Rams pushing the pace Local pastor take tour of Holy Land Christmas program photos Birthday party, fundraiser helps classmate Local conceal carry classes draws interest
contents Publisher Bob Dennis firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor Tesa Glass email@example.com Associate Editor Rick Hayes firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Manager Sheonna Hill email@example.com Business Manager Brenda Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation Director Jimmy Bass Advertising Account Executives Missi Morgan Nicole Pipher Barry Waggoner Editorial Staff Writers Paul Hines Travis Morse Mailing Address P.O. Box 489 • Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864
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A Publication of
Rams pushing the pace
Local pastor takes tour of Holy Land
Christmas Program Photos
10 Birthday party,
fundraiser helps classmate
12 Local conceal
carry classes draws interest from the cover
Primary Center Christmas party
Mt. Vernon NOW Magazine© 2013 by Mt. Vernon Register-News. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.
Pushing the Pace
Story by Paul Hines
Mt. Vernon has broken the mold to start the season on the offensive end. Typically, the Rams are known for their ball-control, patient style on offense. This season, by comparison, the Rams are racing up and down the court. Five games into the season Mt. Vernon has been held under 70 points just once. “As a start goes, we couldn’t ask for anything better,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. All five games came in the Herrin
Pyramid Plus Tournament. Each ended with a victory. Mt. Vernon has played in the tournament several years in a row and the host city alternates between Marion and Herrin. Two years ago in Herrin the Rams won the title. This year Mt. Vernon claimed the championship. This time the group finished with an unblemished 5-0 mark. “I had no idea what to expect of our guys of this tournament,” Gamber said. “I didn’t know if we’d come out 1-4 or what.
“We have a really tough road ahead. We’ve got to keep getting a lot better. If we stay where we’re at right now, we will not have a successful season.” The Rams poured on the points in the tournament. Mt. Vernon combined for 366 points over the course of the weeklong tournament for an average of 73.2 points a contest. A trio of veteran varsity players – Shakari Hawkins, Braden Fitzjerrells and Jake Pike consistently contributed
Photos by Paul Hines
like we have the last couple years, as coaches we would not be putting them in their most successful spots,” Gamber said. Typically under Gamber the Rams have focused on scoring primarily in their half-court offense. “We’re by no means a veteran, veteran group, but this is Jake’s third year of varsity basketball, Shakari played some last year, Braden played some as a freshman,” Gamber said. “I had no idea in five games herewe would average over 70 points a game. That’s a surprise to me. I thought we would play a little faster. We’ve come out and played a little faster than what I anticipated.” He added Fitzjerrells and Hawkins are better suited for a faster speed, but
the duo also have experience in the slower tempo of a season ago. “We just have to understand that there’s going to be teams that are going to force us into different styles,” Gamber said. “We’re going to have to be able to win scoring. We’re going to have to be able to win with our defense. It’s going to take both this year.” The Rams ripped through the season’s opening tournament. Mt. Vernon started with a 74-62 win over Marion. At one point, the Rams led by 26 in the fourth before Marion closed the gap. The Rams followed the Marion matchup with a 66-31 romp over Herrin. The next night Mt. Vernon hammered Salem 74-47. That set the stage for a clash of unbeaten teams when the Rams took on Collinsville after Thanksgiving.
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to the output. Hawkins was the top scorer in the tournament and averaged about 23 points a game. Fitzjerrells and Pike hit double figures in four out of five games. “That’s very consistent scoring,” Gamber said. “We’re going to have to have that this year. “We can enjoy this, but we have to realize that we haven’t seen anything yet.” Gamber said his team will be challenged heavily by the South Seven Conference schedule. The conference crown will include a gauntlet of teams that reloaded their talent from a season ago. The slate of games includes 4A state runner up Cahokia. The Comanches have a pair of Division-I signees this season. “It’s wonderful that we’ve scored 70-some points a game, but just like in any good conference all those point totals are going to come down in the league,” Gamber said. “You scout more in the league. The competition goes up. There’s just a million different things. It’s going to be really tough in the conference play because every strength we have the other team’s going to take away.” Gamber said he recognized in the summer that his team was better suited for a transition-style approach. “If we play a strict half-court game
Story by Travis Morse Mt. Vernon area pastor Tim Reynolds was deeply moved by his recent trip to the Holy Land in Israel and said the experience has enriched his understanding of Biblical teachings. His time in Jerusalem was especially rewarding, he said, as he was able to visit a number of sacred Christian sites, including the Western Wall, the Walls of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and the Mount of Olives. “These are all places that again it’s one thing to read about in the Bible and to teach and preach, but to actually visit and see them first hand, it’s really deepened my interest and my understanding,” Reynolds said. Reynolds took the 10-day tour of Israel from Nov. 25 to Dec. 4, as part of a journey organized by Perry Stone Ministries. He made the trip with his 9-year-old son, Jordan Reynolds; his brother, Jody Reynolds; and his friend, Ron Moyer. Tim Reynolds is the pastor at Mt. Vernon Baptist Temple and also serves as principal of the Mt. Vernon Christian School. He is also the pastor at Waltonville Community Church. He was inspired to make the trip to Israel after speaking to Moyer, who went to the Holy Land himself for the first time last year. Moyer, who belongs to Mt. Vernon Baptist Temple, described his first tour 6
of Israel as a life-changing experience. “When you go to Israel, it’s a physical experience, plus it’s an emotional and spiritual experience,” Moyer said. “It just opens up all new avenues in your life.” Moyer made the analogy of taking a trip to Disneyland. No matter how much you read about the theme park in brochures, it’s not the same as actually being there, Moyer said. “You don’t understand Disneyland until you’re there. You can read all the brochures you want,” Moyer said. “You don’t understand Israel until you’re there. The difference is, after you’re at Disneyland, there’s nothing else to learn. But when you go back and read Scripture, you’re always learning more.” After hearing from Moyer, Tim Reynolds wanted to go to Israel.
However, he didn’t know at first if he would be able to make the trip this year. Reynolds and his wife have four children, including an infant daughter with special needs and frequent health issues. Fortunately, Reynolds said, his daughter has been in good health recently, which allowed him to go on the tour. Also, Moyer’s wife had to drop out of the trip and that opened up a slot for Reynolds’ son, Jordan, to come along. “The Lord made (these) things fall in line,” Reynolds said. This year’s tour began in northern Israel in Tiberias, located on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. “That is where Jesus spent most of his ministry,” Reynolds said. The trip ended in Jerusalem in the southern part of Israel, which was “one of the neatest parts” of the tour for Reynolds. Reynolds said being in Israel and actually visiting the places he’s read and preached about will serve him well as a pastor. “It helped me for understanding where Jesus traveled in his ministry,” Reynolds said. “You know, you hear of places like Capernaum or Jerusalem. Now I know where they’re at and it makes sense how He traveled and as far as end-time events and prophesy, it helps to understand where some of these places are at.” While in Israel, Reynolds’ December 2013
when Reynolds was there, he said. “I think in America we have this idea that in Israel there’s a lot of military and there’s fighting going on between the Muslims and the Jews and Palestinians, and there wasn’t any of that,” Reynolds said. “It was extremely peaceful.” Reynolds said the Israeli and Jordanian soldiers stationed on both sides of the Jordan River were even posing for pictures with tourists. “It was much more modern and peaceful than what I had
son, Jordan, was baptized in the Jordan River. Although the water was a little cold, Jordan said he enjoyed the experience. “I liked all of it. I liked a lot of it,” Jordan said of the tour. Reynolds said it was also interesting to see how peaceful Israel was. Some have the misconception that Israel is a violent place with much conflict, but that wasn’t the case
Trip photos submitted by Tim Reynolds
envisioned in my mind,” Reynolds said. If it’s financially possible, Reynolds said he would like to travel to Israel again in the future, but with a church group next time. “I think that would be a great thing to be able to take a group,” Reynolds said. “I would encourage any Christian and, in particular, any pastor or Bible teacher (to go). … It would strengthen your Bible understanding by doing so.”
Birthday Party, Story by Rick Hayes
Macie Bechtel’s 11th birthday is not one she will soon forget. Classmates at St. Mary School in Mt. Vernon threw together an impromptu party recently for the fifth-grader, who recently learned she had to begin treatments for cancer on her femur. “She was diagnosed about a month ago with a tumor in her femur. They started treating it really aggressive so that they can get a hold of it fast,” explained kindergarten teacher Michelle Gaede, who organized the party, which actually was a fundraiser for the Bechtel family. “Every month we do a service project for the community, usually Lifeboat Alliance, and this month we decided to help one of our own. We’ve had a really good time this week collecting money for which two teachers
were going to ‘battle.” The kids had no idea what kind of battle.” Fifth grade teacher Tierney McKay and sixth grade teacher Ranzie Callahan collected the most money in the fundraiser and were designated to do ‘battle’ in an inflatable, provided by Inflatable Fun of Centralia. The battle included boxing and large sticks. Two more unscheduled battles were held, including one with her Macie’s brother, Cayden, 8, fighting a friend and neighbor of the family, Matthew Lamczyk. “We’ve raised about $1,300 this week for anything the family will need,” Gaede said. “She also got a tablet so we’re going to get her a gift card so she can buy some apps to put on the tablet to keep up with school work, and spend time texting her friends. It’s really nice to be able to spend time with her today.” Joyce Bechtel, Macie’s mother, said the cancer was diagnosed through an X-ray, and a subsequent biopsy. Macie had been
complaining about her leg hurting, resulting in a visit to the doctor. “We wanted to have her leg checked out before volleyball season to make sure it was okay,” Joyce Bechtel said. “Then they found the sarcoma.” Bechtel said her daughter probably won’t be able to compete in any contact sport, although she should live as normal a life as possible. “She will be able to walk or run like every other kid, like she does now,” she added. Macie’s treatment at CardinalGlennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis will consist of eight weeks of chemotherapy prior to surgery to remove the tumor. That will be followed by 15 treatments of chemo over a 20-week period. “She may not be able for return to school in the fourth quarter, but we’re making sure she knows that she’s always going to be with us and we’re always going to be behind her,” Gaede said. “That was the point of this whole fundraiser, and we’re going to have more throughout the year.”
Photos by Rick Hayes
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Mt. Vernon area firearms instructor Stephen Yandell said his concealed carry class has garnered a lot of interest from the community. Everyone from complete novices to skilled marksmen have taken the course and most have gained something from the experience, Yandell said. “I had one lady that had never shot a pistol to another gentleman who earned a Bronze Star in the Korean War,” Yandell said. “To experienced shooters, it can sometimes be a little bit monotonous. But, for the most part, everyone that I’ve had, including experienced shooters, have told me they’ve learned something.” Yandell is one of the local firearms instructors teaching concealed carry classes. The earliest these classes could be held was Sept. 30. On Jan. 5, 2014, the Illinois State Police will make applications available for the public to acquire a concealed carry license. The new concealed carry law, which became effective July 9, requires applicants to complete 16 hours of
Photos by Travis Morse
firearms training to qualify for the license. More experienced shooters may not need that many hours. Yandell’s class offers the public the chance to meet this requirement. The course includes classroom and shooting range instruction. “In the 16 hours, you’ll have (a minimum of) eight hours of basic firearm training, you’ll have a minimum of four hours of the legalities and then you’ll
have a minimum of four hours on the range,” Yandell said. Once people meet the course qualifications, they can begin applying in January. However, a background check is also required and some people may be ineligible because of their mental health status or criminal record. Starting Jan. 5, concealed carry applications will be available to download from the state police website. Sending in your fingerprints
with the application will speed up the process, Yandell said. Assuming your paperwork is in order, you would receive the permit through the mail. “You will be accepted or denied within 90 days,” Yandell said, adding that it will take 30 days longer if you
don’t send fingerprints. “And if you are denied, then they have to give you the reason that you’re denied and you have the right to an appeal process.” Yandell is a certified concealed carry instructor. He is also an NRA certified firearm instructor and range safety officer. “I believe heavily in the Second Amendment, but I also believe there should be some education involved in that, that people need to understand the laws and
requirements and responsibilities of the concealed carry,” Yandell said. He described his approach to the concealed carry class as emphasizing safety above all else. So far, he has held about six classes since early October, each one averaging roughly 20 students. “Safety is always above and foremost of everything,” Yandell said. “That’s the key when you’re dealing with firearms.” Yandell also stresses the need for people to be “diligent” in their decision to carry a firearm. If they choose to carry, they should practice regularly and be “very familiar” with their weapon. “Don’t let it sit in a drawer for six months, then decide that you’re going to carry one night,” Yandell said. “You’re probably not going to be proficient enough with it to do yourself any good.” One of Yandell’s concealed carry students is Jennifer Johnson of Mt. Vernon.
Healthy Lifting During the Holiday Season
Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget about safe lifting. Before you try lifting dinner for twelve out of the oven, bending over to assemble a new bicycle or squeezing a new 52” television into the back seat or trunk of your car, consider the following tips to ensure you don’t spend the holidays flat on your back! Get help. The best way to avoid injury is to get help from a machine or another person(s). Plan the move. Inspect the pathways and destinations to ensure they are clear before you begin the lift. Keep a wide, balanced base of support. Typically keeping your feet wider than your shoulders helps distribute weight evenly throughout your lower body decreasing pressure on your lower back. It also will help you remember the next point. Bend at the knees; not your waist. Bending at the knees shifts the weight of the object you are lifting from your low back (small postural muscles) to your gluteal (buttock) muscles, quadriceps and hamstrings, which are stronger power muscles. Tighten your abdomen. The simple maneuver of pulling in or tightening your abdomen activates your body’s own natural weight belt. To do this, pull your belly button up and in to the back of your spine but don’t hold your breath. Hold this position for the duration of your lift. This braces your low back and will “lock” you into place. Keep the object as close to your body as you are able during the lifting process. Lifting an object away from your abdomen will exert more pressure on your back. Keep your head up, your chin in and look straight ahead. This will help you lift with your head and shoulders first. Now you’re ready to lift! Stand straight up and you should feel no increase in pressure go through your low back. You can apply these simple techniques in any situation.
She said she wants to be able to carry a concealed weapon to protect herself and her family. She’s also a U.S. Army veteran with a background in firearms. “I think my number one reason is protection for my family,” Johnson said. “I’ve got two daughters. That’s a big deal for me.” Yandell said he has had a passion for firearms since he was very young. He decided to become an officially certified firearm instructor after his children were born. “When my kids came along, I decided that I want to be able to pass that knowledge along to them,” Yandell said. Another local instructor certified to teach concealed carry is Clint Taylor. He has held about six classes since early October. Taylor worked for the Mt. Vernon Police Department for more than 14 years before resigning. He is currently a detective for the Ina Police Department and has been a police firearms instructor since 2000. He also owns a fishing guide service and a hunting guide service. His concealed carry class focuses on the legalities of when force is allowed, as well as on firearm skills and safety. Since Taylor’s background is in law enforcement, he likes to teach more “combat shooting” or
“shooting on the move” in his class. “In real life, you’re probably not going to be shooting at something just sitting there,” Taylor said. Taylor said one of the more important aspects of concealed carry is how it could help lessen the severity of mass shootings when they occur. Having a well-trained, armed citizen at one of these shootings could dramatically reduce the number of people killed, Taylor said. “It’s all about being in the right place at the right time,” Taylor said. Taylor said he plans to start a separate concealed carry class for women, since sometimes women feel intimidated taking the class with men, he said. For pricing and schedule information on Taylor’s class, visit his website at www. southernillinoisconcealedcarryacademy. com. To learn more about Yandell’s class, contact him at 269-8111 or visit the N-Sight Firearms Training Facebook page. December 2013