I’d like to discuss a few changes we are making here at the Weekly, particularly to our website.
As many of you know, we are a small operation with only three employees, a few freelance writers, and the occasional intern or two. The operation isn’t huge, but it does the best it can with the resources it has. Many times I feel like we are playing at a much higher level than such a small group would be expected to.
With that said, we started uploading our stories to our website last year around July as a way to spread our work farther and, hopefully, gain more readers and subscribers. However, what we have learned, and should have figured from the start, is that when people are given something for free they tend to not pay for it as well.
Starting today, there will be no more free news on OFallonWeekly.com. While some may argue that digital is the future and that we need to post news to our site, I argue that the work of my team has value and they deserve to be compensated for their efforts. My people can’t survive on gratitude alone and so I rely on the subscribers and advertisers to make up my budget and keep the doors open.
With this change, you will see an increase in E-Blasts to convey breaking and urgent news. So if you haven’t signed up for our E-Blasts, visit OFallonWeekly.com and sign up. They will continue to be free, however we are tweaking the content within those as well.
Please don’t misunderstand this change as the Weekly burying its head in the sand and abandoning digital. The simple fact is that we have done a lot of research and studying and determined that while the news can, and eventually will, move online, we will have an even harder time making the needed money to operate when based online. This makes revenue from print that much more important right now as we plan, develop, and roll out what the Weekly will be one, three, or five years from now.
So if you value local journalism and news, support the Weekly with a subscription. Urge a local business to promote themselves through advertisements. We can only continue with your support and assistance.
O’FALLON – Preliminary discussions began regarding public safety concerns as it relates to parking around O’Fallon Township High School during the Public Safety committee meeting Monday night. The specific area under evaluation is along Weber Road, from Highway 50 to Third Street, and portions of Agnes Drive and Edna Drive.
Student drivers are asked to park on the school lots which require a $100 per year or $55 per semester parking pass purchased and distributed through the school. Drivers without a parking pass are often found parking along residential streets close to the high school. The city has regulated, via ordinances, certain parking restrictions along neighboring streets.
Residents in this area have raised concerns with city officials regarding the narrowing of the driving lane when cars are parked on both sides of the street, vehicles blocking driveways and vehicles being parked too close to trashcans causing their garbage to not be collected. Public Safety has evaluated the area as well and have concerns about the inability of fire apparatuses or other emergency vehicles to pass through the roads when double parking is occurring.
A recommended ordinance will be presented to the committee at next month’s meeting restricting parking on Weber Road, between Agnes Drive and Third Street, on school days from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The same restrictions will be placed on Agnes Drive and Edna Drive. The section of Weber Road from Highway 50 to Agnes Drive will likely be proposed as a no parking zone.
HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital invites the public to do their part to support environmental recycling efforts by hosting an E-Recycling Event for electronics on Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The collection vehicle will be located in the parking lot in front of the Health Center at 3 St. Elizabeth’s Blvd., O’Fallon, IL.
“As a Franciscan ministry, we strive to be good stewards of the Earth and proudly offer collection events such as this to the community,” states Donna Meyers, Director of Mission Integration, Spiritual Care and Community Benefit. “It is an opportunity to reduce waste and treat the planet with respect.”
J&C E-Recycling will be managing the electronics recycling collection and will pay for some items including: computer towers, computer components, laptops and wire. Other items accepted include:
• Cell Phones
• Electric Motors
• Floppy Drives
• Keyboards, Mice
• Electronic Motors
• DVD/VHS Players
• Battery Backups
• Computer Fans
• LCD Screens
In addition to the above, appliances will be also accepted including refrigerators, washer/dryers, dishwashers, freezers, small appliances (blenders, bread machines, hair dryers, etc.), TVs, lawnmowers, weed eaters, lawn tools and microwaves.
Please note that there will be a $.50 per pound charge for TVs, (plasma, console, projection-DLP) CRT and monitors.
For specific questions on if an item will be accepted, call J&C E-Recycling at 618-233-5009.
All donations are tax deductible. St. Elizabeth’s Mission Integration Committee thanks everyone for their donations to help us serve the community.
Through their Franciscan ministry, St. Elizabeth’s follows in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals and ecology. Below are a few more simple ways that you can do the same and become environmental stewards to the earth.
• Bag it. When you go shopping, bring your own reusable bags. This preserves resources by cutting down on the huge number of paper and plastic bags that are discarded after a single trip.
• Shop at your local farmers’ market. This will help support farmers in your area and decrease the miles you drive to buy food.
• Save on water. Drink water from the tap, instead of buying single-use bottled water, which requires much more energy to produce, store and transport. Use water filters if you are concerned about your local water supply.
• Think before you print. With increased access to smart phones, iPads and laptops, oftentimes a hard copy is not necessary. Switching subscriptions and bill receipts to be sent via email is another great way to lessen paper waste.
To stay informed of this event and other events, visit www.steliz.org/calendar.
O’FALLON – LaVerna Evans Elementary School recently named its April Citizens of the Month. The following students displayed good citizenship: Carter Alexander, Eli Atkins, Alexis Aylor, Brandt Bennett, Blake Brewer, Chloe Bullock, Shane Carr, Kelond Coney, Chance Crogier, Derick Crogier, Alijah Davis, Sami Harris, Danika Heatherly, Greyson Hoffmann, Zoe Hoffmann, Izzy Howard, Will Karius, Elly Lee, Josiah Martin, Gabriel McGee, Yasmeenah Nijmeh, Charlotte Ramseur, Alexis Sarginson, Olivia Schaeffer, Stella Smallheer, Mara Taylor (Submitted Photo)
O’FALLON – Students from O’Fallon Township High School recently participated in the High School Computer Contest at Southwestern Illinois College. The teams performed very well and placed in three categories.
A total of 100 students on 24 teams from five area high schools participated in the Software Applications, Computer Programming and Web Design categories of the contest held at the SWIC Belleville Campus.
FIRST IN SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS – O’Fallon Township High School Team 2 students claimed first place honors in the Software Applications division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Paige Zywicki, Brigette McCormick and Sydney McAuliffe; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)
SECOND IN SOFTWARE APPLICATIONS – O’Fallon Township High School Team 1 students claimed second place honors in the Software Applications division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Julie Knutson; students Dominique Maddalino, Andrew Simmons and Coby Blaylock; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)
FIRST PLACE IN WEB DESIGN – O’Fallon Township High School students claimed first place honors in the Web Design division of the 27th Annual High School Computer Contest sponsored by Southwestern Illinois College. Pictured, from left, are Team Coach Cheryl Clark; students Katie Storck and Amber Smith; and SWIC Business Division Dean Janet Fontenot, Ed.D. (Submitted Photo)
O’FALLON – Delores Moye Elementary School recently named their Character Students for the month of May. The Character Word for May is Citizenship, making your community a better place to live by being a person of character. The following students were recognized for being good citizens: Ar’Qaya Smith, Ben Persons, Mark Maalouf , T.K. Schutt, Sam Livingston, Ryan Pfershy, Kylee Lemasters, James DeCicco, Mason Hoy, Rylee Callahan, Emily Scott, Aubrey Burrow, Claire Twenhafel, Carson Kaiser, Sam Hundley, Tyler Babcock, Xander Fields, Stevie Power, Mackenzie Kohlberg , Sarah Maalouf, Quinn Cornell, Olivia Pfershy, Alana Johnson, Analise Tydinco, Logan Farmer, Justin Hairston, Grace Ewing, Armani Shumpert, Elizabeth Millender, Rocklynn Best, Tyler Northcutt, Ian Dunn (Submitted Photo)
O’FALLON – Local Girl Scouts were honored at a recent ceremony.
Pictured are Silver Award Recipients Caila Riggs and Anna Erickson who attended the “All That Glitters” ceremony hosted by the Girl Scout Council of Southern Illinois on Saturday, April 27, which celebrated the success of Girls Scouts in the Southern Illinois region.
Also honored, but not pictured from the local service unit that includes Fairview Heights, O’Fallon and Shiloh are Jacquelyn Simpson, Outstanding High School Graduate Scholarship Award and future Trifecta award; Katherine Buchanan, Clarissa Pavao and Leah Walton, Trifecta Award Recipients (Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards); Mia Laing, Gold Award; Brooke Bynum and Willow Bynum, Silver Award.
The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are the highest level awards that can be achieved while a Junior, Cadette or Senior/Ambassador level Girl Scout. These young ladies have planned, worked on and completed projects that have improved their community.
O’FALLON – At the planning commission meeting on Tuesday, May 14, the commission approved recommendations for a pour liquor license for Schnucks and a strip mall development behind Jimmy John’s in O’Fallon.
Applicant Jed Penney for Schnucks Markets, Inc. has filed an application with the city of O’Fallon requesting planned use approval to obtain a pour liquor license to allow for the sale of wine and beer in the existing Kaldi’s Coffee Shop and covered patio at the grocery store.
Schnucks, located at 907 E Highway 50, is currently zoned B-1 Community Business District and the applicant is requesting it be rezoned to B-1(P) Planned Community Business District to allow for the sale of retail liquor for onsite consumption.
Richard Hoenig, store director of Schnucks, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting and said the sale of beer and wine in the Kaldi’s Coffee Shop is meant to complement food sold in the shop.
Hoenig said those who choose to partake in the wine and beer consumption would be restricted to the coffee shop and the covered outside patio.
Illinois State Statues require places with alcohol sales to be separated by a minimum of 100 feet from places of worship. Crossview Church is located 279 feet away from Schnucks, which meets the state’s requirement.
Pastor of Crossview Church, Kent Wilson, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting against the request of Schnucks due to the risk of drunk driving and the nearby children who use the church’s land for recreational purposes.
“Why would anyone want to subject our children or even our adults for that matter to the possibility of having an alcohol related incident on its property or the property of its neighbors,” Wilson asked those gathered at the meeting.
“I’m not willing to jeopardize the health and safety of children or for anyone just so Schnucks can offer a single bottle of beer and make a few extra bucks,” he said.
Hoenig said those working in the coffee shop would have the right to refuse service to customers should they be visibly impaired. “We do not want anyone leaving impaired from our establishment.”
“If something should happen, I want to be on record that our church stood up against this,” Wilson responded.
The commission ultimately approved the recommendation in a majority vote to approve the pour liquor license for Schnucks on the condition that the liquor sales be between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., which coincides with Kaldi’s food sale hours.
Also at the May 14 meeting, the commission passed a motion to recommend approval of the Planned Use for The Shops at Richland Creek.
The applicant, Geren Moor of Franklin Land Associates, LLC has filed an application requesting approval of a planned use and preliminary plat for parcels of land generally located in the southwest corner of Green Mount Road and Central Park Drive, extending south to include frontage on Frank Scott Parkway.
The application is for a 17.23-acre mixed use development to be known as The Shops at Richland Creek, including an 8-lot preliminary plat. The initial phase includes three buildings, totaling 17,800 square feet of retail and restaurant development on Lot 8 (3.03-acre proposed parcel).
The remaining lots would be for various other retail, hospitality and service type uses. The site includes providing a public street connecting Frank Scott Parkway to Central Park Drive, with a signalized intersection at both Frank Scott Road and Central Park Drive.
The development will also construct private drives to provide access to the other seven lots associated with The Shops at Richland Creek, including a right-in, right-out on Central Park Drive and cross-access to the retail strip center and the Bank of Edwardsville/ Bussey Bank lots along Green Mount Road.
The applicant is requesting the property be rezoned from “B-1” Community Business District to “B-1(P)” Planned Community Business District.
Jeff Pape of GBT Realty Corp., spoke of the development and some of the potential businesses that would make up the plaza.
Pape said potential businesses that have expressed interest in being in the plaza are taco bell, mod pizza, chicken salad chick, wasabi sushi, smoothie king and The Learning Experience, which is a pre-school program.
The commission recommended approval of the Planned Use Rezoning with the following conditions.
• Variance to the buffer requirement to allow for the existing natural buffer to be allowed in lieu of constructing a structural buffer.
• All recommendations of the traffic study shall be incorporated in the approval of The Shops at Richland Creek.
• The traffic study must be approved by St. Clair County Department of Roads and Bridges.
• A set of Declaration of Restrictive Covenants and Reciprocal Easement Agreement must be recorded with the plat to maintain common improvements, provided for cross-access and cross parking for all the lots, compatible materials and size of signage and buildings.
• The remaining lots in The Shops at Richland Creek will be subject to the Commercial Design Handbook as well as the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants and Reciprocal Easement Agreement for the overall development of the project.
• The planned use for The Shops at Richland Creek will include the approval of the uses outlined in the report for Lot 1 – Lot 7.
O’FALLON – OTHS Girls Lacrosse finished out their regular season play on Wednesday, May 8, with Senior Night festivities and a 13-6 win over Villa Duchesne.
OTHS will host an IHSA Sectional Quarterfinal Monday, May 20, at 5:30pm, at the O’Fallon Sports Park. OTHS, who is the number one seed, will play Minooka High School, the number eight seed. Then, at 7pm, Lockport Township, the number four seed, will play Belleville West High School, the number five seed. The winners of these games will play in the IHSA Sectional Semi-Finals on May 22 at Washington High School.
This week we travel to historic downtown Paducah, Kentucky, where Patrick Stoffel ran in the Mercy Health Iron Mom half marathon on May 11. He is pictured with his copy of the Weekly outside of the Market House Theatre just before he ran. Thanks for bringing us along for the trip!
Are you going on a trip? Take the O’Fallon Weekly along with you! Just take a photo of the Weekly while away from home and email it to us for the Weekly Traveler. Please include who is pictured and where the photo was taken. Email photos to Nick@OFallonWeekly.com and please mark them “Weekly Traveler.”
Will VanAlstine of O’Fallon has been named a Memorial Foundation Scholar Athlete of the Month for April.
A senior at O’Fallon High School, Will VanAlstine has a 3.6 GPA and participates in cross country and track. A 2019 MVP in cross country, he is a four-time state qualifier in cross country as well as a member of the all-conference and all-Metro teams for four years. VanAlstine is a member of the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Spanish Club Officer and Athletic Leadership Council. He was a volunteer track coach for Holy Trinity Middle School. He plans to attend Xavier University where he was offered a position on the Cross Country and Track teams and received an academic merit scholarship.
The scholar athlete program, sponsored by Memorial Foundation in cooperation with Memorial Rehab and Sports Medicine and BJC Medical Group Orthopedics and Sports Medicine recognizes senior scholar athletes from a high school in Memorial’s primary and selected secondary service area. The monthly award winners from September 2018 through April 2019 will be eligible for one of two $1,500 scholarships to be awarded in May 2019.
O’FALLON – The final Boys Varsity Lacrosse regular-season home game was held last Wednesday, May 8.
The team took on Ladue Horton Watkins and came away with a close win, 10-9.
Josh McIntyre led the scoring with five goals and Braden Gaab followed with three. David Tady and Beau Carney each added one.
Braden Gaab won 72 percent of the faceoffs while Josh Bjornson led the defense with six ground ball pick-ups.
Tommy Fulford held Ladue’s offense at bay and came on strong in the late quarters, saving 72 percent of the shots on-goal in the second half.
The team had a solid season finishing 11-5 and locking in the #1 seed for the Missouri Scholastic Lacrosse Association (MSLA) 2019 Show Me Cup Tournament. As a result, the Panthers got a first-round bye and will play Kirkwood in Round 2 at home on Wednesday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m. on the OTHS Panther Stadium turf.
O’FALLON – At the Central 104 Board of Education meeting on Monday, returning board members were sworn into office.
Board members David Swaney and Andrea Mouser were sworn in at the May 13 meeting, continuing in their service to Central 104.
Sarah Svoboda was re-appointed as Board president and DeWonda McComb was nominated and appointed as Board vice president.
Superintendent Dawn Elser said the Apptegy App, which will serve Central students’ and their families and Central staff, “should roll out by the end of the month.”
Elser said there are currently 14 students signed up for the Central District 104 summer camp that will attend the duration of the camp and approximately 15 additional students who will come three to five weeks.
Elser said there are ten committed students for the full day tuition preschool program that will be offered in the 2019-2020 school year.
According to Elser, online registration has begun for the 2019-2020 school year. The first in-house registration date is June 4 from noon until 6 p.m. and the next registration date is July 10, also from noon until 6 p.m.
Graduation for JAMS students is May 23 at the OTHS Milburn campus at 7 p.m. and the last day of school for students is May 30.
O’FALLON – Being sold for purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation is a brutal reality for many children across the globe – and shockingly, it also impacts the Metro East because of its proximity to St. Louis, where trafficking is considered among the highest in the nation.
Jessica May of O’Fallon is on a mission to ease suffering among victims. In August 2018, May felt as though God called her to raise awareness on the issue of sex trafficking, which ultimately led her to form Renewed Strength Ministries.
The purpose of the ministry is to educate the community about the sexual exploitation and trafficking of young males in particular, while providing survivors with opportunities for healing and growth through a Christ-centered program where they can experience the renewal of their hearts and minds.
“It was a vision that God gave me,” May said of starting the ministry. Before she founded the organization, May did work with Covering House, a refuge for female victims of sex trafficking.
“One day he just revealed to me that he wanted me to open a home for boys,” May said.
May said she then went to Minnesota for a juvenile sex trafficking conference where she listened to survivor stories and learned as much as she could. Weeks later, Renewed Strength Ministries was established.
While she doesn’t have a background in therapy or social work, May said simply, “I just have a heart to serve.”
May said she especially has an affinity toward children that have suffered through traumatic experiences.
“It really saddens me to see them used and abused the way they are — whether it’s physical abuse, sexual abuse or mental abuse, it’s just not okay and that’s not what God called us to do with our children.”
“He called us to love them and take care of them and raise them properly. And unfortunately there are thousands of kids across this country that are abused on a daily basis.”
May said Renewed Strength Ministries and its focus on boy survivors is due to an absence of attention placed on helping male victims.
“I feel like it’s not acceptable in society to be a male victim,” she said. “I want to make sure I’m helping them bring back their voice and give them the help they need. I have a strong desire to follow where God is leading me and this is where he has led me.”
May grew up in different places around the world as she was in a military family. She came to O’Fallon in 1996 and is an OTHS graduate. She is married and has a 13-year-old daughter.
May said that statistically, boy victims tend to be underreported.
“They don’t identify as being victims very easily,” she said. “On average, they are 30 percent of child victims.”
She said that currently, there are only five homes across the country that are specifically geared towards helping juvenile male victims.
“That’s just not enough,” May said.
“As far as the Metro East area, St. Louis is actually number three as top city in U.S. for trafficking,” she said.
Along with May, there are members of a board that make up Renewed Strength Ministries. Kimberly Vander Ven, who is May’s sister, has worked with children for 14 years and is the organization’s director of program development.
Other board members are DeAnn Silvia and Samson Siame. Samantha John serves as volunteer coordinator for the organization.
Renewed Strength Ministries is the first of its kind in O’Fallon, raising awareness for male victims of sex trafficking. While the organization is based out of O’Fallon, May said the goal for her organization is to build a campus south of St. Louis to house 28 juvenile males in a safe environment.
The campus and refuge will be called Eagle’s Ranch. Survivors will be able to live in a home on 30 plus acres. There will be seven homes, a chapel, school, therapy center, wood shop and more. The environment encourages healing and helps victims learn life skills.
The program is geared at helping eight to 17-year-olds and will be considered long term.
May said many trafficking victims live in the foster care system.
She said the goal, especially with the older survivors, is to help them either get into a trade skill, find a job or go to college.
“Just teaching them that life skills (are important) so they can take care of themselves and transition into adulthood,” she said.
Eagle’s Ranch will be open to male survivors all over the country and not just the Metro East. The fundraising goal for Eagle’s Ranch is $3 million.
To find out more about donations and volunteering with Renewed Strength Ministries, visit https://www.renewedstrengthministries.org.