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1 Front Volume 141 No. 1

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Tonica News

Single Copy Cost 50¢

Tonica seeks flooding solutions By Ken Schroeder

TONICA – A busy agenda led to a three-hour meeting for the Tonica Village Board on Feb. 24, with flooding problems and solutions leading the evening.

Resident Art Foltynewicz brought highlights of the county meeting initiated by Sen. Sue Rezin held on Feb. 12. The meeting was centered on creating a countywide plan for dealing with flooding emergencies, such as those created

by the April 2013 rains. Among the topics discussed at Rezin’s meeting were ways to apply for grants to help in flood remediation. “We need to make preparations, and if I could get the board’s blessing, I’m pretty sure I can

procure funds and the money to do so,” Foltynewicz said. “We would not have to match (funds) at this point. Nobody says that’s going to change six months down the road.” “There’s one point that I’m concerned about. What they want to do is

take each town and give it a point system rating,” board President Kevin Sluder said. “It’s meant to get different ratings for flood insurance. My question is what’s that going to cost us? Nothing happens for free.” The Army Corps of

Engineers has volunteered to assist any community who asks for assistance, which met with resistance from the board. “If the Army Corps of Engineers shows up from

See Flooding Page 4

Communication upgrade Parents can send messages to superintendent, board By Ken Schroeder

LOSTANT — Parents of Lostant Grade School students will soon have a new way to bring concerns and questions to the school board. The school approved at its Feb. 19 meeting adding a computer address which will send the messages confidentially to the superintendent, individual school board members or the board as a whole. “The parents’ link will allow parents to make suggestions and comments directly to me or anyone on the board,” Superintendent Sandra Malahy said. “There won’t be any direct feedback, but this is one more way we’re trying to improve communication with parents and the board.” Although messages are confidential, they will not be anonymous. The program will require the sender to list a name in their message, although email addresses are optional. The school board also agreed to purchase a new server for the school using a grant for $3,500. The server will be quicker and larger than the current one and will aid in the upcoming connection to iFiber. “The equipment for iFiber is all hooked up, and we’re ready when they push the button,” Malahy said. “We believe this will provide the best service possible for our students and staff.”

See Upgrade Page 4 Vol. 141 No. 1 One Section - 8 Pages

Tonica News photo/Dixie Schroeder

Isabel Bangert explains her hypothesis of “Does Gender affect I.B.?” as Madison Freeman watches with other students at the annual Tonica Grade School Science Fair on Feb. 21.

TGS hosts annual Science Fair By Dixie Schroeder

TONICA — The annual Tonica Grade School Science Fair was held Feb. 21 in the Tonica gym. Seventh- and eighth-graders have been working on their individual projects since last fall. First-year science teacher Elizabeth Wiegers has been pretty impressed with her students.

“I think it is a great experience for the kids; they have learned so much,” said Wiegers. “They have worked so hard. They should be so proud of what they have accomplished. It is wonderful.” The students are taught the traditional scientific method to investigate an idea that they come up with for presentation. They first ask a question, and then do some

background research. After becoming informed, they construct a hypothesis. The next step or steps is testing the hypothesis by doing experiments. After gathering date for these experiments, they analyze the data they have collected and then draw a conclusion. The final step is to communicate the results they have found. This is done by putting together a three-

Inside More photos from the Tonica Grade School Science Fair See Page 2

© The Tonica News

sided display and practice explaining the process just described. Once the process is started in the classroom, the students have due dates to achieve goals by for part of their science grades. At first it was a weekly event, but in the last month, it was almost a daily occurrence, said Wiegers.

See Science Fair Page 4

2 Local 2 • The Tonica News • Friday, February 28, 2014

Seeking Sources Where in the world is The Tonica News? Are you planning a vacation or holiday trip? Don’t forget to take along a copy of the The Tonica News. Once you get to your destination, have someone snap a photo of you holding the newspaper, and then send the photo to us along with pertinent information about who is in the photo and where you are. We’ll be happy to share your photo with other Tonica News readers, your friends, family and neighbors. Email your photo and information to news@ You can also drop it by our office in Tonica.

The Tonica News P.O. Box 86, Tonica, IL 61370 (USPS 633340) Published every Friday at Tonica, IL 61370 Entered at Tonica Post Office as Periodical Mail $22 In LaSalle County $25 Outside of LaSalle County

Tonica News photo/Dixie Schroeder

Tony Galindo, a seventh-grader at Tonica Grade School, explains his hypothesis of “Which insulation is best?” to students at the annual Science Fair on Feb. 21.

Publisher Sam Fisher

Tonica Grade School students visit the annual Science Fair on Feb. 21 in the school gym. TGS seventh- and eighthgrade students participate in the annual event, and 10 are chosen to advance to the regional competition in March.

Editor Terri Simon

Science Fair



The Tonica News encourages readers to submit news for publication in our paper. Special events, weddings, births, awards and honors, anniversaries, promotions, etc. are welcome items for the paper. Some fees may apply. Schools, businesses, organizations and groups are encouraged to send information on activities and events. If you have attended a function or event and have a photo and/or news, please submit them.

Email to: Photos should be sent as an attachment. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Tonica News P.O. Box 86,Tonica, IL 61370

From Page 1 On Science Fair day, the displays are lined up in the gym, and students are dressed in their best attire. Other students from classes at Tonica Grade School take turns coming in with their teachers to learn about the many science-based experiments. Superintendent/Principal John Suarez is always impressed with the student’s results. “We are fortunate that we have so many parents who support this. We rely on the parents to work with their students to help them complete their efforts. Proofreading, working with the display boards, we even have a parent who works at IVCC that will work with the students doing their experiments out there. In typical Tonica fashion, everybody comes together and helps out,” Suarez said. Seventh-grade student Tony Galindo chose the topic, “Which insulation is best?” “We have a pool at our house. One day I was underwater, and I heard someone screaming. It didn’t sound the same as out of water, so that is why I got interested in

Tonica Grade School’s eighth-grader Angela Huss Photo contributed Ten students from Tonica Grade School will be explains her hypothesis of “Name Brand vs. Generic advancing to the state level of the Illinois State Sci- Foods” to visitors during the annual Science Fair. ence Fair at Northern Illinois University on March 22 in DeKalb. The 10 qualifiers and the alternate are Angela Huss (back row, from left), Madison Freeman, Adia Sherbeyn, Sulleigh Hicks, Patrick Zimbelman, Joshua Sensiba. In the front row are Tyler Marcinkus (from left), Angela Bernardoni, Lindsey Rimes, Hailey Maurice and Owen Wolfe. sound,” Galindo said. Madison Freeman, an eighth-grader, choose to investigate the idea of how music affects or could affect athletic performance. “I play a lot of sports,” she said. “I thought it would be interesting to see if it would increase my performance.” A panel of judges selected 10 entrants from the Science Fair to participate at the regional level on March 22. From there, participants, if chosen, will advance to state for

another level of contest judging. Wieger said, “All the students did a wonderful job presenting their projects. All the judges were very impressed. It was a great science fair.” The students who were selected to attend the regional event include: Lindsey Rimes, Taylor Kennedy, Angela Huss, Patrick Zimbelman, Josh Sensiba, Owen Wolfe, Mailey Maurice, Tyler Marcinkus, Angela Bernadoni, Adia Sherbeyn and Freeman.

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3 Obit Records Friday, February 28, 2014 • The Tonica News • 3

Rezin addresses flooding with LaSalle County leaders By Ken Schroeder

OTTAWA — State Sen. Sue Rezin said the message was clear from the Feb. 12 meeting of local government officials on flooding: Planning for future flooding is more important now than ever. The meeting, spearheaded by Rezin and the first of its kind, drew more than 60 local government representatives who heard from several speakers, including Paul Osman, the floodplain program manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Osman warned that flooding would only get worse in the future, and steps to mitigate damage should be taken now. The purpose of the meeting was to encourage local government officials to take a comprehensive regional approach to flood planning. Rezin said major rivers are no longer the only threat of flooding, and it is imperative for the entire region to prepare now for the future. “Due to development and growth upstream, creeks and smaller rivers have become a huge liability now in addition to the major rivers,” Rezin said. “Last spring, we saw substantial damage along the Illinois River and Fox River as well as damage to communities that were along creeks

Flooding From Page 1 the federal government, what are we obligated to them once they stick their nose in it?” board member Rich Higgins asked. The board outlined a plan to work on alleviating the flooding on their own with permission from resident Ruth Schwanke, who was also in attendance. Schwanke’s property abuts one of the trouble spots on Bailey Creek, and any work in that area would have to originate from there. Removal of blocking

Upgrade From Page 1 After an eight month delay, iFiber is expected to start in March. The program, iFiber, was developed to address the issue of limited broadband capacity, speed and service in nine counties in northwest Illinois. When completed, it is expected to provide subsidized access directly to eligible public sector organizations such as schools, community colleges, libraries, healthcare facilities, municipalities, county and public safety facilities.

and tributaries. That’s why it was important to invite all officials from the 38th Senate District to engage in this discussion, and I’m pleased that so many of them came to the meeting.” Attendees heard from Mike Sutfin, a certified floodplain manager and Ottawa building official who was instrumental in implementing a flood control program in the city of Ottawa. He shared the success of the program in Ottawa that had just recently been implemented before last spring’s rain created record flooding in the area. Despite the record flooding, the city sustained minor damage. The meeting bought universal praise among participants for the ideas it created, however, Tonica Mayor Kevin Sluder had a more pragmatic approach to the ideas that were put forth. “It sounds good in theory, but it also sounds like a very costly project for a city that is already strapped for money,” Sluder said. After learning about the success of Ottawa’s program, Rezin was impressed and felt that the information should be shared with all local government officials in her district in order to better prepare for future flooding. Sutfin said Ottawa was able to avoid the kind

of flood damage other areas experienced last spring due to three steps. First, the city joined the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management which provided the city with a wealth of information and data. The city then had one city worker – Sutfin – become a certified floodplain manager. Sutfin mentioned it was important for cities to have someone who is able to read a floodplain map and manage a floodcontrol program. Lastly, the city participated in a rating program to get city residents flood insurance at the cheapest possible rates. Rezin and Sutfin now want to add a fourth step to the program and have the entire area work together to implement the same procedures to protect everyone in the flood zone. At the end of the meeting, Rezin asked how many of the city officials would be interested in joining such a coalition committed to flood control in the region. Every hand went up. Rezin said she was pleased and highly encouraged by the meeting and hopes it is a strong first step toward ensuring better preparation for flooding and the protection of buildings and lives in the area. She also said more meetings would be held in the future.

trees and a partial dredging of Bailey Creek is in the plans for this spring and summer. In other action, the board: • Learned plans for the village’s proposed sewer plant have passed the first hurdle with a preliminary acceptance of the plant designs. Village Engineer Jack Kusek told the board the village was making “good progress” with the Environmental Protection Agency. • Discussed at length the fate of the old Village Inn property. A hearing has been set for 6:30 p.m. on March 16 to accept the

proposed subdivision of the property. An interested party has come forward interested in the northern half of the lot to build a shed. Sluder suggested since the shed is unlikely to generate any tax revenue for the village, it may be within the board’s best interests to purchase the remainder to ensure the rest of that corner would be used to generate income and bring more business to the village. • Agreed to let out bids for mowing of village property. • Agreed to donate $50 to the Tonica Grade School Parent Teacher Committee.

In other action, the board: • Voted to increase hours for the maintenance staff and the physical education instructor. For the 2014-15 school year, three paraprofessionals will be working an extra two hours a week daily. In addition, the physical education teacher will become a half-time position. • Approved the completion of Health/Life Safety Amendment No. 13. The amendment states the school has repaired a leak in the former bandroom’s roof and completed the basement water problem.

Those tasks were assigned last year when the state cited them as health and safety violations. • Approved the use of the school’s baseball diamond by the Lostant Youth Baseball Association.

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Tonica School Board OKs $50,000 grant application By Ken Schroeder

In other action, the board:

TONICA — After a lengthy debate, which sometimes became heated, the Tonica School Board voted to apply for a dollar-for-dollar grant for up to $50,000 for a single school maintenance project at its Feb. 19 meeting. If approved, the grant will be used to fix some longstanding heating problems in the school. After inspection of the unit, Nate Senica, a representative of John’s Service and Sales, told the board the problem isn’t the boiler. “My opinion is you’ve got the Cadillac of steam boilers,” Senica said. “It’s 45 years old; it’s the best you can have using this technology. Why spend money on something that’s still good?” Although newer technological heating units might be more efficient, the school would have to be completely renovated to install them, costing more money than the change may save. Instead, the grant money will be used to fix several unit heaters in the school corridors and a heating unit in the gym. One of the gym’s heating

• Agreed to lease two more buses from Midwest Bus Co. Each bus will come with a two-year lease at $13,250 a year. • Hired Jegun Rimes as a track coach. • Agreed to an intergovernmental agreement with the Peru Public School District for a school psychologist. • Voted to seek bids for mowing and for snow removal for the district. The decision ends a 12-year agreement between the school and the village of Tonica for sharing equipment. • Voted against an arrangement which allowed Lostant Grade School students to play on the Tonica baseball team. units broke down sometime in the past, although it’s not known exactly when. Superintendent John Suarez said five heaters in the corridors were not functioning, including one at the main entrance which allows the cold air from outside to enter into the building unabated. The estimate for replacing the cabinet heaters in the corridors is $4,090 each, for a total of slightly more than $20,000. The gym heater is a steam boiler unit, and Senica said the cost for replacement would be $51,316 using the same technology, which Senica doesn’t think is necessarily the way to go, since the unit would have to be

custom-made. “I would eliminate the unit and replace it with a gas unit which would both heat or cool the gym more efficiently for roughly $10,000 less,” Senica said. “It would also take stress off of your (main) boiler to the tune of roughly 40,000 BTUs.” Suarez said the district spent $9,000 last month alone on heating repairs. In addition, much of the piping in the building needs replacing, a project board President Jeremy Hillyer said should be spread over several years. The school was only recently notified of the grant possibility which has an application cut-off of Feb. 28.

Bridges offering computer class OTTAWA – The Bridges Senior Center will be holding a beginners computer class from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on March 5, 12, 19 and 26. This four-week course will introduce new computer users to basic computer terminology by way of both visual presentation and hands-on experience. The student will learn about the components of both computer hardware and software. Terminology, powering a computer on and off, proper mouse operation, learning keyboard keys and their functions, desktop and window management, Internet usage and virus protection will

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be covered within the four-week course. Participants are encouraged to use their own laptop, and those who don’t have access to a laptop may request the use of a senior center computer.

There is a suggested donation of $45. No one will be denied service for inability to donate. Class registration is open through Feb. 28. To register, call 815-431-8034 or 866-331-8034.

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4 Biz Ag 4 • The Tonica News • Friday, February 28, 2014

For Cooper, it’s in the blood By Ken Schroeder

Editor’s note: This is another story in a series, as the Tonica News talks with members of the boards in the Tonica area and gets their views on what is going on in their communities. LOSTANT – Mike Cooper has been on the Lostant Village Board for seven years and is currently head of Buildings and Grounds. For him, there really wasn’t a choice. “Actually, it’s been in the blood. My grandfather was mayor for a couple terms; my uncle was 20 years mayor; my father was on the water department for 25 years,” Cooper said. “It’s just something we like to do. Just doing the best we can do for the community.” Cooper has also been in the Lostant Fire Department for 20 years. While he loves living in Lostant, he’s quick to find the biggest problem. “Money. The economy’s low, and that becomes a problem for any town,” Cooper said. “No grants;

Mike Cooper the state’s broke; everybody’s broke. We’ve done a few things we can get by with what little money we do get in. You try to do the best you can with what little money you have. “I’d like to see the water tower redone again. Streets and some buildings need redone, but the biggest thing I’d like to see is the TIF out

by the four corners get a gas station,” Cooper said. “That’s revenue for the town which is something we need.” Cooper said there’s another upcoming problem that the town will have to face. “The sewer plant. It’s one of those cases where you get ahead, then all of a sudden, you get a breakdown, and you’re

back to Square 1,” he said. Cooper enjoys being on the board, but does he think of following family footsteps into the mayor’s seat? “I’ve never really thought about it. I will say the mayor of late is doing a fine job, and anyone I’ve served with on the board has done a real good job.”

Baer appointed to board of directors Donald Fike, chairman of ISB Bancorp and Illini State Bank, has announced the appointment of Mark Baer to their board of directors. Baer resides in Morton with his wife, Laura. He is originally from Tonica, and his parents are Robert and Nancy Baer. Laura’s parents are Ken and Eleanor Busch. He is a graduate of Tonica High School and received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois.

Baer is currently a regional manager for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) with Bradley University, a position he has held since September 1999. He helps manufacturers across the state with all aspects of their business. His work also included 19 years of employment with B.F. Goodrich, working in facilities in Henry, Akron, Ohio, and Greenville, S.C. “The board of directors is delighted Mark

has agreed to serve the bank and the community,” Fike said. “Having grown up in Tonica, he is Mark Baer well aware of the services our bank has provided to our loyal customers in the Illinois Valley area over the years. He will be a great addition to our board”. Illini State Bank currently has three facilities located in Tonica,

Oglesby and Lostant. Alan Stremlau, CEO of Illini State Bank, couldn’t be more pleased with Mark’s addition to the board. “We will be celebrating our 100th anniversary of the Tonica Bank this year. Thanks to our board of directors and to our great and loyal staff, the bank has grown to $110 million in assets. More importantly, we are excited to be able to offer more progressive services while retaining our hometown touch.”

Starved Rock Lodge voted best in Midwest for a meeting UTICA — Starved Rock Lodge, located in Starved Rock State Park, was voted the best lodge in the Midwest for a meeting. The social media-based contest began on Facebook a few weeks ago and was created by Midwest “We decided to launch the contest because we know there are some great cities and facilities throughout the Midwest, and we wanted a way to recognize them,” said Christianne Beringer, communications coordinator for Midwest Meetings. “We didn’t want to choose the contestants; we wanted nominations to come in from people that had first-hand knowledge of working with the cities/ facilities.”

Originally, 19 lodges were nominated from throughout the Midwest. Starved Rock Lodge made it to the final four along with Quail Hollow Resort (Concord, Ohio), Wilderness Resort (Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) and Landmark Resort (Egg Harbor, Wis.). Starved Rock Lodge hosts more than 350 meetings per year ranging from small groups of less than 10

attendees to up to 200 corporate clients. In addition to the Starved Rock Room, the lodge has four smaller meeting rooms, team-building activities (such as scavenger hunts), guided hikes to see seasonal waterfalls and canyons, cocktail parties, awards banquets and annual dinners. Two years ago, the Lodge added outdoor educational programming at

Fox Ridge (located across from the main entrance). Bench-style seating for 150 is nestled under the pines, and lectures range from falconry to “What’s the BUZZ about bees.” Jenny Roulston, the lodge’s sales manager, said, “Customer service is our top priority, but our unique venue offers corporate clients a wonderful combination of woods, water, history and chance to get out of the office and into the woods.” Starved Rock Lodge will receive a trophy and a fourpage spread in an upcoming issue of Midwest Meetings magazine. For more information, call the Starved Rock Lodge at (815) 2207333 or visit

Ottawa downtown area added to National List of Historic Places SPRINGFIELD — Efforts to identify and honor the state’s most historic places paid off in 2013 with 23 Illinois buildings and 11 historic districts being added to the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings and neighborhoods are scattered from Chicago to Macomb to Alton. They include luxury apartment buildings, courthouse squares, factories and private homes. Sites are added to the National Register by the National Park Service based on recommendations from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “Reading the list of sites added to the National Register last year really drives home what a wonderful legacy we enjoy in Illinois,” said Amy Martin, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. “Preserving historic buildings and districts helps communities stay vibrant. The people and groups who identify sites for the National Register deserve our deep thanks.” The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Thousands of Illinois historic and prehistoric places have been designated, and more places are added each year

by applicants who want the prestige, financial benefits and protections that National Register designation provides. Every one of the 102 Illinois counties has at least one property or historic district listed in the National Register. Together, they represent a cross section of the Prairie State’s history from its early settlement to the mid-20th century. In general, properties have to be more than 50 years old to be eligible. Listing on the National Register places no obligations on private property owners but does make properties eligible for some financial incentives. The 2013 additions to the National Register from Illinois include the Ottawa East Side Historic District. The district has one of Ottawa’s most diverse collections of high-style architecture, with a number of significant Greek Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne residences from the 19th century and Prairie, Craftsman and Revivalstyle houses from the early 20th century. Located on a peninsula created by the Illinois and Fox rivers, the district developed as an exclusively residential area and a prime location for the city’s early professional class.

IVCC offers OSHA class OGLESBY — Illinois Valley Community College’s Continuing Education Center will host a 10-hour general industry class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 4 and 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 5. Participants will learn the major provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and new and updated regulations. Topics include the inspection and citation process, working and walking surfaces, emergency plans and exit routes, material safety data sheets and labeling, electrical safety, machine guarding, and record keeping. The course can be customized to meet participants’ needs. OSHA’s 10 Hour General Industry card will be earned upon completion. Cost is $269. To register, call 815-224-0427.

LaSalle County Sheriff EDEN TOWNSHIP — Vicitasion Boehne, 61, of Standard slid through the icy intersection of Route 71 and East First Road on Feb. 21 in Eden Township. Boehne’s vehicle ended up in a ditch. There were no injuries or citations issued.

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5 Perspective Friday, February 28, 2014 • The Tonica News • 5

The Editorial Page The Tonica News Sam R Fisher

Terri Simon



Puzzling We got a puzzle. I’m not sure what prompted us to buy it, but the design of a collage of coffee cups was appealing. The box clearly stated “500 pieces.” It seemed like a good winter activity. We opened the box and poured it out on an old enamel table in the kitchen, immediately catching the puzzle bug. I have no idea why we were somewhat obsessed with putting together this puzzle, but it was difficult to walk by the puzzle pieces without stopping at that table and finding a piece or two that would fit. Other times, several minutes would go by, as piece after Terri piece were fit together. The entire Simon puzzle took one week. We were pretty proud of our handiwork. OK, we couldn’t wait to go out and get another one. Since we accomplished the 500-piece puzzle in such a short time, we opted for a 750-piece one this time. Mistake. This puzzle has an intricate design of front doors. It was rather daunting, and the box laid unopened on that same enamel table for a couple of weeks. Finally, though, I opened it up, and was quite surprised. The 750 pieces looked more like 7,500 pieces, and each piece was very small. I put the lid back on the box and continued to ignore it. Remember those puzzles you had as a kid? You sorted through the pieces, searching for all the ones with a straight edge, since those pieces would create the border of your picture. Then you started filling in the blank space inside the border; before long, your picture was complete. Not so easy. I stood in front of the puzzle pieces and attempted to find the ones with the straight edges. I’m sure we spent hours on that task alone. Finally accomplishing the border wasn’t very satisfying, especially with what seemed like a bazillion more pieces staring back at me from inside the box. To make matters worse, it was difficult to actually see any of the patterns on the pieces with my not-so-young eyes. And on top of that, it was difficult to tell if the pieces really fit, or they just kind of fit ... which usually meant they didn’t fit at all. And so it was the other night when I pulled up a kitchen chair to the table and sat before a mountain of puzzle pieces that had yet to find a home. I attempted a few pieces that didn’t come close to fitting and sorted through the mountain of remaining puzzle pieces. Before I knew it ... I was lost in thought instead of focusing on this collage of front doors before me. Probably 30 minutes went by before I came to a realization that has continued to knock on the front door in my own mind. I found it rather ironic that night that as I sat before this conglomeration of puzzle pieces, of how much this puzzle resembled my life ... maybe your life too? You see, when we first start out, we are given a lot of guidelines about life ... kind of like the border pieces of the puzzle before me. And then ... a myriad of circumstances/experiences happen in our lives — kind of like the myriad of puzzle pieces before me. Like we attempt to make all those puzzle pieces fit inside the border, so do we attempt to make all of life’s experiences/ circumstances fit too. Sometimes the pieces fit; sometimes they don’t ... as we attempt to finish our own personal picture. Putting together the puzzle — whether it’s the one on the old, antique enamel table or the one of my life — is a process. And when you finally put that last piece into the jigsaw puzzle — or you take your last breath and finish your personal puzzle, you end up with a picture that tells the trials and tribulations, the good and the bad, the irregular issues and the common pieces that make up your life. Puzzling? Perhaps I shouldn’t get so nutty about making all the pieces fit ... rather just enjoy the process of putting all those pieces together. Putnam County Record/Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at or

Letters to the Editor should not be more than 500 words in length. Only one person can sign a Letter to the Editor. The author of the letter must include his/her name, hometown and telephone number. The author’s name and hometown will be published, however, the telephone number is only used to verify the authenticity of the author’s signature and will not be published. Unsigned letters are never read or published. No letter will be published until The Tonica News contacts the author of the letter to verify the signature. The Tonica News reserves the right to edit or refuse any Letter to the Editor.

First Person Julie Piasse City: Toluca. Where did you grow up? Wenona. Family: Four older sisters and one younger brother. I am married for 15 years with two children. Pets: A dog. Occupation: I am a certified pharmacy technician.

What is the last book you read: Nicholas Sparks (author). What is the last TV show you watched: “Big Bang Theory.” If you were stranded on a des-

ert island and could have just one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be: Pizza. What is your favorite thing about the city you live in: My inlaws live there.

Save a life. Get a pet. It might even be your own life ... This is a double first as far as my columns are concerned. First: I’m not going to (directly) call anyone out for doing something less than Jake. That’s a term that needs to make a comeback. Second: I have to agree with Gov. Pat Quinn. Not on everything, just this topic. On Feb. 10, Quinn, along with Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka, started a push to make 2014 the Year of Animal Rescue in Illinois. Quinn even adopted a shelter dog in the process. You may not have heard about that one because many news outlets would say, that’s not news ... that’s a plea for good press, which is indeed exactly what it is. Still, I can get behind this one. First off as a rule, I take all website numbers with a grain of salt, since they all have a position they’re trying to push. After all, according to the government figures released daily by the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, the population of the area once known as French-Indochina is still in the negatives. But I digress.

Ken Schroeder COMMENTARY According to the Humane Society, 2.7 million healthy cats and dogs are euthanized daily, roughly 1 every 11 seconds. I’m betting that number is a tad bit high, but not extremely so. I have read estimates which place the number of animals that enter all shelters in the United States and don’t come out alive as near 60 percent. Again, I detect a skewed number, but we’ll run with this. That places the number of felines and canines entering a shelter at nearly 4 million, which I believe may be a conservative figure, but again we’ll use that. That means only about 1.3 million animals are adopted from animal shelters a year. Many more come from breeders and pet stores and the occasional “puppies free to good home” ads. I’m that rare breed — a male who prefers cats over dogs. Since the day we were married, my wife and I have spent a total of

seven months without at least one cat adding its fur to my clothing before I go out for dinner. Two of my cats lived 14 years or longer — I call them mine even though we all know, dogs have owners while cats have staff — and both came from a neighbor’s litter. The latest two, Ford and Zaphod, we got from a no-kill shelter, Friends of Strays in Princeton, to be precise. They were twins with ringworm, but we loved them anyway. And once they were free of parasites, they became a big part of our lives. Studies show people live longer with a pet. The Minnesota Stroke Institute reports you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack if you own a cat. If you’re thinking of a pet, please give thought to a shelter animal. They’re a lot cheaper than purebreds — my daughter just bought a Welsh Corgi for what I would call a very nice car payment — and are just as likely to be loving, or at least as loving as a cat will ever be. End of humanitarian plea. Insert rant here. Ken Schroeder can be reached at

Considerations by Nedda We have all met or know someone who has a special calm about them. If we spend some time with them, we begin to realize that it is more than a calmness; it is deeper and more lasting. Each time we are with them, we feel better afterwards, or if only seeing them once we come away wishing we could spend more time with them. What is it about these encounters that we always remember and want to repeat? There are religious folks, but this is different. I choose to call these folks spiritual or having spirituality. I have made a list of some characteristics (qualities) these folks always display. They have good manners, empathy, attentiveness to oth-

Nedda Simon COMMENTARY ers and are good listeners. They don’t seem to ever be in a hurry, so they seem calm and don’t show stress or worry. They are kind, genuine and have a great sense of humor, and are the first to make fun of themselves. They don’t gossip or have harsh remarks about others. Good news about others pleases them, and they celebrate other’s success. They also help others succeed and thrive. How do we become more like these people without imitating them?

We learn how they prepare for the day, and who and what they study. What is their philosophy, and what do they value? What do they eat, and do they exercise? Yes, really. I don’t believe in turning ourselves into a duplication of these people. I am suggesting if you admire these qualities, we all can develop these in ourselves. What a benefit to our families, friends and the world if we could cause an epidemic of spirituality. I plan to concentrate on these qualities and see if I can at least show some serenity to others. Spring really will come — it is promised. Don’t forget to be kind while you wait. Nedda Simon of rural Princeton can be reached at neddasimon@

6 Life 6 • The Tonica News • Friday, February 28, 2014

Community March family night at LaSalle Library LASALLE — A bit of history, a bit of literature and the talent of a gifted storyteller will all come together at the LaSalle Public Library’s March Family Reading Night, when Chris Fascione brings to life the American Revolutionary War era with dramatic retellings of pieces like Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride” and period writings of Ben Franklin and the Founding Fathers. The program will begin at 6 p.m. March 20 at the library. The poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is a historic tale of the night Paul Revere warned the American Colonists the British were coming; the

first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired the next day at Lexington and Concord, Mass. Despite its historical inaccuracies, the poem served to create an American legend. While it isn’t the entire story, nor does it tell of the other Patriots who spread the alarm, for his part, Revere did warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock so they avoided arrest by the British, and his warning allowed the militia to protect the stock of munitions hidden at Concord. This special program was made possible through a generous grant from Target and is a cooperative partnership of District 122 in LaSalle.

Lostant 4-H’ers will share their knowledge LOSTANT – The Lostant 4-H’ers are preparing for their chance to share their knowledge of Peru. That’s the country, not the town. On March 22, 19 local chapters of 4-H’ers from Marshall, LaSalle and Putnam counties will gather at Illinois Valley Community College for Interna-

tional Day from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Peter Miller Community Technology Center. Each of the clubs, as well as some IVCC organizations, will have a display of the country of their choice and presentations on the country’s food, sports and other cultural highlights.

Photo contributed

Students in K-4 participate in a marshmallow race.

Lostant students celebrate Valentine’s Day LOSTANT — Valentine’s Day was a fun holiday for Lostant School this year. The Student Council sold flowers Monday through Wednesday, which could be purchased by the students, and were delivered on Valentine’s Day. Student Council members worked together Thursday to ready the cards which were attached to each flower. A total of 78 flowers were sold by Wednesday. The Student Council thanks everyone who participated in the flower sale this year. Kindergarten through third grade had a combined party this year for their celebration. The students handed out Valentine cards, had a snack and played a few games. The first game played at the party was a marshmallow toss, where the students

Photo contributed

Student Council members Meleah Mertes, Lindsey Maggio and Austin Larson ready cards to attach to the flowers. tossed marshmallows into their partner’s cup, seeing who could catch the most marshmallows in one minute. Next they played a balloon relay race, where the students had to move a balloon to the next person in the race by only blowing on the balloon through a straw, no hands allowed.

The third and final game was a marshmallow race where the students tried to blow all the mini marshmallows across the finish line with only a straw. The

kids really had a great time and finished up the party with a Valentine’s themed snack. For more photos, visit

Bridges Senior Center announces activities OTTAWA — The Bridges Senior Center is located at 221 W. Etna Road, Ottawa. All events are held at the center unless noted otherwise. For more information, call 815-431-8034 March 3 — 9 a.m., Tai Chi class; 11 a.m., Sewing Circle; 12:45 p.m., Bingo; 1:30 p.m., Open cards. March 4 — 10 a.m., Sol-

dier’s Angels; noon, Advisory Board meeting. March 5 — 10:15 a.m., Beginner computer class. March 6 — Center closed. March 7 — 12:30 p.m., Wii bowling tournament. The center is also a congregate meal site Monday through Friday. A 24-hour reservation is required.

Photo contributed

Lindsey Maggio delivers a flower to teacher Alisha Bennett. Photo contributed

Student Council members Austin Larson and Lindsey Maggio ready flowers for delivery.

7 Life Friday, February 28, 2014 • The Tonica News • 7

Fetherston-Deany Jessica Fetherston of Dallas, formerly of McHenry, and Ryan Deany of Dallas, formerly of Johnsburg, are announcing their engagement. She is the daughter of Theresa Ancona of McHenry. He is the son of Dick and Karla Seaborn of Johnsburg, and the grandson of Kenneth Baker of Tonica. The bride-elect is a 2006 graduate of McHenry West High School and graduated from University of Illinois in ChampaignUrbana in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in education. She is employed as a math teacher at Brookhaven College and a group instructor at LA Fitness in Dallas. Her fiancé is a 2001

Jessica Fetherston and Ryan Deany graduate of Johnsburg High School and graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He is the director and regional sales manager at Merrill Lynch in Dallas. The couple will be married June 20. Photo contributed

Evelyn Jeppson notes Tonica Fire Department receives donation Alan Stremlaw (center), fire chief for the Tonica Fire Protection District, accepts a check in the amount of $2,000 from Kent Erhardt (left), vice president of Co Bank, and Cory Davidson (right), plant manager 90th birthday at Tonica Northern Partners. Northern Partners is an active member in the Co Bank match program. The

Evelyn Jeppson of Granville celebrated her 90 birthday on Feb. 24. Evelyn and her husband, Alvin, resided in rural Lostant for several years. For the past few years, she has resided in Granville. She celebrated the event with a dinner at

the Morris Country Club hosted by her family, Mr. and Mrs. Roger (Judy) Wright, Dr. Randy Jeppson and LaRae Bradley, Mr. and Mrs. Steve (Eva) Liss and McKenna, and Mr. and Mrs. Toby (Heather) Manternach and daughters, Molly and Ashley.

Births Announced Kriewald Natasha Kriewald is the parent of a son born Feb. 18 at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.

Lamkin John and Kristina (Erickson) Lamkin of Washburn are the parents of a son born Feb. 21 at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.

co-op match program matches dollar-for-dollar cash donations of member cooperatives, doubling dollars donated. Co Bank was pleased to match the donation and provided Northern Partners with a check to present to the Tonica Fire Protection District. The donation will help purchase a grain rescue tube for the Tonica Fire Protection District. This will be the first grain rescue tube in the area.

Five easy ways to inspire children to read March 3 is Read Across America Day PERU – In the month of March, Sylvan Learning locations across the country, including Sylvan Learning located in Peru, will join the nation’s parents, children and educators to observe the largest annual celebration of reading in the nation. In celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the

National Educational Association (NEA) hosts Read Across America Day (http://www.nea. org/grants/886.htm) on March 3. The annual observance serves as a yearly opportunity for families to put reading front and center in a child’s life. It’s a day when parents can help children discover how reading can transport them to places of fun, adventure and learning just as surely as TV,

Internet or video games. “Children whose primary exposure to reading occurs at school rather than at home may associate reading with work rather than pleasure,” said Daniel Callahan of Sylvan Learning located in Peru. “Read Across America Day provides an ideal chance for parents to introduce reading as the enjoyable, entertaining activity that it can be. And of course, numerous studies have shown that

the more reading a child does at home, the more it enhances that child’s performance at school.” However, reading is more than a one-day event. That’s why Callahan is offering these five simple tips to help families ensure their children establish a lifelong relationship with the written word. • Be a role model. Seeing is believing. Letting

See Read Page 8

Pierski Scott and Nichole (Zielinski) Pierski of Tonica are the parents of a daughter born on Feb. 20 at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru.

Tonica Grade School Menus Breakfast March 3 — Breakfast sausage pizza, cereal, yogurt or toast, fruit, juice, milk. March 4 — Mini pancakes, cereal, yogurt or toast, fruit, juice, milk. March 5 — Scrambled eggs, cereal, yogurt or toast, fruit, juice, milk. March 6 — French toast sticks, cereal, yogurt or toast, fruit, juice, milk. March 7 — Bagel, cream cheese, cereal, yogurt or toast, fruit, juice, milk. Lunch March 3 — Hot ham, cheese slice, bun or Goldfish bread, or chef salad, baked beans, flavored Chex mix, pears, mayo, mustard, ketchup, milk. March 4 — French toast sticks, sausage links, tritators, applesauce, syrup, ketchup, milk. March 5 — No lunch; 11:45 a.m. dismissal. March 6 — Shredded pork or chicken caesar salad, mashed potatoes, green beans, peaches, bread, gravy, margarine cup, milk. March 7 — Cheese bosco sticks, marinara cup, romaine lettuce, fruit side kick, graham crackers, salad dressing, milk. ••• Items for the Community section can be emailed to Visit us online at

Check out our websites for breaking news in your area.

The Tonica News

8 History/Classifieds 8 • The Tonica News • Friday, February 28, 2014

IVCH will sponsor Panthers prowl over Rebels and Huskers against the Stark County Rebels. ing stride in the fourth, but by B D S identity theft program The Panthers beat the Rebels by a then it was too little, too late, with of 60-45. the final outcome of the game set March 4 at Peru Mall The Putnam County Panthers score The Panthers had a hot shoot- at 60-45. y



PERU — Illinois Valley Community Hospital is partnering with the office of state comptroller Judy Barr Topinka to present a free public program about identity theft at 10 a.m. March 4 in the hospital’s room at the Peru Mall. The program is part of the Take Charge Illinois campaign launched by the comptroller to help struggling Illinois residents regain their financial

footing. The program will teach attendees how to: • Identify potential scams and fraud. • Protect and prepare against identity theft. • Address concerns individuals may have if they have been victims of identity theft. For more information, call the Office of the Comptroller’s Consumer Affairs Division at 855452-7587.


them about your favorite books when you were their age and make those books available for them to explore. Read them again together, then discuss the stories and compare your favorite parts. • Change screen time to reading time. Prioritize reading as a free-time activity on a tablet instead of playing a video game or watching TV. Download an audio book or a series of e-books for your child’s leisure reading. “While these tips can be helpful, the real key is to apply them with consistency,” said Callahan. “Reinforcing reading as a lifelong activity also means reinforcing its importance — even as a fun activity — on a daily basis. And taking the ‘work’ out of reading is one of the most important steps in furthering a child’s academic success.” For additional tips and resources, contact Daniel Callahan of Sylvan Learning located in Peru at (815) 223-3378,, or http:// tutoring.sylvanlearning. com/centers/61354.

From Page 7 your child see you read on a regular basis is far more effective in conveying the importance of reading than telling them to do so. Be prepared to discuss what you are reading, and encourage children to ask questions about it. • If you want them to read, read to them. Schedule a regular story time when you can sit quietly with your child, enjoy a book together and establish a direct parent-to-child reading connection. • Turn the tables. Sharing reading with your child should be a twoway experience. Help your child choose an ageappropriate book and have them read aloud to you as well. Help them through any challenging words. Ramp up the reading level gradually to keep the process interesting and challenging. • Give them a window into your own childhood. The true children’s classics last forever. Tell

won two games over the last week. The Panthers faced off with the Serena Huskers on Feb. 22 in nonconference action, winning by a final score of 61-52. Leading scorer for the Panthers was Michael Weide with 20 points. Harold Fay added 18 points while Jacob Theobald and Alec Veverka chipped in six points each. Sam Garland added five points, Evan Kreiser added four and Austin Biagini added two. Leading the fight on the boards was Veverka with 10 while Kreiser pulled down six. Fay had four assists and Biagini had four steals. Veverka continued his amazing weekend of blocked shots with seven in this contest, bringing it to a total of 17 blocked shots for the weekend. The Putnam County Panthers got back on the winning track in a non-conference game on Feb. 21

ing hand in the game, outscoring the Rebels not only in points, but shooting percentage as well. Putnam County shot 65 percent in two point shots while the Rebels shot at 33 percent. The highest point totals per quarter came in the first quarter of the contest. Putnam County took first quarter honors, with a final score of 22-17. During the second quarter of the contest, Stark County went cold, being able to land only one, two point shot. Putnam County took a 32-19 lead into the locker room at the half. Both teams came out gunning in the third quarter picking up the scoring pace, with the Panthers adding 11 points to their score, while Stark County scored nine. Going into the fourth and final quarter of the contest, the Panthers held the lead 43-28. Stark County started to find their shoot-

Veverka showed why he is one of the areas up and coming players with his performance in the game. Veverka led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points. He also hauled in almost one-third of the Panther’s rebounds with 10. Both Veverka, Garland and Kreiser also showed their prowess at blocking shots in the contest. Veverka had 10 blocked shots while Garland had four and Kreiser one. Also leading the scoring for the Panthers was Fay with 12 points while Garland and Kreiser each had eight points. Chipping in five points each were Nick DiazDeLeon and Theobald. The Panthers will be participating in the annual Illinois High School Association regional competition at Ottawa Marquette this week. For reports on the team’s progress, visit

IV Dolphins swim to win in last home meet By Dixie Schroeder

PERU — The Illinois Valley Dolphins participated in their last home meet, a dual against the Belvidere Barracudas on Feb. 22. The Dolphins won the meet by a final score of 547 to 200. Swimming locally for the Dolphins was Americus Berg, 9, of Wenona. Americus swam to an eighth-place finish in the 100 yard freestyle, (1:55.17). She also took ninth in the 50 yard freestyle, (47.61). She swam to a 10th-place finish in the 50 yard breaststroke, (1:13.06). Americus finished her efforts by also swimming the lead-

Little sister Sadie, 6, swam to two third-place finishes in the 25 yard freestyle, (39.09) and the 25 yard backstroke, (34.65). She also earned a 10th place finish in the 50 yard freestyle, (1:33.94). Cody Smith, 12, of Wenona took home three second-place finishes in the meet. He swam district qualifying times in the 50 yard butterfly, (34.92) and in the 50 yard breaststroke, (42.35). Smith also swam in the 500 yard freestyle, (6:32.46). He also swam a state qualifying time in the 200 yard medley relay leadoff position, (34.36). The next meet for the Illinois Valley Dolphins is in DeKalb on March 2.

off leg of the 200 yard freestyle relay, (3:18.47). Younger brother Xavier Berg, 8, swam to an eighth-place finish in the 25 yard freestyle, (37.08). Xavier also swam the third leg of the 100 yard freestyle relay, (2:29.20). The Kiersnowski sisters of Wenona had a good day in the pool. Keira, 7, swam district times with fourth-place finishes in the 25 yard freestyle, (20.03) and in the 50 yard freestyle (48.01). She also took a fifth-place finish in the 25 yard butterfly, (26.66). Keira anchored the 100 yard medley relay, (1:24.21) which earned a first-place finish.

Grief Recovery Group will meet March 12 and 26 PERU — The Illinois Valley Community Hospital Grief Recovery Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. March 12 and March 26 in a different room at IVCH, Conference Room “C” on the fourth floor. The group had been meeting in a smaller first-floor room. The group allows persons who have recently suffered the loss of someone close to them to share their feelings and experiences with others who have also lost loved ones through death. For more information, call Deacon Ray Fischer at 815-780-3426.

––––––––––––––––––––– Classifieds –––––––––––––––––––– General Terms and Policies The Tonica News reserves the right to classify correctly, edit, reject or cancel any advertisement at any time in accordance with its policy. All ads must be checked for errors by the advertiser, on the first day of publication. We will be responsible for the first incorrect insertion, and its liabilities shall be limited to the price on one insertion. CLASSIFIED LINE AD & LEGAL DEADLINES: • Friday Paper deadline Friday before by 3pm

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- 400 Merchandise 450 • Under $1000 ** ** *** * ** ** HAVE SOMETHING TO SELL? Put your ad in for FREE Items $1,000 or less can run FREE for 1 time. Limit of 5 lines. Up to 3 items with price and price totaling under $1,000. 1 ad per household per week. No commercial ads, firearms or animal sales. E-mail information to: classified@ (include your name, address & phone number) No Phone Calls!

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