April 16, 2014
Local Columnists
Open letter to the citizens of CUSD #15:

According to the ISBE website, 45 school districts in the State of Illinois are on Financial Watch. 67 others are on Financial Early Warning. We’re not one of them, yet, but we’re on track to get there very soon.
Districts all over the state are making decisive spending cuts, trimming costs and shaving expenditures where ever they can in order to stave off financial disaster. We’re not one of them, yet, but I believe we need to be.

Retirement home brings romance

They said they would be sitting down at their wedding, and that is what they did. That was during the wedding we had here at the Blair House on this past Saturday.
We are here living at the Blair House, a dignified retirement home. Let’s face it, one doesn’t come here for a vacation, they come here to spend the rest of their lives.
Seven months ago Judy Stein, 71, a retired high school librarian, moved into Blair House. On her first day she went down to breakfast and found an empty chair at a table in the corner of the room. At that table was Myron Tepper, 78, a retired hospital pharmacist, there was another gentleman and a 98-year-old lady in a wheelchair who made up the foursome at that table. The four had breakfast, lunch and supper there every day and soon became good friends.

Hurray for the Heroes of Winter!

Greetings from the Ridge.
I’m sure you’ve been there. You sit in the store’s parking lot, the temperature hovering somewhere between chilling and killing as you try to summon up the courage to get out of the car and make a break for the automatic doors. You gauge the distance and wonder if you can dash all the way to the store without breathing, knowing that the first gasp of artic chill will stab your lungs like a blast of killer popsicle. Then you see him hurry by.
Most stores hire a young man to retrieve the orphaned carts from the lot’s frozen surface. He’ll gather up an aluminum train of about forty rickety-wheeled carts then push them back into the store where you’ll hope they thaw out enough to grab. Here I sit worrying about simply walking into the store while this kid is spending eight hours on the set of Dr. Zhivago for my convenience. He’s my winter hero.

A devastating tornado strikes Cass County in 1883

Though numerous tornadoes visited the land we call Cass County over the centuries, the county’s first verified tornado struck in May of 1845 (like many historical events, the exact date is up for debate).
It was born in Morgan County, where it destroyed a number of barns and fences. Moving into Cass County, the twister smashed a few houses and leveled  the Walnut Grove School near Princeton. Though the storm did considerable property damage, there was no loss of life.

Here we go again

By David V. Miller
For the Star-Gazette
For those of you wondering if winter is ever going to end……well… not any time soon. Going around Beardstown just three days after Ground Hog’s Day, I myself, was tempted to make a trip to Pennsylvania, to put a hit on that subterranean guinea pig!

A good time to clean out freezers

I was watching the early news this morning (Mon.).They had two scientists reporting on the sixth extinction coming up. They had a chart of how many species are already gone, and the percentage of many others. One I remember that was shocking was that 50% of the Great Barrier Reef is gone. Could we be far behind if the world becomes unbalanced?

Pioneers discover Illinois is tornado country

Few things in nature are more terrifying or sudden, and none more violent than a tornado.
A tornado, which is part of a thunderstorm, consists of a dark funnel-shaped cloud in which rotating winds can reach speeds in excess of 300 mph. About half of all tornadoes are classed as F1 on the Fujita scale with wind speeds of 73 to 112 mph. By comparison, an F5 tornado has wind speeds of 261 to 318 mph.
The first recorded tornado in Illinois history occurred on a Sunday, June 5, 1805, racing through what would later become known as Tornado Alley.

‘Citizens for Kids First’ favors consolidation

My name is Caitlin Mahoney and I am the vice president of "Citizens for Kids First." This is an organization of parents, students, teachers and taxpayers. We have come together to improve the education of our students and provide a brighter future. I am 100% for consolidation.

Finding love during war

Yeovil is a town in England, a town like Beardstown that has flood problems. Yeovil is about 130 miles west of London, and near the English Channel and experienced an unusual flood during January. The River Severn nearby is full of the winter’s rain and snow, and at the same time there were 75 to 80 mph winds blowing an abundance of sea water up the river from the English Channel, thereby flooding Yeovil and thousands of farm acreage. All of the roads into Yeovil were flooded for a few days.
In better times, this town, which is thousands of years old and first settled by the Romans, has a population today of around 37,000. It was 70 years ago, during World War II that the U. S. Army had built Camp Houndstone at the edge of Yeovil. It was on January 8, 1944, when Charles Chambers, not much more than a teenage soldier, left the family farm near Bluffs Springs, and arrived at Camp Houndstone. Chambers was trained as an Infantry Replacement at Camp Walters, Texas, before  being sent to England.

Bird brains, avian and human

Greetings from the Ridge.
In the annals of the great romantics, you won’t find the name of Herb Crump listed anywhere, and when it comes to sentimentality he doesn’t even rate a footnote. We always try to buy each other a little something for Valentine’s Day and as we’ve aged our gift exchange has turned from roses and chocolates to support hose and thermal socks, but this year the man actually showed just the barest hint of creativity and bought me a bird feeder.