Shiloh Sewer Department to raise monthly minimum rate

SHILOH – During the Feb. 4 Shiloh Village Board of Trustees meeting, trustees approved an ordinance amending the Shiloh Municipal Code to raise the monthly minimum and rates charged to Shiloh Sewer Department customers. 

The ordinance will amend rates to reflect costs for improvements and general maintenance. The amendment will reflect a minimum charge of $23 for customers. 

Since the last increase in 2011, the Village has absorbed yearly increases for sewage collection. Costs have risen over this time while revenues have remained relatively flat. 

The new rate will allow Shiloh Sewer Department to cover treatment and maintenance costs necessary to maintain its system. 

An additional charge of $.0415 per cubic foot of water usage will be assessed to the volume exceeding 260 cubic feet per month. 

The rate adjustment is for customers in the Village of Shiloh Sewer Service area only and does not affect those in the St. Clair Township Sewer District, Caseyville Township Sewer District or the City of Belleville Sewer System. 

In other action, Shiloh trustees approved an ordinance amending the terms of an electrical franchise agreement with Ameren Illinois. 

The ordinance will amend to compensate the Village in the amount of $90,505 annually in lieu of the $83,800 compensation amount. 

A recent analysis provided by Ameren of the Shiloh population shows Ameren customer base has increased since the inception of the Franchise Agreement in September of 2013. 

The electric customer count has increased from 5,540 in 2013 to 5,983 in December of 2018. Beside the compensation amount change, the Electric Franchise Ordiance will remain unchanged and in full effect. 

O’Fallon District 90 implements military counseling program, other districts to follow

O’FALLON – Local districts may soon follow O’Fallon District 90’s lead by adopting the Military and Family Life Counseling (MFLC) Program for their schools. 

Originating from the Department of Defense, the MFLC program mission is to supplement existing support to active military troops and their families through the provision of non-medical counseling services geared toward short term problem resolution. 

Dr. Cindy Doil, Scott Air Force Base School Liaison Officer, has been instrumental in seeing that Shiloh and O’Fallon school districts become familiar with the MFLC program. 

Doil described her position with the base and school districts as “multifaceted.” 

“One of my primary focuses is to educate educators on the needs of military connected children, deployments and military life in general,” Doil said. 

According to Doil, most kids with military connections to Scott Air Force base move around six to nine times during their school career. 

“Scott is such a unique base, there are a lot of individuals who will come for maybe only a year and then move on to another assignment,” she said. 

Dr. Doil was the first school liaison hired by Scott Air Force Base. Now, there are liaison officers throughout military bases across the world. 

Doil said that before parents relocate to a military base, they should contact the military base liaison officer to receive information about local schools. 

In August, Doil said she briefed the regional office of education about the MFLC program with school administrators present. 

Doil said that District 90 Superintendent Carrie Hruby quickly “picked up on it” and then went through the MFLC application process. 

“District 90 is pleased to announce the addition of the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, beginning this January of 2019. Through the U.S. Department of Defense, we welcome three MFLC positions available for District 90 students, as an additional layer of support,” Hruby said. 

Hruby said there are over 4,000 MFLC positions across the globe and that counselors work with  all branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, Reserves, and Guard.

Doil said that kids with an active duty or just off active duty parent is eligible for the MFLC program. If a parent is killed in military action, their child is also eligible. 

Doil said “the word has started getting out” about the MFLC program. 

OTHS District 203 and First Baptist Academy have applied to take part in the program. At a recent Jan. 23 Shiloh District 85 Board meeting, Superintendent Dale Sauer expressed interest in the MFLC program. 

“Dr. Doil has been helping us with an initiative to work toward getting us some counselors for our military students,” Sauer said during the Board of Education meeting. “It is free provided by the federal government based off of our military percentage. They do not take the place of a social worker, they are just a counselor.”

Sauer said that the program may be implemented within District 85 at the beginning of the next school year — the fall of 2019. 

“Great praise to Dr. Doil for always bringing us great things and opportunities for our military,” he said. “Our district goes right up to the fence of Scott Air Force Base. We have an appreciation for what they bring to our community and for what they do.” 

Doil said the MFLC counselors serve as dedicated individuals that understand military life and can provide counsel for students. 

Doil said while she was in a recent District 90 Board meeting, Junior High military connected parents were discussing some of the difficulties their kids were having. “That’s such a tough age,” Doil said.

“Now, kids have someone they can go to and talk to without any fear or reprisal,” she said. “I can’t tell you how highly folks speak of this program and the benefits with the kids.” 

Doil said that in order for students to participate in the MFLC program, parents must give their permission and sign a form of authorization. 

In order for school districts to participate in the MFLC program, they must have 15 percent of military connected population at their schools. 

“Central [District] 104 at this point in time cannot apply.” 

Doil said it is “phenomenal” what MFLC counselors are able to accomplish with military connected students. 

Smiley recognized as 2018 Shiloh Officer of the Year

Officer Brandon Smiley was recognized as Shiloh's 2018 Officer of the Year at the Village Board meeting on Monday. Pictured from left: Mayor Jim Vernier, Chief Rich Wittenauer, Smiley, and Sergeant Jerod Allen. 
(O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)
Officer Brandon Smiley was recognized as Shiloh’s 2018 Officer of the Year at the Village Board meeting on Monday. Pictured from left: Mayor Jim Vernier, Chief Rich Wittenauer, Smiley, and Sergeant Jerod Allen.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

SHILOH – At the Shiloh Village Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Shiloh Police Officer Brandon Smiley was recognized as the 2018 Officer of the Year. 

Chief Rich Wittenauer presented Officer Smiley with a plaque and read aloud his merits with the Shiloh Police. Mayor Jim Vernier also thanked Smiley and other officers gathered at the Shiloh Municipal building for their service. 

Wittenauer said Smiley was nominated by his supervisor, Sergeant Jerod Allen. 

“Several other officers were nominated but Brandon was chosen,” Wittenauer said. 

“The reasons for your selection are many, your supervisor Sgt. Allen described you as one of the hardest working officers on the department,” he said. “You can be counted on to give all due diligence on your calls of service as you follow up on leads and complete quality reports in an efficient manner.”

“With your supervisors away, you can be counted on to step in as acting Sergeant and run your shift in a proficient manner.”

On top of Smiley’s regular duties as a law enforcement officer, he is also a field training officer. 

“Training new police officers is one of the most important things we do in law enforcement,” Wittenauer said. “Since April of 2018, the Shiloh Police Department has hired five new officers. You have been a vital part in ensuring these new police officers are trained properly so that citizens of Shiloh will continue to have a professional police department.” 

“Your dedication to the field training program does not go unnoticed. The amount of energy and time you spend coaching, counseling and teaching these officers is much appreciated.”

Wittenauer said that Sgt. Allen summed it up when he stated, “Having Brandon on my crew makes my job so much easier as a supervisor. Brandon is dedicated to making the Shiloh Police Department a better place to be. I wish all officers worked as hard as he does.”

Retired Air Force Colonel and O’Fallon resident speaks on Vietnam experience

Retired Air Force Colonel Phil Goodwin speaks to crowd gathered at the VFW Post 805

O’FALLON – Retired Colonel of the U.S. Air Force Phil Goodwin of O’Fallon spoke at the VFW Post 805 on Tuesday, Jan. 29.   

With over 100 combat missions over North Vietnam, Phil Goodwin of O’Fallon is considered a hometown hero, but insists he was just doing his job. 

“Part of the VFW and our story is to let people know what has happened in our lives, what did we go through, what did we face,” VFW Post 805 Commander Ed Martinez said. “You may not know what we have endured or gone through, moments like this help people understand.” 

During Goodwin’s presentation, he discussed his mission plans, bomb runs and surpassing his 100th mission. 

“52 and a half years ago I completed my 100th mission over North Vietnam and another 25 over Laos and Cambodia,” Goodwin said. 

Goodwin said that many people have asked why he waited so long to tell his story. 

“I think you have all done things in your life and you don’t want to say ‘hey, look what I did.’”

“People are going to say, ‘you are a hero.’ I was doing my job. You folks in the military have all had a job to do and you do it,” he said. 

Goodwin said that his war heroes were those that were shot down in Vietnam and had to survive the jungle. 

“That’s my idea of a hero.” 

Goodwin said he started out as a mechanic in the Air Force in 1951. He joined right out of high school. 

During his presentation, Goodwin showed audio and visual clips of different planes he flew throughout his military career and what the Vietnam landscape looked like. 

“Water bottles [were] very important. If you get shot down, one of the things you want more than a radio is a water bottle.”

“A lot of people carried a sawed off shot gun,” he said. “I carried a machete because I figured if I ever got shot down in the jungle, I wanted to be able to cut snakes heads off.” 

Goodwin spoke fondly of his time flying the F-105 Thurderchief known as the “Thud.” He also spoke about the important role crew chiefs played in combat missions. 

“We never had any more dedicated people than the crew chiefs. Those airplanes were their babies and they were always ready to go. They never broke down.” 

“I joined the Air Force — I wanted to fly air planes. I got to do it and I was fortunate because I came back,” Goodwin said. “As you saw on the screen, I had a lot of guys that were friends of mine that are on the wall. The good lord had the fear of the mission in me.” 

Goodwin said that during his time in Vietnam, he would fly missions every day, sometimes even twice a day. 

While he doesn’t know how many men there are in the ‘100 mission fraternity,’ Goodwin said “not as many as we didn’t bring back.” 

Goodwin received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters for his work after having flown over 125 combat missions. He has also served the city of O’Fallon as the city clerk for 16 years. 

Shiloh trustees authorize road improvement project for older Village subdivision

SHILOH – At the Shiloh Committee at Large meeting on Monday, trustees approved an improvement project for aged streets in the Village of Shiloh. 

Trustees authorized improvements for South First Street, Rasp Street, Kay Street, and East Street.

According to Megan Fuhler, Village Director of of Public Works, the next step in the improvements process is to complete the preliminary engineering for the roads. 

The preliminary engineering will include design for the reconstruction of streets with new gutters, asphalt pavement and drainage facilities. These services will be billed as a lump sum fee of $32,750. 

There are an estimated 17 parcels which will require an easement. The cost to provide a description and an exhibit for each parcel is approximately $700 per parcel. The cost to perform the work will be an hourly rate not to exceed $11,900. 

Fuhler said that due to the narrowness and curvature of the these roads, “using MFT funds is pretty well impossible.” “We won’t meet IDOT regulations with those curves.”

“We would be looking at utilizing local funds for this project,” Fuhler said. 

Fuhler said during the Jan. 28 meeting that she is requesting the Board authorize Mayor Jim Vernier to sign the preliminary engineering contract with TWM, Inc. to complete the base scope services and right- of- way acquisitions. She also said that she was seeking authorization from the Board to solicit bids and award a contract for the construction work. 

Trustees approved authorization to move forward with road improvement projects with the stipulation that local funds do not exceed $45,000. 

“It’s a long time coming for these streets,” Vernier said. “This subdivision is one of the oldest subdivisions in Shiloh. The original lots were plotted in the early 1900’s. These folks have been living with lousy streets for a long time. I think it’s going to be a great improvement up there.” 

In other action, Village administrator John Marquart said that he requested Ameren to undertake an analysis of the Shiloh population and Ameren customer base to see if the figure has increased since the inception of the Franchise Agreement in September of 2013. 

According to Marquart, per the terms of the Franchise Agreement, if the population and customer base has increased by more than three percent, Ameren would readjust the annual compensation to the Village. 

Marquart said that the analysis by Ameren shows an increase has occurred and the Village is eligible for an annual increase in compensation from the amount of $83,000 to $90,505. 

Village trustees approved an ordinance amending the terms with Ameren Illinois that has increased the annul compensation. 

Trustee Bob Weilmuenster made a motion to accept a cell tower modification request for 4129 Lebanon Avenue, off of Eden Park Boulevard. The modification is the addition of an antennae and remote radio units onto an existing tower. 

Verizon has submitted appropriate application materials and paid the application fee. Village trustees unanimously approved the request. 

In other action, the Village of Shiloh and the City of O’Fallon renewed an expired sanitary sewer agreement. 

The City of O’Fallon and the Shiloh Valley Sanitary Sewer District entered into a Treatment Agreement in 1987 and in 1995, the Village of Shiloh assumed the Shiloh Valley District’s right under the agreement as successor to the agreement. 

According to Marquart, the Village and City have been involved in discussions over the past year to update the previous agreement to better reflect each community’s current conditions for development, plant upgrades and capacity. 

The Agreement is for a period of 20 years. 

Central District 104 recognizes employees of the month

For the month of January, Central District 104 recognized Kevin Johnson, Laticia Gettis, and Brianna McNamara as exemplary employees. 

According to Joseph Arthur Middle School Principal Tron Young, each individual helps to create an environment at Central 104 that is “student- centered.” 

“Kevin was recognized for going above and beyond.  He greets our students every day at the front entrance with a smile and is always willing to help out whenever asked.”

“Laticia develops positive relationships with the students.  You will often see her with a group of students talking about how their day is going or asking her to assist them with work.  She actively seeks out how she can help in the building whenever possible,” Young said. Young is pictured with Kevin and Laticia above at right. 

“Brianna McNamara is our new social worker.  She is an excellent addition to our multi-tiered systems of support.  She is actively involved in each school building connecting with students and finding ways to support them inside and outside the classroom,” he said. Brianna is pictured above at left with Young and Central Elementary School Principal Jayson Baker

“We thank them for all they do on a daily basis for our school and our students.”

O’Fallon area Service Academy nominees honored by congressman in ceremony

Congressman Mike Bost poses with the local students nominated for
admittance to the U.S. Service Academies.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

SHILOH – U.S. Representative Mike Bost recognized 18 local Southern Illinois students nominated for admittance to the U.S. Service Academies. 

A recognition ceremony took place at the Shiloh Senior Center on Thursday, Jan. 24 with nominees, their families, Congressman Bost and Colonel Kevin Schiller of the United States Air Force in attendance. 

Nominations were made following the recommendations of an independent panel that reviewed applications and conducted formal interviews. Final determination on admission is made by the individual academies.

“Southern Illinois is blessed to have exceptional and patriotic young men and women who are already leading their community in and out of the classroom,” said Bost.  “As a veteran, I encourage these individuals to apply for an academy nomination and continue to represent the best our state has to offer.  I’m proud that Southern Illinois produces some of the best students in this country to lead a new generation.”

The Service Academy nominees include: 

Brent Anderson attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

William Brant attends First Baptist Academy and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Nathan Burton attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Noah Cash attends Marion High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Cade Cruse attends Marion High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy.

Joseph Deagan attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy.

Gavin Gonzalez attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy.

Julia Gundlach attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Jace Hahs attends Herrin High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy.

David Hur attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Sean Kulig attends Belleville West High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy

Samuel McCoy attends O’Fallon High School and was nominated to the Military Academy.

James Nash attends Belleville East High School and was nominated to the Air Force Academy.

Christine Null attends Carterville High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy.

Anthony Rizzo attends St. Louis University High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy and Air Force Academy.

Steven Siemonsma attends Belleville East High School and was nominated to the Naval Academy and Merchant Marine Academy.

Sean Spoerre attends Carterville High School and was nominated to the Military Academy, Naval Academy, and Air Force Academy.

Brendan Wilson attends Mascoutah High School and was nominated to the Military Academy and Naval Academy.

Members of Congress nominate candidates to the U.S. Service Academies each year and the number of vacancies for each congressional district is determined by law. Candidates can be considered for openings at the U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Co.), U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.), U.S. Merchant Marines Academy (Kings Point, N.Y.) and the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.).

To be considered for appointment for the Class of 2024 all applicants must be: a U.S. citizen; a legal resident of the 12th District; at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age on July 1, 2020; single; and have no dependents. It is recommended that applicants contact the academy or academies of their choice to request a pre-candidate questionnaire, which is the first step in the Admission Office’s evaluation.


James Gomric sworn in as new St. Clair County State’s Attorney

Judge Andrew J. Gleeson administers the oath of office to the newly appointed St. Clair County State’s Attorney, James Gomric. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo)

BELLEVILLE – The St. Clair County Board confirmed the appointment of Belleville attorney James Gomric to the open position of State’s Attorney, following Brendan Kelly’s departure to lead the Illinois State Police. 

Following his oath of office, administered by Judge Andrew Gleeson, Gomric gave a short speech where he pledged to work for the people of St. Clair County. 

“I solemnly promise to each and every one of you assembled here tonight that I will utilize every bit of intelligence that I possess, all talent which I am endowed, and with absolutely fervor I will work hard on behalf of each and every one of you here tonight and for all of those not here that you lead in this county in an effort to provide to you the best state’s attorney’s office we can have,” Gomric told the assembled County Board.

Gomric is the brother to St. Clair County Assessor Jennifer Gomric Minton and St. Clair County Board Member Steve Gomric. He is married to Associate Judge Julia Gomric, who handles civil matters and eviction cases.

Gomric worked in the State’s Attorney’s office from 1995-98 and then as a public defender. Since then he has been in private practice, working in both state and federal court. 

The appointment was essentially unanimous with Board Members Steve Gomric and Nick Miller abstaining. (Disclosure: Miller is the owner of the O’Fallon Weekly). Board Members June Chartrand, Carol Clark, and Steve Reeb were not present and excused by the Chairman.

In other action…

The Board accepted the resignation of St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Director Terry Beach. Beach, who also runs the economic development office, is retiring on Thursday, January 31. Beach served for nearly 44 years in a variety of positions in public service. 

St. Clair County Workforce Development Coordinator Rick Stubblefield was appointed by the board to replace Beach. 

A polling place change in Summerfield was made. Voters in Lebanon 003 precinct, which takes in the village of Summerfield, will now vote at the Lebanon Township Building, located at 10182 Summerfield South Road. 

The Board appropriated $3.335 million in motor fuel tax  funds for the purpose of maintaining streets and highways in 2019. 

The Board approved the reappointment of Greg Yank to serve a three year term as a member of the Metro East Park and Recreation Board. 

District 85 Supt. says firm has been selected to conduct area school consolidation study

SHILOH – At the Shiloh District 85 meeting on January 23, Superintendent Dale Sauer said an agency has been selected to conduct a consolidation study on local districts. 

Sauer said the O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce is serving as a non-partisan party to see if consolidation is feasible. 

“At this point, they have found the appropriate agencies to conduct the study. We hope to name them within the week. The intent is to work through the spring and to have some semblance of a product by the end of June,” Sauer said. 

Sauer said that District 85 has not committed money to the project but has been “cooperative and helpful.”

“We do want a clear study done,” he said. “We want our public to have good information. Over the next several months, our office will be providing financial data and other data to this agency.”

According to Sauer, the city of O’Fallon has contributed $7500 and the Village of Shiloh has contributed $5000 to the consolidation study. The study will be taken “as a whole” and not on an individual district case study. 

At the Jan. 23 meeting, the Shiloh board approved a motion to approve Michelle Rensing as Shiloh School Treasurer. 

Michele Tiberend, Shiloh School Treasurer and Secretary, is retiring after two decades of service to the district. 

“If you know her, she is very dedicated, very dignified and very professional,” Sauer said. “She has put two kids through the system, served on the school board before she took up the role of 25 years as board secretary and treasurer. She has done phenomenally. I have yet to meet a person who takes their job so personally.” 

While it is customary for Shiloh to purchase a plaque for a retiring member of the district, Tiberend requested that the money for the plaque be used to pay off lunch fees for Shiloh students. 

“That is what we will do in honor of her,” Sauer said. 

At the Wednesday meeting, Shiloh Middle School principal Darin Loepker recognized Mr. Sauer during the meeting and spoke of his “selflessness.” 

“He’s always putting other people in front of his needs. He’s thinking of other people and it’s a testament to his character and his thoughtfulness that he is on the regional board of directors of the American Cancer Society. I wanted to acknowledge that and make sure that we all knew that.”

Seventh Annual O’Fallon Design Challenge to take place this weekend

Swing on by the O’Fallon Design Challenge, located this year at 1206 Southview Drive, and see the rooms decorated by local consignment shops. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – The seventh annual O’Fallon Design Challenge will take place this weekend at 1206 Southview Dr., with proceeds benefitting the community. 

The design challenge, also known as the “Souper” Bowl Open House, is being hosted by Whitney Wisnasky- Bettorf and Courtney Marsh, owners of Red Door Realty Group and will take place Friday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, Feb. 3. 

Wisnasky- Bettorf said the vacant house listing on Southview Drive will be staged with individual rooms being decorated by local consignment shops.

“Then, all of the items are for sale,” Wisnasky- Bettorf said. 

On Friday, there will be a preview night and wine tasting at the Southview home from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The wine is being supplied by Hidden Lake Winery out of Aviston, Illinois. There is an entry fee of $10 on Friday evening. 

The O’Fallon Design Challenge serves as a benefit to the community. As the event falls on the NFL Super Bowl Weekend, the entry fee for Saturday and Sunday calls for one can of soup or $1. All of the canned goods will then be donated to the O’Fallon Food Pantry. Cash proceeds will go to Veterans Community Project for Homeless Veterans and the O’Fallon chapter of Habitat for Humanity. 

Wisnasky- Bettorf said every year the event has raised between $700 and $1000 in cash and up to four shopping carts of food for the O’Fallon Food Pantry. 

“Not everybody is watching football,” she said. “The ladies come out, the husband may come with them.” 

“They will find different pieces that they fall in love with,” she said. 

“This house is a little bit smaller than years past but everybody that comes looks forward to it each year and gets excited for it,” Wisnasky- Bettorf said. “It’s always a fun weekend.” 

The O’Fallon Design Challenge will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. A loan officer will be on site to help individuals get prequalified for a home if they so choose. 

Shiloh District 85 board discusses consolidation study, appoints new school treasurer

Shiloh board discusses new consolidation study, appoints school treasurer

SHILOH – At the Shiloh District 85 meeting on Wednesday, Superintendent Dale Sauer said an agency has been selected to conduct a consolidation study on local districts. 

Sauer said the O’Fallon- Shiloh Chamber of Commerce is serving as a non-partisan party to see if consolidation is feasible. 

“At this point, they have found the appropriate agencies to conduct the study. We hope to name them within the week. The intent is to work through the spring and to have some semblance of a product by the end of June,” Sauer said. 

Sauer said that District 85 has not committed money to the project but has been “cooperative and helpful.”

“We do want a clear study done,” he said. “We want our public to have good information. Over the next several months, our office will be providing financial data and other data to this agency.”

According to Sauer, the city of O’Fallon has contributed $7500 and the Village of Shiloh has contributed $5000 to the consolidation study. The study will be taken “as a whole” and not on an individual district case study. 

At the Jan. 23 meeting, the Shiloh board approved a motion to appoint Michelle Rensing as Shiloh School Treasurer. 

Michele Tiberend, Shiloh School Treasurer and Secretary, is retiring after two decades of service to the district. 

“If you know her, she is very dedicated, very dignified and very professional,” Sauer said. “She has put two kids through the system, served on the school board before she took up the role of 25 years as board secretary and treasurer. She has done phenomenally. I have yet to meet a person who takes their job so personally.” 

While it is customary for Shiloh to purchase a plaque for a retiring member of the district, Tiberend requested that the money for the plaque be used to pay off lunch fees for Shiloh students. 

“That is what we will do in honor of her,” Sauer said. 

At the Wednesday meeting, Shiloh Middle School principal Darin Loepker recognized Mr. Sauer during the meeting and spoke of his “selflessness.” 

“He’s always putting other people in front of his needs. He’s thinking of other people and it’s a testament to his character and his thoughtfulness that he is on the Regional Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society. I wanted to acknowledge that and make sure that we all knew that.”

OTHS Band Program, Band Boosters win national awards

O’FALLON – The National Band Association (NBA) has named the O’Fallon Township High School Band Program as the national winner of the Blue Ribbon Award for Programs of Excellence. 

The OTHS Band Boosters also won a silver award for the Music for All – Advocacy in Action Award. 

The Advocacy in Action Award Program had its inaugural year in 2018 and received 95 submissions from 65 programs representing music programs, schools and communities across the United States. 

Director of the OTHS Band Program Dr. Melissa Gustafson- Hinds said that a presentation will take place for both of the awards in May during a band concert. During the presentation, the band program will be presented with a plaque from the NBA in recognition. 

Gustafson- Hinds said that in order to qualify for the Blue Ribbon Award, each school program had to be a regional winner. Also, the award is for the entirety of the band program – not just singular ensembles. 

Gustafson- Hinds said she nominated the OTHS Band Boosters for the Advocacy in Action Award because “the great things that they do.” 

“It’s nice to be recognized,” Gustafson- Hinds said of both awards. “Our organization is ever-changing, we have a lot of moving parts, we have a lot of students in a lot of different sections.”

O’Fallon Garden Club to offer scholarship to student in environmental related discipline

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Garden Club is offering a scholarship of $500 to a student who is pursuing a career in a plant-related discipline. 

The O’Fallon Garden Club 2019 Scholarship is open to high school students who may intend on studying a discipline such as agronomy, agricultural studies, floriculture, horticulture, landscaping, botany, biology, forestry, plant pathology/science, city/rural/urban planning, ecology or environmental studies. 

The scholarship is also open to full or part- time community college, college or university students who are pursuing the same careers.

Applications for the scholarship must include: 

Applicants name, complete mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number and signature and statement of the applicant’s intent to enroll in a college for the 2019 fall semester, letter of recommendation on official school letterhead from a faculty member currently employed by a high school, university, college or junior college.  The letter should discuss the candidate’s academic achievement, character and ability to meet goals. 

There also must be a brief statement by the candidate of academic and personal goals, experience in plant-related activities or inspiration that led candidate to plant-related interests, and financial need.

Preference by the Garden Club will be given to applicants who are residents of the city of O’Fallon or the Village of Shiloh or to those who are currently attending or have graduated from O’Fallon Township High School.  

Those seeking preference should provide proof of current status as an OTHS senior or past graduation from OTHS or proof of O’Fallon or Shiloh residency by a copy of the applicant’s Illinois driver’s license or other document.

All materials must be submitted online via the O’Fallon Garden Club’s website no later than March 1, 2019.  Materials submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  

If the O’Fallon Garden Club Scholarship Committee receives an application that is acceptable, one $500 scholarship will be announced on April 2, 2019, at the O’Fallon Garden Club meeting.  

The winner will be expected to make a short presentation regarding his or her future plans. The winner’s check will be made payable jointly to the winner and the university/college/community college upon proof of enrollment and presented in accordance with the school’s requirements.  

Harriet Baker of the O’Fallon Garden Club said that the scholarship is an “amazing opportunity” for any student in the community.

O’Fallon Station’s Vine Street Market to open May of 2019

O’FALLON – The newly opened O’Fallon Station will host Vine Street Market, a high- end farmer’s market event with farm, culinary and artisan products come May of 2019. 

Vine Street Market will take place on the second Saturday in May through the third Saturday in October with hours from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Sarah Burton, Horticulturist and Market Coordinator for the City of O’Fallon, said that Vine Street Market was a conglomerate idea between O’Fallon Parks and Recreation and the city. 

“It’s something that we knew the city needed,” Burton said. “It’s always been in the background of everyone’s mind.” 

Burton said that O’Fallon Station, located at 212 E. 1st St., is the “perfect venue” to host events with a community atmosphere. 

“What a better way to do that than a farmer’s market,” she said. 

Burton said herself and others preparing for the market are working on an idea that they call the “Breakfast Club.” From 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m., there would be coffee, tea, donuts and pastries available for people to enjoy before the Vine Street Market were to open.

“We are working right now with trying to get multiple vendors to help with that,” Burton said. “We want to include everybody who wants to be included in the downtown and outer O’Fallon area.” 

 Burton said that there are already vendors signed up for the market launch in May and they will be posted on the O’Fallon Station website as they become registered. 

“All of this is very fluid. It’s going to be built kind of as we go,” she said. “At the moment we have seven vendors approved.” 

Some of the vendors that will participate in Vine Street Market come from Trenton, St. Louis and local growers such as The Tiny Acre in O’Fallon. 

“They will have an array of breads and different seasonal vegetables, a really good mix,” she said. 

Burton said that Vine Street Market will have a mix of typical farmers market produce and artisan products, as well. 

She said artisan vendors could be soap makers, painters, sculptors or flower grovers. 

Burton said that members of the community can expect market Saturday’s to be a lively atmosphere, with music, food vendors and shaded outdoor seating. 

While there will always be music playing during market hours, which will be sponsored by Avenue Realty in O’Fallon, Burton said she is working on having different acoustic artists play during morning hours. 

Burton said that those working on the market are not soliciting food trucks. “If food trucks want to participate, they have to register with the city and follow the rules that the city has set. Food at the Vine Street Market will be available through market vendors.”

She also said that at this time, there has not been vendors that have applied to provide alcoholic beverages during market hours. 

“We are open to their applications and would welcome them.”

“Right now, if I envision what the atmosphere will be like, it will be very grassroots, very fun, family friendly, definitely a community event.”

Burton said that Vine Street Market will be different from other markets because the O’Fallon Station provides an inside space. There will be both inside and outside vendors.

“We have eight glass garage doors, we will be able to have them up whenever it’s hot.”

Burton said that she hopes Vine Street Market will help not only downtown businesses, but all of the businesses in O’Fallon. 

“We’re growing a destination place, we want to have a spot that supports the entire community and gives them the option of a place to go to display their goods or display talents.”  

“O’Fallon is more than a spot off the interstate, we have a lot to offer.”

Vine Street Market is still accepting applications for vendors. 

Burton said that vendors will be able to choose witch Saturday’s they want to participate in the market. 

“Our goal is to create a very high end market, not a flea market. We are pretty picky about who gets in and who doesn’t,” she said. “We think that will be a benefit to our community.”

To apply to become a vendor, call Sarah Burton at 618-206-4379 or email her at sburton@ofallon.org

You can also apply on the O’Fallon Station website: http://theofallonstation.com

Community commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. at annual church breakfast

Community members gather at New Life in Christ Church to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 21

The 10th annual O’Fallon Metro East Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast took place at New Life in Christ Interdenominational Church on Monday, with a keynote speech on injustice delivered by the first African American woman elected judge in St. Clair County.

The breakfast event commemorating the late civil rights leader was hosted and sponsored by the church, in partnership with the city of O’Fallon and the local NAACP Metro East chapter. 

Around 150 people attended the Jan. 21 program. Attendees included local community leaders and dignitaries. 

Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley, Sr., New Life in Christ Church pastor, welcomes those gathered for the breakfast event

Bishop Geoffrey V. Dudley Sr., pastor of New Life Church, welcomed those gathered at the commemorative event. 

“God is growing us, growing our campus, growing our influence and we are so thankful but we cannot do it on our own,” Dudley said. “We stand on the shoulders of all of you who are in this community, who are serving God.”

After breakfast was served, O’Fallon Mayor Herb Roach addressed the audience. 

 “Dr. King was noted for a statement that he made in Washington D.C., ‘I have a dream.’ Dr. King was more than a dreamer — he was not just a dreamer, he was a doer. He was involved, he was a man of action. He was a man of the people and for the people,” Roach said. 

Roach then spoke about emulating Dr. King and his approach at driving people together, not apart. 

“We as a community must work together. Be leaders. Be givers in your community and not takers,” he said. “When we work together, we all gain. We become a more united community.” 

Judge Zina Cruse gives key note address at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration event

St. Clair County Judge Zina Cruse of the 20th Judicial Circuit was the keynote speaker at the Monday morning event. Cruse was the first African American woman elected as a circuit judge in Southern Illinois in 2012. She was recently retained in the November 2018 general election. 

“As we focus on the word injustice today, I ask you to reevaluate on the various aspects of your life and of your community. I ask you to pay close attention to what is said, what is done and how you and others are treated,” Cruse said.  

“We can no longer turn away and bury our heads in the sand when we see the injustices that are plaguing us. The injustices of which I speak transcend any one race or ethnicity. It extends culturally, economically, socially. It is inclusive of and extends outside of our front doors, our neighborhoods, our churches and our schools, our jobs. Whether or not it is happening to us directly, until we take the time to recognize it and acknowledge it, we are doomed to suffer from it. Until we let our eyes see it, until we let our hearts feel it, until we let our minds think about it, injustice will abound.”

Cruse said she wasn’t just referring to injustice within the legal system, but also within education, healthcare, politics and government. 

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not rest, he went from town to town from meeting to meeting and church to church,” she said. “He worked the four steps of his nonviolent campaign: find out if there is injustice, negotiation, self purification and finally — direct action. We must begin or continue to cause reactions which make acts of injustice unwelcome. We must not watch the suffering in silence.”

Cruse encouraged those at the Martin Luther King Jr. event to “have a plan” as the civil rights leader once did. 

“I am encouraging you to get together with organizations like NAACP to figure out what is the most effective way to bring an issue to the forefront and deal with it. Dr. King was not just talking to the oppressed, he was talking to the oppressor, and all who fall between the two. We must all — no matter our color, no matter our age, our socioeconomic status, we must all feel the indignation that should swell within us when we see senseless deaths or read provocative commentary. I encourage you to change the commentary.”

During the program, the Worship Arts Ministry for New Life in Christ Church performed a dance tribute

“The destruction of injustice is the goal.”