Lady Panthers basketball celebrates winning 2019 Regional Championship

This past season was a big one for the OTHS Lady Panthers who won the 2019 Regional Championship. The championship is the program’s first Regional Championship since 2007 and the second straight year with a record 25 wins.  

Five players made All Conference Team Selection for 2018-19 season: 

Kayla Gordon and Ashley Schloer – First Team  

Amelia Bell – Second Team

Izzy Akoro and Reyna Bullock – Third Team

Additionally, Coach Nick Knolhoff was honored as the IBCA-District 19 Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.

Moye Elementary announces April Character Students

(Submitted Photo)

Delores Moye Elementary School recently named their Character Education Students for the month of April. The Character Education word for April is Fairness – treating everyone equally.  The following are students who are being recognized for being fair.

Reese Taylor, Arya Hefley, Emoree Johnson, Sam Cring, Emma Grace Mason, McKenzie Juenger, Ittyan Shaban, Olivia Noakes, Maria Swepson, Cruise Knaute, Cooper Baskett, Benjamin Callahan, Brodie Forcha, Samantha Espiritu, Taya Wolford, Eli Gordon, Sam Bradley, Morgan Jennings, Cash Brown, Ian Hendrick, Jacob Organ, Addison Taake , Evan Schiefelbein, Bella Mitchell, Andrew Robey,  Dylan Fitzgerald, Miracle Brewer, Robert Kukorola, Kamarion Moore, Durrell Jones, Sorin Hessler.

New adult flag football league coming to O’Fallon

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – A new flag football league is coming to O’Fallon. 

Tyler Henson is bringing TUFF to O’Fallon. TUFF is short for The Ultimate Flag Football League. Henson is the O’Fallon Conference Manager, along with being responsible for all the sponsorship sales for the league. As a Conference Manager, Henson will be at the fields every week, hiring referees, videographers and other essential personal, to help the conference run smoothly. 

“As someone who has been involved with the league now for a year, worked with the owner, and also out at the Creve Coeur Conference, TUFF brings two words to mind, opportunity and visionary,” Henson said. 

If anyone in the community would like to participate, whether as a team (8 to 12 players) or as a free agent and get placed on a team, Henson looks forward to helping you sign up. TUFF is for players over the age of 18, however, if you are under the age of 18, but are still interested in participating, a written permission slip from parents is required. Registration can be completed by signing up online, www.tuffleague.com. 

“We are providing a platform to give adults an opportunity to showcase their skills to not just St. Louis, but LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, New York, and anywhere else we end up starting up in. It also gives people, like me, the opportunity to live out a dream of running a league of my own and developing this conference from the ground up,” Henson said. 

St. Louis was the first non-California expansion city TUFF brought its product to. O’Fallon was the perfect fit due to distance from Creve Coeur and also accessibility to premium field space for the season at the O’Fallon Sports Park. 

“As long as everything goes correctly, in the winter of 2021, we will be flying one team from each city out to LA to compete for The TUFF Cup all expenses paid. Imagine being flown out to LA and treated like a celebrity with camera crews following you and your journey to becoming the Champions of TUFF. That is the vision and what is intriguing to me,” Henson said.

Boy Scouts spend Saturday morning cleaning roadside

By Kate Crutcher

O’FALLON – With warmer weather approaching, the young men of Boy Scout Troop 85 got up early last Saturday morning and went to work, on cleaning up one of the local highways. 

Service is one of the highest core values for the Boy Scouts. Throughout the year, the young men, scouts, and their leaders, scouters, donate a good amount of time doing service projects for their community. All the services the Boy Scouts provide is voluntary, but comes highly recommended that they participate, in as many as they can. When the Scouts gain enough service hours, they are honored by moving up in rank. 

Rob Smith has been a leader for the Boy Scout Troop in O’Fallon for the past four years. He is currently the Committee Chair, but previously held the title of Assistant Scoutmaster. 

“For all the community service that the boys and adults perform, they learn that it is important to give back to their community. From the Adopt-A-Highway program keeping the streets of O’Fallon clean to collecting food for the O’Fallon Food Pantry to performing service to our chartering organization, Central Christian Church, we strive to give back. Service is a paramount to the Scouting program,” Smith said. 

During the year, Boy Scout Troop 85, cleans up scattered trash through the Adopt-A-Highway program, three times a year. The Troop adopted a two-mile stretch on North Lincoln. 

Lady Panthers continue to roll over opponents

OTHS’s Brooke Thomas, left, and Olivia Branz, right, at Tuesday’s game against Kirkwood. (Photo by Tim Grout)

The Girls Lacrosse team continues to dominate their opponents, although they faced a strong opponent this past week forcing them to overtime.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Lady Panthers took on Nerinx Hall on the road. OTHS came away with the 15-11 victory. Olivia Branz was named the player of the game with her five goals, two ground balls, and her invaluable contribution in the transition.

On Friday, April 5, the Lady Panthers took to the field at the O’Fallon Sports Park to take on John Burroughs. This matchup proved to be quite competitive heading into a three minute sudden death overtime. Kaylie Grout scored the winning goal 37 seconds into the OT, giving O’Fallon the 11-10 victory. 

Amber Germuga was named the player of the game against John Burroughs thanks in large part to her her great defensive leadership.

This week the Lady Panthers traveled to Kirkwood to play on Tuesday, April 9. In a game that ended as the Weekly was being finalized, the Lady Panthers defeated Kirkwood 13-9. 

The team’s next game is Thursday, April 11, versus Parkway West High School.

Photos by Tim Grout

Council committee given update on proposed vet clinic, special events

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The Community Development Committee met Monday night, but was unable to take any action due to a lack of quorum. 

The committee received information about three special event permits and the second reading for the development known as Advanced Veterinary Center. 

A special event permit was submitted by Country Lane Produce for flower sales at 1790 W. Highway 50 for multiple dates in April, May and June. The business, Eagle TG, located 1728 Corporate Crossing submitted a special event permit for a weekly food truck through the end of the year, pursuant to the mobile food vendor ordinance set in place late 2018. The third special event permit request was from 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. 

No changes were made regarding the Advanced Veterinary Center due to a lack of quorum, but the applicant, Dr. Jim Bollmeier, addressed the committee asking for the council to consider changing the sign and fence requirement. The development will be located at 706 and 800 East Highway 50. The signage for the property at 706 no longer meets the city ordinance. Since the sign has been vacant for over twelve months, it must now meet ordinance requirements. Dr. Bollmeier is requesting an exception to allow the old sign to be used. 

The requirement for a six-foot, vinyl fence along the south side of the property 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. 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 is requesting the fence requirement be removed, citing concerns for placement, erosion it may cause and cost. He did indicate a fence will be installed behind the property at 800 East Highway 50 because of dog walking area for the clinic.

Panthers split week with Belleville West, shut out Civic Memorial

Ben Koenig delivering a pitch in the Panthers 12-3 win over Belleville West
(Submitted Photo)

The OTHS baseball team continues to roll through the season, taking down opponents.

On Tuesday, April 2, the Panthers took to the road to take on Belleville West. OTHS would win by a huge margin in their first conference game, taking down the Maroons 12-3.

However, in a rematch held at Blazier Field on Thursday, April 4, Belleville West brought out their A-game and defeated the Panthers 9-4.

Josh Gibson hits a 3 run home run in the Panthers 12-3 win over Belleville West (Submitted Photo)

Not letting the loss a day earlier impact them, the O’Fallon boys rallied quickly and shut out Civic Memorial at Blazier Field, 1-0, on Friday, April 5.

First National Bank of Waterloo teaches St. Clare students about saving

First National Bank of Waterloo’s Marketing Director Laura Mergelkamp discusses the importance of saving with third graders at St. Clare School. (Submitted Photo)

O’FALLON – As part of a national program designed to help kids develop savings habits early in life, representatives from First National Bank of Waterloo visited the third graders at St. Clare School on Wednesday, April 3.

The students learned about topics such as interest rates, debit cards and the basics of where money comes from. First National Bank of Waterloo’s Marketing Director, Laura Mergelkamp, said the most important message they are trying to teach kids is that it doesn’t matter how you save, but it’s important to start saving.  

“This is a really fun program to be a part of because, so often, kids have never thought about how the money in the ATM gets there,” said Mergelkamp. “You can see their wheels turning once we start explaining that their parents’ paychecks get deposited into the bank and then can be taken out of the ATM. It helps them realize that the money isn’t limitless.” 

Mergelkamp said the program also focuses on teaching kids to make smart financial choices on a daily basis. Mergelkamp uses a ‘money tree’ to explain how every financial decision they make requires them to make a choice between saving and spending.   

“I often use cereal as an example. Kids usually want to pick the one with the really pretty box but they don’t think about the fact that it costs $2 more than the same cereal in a different box. It’s a good visual for them to see how quickly the money goes depending on the choices they make,” said Mergelkamp.

First National Bank of Waterloo’s employees travel to ten schools throughout the Metro East speaking with kids about financial topics. The program reaches more than 800 students each year and continues to grow.  

Tennis Panthers win Triad Tournament

The Boys Tennis team dominated the Triad Tournament last weekend, capturing first place overall. 

The team first took on Quincy and made short work of them, winning 4-1. They would do the same to Peoria Richwoods, winning by the same score.

Later the Panthers took on the team from Jacobs and won 3-2.

Niko Papachrisanthou (2-1) was named number one in singles, while Kaden Vollmer (2-1) was named number two in singles. 

Evan Potter and Gavin Sohn (2-1) took the top spot in doubles, while Noah Kellermann and Nic Strobel (2-1) were named second in doubles, and Josh Collins and Luke Russo (3-0) were named third in doubles. 

The boys tennis team currently has a 9-2-1 record for the season. 

Central 104 appoints new board member

Christina Ward takes the oath of office, becoming the newest member of the Central 104 Board of Education.
(O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Annabelle Knef)

O’FALLON – At the Central District 104 meeting on Monday, Christina Ward was appointed as a board member. 

Ward will be replacing former board member Brent Whipple, who retired his position. Ward was sworn during the April 8 meeting and read an oath before the Board of Education. 

Superintendent Dawn Elser said the Apptegy app will be ready within the next month. The app will be for Central District 104 students, families and staff with all school related information and news available to them. It will serve the same purpose as the school website, but more accessible and user friendly. 

Elser said after a recent survey was passed out to Central families about interest in summer camp programs through the district, the feedback was positive. 

The summer camp would be a nine- week program with lunch included and a field trip per week. The camp would cost $100 per week with a before and after “latchkey” time slot available before and after camp hours. The regular camp hours would be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“I think the interest would be there,” Elser said. 

Ages for students participating in the camp would be five through 12- years- old. 

Elser said the camp would be open to local students around O’Fallon and not exclusive to Central District 104 students. 

Families would be able to sign up their students for whichever weeks they choose — each week would have a different theme from sports to academics. 

The board approved the the summer camp program and cost of $100 per week and the before and after camp sessions as the same price as the Central District 104 latchkey program. 

The board also approved the addition of a full day tuition preschool for the 2019-20 school year and for setting the monthly cost at $620 a month.

The hours of the pre-school program would be from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The Central board discussed the name change of Central Elementary to Dawn Elser Elementary School for the 2019-20 school year. 

Board president Sarah Svoboda said the district’s attorney recommended to make the name change in the month of June so the school would have the proper amount of time to change the school sign on the elementary building and to make other necessary changes. 

The cost of the sign for the elementary school building would be the only associated cost for the district to make the name change. 

“We would still remain Central School District 104, we would just be changing the name of the elementary school,” Svoboda said. “There would be no more confusion.” 

Board member David Swaney said it was a recommendation by former board member Brent Whipple to make the name change, and not prompted by Elser herself. 

The board will move the discussion to the next board meeting in May.

View of the Past: Advertising mural for Hires Root Beer

Contributed by Brian Keller, O’Fallon Historical Society

This week’s view is of an advertising mural for Hires Root Beer that was once visible on the side of the business at 129 E. State in O’Fallon.  The sign was originally painted sometime between 1946 and 1950 when the building was home to Willa Behrens’ grocery store called Willa’s.  At some point the mural was sided over, but it was uncovered during a renovation in 1993 when the photo was taken.  Over the years, many businesses came and went in the building which is now home to Three Sisters Crafts and Gifts.

O’Fallon PD takes part in SWIC career fair

(Photo by Jim Haverstick, SWIC)

Southwestern Illinois College students, veterans and members of the community explored career opportunities at the Spring 2019 Job Fair at the SWIC Belleville Campus. 

Seeking information about a possible future career, Blake Emery of Belleville, right, talks with O’Fallon Police Officer Nikki Brown about opportunities in law enforcement.  

More than 300 job seekers turned out to meet more than 125 employers representing a variety of Metro East and St. Louis career fields. The fair, sponsored by SWIC Career Services, included career fields such as education, nonprofit, financial services, health care, insurance, security, law enforcement, retail sales and more. 

For more information about SWIC Career Services, visit swic.edu/career-services.

OTHS lacrosse teams take part in annual boys vs girls charity game

(Photo by Scott Gaab)

On Saturday, both the JV and Varsity Boys Lacrosse teams played in the annual Boys vs. Girls Charity event.  This year the kids played in honor of Coach Terry Williamson who was lost to cancer last year.  The Boys and Girls programs teamed up with the local community and raised over $2,000 for the American Cancer Society.  The annual event started in 2011 and has raised over $20,000 in the fight against cancer.

Earlier in the week, the O’Fallon Varsity Boy’s Lacrosse team split two home games. The boys lost 1-7 to a strong Rockwood Summit team, but rebounded nicely later in the week with a dominating 14-4 victory against St. Mary’s High School.  

Easter eggs rain from the sky

SHILOH – Adding a new twist to the classic Easter egg hunt, Cornerstone Christian Church hosted its “Hop and Drop” event on Saturday, April 6 with over a thousand kids in attendance at two locations. 

On Saturday morning, helicopters dropped Easter eggs for children up to age 11 at both the church’s Shiloh location along North Green Mount Road and O’Fallon Community Park. 

Bounce houses, a petting zoo, giveaways and games were present at both locations. There were also food trucks on site with items for sale. 

O’Fallon Weekly photos by Annabelle Knef

Police chief addresses use of storm sirens

By Martha Stoffel

O’FALLON – The Chief of Police took time during Monday’s Public Safety Committee meeting to explain the department’s use of the storm warning siren during Sunday night’s storms. 

The City of O’Fallon’s standard for warning for a severe storm is when there are straight-line winds of 58 m.p.h. or higher. The primary function of the sirens are to notify residents that may be outside to seek cover, so they may not necessarily be heard inside. 

Chief Eric Van Hook also indicated the siren located at EK elementary school is currently being repaired, but the department used the CodeRED notification service to alert residents in that area. 

Residents can sign up for the CodeRED emergency notification services from the main page of the City of O’Fallon’s website at www.ofallon.org. The city uses this service to notify residents in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. Notifications can be sent via phone, text message and email. Residents can also download the free CodeRED Mobile Alert app.

The committee approved to send to council 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. 

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.

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) was approved to send to council. 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. 

The final item of committee action was approving 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.