of five years,” she said.

Renner said that the county clerk’s office couldn’t give a definitive answer about how long her house had been misclassified. 

“When I went back to have them put in my paperwork they said somebody had brought it to their attention that we were in the wrong or that it was quoted wrong,” Renner said. “I don’t know how they figured that out all of the sudden.” 

Holbrook said that Susan Hines-Wobbe, a precinct committeewoman for the O’Fallon Democrats, brought it to his attention that Renner’s street was misclassified.

“This goes back almost ten years when we did re-districting and that mistake was made back when the last county clerk was here,” Holbrook said. “I believe they said there had been a line moved to accommodate a new subdivision that was being built.”

St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook

Holbrook said the misclassification doesn’t happen frequently. He went on to say though that “this does happen,” and that it is something that would occur after census results which can alter precinct boundary lines. In Renner’s case, it happened in 2012.

“Unfortunately for Rachel Renner, it just put her in a different district,” Holbrook said. “The map that we had on the website and that we filed for the state I believe was correct. However, the voting code was wrong on the voting registration for those people. It was for a very small section for that subdivision.”

Holbrook advises voters to carefully check their voter registration cards that arrive in the mail. 

“When you get your voting card and you think something is wrong with it, you’re supposed to let us know,” he said. “[The Renners] have received several cards. Of course, the responsibility to get it changed back correctly is mine now. I got it done as soon as I was notified.”

“It didn’t change any taxing districts whatsoever,” Holbrook said.

He added that he also had provided each county board member maps when he took over as Clerk five years ago so they could evaluate to ensure accuracy.

Eros said she recalls other issues arising in 2012 after redistricting affected boundaries.  

“Whenever these are brought to our attention, we correct them,” she said. Eros said that an error was found on Election Day in 2012 and corrected that day.

“We were able to do so on that day, even on election day. We had ballots available for the voters… the maps were correct but not on the voter registration side of it.”

There have been two contested races that the impacted voters either have participated in that they shouldn’t have or not participated in that they should have. In 2012, the District 29 seat was sought by incumbent Clark and republican Laurence Cole. Clark defeated Cole 2,200 to 1,941. The improperly zoned residents should have been able to vote in that race, however they voted in the District 18 race which had republican incumbent Craig Hubbard running unopposed. 

This past spring, voters in District 18 were given the chance to vote in the Republican Primary Election between Hubbard and Smallheer. Smallheer defeated the sitting board member by 33 votes, 365 to 332. The improperly zoned voters were allowed to vote in that election when they should not have been. It is unknown how many of those voters cast their ballots in the Republican primary and may have impacted the results of that race.

There were also uncontested races in both District 18 and 29 in 2014 and 2016 that the voters either improperly did or did not part take part in.

When asked if any election outcomes could have been affected by the error, even though only 15 voters at this time are currently affected, Eros said she does not know. 

“I think because… you can’t really tell what has happened in an election, not knowing how people voted,” Eros said. 

Eros’s word of advice to voters is that should they see any discrepancy on their voter registration cards: “inform us.”

O’Fallon YMCA ends summer with free event

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon YMCA is hosting a free event on Wednesday, August 8, to celebrate the end of summer.

The event, which will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., will feature gymnastic and martial arts demonstrations, volleyball clinics, a 60- foot inflatable obstacle course, music and food trucks. 

YMCA Senior Program Director Julie Murphy said that the event will be a “great time for families to have a fun night out together, enjoy the food trucks and music, get a taste of what the programs we offer look like and even consider joining the Y.” 

The YMCA currently has a “pay the day” promotion, which is a discount for joining the gym. The joining fee on the day of the August 8 event will be $8. 

The summer event will also conclude the YMCA summer day camp, which has been running for 11 weeks and will finish Friday, August 10.

Scott Air Force Base hosts its first ever SAME STEM camp for students from around the country

OTHS Junior Blaine Gittner (standing at right) and the rest of Charlie Flight prepare their water bottle rocket for launch during a competion on Wednesday, July 25. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

By Annabelle Knef

SCOTT AFB – Scott Air Force Base hosted its first ever SAME Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) camp, which took place Monday, July 23 through Saturday, July 28. 

Camp Director Nicole Gunyon said that there are several SAME STEM camps throughout the United States – including one at the Air Force Academy, but the “central location” of Scott AFB made the area a viable option for the youth camp. 

“It’s all about getting these high school students to see what STEM is about, what the different types of engineering are about – so that when they get to college, they have a better idea of what they want to do,” Gunyon said. 

Gunyon said that the camp displays “all different types” of engineering activities for students throughout the week. 

“Then, we bring the military aspect of it so they can see if they want to enlist, become an officer or be in the reserves,” she said. “Any way they could be contributing members of society.” 

The STEM camp’s theme is “build then design,” according to Gunyon. “The whole thing is to let them fail. Let them test their theories and when it doesn’t work then they can break it down and see why.”

Gunyon said that it’s okay for students to fail because “you learn more about your failures than you do your successes.” 

Mentors at the Scott AFB SAME STEM camp all have a background in engineering, from mechanical engineering to civil engineering. 

Throughout the week, students at the STEM camp did activities from constructing water bottle rockets, building cardboard canoes, to touring the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) campus and different engineering firms. 

“It’s all about helping them now and getting them through college and them having a safe place to land at the end,” Gunyon said. “They are meeting companies this week where they may get a job when they are out of college.” 

Gunyon said that the 40 kids that attended the STEM camp are from 21 states, the farthest being campers from Alaska and Hawaii. 

“They chose to come to this camp- they could have chosen the (Air Force) Academy. I think 95 percent of them put this as their first choice.” 

O’Fallon Township High School student and incoming junior Blaine Gittner said that he had previously attended a camp through the Air Force Academy, so he wanted to attend a camp closer to home. 

Gittner said that the activities at the camp all have to do with “math, engineering and physics.” His favorite activity was constructing concrete cylinders. 

“I have never worked with concrete and it was very interesting looking up all of the information we would need and doing all of the math,” he said. 

Gunyon said that this is the first time Scott AFB has had this camp, but they would “like to continue it every year.”

Chamber Lead In class of 2018 prepares backpacks of school supplies for children

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute (Lead In) met at the O’Fallon YMCA on Wednesday, July 25 to fill backpacks with school supplies for youth of community.  

Lead In is a group of young professionals ages 40 and under that were selected to participate in the chamber’s Leadership Institute and are considered “the next generation of community leaders.” 

This year, Lead In coordinated a service activity with Feed My Lambs, a summer lunch program that serves kids who received free or reduced lunches during the school year. 

The O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Martinez said that the 2018 Lead In class is “very hands- on.”

“They want to dig in and be a part of something greater than themselves,” Martinez said. “This outreach partnership with the YMCA is just the tip of what you can expect from them today and tomorrow.”

O’Fallon family spearheads swim event for cancer research

Members of the McKendree Swimming Team took part in the event. (Submitted Photo)

By Annabelle Knef

Three years ago, Walter and Kathy Denton of O’Fallon helped bring a national program that raises money for cancer research to St. Louis.

Swim Across America (SAA) is an open water swim event, with approximately 18 swims taking place across the country.

The Dentons formed a team called “Breaking Waves Against Cancer” which includes swimmers from O’Fallon Breaker’s swim team and other O’Fallonites who will swim to honor those with cancer.

Kathy said that all proceeds raised through the SAA St. Louis will go to the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis.

“Last year we raised close to $150,000 and that is our goal again this year,” Kathy said. “Last time we looked, we were very close to $75,000, which is good because the event is still weeks away.”

The swim event will take place Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Innsbrook Resort in Wright City, Mo.

Kathy said that people who participate can choose between three different distances- a half mile, 1.2 miles or 2.4 miles.

Swimmers under age 18 are asked to raise a minimum of $100 and swimmers 18 and older are asked to raise a minimum of $300.

Kathy said that the reason SAA “came about” in St. Louis is because of Walter’s love of swimming and his cancer diagnosis five years ago.

Walter Denton (left) with his friends from junior high school that all swam together. His friends traveled to the event to participate as part of Walter’s team.
(Submitted Photo)

In 2013, Walter, who is also O’Fallon’s city administrator, was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma- which is a form of bone cancer.

He described his illness in a recent Facebook post: “Over the past five years, I have been diagnosed with two different cancers, endured three surgeries, spent 16 months on crutches, had a staph infection, a stem cell transplant and spent more than 90 days in the hospital,” Walter wrote.

Walter was cancer free for three years before recent tests discovered a recurrence of sarcoma- he has now begun a new round of chemotherapy treatment.

Walter said that it’s his goal to swim in this year’s event and raise as much money as he can.

“Advancements made by cancer research efforts have given us hope for a future,” he stated.

Kathy, who has experience working with non-profits and organizing events, said that Walter initially participated in SAA when it was in Dallas in 2011, having helped raise money to honor his father who died of cancer.

After his cancer diagnosis, Walter’s goal was to go back to Dallas- but due to his expensive cancer treatment, he was not able to participate.

“I made a comment saying we will bring it to St. Louis and he thought I was crazy, and I was, lo and behold- here we are,” Kathy said.

SAA’s first year in St. Louis was 2016 and the event raised approximately $68,000.

Kathy said it was initially “difficult” to organize the fundraising in St. Louis because they were Illinoisans and didn’t have an extensive network in the St. Louis community.

“More people are learning more about it,” Kathy said.

She said the reason for believing in the vision of the event is because “it’s not about the race, it’s truly about raising the money.”

Kathy said that three olympians will be participating in SAA St. Louis this year: Ryan Berube, Mark Gangloff and Ryan Held, who is a 2016 gold medalist from Springfield who was on a relay team with Michael Phelps.

However, she said that you don’t have to be a “serious swimmer” to participate in the SAA event.

“We have angel swimmers who volunteer to swim alongside people if they aren’t comfortable swimming in open water,” she said.

People of all ages are welcome to participate in the swim- last year, the youngest participant was around 8-years-old and the oldest 81-years-old, according to Kathy.

Nationally, SAA has raised more than $70 million for cancer research, “it’s not just some small organization,” Kathy said.

She also noted that SAA has made “many improvements” in cancer research. One being an investor to the immune therapy drug Keytruda.

“SAA was one of the first investors to that drug and it was through one of their programs,” Kathy said. “Keytruda is one of the best drugs on the market right now- it’s not extending life, it’s saving it.”

Kathy said that the McKendree University swim team participates in the SAA St. Louis event, along with various other colleges. Last year- SAA St. Louis had more than 350 swimmers participate.

Spaces available for Shiloh District 85 tuition preschool program

By Annabelle Knef

SHILOH – Shiloh School District 85 Superintendent Dale Sauer said space is still available for a new tuition-based, “developmentally appropriate” preschool program set to begin when class resumes for kindergarten through 8th grade next month.

Aligned with Illinois Early Learning Standards and Creative Curriculum, the program, which offers part-time and full-time options, is designed to meet students’ needs where they are in their educational progression.

Literacy-based instruction will be “engaging and dynamic,” according to a release issued by the district.

“Based upon sound curriculum, each child’s unique capabilities will be assessed, guided, and challenged,” the release states.

It goes on to state that students will be provided learning opportunities in math, science, language, music, art and fine and gross motor activities.

“Each student’s progress is monitored throughout the year,” the release states. “Parents will receive quarterly reports as well as regular newsletters, informational handouts, and parent conferences.”

The preschool classes will follow the Shiloh School calendar. Options available are:

Monday – Friday each week – 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for $620 per month

Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week – 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for $384 per month

Tuesday and Thursday each week – 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. for $256 per month

The release indicates that snacks are provided by the school in the morning and afternoon. Families have the opportunity to purchase a school lunch or bring one from home daily. Students need to be “potty trained.”

For more information, call the school at 618-632-7434, extension 200.

School districts agree to one-year resolution for kids caught in boundary dilemma

By Annabelle Knef

O’FALLON – An intergovernmental agreement between O’Fallon District 90 and Central 104 District is being put into action, according to District 90 superintendent Carrie Hruby. 

Hruby said that the “majority” of the Parcs of Arbor Green subdivision is within District 90- but a small portion is considered Central 104 District. 

“A few months ago we discovered four students who live on the border of the two districts were attending District 90 although their homes are actually within the legal boundaries of Central 104,” Hruby said. 

Hruby said that both districts were “empathetic” toward the students and families who had “established roots” within District 90. 

Hruby said that Illinois law mandates that students attend school where their parents reside, “unless they are charged tuition.” 

“When presented with a solution to pursue a legal modification of the boundary line, all parties recognized that it wasn’t possible for such a process to be completed prior to the start of a new school year,” Hruby said.  

“For that reason both districts approved an Intergovernmental Agreement to allow the students to continue to attend District 90 schools for the 2018-19 school year,” she said.

Hruby said that the one- year agreement allows the families time to pursue a more “permanent” resolution, “either through a legal modification of the boundaries or a change of residence.”