View of the Past: Andrew Molles’ wagon shop in the late 1800’s

This week’s view, from the late 1800’s, is of Andrew Molles’ wagon shop that once stood on the south side of East State Street, between Vine and Lincoln in O’Fallon.  A native of Switzerland, Molles came to the United States with his parents in 1848 when he was 8 years old.  He settled in O’Fallon in 1868 and worked as a wagon maker there until his retirement in 1923.  The building to the far right in the photo is still standing at the southeast corner of State and Lincoln.  

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society

Fulton Drama Club performs Winnie the Pooh

Fulton Jr. High Drama Club presented Winnie the Pooh on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 in the Fulton auditorium. 

The production of Winnie the Pooh had music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. It was choreographed by Margaret Poletti with technical direction by Shelley Deagan and directed by Cindy Williams.

(O’Fallon Weekly Photos by Nick Miller)

Over 300 kids take part in Creative Landscapes egg hunt

More than 300 kids came out to find more than 3,500 eggs hidden all over the greenhouse and grounds at Creative Landscapes at their Spring Open House event on Saturday, April 20.

In addition to the egg hunt, kids could have their faces painted, play games, and draw on the parking lot with chalk. 

Creative Landscapes offered free hot dogs and drinks to everyone and held a blood drive on site.

(Submitted Photos)

Shiloh hosts Easter Breakfast

The Easter Bunny visited the Village of Shiloh on Saturday, April 13, for the village’s Easter breakfast.

The event featured food, arts and crafts, games, and a visit by the Easter Bunny for photos and goodies. 

“This was a great event that allowed the community to come together for a fun time. The police officers really enjoyed spending time with residents, especially the kids,” said Village Clerk Brenda Kern. 

(Submitted Photos)

City prepares for summer roadwork

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The Public Works Committee approved to send to council five resolutions for contracts related to various, upcoming road projects. 

A contract with Geotechnology for $25,000 and a contract with Rhutasel and Associates, Inc. for $28,000 were approved for engineering services related to the upcoming, summer project for Simmons Road between the Milburn School Road and Porter Road roundabouts. Because a substantial portion of the construction costs associated with this project are part of a federal grant, there are additional requirements prior to construction. 

Construction is expected to begin in June, shortly after local schools are completed. Curbs and gutters will be added, as well as a left turn lane into the Parcs of Arbor Green subdivision, and the completion of a sidewalk to the roundabout at Milburn School Road. The road will be closed to through traffic until completion, but will be done in two phases so residents of the Parcs of Arbor Green subdivision will have access via a paved road the entire time. The projected completion date is late September. 

The 2019 concrete replacement program went out for bid last week. Six bids were submitted, with Lake Contracting, Inc. being the lowest bidder. The committee approved to send to council a contract for $234,852 for various curb and sidewalk replacements to be done throughout the city. Many of these projects are done prior to the updates to the streets identified by the city’s pavement management program. 

A contract with Christ Brothers Asphalt, Inc. for $1,119,941.80 was approved to send to council from four bids for the 2019 street resurfacing program. Streets that will be resurfaced are the front section of Witte Farms subdivision, Southview Gardens (after the completion of the water and sewer main work), the Howard Place area, the front section of the Thornbury Hills subdivision, Homestead Street and Crestview Road area, and Smiley between Highway 50 and Wesley. 

The final contract approved to send to council by the committee was with Sonnenberg Asphalt Co. for $145,740 for parking lot sealing and striping of sixteen different city properties. Two bids were received for the project. 

Police release victim, suspect in Sports Park homicide

The victim has been identified as 35- year- old Sherry J. Billups

O’FALLON – O’Fallon Police responded to calls of a person and vehicle on fire at 7:23 a.m. near the Family Sports Park in the 300 block of Obernuefemann Road. 

The victim, identified by O’Fallon Police as 35- year- old Sherry J. Billups, was outside the vehicle when first responders arrived. Emergency responders arrived on scene and rendered aid, but she was later pronounced deceased by the St. Clair County Coroners office. Billups resided at 600 Block W. Madison in O’Fallon. 

O’Fallon Police identified the victim’s husband as 36- year- old Andrew Montez McKissick. McKissick is identified as a 5’8, 155- pound black male. McKissick has a tattooed neck.

He is currently wanted for questioning regarding the investigation. McKissick is believed to be driving a 1999-2002 Chevrolet extended cab truck with Illinois plate number 2543195. 

The husband of the victim, Andrew Montez McKissick, is currently wanted for questioning regarding the homicide investigation

The Illinois State Police released an alert seeking the truck. They report that McKissick may be enroute to Alabama but may have been seen in Mt. Vernon earlier this morning.

McKissick is considered armed and extremely dangerous with an extensive violent criminal history.

Anyone that may have been in the area the morning of Monday, April 22, when the incident occurred or may have information regarding the whereabouts of McKissick is asked to contact the O’Fallon Police Department, Lt. Kerry Andrews at 618-624-9589. 

McKissick is believed to be driving a 1999-2002 Chevrolet extended cab truck with Illinois plate number 2543195.

To read Homicide suspect in custody, click here.

To read Police investigating homicide in Sports Park, click here.

Police investigating homicide by Sports Park

O’FALLON – The O’Fallon Police Department are actively investigating a reported homicide that took place this morning around 7:30 a.m. at the O’Fallon Sports Park. An unidentified O’Fallon female resident was pronounced dead after attempts were made to save her life. Dispatch received a phone call reporting a car and female on fire. Attempts to save the female were made but ultimately unsuccessful. Police are treating this as a homicide and are searching for a suspect. 

At 11 a.m. Police Chief Eric Van Hook gave a statement to the media. 

To read Homicide suspect in custody, click here.

To read Police release victim, suspect in Sports Park homicide, click here.

OTHS Senior signs to go to Rockhurst University

Front row left to right: Pete Papachrisanthou (Niko’s dad), Niko Papachrisanthou, Sherry Papachrisanthou (Niko’s mom) Back row left to right: Asst. Coach Johnny Connors, Head Coach Erin Thoman, Asst. Coach Mimi Shelton, Asst. Coach Doug Mennerick (Submitted Photo)

By Kate Crutcher

O’Fallon – Following the school day on Wednesday, April 10th, Niko Papachrisanthou, met with teammates, coaches and his parents in front of the Panther Dome, to sign his dedication to attend Rockhurst University, in Kansas City, Missouri. Papachrisanthou has been playing varsity tennis for the past four years and is OTHS’s number 1 singles player. He has also attended state qualifiers three times. Though Niko played sports such as hockey in the past years, tennis was the only sport Niko asked his parents to play, according to his mother. 

“I actually enjoyed playing Wii tennis as a kid. I know it is sort of funny, but that is what really made me get started with the sport. After all the practices that I have with school, I usually practice at least 5 to 7 extra times, on my own, like when I am at home. My dad also played in high school, so he had his old rackets in the garage, so when I saw them, it also inspired me to start playing,” Papachrisanthou said. 

Tennis Coach, Erin Thoman, said, “We are so proud of Niko signing with Rockhurst. Niko has elevated his game through a tremendous amount of hard work and focus. Niko is our captain and is an awesome role model to our young team. Niko is a true scholar athlete. It has been a pleasure to coach Niko and watch him grow into the person and athlete he is today.”

O’Fallon Girls Lacrosse overwhelms Parkway West

The O’Fallon Girls Lacrosse defeated the visiting Parkway West Longhorns team by a final score of 11-5 in Thursday’s match. 

With the win, O’Fallon betters its record to 10-0 for the season. The Panthers will host Lafayette to play the Lancers in a match on Thursday, April 18.

The player of the game for Thursday’s match was Mikaela Trujillo with one goal on one shot, her 100 shooting percentage and for her indispensable work in the transition. 

Photos by Tim Grout

City honors departing aldermen

Mayor Herb Roach presented plaques to outgoing alderman at the beginning of Monday night’s city council meeting. Pictured from left to right: Ward 7 Alderman David Cozad, Ward 4 Alderman John Drolet, Ward 6 Alderman Ned Drolet, Mayor Herb Roach, Ward 1 Alderman John Distler and Ward 2 Alderman Robert Kueker. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Martha Stoffel)

By Martha Stoffel

The Advanced Veterinary Center, LLC, to be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50 received its final approval at Monday night’s council meeting. 

The applicant, Dr. Jim Bollmeier, addressed the council during public comment requesting a variance from the ordinance requiring the construction of a six-foot, vinyl fence along the south side of the property. The requirement for a fence has been changed a couple times since the filing of the application. Staff’s original recommendation was for a six-foot fence to be installed, per city ordinance. The Planning Commission removed the fence as a condition when they approved the project on March 12. The Community Development Committee later added the fence back in as a condition which was approved by council on first reading on April 1. Dr. Bollmeier spoke at last week’s Community Development Committee meeting, but no action could be taken by the committee due to a lack of quorum. 

Ward 4 Alderman John Drolet made a motion to amend the ordinance removing the fence requirement. A couple of aldermen spoke in favor of removing the fence requirement, citing concern they received from residents south of the property that a fence would create further drainage issues for the ditch between their homes and the proposed development. Clarification was provided that removing the fence requirement along the south of the property line would not affect the fencing Dr. Bollmeier will be installing behind the building at 800 East Highway 50 for dog walking. 

Mayor Herb Roach presented Carriel Jr. High student Delaney Hall with the President’s Volunteer Service Award gold medal at Monday night’s council meeting. This is a civil award bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals for their volunteer service. Roach also read a letter from President Donald Trump commending Hall for her years of volunteer efforts with her birthday donations. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Martha Stoffel)

City Council also approved on second reading the fiscal year 2020 budget. A public hearing was held at the beginning of the meeting. No one from the public came forward for comments regarding the budget. The FY20 budget will begin May 1, 2019 and run through April 30, 2020. The proposed budget reflects a twelve percent increase from the previous year totaling $84,102,168, primarily due to several, planned public works projects

In other council news:

• Approved a contract between the City of O’Fallon EMS and Mediclaims, Inc. The company’s primary responsibility is handling the third-party billing for EMS services. The contract is for five years and included a rate decrease. 

• Approved a resolution between the City of O’Fallon and the Village of Shiloh for dispatch services was approved to send to council. This is an annual contract payable by the village in four installments of $35,000 for dispatch services for the fiscal year 2020.

• Approved an intergovernmental agreement between the City of O’Fallon and the City of Fairview Heights for services provided by the Metro-East Communications Center (MECOMM). An assessment of the previous year’s calls was done to split the costs between the cities. Quarterly billing for fiscal year 2020 will have O’Fallon responsible for fifty-one percent of the costs, and Fairview Heights responsible for forty-nine percent of the costs. 

• Approval of an amendment to an ordinance regarding the administrative hearing procedure to determine eligibility under the public safety employee benefits act of Chapter 32 regulating police and fire. The amendment was adding definition to the ordinance of a “catastrophic injury,” per the recommendation from the Illinois Municipal League. 

•A special event permit approved for Country Lane Produce for flower sales at 1790 W. Highway 50 for multiple dates in April, May and June. 

• A special event permit approved for the business, Eagle TG, located 1728 Corporate Crossing for a weekly food truck through the end of the year, pursuant to the mobile food vendor ordinance set in place late 2018. 

• A special event permit request approved for the Marie Schaefer PTO for the Fun Fest scheduled April 26, 2019 in which they are requesting road closure north of the school on Fifth Street for rides. 

View of the Past: Willard’s Station in the early 1900’s

This week’s view is of Willard’s Station (also called Willardsville or Willard) in east O’Fallon, present day Willard Drive and Betty Lane, taken about 1910 or shortly before.  Constructed with tin said to be from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the houses, some of which survive, were originally homes for the employees of William G. Willard’s Steel Range Company, just to the west, from where the photo was taken.  What looks like a railroad to the left is the electric interurban which provided streetcar service between Lebanon, O’Fallon and East St. Louis.  

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society

Local girl scout earns Gold Award for Summer of STEM project

Katherine Buchanan has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is pleased to announce that Katherine Buchanan has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can receive. For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, she hosted a “Summer of STEM” to help area children – especially girls – become more interested and engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math.  

“Science, technology, engineering and math are fields that are mainly dominated by men. Through my Girl Scout Gold Award project, I hoped to encourage more girls to participate in STEM activities and eventually major in STEM fields in college,” she said. 

First, Buchanan planned and ran an activity room at the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo, which is an exhibition held for more than 30 robotics teams made up of six to ten year old students. Activities she planned included simple machines, science experiments, simple electrical circuits and LEGO build challenges.  

Next, she facilitated STEM sessions as part of the O’Fallon Public Library summer reading program, which ran for six weeks, included two age groups and educated up to 75 children per day. During the sessions, she led hands-on activities that explored topics like weather, physics, chemistry, electricity, space, and robotics. At each session, she also provided a take-home packet with experiments for children to conduct with their parents. She noted that some of the children she worked with had never participated in STEM activities before, and that she felt the outreach through the library was successful. 

The final part of Buchanan’s project was to host a three day FIRST LEGO League Jr. camp for more than 30 area youth. With the help of a volunteer team she recruited, she led sessions exploring the engineering design process, building solid structures, and programming motors and sensors using LEGO WeDo software. The students put on a small expo at the end of camp to show their parents what they learned during the week. She also created an evaluation system to help measure the outcomes of the camp. These evaluations showed that 83 percent of the girls who participated were excited to learn more about STEM following the day camp. 

Throughout her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Buchanan also updated a website sharing her progress using Wix, so that she could share the importance of STEM education and Girl Scouts’ valuable role in these fields. To help make her efforts sustainable, she recruited Girl Scouts to help run the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Expo activity room in the future, and enlisted local FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics team The Worm Gear Warriors to continue hosting STEM sessions at local libraries and during summer day camp. 

“Throughout my project, I had the ability to connect with a diverse group of children all looking to do the same thing, which was to have fun with science and electronics,” she said. “The audience was able to gain a better understanding of what STEM really entails and that it is just as important for girls to be involved as it is for boys.”  

Buchanan added that earning her Girl Scout Gold Award also helped her feel more confident being in charge of a large project, as well. 

“Since my Girl Scout Gold Award project lasted from April until the middle of August, it was a very intense process for me in which I learned a lot about myself,” she said. “Something new to me was being able to plan events and really take the lead. Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award has definitely given me the chance to improve my leadership skills.”  

Katherine is the daughter of Larry and Mary Buchanan She is completed her Girl Scout Gold Award during the summer following her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School, where she will graduated in 2018. Currently, she is a freshman at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she studies criminal justice and forensics. 

Panthers lacrosse fights back to earn win against John Burroghs

Goalie Tommy Fulford (#34) tracks the incoming shot as James Randolph (#25) and Ryan Ritchie (#28) defend.
(Photo by Scott Gaab)

The O’Fallon Varsity Boy’s Lacrosse team played an exciting home game Friday night, coming from behind to beat a tough John Burroughs team 10-9.  

John Burroughs got off to a quick 3-0 lead in the first half before Braden Gaab put two scores on the board for the Panthers to start chipping away at their lead.  The first half ended with John Burroughs leading 5-2.  The second half saw an offensive explosion from the Panthers with Captain Nolan Bradley scoring three goals, David Tady scoring three, Josh McIntyre scoring one, and Beau Carney coming up with his first goal of the season.  

On the defensive side of the ball, Goalie Tommy Fulford played some gritty defense saving about 50 percent of the shots on goal.  The defense bent but didn’t break and came up strong in the fourth quarter.  Friday night’s win put the Panthers at 8-4 for the season with four games left until playoffs.

HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine recognized with National Award for Clinical Excellence

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HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine recently received a National Award for Clinical Excellence from Healogics, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services. 

The Center received this honor for providing outstanding clinical outcomes for twelve consecutive months, including patient satisfaction higher than 92 percent, and a minimum wound healing rate of at least 91 percent within 30 median days to heal. 

“We are pleased to have received this national distinction,” shared St. Elizabeth’s President and CEO Patti Fischer. “The high quality, safe care that our Wound Care Center provides is often life changing for many of the patients that enter its doors. This award is a testament to that excellent care and we congratulate all involved for their dedication and ongoing commitment to our patients.” 

The St. Elizabeth’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is a member of the Healogics network of nearly 700 Wound Care Centers® and provides access to benchmarking data and proven experience treating approximately 2.5 million chronic wounds.  

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital offers highly specialized wound care to patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections and other chronic wounds which have not healed in a reasonable amount of time. Leading edge treatments at the Center include negative pressure wound therapy, total contact casting, bio-engineered tissues, biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies. The Center also offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is advanced wound care that increases oxygen to the body, by allowing patients to breathe 100 percent oxygen in a pressurized chamber The increase in oxygen helps to carry nutrients to wounds through the bloodstream and increases circulation, which improves healing in problematic wounds for many patients.

“As a collaborative team, we work hard to make sure that we are providing the best care, and the most effective treatments for our patients. Our goal is to find the cause, heal the wound, and help educate the patient on prevention of wounds and other related health problems.  In working with all departments of the hospital, we can provide comprehensive care for our patients,” said Dr. Bryon Gorton, Medical Director of St. Elizabeth’s Wound Care Center, member of HSHS Medical Group and certified Wound Specialist Physician. “We very much appreciate receiving this award, but what we really look forward to each and every day is when we are able to release a patient from our care because that means their wound has been healed – that’s why we do what we do.” 

To date, St. Elizabeth’s Wound Care Center has healed 3092 patient wounds since opening in 2013. “St. Elizabeth’s Wound Care Center is devoted to healing problem wounds and helping our patients to reclaim the quality of their lives. In fact, we have had great success in healing patients who have been dealing with open wounds for years,” said Jeanette Martineau, RN and Clinical Program Director for St. Elizabeth’s Wound Care Center. “If you or a loved one is suffering from a wound that has not begun to heal after four weeks with traditional treatment methods, contact St. Elizabeth’s Wound Care Center at 618-234-2120, ext. 32742,” encourages Martineau. “Our compassionate, highly skilled team is ready to help.” A physician referral is not required. 

The Wound Care Centers at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland, sister facilities to St. Elizabeth’s, also received this national Center of Distinction Award.