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May 2014

Mt. Vernon track and field athletes taking aim at state Evoking emotion through song A ministry through food The art and science of soap An old-fashioned store

contents Publisher Bob Dennis Editor Tesa Glass Associate Editor Rick Hayes Advertising Manager Sheonna Hill Circulation Director Jimmy Bass Advertising Account Executives Missi Morgan Nicole Pipher Barry Waggoner Brittany Morlan Editorial Staff Writers Travis Morse

Features 4

Taking aim at state 6

Evoking emotion through song


A ministry through food


12 The art and

science of soap

14 Sharp’s Foods


Mailing Address P.O. Box 489 • Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864

Street Address 911 Broadway • Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864

Phone Numbers 618-242-0113 Fax 618-242-8286 Web Site

A Publication of

from the cover Joseph McDanel clears the bar

Mt. Vernon NOW Magazine© 2013 by Mt. Vernon Register-News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.



May 2014


Taking aim Story by Paul Hines

Joseph McDanel and Charde Golliday know what the track and field state finals are about. They knew the commitment and dedication it takes to get there. The Mt. Vernon athletes also want to return. The Mt. Vernon track and field competitors made the trip to Charleston a season ago. The state trips ended with mixed results but also provided motivation this season. McDanel finished ninth in the pole vault last year at the state meet with a leap of 13 feet, 9 inches. Golliday, as a freshman, didn’t qualify for the finals of the 400 meters. Golliday entered her sophomore season with the goal of returning to state. This time she wants to wants to advance to the final day of the state meet. McDanel is battling through a knee injury. His goal is to get healthy before trying to better his height at state. Both are also eyeing the school records in their marquee events. McDanel is in the final stretch of his career, while Golliday still has two more seasons left. McDanel eyes another state meet McDanel entered his high school track career as a distance runner from the middle school ranks. It didn’t last long. Upperclassman and former Mt. Vernon all-state pole vaulter Trace Turner encouraged 4

at State

him to give the event a try. “He said hey you any good at distance?” McDanel said. “(And I said) well not really. He’s like you any good at sprinting? And I’m like not really. He goes, hey come pole vault. I know you’re pretty strong, try that.”

to the state finals and prior to the indoor state meet this season leaped a personnel best 14 feet, 6 inches. He entered the indoor meet seeded third behind Salem and Chester vaulters but suffered a setback. He was dealing a cut on his hand and wrapped it with tape. During one of his jumps, the pole slipped from his hands due to the tape and knocked into his knee. The injury has slowed him this season. He’s still consistently competed but added the injury situation is frustrating. He also suffered a back ailment near the end of last season. McDanel added he hopes to get back healthy before this year’s state meet. “I’m going to try and get full speed again,” McDanel said. “Definitely I’m not going to be Photos by Paul Hines working on long runs from right now. I’m going The transition to pole vault was to work short, technique, technique, difficult at first. McDanel said he technique. (In the) pole vault, had difficulties just propelling you have to have technique or himself onto the padded mat, you’re not going to jump high.” let alone clearing the bar. “I’d either go far left, far right Golliday’s goal is the final day or straight back,” McDanel said. “I got really good from Charde Golliday wanted to saving myself from that.” make it to the final day of the He learned quickly after the track season a year ago. initial struggles. He cleared 13 She advanced to the state finals in feet, 6 inches as a sophomore. the 400 meters as a freshman, but “I really enjoy the feeling of was eliminated in the preliminaries being able to take a pole, plant it by two and a quarter seconds. and take all your energy going “We’re hoping that she can make it to forward and just shoot yourself the finals in the 400 (meters) this year,” up in the air,” McDanel said. Mt. Vernon girls coach Connie HarreLast season McDanel advanced Blair said. “You kind of concentrate May 2014

your year on thinking what did I not do last year that I need to do this year.” Last year’s state finals was one of numerous new experiences for Golliday entering the Lady Rams program as a freshman. Each track she ran on was fresh to her. She was also competing against girls who, at times, were several years older than her. “Coming in sixth and seventh place, it really kind of crushed me a little bit, but I guess it all worked out in the end because it really pushed me to work harder,” Golliday said. Harre-Blair said just qualifying for the state finals in the 400 meters was a feat in itself. “That she could do that as a freshman is really good, then to see how well she has come back her sophomore year in regard to working on that event and her other events is

May 2014

just very positive,” Harre-Blair said. Golliday isn’t simply limited to competition in the 400 meters. She also runs the 100 and 200 meters along with the long jump. Harre-Blair has even added Golliday into the triple jump. The coach said most of the events have a comfortable time separation but added that keeping Golliday fresh is key as well. “She is a sophomore so (you) have to take a lot of things into consideration and our competition is tough,” Harre-Blair said. “It’s not an easy sectional. It’s not a walk to qualify.” Golliday said she enjoys the long jump, but her passion resides in the 400.

“I really like to jump so long jump has to be my favorite, but I really, really love to run the 400 (meters),” Golliday said. Postseason awaits The Mt. Vernon athletes will aim at the state finals later this spring. Both the Rams and Lady Rams will compete at Herrin in sectionals. The girls run on May 15 with the boys traveling to the town a week later on May 22.


Evoking emotion

song through

Story by Robbie Edwards


her own songs but the tune became a favorite amongst her friends. “My friends actually dug it and always requested I play it,” Barrow said. After Barrow began performing regularly during her college years and with the support of family and friends, she became more open about sharing her original music. “Music is an outlet, its all about emotion. Its the one thing so many people have in common, everyone likes some style of it,” Barrow said. One place Barrow is a regular

performer is at Genkota Winery, where acoustic music is a common scene. “I’m a big fan of the winery scene because most of the time people are there to genuinely pay attention to the music as they enjoy their wine,” Barrow said. “But no matter where I am playing, you can’t predict an audience.” Sheree Easton, co-owner of the Genkota, first caught wind of Barrow’s talent from a few friends. They mentioned seeing the musician play at other venues and suggested her as a possible act for the winery. “Meghan has played at the winery

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Meghan Barrow has been singing for as long as she can remember but got her start as a musician at a young age. “I’ve been singing since, I can’t remember,” Barrow said. “As corny as it sounds it is true.” Barrow picked up her first guitar after a little teenage mischief. Serving some time being grounded, she found her father’s guitar to pass the time and to rid herself from boredom, she began to play. She taught herself the basics but soon took a few lessons as she became more intrigued with the idea of writing songs. The first song she was taught how to play was “Country Roads” by James Taylor, an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. Barrow’s father was the one that taught her the song, one he considered easy to start with. “I remember my dad showing me that song pretty early because it was easy and we both love James Taylor,” Barrow reminisced. Barrow wrote her first original song during her early teens. The song was titled. “Loving You Still.” She said she was hesitant to share

May 2014

several times, I think she has played here for five years now,” Easton said. “She has a pretty big following.” Barrow plays a mixture of cover songs when performing at the winery, songs that range from 90s alternative to today’s hits. The singer also will occasionally play songs she has written as well. Barrow said the inspiration for her original music Photos by Robbie Edwards comes from her family play and now that she is walking, she and the high points — has taken an interest in mom’s guitar. and low points, in her life. “Since she’s been born, Justin and I “Now being a mom of a beautiful have drug her around to all sorts of my one year old daughter, I’m gigs so she is kinda used to watching constantly inspired by her. Seeing me, ” Barrow said. “Its really sweet to the world through her eyes is a look out in a crowd and see her and whole new source of creativity.” Justin playing and watching while As a person who loves being I do what I love. It’s a very fulfilling outdoors, running outside or feeling, all my favorite things at once.” going for walks inspires her This past year has been one of life, creativity to come out, she said. and not a lot of writing, Barrow said. Barrow and her husband Justin “I’ve been engulfed in taking love to take their daughter Blu to care of Blu,” Barrow explained. “But experience music. The couple’s I’m starting to get back into it and daughter loves to listen to her mom

May 2014

hope to have some new material to play soon.” The songwriter has a whole new outlook on things after the past year and can’t wait to see what kind of music it will bring out of her. “My goals for my musical future is to always have a place to play and people to listen.” Barrow said. “My style has changed greatly (in the past five years).” Barrow has recorded one CD in Nashville, Tenn., which is no longer available. “I was happy with the end product and hope to get to record again someday,” Barrow commented. “I gained a lot of experience through the process.” Barrow said music is a way of expressing herself. “Music is a common language for all,” Barrow said. “I’ll always love music and love playing it. I’ll always love releasing my own emotions in music and providing a way for others do so too.”


eatin’ church The

Story by Rick Hayes

For the homeless, lonely, or those wanting to just congregate with family and friends, the Friendship of Faith Church soup kitchen has become known as “the eatin’ church.” 8

May 2014

Photos by Rick Hayes

The Mt. Vernon church, located at the intersection of 12th Street and Bell, is now in its 20th year of existence. It is operated by the church’s pastors, Danny and Henrietta Dunavan. Danny is the custodian at Central Christian Church and started the soup kitchen after consultations with one of the pastors at Central. “His boss is Randy Sells and Randy felt there was a need to feed the people. My husband came home, we prayed about it, and see what we thought. We told him we would do it on an alternating basis,” Henrietta Dunavan said, explaining the host church takes Wednesday evenings and Central Christian is in charge of the food on Mondays. “They did it on Monday and nobody came. We did it on Wednesday and nobody came. About the second week that happened, they (Randy and Danny) started getting a little discouraged. By the third week, we had one little man come in and I guess he went out and told it and from then on it started a roll,” she said. South Hickory Hill Christian

May 2014

Church takes the Tuesday assignment, Meadowbrook and Southwest Christian churches alternate Thursdays and several Methodist churches alternate the Friday night schedule, along with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. “The churches plan their own menus and provide food, plates, desserts and drinks,” Dunavan said. All of the individuals from the churches who work at the kitchen volunteer their time. There is no charge for the meals. “It’s open to everyone. We don’t

ask any questions. They just come in and eat, whoever they are, wherever they’re from, and from whatever walk of life they’re from,” Dunavan said. The soup kitchen provides hot meals for as many as 400 people per week and as many as 19,000 individuals per year. “Attendance has been lower the past few months because of the weather, probably about 50 to 60 per day, but let the weather break and we’ll get about 80 per night,” Dunavan said. Hours of the operation are from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, those


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hours get stretched a bit when early arrivals show up earlier than the scheduled feeding time. “They’re sometimes out there as early as 2 o’clock,” Henrietta said. “We let them in around 3:30 or so.” The ministry is funded through private donations and free-will offerings. “We have one church that sends $50 per month and we have some friends from North Carolina that send us a monthly check of various amounts. It’s kind of like faith. You trust the Lord to send it in and he sends it in. It’s unbelievable how God can do that, but he does.” Dunavan emphasizes it’s important to keep the soup kitchen open for the entire two-hour period, and provide enough food for all who want it. “Some groups don’t bring enough food for the two hours. I feel if they’re going to do it they need to do it for the whole two hours and give them as much as they want. If nothing else, we want to give them hot dogs. God always provides and takes care of us,” she said. She added, “Some times people think we’re enabling people. Even if people use their money for the wrong purpose, when those little children come in, they shovel that food down. That makes you feel good when you’re feeding the kids. If they have one hot meal a day that’s good for them.” For the past 20 years, the ministry has been a successful outreach in the community, according to Dunavan. “You see people from all walks of life. They come in for a common purpose, to eat. The little guys (children) call us the eatin’ church. And some people come in just because they’re lonesome and they want to fellowship,” Dunavan said. “We don’t put any pressure on them for any reason. They’ve learned to trust us and if they need some help spiritually, they freely ask for it.” May 2014

May 2014


squeaky science art clean




Story by Tesa Glass

The days of grandma saving up the wood ashes and lard from butchering to make soap for washing everything from dirty faces to muddy clothes may have passed, but for Curt and Angie Anselment, getting back to the basics of soap making is as much about heritage as it is about science. “We were looking at trying to get away from chemicals and additives and be more natural,” Curt Anselment said. “After all, what you put on your skin goes into the body. We try to keep things as natural as you can.” That quest brought the couple several years ago to trying their hand at making soap. “I got online and started looking at lye soap,” Curt Anselment said. “I ordered some unscented basic ones online.” Anselment said he and his wife liked what they purchased, but he wasn’t content with just ordering other people’s products. “The Internet is a wealth of information,” Anselment said. “I figured, if I can make my own soap, then I know for sure what goes into it.” Anselment said he discovered a basic soap recipe and decided to “tinker” with it. 12

“Anyone can follow the recipe, even if you are as dumb as a box of rocks,” Anselment joked. “It was some crude stuff that I made that first time.” But that first time was enough to hook him. “You study and look more at what people are doing and you think, I can make this look better. I can make it smell better. I can make it feel better.” In the meantime, Angie Anselment found a whole foods store in the St. Louis area that sold home made soaps and found one she really liked. “It was a coffee almond soap that smells really good,” Angie Anselment said. “I got that and thought it would make the perfect Christmas gift for people if I could make it,” her husband said. “I thought, I can do that, and that’s when I started playing with fragrance.” Also about that time, Anselment started realizing the science in soap making, measuring ingredients to the gram learning the values of different oils and the properties of the oils. “The first couple of years was a learning process,” Anselment said. “Yeah, I made soap and it was good, but then I started making my own recipes. I made the coffee almond

for Christmas gifts, and looking back, that first batch was terrible.” “It wasn’t bad at all,” Angie Anselment corrected. “It just didn’t look the best. What he makes now is definitely better.” Anselment said over the years he has learned the balance of fragrance with the old adage, “a little bit goes a long way.” “The first batch had way too much coffee and too much fragrance,” Anselment admitted. “That’s when I started playing with colors.” Angie Anselment said sometimes it’s hard sharing her kitchen with her husband and his soap-making equipment, but the benefit of the soap makes it worth the hassle. “He comes up with some crazy hobbies sometimes,” Angie Anselment joked. “He’s better with the recipes for soap than I am and has never been afraid to try something new. I liked the soap he was turning out from the beginning.” Curt Anselment said making homemade soap is “like baking a cake, a lot goes into it, and not just ingredients. You have to consider humidity and temperature. Then, there’s a lot of technical in it too. People don’t understand soaps. This isn’t the lye soap your grandma or great-grandma used to make. People got away from doing stuff like that. Now, we know the science and technology behind it.” Wood ash — that’s how grandma got her lye. Anselment said he uses food grade lye, the same that is used to make pretzels. “One hundred years ago, it was a lot of guessing and estimating amounts of ingredients. Now, you know it’s going to be consistent because you weigh it all out to the gram. ... When May 2014

you talk about old soap, it was very lye heavy and people are afraid of lye soap today. They think lye is harsh. But, if made properly, all the lye leaves the soap as part of the process.” Anselment said commercial soaps are made with detergents, which are synthetics. “Natural soaps are made with lye — sodium hydroxide,” Anselment explained. “You have to have some form of that and the only other way to get that is with a detergent, which is a chemical. A by-product of making soap is glycerin. The commercial soaps remove the glycerin and sell it as a by-product.” Anselment said the soap takes on different properties depending on the oil added with the lye. “Olive oil has certain properties, coconut oil has certain properties, castor oil has certain properties, beef tallow has certain properties and lard has certain properties,” Anselment said. “All oils are used. People use canola, palm oil — every single one brings a different aspect to it depending on what oil is used. For example, if you use coconut oil, too much will dry your

May 2014

Photos by Tesa Glass

skin, but a little will enhance lather, moisturizing and enhance cleansing.” Family and friends who have used the soap encouraged the couple to start selling their products at flea markets and online. They decided on the name Bath House Basics. “We’re still learning about things like labels and packaging,” Anselment said. “We learn that part like we

learned about soap, trial and error.” They have also set up a web site at and are working on additional products such as lip balm, laundry soap and lotion bars. “Once you get started with this, you just can’t stop,” Anselment said. “You keep trying more and more things.”


Sharps: An

old-fashioned kind of

store Story by Travis Morse

The owners of Sharp’s Foods in Mt. Vernon are proud to call their grocery store old-fashioned. Sharp’s Foods, located at 1500 Salem Road, has been a Mt. Vernon staple since 1973. It was started at the Salem Road location by Deon Sharp and his late brother, Leon. Eventually, the business grew to include five store locations — three in Mt. Vernon, one in Wayne City and one in Dix. That changed in around late 2004, early 2005, however, when Leon sold his half of the business to his cousin, Jerry Sharp. Deon grew up in Wayne City and has worked at grocery stores since he was a young child in grade school. He also attended meat-cutting classes in Mt. Vernon while in high school. After the sale in early 2005, the stores were closed for about three months and then the Salem Road site was reopened. It is now the only remaining Sharp’s Foods location. Leon Sharp passed away shortly after selling his share. Deon and Jerry Sharp are now partners in co-owning the business, along with their wives. Deon’s wife is Jackie and Jerry’s wife is Patty. From the beginning, the meat cut on site of the small family-owned business was one of its trademarks — just like with the old-fashioned neighborhood grocery stores of days gone by. “I just always liked the meat department and as a kid I used to kind of go in the store, in grade school, and watch the 14

Photos by Travis Morse

meat-cutters cut meat and stuff like that,” Deon said. “I just enjoyed it.” Deon worked for several grocery stores before launching Sharp’s with his brother, Leon, in 1973. He spent more than 10 years working for Big John Food Centers, a regional chain that had several stores in Southern Illinois. His cousin, Jerry, came to work for the Big John’s store in Centralia in 1967, after serving in the Vietnam War. Jerry then started working as a meat-cutter for Sharp’s in 1974. “He and I have worked together all those years,” Deon said of Jerry. “He just became partner (in Sharp’s) after Leon wanted to sell out.” Like the vanishing neighborhood store, Sharp’s thrives on personal service. “Meat is our secret to our business. There’s no question about it,” Deon

Sharp said. “We’ve got good quality meat and good service. You can call in here if you want a meat loaf mixed or just some oddball thing … just anything you want and we’ll have it when you get off work.” Deon said his approach to running the store has not changed much over the years. “There’s a lot of things that we’ve thought about changing, but it seems like when people change in stores like this, they don’t make it long,” Deon said. “We’ve never tried to particularly imitate anybody else because we’re an old-fashioned store,” Deon said. “It’s just like the way things was and that’s the way we started it and we’ve always (been) that way. That seems to be the thing that people like about us.” Both Deon and Jerry Sharp also work at the store and cut meat for customers. Jerry said the personal May 2014



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connection between employees and customers is an important part of the store’s appeal. “We know people, know their kids, pet their dogs and things,” Jerry said. “We just talk to them, visit with them. … It’s just loyal customers.” Jerry said he has even taught some customers how to cut up chicken or other kinds of meat. Store employees will also carry a customer’s groceries to their car, Deon said. “It’s quality and service is what’s making this thing work,” Deon said, adding that the meat-cutting takes place out in the open. “We’re not hiding anything. If you want something done, it’s right here. You can stick your head around the corner and watch it be done.” Many of the larger chain grocery stores are phasing out their on-site meat-cutters, which makes Sharp’s pretty unique, Jerry said. “They just get that tube ground beef shipped in,” Jerry said of the larger stores. “They just price it and put it in the counter.”

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May 2014

Mt. Vernon Now, May 2014  

Serving Mt. Vernon and Jefferson County, Illinois.

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