O’Fallon residents gather indoors to commemorate Veteran’s Day

O’FALLON – Local residents gathered at First Baptist Church in O’Fallon to celebrate and remember Veterans in the annual Veterans Day Ceremony. 

The event on Monday, Nov. 12 was originally planned to take place at the O’Fallon Veteran’s Monument before being moved inside the church because of weather conditions. 

The ceremony began with a choir performance by O’Fallon District 90 and St. Clare School fifth grade music program. 

Mayor Herb Roach in his introductory remarks said that Veteran’s Day is a day to pay respect to all of the men and women who have served our country. 

“May we always remember that our freedom is not free — many people have sacrificed for that. May we always give to all of our Veterans, whoever they are and wherever they are, the respect, honor and gratitude that they deserve,” Roach said. “To those that have served in our military, I thank you for everything that you do for us.” 

During the ceremony Sondra Marston of O’Fallon recognized the newly inscribed Veterans for the O’Fallon Monument. The Monument is located off of North Seven Hills Road on the south side of East Wesley Drive, just northwest of the Police Station and the YMCA. O’Fallon Veterans names are added twice a year. 

Major General John Flournoy, Jr., Chief of Staff, U.S. Transportation Command said during his remarks at the ceremony that on his fifth assignment to Scott Air Force Base, something that has not changed is the “phenomenal” support that the community gives to the armed forces. 

“It is indeed a pleasure to stand here before you and relay the appreciation all of us have for the support from O’Fallon and surrounding communities,” Flournoy said.

“On behalf of the U.S. Transportation Commander General Stephen Lyons, the first Army officer to command the U.S. Transportation Command, I am privileged to represent the 144,000 strong team of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guard,” he said. “This joint force delivers the transportation and the capability to extend our nations helping hand and project its combat power anywhere on the globe at the time and place of our choosing.”

Flournoy said that the words “sacrifice, selflessness and serve” accurately describe the select individuals who answer the calls and defend our country. 

“They have done so since the formation of this nation over 240 years ago. Thankfully within the last century — our country has taken gallant steps to formally recognize, remember and revere our veterans.”

Flournoy said that Veterans Day is important because we choose to honor living and Veterans that have died serving our country. 

“We know the debt of gratitude we can never pay, all we can do is remember them and what they did and why they had to be brave for us,” Flournoy said. “We must honor them with deeds not just words.”

Flournoy said that Americans can thank Veterans by living their lives and enjoying America’s greatness and also taking full advantage of the rights that they defended. 

Some of the rights Flournoy mentioned are voting in elections, volunteering in communities and supporting our first responders.

“All Veterans would be proud to know the sacrifices were not in vain.”

Flournoy said that the support received from communities like O’Fallon has been “nothing short of outstanding.”

Southview Plaza demolition underway

Demolition of the western portion of Southview Plaza began on Friday morning.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Southview Plaza, currently undergoing its initial stages of demolition, was originally built in phases, with the first building breaking ground on June 29, 1959, according to president of the O’Fallon Historical Society, Brian Keller. 

Keller said that he believes the tenant of the first building, which faced Route 50, was Keck’s Tomboy. 

“The building they’re tearing down first was finished in 1965 with Western Auto being the first principal tenant — they moved there from 105 W. First,” Keller said. “Western Auto was there until 2001 when they closed.” 

Keller said that in 1998, the city of O’Fallon sent out marketing packets to potential developers which started out by saying that demolition of Southview Plaza was the only way to make the property viable long-term. 

“The only problem was that the city neglected to tell the businesses in Southview about that. That sure caused a fuss,” Keller said. “So, you could say by then it was perceived as being in decline. Obviously, demolition in 1998 didn’t happen.” 

Southview Plaza circa 1963
(Photo courtesy of Brian Keller)

Keller said that there is a lengthy list of businesses that have existed in Southview Plaza over the years. Some of them being: Papa John’s Pizza, Laundry Spa, Ice Cream Haven, World Martial Arts, House of Hunan, Hana Beauty Supply, Pannu’s Gift and Jewelry, East Gate Grocery, Dollar General, Sara’s Hallmark, Anne’s Hallmark, Jan’s Hallmark, Movie Mania, Shana’s Hair Design, Dragon Palace, Plaza Drugs, Smith Drugs, His Shop, Keck’s Tom Boy, Plaza Liquors, Plaza Barber Shop, Plaza Music and Hobbies, Feichert’s Bakery, John/ Charles Beauty Salon, Peters Plaza Shoes, Fashion Shoppe, Southview Hardware, Thrifty Variety, Western Auto, B & M Cleaners, Donut Palace, Schiappa’s, One Hour Martinizing, J.A. Severn’s Men’s Shop, Prime Leather, Something Special, St Clair Travel Service, Smiley Insurance Agency, Magic Mirror Beauty Shop, Keg, Crate & Barrel, The Ole Keg, Barrel Room Restaurant, Southview Laundromat, P.N. Hirsch, Bollmeier Hobby Shop, Wessel’s, Déjà vu Hair Design, Future Kids, Mud Hut Ceramics, Schmitt Music, Fab & Trim, J.B. Ltd Jewelry and Gifts, Floral Décor, O’Fallon TV & VCR Repair, Montage Used Books, Diane’s Garden, Simple Subs, J R’s Antiques, Taylor Academy of Dance, JFK Highline Consignment, The Beauty Shop, Weil Clothing, Southview Cleaners, Keg & Crate Little Dairy, Gil Klein’s TV and Appliance, Shur Clean Carpets, Quest Internet Gaming Center, Micro Alternative, The Young Set, Ben Franklin, Andrea’s Hair Design. 

“I’ve heard more than a few say that Southview Plaza is synonymous with ‘eyesore’. That may be true now but I think it’s also important to remember that in its day it was a thriving modern shopping center that was anything but an eyesore to O’Fallonites,” Keller said. “I know its time is past but it’s still sad to see it go — a lot of memories and history are in that place.” 

Assistant City Administrator Grant Litteken said that demolition of Southview Plaza will begin with the buildings bordering Lincoln and at the southern edge of the property. 

“Once demolition on the property is complete, the area will become more attractive to potential developers,” Litteken said. “We are working hard to help promote a redevelopment of this site into one that the community will be proud of. This is a great opportunity for O’Fallon.” 

Mayor Herb Roach said that the last section to go will be where Papa John’s resides, “we need to wait for their move to a new location.” 

The next step in the demolition process will be clean up of soil in areas needed, according to Roach. 

Roach said that several concepts of redevelopment have “floated” but there is nothing definite at this time. 

“We are going to work with the property owner to get new development,” he said. 

O’Fallon resident and veteran nominated as Honor 200 recipient

Jim Sabella

O’FALLON – Jim Sabella, co-owner and operator of Wolfersberger Funeral Home, was nominated as an Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Illinois Bicentennial Honor 200 recipient. 

The Bicentennial Honor 200 honors the work of 200 veterans from more than 50 counties across the state of Illinois. 

Nominees were evaluated based on their achievements and how their contributions as veterans have benefitted their community. 

“I was pretty humbled,” Sabella said of being selected as an Honor 200 recipient.

Sabella is a retired Air Force veteran who belongs to the VFW Post 805 and volunteers along with other community veterans. 

One of the ways Sabella serves the community is by giving veterans shuttle rides to V.A. hospitals in St. Louis three to four times a month. 

“I do a lot of different things but theres some guys, especially the retired men and women – they do a lot of volunteering, so I was humbled.”

“It’s a great honor – I’m glad that someone is recognizing 200 people that are volunteering,” he said. 

Sabella said that while he was in the Air Force, he was able to receive his college degree and then applied for officer training and became an officer. 

“I was enlisted for five years and was an officer for the next 16 years and I retired with 21 years of service,” he said. “Scott Air Force Base was my last duty station.”

Sabella said that surrounding communities are very supportive of the men and women that work at the base as well as their families. 

“The communities that surround the base are really supportive, which is really comforting and welcoming,” Sabella said. “I am not originally from this area – but I feel like I am now. That’s how the community makes us feel.” 

Sabella said that there are a lot of veterans who are no longer active duty members of the military and retirees that decide to stay and live in Shiloh and O’Fallon permanently. 

Sabella was nominated as a Honor 200 recipient by Marion Rose of the local Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Looking Glass Prairie chapter. 

All of the Honor 200 recipients have been invited to attend the state of Illinois’ 200th birthday celebration at the United Center in Chicago on December 3. Sabella said that he is going to try and attend the event. 

Shiloh Board continues discussion about sale of sewer system

SHILOH – At the Shiloh Village Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Mayor Jim Vernier and trustees discussed a bid proposal for a new sewer system submitted by Illinois American Water. 

Mark Barton, Production Superintendent for Illinois American Water, said that the president of the company, Bruce Hauk, submitted three separate proposal prices in the range of $2 million to $4 million. 

“There are three examples – the first being $4 million, the second being $3 million and the third being a $2 million purchase price,” Barton said.  “Under each one of those, you will see the net proceeds to the village assuming that the debt would have to be paid.”

Vernier said that it’s important to remember that the rate right now is at a “debt loss” for the village. 

“We’re losing money with the system right now. It needs to go up and should have gone up last year,” he said. “If your running a proprietary system, it has to make money.”

Village Administrator John Marquart said that an average sanitary sewer customer in Shiloh is going to pay an average of $32 to $34 a month.

“Your rates right now are less than what O’Fallon pays a month,” Vernier said. 

Trustee Kurt Burrelsman said he was concerned about areas around town that aren’t currently on a sewer system. 

“I wanted some sort of guarantee that if Illinois American buys the system – there would be an exceptionally good faith effort to get those areas sewered,” Burrelsman said. 

Barton said that the company has agreed to any ongoing projects that the (village) has slated – “we agreed to continue with those projects.” 

Marquart said there are projects in place to have residences sewered. 

“We have been very forthright with Illinois American about expanding the system in developable areas,” he said. 

Marquart said that Illinois American Water has also discussed ongoing maintenance with the sewer system. 

“We want to maintain a high level of service,” Barton said. “It’s in our best interest to make sure those problems dealing with sewer go away.”

Vernier said that he thinks the system is going to get the influx of cash that it needs.  

“That’s our business plan – we invest into capital,” Barton said. 

Trustees will continue discussion of the sewer system proposal at the next Village Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Nov. 12. 

In other action, trustees passed an ordinance authorizing a special use permit for a gaming cafe with liquor sales at 1231 Thouvenot Lane. 

Trustees authorized the installation of 19 lights for the Summit of Shiloh.

“Weekend Wildcat” program helps Shiloh at-risk children

SHILOH – Holly Keller, who currently serves as a Shiloh District 85 board member, started the Weekend Wildcat program in 2014 with another Shiloh parent to provide food to food for children who are at risk for hunger during the weekends. 

“We began in the basement of my house,” Keller said. “Currently, a group of volunteers pack 25 bags a week at Shiloh Middle School for children who are at risk for weekend hunger.”

Keller said that while these are kids that would typically get breakfast and lunch provided to them at school during the week, they may have less access to food over the weekend. 

She said that the Wildcat Weekend program is confidential and only the Shiloh school social worker and teachers are aware of who receives food items. 

“Our school social worker sends home permission slips to determine if the family is interested. If so, then we provide a bag each week to each child in the family,” she said. 

The food items are non-perishable and child friendly for the kids to be able to access the food independently. 

“Each week we pack a shelf stable milk, cereal, fruit, granola bar, veggie, and either canned pasta, tuna, soup or mac-n-cheese.”

Keller said that on longer weekends, volunteers will often pack extra food for each child. 

“We do get the cereal and milk from Operation Food Search located in St. Louis.  All the other food items are donated.”

Due to the success of the Weekend Wildcat program, Keller said that other district’s such as O’Fallon District 90 have adopted similar programs.

This week – a Scott Air Force Base squadron collected food for the Weekend Wildcats. Food was delivered Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. 

Boxes are located at Shiloh Elementary School and the middle school for people to donate food items.

The program also takes tax deductible monetary donations – the program’s finances are managed by the Shiloh United Methodist Church and checks can be made out to them with “Weekend Wildcats” in the memo line. 

District 203 Board of Education approves contract extentions for Benway and Bickel

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School Board of Education approved five year contract extensions for both principal Rich Bickel and superintendent Darcy Benway, effective July 1, 2019, during their October board meeting.

Under the terms of the contracts, salaries for both administrators – $185,658 for Benway and $154,462 for Bickel – would be frozen for the first few years, and then increase in the final years of their contracts.

Darcy Benway

In the fourth year of Benway’s contract, her salary will increase to $191,227 and to $196,963 in her final year of contract. In the fifth year of her contract, Benway will be 58.

In the third year of Bickel’s contract, his salary will increase to $159,095, in the fourth year to $163,867 and in his final year to $168,783. In the final year of Bickel’s contract he will be 56.

Rich Bickel

During the October 18 meeting, Bickel confirmed that he plans on submitting a letter of intention to retire before his contract would expire but did not specify when that would take place.

Before the majority of the District 203 board approved Benway’s five year contract, Board Member Laura Jacobi-VanHook said that she had an issue with the length and verbiage of a consolidation clause in the contract.

The consolidation clause in Benway’s contract stipulates that if school consolidation takes place and Benway is not picked as superintendent of a consolidated district, the school board would pay her two years compensation in a lump sum after her last paycheck: “In the event of consolidation of the School District, the Parties hereby agree that should the Superintendent not be selected and hired by the newly consolidated school district as the Superintendent of Schools, the Board shall pay to the Superintendent two years of 100 percent of the aggregate compensation and fringe benefits as set forth in the Agreement as severance pay payable after her last regular paycheck. Said amount shall be calculated using the last contract year prior to the consolidation,” the contract states.

Jacobi-VanHook said of the consolidation clause, “that bothers me.”

Cornerstone Christian Church opens new location in O’Fallon

O’FALLON – Cornerstone Christian Church recently opened a new location in O’Fallon.

Cornerstone pastor Josh Kinney said that the original campus of Cornerstone is still in operation but they opened a second location at Carriel Jr. High in O’Fallon due to a growing attendance

“The conversation started for our leadership back in August of 2017,” Kinney said. “We had been talking about it up to that point but we actually brought in an outside consultant group.” 

Kinney said that the consultant group did an assessment on Cornerstone’s readiness to be a multisite church – “where churches have one church but multiple locations.”

“We were given a positive assessment on being ready to do that,” he said. 

“Toward the end of the year we laid that out to our church that we were going to be opening a new campus – we believe God was leading us to O’Fallon.”

Kinney said during that same timeline, Cornerstone leadership asked if he would become O’Fallon’s “site” pastor. 

“From November through September, we were in our pre launch phase. That phase for us was a pretty long 10 months,” Kinney said. 

Kinney said that during the time, the church built a launch team and did various events within the community. He described the new campus launch as a “grassroots marketing campaign.” 

Services in O’Fallon began on Sunday, Sept. 9 – the first weekend after Labor Day. 

Two different services are offered at both the Shiloh and O’Fallon locations on Sunday’s, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. 

Kinney said that Cornerstone Christian Church felt “compelled” to open a campus in O’Fallon because the Shiloh location was nearing capacity. 

Kinney and other church leaders began doing internal audits, polling, looking at where people live and current growth within the community. 

“O’Fallon is the fastest growing community in the Metro East,” Kinney said. “That coupled with the fact that we had over 200 adults who were from O’Fallon that were worshipping in Shiloh – we felt there was a large contingency of folks that already invested in this community that we could help be even more invested if we were to put a church there.”

Kinney said that it has been a “great process” for Cornerstone Christian Church. 

“It’s had its challenges like anything. Anything that you’re starting – it’s not easy.”

Kinney said that the primary thing the church needed to do was secure the O’Fallon location. After he visited Carriel Jr. High, Kinney felt as though it was the “ideal” place. 

“We began a conversation with the principal and then we talked with the district – it took time to assess,” he said. “We had a place to meet but not equipment – it’s not as simple as ‘we want to start a church.’”

“We have been prayerful,” he said. “God has been keeping doors open for us instead of them just staying shut. For us – it has been reassuring.”

Kinney said that long term goals for Cornerstone Christian Church consist of securing a permanent location that would be their own facility. 

“It’s more in the periphery than right in front of us,” he said. 

Kinney said that the church has crafted a new vision that has to do with outreach in the Metro East. 

“We are for the Metro East,” he said. “We want the Metro East to be a better place to live.” 

Will VanAlstine keeps up the pace to run at State

Will VanAlstine

Senior Will VanAlstine has been the top runner for Boy’s Cross Country throughout the 2018 season, according to head coach Jon Burnett. 

Despite missing the spring track season due to an injury, VanAlstine healed, trained and returned this season with high goals for himself. 

“He has rehabbed that injury and trained this summer and has taken a lot of the guys with him, Burnett said. “That has helped the team to get to the point that it’s at right now.” 

Burnett said that VanAlstine has shown to be a good leader of the varsity team. 

“The guys of the team respect his ability and they try to emulate the things he does in practice,” Burnett said. 

While VanAlstine plans on running in college, Burnett said that he has not yet decided on a school to attend. 

“There are schools looking at him but he hasn’t decided yet.”

Burnett said he would call the Boy’s Cross Country team an “over achieving group.” 

“We started the season with a goal to try to qualify for the state meet,” he said. 

Burnett said that in order to qualify for state, the team would need to place in the top five at the sectional meet.

“We were hoping to be the fifth team when the season began and as the season progressed, things have gotten better and this past weekend – in stead of placing fifth – we placed first at the sectional meet,” he said. “The guys ended up being sectional champions. This team has one goal and they overshot that goal and created higher goals for themselves.” 

Burnet said he has “no idea” how the state meet will go this upcoming weekend, and described it as an “insane” kind of event. 

“You take the 25 best teams in the state – you fire the gun and just watch them all go.”

Burnett described the team as a mix of nervous, excited and confident. 

“They are confident that they can go up and do well but nervous. You have to do this all in one day,” he said. “They are excited because the goal of every runner in the state is to get to this meet and compete and they get the opportunity, which is exciting.”

Burnett said that VanAlstine sets high standards for himself. 

“He sets the bar for himself and he goes after that,” Burnett said. “Sometimes he sets goals and I have to pull him back a little bit into reality – but that’s kind of the way he is. He dreams of these huge goals and goes and chases them.”

Lady Panthers win seventh straight regional title

The O’Fallon Girl’s Volleyball team won their seventh consecutive Regional Championship, and head coach Melissa Massey believes the team has a good shot at becoming Sectional Champions. 

Massey said that the first round of regionals took place at Belleville East where they did “fairly well.” 

“We were trying to get our groove back,” Massey. said. “We hadn’t been playing all that great prior to that.”

Massey said that the girls handled Belleville East and them competed against Collinsville. 

“They were coming for us,” Massey said. “They has us pegged. They knew how to try and beat us.” 

Massey described the game as “awesome” and “intense.” Massey said that while they ended up beating Collinsville, they were down at one point in both sets. “We came back and won 25 to 23.” 

Coming into their first Sectionals game against Edwardsville, Monday, Oct. 29, the team “dominated,” according to Massey. 

“We lost to them during the season and we didn’t play our best when we saw them the first time,” Massey said. “We had a lot to work on and wanted to change last night. I think we came out and just dominated.”

“Our sophomores have not been in those situations and they are usually the first to touch the ball, there is a ton of pressure on them,” she said. “They did a great job at handling that pressure.”

Massey said that the team spent a lot of time preparing for how the Edwardsville team would serve the ball. 

“They knew they were going to serve speed and they did and they knew they were going to pick on them and they did,” she said. “They did a great job kind of keeping us in system and defending their big hitters. They have a lot of big hitters.”

“You never know what is going to happen on the other side of the net,” Massey said. “They did a great job answering to them beating us the last time.”

Wednesday, Oct. 31, girl’s volleyball will take on Bloomington High School in Bloomington for the Sectional Finals. 

“We have never won a Sectional Final.”

“It’s obviously something we can taste right now – we want it. We have won seven regionals, we want a Sectional Final. There is a lot on the line.”

If they win the Sectional Finals, girl’s volleyball will then face Normal Community High School in Super Sectionals on Friday, Nov. 2. 

Massey said that if the team continues playing the way that they have been, she “absolutely believes” that they have a shot at competing in the State Championship. 

“I definitely believe we can do it,” Massey said.  

“We believe in them, they just have to believe in themselves and I definitely think there’s a good chance we can make it.”

Massey said that the six girls that make up the team’s seniors are a “special group” that are “extremely talented and extremely close” and also good leaders on the team.  

“I really want it for the school but I definitely want it for them,” she said. “They are a good group and I think they worked hard for it all season and expect good things tomorrow night.” 

O’Fallon Rotary Clubs celebrate Halloween with annual parade

O’FALLON – Hundreds of local residents gathered downtown on Saturday, Oct. 27 for the O’Fallon Rotary children’s Halloween parade and costume contest. 

The parade began at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of State and Vine street and ended at the corner of East First and Vine street. The costume contest prize awards were given following the parade at the corner of East First and Vine street. 

The costume contest categories were: decorated bicycles/ wagons, super heroes and villains, cartoons and movies, children under three, scariest, floats, family and pets. There were first, second and third place medals in each category and an additional first, second, third and fourth places for the overall best costume. 

There was also trick-or-treating downtown at over 30 merchants and businesses. 

The parade event was organized by O’Fallon’s three Rotary clubs: Rotary Sunrise Club, Rotary Noon Club and Rotary Sunset Club as well as downtown businesses.

Lebanon Library requests $2 million bond for building

Conceptual artwork for the proposed Lebanon Library (Submitted Photo)

LEBANON – In Lebanon’s City Council meeting on Monday, members of the Lebanon Public Library board requested a two million bond issue for improvements to the newly purchased library building on South Fritz Street. 

City Attorney John Long said that the library board would have to come up with an estimate of the costs and submit them to the council. 

“The city has to approve the plan and then adopt an ordinance to issue bonds – then it has to tailor to the ordinance,” Long said. 

Long said that if the council adopts and ordinance it would have to tailor “specifically” to paying off the project. 

“The council can say they don’t want to issue bonds – if the city council approves the plan but not the bond issue then the library board of trustees has the power to make an annual certification for the city council,” Long said. 

The library board has published the project plan on its website but has yet to submit it to the city council. According to the library board, a bond issue is the only viable way of financing the building renovations. The renovations would consist of fixing a leaking roof among other deteriorations. 

Library Board President Miranda Wright-Kauffmann said that the demand for library services is exceeding its current space. “That’s a great problem to have.” 

Wright-Kauffmann said that when the location on South Fritz was chosen, the board was “very strategic about how to best serve the residents of Lebanon.” 

“The building is relatively perfect for our residents and we want to make sure that we can serve them in the best way possible,” she said. “We just have to figure out how to renovate the building now to make it useful and a pride and joy for our town.”

The discussion of the renovations bond will continue at the next city council meeting on Monday, Nov. 12. 

In other action, the council approved a zero percent raise in the tax levy. 

Belinda McAllister was appointed by the council to the Planning Commission. 

Halloween trick-or-treat times were approved by the council as 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Sofia Parker shows leadership early in Cross Country career

Sofia Parker

Girl’s Cross Country head coach Neil James said that Sofia Parker has been the team’s number one runner consistently throughout the 2018 season. 

James said that as a freshman, Parker was “still trying to figure things out” but has fast grown into a leadership position as a sophomore on the team. 

“She has grown a lot this year in the way that she handles herself,” James said. “She is very focused.”

At the Forest Park meet on Sept. 8, Parker was a top runner despite brutal rainy and muddy conditions. The meet in St. Louis had some of the top teams in Missouri, according to James. 

James said that Parker also performs well in workouts and practices, always with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. 

“The other girls look to her. They enjoy the positive energy that she brings.”

James said that Parker will continue to progress during the latter part of her high school cross country career. 

With her improved mental approach this year compared to her freshman year, James said he believes it has made her an overall better runner. 

“Her family is big into running. She has a brother who is on the boy’s team and mom and dad are very involved,” he said. 

James said that while Parker is a very skilled runner, she also seems to enjoy herself. 

“Her energy level has been such a bonus for us this year,” he said. 

James said that the girl’s cross country team are all “outstanding students.” 

“[Parker] does a great job in the classroom while taking a very demanding schedule,” James said. 

With only one senior in the team’s top 14 runners, girl’s cross country has a lot of young potential. 

“We have had a lot of younger kids but the progress Parker and some other runners have made has made a big difference,” James said. “We have had really good leadership with kids stepping up and taking control and kind of improving the attitude on the team. The girls have had a lot of fun.”

Besides the race in Forest Park, James said that the team has travelled to compete in Peoria as well as the Chicago area against other top schools. 

“We have taken really tough competition but the girls have been improving and times keep dropping so we are excited to see how sectionals go this weekend.”

Sectionals will take place in Quincy and the top five teams will qualify for state. 

“The girls’s are pretty confident,” James said. 

Shiloh committee grants special use permit to gaming cafe and bar

SHILOH – At the Shiloh Committee at Large meeting on Monday, trustees approved a special use permit application for a gaming cafe at 1231 Thouvenot Lane. 

The special use permit will allow liquor sales and five video gaming terminals at the location on Thouvenot Lane. 

Mayor Jim Vernier said he’s aware of other gaming cafe’s around the area and has not heard about any problems with them. 

“I can see where some people that don’t want to put up with the bar crowd might want to go there,” Vernier said. 

Vernier said that the occupancy of people allowed in the building pertains to the location’s square footage. 

Lebanon council amends grocery store agreement

LEBANON – At a Lebanon City Council meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, the council approved a resolution amending an agreement between the City of Lebanon and Elbe Enterprises to progress with the city’s plan for a grocery store.

Under the agreement, Elbe Enterprises will complete an engineering and architectural plan for a building permit to construct the entrance way for the grocery store. The developer also must apply for an access permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation before beginning construction.

As Elbe Enterprises begin construction, the city will begin construction on a culvert on the property for water runoff control. 

Alderman Rick Gale made a suggestion to amend the agreement to include that the amount for Lebanon’s financial responsibility not exceed $150,000.

The amended agreement reads: “The city shall not be obligated to proceed with the public project, however, if the lowest responsible bids that it receives for all aspects of the public project, in aggregate, exceed $150,000.”

Alderman unanimously agreed and signed the amended agreement. Mayor Rich Wilken said that construction will not likely begin until at least the beginning of 2019 as Elbe Enterprises has a minimum of 12 weeks to complete the engineering plan.

Toftemark a very positive influence on Lady Panthers team

Katherine Toftemark

Head Volleyball Coach Melissa Massey said that senior Katherine Toftemark has done a great job at picking the team up when they are down. 

Massey said that many seniors don’t realize that the volleyball season is coming to an end and they won’t be playing together for much longer. 

“Kat doesn’t think she’s going to go on to play in college,” Massey said. “I feel like she has done a really good job just trying to pick the team up.” 

Massey said that Toftemark “puts it all out there every game” and works hard despite the season ending soon. “She is a kid that gets it.” 

Despite Toftemark not pursing collegiate volleyball, Massey said that she has made the most of her season. 

Massey said that Toftemark, who is a middle hitter, always “lays low.” 

“She does a lot of things consistently good,” she said. “She’s a kid we need to honor because she’s done a really good job.” 

Massey described the six volleyball seniors as “quite a special group” in that they are all great friends outside of just being teammates. 

“There is something to be said about that,” she said. “They have a mutual respect, love and passion for each other.”

Massey said that Toftemark “would do anything for her teammates.” 

“She sometimes puts her teammates in front of herself,” she said. “She’s a very respected kid and also very respectful to myself and the rest of my coaching staff.”

According to Massey, school is very important to Toftemark and said that she plans on attending Mizzou and eventually go into the medical field. She also said that Toftemark will likely try out for a club volleyball team at her respective university. “She’s a great player.” 

“It has been an interesting season,” Massey said. She said that the 27-6 record “speaks for itself.” 

“This has probably been our toughest season we have had as far as competition goes. I really have worked hard to play in the best tournaments and get good competition for us,” she said. “Our losses are good losses. We have lost to good teams.” 

Massey said that she wants her volleyball team to be pushed and to realize that games are not all about winning. 

“I feel like our team is extremely talented.”

Massey said that the volleyball players are “excited, pumped and ready to play” in the upcoming post-season.

Toftemark has accumulated 33 blocks, 99 kills, 50 digs and 29 aces this season.