District 90 officials discuss school security and student safety

District 90 Safety Director Mark Berry and Superintendent Carrie Hruby go over some reports and plans related to school safety and security.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

O’FALLON – Following the events at Hinchcliffe Elementary School on March 5 where threatening graffiti was found by an employee, many parents and community members have asked questions about District 90’s security procedures.

According to Superintendent Carrie Hruby and District Safety Director Mark Berry, parents, students, and staff should be aware that there are a variety of measures in place and many more being developed.

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Gander Mountain to reopen as Gander Outdoors

The O’Fallon Gander Mountain store opened in May 2015 at 120 Central Park Drive. While it has sat unused since the company declared bankruptcy and was bought by Camping World Holdings Inc., it will reopen in June as Gander Outdoors.
Pictured are Gander Mountain and City of O’Fallon officials at the 2015 ribbon cutting ceremony. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Gander Mountain will reopen as Gander Outdoors later this year, according to an announcement made by CEO Marcus Lemonis on January 2.

The 61,000-square foot store located on Central Park Drive originally opened in May 2015. While the store’s future has been in question following Gander Mountain’s bankruptcy and acquisition by Camping World Holdings Inc., it is now expected to reopen in June, rebranded as Gander Outdoors.

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Boil Order lifted for O’Fallon, Fairview Heights

The boil water order for all O’Fallon water customers (including those in O’Fallon and Fairview Heights) has been lifted. The water conservation request has also ended.

O’Fallon – The boil water order for all O’Fallon water customers (including those in O’Fallon and Fairview Heights) has been lifted. The water conservation request has also ended.

After a boil water order is lifted or water service resumes, these precautionary measures should be followed:

  1. Flush the building’s water lines and clean faucet screens.
  2. Purge the water-using fixtures and appliances of standing water and ice, such as refrigerator ice makers or coffee makers.

Please visit www.ofallon.org for updates.

A new year brings new laws to Illinois

Over 200 new laws went into effect on January 1, 2018

Aside from frigid cold temperatures, January 1, 2018, brought more than 200 new laws into effect in Illinois. The new laws impact a wide range of issues, ranging from custody rights of pets in divorce cases to the ability, to change your gender on your birth certificate, to the establishment of Barack Obama Day on August 4.

Click HERE to view the full list of New Laws for 2018

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District 90 Board approves tax levy request, raises substitute teacher pay

TOP LEFT: Board President John Wagnon with Teacher of the Month Tara Keys and Carriel Principal Ellen Hays. BOTTOM RIGHT: Wagnon with Support Staff Member of the Month Colleen Headrick and Business Manager Patty Cavins. (Submitted Photos)

The District 90 Board of Education approved a proposed 4.99 percent tax levy at their December meeting.

The increase is projected to bring in just under $1 million in new revenue if the area sees a 4.99 percent growth in estimated assessed value (EAV). District 90 Business Manager Patty Cavins projects that the district will collect $20,766,397.77 if the 4.99 percent holds and the board doesn’t abate any funds in the spring. That is a $915,977.60 increase over last year’s total tax extension of $19,850,420.17.

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Two Cents Worth – Ring in 2018 with the Weekly Staff’s New Year’s Resolutions

Each year I like to ask everyone at the Weekly to give me a New Year’s Resolution they’d like to share with our readers. It’s not mandatory or anything, as some people just don’t do any resolutions, but I find it to be fascinating.

So we’ll start with the Weekly staff and then we’ll circle back to me. 

 


Kimberly Bennett – Digital Content Manager

I have more phobias than you can shake a stick at, and I’m slowly discovering how limiting they are on my life. While some of my fears are fairly common and not as debilitating (like the fear of spiders and expired food products), some of them prevent me from living my life. Some of them were founded through different experiences, but others have developed because I don’t like being uncomfortable. I don’t like change, and because I don’t like change, I’ve ended up fearing it instead of welcoming it. By the end of 2018, I hope to see growth in myself.  I want to see growth in myself. I want to stop subsisting and start living.

I’m 25 years old; it’s time to get it together.


Rebecca Bugger – Reporter

I resolve to find happiness in stress.

To breathe and enjoy each day no matter the situation, person I’m dealing with, or cost.

 

 

 


Sam Scinta – Sports Reporter

Being a Chicago Cubs fan my entire life, I had to find a balance between eternal optimism and realistic pessimism. It’s a strange, inescapable paradox that invades almost all aspects of life, even outside that of the remote sports observer.

Well, now that all that waiting and curse nonsense is long gone, the mindset has stayed, and I suppose that is what I am trying to change.

No longer do I have a need to temper enthusiasm and excitement with cynicism, yet that seems to be the default for me when reacting to even the best news.

So as the calendar flips to 2018, I resolve to look on the brighter side of everything, no matter how hard that may be.

Happy New Years everybody!


Angela Simmons – Reporter

Every year, I write out resolutions with the hope of carrying them out, and then a few weeks or months into the year, they go by the wayside. This year, I’m going to do things a little different. I’m going to have a word to live by, and this year is “More.” I want to do more of what makes me happy, attend more book club meetings, put in more hard work to get the things that I want, remember more often to actually switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, etc.

No matter what your resolution or your goal for the new year, I hope you all have a Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing you at events around town.


Colten Steele – Sports Reporter

I really wanted to try and come up with something that everyone doesn’t hear every single year. Last year, my resolution was to fold my clothes whenever they were done in the dryer, but did I accomplish that? No.

So, this year I will be saying what we all hear from everyone every year: I’m making a serious commitment back to the gym, and my diet will be very boring, but filled with protein and veggies! Working out is something that I always heavily involved in, but then I found fast food during college. We all know how that goes. The plan is to begin the diet and the workout regimen on the first of January!

The real question is: Will it last one week or one month? We’ll see!


Well! Everyone got pretty serious and introspective this year versus last year. Why so serious guys?

Resolutions fascinate me because, theoretically, if you’re self-aware enough to know you have something about you that you wish to change, what does it matter if you start on January 1 or August 24? I guess its the idea that the new year represents a clean slate and that we can start fresh.

So keeping with the theme of the column, I’ll let you all in on what I want to work on in 2018.

First, and its going to be totally cliche, but I plan on taking off some weight. Unfortunately, both sides of my family have the easy potential to put on weight, and I’ve allowed my love of carbs and sugars to dominate for too long. So starting this week actually, I won’t be any fun to go grab lunch with. Fair warning.

Next, I want to try and regain some structure to my life. It feels like I have, for the most part, all the pieces I need to make everything work, but they’re not all working as I need them to. I plan on taking the first month or two of 2018 and figuring out what needs to be restructured in order to get things running smoothly so I can start to work smarter and not harder. That was a bit cryptic but you don’t want to know the nuts and bolts of what it takes to bring you a paper each week anymore than I want to begin to get into them.

Third, I don’t read as much as I would like, which seems ironic coming from a guy preaching the importance of reading. I go to the bookstore all the time and find things that sound fascinating, but they just become decorations on my shelves. So I’d like to carve out some time to read more. Realistically if I could get through 26 books in 2018, one every two weeks, I’d be happy. We’ll see.

Finally, when I originally went into the journalism program at SIUC it was with the lofty goal of one day being a movie critic. I thought guys like Siskel and Ebert had the best job going. They got paid to watch a movie and talk about it! I quickly learned that it was difficult to make a living critiquing film and so I left that idea in the past. But now I own my own paper and can do what I want! So who wants to go catch a flick next year?

Moye students raise money to help animals at Spencer Kennel

Students at Delores Moye Elementary School were recently able to roll out of bed and head straight to school, all to help animals in need.

A group of students led a school-wide fundraiser letting students wear their pajamas to school in exchange for a donation that would be given to Spencer Kennel. The event, which took place on Tuesday, December 19, raised $500.

Fourth-Grade Teacher Lisa Poignee helped the students organize the pajama day.

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O’Fallon takes part in Wreaths Across America

Event honoring fallen heroes at the holidays organized locally by the Rotary Club of O’Fallon

Owen Hubbard and Luke Bautz, both of Cub Scout Pack 94, place wreaths at the headstones of fallen local veterans. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

At 11 a.m. CST, all across the country, wreaths were placed on the headstones of fallen veterans as part of a national program to honor heroes at the holidays called Wreaths Across America.

This year, O’Fallon joined in as one of the more than 1,200 cities in all 50 states that took part in the ceremony. The local event was organized by the Rotary Club of O’Fallon, spearheaded by USAF Col. Ret. John “Woody” Almind. This is the twelfth year that Wreaths Across America has existed.

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VFW Post 805 honors first responders at annual dinner

TOP LEFT: Police Officer of the Year – Officer Clayton Hoff was presented with the Law Enforcement Award for his service. Pictured with Hoff (center) is VFW Post 805 Commander Ed Martinez and OFPD Lt. Rob Schmidtke. BOTTOM RIGHT: Fire Fighter of the Year – Ryan McWhorter was presented with the Fire Fighter Award. Chief Brent Saunders (right) praised McWhorter for his work developing a program and mobile app to computerize operations at the fire department. (O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

VFW Post 805 recently held their annual First Responders Dinner, where they honor local police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics for their efforts throughout the previous year.

Post 805 Commander Ed Martinez said veterans feel a connection to first responders.

“Tonight we’re here to honor our first responders. As veterans, we know what its like to be on call 24-7 and be sent into harms way. We’ve all been through that and that’s why we’re proud to honor these folks tonight,” Martinez said.

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O’Fallon Police hosts annual Breakfast with Santa

Over 150 kids attended the annual Breakfast with Santa, which featured free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Over 150 children came out with their families to take part in the annual O’Fallon Police Department’s Breakfast with Santa.

The event, which took place at Carriel Junior High School, featured a pancake breakfast, arts and crafts, free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and music by the OTHS Madrigals.

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First responders hold shopping events to provide Christmas for kids in need

The Metro-East Paramedics Association, MEPA, raised the funds for the Shop with the EMS event, allowing 16 local kids to go on shopping sprees for gifts for themselves and family members.

The O’Fallon Walmart was a busy place this past weekend, hosting not one, but two, shopping events held by local first responders designed to provide Christmas to less fortunate children.

On Saturday, the O’Fallon-Shiloh EMS held their second annual Shop with the EMS event, where 16 kids went on shopping sprees around the store, picking out gifts for themselves and their loved ones. The event is funded by the Metro-East Paramedics Association, MEPA.

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Candidates for 2018 election file paperwork to appear on ballot

The deadline for candidates to file paperwork to appear on the ballot in the November 2018 elections came late Monday afternoon. The Weekly has prepared a rundown of who has filed for office impacting O’Fallon and Shiloh.

In statewide races, Governor Bruce Rauner and his Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti have a challenge coming from the conservative right-wing of the Republican party in the form of State Representative Jeanne Ives and her running mate Rich Morthland.

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District 90 Board of Education begins FY18 Tax Levy discussion

The Board recognized their teacher of the month and support staff member of the month at their November meeting. The staff member of the month (left) was Millie Erb from Estelle Kampmeyer Elementary School, while The teacher of the month (RIGHT) was Carrie Bohnert, from Marie Schaefer Elementary School. (Submitted Photos)

The District 90 Board of Education discussed what they believe the Fiscal Year 2018 Tax Levy should be set at during their regular meeting, held at Fulton Junior High School.

During her report, District Finance Director Patty Cavins requested that the Board direct her as to what the proposed levy should be set at when they are to vote on it at their December meeting. Board Member Steve Springer stated he wanted to know more about what the district’s projected needs are before he could determine what to set the levy at.

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Christmas arrives in O’Fallon at Illuminated Holiday Parade

The streets were lined with thousands of onlookers as the 2017 Illuminated Holiday Parade rolled through O’Fallon Saturday evening.

The annual parade, which almost didn’t take place this year after the Van Etten family decided to retire after decades of work organizing it, was bigger and better than ever taking nearly an hour to go from Community Park, over to Lincoln, up to State Street, and east to Vine, where it concluded at Santa’s Hut. Businesses, community groups, and individuals from all over town sponsored the parade and entered floats.

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Fourth Annual Community Thanksgiving feeds many

O’Fallon residents once again came out to take part in the fourth annual Community Thanksgiving Meal, held on Thanksgiving Day at Faith Lutheran Church.

The event, which is 100 percent volunteer organized and run, has grown every year according to organizer Linda Benedick.

“So many people and businesses have come together to make this happen. It’s wonderful,” Benedick said.

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