April 18, 2014
Local Columnists
Sunday - a good day for cooking

Sunday was such a cold day or was it just that we had several nice warm ones and are already spoiled? I was going to trim some fruit trees but after letting the dog out, I decided it was too cold. I stayed in and cooked corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots.
Saved a dish for my youngest son and he will pick it up Monday after work.
I did go out to the green house to water the new plantings. We have several flats of cabbage and broccoli up. That's always exciting when things start to sprout. I checked the two peach trees that got left in pots ouside the back door of the greenhouse. They are alive and sprouting - wow, hard to believe.

Victim urges sexual assault victims to speak up

My name is Kynli Smith and I am writing you this letter because I am a victim of sexual assault. My abuser was just sentenced on March 10, 2014. I wanted to write this letter and share my story with you because the sad fact is I am not alone. There are so many other victims of sexual assault out there. I hope that by sharing my story with you, hopefully more victims of sexual assault will come forward like I have and break the suffocating silence. I’m going to try my best to explain my story to you, but normally the most important things are often the hardest things to say. So I am going to do my best.
I was molested by a man that I trusted and loved, a man who was supposed to go to my ball games, take me fishing and support me. Instead my abuser took my trust and innocence away when I was eight-years-old. The abuse stopped when I was around 12 when I moved away from Beardstown. I have carried the abuse, the burden and the shame with me over the years.
At first I did not realize that what was happening to me was wrong because he was supposed to love and take care of me. But, as I got older I soon realized that I am a victim of child molestation, and my abuser is a pedophile. Once I realized this I was too afraid and somewhat ashamed to tell anyone. I knew this would break my close-knit family apart, and I was also nervous about the abuse being seen as a personal weakness.

Resident calls for responsible voting

I received a flyer from Eva Lynn asking for my vote on March 18. I went to school with her daughter and know them both to be good people and Eva to have good credentials. And I believe she and her fellow Democrats do what’s best for our town and county.

Lunch time becomes a real treat

A few days ago it was our doctor day. I had an appointment with a retina specialist who comes from Peoria one day each week. I have a liquid bubble behind the eye ball and they are trying to evaporate it. Our son Don is retired and took me, and stayed with me while I was at the doctor’s office. We were out of the doctor’s office in time to pick up Christine who had a routine check-up with her doctor.

End of winter . . . time to party!

Greetings from the Ridge.
I’m ready for a party. Oh, I know that living in this most blessed of nations it’s hard to say that we deserve anything, but dog-gone it, after living through a winter like we’ve just endured I think we’ve earned the right to treat ourselves to a shindig. Print up the t-shirts proclaiming, “I survived the winter of 2014!” Break out the champagne or if you’re Methodist, crack open a bottle of grape juice.
Maybe we could hold a Holi, a celebration in Northern India where the villagers douse each other with gaily colored powder and in some cases throw buckets of dyed water on each other. Before you pooh-pooh these weird native traditions, think back to the last Super Bowl celebration. I’d suggest that we commemorate the end of this God-awful winter by Holi-ing our own neighborhoods. Walk into your local coffee shop or church service and toss of bag of bright yellow cornmeal into the air and shout, “Winter’s over! We beat the bugger!” In some villages the Holi is ended by the women beating their tie-dyed husbands with bamboo sticks. I’ll have a small quantity on my front porch if the urge hits you.

Don’t put winter clothes away yet

Perhaps we are finally out of the spring weather today, winter weather tomorrow cycle. No one can say that the weather in Illinois is boring, it changes every day. Don't pack away those winter clothes just yet.
Virginia schools Parent-Teacher conferences are this week, and on Thursday evening, March 20, the VHS FFA will be serving a pork chop dinner for parents, students and anyone else who would like to attend from 4 to 7 p.m.

Thoughts of spring come to mind

By Kay Brown
For the Star-Gazette
I went to the basement the other day to do laundry. While I was down there I checked on my supplies I keep in a big tote. I was really looking for crackers since I had pulled some soup out of the freezer. No crackers- pasta, flour, cereal, cake mixes, and soy milk, nothing I needed this trip.
I like to keep staples on hand because I go to the store only twice a month if I can manage to. I found by checking my checkbook that I was spending too much and so that was a good place to cut back expenses. So now it’s go at sale time only.
While I was in the room with the goods and my home canned items I checked all the lids. Sometimes a lid will pop up or spoilage will cause one to pop. Everything was fine, so I checked how much jelly I had left. I had a thought while looking at the jelly. Someday I won’t be able to can anymore and that will be a sad day for me. I love to do that with our own fruits and veggies. It gives you a sense of pride to see all those shining jars lined up, full of beautiful colors waiting for somebody to enjoy the contents. I know that day will come, I just hope not too soon.

Social media expands exposure

By Susan Carson
For the Star-Gazette
What did we do before social media?  A video found on YouTube and posted on Facebook showed the road crew for the band Ricochet were videoing from their bus as they rolled in to the square and were setting up for their performance at the Virginia BBQ.  The east and south sides of the square were very visible as were people around town and on the courthouse lawn during the performance.  Once again, our community never knows who may be watching and where Virginia will ultimately be seen and by whom!  Do we make a great first impression?

Fundraiser to benefit area hospice

Dear Editor,
On Saturday, March 22, the Cass-Schuyler Area Hospice will hold their annual fundraiser at the Beardstown Elks Club. For over 19 years, the Cass-Schuyler Area Hospice has provided, at no cost, for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people suffering from terminal illnesses, and the people who love them, in Cass, Morgan, Scott, Brown and Schuyler counties. This fundraiser will help raise funds to provide significant support to our hospice services and enable us to continue enhancing the quality of life for each patient and supporting the family throughout their bereavement period.

Consolidation offers expanded curriculum

Dear Editor:
In my 24 years of teaching in the A-C Central school district, I have been involved in four consolidation campaigns. One was successful, two failed and one is to be determined on March 18th. In all four campaigns, the main reasons the consolidation discussions began were curriculum, extra curricular offerings and finances.