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DECATUR, ILLINOIS

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

LIVE & LEARN Two words we use to describe the acquisition of experience are live and learn. In the context of today, Live and Learn is our annual Outlook

section where we examine the way people live and how they learn. The stories in this section are the culmination of that process.

SOME LIGHT READING

INSIDE:

Fatih Community Educational Institute stresses social skills, responsibility for graduates PAGE G6

Herald & Review photos, Jim Bowling

Autumn McCormick, coordinator of little free libraries of Stewardson, has seen a significant growth in the program since it was started last summer.

Little libraries

Cerro Gordo-Bement basketball cooperative receives benefit of two coaching staffs PAGE G8

Stewardson residents saw a need and began placing small houses of books around town By SHARON BARRICKLOW For the Herald & Review

McCormick shows a little free library box at 121 W. Main St. in Stewardson.

Six more boxes have been erected since this little free library box was first set up at Arlene McCormick’s house at 418 E. Main St. last summer.

STEWARDSON — Betty Mahnke of Stewardson doesn’t mind if strangers stop by and admire the dollhouselike structure in her front yard and she hopes they notice the details, wallpapered walls, molding details and books that are present in every room. Mahnke’s “dollhouse” is Stewardson’s latest “Little Free Library” and part of an international movement that encourages readers to share books by placing them in small structures where passersby can take a book, or leave one. There is no fee and no library card needed. “When I heard about the Little Free Library movement, I wanted to get involved because it is such a great project, “Mahnke said. “I’ve been active in COWS (Community Organization Working for Stewardson) and this seemed like something that would benefit the entire

THE NET McCormack has a Facebook page for the Stewardson Little Free Libraries. www.facebook/littlefreelibraries ofstewardsonillinois. community.” Little Free Libraries began in rural Wisconsin in 2009 when Tod Bol built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher who loved reading. He filled it with books and put it on a post in his front yard with a sign that said “Free Books.” More than 10,000 Little Free Libraries are registered around the world, all providing free books and asking patrons to also share their unwanted books. Supporters say the movement benefits not only literacy, but also other arts, recycling and a sense of community. Mahnke has seen them

all. “It keeps books moving,” she said. “People finish a book and they want to share it. Other people read it and then they pass it on. It gives neighbors something to talk about and a place to meet.” Kris Renshaw, a volunteer with COWS, said the community action group identified the need for a library in Stewardson soon after forming. “People needed to go to the Effingham library,” she said. “It had a cost to it, and in summer there wasn’t a place for children to go to get books.” One member of COWS, Autumn McCormack, created the first library as an anniversary gift for her inlaws. “A local craftsman, Larry Schultz, built it for me and I had it registered on the Little Free Library site,” she said. “It just took off. I

LIBRARIES/PAGE G7

Teaching others to play an instrument is a challenge. Instructors need to be able to think like a beginner PAGE G3

Argenta-Oreana fire department praised for qualified volunteers who care about community PAGE G4


G2 HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

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DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Truckers ready for open road ABOUT TOWN VILLAGE: Argenta COUNTY: Macon POPULATION: 947 MAYOR: Cindy Luedke MAJOR HIGHWAY: Illinois 48

OOO

Richland classes, training prepare drivers for license By TONY REID H&R Staff Writer

VILLAGE: Bethany COUNTY: Moultrie POPULATION: 1,352 VILLAGE PRESIDENT: William Ashley Jr. EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS: Bethany Celebration, Crowder Park MAJOR HIGHWAY: Illinois 121 HISTORY: The land upon which Bethany is situated was entered by Robert Law, who built the first house — a small log cabin erected in 1834. Law was a farmer, and also built a mill. In 1837, Law sold out to A.N. Ashmore; and he soon afterward sold out to the Rev. A.M. Wilson who built a large two-story log house. This was all the building done here until 1854, when Dr. J.D. Livesay, who was the first physician, erected a frame dwelling and storehouse and, in partnership with Thomas Sowell, opened a general stock of goods for sale. This was the first frame building and is now used as a wagon shop by Lantz and Mitchell. There was no school taught in the village proper until about 1871, when Miss Snyder taught in the private residence of Stephen McReynolds. The present schoolhouse was built in 1874. The old Bethany church that stood on the village site, from which it received its named, was built of hewed logs in 1838. It was replaced by the present frame structure in 1855, at a cost of $2,200. This is the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The Methodist church was erected in the fall of 1872. There was a post office established in 1856 at Marrowbone, and J.L. Livesay was made the first postmaster. W.P. McGuire was next appointed and through his efforts the name was changed to Bethany. Bethany was incorporated as a village in spring 1877. ON THE WEB: www.354.com/ bethany/

OOO VILLAGE: Cerro Gordo COUNTY: Piatt POPULATION: 1,436 VILLAGE PRESIDENT: Brad Williams INDUSTRY: Dennis Ridgeway Enterprises Inc., Clarkson Grain MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Illinois 32, Illinois 105 HISTORY: Established in 1844 as Griswold, veterans of the Mexican-American War renamed the town Cerro Gordo after the Battle of Cerro Gordo in 1847. Cerro Gordo translates from Spanish meaning “fat hill.” ON THE WEB: www.fathill.com

OOO VILLAGE: Dalton City COUNTY: Moultrie POPULATION: 544 MAYOR: Joseph Wallis MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Interstate 57, Illinois 128

OOO CITY: Clinton COUNTY: DeWitt POPULATION: 7,225 MAYOR: Carolyn Peters EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS: C.H. Moore Homestead, DeWitt County Museum, Weldon Springs INDUSTRY: McElroy Metal, Miller Container MAJOR HIGHWAYS: U.S. 51, Illinois 10, Illinois 54 HISTORY: Founded by a pair of land speculators, Clinton was one of the dozens of prairie towns that sprung up in the plains states in the mid-1830s. The community’s first lawyer, Clifton H. Moore, rode into town in August 1841. The decade of the 1840s was the heyday of circuit riders of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Soon-to-be famous lawyers and judges frequented Clinton, county seat of DeWitt County, including Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas and David Davis. The railroad was even more significant in the growth and development. The first Illinois Central Railroad locomotive chugged into Clinton in 1854; by the end of the decade, it had transformed the town, socially and economically, from a rough frontier settlement into a thriving “railroad town.” By 1920, 11 passenger trains were passing through town daily, and the Clinton yards handled more than 107,000 freight cars each month. The Great Depression saw a sharp decline in the railroad’s prosperity, so Clinton turned to the area’s farmers to maintain the local economy. For the last half-century, Clinton has turned to industry. ON THE WEB: www.clinton illinois.com

DECATUR — The fastest learning curve toward a good job turns out to be a stretch of two-lane blacktop with a truck on it. Get the training and pass the tests needed to put you in the driving seat of that semi or dump truck or delivery truck and America wants to hire you right away. “I’ve had people in here who have had four or five job offers before they ever started class,” said Jim Turnbull, commercial driver’s license training coordinator at Richland Community College in Decatur. “And pay for drivers averages between $35,000 and $45,000 in the first year, although I’ve had students make $50,000 in their first year,” added Turnbull, 63. “The top salaries? It’s hard to say, but I know guys out there making well over $100,000 a year.” Ads seeking truck drivers are everywhere. And promising new developments, such as the concept of the Midwest Inland Port linked to Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s intermodal rail facility in Decatur, look set to drive related truck traffic to new heights. “We think that is going to be big,” said Darbe Brinkoetter, dean of Richland’s department of continuing and professional education, which includes the truck driving school and works closely with ADM. “And just look up the number of grain trucks serving agribusiness like ADM; trucks are everywhere,” she added. Waves of baby boomer generation truckers are also downshifting into the sunset, and their retirements are adding more pressure that is helping to push the job demand pedal to the metal. One estimate from the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics suggests America will create more than 100,000 truck driving jobs a year through 2016. But the same estimate says the number of new people trained to fill them is barely enough to meet 10 percent of that annual demand. Richland trains about 75 new drivers a year and while most of them are men, women show up in about every second or third class. It’ll cost you $3,500 for the four-week semitruck training course and $850 for the two week class “B” course, which covers smaller vehicles like dump trucks and delivery trucks. Turnbull said the training is up close and personal with himself and his three instruc-

Herald & Review photos, Jim Bowling

Student Steve Youngblut of Stonington checks his positioning of a training semi while demonstrating truck driving skills learned in the Commercial Driver License 1000 course at Richland Community College.

ON THE ROAD Ready to get your semitruck motor runnin’ and head out on the highway? Students can find out more about the Richland Community College truck driving school by calling (217) 8757211, ext. 261. tors. The school has one semi and one dump truck in its vehicle fleet right now (there are plans to expand it) and tiny class sizes ensure lots of individual attention. Students need the cash for the class fee, a clean driver’s license and a willingness to work hard. Trainee drivers hit the books first to learn about trucking, trucks and their controls and the intricacies of such things as air brakes. It’s intensive and state law says they’ve got to get it right: “There are three tests they have to take to get their permit before I can even get them in a truck,” explained Turnbull, a truck driver since 1969 who has been teaching 21 years. “The whole semitruck driving program is 160 hours and the first week is class week; and then, for the next three weeks, we are outside.” A traffic-coned course is set up on college grounds with more quiet practice streets available at the neighboring Progress City site of the Farm Progress Show. There is plenty of practice out on the open road, too, and students learn to handle a vehicle that, in the case of a $200,000 semi, has up to 17 gears and meas-

ures 13-feet-high and 65-feetlong long and weighs 80,000 pounds loaded. “Most stick with it but we do have a few students who say ‘Hey, that’s not for me’ and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Turnbull. “Driving a truck is not for everybody.” The hourlong state driver’s test in Springfield consists of “pre-trip inspections” of trucking knowledge, various “skills” maneuvers such as backing on a coned test area and a road test. “Hit any cone and you automatically fail,” added Turnbull. “Most students get the test within two times, usually the second time.” As truck driving students go, Steve Youngblut from Stonington is perhaps more relaxed than most. The 61year-old retired manager with the Illinois Environemental Protection Agency now has a post retirement career as a farmer and says his futrue livelihood doesn’t depend on nailing that test. But he’s anxious to learn to drive a semi to haul grain and says farm life will be a lot easier if he can earn that coveted big rig license. He does admit that driving toward his goal has given him a few sleepless nights. “I tried flying for a while and I have to say learning to drive a truck is even more of a challenge,” he said. “There you are, shifting gears up and down, trying to do everything right, and you have to remember you are also responsible for this big monster of a vehicle that can run over somebody if you are

Youngblut demonstrates skills learned in the course.

Youngblut maneuvers near a cone while working toward earning his commercial driver’s license. not careful.” But the born again farmer is getting psyched up for his big truck test in Springfield and, if he nails it, he’ll be able to hit the road in the fall with a trailer full of grain and maybe fire up the old CB radio to swap hearty trucker talk with his fellow knight errants heading out on the great American highway.

Or maybe not. Turnbull says the heyday for the whole CB truck camaraderie big 104 thing was back in the ’70s. He says traces of that life are still out there but it’s not what it was. “These days, guys have all got cellphones,” he said. “And they’re calling home.” treid@herald-review.com|(217) 421-7977

A funny thing happened ... Comedy club finds its place away from the lights of a big city By TIM CAIN H&R Entertainment Editor

MASON CITY — Small businesses surviving another year deserve applause. So how about businesses that survive against all odds and thrive in an improbable location? “Because of the places I’ve been and worked, I’ve been able to network with other comedians,” said Chris Speyrer, owner of Mason City Limits Comedy Club. “I’ve expanded my roots.” Comedy clubs struggle in major metropolitan areas. Mason City is a town of fewer than 2,500. Nationally known comedian Will Durst, who performed at the club on its first anniversary in 2007, got on its stage and said Mason City “isn’t a town, it’s a shire.” Now, as Speyrer looks forward to his eighth anniversary in April, he’s able to both look back and look forward. “It’s a tough time for anybody in a small business right now,” he said, but he also understands that as a working comedian himself, it’s nice to have a place to perform without having to spend extensive time on the road. “I

have blessings. My friends come and see me. I sleep in my own bed.” It’s a small business, with all the advantages and disadvantages Speyrer might have imagined. “It helps that this business is a two-person operation,” he said “Sometimes it’s one person when I run the door and sell the drinks. We need to do better, but the weather has just wreaked havoc with us this year. There are so many things that are out of your control.” Speyrer and longtime acquaintance Ryan “Dr. Gonzo” Swaar made their bid to make over Mason City’s downtown with a comedy club and a restaurant. The restaurant has since closed, but the comedy club remains an attraction, even as Speyrer ponders changes. “We’re going to tweak some things,” he said. “I had a lot of help from Gonzo,” Speyrer said of when he first took over the club and made it into a distinct listening room. “He helped me remodel everything. He was making decisions.” But it was the road work Swaar and Speyrer did that has helped build and attract comedians to the smallest

Herald & Review, Danny Damiani

Chris Speyrer, the owner of Mason City Limits, has been running the comedy club in Mason City since April 1, 2006. Central Illinois city with a comedy club. “All of my comedian friends can play better places than mine,” Speyrer said. “A lot of them coming here are doing me favors.” But he’s also founded a club in a strong area. He has a number of Central Illinoisbased comedians from whom he can request sets. “There are other people around here who have been doing this for years,” he said. “You’ve got at least 15 extremely talented comics within a 60- to 90-mile radius. That’s a strong local base.

Central Illinois has a good comedy scene. You have at least five good stages around with not that far to go.” Speyrer also must be sure he tends to his artistic side if he wants to continue to be a working comedian. “It’s kind of a mixed blessing when you have to concentrate on keeping the business end together,” he said. “On the other hand, I get to hang out with the funniest people. I might be more creative when I’m in that situation.” timcain@herald-review.com| (217) 421-6908

READERS RESPOND What brought me to where I am today? I guess I would have to say that my experiences in Jobs Daughters going through the line of offices to Honored Queen, participating in the Miss Illinois Jobs Daughter pageant and getting my feet wet in public speaking through my experiences there. Also, joining CASA as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and being the voice for the child led me to wanting to be more involved in my community as an elected official. I was a trustee for two terms, as well as mayor of Argenta for two terms. This is my second term as Marine Corps League Auxiliary President and co-founder of the Friends of Argenta, a nonprofit organization of four years, that has given back thousands of dollars to our community. I have to say my opportunity is having the parents I have who gave me many opportunities as I was given growing up. Deena Bowman Argenta


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SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY G3

Teaching not an easy task Musical experience helps, but instructors need to be able to think like a beginner By JIM VOREL H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR — Although one precedes the other by necessity, learning to play an instrument and teaching others to play that instrument are entirely different tasks. For Decatur bassist Conrad Lee, 36 years of musical experience isn’t the only qualification that makes him suitable for instructing others who are taking their first steps into a wider musical world. He’s also still willing to learn himself. “If some kid brings a guitar in here and plays something new, I’m going to try and learn it immediately,” said Lee, who teaches both guitar and bass at Linda’s Music Center in Decatur. “Teaching is all about patience and wanting to learn for both students and teachers.” Lee has been giving lessons at Linda’s since 2002, spending time there between gigs with local bands such as the Carson Gospel Singers and Soul Purpose. In that time, he’s been a teacher to many players who have gone on to perform in local bands, such as Rock of Ages’ Greg Cuttill. Herald & Review photos, Danny Damiani One of his students, Eric Lee watches Demaris Houston, 11, play the guitar during a guitar lesson at Linda’s Music Center. Conrad Ingram, even went on to become part of the band for Center guitar teacher Braun zation, I taught carpentry. rap superstar Lil Wayne. But But teaching is not easy. Sheets got his job. After takeven those standouts had to Some people who are great ing lessons at the Decatur start with a humble frame of musicians never learn to pass store for a few years, he was mind and the knowledge that on their knowledge. Trying to eventually offered a chance to the journey would not be think like a square-one beginstart teaching himself. He easy. ner is a challenge.” started with beginner lessons “When a student finally Unlike many music instrucin 2004 when he was only 16 catches onto what I’m trying tors, years old, a stressful experito make Kubow ence because he first had to them focuses convince himself he was a underon inforgood enough player to be stand, I mally telling others what to do. feel like I training “It was a scary thing for really his stume,” Sheets said. “I rememhelped dents to ber one of my first students them do play by somewas the superintendent of ear in thing Clinton schools, which really addition impormade me question myself. It to readLee smiles after watching Demaris play guitar during a lesson. tant,” the was a confidence thing. I ing instruceventually got to know that music. tor said everyone learns differently, learn fast,” Lee said. “But if investments a person can He does proudly. and I could teach them all in make in his or her life, a gift you grasp onto music and this “I’m different ways.” that keeps on giving. He give it the time it deserves, it because very Now Sheets works alongbelieves everyone should play, will be with you for the rest of it was grateful I side Lee, who remains a and if they can, teach. your life.” the way have the source of encouragement. “The first-timers mostly he once Richard Kubow opportunijvorel@herald-review.com| The elder bassist believes start out as people who just learned ty to help want to get a new hobby and music is among the best (217) 421-7973 to play people in that way.” popular music himself, and Richard Kubow is another he wants to help make that Decatur native who has been process significantly less making a living as a music arduous than it was for himteacher for decades. He self as a young man. began teaching lessons while “I had music lessons, but, serving as a civil rights workof course, they were classier in Mississippi and eventucal,” he said. “And, of course, ally ended up with his own I wasn’t into Bach and small music school, employBeethoven, I was into the ing multiple teachers. In 2006, Beatles and the Rolling he moved back to his homeStones. I had to learn that town but continued to give stuff by ear because no one private lessons. A natural would teach me. So I sort of musician who has found it made this promise to myself unusually easy to learn a that I would help anyone who wide variety of instruments, was in that same position.” he teaches everything from Decades later, Kubow has piano and guitar to horns and personally taught more than drums from his space in the 2,000 students. He’s seen Business Center of Decatur. young girls he taught as chil“I have always had a desire to teach and coach for as long dren come back as brides with wedding songbooks and as I can remember,” he said. hired former students as “When I became a Christian, employees. I taught Bible classes. When I That also happens to be was with a civil rights organihow current Linda’s Music

‘I have always had a desire to teach ...’

READERS RESPOND It is hard to separate two hubs of opportunity that have greatly affected my life. The first was being employed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago while in high school. It was there that I learned how to speak before large groups. It was there that I met a cute cashier at the U-505 exhibit. I was one of the tour guides at the submarine. She was to become my wife, and the mother of our five children. After graduation from high school, the plan was to work full time and go to night school to become a chemist. The second hub of opportunity was CPC International, a corn wet miller. They were looking for a laboratory technician. I applied and was subsequently offered a full-time technician job. While at CPC, I was mentored by some of the leading world experts in corn, corn’s components, and their modification and commercialization. CPC offered employees,

and their children, the opportunity to apply for a college scholarship. At the insistence of my wife, Rochelle, the former cashier, I applied. I was awarded a two-year scholarship covering tuition, books and some expenses. During those two years, Rochelle taught full time and gave music lessons. We also had two children and a mortgage. From start to finish, it took me eight years to get my bachelor’s degree in chemistry. My degree allowed me to return to CPC as a research chemist, then to do research for a South Carolina textile company, and then to do research and development for Tate & Lyle. The results of these opportunities are 19 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, holding, or sharing, five U.S. Patents, and the chemist on teams that were very productive. Robert Mooth Decatur

READERS RESPOND “God, Sis, isn’t it beautiful.” That statement found a home in my memory as few others have. The speaker was my grandfather who farmed just south of Decatur, and the occasion was a sunny Sunday afternoon in March. I was almost 16 with a driver’s permit burning a hole in my wallet. My grandfather offered to let me do some practice driving, but we had only gone about a quarter of a mile when he told me to stop. My first thought was that I was such a terrible driver that he felt he had to take the wheel, but that wasn’t it at all. I stopped; he got out of the car and simply stared at the recently plowed field. I still remember that the soil was glistening black, the sky what I would later know as “Carolina blue,” and one lonely tree served as a focal point along a distant fence row. “God, Sis, isn’t it beautiful.” I looked, and despite my youth, I agreed. Move the calendar forward almost 50 years during which time I married a career Marine, moved more than 20 times, raised children, taught school, and then realized that my husband and I were old enough to retire. Our moment of truth regarding this passage of time happened while we were living in the Washington, D.C., area, and we were truly in the position of moving anywhere we wanted. We suddenly realized that we liked the idea of being “in the middle,” and we chose Decatur which led to too many “Why Decatur?” questions both before we left the East Coast and after we moved here. Any regrets? Not one, as we enjoy the cultural opportunities, the spirit of generosity, and the affordability of this community. Granddad was right; it is beautiful here. Carol J. Tyler Decatur


G4 HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

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DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Firefighters ready for the call Argenta-Oreana department praised for qualified volunteers who care about community By THERESA CHURCHILL H&R Senior Writer

ARGENTA — Shannon Marshall, home from co-hosting a morning radio show in Decatur, waited for what she thought was an anxiety attack to pass. It didn’t. After an hour she called 911, and in minutes, firefighters were in her Oreana living room, checking her blood pressure, giving her oxygen and outfitting her with a heart monitor while an ambulance was en route. Working on her were Cory White, chief of the ArgentaOreana Fire Protection District, and David Brix, one of his captains. Diagnosed with atrial fibrillation as the result of the Jan. 14, 2013, episode, Marshall is one of the fire protection district’s many fans — and not just because her husband, Bryan, is among the THE volunNET teers. “I knew www.aofpd.net I was in www.facebook.com capable /pages/Argentahands,” Oreana-Fire-Departthe 44ment/11767585493 year-old 5720 woman recalls “Cory and David talked with me the whole time and worked together as a team.” Teamwork is the life’s blood of a fire department, and Argenta-Oreana’s rises to the level of getting the volunteer crew called out on any structural fire in Cerro Gordo, Cisco, Hickory Point and Maroa and making it one of the few around qualified to provide advanced life support. Larry Peasley, chief of the Maroa Fire Protection District and vice president of the Macon County Fire Association, praises White and the rest of his volunteers for the consistently good service they deliver. “They enjoy incredible support from their community, they get along with each other, and they work well together,” Peasley said. “Their turnout at calls is fantastic.”

Herald & Review photos, Danny Damiani

Argenta-Oreana Fire Protection District fire chief Cory White and firefighter Matt Longstreet check inventory before their monthly department dinner in Argenta. ting out a house fire in Oreana on Dec. 21, 2012, and sat with his family while he very nearly succumbed to pneumonia — coding for 17 minutes. Nor how they used firetrucks to escort him home to Argenta from Springfield’s Kindred Hospital several weeks later and organized a fundraiser to help him cover ongoing medical bills. “I didn’t have to ask, they just did it,” Duncan said. “Don’t ask me how he does it, but Cory White brings everybody together. I wish I could

Carol Osborne, with Oreana Christian Church, serves Nathan Marshall during their monthly dinner.

Argenta-Oreana Fire Protection District captain Derek Miller puts a medical bag away after doing an inventory check. Firefighter David Duncan and others credit White, the first solo chief in the district’s 63-year history, with making the volunteers feel like a family. Duncan said he will never forget how some of his fellow firefighters came to Decatur Memorial Hospital after put-

CITY: Altamont COUNTY: Effingham POPULATION: 2,319 MAYOR: Larry Taylor EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS: Dr. Wright House, Alwerdt’s Gardens, Altamont Living Museum, Ballard Nature Center, Effingham County Fair, Illinois High School Rodeo State Finals, Mill Road Thresherman’s Association Steam, Gas & Threshing Show, Schuetzenfest, JSP Inc. Coun-

lead like that.” An Argenta native, White has been with the ArgentaOreana Fire Protection District for 21 years — ever since he managed to persuade Steve Ekiss, former Argenta fire chief, to lower the minimum age from 21 to 18. “I couldn’t wait three more

ABOUT TOWN try Treasures Show. HIGHWAYS: Interstate 70, U.S. 40, Illinois 128.

years,” said White, 40. “I don’t ever remember a time of not wanting to be a firefighter.” A volunteer like the rest, White is a supervisor at Parke Warehouses in Decatur and has been the sole chief of the fire protection district since 2008. Ekiss, a 30-year veteran of the department, is assistant chief. The fire district is fully staffed, with 50 volunteers divided evenly between fire stations in Argenta and Oreana, and three on a waiting list. The roster includes four paramedics and three prehospital registered nurses, qualified to administer certain medications in the field, and two intermediate emergency medical technicians, who can start IVs. Lawrence Holloway, one of three fire district trustees, said that “energetic people” like White recruit more energetic people. White, on the other hand, insists that the volunteers deserve the credit. “I know how hard it is to answer all these calls and not get paid a penny for it, so I look at my firefighters as family,” the chief said. “I’m just the guy with the title who needs to keep the day-to-day things going.” Firefighters get together most Monday evenings — the first Monday of the month for medical training at the Oreana station, the second Monday at the Argenta station for a dinner, the third Monday for fire training and the fourth at the respective stations for equipment maintenance. Lorie Kimler, a pre-hospital registered nurse, said they also get together just because. “It’s nothing for us to throw on a pot of chili and hang out at the station,” she said. “That way we’re really close if a call comes in.” Her husband, Battalion Chief Phil Kimler, said he’s amazed at what little conflict he sees. “Cory works hard to maintain a good relationship with the community, with other departments and within the ranks,” he said. Ron Grider, treasurer of Friends of Argenta, said the fire district’s community activity extends to co-hosting an annual Alan Thomas

HISTORY: An early pioneer of the area was Griffin Tipsword, who dwelt among the Kickapoo Indians. The area was settled by German immigrants by way of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The name Altamont, meaning “high mound,” was chosen because of the elevation or “mound” that lies to the northwest. ON THE WEB: www. altamontil.net

Longstreet and Cadet Nathan Marshall check inventory on a medical bag before their monthly department dinner. Christmas Auction that provides toys to needy children in Argenta and Oreana on Christmas Eve. “Steve Ekiss was the one

who contacted me about partnering with them,” Grider said. “This is just one of the many reasons we have by far the most professional volun-

teer firefighting group in this area.” tchurchill@herald-review.com| (217) 421-7978


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SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY G5

Embracing the inner artist Businesses in downtown Shelbyville have expanded offerings hoping to draw more visitors

READERS RESPOND

By SHARON BARRICKLOW For the Herald & Review

SHELBYVILLE — A growing community of artisans and small-business owners are hoping interest in the arts will bring more visitors to Shelbyville in 2014 and encourage local residents to embrace their inner artists. Several businesses in the downtown area have opened or expanded their artistic offerings with galleries, workshops and hands-on lessons. One downtown gallery, Flourishes, offers artist studios for rent. “It’s a great place to work,” said Shelbyville resident and artist Dan Modzelewski. “I can sit here at my drawing board and still see everything that’s happening on Main Street.” Modzelewski uses his small studio as a base for exhibiting at galleries throughout the Midwest. “This is home. It’s great that I can work here,” he said. Flourishes owner Carol Kessler also holds weekly The white ware celdon combina“Art Talk Tuestion pottery is a new series that days” events Treadway has created and is feawhere artists turing at the Artisans Galleria. can gather to talk about their work and learn new techniques. “People used to have to go to other communities to get this kind of opportunity,” said artist Jane Rood, a retired Eastern Illinois University math instructor who now designs cards and other art. “It’s nice to be able to see locally what Treadway is pictured with exampeople are ples of his work. doing and learn from each other.” Another second career artist, Maggie Garner, has also embraced the creative atmosphere. “We feed off each other,” she said. “There are so many ideas and there aren’t enough hours in

Herald & Review photos, Jim Bowling

Tony Treadway works in the Artisans Galleria, a business he and his wife, Christy Treadway, opened at 132 E. Main St. in downtown Shelbyville. the day to get them all done. It’s wonderful.” Also on Main Street, potter Tony Treadway has his pottery wheel in the front room of The Artisans Galleria. “I want people to not only see the end product, but see the process that goes into the product,” Treadway said. Treadway said he believes Shelbyville’s downtown could be an artistic destination for visitors. “We have the shops and galleries, great restaurants, and three wineries in the area,” he said. “The more we all work together the better it will be.” Treadway is planning to be open evening hours during the Lake Shelbyville tourism season and offer live music and wine tastings at his gallery. “We’ll have some other things including pottery demonstrations and lessons. A lot of people come to Lake Shelbyville for the lake obviously, but when they leave the lake or when it rains, they need something else to do. I think we can use the arts to expand the perspective of the lake,” he said. That would suit Modzelewski just fine.

Tony Treadway shapes a flower pot at the Artisans Galleria. “Sometimes I like to just look out the window,” he said pointing past his drawing board. “The businesses, the people going in and out are all interesting. It would be great to see more.” sharonhrnews@yahoo.com

The Decatur Public Library has been my “hub of opportunity” for a lifetime. After I was introduced to the library by my family when I was a small child, I continued to benefit from the library both as a student and a teacher in Decatur schools. Now, as a retiree, I visit the library several times each week for a wide variety of activities. I have fond memories of the old Carnegie Library on the corner of West Eldorado and North Main streets. When I first visited the library with my mother, I couldn’t read. I remember selecting books by looking at their beautiful pictures. I also recall listening to records — recordings of music that I would never have been able to hear anywhere else. My teachers in Decatur schools always encouraged their students to go to the library. I remember that the city librarians were the first people who taught me how to research subjects for reports. I passed on some of their research ideas to my students when I taught language arts many years later. Today, my reasons for going to the Decatur Public Library are very different than they were a few years I go. I attend informational classes, visit the second-floor art and historical exhibits, attend book clubs and gain information about technology. I do check out books but they are often digital or audio instead of books with paper pages. Finally, the Decatur Public Library is set apart by some very special features. That includes one of the finest children’s departments in Central Illinois; an excellent collection of information in the history archives; and free online classes (“Learn 4 Life”) available to anyone with a library card. It’s easy to see why anyone would view the library as a “hub of opportunity.” Mary Gendry Decatur

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G6 HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

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DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Learning extends beyond books Responsibility, social skills, stressed at institute By THERESA CHURCHILL H&R Senior Writer

DECATUR — Four years ago, Stacia Burns was a high school dropout and single mother supporting two children working part time as a school bus monitor. Today, the Decatur woman is working full time at McGuire, Yuhas, Huffman & Buckley as she completes her bachelor’s degree in accounting through Millikin University’s PACE Program. “I want to get my CPA after that,” she said. Burns credits Faith Community EducaGO INFO tional Institute WHAT: Faith in Community EduDecatur cational Institute for getACCREDITED BY: ting her Accrediting Comstarted on mission Internathe right tional, Beebe, path by Ark. providing TERMS: 16 a way for weekly classes her to twice yearly, Febearn her ruary to June and high August to Decemschool ber diploma WHERE: 1065 N. then Van Dyke St. awarding FOR MORE: Visit her a $100 www.fca-decatur. scholarorg or call (217) ship to 233-7007 or (217) Richland 816-5489. Community College upon her graduation in 2010. “If I hadn’t of gone there, I still could possibly be wanting

Herald & Review photos, Lisa Morrison

Teacher Norma Gogins holds up one of the handouts for the day. More than 20 students attended the morning session of the Faith Community Educational Institute. to do something to improve my situation,” she said. “Getting my diploma put me a giant step closer to where I want to be.” Burns, 26, is one of 381 graduates the institute has produced since the Rev. Kenneth Gogins and his wife, Norma, started the school in

Student Wilteree Oliver listens as Gogins talks about a book report they will be doing later in the class.

Herald & Review, Hugh Sullivan

Stacia Burns enters tax information on the computer as part of her job at McGuire, Yuhas, Huffman and Buckley.

READERS RESPOND My opportunity is prayer. When I pray, I am not on my knees but holding onto a leash connected to two dogs in harnesses. Behind me is a trash can riding on a twowheeked cart. It may look like I am picking up trash, but my mind is preoccupied with the number of vacant lots in Decatur. I have been given the opportunity by Decatur Is Growing Gardeners, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Macon Environmental Management and land owners Joan & Terry to develop a rainwater harvesting garden. I am receiving help from the community in the form of used bricks to build a raised bed garden. But when I need to pray about a fully employed Decatur, you’ll see me taking the opportunity to pray while picking up trash. Danielray Pickrel Decatur

2005 at Faith Community Assembly. “Some employers won’t accept a GED, and my theory is it’s because it requires no social skills,” Norma Gogins said. “Getting a diploma from MacArthur or Eisenhower (high schools) or through our program requires interaction with the teachers and with the students, and that’s important as far as employment is concerned.” Kenneth Gogins said a high school diploma also reflects an ability to have good attendance and be on time. Faith Community Educational Institute now has two classes under way — one on Saturday mornings and the other on Saturday afternoons — for the first time since the economy worsened and apparently put the $235 tuition fee out of some people’s reach. Lead instructor Norma Gogins, backed up by Verzell Taylor, Wayne Dunning and Kenneth Gogins as substitute teachers, had about half of a total of 39 enrolled on a recent Saturday morning and reminded them more than once that anyone having more than two absences would be dropped from the program. “I don’t want you all to think that things I’m saying are not important and you don’t need to write them down,” Gogins said. “Now unless you have a photographic memory, I suggest you do what?” “Write it down,” the class replied. “Not everything,” she con-

Gogins passes out a handout during the special high school diplona program being held by Faith Community Assembly. She is the wife of the Rev. Kenneth Gogins who is pastor of the church.

‘The teacher was really consistent with us and taught us everything we needed to know.’ David Mabon, 52

tinued. “Just take some notes. If I write on the board or if I put something up here (on the screen) and point to it, it must be what?” “Important,” the class said. The Goginses say many graduates enroll at Richland Community College, like Burns did. For example, Ruthie Murphy, a 2007 graduate who

went on to earn an associate degree in early childhood education in 2010 was among the institute’s commencement speakers last June. David Mabon, 52, of Decatur said he hopes to use his new diploma, awarded in December along with a certificate for perfect attendance, to study welding at Richland and pursue a career

at that, if he’s able to get himself off disability. No longer able to straighten his right arm, Mabon said he has undergone multiple surgeries on his elbow. He is married, has two grown daughters plus a girl, 12, and a boy, 11. Mabon said he appreciated the chance to earn his high school diploma last semester before undergoing more surgery early this year. “The teacher was really consistent with us and taught us everything we needed to know,” Mabon said. “If you wanted to learn, you would get it.” tchurchill@herald-review.com| (217) 421-7978

Still following her Muse Carnahan draws inspiration daily in her work for the Decatur Area Arts Council By TIM CAIN H&R Entertainment Editor

A couple of decades in, Stella Carnahan still thinks she has one of the best jobs around. “I don’t know what 20 years feels like,” the long-time Decatur Area Arts Council employee said. “But I know it’s been a long time.” Carnahan has been a constant in the ongoing evolution of the Arts Council into what it is today, a downtown Decatur fixture that in July marks the 10th anniversary in its current location. In addition to her title and numerous responsibilities, Carnahan carries the memories and the vision of her mentor, Susan Smith. “I think she hangs over me as a positive,” Carnahan said. “She was such a positive influence. There are times when I will ask myself, ‘What would Susan have done?’ I liked how positive she was.

Whenever things would get negative, she would say something to turn it around. “Every period in life is a growing spurt. I feel that’s a big one in my life.” Carnahan was key in the transition to a Susan Smithless Arts Council. Carnahan sat extensively with Smith during the end phases of Smith’s cancer, making sure the vision would remain consistent. “She came in as much as she could right up to the end,” Carnahan recalled. “One day she said, ‘Sometimes I may drift off. Don’t worry. I’ll come back.’ ” Carnahan started work with the Arts Council in March 1995, first working part time when the group’s headquarters was at Rock Springs. She was part of the group that worked at the downtown converted adult book store, and she oversaw the move in to the current building.

Herald & Review, Danny Damiani

Stella Carnahan, administrative director at the Decatur Area Arts Council, stands in the main gallery. Carnahan has been with the Decatur Area Arts Council since March 1995.

‘Every period in life is a growing spurt. I feel that’s a big one in my life.’ Stella Carnahan Carnahan, whose official title is “administrative director,” is in charge of office management, the PASS (Performing Arts Series for Stu-

dents) program, bus trips, the Council’s re-granting process, and of the Council’s share of responsibility for the annual Arts in Central Park. But she has plenty of experience as the group’s executive director as well. In her career at the Arts Council, Carnahan has served three times as interim executive director, logging about five years at that position. But it’s one she’s never desired. “I know people thought I was crazy,” she said, “but

that’s not what I wanted. With the board, I think it made them feel better about getting someone else. I know this sounds trite, but I knew what the search committee wanted and was working for the success of the Arts Council. “I also knew the new director could have come in and gotten rid of all of us. That’s what happens sometimes.” tcain@herald-review.com| (217) 421-6908


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LIBRARIES Continued from page 1

promoted it and encouraged people to use it and they did. The whole system is so simple.” The first library is easily seen from Illinois 32 as it passed through Stewardson. “I think that helped,” McCormack said. “People could just pull off the highway and stop at it. Now we have more up and down Main Street and in other places. I’ve seen a dad with two kids that will walk the libraries, going from one to another looking for books.” Library supporters say the project builds a sense of community in Stewardson. “We have 750 people in town, so we’re small,” Renshaw said. “But the resi-

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014 dents love this community and work to support it. The libraries enhance the entire community. It helps us make Stewardson a place people will want to come to and want to stay.” Renshaw said the movement will continue to grow in Stewardson with up to 10 libraries planned. She has a miniature replica of her Victorian home ready to go on Main Street this spring. McCormack is planning a town-wide library event this spring and has received a grant of 23 novels through the World Book Night program. “I think it would be great to see people on bikes going from library to library or neighbors exchanging books at the libraries,” she said. “One thing the program definitely does is foster a connection between neighbors.” sharonhrnews@yahoo.com

READERS RESPOND If you have ever been to the Decatur Public Library, you have probably seen an example of “opportunity knocking.” As you walk through the lobby, you pass a sign for Project READ! I passed that sign for a year before I heard the “knocking” and went to check it out. When I did I discovered an amazing program for

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY G7

adults who need help improving their reading and math skills. Project READ is a free program sponsored by Richland Community College and staffed by some awesome people who are totally unrecognized for their efforts. They run the program, assess the students, train the volunteer tutors and match each student with a tutor who then uses a carefully constructed curriculum to help the student polish up their reading or math. When I volunteered to be a tutor, I was at a low point in my life. As I became involved with teaching and working with the staff of Project READ, my life changed completely. My “opportunity” has turned into a lifealtering experience and has given

a new meaning and purpose to my life. In addition to what Project READ has done for me, as a tutor, I have seen first-hand what the program has done for others, especially the student with whom I work. By improving her reading she has “opened the door” to many opportunities that she didn’t have before. She has worked several jobs through a local temp company, and soon will be able to get a permanent job where she can use her special talents and make a better life for herself and her children. We have both answered the knock and have taken the opportunity to change our lives. Inez Evans Decatur


G8 HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY

ABOUT TOWN VILLAGE: Harristown COUNTY: Macon POPULATION: 1,338 VILLAGE PRESIDENT: Rosemarie Ross MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Interstate 72 and U.S. 36 HISTORY: Abraham Lincoln’s first home in Illinois was located on the north bank of the Sangamon River, about three miles south of Harristown.

OOO VILLAGE: Findlay COUNTY: Shelby POPULATION: 683 MAYOR: John Diss TOURIST ATTRACTIONS: Wolf Creek State Park, Lake Shelbyville, Findlay Walleye Festival, Spores & Mores Festival MAJOR HIGHWAY: Illinois 128

OOO CITY: Lincoln COUNTY: Logan POPULATION: 14,504 MAYOR: Keith Snyder EVENTS AND ATTRACTIONS: Postville Courthouse State Historic Site, Route 66 attractions, Railsplitter State Park, Lincoln College Museum, Logan County Fair, Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival, Railsplitter Festival, Lincoln College, Lincoln Christian University and Seminary, Heartland Community College satellite. INDUSTRY: Eaton Electrical Group, International Paper Group, Verallia MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Interstates 55 and 155, Illinois 10 and 121 HISTORY: When plans were made in the 1850s to connect Springfield and Bloomington by rail, a water stop and passenger depot was needed midway between them. Three businessmen created a speculative venture called the Town Site Co. to develop a site near the town of Postville. They were Virgil Hickcox, a director of the railroad; John D. Gillett, a cattleman and landowner in Cornland and Robert B. Latham, sheriff of Logan County. For legal assistance, the partnership turned to a prominent railroad attorney in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln. On Aug. 24, 1853, it was announced that the new town would be named after the future president. More than 90 lots were quickly sold for $40 to $150. Three days later, Abraham Lincoln christened the town by using watermelon juice from a nearby wagonload of melons. A statue of a watermelon stands near the railroad depot to commemorate where Abraham Lincoln christened the town. ON THE WEB: www.lincoln illinois.com; www.lincolnlogan. com

SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

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DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Former Bement head coach Kraig Rogers planned out his associate coaching role with Cerro Gordo-Bement head coach Scott Bacon before there was even a co-op between the schools.

Cerro GordoBement boys basketball head coach Scott Bacon yells out an instruction to his team during a game this season.

Combining forces Cerro Gordo-Bement basketball cooperative recevies benefit of two coaching staffs By SCOTT RICHEY H&R Staff Writer

CERRO GORDO — Before Cerro Gordo-Bement had its first undefeated regular season as a cooperative program, before the Broncos had similar success that next spring as a cooperative baseball team and before the rest of Cerro Gordo and Bement’s respective sports — save for volleyball — joined forces, Kraig Rogers had an idea for what he wanted to do when it was basketball’s turn. Rogers, then Bement’s head boys basketball coach, approached Cerro Gordo coach Scott Bacon at Bruce Weber’s Illini caravan at Hickory Point Golf Course three years ago with an idea. A basketball cooperative was coming to Cerro Gordo and Bement. When it did, Rogers would stay on staff, but as Bacon’s assistant. The basketball co-op didn’t happen right away. In fact, it took a couple years with football and spring sports like baseball starting first. “It took a while to happen, and at first they just wanted to do a few sports and ease their way into it,” Bacon said. “Kraig didn’t change his tune at all. I’m the head coach, associate head coach is his title, we’re going to be a team.” The basketball cooperative was supposed to start in the 2014-15 season. But beginning this season instead, let the Broncos start on a high note — they finished the season 236 with a conference title — and allowed Bacon an earlier opportunity to learn from Rogers’ 24 years of experience. It also allowed Rogers an opportunity to stay involved with varsity boys basketball but in a lowerstress way. “I’d been thinking about maybe trying to get out at some point. I thought I could scale back a bit,” Rogers said about that first conversation with Bacon three years ago.

Herald & Review photos, Lisa Morrison

The Cerro Gordo-Bement boys basketball team inherited the entire Bement boys basketball coaching staff in the first year of the Cerro Gordo and Bement co-op. Assistants on the Broncos’ staff this season were, from left, Andrew Brown, Kraig Rogers and Aaron Hinds. He’d be able to watch his daughter play sports at St. Teresa, and his sons were approaching the age they’d start sports, too. “It was different,” Rogers added about his first year as associate head coach. “It’s just a little different perspective. I get to sit and look at things a little differently, especially during games. “I just had to learn new roles. It didn’t take long for me to be honest with you. A lot less stress, I’ll tell you that.” Rogers’ different perspective is something Bacon said he was glad to have on the bench beside him. “He just seemed like he could read my mind some-

times,” Bacon said. “The nice thing was he and I look at the game a lot of ways similarly, but a lot of ways different. It’s great. He thinks of things I don’t think of. “Another thing, too, was scouting. We had no Friday night games in February, so on Friday night you have two guys that are head coaches technically going out and scouting. He’s seen a lot of basketball and knows a lot. I’ve been coaching for 16 years. You put a couple of people like that together, and it’s a big-time advantage.” Also advantageous for the Broncos was starting the cooperative this season. That way they could mix in an eventual 2,000-point scorer in

OOO VILLAGE: Lovington COUNTY: Moultrie POPULATION: 1,130 PRESIDENT: James Minor HIGHWAYS: Illinois 133 HISTORY: The village was first incorporated in 1873. Moultrie County, in which Lovington is located, was originally part of Shelby and Macon counties. The county was named after Col. William Moultrie by the governor in 1843. James Kellar erected the first building in the village in 1838. It was called the Black Horse Tavern and provided food and shelter. The Decatur and Paris Stage Line passed by the tavern three times daily using the old plowed-furrow Springfield Road. This road was one of the first in the county and extended from Paris to Springfield. Its path through Lovington corresponds closely with current Illinois highways 32 and 133. About 1848 Andrew and John Love moved into town. The first post office was established in the Love’s home and the village was named after the brothers in 1850. ON THE WEB: www.one-eleven. net/lovington

Associate head coach Rogers, second from right, draws out a play for Nathan Lovekamp. Rogers, the head coach at Bement the past 15 years, stayed on head coach Bacon’s coaching staff in the first year of the boys basketball co-op between Cerro Gordo and Bement.

OOO CITY: Macon COUNTY: Macon POPULATION: 1,138 MAYOR: Greg Smith TOURIST ATTRACTION: Macon Speedway MAJOR HIGHWAY: U.S. 51 ON THE WEB: maconil.com

OOO VILLAGE: Niantic COUNTY: Macon POPULATION: 707 VILLAGE PRESIDENT: Robert Embrey MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Interstate 72 and U.S. 36

READERS RESPOND Even though I spent the first 20 years of my life in Decatur, one of my lifechanging events took place in Minneapolis, Minn. My husband had just graduated from Eureka College and had taken a job with A.E. Staley, as it was known then, in Minneapolis. Our family, which included two little boys ages one and two, moved to Minnesota. I had completed one

year at Millikin University before marriage and had always hoped I could go on to school eventually. That hope began to take shape one day when by chance I happened to read an article in McCall’s magazine about a scholarship program that the University of Minnesota was offering to women who wanted to go to back school. I couldn’t believe what I had read. I immediately applied and luckily was one of the women who was chosen. The scholarship gave me the chance to get started on my degree. I graduated after five years with a degree in science education. I used this degree to teach junior high and high school science for 20 years. Nancy Schultz Dalton City

Connor Gross and quality role players such as Steve Isbell and Ethan Morton from Bement with an already strong group from Cerro Gordo including Nathan Lovekamp, Josh Hayes and Cole Blickensderfer. “That was the other thing Scott and I talked about — more so last year when the talks were going on,” Rogers said. “If we could get a co-op pushed through and started this year, we’d have a pretty good basketball team. We really wanted to get off on the right foot like football did.” With their season ended in the regional semifinals by eventual champion Warrensburg-Latham, Bacon and Rogers are already thinking ahead to next year. That’s important because Bacon wasn’t sure there would be a “next year” for Rogers. In addition to serving as associate head coach for Cerro Gordo-Bement, Rogers also coached his sons’ fifthgrade basketball team. That season began in October and featured a 54-game schedule for the two fifth-grade teams. “Man, I was busy there,” Rogers said. “Being the assistant to Scott gave me the latitude to do that.” “He’s not going to want do that again next year,” Bacon said was his initial thought about coaching his sons and coaching in Cerro Gordo. But in late January the two coaches talked and Rogers told Bacon he wanted to come back. “We’re excited about that,” Bacon said. “That night we said, ‘Let’s look at the roster. What’s the team going to be like next year?’ We’re already thinking about next year.” Next year is where an essentially brand new Cerro Gordo-Bement boys basketball

Rogers and Hinds watch the team from the bench during the Class 2A Warrensburg Regional semifinals.

COACHING STAFF Head coach: Scott Bacon Head coaching record (11 years): 183-118 (.608) Assistant coaching record: 8463 (.571) Total coaching record (17 years): 267-181 (.596) Associate head coach: Kraig Rogers 24 years coaching 161 head coaching victories (15 seasons at Bement) Assistant coach: Aaron Hinds 2013-2014 (Cerro GordoBement) 1999-2013 (Bement) Assistant coach: Andrew Brown 2013-2014 (Cerro GordoBement) 2007-2013 (Bement) team will be because they’re graduating nine seniors. The new group will get the opportunity to learn from a coaching staff with more than 40 years combined experience. srichey@herald-review.com| (217) 421-6970

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SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2014

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

HUBS OF OPPORTUNITY G9

Courting India

READER RESPONSE

Former athletic director taught basketball to high schoolers By SCOTT RICHEY H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR — The National Basketball Association considers India its final frontier. With a population of more than 1.21 billion and growing, and 50 percent of what will be the world’s most populous nation by 2025 under the age of 25, India represents the potential for a vast talent pool and even bigger fan base. Basketball, MORE INFO though, is still a fringe sport on the The NBA currently has intersub-continent. The national players from 37 differIndian national ent countries among its active team has competed players. That list of countries in just one doesn’t include India, at least Olympics, the boynot yet. Satnam Singh Bhamara cott-plagued 1980 is a 7-foot-1 junior center curMoscow games, and rently attending IMG Academy it finished last in Bradneton, Fla. Singh will among the 12 parfirst be eligible for the 2016 NBA ticipants. Draft, and he is projected to Cricket is by far become the first NBA player the most popular from India. sport in India. Here’s a breakdown of NBA Throw in soccer players by country: United States, and field hockey, 355; France, 10; Canada, 7; the sport India has Brazil, 5; Spain, 5; Australia, 4; had its most Italy, 4; Russia, 4; Turkey, 4; Olympic success Bosnia, 2; Congo, 2; Dominican with eight gold Republic, 2; Georgia, 2; Israel. medals, and basket2; Lithuania, 2; Mexico, 2; Monball comes in at tenegro, 2; Serbia, 2; Slovenia, fourth, if that. 2; Sweden, 2; Cameroon, 1; Wrestling could Czech Republic, 1; Greece, 1; even push basketHaiti, 1; Latvia, 1; Macedonia, 1; ball to a distant Nigeria, 1; New Zealand, 1; fifth. Poland, 1; Puerto Rico, 1; SeneThe NBA has a gal, 1; Sudan, 1; Switzerland, 1; plan, though, to Tanzania, 1; Ukraine, 1; United increase basketKingdom, 1; U.S. Virgin Islands, ball’s appeal in 1; and Venezuela, 1. India. Two NBA games are shown every day in India, albeit early in the morning. The NBA has also started sending past and present star players on one-week trips. So far players such as George Gervin and Dwight Howard have made the trip, and Shaquille O’Neal is headed to India in September. The biggest, although maybe not as widely-publicized, part of the NBA’s plan is where former Eisenhower athletic director Jim Corrona comes in. Corrona spent all of January and the first part of February in India teaching basketball at 22 high schools. Corrona got connected with the NBA through Troy Justice, a former player from his days in Cincinnati, Ohio. Justice is now a senior director of basketball operations for the NBA and the “head man in India,” according to Corrona. “The NBA’s been in India for five years, but they

Herald & Review, Danny Damiani

Jim Corrona, former Eisenhower High School athletic director, spent January and February in India traveling to 22 different high schools teaching basketball through an NBA program. figured out they won’t turn India into a basketball country until they got into the junior high and high school level,” Corrona said. “Get kids playing basketball at a younger age; get them enthused.” Corrona was stationed in Kochi, in the state of Kerala, located in the southwestern part of the country. Three other coaches were assigned to Kochi, a city of 6 million, and each coach was assigned 22 high schools. “We hit over 100,000 kids in the 40 days we were there,” Corrona said. “That’s really a drop in the bucket compared to what they’ve got.” Corrona’s no stranger to the international basketball scene. He’s taken teams to Russia twice, Finland and Poland. Still, he said he was shocked by the humbleness and A young Indian basketball player willingness to learn works on his dribbling. of his Indian pupils. “They wanted to learn so bad,” Corrona said. “We didn’t have any discipline problems. We didn’t have kids talking while we talked. “The one thing that really shocked me was uniforms. Every school had uniforms — white slacks, tie, white shirt. They would come to our sessions dressed like they were going to church on Sunday morning and they would play hard. “When I came back I just thought, ‘Those kids are so hungry.’ American high school kids and junior high kids have so much. I don’t think our kids realize the opportunities they have. It’s so hard to get ahead over there. “I had a girl, she’d been to a camp in Kentucky. She said, ‘Coach, I want to come back. I want to go to college in America and be a point guard.’ They really hustle for opportunities over there, whatever they could get.” In addition to his daily basketball instruction at up to five high schools per day, Corrona said he was occasionally called on as a talent evaluator. He said he spotted some prospects in India, but what stuck

Corrona stops for a picture with one of the groups of players he helped coach during his NBA-sponsored trip to India earlier this year.

‘They would come to our sessions dressed like they were going to church on Sunday morning and they would play hard.’ Jim Corrona out the most was the athleticism he witnessed, on and off the basketball court. “They’re an athletic country,” Corrona said. “I love to play badminton, and badminton’s big over there. I could hardly beat some of their kids. “It’s just a matter of getting them playing (basketball). There’s some talent over there.” And it’s talent that will continue to be groomed and talent that will continue to be built from the bottom up. “We’re going back September, October and November for 13 weeks,” Corrona said. “They want to do it bigger and better.” srichey@herald-review.com|(217) 421-6970

Anthony Stanley was born in Decatur. He began singing in church at the age of 5, not knowing that one day he would become a worship leader for the Lord. While growing up in church, Anthony did not have a true relationship with the Lord which caused him to start his music career off as a secular rap artist. This presented greater opportunities for him to travel and perform all around the world. This gave him the opportunity to open up for famous rap and rhythm and blues artists such as Tank, New Boyz, Wacka Flocka, Dolla, Chingy, Bobby Valentino, and the list go on. Others would have been proud of these great accomplishments, but Anthony was always convicted by the Holy Spirit. The conviction of the Holy Spirit didn’t just convict him while preforming but whenever he would write secular music as well. The conviction of the Lord had become so strong in Anthony’s life until one day he surrendered to the call. On that day, Anthony had an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed his whole life. Since his encounter with the Lord, he vowed to sing and only write music that would glorify the Lord. He is known for his, integrity, wisdom, love and most of all, his pure heart. In 2013, Anthony received his big break after connecting with one of Goldstreet Gospel executive producers, who is currently working with Anthony to produce his debut album, “Psalms Of My Heart,” which is scheduled to be released in September. Anthony believes this album will draw people to the heart of God, destroy yokes, break chains and will lead people into a glorious encounter with the Lord God of heaven. Anthony resides in Decatur where he and his wife, Jennifer, are the owners of Uniquely Made, a beauty supply and accessories store. They attend Abundant Life Christian Center International in Decatur, where Anthony serves as the worship coordinator. Jennifer Stanley Decatur

New pharmacy has just the right medicine By HUEY FREEMAN H&R Staff Writer

MONTICELLO — Lynn McConnell’s bottom line is service. After 35 years of working as a pharmacist for other stores, McConnell decided he was too young to retire and too old to work for someone else. When Carle Rx Express, the downtown store where McConnell worked for 17 years, closed in 2011, he was offered a job by its successor at the same location, but turned it down. “I did not want to go back into the corporate world,” recalled McConnell, 62. “I was just going to hang it up.” But McConnell, a friendly, outgoing man who appears to be a decade or two younger than he is, realized he would miss the interaction with customers. He began weighing the possibility of opening his own drug store, based on old-fashioned, small-town I F YO U G O principles. “I loved the chalWHAT: Lynn’s Family lenge,” he said. “I Pharmacy decided to take the WHERE: 1402 N. Marleap to being my ket St., Monticello own boss.” HOURS: 8:30 a.m. to 6 On Nov. 11, he p.m. Mondays to Friopened a brand-new days; 8:30 a.m. to noon drugstore on Market Saturdays Street, across the PHONE: (217) 762road from Forest 3377 Preserve Park. EMAIL: lynnsfamily “Now I can do it pharmacy@frontier.com exactly the way I want to do it,” McConnell said.“I don’t have to get anything approved. Here, decisions can be made on the spur of the moment.” He hired a homegrown pharmacy technician, Heather Wunderlich, with whom he had worked for 15 years. McConnell, who was born and raised in Monticello and spent most of his career working in local drug stores, realized he could put to work the ideas he has been pondering for decades. “I believe that if you do a really good job at what you are doing and mix in a philosophy of honesty, integrity and genuine caring, then the business component will take care of itself,” McConnell said. “I have worked for the big boys, where the constant emphasis is the bottom line.” He chose the location, about one mile north of downtown Monticello, partly because there was room for a drive-through window, as well as plenty of parking spaces.

Lynn McConnell finds satisfaction running his own store

“How do you do that with a family?” she asked herself. When McConnell called the following year and invited her to work with him at his new store, she believed that would be an excellent opportunity. “I knew this would be the kind of place I would want to associate with,” she said. “I believe this will be a big success. We’ve proved it’s a success in the few months it’s been open.”

Big city lessons

Herald & Review photos, Jim Bowling

Pharmacist Lynn McConnell opened Lynn’s Family Pharmacy in November 2013 on North Market Street in Monticello. Included in the emphasis on service is a standing offer for those who use the drivethrough to have access to anything that is kept in the well-stocked store.

Unexpected opportunity Wunderlich, 35, a 1997 graduate of Monticello High School, said she is glad to retrieve any item off the shelf for a customer who prefers to remain in his or her vehicle. But Wunderlich and McConnell prefer customers to come inside the store, because they want to cultivate a friendly atmosphere. “I love having the interaction with the customers,” said Wunderlich, who was born a few blocks away at John and Mary Kirby Hospital and has lived in Monticello ever since. “They want to tell you about their kids, along with their prescriptions. It’s one of those small town things.” Wunderlich was working as a certified nursing assistant in 1999 at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, when she saw a job posting for a job at Carle Rx Express in Monticello. McConnell, who she knew through a friendship with his daughter, was the store manager and head pharmacist. “I talked to Lynn and got hired,” she

Certified pharmacy technician Heather Wunderlich takes inventory of drugs at the pharmacy. recalled. While working there, she was trained as a pharmacy technician, and earned her state certification by passing the test in 2004. When Carle Rx Express closed its doors, she interviewed with the company that took over the store, but was told she would be asked to also work at other locations, including 24-hour stores, as far away as Bourbannais and Effingham.

The son of a World War II veteran who moved to Monticello after the war, McConnell graduated from Monticello High School in 1969 and then earned a business degree from Eastern Illinois University. After graduating from college, he didn’t know what he wanted to do, so he decided to attend pharmacy school. “It gave me three more years to figure it out,” McConnell recalled. “I went to pharmacy school on a whim. I’d never been in a drug store, except to get a chocolate soda.” While attending school, he worked at drug stores, including Kean Drug, in the city’s central west end. McConnell said he was deeply influenced by Art Perry, an African-American man who had just completed pharmacy school himself. “He was my mentor,” McConnell recalled. “He taught me about street smarts. A lot of this job is about human nature, to be able to talk with and understand people. I learned the technical stuff in school, but he taught me everything about how it’s done.” McConnell saw how Perry, who worked at the store for years before becoming a pharmacist, befriended customers and learned all about their families and struggles. “As a student working in there, I marveled at how he did things,” McConell said. “If customers had a problem, they knew Art was going to do the best for them. I am where I am today because of the three years experience with that guy.” He learned the value of building relationships with customers. “You have to have the trust of the people you’re taking care of,” McConnell said. “It’s the hardest thing to get and it’s the most fragile thing to lose.” McConnell said he is glad to have an unrestrained opportunity to put into action the principles he learned when he was a young man. hfreeman@herald-review.com|(217) 421-6985


Outlook 2014: Live & Learn  
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