Page 1

2019 Iroquois County’s Times-Republic

January, 2020 Page 1

Year in Review

Iroquois County residents were honored for their greatness last year. The Times-Republic has chosen a few examples of dedication and history making from Iroquois County.


Watchekee mural dedicated in Watseka

By CARLA WATERS, Managing Editor The mural was completed by Lafaycwaters@intranix.com ette, Indiana, artist Bekki Canine, who The Watseka Kiwanis took the Monday was also present at the dedication Monmeeting outside for a special cause. day. She is a member of the Tippecanoe Kiwanis members, along with some Art Federation, who helped with the special guests and members of the public, grant funding for the project. gathered in the First Trust and Savings The information about the mural, parking lot Monday afternoon to dedicate which is placed next to the mural itself, the Watchekee mural commissioned by says that the mural “depicts Watchekee, the club. for home Watseka was named in 1863. The mural is painted on the side of The The Bright Star symbolizes the day of Zone building and depicts the woman for her birth. The intricate ribbon exhibits whom the city is named. work created by the Citizen PotawaHer great-great-grandson, Dr. George tomi Nation. The ribbon darkens, symGodfrey, was the guest speaker. He spoke bolizing Trails of Death. The Indiana about Watchekee and her life. Removal Act of 1830 forced Watchekee Godfrey said he is still learning about and others to leave their lands.” his great-great-grandmother, a PotawatoGodfrey noted that the picture of mi native. She lived from approximately Watchekee in the mural is of her when 1810-73. In 1830 she helped settlers she is older. in this area and the city of Watseka is Others also spoke Monday. Rep. Tom named for her in 1863. Bennett made a presentation to the He said during her lifetime she probKiwanis. ably walked about 6,000 miles. “This “This is amazing,” Bennett said. “We started as early as 1829,” he said. She applaud your efforts to keep our local would go back and forth between the history alive for future generations.” Watseka area and other areas where her Watseka Alderwoman Monna Ulfers tribe were located. She would make her Photo by Carla Waters was on hand. “I want to thank the Kiway to Iowa, Kansas and later to Oklaho- Dr. George Godfrey, great-great-grandson of Watchekee, and artist wanis for the beautiful program today ma. She was married to pioneer Gurdon and for the mural. As a city we are very Bekki Canine converse in front of the mural Canine created in honor of proud of you and we are very proud to Hubbard, Noel Le Vasseuer and Francis Bergeron, who is Godfrey’s great-great- Watchekee, for whom Watseka is named. be a part of Watseka,” she said. grandfather. Watseka Community High School While he said he does not want to take the term from her “She moved back and forth and that she was removed teacher Kay Devine, along with Principal Carolyn Short, memory, he said, “just remember it is for acts of kindness.” from Illinois several times,” he said. and some of the students who helped with the mural, also He said he is very pleased with the mural. There were at least two times she came back to Watseka, were at the dedication. “I hope this means something in “I think it is a very good rendition of the original,” he he said. One of those is in 1863, but it is not clear if she your heart for what you’ve done today. You should be very said, noting that he has the original at home. “I told her to came back as a visit or if she had come back as a guest proud,” Lubben said. pretend that the blacks and grays and whites are browns, when the city was named Watseka. Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of dark, dark browns. “Because of her kindness to people you now have the Natural Resources, spoke. Callahan, a Milford native, also “One thing to note, is that she does have a star that town of Watseka,” Godfrey said, “and also you have the congratulated the Kiwanis and the city for the mural. IDNR symbolizes her birth,” he said. “We do know that there was county. I think that the thing she left that people should is the overseer of state parks and recreate areas and the some kind of a natural phenomenon, where you had a bright Illinois State Museum system. It also oversees the Illinois remember is that you should return the favor to someone star. But also, keep in mind that you had the big Madrid else.” Historic Preservation Division. Earthquake during that time. Who knows what the actual Through the years, the term “princess” has been used to Kiwanis President Janice Lubben said that they apprecidescribe Watchekee, but Godfrey said it is important to note phenomenon was. All I know is that the term is honorary.” ate everyone who came to see the mural and take part in its Godfrey said he and his wife, Pat, had stopped in Watseka dedication. that isn’t a royal tile. about a week ago, which is the first time they had seen the “Princess was a term that described someone who was “Thank you for taking the time out today to be here and mural. nice to people. It was not a royal title,” he said. celebrate Watchekee. She was a kind lady,” Lubben said.

“157 Years”




“137 Years”




iroquoisfed.com Since 1883

“113 Years”


815-889-4131 MEMBER FDIC Since 1907

“150 Years”


“137 Years”






Since 1870

“123 Years”



www.knappfuneralhomes.com Since 1897

Member FDIC

Since 1883

“122 Years”



www.watsekalibrary.org Since 1898

“111 Years”

120 E. Walnut St., Watseka, IL 60970 815-432-2494

145 E. Fifth Ave. Clifton, IL 60927 815-694-2329


Page 2 January, 2020

Year in Review

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic


Dubble: telecommunicators must paint picture for first responders By CARLA WATERS, Managing Editor imaginable. We have dispatched a surgeon and helicopter to cwaters@intranix.com a factory accident and at car accidents when there are three There are some jobs where the person performing the job or more injured, it’s an automatic helicopter dispatch if paints a picture for others. Artists, journalists, musicians someone has been thrown from the vehicle. and others use their crafts to explain or relate what is going “A big change we made several years ago is box alarms. on at a given moment. Box alarms are when the fire departments set these up at the The importance of one such job is shown in life or death beginning of the year, and then as an occurrence happens in situations they face every day. their town it Telecommunicators must paint tells us how a picture of what is going on many fire deat an accident, medical call or partments to crime scene. They must gather send to that. I that information as best they was definitely can from the call they are takagainst box ing from those in a situation of alarms when distress. they first Nita Dubble, the retired direcintroduced tor of telecommunications for them to me. Iroquois County, spoke about I thought it the job that tele communicators would be have to do to get that informatoo much tion to the responding agencies. work for the “I was a telecommunicator dispatchers, and I’ve trained a lot of telebut wow, Photo by Carla Waters what a differcommunicators over the years,” she said. “What I always said to Nita Dubble was the guest speaker at the Tunnel to ence they’ve them when they first sat down in Towers closing ceremony Oct. 20, 2019. made and I’m the chair is ‘you have everybody definitely a in Iroquois County in your hands, and how you respond or believer today in the box alarms.” don’t respond can make a difference in life or death’. And She said in New York during the Sept. 11 responses, they that’s how important the tele communicators are. had so many people who responded that they, in the next “We all know how important communications is,” she few days, ran out of telecommunicators to respond because said, “whether it is relationships or radio transmission dureveryone had already worked so many hours. ing an incident. “In Illinois we have a Telecomunicator Response Task “Communications problems and successes played an imForce,” she said. There are 213 tele communicators who are portant role on Sept. 11 in the attacks and the aftermaths,” trained throughout the state. Should a large incident happen, she said, noting that the system was overloaded as everyone she said, those telecommunicators are trained to respond tried to take care of responding that day. and help out as needed. They go out of state, too. “Radio communications served a vital role in coordi“There were some levels of confusion present in the nating rescue efforts from New York Police Department, incident in New York. Commanders didn’t have adequate New York Fire Department, the port authority police and information and inter-agency information sharing was emergency medical services. Many radio communications inadequate.” were modified to address the problems discovered after the She said at one point the New York center was following bombing investigation. protocol and advising callers from the World Trade Center “I know in working several years in Iroquois County, to stay put and wait for instruction from firefighters and pothere were different times when we had to change our lice. The people on scene were sending some people from protocols depending on the event we had happen,” she floor to floor to tell people to evacuate. said, “and it made a difference in what we did in the future. “Dispatch had no idea these people were doing this,” she Whether it be education, change in the way we did things or said. “Unfortunately this type of thing happens a lot. The equipment changes. We found that calls for service inpublic and first responders think we can see the scene and creased and so did our radio communications. At that time we know everything that is going on. You know, that crystal we only had one frequency that we actually paged our fire ball that we have in the dispatch center. and EMS on, other than IMH, and we also had that same “They learned that from this incident from situation frequency as what we did all of our radio transmissions on. awareness. The 911 center was overrun by call volumes We found that got to be a lot of work for one frequency, they had never seen before. Everything thinks TCs know so we changed to two different frequencies to be able to everything about a scene. I think some people think if they dispatch on one and be able to do our radio communications call 911 we can hit a button to turn their electricity on after on the other. a storm. “In the first 17 minutes of Sept. 11 there were 1,000 “But adding to the confusion in New York, radio recoverpolice, fire and EMS arrived on scene. Soon after the arage problems, radio traffic blocking and building system rival the resources were overrun by needs. I can’t imagine problems occurred inside the burning buildings. The facts what dispatching this incident would have even been like. show that some of the equipment worked as designed and When I teach an emergency medical dispatch class, one of users made the best of what was available to them. That is the chapters is resource allocations. We have the students something we sometimes learn on the fly. list resources that we could possibly need at any incident “I can remember a time when we had a major cut in a

“101 Years”

IROQUOIS, IL 815-429-3337 ASHKUM, IL 815-698-2346

BEAVERVILLE, IL 815-435-2036 GILMAN, IL 815-265-4707 SHELDON, IL 815-429-3331

Since 1919

WATSEKA, IL 815-432-4198

“83 Years”


“94 Years”




phone line and we learned that day that line carried all the cell phone and telephone lines that made Iroquois County work. Some how, and I still don’t know how this happened today, my phone actually worked. (Milford Fire Chief) Frank Hines made one phone call to me on my cell phone and we felt like we were the only people in Iroquois County who were able to talk phone to phone. We were both afraid to hang up because we were afraid we would lose connection.” Calls were being handled by Kankakee County as the phone line problem was being rectified in Iroquois County, she said. At one point, she said, they had to put equipment in the St. Anne police squad car, so that information could be layer between Kankakee County and Iroquois County. “It just shows when things get tough you have to think outside the box,” she said. She said the tele communicators are only as good as the information they are being given and the protocols that are in place. “Telecommunicators are taught to paint a picture,” she said. “When I teach this in the EMD class one thing I tell them is they need to get enough information that when the firefighter, the policeman or ambulance person gets in there they can paint a picture in their head from what you are telling them. They can decide what they are going to need at the scene. “Sometimes people ask us why the dispatchers ask all those stupid questions, and many times we’ve been hung up on. I wish the public would understand that we are simply doing that to help them. It’s not that we are being nosy. It’s not that we have anything else to do. It is simply that we are trying to get the necessary information and the correct information to be able to send you help.” She said that there are times when a tele communicator will ask someone at an accident scene to go from car to car of the vehicles involved in the accident to see how many people are involved and how hurt they are. That helps them understand what kinds of injuries they may be dealing with and how many ambulances need to be sent, she said. There were several things that happened during the Sept. 11 calls, she said, that caused some changes to be made in the way calls were made. “Recordings from the incident also indicate that with dispatch being overloaded there were delays in radio calls. Unfortunately this occurs, especially in overwhelming situations. Many 911 telephone calls to dispatch were disconnected or routed to other calls as “all circuits are busy now”. “Stats show about one third of the radio messages transmitted during the incident were incomplete or unreadable. Some recordings show two or three conversations occurring simultaneously on particular channel. They learned that police, fire and EMS were not able to communicate with each other because they all had their own channels. “Unfortunately through this event and several others we all learned a lot about communications. As a telecommunicator we do the best with what we have. At times a first responder gets to the scene and sees something different than what we dispatch. I was very lucky during the majority of years when I was 911 director that I had an awesome 911 board to work with, that was constantly working with me to make things better in Iroquois County. “I am very thankful for that. I enjoyed being a tele communicator. It’s a profession, like a lot of professions, that isn’t for everyone, but I loved it. My hats off to those tele communicators in New York. I can only imagine what they went through that day and the days after. To all you first responders, thank you, and stay safe.”

“88 Years”



Since 1926

Since 1932

“61 Years”

“56 Years”


202 S. Central St., Danforth, IL Family Owned & Operated



Wedding Gown Cleaning & Alterations


Rt. 1 & 24 East, WATSEKA, IL

Since 1937

Since 1959


“55 Years”

“55 Years”

“53 Years”



STOCKLAND GRAIN CO., INC STOCKLAND, IL 815-682-4211 MILFORD, IL 815-889-4855 GREER, IL 815-984-4700 Since 1965

815-432-3282 penceoil.com Since 1965

815-432-2418 Since 1964


Family owned & operated

Since 1967

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic

January, 2020 Page 3

Year in Review


Cissna Park takes second place at state championship By ZACK WATERS sports@intranix.com The Cissna Park Timberwolve’s triumphant season came to an unfortunate close on Saturday during their IHSA State Championship face off with Chicago’s Providence-St. Mel Knights. The final score was 5229. Tip-off saw Cissna Park with the ball to start the game off where the Timberwolves were able to get themselves on the board immediately. The team was again able to put another two points on the board after a foul against Christian Stadeli sent him to the free throw line. But some strong offense allowed for the Knights to come back and take the lead closing out the first quarter of play with a score of 16-8. St. Mel extended their lead in the second quarter and managed to hold the Timberwolves to a scoreless five minutes, until Bailey Sluis was able to land a much needed 3-point shot. The Timberwolve’s found themselves too far behind to catch up to the Knights before going into half-time 29-13. Cissna Park’s Brian Fehr was able to get a successful 3-point attempt to kick off a hard fought third quarter from the Timberwolves. Cissna Park was able to hold the Knights to an 13 point lead to end the quarter and headed into the final eight minutes of play time down 36-23. In the final quarter, the Knights doubled down and held Cissna Park to just six points total while still

being able to put up 16 of their own to end the game with a final score of 52-29 and take home the championship trophy. At what was an understandably emotional press conference, Cissna Park head coach Kevin Long had nothing but positive things to say about his team’s abilities this season and what it was like to be so successful for his final season of coaching before retirement. “What a ride. What a journey,” he said. “Anyone that’s not inside our program has no idea how much commitment and sacrifice these guys have made over the years. We are a team in the truest sense of the word.” High expectations is what was put on the team from the beginning and Long says his team was able to exceed those this season. “The bar was set three years ago and we talked to these guys about setting big goals, and thinking big. And they bought into it. And that’s how I want them to live their lives. Have high expectations and set the bar high. And we did.” Senior Timberwolve Conner Lober was also proud of the way his team has played and has enjoyed being a part of the team. “We got closer and closer every year and slowly got better and we ended up here. It’s been a really fun time.”

Photo by Zack Waters The Timberwolves hoist their second place state trophy.


History made as Milford drains Chargers for sectional title By ZACK WATERS sports@intranix.com The 2019 Milford Lady Cats made school history on Wednesday night when they defeated the Illinois Lutheran Chargers for the sectional championship. The final was 25-14, 25-13. On Monday, the team defeated DeLand-Weldon in the first round of sectional play, which at the time was the farthest the team had gotten in the post season since 1996. However, that all changed after defeating the Chargers and now the 2019 Milford Lady Cats volleyball team can officially say they have earned their school a sectional title. Milford head coach Christy Duis said she could not have been more proud of the way her team played and is excited to be a part of the school’s The Milford Lady Bearcats volleyball team pose with their plaque history. Illinois Lutheran Chargers. “The beautiful thing about While Duis credits the win as a team effort, she menthat win is that we played so great tonight,” she said. tioned several key players that helped pave the way to the “ We played good on Monday night but we are better than Lady Cats’ victory. what we showed. Tonight, I just feel like we played at that “Caley Mowrey was what she’s been all year for us at the top level that we need to be at.”

“50 Years”

“47 Years”


www.hrblock.com 1164 E. WALNUT WATSEKA, IL

MILLER’S AUTO REPAIR 815-432-3565 Since 1970

“45 Years”

KINGDON’S HOME CENTER 234 N. Jefferson, Watseka, IL

815-432-5448 Since 1975

“26 Years”




815-432-4128 Since 1973

“45 Years”

“42 Years”



815-683-2631 Since 1975

“26 Years” Bob Burd

Financial Representative bob.burd@countryfinancial.com



Hours: Mon.,-Fri. 9-5; Sat. 9-Noon

Owners: Don & Judy Brinkman Since 1978



815-432-5231 Since 1994

“47 Years”

Since 1973



net. People can’t stop her and to have a hitter like that is fantastic,” said Duis. “Jakki Mowrey was great also tonight. She was nailing her spots and Kaylee Warren has been so solid and is a fantastic setter. She always gets the ball where it needs to be.” As a senior, Warren said she is happy to set the school record with the team she’s been playing with all these years. “It feels amazing to be able to set a new school record for our school. Hopefully that continues over the years,” she said. “We were so excited that we were able to do this in our home gym. The energy levels were high and everyone is just so excited.” Warren led the charge for Photo by Zack Waters the Lady Cats with 25 on the night. Caley Mowrey ended after defeating the her night with 12 kills while Jakki Mowrey ended off with five aces in the two sets. Emmaleah Marshino had 12 digs. The Lady Cats will now move on to play in the supersectionals at 6 p.m. Friday night in Varna. The team will take on Glasford.

Since 1994

Linda Larimore Hours: Tuesday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-?? Saturday 8:30 a.m.-Noon Evening Appointments Available

Since 1997

Page 4 January, 2020

Year in Review

Iroquois County’s Times-Republic


Eagle Scout project helping National Guard unit By CARLA WATERS, Managing Editor “As an Eagle Scout candidate, I cwaters@intranix.com am following in the footsteps of my A local Boy Scout is helping military brothers, Noah and Christian, who are personnel as his Eagle Scout project, both Eagle Scouts,” he said. and the community can take part. “We are collecting small travel Gabe Emerson of Watseka Boy Scout size hygiene and snack items for the Troop 188 has created “Operation Chaos Christmas care packages,” he said, — Christmas Care Package Drive” as noting that the goal is to get packages his project. to 70 military personnel. Emerson, along with family members Emerson said he has placed some and others who have volunteered to collection boxes throughout the area, help, are collecting items that can be put which people can place donate items together as care packages. Those items in. will be sent to Company C, 1st BatThose locations are the Watseka talion, of the 178th Infantry Regiment, Public Library, Watseka; Iroquois 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Farmers State Bank, Beaverville; from Kankakee. That brigade is curPhoto by Carla Waters Kankakee Community College, rently deployed to Afghanistan. Kankakee; Premium Specialties, Gabe Emerson of Watseka Emerson, a senior at Donovan High Bradley; and Donovan High School. Boy Scout Troop 188 is School from Beaverville, said he and his Some items that can be used are family know some people who are de- working on his Eagle Scout baby wipes and travel wipes (unployed with the National Guard unit and project, which is collecting scented), AA and AAA batteries, felt that the military personnel would playing cards, travel size, non-aerocare package items for appreciate the care packages. sol, unscented deodorant, disposable local National Guard “I like Christmas and I think that ev- members stationed overseas. razors, hand sanitizer, lens cleaning erybody should at least get something, cloths, lip balm, lotion, travel size no matter where they are, either at home or somewhere off mouthwash, cheese crackers, energy/protein bars, Gatorade in the Middle East,” he said. drink mix in powder, packets, gum, tummies, hot sauce, raThe service project is part of the requirements needed to men noodles, Slim Jims, tuna in pouches, travel size sewing earn the Eagle Scout rank. kits, Frisbees, balls, journals/notebooks/notepads, and travel

size First Aid kits. It is estimated that it will take about $20 to fill a care package box, and people can sponsor a box or two if they wish by sending donations. Checks can be mailed out to Boy Scout Troop 188 and sent to PO Box 95, Beaverville, Illinois. Emerson and some helpers stood in front of Dollar General in St. Anne recently to collect items, which they said was successful. They plan to be visible at some other stores around the area between now and the final collection date. They are collecting items until Dec. 5. A group will then package everything on Dec. 6 and get them delivered to the National Guard Dec. 7 so they can be distributed to the military personnel by Christmas. The post office in Beaverville has already got the boxes for them to use, he said. Once delivered to the armory in Kankakee, the staff sergeant there will make sure the packages are mailed out. Besides Scouting, Emerson is involved in several groups at school: band, choir, Scholastic Bowl, the school play, FA and National Honor Society. He is the son of Mike and Tina Emerson. When he graduates from high school, he plans to attend Kankakee Community College and then transfer to a fouryear university to finish his studies in environmental science or biology. He would like to be a conservation officer. He has been in Scouting since first grade. He has enjoyed his time in Scouting, and has worked at Camp Drake for the past two summers, something he plans to do again this coming summer.


Marvin Perzee remembered by farm, fair friends By WENDY DAVIS, Reporter of giving.” He called Perzee a surrogate father, and surrogate wdavis@intranix.com grandfather. He was a mentor and a coach. The Iroquois County Fairgrounds is a place to see old Perzee earned awards for the work he did, but the award friends and make new ones. Thursday evening, friends of was for the rewarding work he had already done. Marvin Perzee stopped by the 4-H Building to say goodbye Gillespie words were spoken from a lifetime of knowing to him. him. The funeral service for Perzee, 76, who died July 17, welGillespie called him a “Godly-man” and he quoted a line comed those who knew him — knew him for a lifetime, grew from the Bible’s Book of Matthew which reads “Whoever up with under his 4-H leadership, or talked to each year at the Photo by Wendy Davis humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom county fair. of heaven.” Pastor Don Gillespie officiated the 30 minute service filled The awards table displays achievements Perzee had a lot to be proud of but he had a restraint; he ranging from sheep management to with humor and, as he put it, his “personal sermon”. was humble and had a genuine love of people. Gillespie said It was a very relaxed atmosphere, as he said Perzee’s wife lifetime achievement. Perzee followed the Golden Rule kind of love. “He was a Sharon wanted it this way. Gillespie was wearing his jeans good neighbor.” and a plaid shirt; he said Perzee’s idea of a three-piece suit was jeans, plaid shirt and a vest. “I’m very privileged to say we were neighbors and friends all these years,” he said. “It’s Gillespie said he was brought home after birth not knowing he had a neighbor, Marv, livbeen a long and interesting journey.” ing two miles away; and, he didn’t know then that that neighbor would be a lifelong friend. As Gillespie noted the larger family becomes visible at a funeral, where all those people Perzee, who was always taller than Gillespie, was someone Gillespie looked up to — in Perzee touched are seen. “It’s a good time to remind all the family how Marvin touched more than just the one way, he said. you. Gillespie said he knew Perzee when both his 4-H leader and ag teacher told him to “speak Perzee had many friends. The 4-H center was set up to welcome 300 friends to attend the up”. 5 p.m. service. By the time of the service there had been about 500 people pass through to “He was first and always a farmer,” Gillespie said. “He wanted to be part of the ever say their goodbyes to Perzee and best wishes to his family. Arrangements were by Knapp recurring miracle (that is farming).” Funeral Home. He got into side projects in the year of 1965: he became a member of the Iroquois County The internment service was to be Friday morning at the Danforth Reformed Cemetery; Fair Board and the 4-H leader of the Ashkum Chargers. this service was for family only. On the fair board he got criticism, but “He bore that with such grace.” Pallbearers for Perzee were Aaron Perzee, Dave Perzee, Randy Wilken, Jayme Senffner, He also took on the grief of being a club leader. “Why?” asked Gillespie. It was for the Randy Storm and Quentin Rabideau. Jeff Blomsness, Rep. Tom Bennett, Marty Green, kids. “He got so much pleasure, so much joy from ministering to those kids.” He said he Congressman Tim Johnson, Sen. Jason Barickman and all of Marvin’s coffee buddies at helped raise two generations, and there’s a third making its way through now. “That’s a lot McDonald’s.

“18 Years”

“23 Years”


300 E. Frederick, P.O. Box 24, Milford, IL Buy, Sell & Trade Used Farm Equipment Jon 815-471-4191 Jim 815-471-9610 www.mowreyauction.com

815-432-1145 Since 2002

Since 1997

“17 Years”

“13 Years”

227 W. Walnut, Watseka, IL Hours: 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Richard L. Smith, Broker/Owner 815-432-2900 815-471-1948 cell 815-432-5509 home 815-432-2905 fax www.rlsmithsells.com email:RLSmithsells@aol.com Since 2007

Since 2003

“2.5 Years”

Bert’s Place formerly The Hangout


815-889-9902 Since 2017

As we embark upon a new year, area businesses renew their commitment to supporting our local economy. Their hard work, innovation and dedication make our community a better place to live, work and do business!

Profile for Times-Republic Special Sections

2019 Years in Business  

2019 Years in Business