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SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

OUTLOOK 2010

The Road Ahead

live LEARN work play Lake Land quadruples space in Pana/Page 14

Maroa-Forsyth gets a school library /Page 17

Developing responsible citizens/Page 18


12 OUTLOOK

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

www.herald-review.com

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Putting Decatur on baseball map Commodores raise funds to improve Sunnyside Park

CITY: Altamont COUNTY: Effingham POPULATION: 2,283 MAYOR: Larry Taylor ATTRACTIONS: Dr. Wright House, Ben Winter Museum, 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. HIGHWAYS: Interstate 70, U.S. 40, Illinois 128. HISTORY: An early pioneer of the area was Griffin Tipsword, who lived 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.altamont il.net.

By LEROY BRIDGES H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR — If you improve it, they will come. That’s the hope for the Decatur Commodores. The traveling baseball organization started intense fundraising just months ago to upgrade the facilities at Sunnyside Park. The goal is to improve the scoreboard, outfield fence, bleachers and sound system, among other MORE things, to make it a INFO more enticing tournament location. For more infor“Sunnyside is a mation on the nice place; we just Decatur Comneed to update the modores or their facilities,” said fundraising efforts, Kevin Koslofski, call Kevin Koslofswho coaches the ki at 454-3230 or 18-U Commodores Terry Etnier at team. “Time takes 855-1984. its toll on everything.” Koslofski, who played 14 years professionally, noted the fundraising effort is in its infant stages, and that’s why the organization produced a CD presentation. On the CD, players and coaches give a glimpse into the program and talk about areas of the park that would benefit from upgrades. The presentation idea came from Koslofski’s boss, Chris Behnke of Behnke & Co. “He’s got a big heart for Decatur and kids, so it’s a natural fit for him to help us,” Koslofski said about Behnke. The Commodores understand the economy has put a damper on a lot of gift giving, but the interest from some corporations has been good. Koslofski estimated the cost to completely upgrade the facilities as between $300,000 and $400,000. “Now might not be a good time to ask anyone for money, but we have had some gifts given specifically,” Koslofski said. “Over time, who knows? If this video and news strikes the right person, it could do something.” The Commodores, who are in their second year, are hosting their first tournament from June 10 to 13. The Sunnyside Invitational Tournament is bringing talent from Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis and is sponsored by Behnke & Co. If the fundraising goal is met, college coaches and professional scouts would have more reasons to pencil Decatur into their itinerary and see Decatur-

non Herald & Review photos/Stephen Haas

The Decatur Commodores hope to fix up Sunnyside Park’s Lou Renner Field, including such items as these dented bleachers.

The Commodores, a traveling baseball team, hope to raise between $300,000 and $400,000 to fix up Lou Renner Field, including installing a new scoreboard, fence, sound system and bleachers. area baseball players in action at tournaments such as this one. “We want to try and create a venue here in Decatur that will attract college recruiters and professional scouts,”

Koslofski said. “This is our first tournament, and it will help raise awareness out there and make it a community event with a high level of talent.” The upgrades to Sunnyside Park also

would benefit Millikin University baseball. It’s the Big Blue’s home field, and the improvements could help coach Josh Manning in the recruiting process. “Facilities have a huge impact on what school an athlete chooses,” said Manning, who’s working with the Commodores on the project. “If we can improve what we have, it will no doubt help us.” Koslofski helped start the Commodores two years ago to help Decatur’s best baseball players get recognized on the diamond. Last summer, the Commodores played about 50 games against other traveling teams in Central Illinois and took part in tournaments on college campuses. Last year, Koslofski had two players (Evan West and Jordan Manney) begin the summer without college baseball plans. Before August, they had places to play. “Our organization is unique,” Koslofski said. “We have a great network of contacts from the lowest level of college to the highest and some professional levels. “We’re trying to get some attention to downstate.” lbridges@herald-review.com|421-6970

Moweaqua to break ground on memorial Donations already add up to $48,000 By TONY REID H&R Staff Writer

MOWEAQUA — Everybody is learning some valuable lessons as Moweaqua pushes ahead with ambitious plans to build a $55,000 veterans memorial, the first in the village’s 157-year history. Lesson one is that, even in the tail end of one of the sharpest recessions since the Great Depression, people will find money to support something that appeals to the heart. Donations for the project have poured in, and a fundraising campaign that TO GIVE began in To donate to the earnest in August memorial fund, already send a check to has mar680 E. 2700 North shaled Road, Box 27, more than Moweaqua, IL, $48,000. 62550. Granite The village blocks with percommittee sonalized engravleading the ings that will be project is part of the memorial are available in pushing ahead like different sizes that a high cost $100 or $500. command For more informaorchestrattion, call Evelyn ing a fast“Bootsie” Lowe at moving 768-3423 or Barmilitary bara Jostes at operation: 768-4637. Building is scheduled to begin in May and be over in about three months while the fundraising operation mops up the last few dollars needed to meet the bill. Planning is under way for a suitable opening ceremony full of pomp and circumstance that is set to go ahead Nov. 11, Veterans Day. “That’s the target, and we want it done by then,” committee member Barbara Jostes said. Former Moweaqua Mayor Evelyn “Bootsie” Lowe got the ball rolling in February when a Vietnam veteran, his hands disfigured by Agent Orange, asked her if she would look into the possibility

The Road Ahead

of creating a memorial to honor all veterans. Lowe, touched by the man’s request, began gathering her forces. The committee she helped create included longtime village residents she could trust to get the job done: Carl Stiner, 71, and his wife, Mary Ann, 69; Shirley Allen, 79; and Jostes, 80. They were ably assisted by Lee Coffman, 82, and 84-year-old Hubert Cox. It turns out that Allen makes a mean noodle, and she wound up cooking for nearly 400 diners at a fundraising dinner in November in one of only two major campaigns needed to round up dollars. The rest has come in through ad hoc donations. “We’ve got gifts of $500 from those I would never expect to get $500 from,” Lowe said. “People really think this is a good thing we’re doing.” The memorial will honor village veterans who served their nation in uniform from the time of the War of 1812, the earliest traced Moweaqua veteran, through to the present. Some 1,600 names have been gathered, all neatly cataloged by Cox, who discovered the newfangled wonder of computer databases and proved to be a natural at data compilation after being shown the ropes by a grandson. “It was a monumental task, but Hubert said, ‘I could do it,’ and he has,” Jostes said. He was supported by Coffman and others who harvested their prodigious collective memories to trace living and gone Moweaqua residents through families now scattered coast to coast. “I was talking to a guy in Florida, and, two days later, he called and said he was going to donate $1,000,” Coffman said. “And he did.” What all that money is buying is a memorial situated in Moweaqua’s Living Memorial Tree Park that will take the form of a walled, landscaped area 72 feet long and 37 feet wide. It will be crowned at one end by a 30-inch diameter Canadian mahogany granite globe resting on a granite plinth that will make it more than 5 feet tall.

VILLAGE: Stewardson COUNTY: Shelby POPULATION: 747 MAJOR HIGHWAY: Illinois 32 non VILLAGE: Strasburg COUNTY: Shelby POPULATION: 582 MAJOR HIGHWAY: Illinois 32 ATTRACTION: Hidden Springs State Forest. non CITY: Shelbyville COUNTY: Shelby POPULATION: 4,971 MAYOR: John Diss INDUSTRY: International Paper Inc., P&H Mfg., Shelby Tool & Die, IHI Turbo America Co. ATTRACTIONS: Lake Shelbyville, Forest Park. MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Illinois 16, Illinois 128. HISTORY: Early settlers developed the area with help from the Kickapoo Indians. The city of Shelbyville was founded in 1827. Its name was chosen to commemorate Isaac Shelby, a Revolutionary War general. Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Shelbyville while riding his circuit. The city became host for Lincoln’s debates for civil liberties against Anthony Thornton. ON THE WEB: www.lake shelbyville.com. non

For the Herald & Review/Katy Hunt

Carl Stiner, Barbara Jostes, Evelyn Lowe and Shirley Allen show plans for the Moweaqua’s first veterans memorial in the Moweaqua Living Tree Park. Leading up to it will be a series of chevron-angled paths approaching six individual memorial stones engraved with the names of veterans who served in different time periods. The committee now hopes the next lesson to be learned from the impressive memorial will be the passing

on of an enduring sense of gratitude. They want onlookers to be impressed by the names chiseled there and the willingness of men and women, past and present, to step into a uniform and serve their country, at home or abroad. “It’s about kids coming and being able to see their grand-

pa’s name on the granite,” Lowe said. “Yes, it is,” Jostes said. “They will be able to see their relative has really done something; that they have given a very valuable service, and we now recognize that.” treid@herald-review.com|421-7977

CITY: Sullivan COUNTY: Moultrie POPULATION: 4,323 MAYOR: Ann Short ATTRACTIONS: Little TheatreOn the Square, Lake Shelbyville. MAJOR HIGHWAYS: Illinois 32, Illinois 121. HISTORY: Sullivan is named after Revolutionary War Gen. John Sullivan. The city serves as the north gateway to Lake Shelbyville and marks the west edge of Central Illinois’ large Amish settlement. Abraham Lincoln traversed the county as a circuit-riding lawyer and tried many cases in one of the county’s first courthouses. The present courthouse, the county’s third, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. ON THE WEB: www.sullivan chamber.com, www. moultrieonline.com.

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14 OUTLOOK

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

www.herald-review.com

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Reading the news online Meridian students restart newspaper, but this time on Web By ANNIE GETSINGER H&R Staff Writer

MACON — For the first time in five years, students at Meridian High School have a newspaper, but Meridian’s journalism class has taken its innovative news outlet one step ahead of most local schools by ditching the hard copies and opting to produce The Hawk’s Eye, an online-only news Web site. The paper, which went live at www.thehawkseye.net, features

stories, multimedia content, photos, an advice column and other content generated by the school’s journalism students. Jackson Riggen, 18, a senior at the school and a staff reporter for the paper, said a guidance counselor told him and several other students that a journalism class would be offered. Seniors Riggen, Miranda Curry, 17, Renee Boyd, 18, Sarah Gandy, 17, and others made up the newspaper’s first staff. “The big challenge was we didn’t really know what to do, like we didn’t know what direction to go with the paper,” Riggen said of the print versus online dilemma the class faced. “We had to basically start

the whole entire process up fresh,” said Boyd, who served as the paper’s first editor-inchief. “We chose the Web because it was cheaper.” “We didn’t want people to just throw it away and find all our hard work lying in the hallways,” Curry said. The students said some advantages of the Web format include the abilities to monitor readership, add content every day, receive immediate feedback and produce stories with a variety of multimedia components. Since the site’s launch, readership has increased, Riggen said.

NEWS/PAGE 16

For the Herald & Review/Katy Hunt

Elizebeth Gille and Tyler Henderson produce an ad for a local business for the school’s Webbased newspaper, as part of Meridian’s journalism class taught by Shelia Moore.

Moving the classes closer to the students

The Road Ahead

Lake Land quadruples space at Pana facility

Only God really knows what the future holds for any of us. For those who choose to believe in Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary and chose to die on the cross for our sins then rose again on the third day so that we who are so undeserving could ask for forgiveness and receive salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ; I know there is eternity in heaven with our loving father God because he tells us this in his holy word, the Bible. Over the past 51 years, I have come to find that God’s word is truth, and the truth sets us free. I have tried living my life for self and the ways of this world, and I have tried living for God, but in spite of becoming “saved” 25 years ago, I must admit that I have struggled in my “walk with God” at times and living my life as a Christian due to feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and unworthiness, too. I still saw myself as the person I was “before Christ,” therefore, I could not truly believe I was now who God says I am “in Christ” ... a new creation, holy, loved, redeemed, forgiven and set free from sin. I have learned that it is a choice though, so now I choose to believe God and his truth of who I am and that the future holds is eternity in heaven for me with my loving heavenly Father. I hope to see you there as well! Bev Damery Macon

By TONY REID H&R Staff Writer

PANA — The patient wasn’t dead, but he wasn’t well, either. Lying there with his mouth open, lips pulled back from pristine white teeth, he first sounded like he was throwing up and then switched to labored breathing from frothcorrupted lungs. “He also coughs, he moans and he screams, too, although the screaming is not too loud,” said instructor and registered nurse Maria Nohren. MORE “And he INFO does have nice To find out teeth.” more about the The Western Region sophistiCenter and Lake cated elecLand College, call tronic 562-5000 or go to dummy, all lakeland.cc.il.us tucked up in a regulation hospital bed, is one of the many teaching aids at Lake Land College’s Western Region Center in Pana. The center brings college courses within reach of people who live far from Lake Land’s Mattoon home base, and the licensed practical nurse course is one of the center’s most popular offerings. Some 14 students in this particular Pana class are about halfway through their yearlong studies and get to ply their growing skills on the ever-ill dummy along with plenty of hands-on education in real-life hospital wards and nursing homes. “Perhaps the hardest thing to teach is critical thinking,” said Nohren, a nurse for 11 years who works in a hospital and surgery center. “Students have to learn how to think critical-think, to apply their knowledge and use it.” First, however, they have to get the knowledge, and that is a lot easier when the learning center isn’t a wearying drive from home. Nursing student Lisa Young, 39, lives in Shelbyville and said she can reach Pana in 20 minutes, a big plus during Central Illinois winters and times of rising gas prices. “Economically, coming here really benefits me,” said Young, 39. She’s also finding her short drive in pursuit of education after raising children ages 20 and 17 is making her something of a family role model. “I think it’s been an inspiration to my kids to see me do this,” she said. “Just the fact that I am willing to put forth the effort to do something I have always wanted to do.” The Pana community had long wanted the Western Region Center and gone to extraordinary lengths to secure it. College classes were first held in Pana High School but moved to the original

Herald & Review photos/Kelly J. Huff

Maria Nohren, Lake Land College Western Region Center nursing instructor and registered nurse, works with student Sarah Rardin on her RN curriculum at the center in Pana.

d Gran ! ning e p O

We sell everything needed to make teaching and learning a fun experience!      Mark Denton, who is studying network administration, decided to pursue a new career, and the Pana class site offered him an opportunity to learn in his hometown. Western Region Center in 2006 when it opened inside a former Casey’s store building that was donated to the community by the company. A major redevelopment and expansion, completed in the fall, was spearheaded by the Pana School District with First National Bank of Pana contributing $100,000 to the project. The expansion quadrupled the space to seven classrooms and 8,000 square feet, and the school district now rents the expanded building to Lake Land, which offers courses in everything from history to computing, math, psychology and various

Nohren sets vital signs on a teaching manikin as Doreen Aidoo, Tonya Sarvar and Lisa Young practice for certification.

career and technical studies. Cindy Emerick, coordinator of the Western Region Center, said there are even high school students who hit the books at the facility during the summer to get a jumpstart on college courses. In a typical academic year, some 600 students use the classrooms in some way, and classes start at 8 a.m. and continue until 9:45 p.m. four hectic days a week. “The Pana community wanted this place really bad,” said Emerick. “They wanted it really bad, and they want more: They are looking forward to the day, and so is the school district, when they can build an even bigger building. The demand is definitely out there.” A lot of it is fueled by students such as Pana’s 48-yearold Mark Denton. After rising to middle management in a manufacturing company only to get laid off, he’s gone back to school to study network administration as he charts a new course to a career that will most likely involve computer programming. Ironically, he had started taking computer courses 30 years ago when he graduated high school but left to take one of the then plentiful manufacturing jobs. “I could kick myself today for having done that,” he said. But now he’s rebooting his life in a convenient classroom situated three blocks from his

home and is determined to download a new future for himself. “You’ve got to have a marketable skill,” he explained. “I’ve learned that much.” treid@herald-review.com|421-7977

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16 OUTLOOK

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

www.herald-review.com

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

NEWS

THE NET

Continued from Page 14

Herald & Review photos/Lisa Morrison

Children gather around a leopard tortoise during an Animal Crackers session at Scovill Zoo, led by director Dave Webster. Attending the class are Corinn Wiegard, Wray Vallier, Phoenix Walters, Jeri Walters, Callia Meyer, Anton Meyer, Lennox Colwell and Jack Wollen.

Critter closeness

“It’s pretty much something fresh every day,” Curry said. “You can get on there, and there’s at least one new story.” The students said they think the newspaper is good for the entire local community, and the Web site has a greater potential for reach than most hard copies would. “In middle school, we had something, but that wasn’t even really like a newspaper,” Riggen said. “It was just like a newsletter with facts.” “It’s a completely different writing style than what we’ve learned in general English classes,” Gandy said of the journalistic format. Some students are planning on careers in journalism. “I think this class is really good for students who want to do journalistic writing, so we need support from the community to keep this class going,” Riggen said. English teacher Sheila Moore, who oversees the journalism class, said the idea for a Web-based newspaper came to her after she got online to look for Meridian’s options in publishing the paper. So far, she’s seen nothing like her students’ site in the local area.

n State resources for high school journalists via the American Society of Newspaper Editors: www.hsj.org n Illinois Journalism Education Association: www.ijea.net n Illinois State High School Press Association: media. illinois.edu/ishspa/index.html n Southern Illinois School Press Association: web.mac.com/ lbielong/iWeb/SISPA/SISPA.html “All of the other schools we’ve seen have been in other states,” Moore said. In addition to being innovative and teaching the students a variety of new media skills, the site has saved the school money. After an initial fee, there has been virtually no cost. “From there, the students sold advertising, and now they’re able to totally sustain themselves,” Moore said, adding that her class has brought in enough money to pay the site’s annual fee and spring for some extras. The Meridian journalism students are hoping to learn about and execute video production next, and they’re not far behind other award-winning schools in their journalistic endeavors. “They’ve done an amazing job,” Moore said. agetsinger@herald-review.com|421-6968

Zoo’s Animal Crackers program gives kids a hands-on learning opportunity By VALERIE WELLS H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR — There’s a trick to petting a hedgehog. “It looked like it would be all prickly,” said Melissa Lynch, whose two children Grace, 5, and Cian, 3, attended Scovill Children’s Zoo’s Animal Crackers program. “They showed them how to pet it, and I was thinking, ‘Can you really pet a hedgehog?’ ” You sure can, and it’s only one of the animals the zoo uses in Animal Crackers. Assistant zoo director Ken Frye said Animal Crackers is a way for children who love the zoo animals to stay con-

nected to them during the winter months, when weather precludes visits to the zoo. Children from 3 to 5 can visit once a month for activities, including a craft project, a story and meeting some of the animals up close and personal. “Usually, whatever the theme of the program is, they’ll meet a critter from that theme,” Frye said. “If it’s a desert theme, they might meet a lizard. If it’s ‘soft and cuddly,’ they might meet a chinchilla.” All the animals come from the mobile zoo program that visits schools, so they’re used to being handled by small

Scovill Zoo director Dave Webster holds out Gabbie, a ring neck dove, for Anton and Callia Meyen to touch during a program at the zoo.

humans, and zoo employees stay close by to assist and to hold the animals. Lynch’s children love the program, and her daughter will be turning 6 soon, so she won’t be able to continue. “It was really neat,” Lynch said. “Both my kids enjoyed it.” Themes are kept deliberately vague, Frye said, so that several animals will fit the theme, in case one of the staff had planned to use wakes up grumpy or sick. “Beaks and Tweaks,” MORE one popular theme, is INFO obviously birds withFor more inforout saying what kind mation about of bird, and “Down Scovill Zoo’s Anion the Farm” could mal Crackers probe anything. gram, call 421“It kind of starts 7435 or e-mail them off on learning scovillzoo@ about animals and decparks.com. their environment and getting them to non learn not to be afraid Opening Day of different types of at Scovill Zoo is animals like snakes Friday, April 2. and lizards,” Frye said. “It’s a fun kind of activity that parents and their kids can do together, and it’s not that long of a class. It’s a nice time for parent and child to be involved in the activity together and the animal themes make for a fun Saturday outing,” she added. The program runs year round, and participants can attend as often or as seldom as fits their schedule. Each session lasts about 45 minutes and includes a snack of — what else? — animal crackers.

For the Herald & Review/Katy Hunt

Eric Hurelbrink, history teacher and coach at Meridian High School, volunteers to be interviewed by senior Katlyn Crowder as part of her journalism class assignment for the school’s online newspaper.

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vwells@herald-review.com|421-7982

Bank sees its move as great for Taylorville Expanding institution will open facility in growing area, donate old land for new road By COURTNEY WESTLAKE For the Herald & Review

TAYLORVILLE — During a time when many financial institutions are struggling, Palmer Bank in Taylorville is experiencing growth and profitability. The bank’s growth has been so great that it soon will move to a new and bigger facility. Palmer Bank will be moving to the corner of Webster and Park streets, in the parking lot in front of Jensen’s Home Furnishings. The bank broke ground for a new building in late November, and the facility officially will open in June.

Plans for expansion began to be discussed at the bank about five years ago, said James Hahn, chief executive officer of the bank. “In the small facility we’re at, we have a lack of storage, and we don’t have room to add additional people,” Hahn said. “We’ve experienced a great deal of growth the last five years, and it’s really taken off the last two.” The suggestion for Palmer Bank to build on its new location came from Jerry Jensen, owner of Jensen’s Home Furnishings. “I’m a fan of that bank, and Jim is a friend of mine from a long time back,” Jensen said. “We have an enormous amount of property here, so this just really worked for both of us.” The plans for the relocation and purchase of the parking lot were approved at a July meeting of the Taylorville

For the Herald & Review/Courtney Westlake

Palmer Bank executives tour the construction of its new banking facility.

ABOUT THE BANK Palmer Bank was founded in 1912 in Palmer. The current location in Taylorville was constructed in 1991 and became the bank’s headquarters in 1992. The Taylorville branch is Palmer Bank’s only branch.

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non To contact Palmer Bank, visit www.palmerbank.com or call 287-2265. City Council. Hahn said the project would have been completed sooner, but the bank began to coordinate with expansion plans from the city and Taylorville Memorial Hospital. When the new location’s construction is complete, Palmer Bank will be donating part of its current location on Webster Street to the city, which will extend Wilson Street through to Taylorville Memorial Hospital. “That will allow them to have a straight shot to the hospital, whereas before, the ambulances had to go through residential areas or a school zone, so this will make it much nicer,” Hahn said. The bank’s current location also is challenging for bank customers because the exit is on a busy road, Hahn said. The new facility will offer multiple entrances and exits for customers. “Convenience is important,” he said. And the best feature of the new facility? “Space,” Hahn said with a laugh. “Right now, in one of the office corners of our loan officers, our Christmas tree is stored. We won’t know how to

handle the extra storage.” While the current building is 5,000 square feet, the new facility will be 7,500 square feet on the ground level with an additional 7,500 square feet in the finished basement. The bank’s new facility will also have geothermal heating and cooling and additional offices for staff members, which will help to ensure a better working environment and more privacy for staff, Hahn said. Palmer Bank employs 16 full-time staff and two part time. “We’re not building a Taj Mahal, but it’s something that we feel our customers will feel comfortable coming into,” Hahn said. “It will be a nice facility for them to take care of their financial needs.” Jensen said he believes the bank’s presence at the intersection will enhance the area. “This is a popular corner anyway, and I think it will do good things for this area, as well as great things for the town,” he said. “We’re very happy they’re going to be out here. It’s just a plus for our business and our town. When it’s finished, this is going to be one pretty corner.” hrprojects@herald-review.com

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SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

OUTLOOK 17

Herald & Review photos/Lisa Morrison

Third-grader Rishiraj Taylor gets comfortable while choosing a book in the Maroa-Forsyth Grade School Library. BELOW: Books are labeled with different reading level tags.

Library at last With a new school building, Maroa-Forsyth Grade School gets its own library By CHRIS LUSVARDI H&R Staff Writer

FORSYTH — Those walking into the new Maroa-Forsyth Grade School can hardly miss the library. It’s located straight ahead inside the main doors of the building, which is in its first year of occupancy. The location of the library was no accident, Principal Rennie Cluver said. “It is and can be and will be the focal point of learning,” Cluver said. “It’s an educational facility that everyone can use in different ways. That’s why it’s in the center.” Having a library in the school isn’t something the district’s students have always been able to enjoy. The old grade school building didn’t have one, so in previous years, students had to walk down the street to the Forsyth Public Library. The old school did have a set of accelerated reading books, which were incorporated into the new library as its collection is built. “We could have had absolutely no books,” librarian Ginger Reynolds said. “I’m working with the teachers to help them with whatever they’re doing in the classroom.” Third-grader Sierra Weilke enjoys knowing she will be able to visit the library as planned. “When it’s raining, you don’t have to miss,” Sierra said. Teachers can send students down in the afternoon and a steady stream usually find their way to return books and look for new ones with the help of Reynolds and parent volunteers. Building the library’s collection of books is still a work in progress. Funding comes from grants, including one from the Maroa/Forsyth School District Foundation, which Reynolds said will make it so the collection can be added to for the next three years. Reynolds would like to add more nonfiction books to the library. “A lot of kids enjoy reading nonfiction,” Reynolds said. “When they get what they want, they’re really excited to pick something new when they’re finished. It makes it so they’re reading something all the time. I try to make it so coming to the library isn’t boring.” Cluver said money for the library can be added into the school’s yearly budget, and donations from parents help, too. Book fairs have been held, boosting the numbers, he said.

Lydia Moon pulls out a book to check out.

E N J OY I N G T H E N E W S C H O O L The new Maroa/Forsyth Grade School, 641 E. Shafer St. in Forsyth, opened to students in August. It replaced the location at 137 S. Grant St., a space into which Decatur Christian School moved. It has taken much of the year to make everyone comfortable in the building and establish a routine, Principal Rennie Clu-

ver said. “The newness still really hasn’t worn off,” Cluver said. “It’s getting to become more like home for the kids.” Cluver said the kids seem to adjust a lot better than the adults. “They enjoy all the things that it offers them,” Cluver said. “It takes some time for that to happen.”

“You try to exhaust all the means possible,” Cluver said. “At the book fairs, parents can buy for the library, as well as at home use.” Books are still checked out by the old-fashioned card and pocket sys-

tem. It can be a time-consuming process to keep track of all the books that way. Reynolds and parent volunteers often spend much of their time in the afternoons sorting through the

First-grader Ben Kennedy shows classmate Jack Applebee the book on police cars he found to read.

pile of problem books, only to start the process all over again the next day. “It’s just the time getting us into the digital age,” Reynolds said. “It’s not a reality right now. It’s getting there. We’re getting close.” The school has the technology to track books electronically, but getting that system fully set up will take time. “We’re working to get everything electronic,” Cluver said. “We’ve got that available. We’ve just got to finish all the bar codes and then we’ll be up and running.” All the work is geared toward helping the students find books to read and enjoy. It pays off as stu-

Haruko Komoto, a parent helper in the school’s library, helps Maaz Bashir find and check out a book.

dents such as third-grader Jacob Smith come in. “It’s always nice coming to the library,” Jacob said. “I’ve always been happy with the books.” Jacob enjoys not having to drag his bag down the street to go pick out a new book. He often asks for help in making the right selection for reading, whether it’s a mystery, adventure or another type of book by various authors. Jacob is looking forward to having more books from which to choose. “It’s really good we got a new one,” Jacob said. “We always learn something from coming here.” clusvardi@herald-review.com|421-7972

Ginger Reynolds, the school’s librarian, works with students to find books appropriate to their reading level.


18 OUTLOOK

SUNDAY MARCH 28, 2010

www.herald-review.com

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

Developing responsible citizens Reasonable Service teaches children, do new things — and have fun By CHRIS LUSVARDI H&R Staff Writer

DECATUR — Travontaye Claypool has had fun the last few years learning about the outdoors through various trips to canoe, hike, explore caves and camp. But first Claypool, a freshman at MacArthur High School, and other Boy Scouts who meet on Saturdays at Reasonable Service had to learn how to swim. Reasonable Service is at 321 E. Leafland Ave. in the Kingdom Come Ministries building. “I didn’t know nothing,” Claypool said. “I was afraid to get in the water.” Having the Scouts pass swimming tests after lessons at the Greater Decatur Y pool has allowed the program to offer a wider range of trips, said Michael Scherer, a volunteer leader of the group. A lot of the children wouldn’t otherwise have such opportunities, Scherer said. “They’re able to do things they’ve never done before,” Scherer said. “We’re always pushing to do new activities and provide opportunities for them. We get these children at this age and teach life skills so they have them by the time they get to high school and college.” The goal is to develop the children into responsible citizens, Scherer said. “You have to come every week to really know what is going on,” said MacArthur freshman Isaiah Gilliam. “I look forward to it.” A group of Girl Scouts, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, also meets each Saturday to learn many things, teacher Kim Tucker said. “It’s more than just coming here to do a fun activity,” Tucker said. “It’s a positive environment. They can get a break from the outside world.” In January, Tucker talked to the girls about such health topics as H1N1 influenza. February was devoted to history. In March, they were going to get into eating well and exercising, Tucker said. Shayveon Gaines, a fifth-grader at Parsons School, has enjoyed the field trips, learning and meeting friends, some of whom she knows from either school or church. It gives her something to do. “I have nothing else to do,” Gaines said. “I’d be at home.” When the children get into middle and high school, Reasonable Service offers them a chance to participate in Generation Impact, which provides them with activities throughout the year. “We want them to have fun, but we also want them to learn skills,” said Tayisha Nelson, Reasonable Service director.

Herald & Review photos/Lisa Morrison

Michael Scherer hands out frisbees to Cub Scout Troop 32 at Reasonable Service. The group often spends part of their sessions learning life skills. TOP: Charity Beasley works on sketching out some wording on a poster for Generation Impact. The members were working on several posters dealing with health and social issues.

Members of Generation Impact look over the art supplies they are using for a poster project. MacArthur junior Desiree Neal enjoys writing for the program’s magazine. She wants to have her

Reasonable Service has a number of classes that teach life skills to youth. The members of Generation Impact go through announcements before starting a project.

own advice column. “With Generation Impact, it gives us more of an incentive,” said Neal, who wants to be a lawyer. “It’s something I like to do. I’m able to be with my friends and have fun learning lessons.” Each month, a group from Generation Impact visits Lincoln Manor residents, Nelson said. The visits provide value for both age groups, Nelson said. “Some of the elderly don’t have family who come visit,” Nelson said. “When the youth give back, they can see their situation is not as bad as they might think.” William Hood, who participated in the program before graduating from high school last year, had a friend who would always beat him in checkers during the visits. “It keeps them young,” Hood said.

Scherer works with Cub Scouts on making a chair seat as part of a first aid lesson. “They got a kick out of us being there. Most of them seemed happy. When we come, it really brightened up their day.” Kyle Lovett has enjoyed volunteering to help the Generation Impact youth. “I can be a positive influence to let them know somebody cares,” Lovett said. “They really need somebody to work with and have somebody to talk to. It’s good for me to see them open up a lot more.” In addition to the programs that meet Saturdays, Reasonable Service offers tutoring, ACT prep, field trips and fine arts programming including music lessons. Nelson said more activities are offered throughout the week during the summer, including a work program, to give the children more to do. clusvardi@herald-review.com|421-7972

VOLUNTEERING In addition to youth activity programs, Reasonable Service offers a food pantry and clothing room. Both are open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Some of the volunteers help out because of previous experience being in need. “I help because just a few months ago I was in a situation where I needed help,” said Janetta Reed, who runs the food pantry. “I know how it feels.” Xavier Hall brings his children to help so they can see what it’s like. “It’s a really good learning experience,” Hall said. “They see it from a different angle. One day they’ll grow up and pass the same values to their children.” For more information on how to get involved, call 330-8321.


www.herald-review.com

SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2010

DECATUR, ILLINOIS

OUTLOOK 19

Outscoring them all Through hours of research, Ken Mayes has amassed more school records than the IHSA By LEROY BRIDGES

Herald & Review/Stephen Haas

From left to right, Argenta-Oreana coaches Martin Stupek and Greg Cothern and Pana coaches Mary Cothern, Roger Cothern and Al Stupek are all one family of coaches.

The family that coaches together By VALERIE WELLS H&R Staff Writer

ARGENTA — Coaching must be in the blood. Mary Cothern is varsity volleyball coach at Pana High School. Her brother, Martin Stupek, is softball coach at Argenta-Oreana High School. Her other brother, Al Stupek, is head varsity football coach at Pana. Her husband, Roger Cothern, is junior varsity volleyball coach at Pana. And her son, Greg Cothern, is varsity volleyball coach at Argenta-Oreana. And both schools’ colors are orange and blue. It all started with Mary Cothern who, her brothers hasten to point out, is the eldest. She is a graduate of Pana and started teaching there in 1978. She began coaching in 1980 and has coached volleyball, track, basketball, youth baseball and soccer. “I played high school sports and went to college and played sports and grew up in our neighborhood kind of being a tomboy and playing sports with my brothers,” she said. Al Stupek started coaching at 16, though he’s a banker by profession and, he said, the only grandparent among his siblings. Two years ago, the varsity football coach position opened up at Pana and it was a good fit, so he took it. “I think, as Mary said, she enjoys being around the athletes and teaching them, and I think that’s the thing that drives me to coaching,” he said. “Just being around the kids and trying to teach them and make better people out of them.” With a 23-year career as executive vice president of First National Bank of Pana, he’s also coached just about every sport, but he played football in college, and it’s his favorite. He’s also quite successful. His 2009 team advanced to the quarter finals of the Class 3A state playoffs for the first time in the school’s history. “It’s probably your best life-lesson sport there is,” he said. “You’re going to get knocked down. It’s just like life. You’re going to get knocked down in life, but you have to keep getting back up. You’re not going to win every battle, but you might win the war, which is the key to life.” Martin Stupek, an information technology manager for State Farm in Bloomington, has coached softball for about 14 years. Both his daughters play. One is a senior at Benedictine University, and the other is a freshman at Argenta-Oreana High School. He’s already looking ahead to the empty nest. “(Coaching) is a good opportunity to keep me involved in the game and let me occupy my time when they leave,” he said. Retired from his job as Pana’s chief of police since 2008, Roger Cothern coached Little League with his wife when their sons were growing up. He jokes that he had no choice because when Mary used to come home and talk about her team, she got tired of listening to his advice. “She finally said, ‘Come on, buddy, and see what you can do,’ ” he said. “I enjoy it. A lot of people don’t realize how skilled you have to be to play volleyball. I love kids,

vwells@herald-review.com|421-7982

LINCOLN — For 50 years, Ken Mayes has been a historian of Illinois High School Association basketball. The 76-year-old from Lincoln has traveled all over the state digging through newspapers and files charting win-loss records for more than 700 high schools. The hobby that’s yielded six books more than a half-inch thick of records stems from his passion for basketball. In his high school days, Mayes was a basketball star himself at Palmyra Northwestern High School. “In high school, I collected records, and I thought if I could do that, then I could go big time,” said Mayes, who frequents Lincoln basketball games. “I’ve got better records than the IHSA.” He’s not exaggerating. Mayes has more than 100 schools’ complete basketball records, some of which date back to the 19th century. He spends time tracking down records on the Internet and by phone more than five times a week. Most of the time, he has plenty of success filling the holes for certain schools and certain years. “The co-oping is hard to deal with. North Fulton and South Fulton, I get confused on those. I have to go to the IHSA map, and it shows all the schools and helps me out,” he said.

Herald & Review photos/Kelly J. Huff

Ken Mayes, a high school sports enthusiast, looks over the 1934 New Berlin-Loami High School team picture. His collection of sports records is more extensive than that of the Illinois High School Association. But with more and more schools becoming co-ops, the task is becoming more difficult. “It’s hard to keep up with it,” Mayes said about schools changing their athletic programs. “But I have a pretty good collection.” Many times when schools co-op, the records are thrown away, consigned to the sidelines for all time, destined to be forgotten. That’s where Mayes’ information becomes valuable for a lot people, including the IHSA. “There are just a lot of little schools that aren’t around, but I have the details of their basketball seasons,” Mayes said. “This is a passion of mine.”

Mayes said Chicago-area schools are especially difficult to keep track of because of consolidation. That’s one area of the state where his collection gets a little thin because of the closing and reopening of schools. “He loves it,” said Mayes’ wife, Gerri. “He puts a lot of time and work into it. It’s good to keep him busy.” With this year’s basketball season coming to a close, Mayes is spending plenty of his time tracking down 200910 records. So, just like any other year, his stacks of records will continue to grow. lbridges@herald-review.com|421-6970

High school sports enthusiast Ken Mayes has been keeping football and basketball season recorded since 1960.

Peer Reviewed. John Barr

Decatur Area Lawyers

Everyone can be called ‘coach’at Thanksgiving dinner

and I don’t have any girls. I’ve got six brothers and two sons and this is kind of a way for a couple of months, I can have girls for a while.” For Greg Cothern, with his parents and uncles all leading the way, he has ample role models for his own coaching career. “I always compare myself to my mom and her program,” he said. “My life lesson in coaching is you can’t compare yourself to everybody. You have to do your own and make your own path and look at little victories along the way. Just recently, I’ve been able to see what my goals are and not compare them to everybody else.” His elders are the kind of coach he wants to be, he said. “One of the main reasons I’m in teaching is for my mom,” Greg Cothern said. “I like being around athletes and seeing them grow. One of the unique things about coaching junior high is I see them in sixth grade, and then I get to see them in high school and how they finish.” Argenta-Oreana and Pana sometimes play each other, but that doesn’t create awkward family dinners, they all agree. The players all know each other, and that helps, too. It’s a rivalry, but a very friendly one. “We keep being related to each other separate, and it’s our teams against each other,” Mary Cothern said. When their teams aren’t playing each other, they go to each other’s games, Roger Cothern said. “The thing that I like is, my kids I have in high school know them, and I know their kids and it seems more like a cross-team unity,” Greg Cothern said. “It just seems like we have a big close-knit group.” Only Greg’s brother Mike dodged the coaching urge. Instead, he followed another family tradition. “He’s a banker,” like his uncle, Al Stupek, Greg said.

H&R Staff Writer

These lawyers were recommended by their peers to be among the TOP LAWYERS in Illinois.

Barr & Barr

Decatur

217.875.5311

Mattoon

217.234.6481

Mattoon

217.234.6481

Bankruptcy: Individual; Bankruptcy & Workout: Commercial

John L. Barger

Craig & Craig

Personal Injury Defense: General; Real Estate: Commercial; Real Estate: Residential; Workers’ Compensation Defense

Stephen L. Corn

Craig & Craig

Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance; Medical Malpractice Defense; Personal Injury Defense: General; Prof’l Malpractice Defense: Including Legal/Technical/Financial

Robert G. Grierson

Craig & Craig

Mattoon

217.234.6481

Mattoon

217.234.6481

Decatur

217.423.8081

Geisler Law Offices

Decatur

217.423.8081

Heller Holmes & Associates PC

Mattoon

217.235.2700

Mattoon

217.235.2700

Kent A Rathbun PC

Decatur

217.423.9060

Law Office of Jeffrey D Richardson

Decatur

217.424.4082

Law Office of Joseph J. Darflinger

Decatur

217.422.2214

Resch Siemer Law Office LLC

Effingham

217.342.1105

Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP

Decatur

217.429.4325

Decatur

217.429.4325

Decatur

217.429.4325

Decatur

217.429.4325

Agriculture Law; Banking & Financial Institutions; Closely & Privately Held Business; Real Estate: Residential; Trust, Will & Estate Planning

Gregory C. Ray

Craig & Craig

Personal Injury Defense: General; Workers’ Compensation Defense

Gary F. Geisler

Geisler Law Offices

Criminal Defense: Felonies & Misdemeanors; Family Law; Personal Injury: General; Personal Injury: Professional Malpractice

Philip J. Tibbs Criminal Defense: Felonies & Misdemeanors

H. Kent Heller

Aviation Law; Personal Injury: General; Personal Injury: Professional Malpractice

Brent D. Holmes

Heller Holmes & Associates PC

Personal Injury: General; Personal Injury: Professional Malpractice; Workers’ Compensation

Kent A. Rathbun Family Law

Jeffrey D. Richardson

Bankruptcy: Individual; Bankruptcy & Workout: Commercial; Commercial Litigation

Joseph J. Darflinger Criminal Defense: DUI; Family Law; ADR: Family

Marilyn B. Resch Family Law

Keith W. Casteel

Agriculture Law; Banking & Financial Institutions; Environmental Law; Real Estate: Commercial; Trust, Will & Estate Planning

James T. Jackson

Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP

Commercial Litigation; Medical Malpractice Defense; Personal Injury Defense: General; School Law

Jerald E. Jackson

Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP

Medical Malpractice Defense; Personal Injury Defense: General; Products Liability Defense

Mark E. Jackson

Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP

Adoption & Reproductive Technology; Medical Malpractice Defense; Personal Injury Defense: General; Products Liability Defense; Workers’ Compensation Defense

Darrell A. Woolums

Samuels Miller Schroeder Jackson & Sly LLP

Decatur

217.429.4325

Effingham

217.342.9291

Effingham

217.342.9291

Banking & Financial Institutions; Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative; Real Estate: Commercial; Trust, Will & Estate Planning

William W. Austin

Siemer Austin Fuhr & Totten

Closely & Privately Held Business; Real Estate: Commercial; Real Estate: Residential

Q. Anthony Siemer

Siemer Austin Fuhr & Totten

Closely & Privately Held Business; Land Use, Zoning & Condemnation; Real Estate: Commercial; Real Estate: Residential; Trust, Will & Estate Planning

David W. Sutterfield

Sutterfield Law Offices PC

Effingham

217.342.3100

The Peithmann Law Office

Farmer City

309.928.3390

Decatur

217.429.4453

Decatur

217.429.4453

Elder Law; Social Security Disability

William A. Peithmann

Agriculture Law; Real Estate: Commercial; Tax: Business; Tax: Individual; Trust, Will & Estate Planning

Daniel L. Gaumer

Winters Featherstun Gaumer Postlewait Stocks & Flynn

Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance; Personal Injury Defense: General; Workers’ Compensation Defense

Jerrold H. Stocks

Winters Featherstun Gaumer Postlewait Stocks & Flynn

Insurance, Insurance Coverage & Reinsurance; Personal Injury Defense: General; Products Liability Defense SM

A lawyer CANNOT buy the distinction of being a Leading Lawyer. This distinction was earned by being among those lawyers who were most often recommended by their peers in statewide surveys. Respondents COULD NOT recommend themselves or lawyers at their law firm. For a complete list of all Leading Lawyers and to view profiles of the lawyers listed on this page, go to www.LeadingLawyers.com.

SM

312.644.7000

LeadingLawyers.com A Division of Law Bulletin Publishing Company–est. 1854


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