A Year in Review – Part 1
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■ Kristi Allgood of the Calhoun Health Department administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Sandy Teichmann, administrator at the department, Monday, Dec. 28., becoming the first individual in Calhoun County to receive the vaccine.
■ Vaccines might be making their way into the community with a likely release to the general populace in the spring, but parents and students should not expect to see things change back to normal anytime soon. Education leaders in the county agreed it would likely not be until August – the start of the new school year – when students might be going to class as they normally would have done before March 2020.
■ County officials have been working over the course of several months to peg down a reliable way to contact residents in the event of an emergency, and they’ve just about got the job done. Calhoun County is partnering with CodeRed, a telephonic system provided through the company OnSolve. In the event of an emergency, the sheriff’s office will quickly create and send a public notification to either the entire county or to a specific location, depending on the situation.
■ All are not treated the same when shipping out vaccines, and for those in counties like Calhoun, it has become very frustrating. “There are some counties that are getting massive amounts [of vaccine], and it has been very troubling to us, because we are getting like 100 a pop. One hundred doses does not go very far,” Sandy Teichmann, Calhoun Health Department administrator, said. “…I have not been a happy camper about it.” Health officials took issue with the disparity in doses when other counties with comparable population sizes got much larger shipments.
■ For many in the Calhoun Unit 40 community, there is no doubt that Glenn Peyton, more often referred to simply as “Coach Peyton,” has made a big mark on their life, and locals like Eric Hagen are working to make sure he is recognized for all he has done for those growing up in the county. Peyton, the 53-year-old Calhoun Unit 40 coach, referee and educator died on Sept. 22, 2020 following heart surgery, leaving behind a 24-year teaching career and a community that, based on the response to his death, will cherish his memory for decades to come. Currently, donations are being collected to bring to fruition a patio memorial at the east end of the sports complex in honor of the late teacher.
■ Ice floes on the river have forced the shutdown of a lot of the ferry traffic going in and out of Calhoun County. The Kampsville, Brussels and Golden Eagle ferries’ operation stopped Sunday and Monday because of these ice floes, according to officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation District 8.
■ Calhoun police responded to a report of vandalism at 10:18 a.m. Sunday at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church in Hardin, Chief Deputy Greg Weishaupt of the Calhoun Sheriff’s Office said. Those responsible spray painted the doors green with markings and painted the sidewalks with orange spray paint. The matter is under investigation. The “666” was sanded down as St. Norbert staff was trying to remove the paint, but the effort was unsuccessful in getting rid of it completely.
■ Calhoun’s St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDPS), a nonprofit serving needy families and individuals, recently purchased the old Ringhausen building at 105 French Street and are in the process of turning it into a food pantry.
■ Calhoun is almost at double-digit percentages in the ongoing fight to eliminate COVID from the county. According to the Illinois Department of Health, 456 are fully vaccinated in the county as of the start of the month. This means approximately 9.5 percent of the county’s population, 4,802 residents, is now fully vaccinated, and that number is expected to continue to exponentially grow as vaccines are more readily available to health departments and other third-party distributors like CVS.
■ Sophie Lorton is at it again with her second annual Egg My House fundraiser. Last year, Lorton and her mom, Kerry, came up with the idea to raise money for the Calhoun football stadium, while providing a fun outlet for families who were cooped up because of COVID. When all was said and done, they “egged” about 15 to 20 houses and raised over $600 for new bleachers at the football stadium.This year, however, the college student and part-time community organizer has changed up her focus. “This year, we’ve decided to raise money for the Glenn Peyton Memorial Scholarship,” Lorton said.
■ So far, in Calhoun County, 800 have been fully vaccinated, representing 16.66 percent of the county’s population. This puts Calhoun at No. 12 in the state regarding the percentage of the population that is fully vaccinated.
■ Illinois Electric Cooperative has hit another big milestone in the endeavor to connect Calhoun County with high speed internet using fiber optic lines. The cooperative has been planning and working on this project for several years, and Tuesday last week, they connected their first residential Calhoun fiber internet consumer. Albert and Cindy Jenkins were the first to have fiber installed near Brussels, and both they and leaders with the cooperative are excited.
■ As of March 29, 977 people have been fully vaccinated in the county, meaning they have received both doses of the vaccine, and based on the pace at which residents in the county are getting fully vaccinated so far, it is expected that the 1,000 mark will be reached by April 4.
■ Andrea Pohlman, an educator at Calhoun Elementary School, was one of many faculty members in the county saddened by the passing of Mark Baalman, Calhoun’s beloved “Mr. B.” But, she, along with her colleagues and students at the elementary school, have been constructively channeling their grief in the form of a beautiful tribute to the late educator, friend and father. With Mr. B’s visitation at the school, the district decided to hold a remote learning day, but educators were encouraged to come up with an activity that would also serve to commemorate Mr. B. Pohlman came up with a learning activity that the educator and tomato-lover would be proud of. “We decided that since Mr. B was known, among many things, for Baalman’s Produce, with one of his specialties being tomatoes, we thought the students could plant cherry tomatoes in honor of Mr. B on that day, so they could remember him all summer long as they enjoyed their healthy fruit,” Pohlman said.
■ Wade Gibson will be sworn in as Kampsville’s new mayor on May 4, succeeding Interim Mayor Paul Klunk in the position. This is Gibson’s second time serving in the office of the Mayor of Kampsville – a position that he says he is excited to be in again. On his long-term itinerary, some of the things he hopes to accomplish revolve around village utilities and boosting local tourism.
The Jaycees, a nonprofit organization which was once active in the area several years ago, has recently been making a comeback. Dellaray Hileman, a resident of Golden Eagle who has also lived in Jersey County, spearheaded the push to bring the organization back into the area.
■ The Old Fill Inn Station or what is now simply called The Fill Inn Station in Batchtown, has recently come under new ownership. The Brodbeck Family will officially take over May 1. Over the past three years, Julie Brodbeck has worked under the previous owners, Robert Forsee and Butch Bick, and basked in the joy it brought her. So much so, that she spoke with her parents, and coaxed them into purchasing the Batchtown staple, known as the Old Fill Inn Station.
■ It was a success on all fronts for Calhoun’s junior football league (JFL) program at MacMurray College in Jacksonville Saturday. Both the heavyweight and lightweight divisions of Calhoun JFL Warriors are WIVC JFL champions, following a nail-biter heavyweight matchup and lightweight domination, and for local coaches, this speaks volumes to what the highschool football fans should expect to see over the next several years.
■ The Calhoun Community Swimming Pool Association has announced that the pool will be opening on Saturday, May 29, this year, but while there’s much to celebrate, there’s a lot of work ahead for volunteers and employees. “We’re going to start getting it ready a little earlier than normal just because it’s been sitting dormant for two years,” Nate Sagez, a Calhoun Community Swimming Pool Association board member, said.
■ It was a first for the class, but one the boys in Industrial Tech at Calhoun High School were more than willing and able to tackle. All seniors, the students in the class – Zach Quiller, Brennen Grimes, Cale Burris, Colby Clark, Austin Mudd and Cole Chapman – developed as woodworkers and were certainly capable of tackling what would end up being the most delicate project they were faced with. They were tasked with restoring an aged wood statue of St. Francis of Assisi at St. Norbert’s School in Hardin, and within a couple of weeks, the work was finished and the statue returned, good as new.
■ Friday, Calhoun’s Class of 2021 did not only walk the stage for their diploma donning a red cap and gown for their graduation ceremony. They were also adorned with neckties of Peyton’s, marking the man’s service and impact on those in the Warrior community. Peyton’s brother, Gary Peyton, donated these ties to the school in honor of his years of service. Seniors also made sure to make mention of Mark Baalman’s impact on their lives.
■ The Calhoun Entertainment Company is gearing up for its 2021 season, which promises to be a busier one for the company, but nonetheless excellent. This year, the CEC will be delivering its production of “Grease,” which will take place on the big stage at the Calhoun fairgrounds, just like last year’s production of Peter Pan.
■ Rull Bros of Hardin will greatly miss Joe Schulte, who has officially left after 40 years of hard work in the propane business. His family and coworkers threw a retirement party for him Friday, firing up the fryers and dishing out plenty of food and cake to anyone who wanted to stop by.
■ Greg Hoskins, publisher of Better Newspapers, Inc., is proud to announce the acquisition of five Illinois newspapers: Calhoun News-Herald, Greene Prairie Press, Pike Press, Scott County Times and Jersey County Journal, all headquartered in Jerseyville. Based in Mascoutah, Better Newspapers, Inc., is a family-owned company currently operating 31 publications in Illinois and Missouri.
■ Depending on what part of the county people were in, residents saw an estimated 3-7 inches of rain in the span of an hour from the storm that came through the county, leading to overflowing ditches and ponding across the parts of the county along with downed crops and trees.
■ The Village of Kampsville is on a mission to beautify and declutter their town. Kampsville’s “Clean Up Weekend,” proved to be a success for the residents’ recent efforts to make improvements to the town. “It went amazing; we had filled up two 40-yard dumpsters and they were compacted in with a backhoe,” Mayor Wade Gibson of Kampsville said.