News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Two Good Shots of Wapella Church History

At the suggestion of George Spray, Wapella's Ace of Photographers, has obtained two historic postcards of Wapella Churches.

Here's St. Patrick's (Sans Steeple..may make a good Roman Church..St. Pat's Sans Campanile!) and the Wapella Chirstian Church from approximately the same era.

I am not sure what happened to the Wapella Christian Church pictured, but it looks like a well made building. Nor am I sure what years these are from. There is parking for your horse at the Catholic Church, which suggests this is pre-automobile.

These are from the CU Williams Company in Bloomington, under the title Genuine Photo, which indeed they are.

Merry Christmas and it would be great to hear any details about these structures that have been so important to the Village of Wapella and the Wildcat community.

Saturday, December 11, 2010 Mourns the Passing of Francis Carstens

Francis E. “Frank” Carstens, 75, Raymond, died at 1:22 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 9, 2010) at St. John’s Medical Center, Springfield.

Rosary services will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with the Rev. Father Peter Pilon officiating. Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Wapella, or a charity of the donor’s choice.

He was born Aug. 20, 1935, at Heyworth, to Henry and Nora Toohill Carstens. He married Ruby M. Dodson Reum on Sept. 30, 1990, at Hutchinson, Kan.

Surviving are wife, Ruby M. Carstens, Raymond; one daughter, Barbara (Eddie) Giefer, Cheney, Kan.; three grandchildren, Renae Giefer, Denver, Colo.; Rachel (Randy) Dick, Wichita, Kan.; and Rhonda (Ryan) Curtiss, Benton, Kan.; two great-grandchildren, Braydon and Briley Curtiss, Benton, Kan.; one brother, John (Phyllis) Carstens, Bloomington; and one sister, Genevieve (Martin) Metz.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

He was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Wapella, and was a U.S. Army mechanic veteran.

He was employed at G.E. for 36 years. He also farmed.

He was a loving and caring husband, dad and grandpa; also a fine cousin and friend to many in Wapella. An extended member of the Wapella community, Francis continued to participate in Wapella village and parish events long after moving away from Wapella. He will be missed by all his family and friends.

All flags half mast please for US Army Veteran Francis Carstens.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

DeWitt County Stretches Political Reach

Congratulations to Sen. Mark Kirk on choosing one of DeWitt County's finest to Chair the Agriculture Advisory Board. Washington welcomes, Terry Ferguson of Clinton, a past president and current board member of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau, and a friend and neighbor to many in Wapella. A DeWitt County Board member and Harp Township highway commissioner, Ferguson is well known for bringing attention to the needs of farmers in central Illinois.

Also from the DeWitt County Board, Wapella's own David Taylor was elected to a leadership position. In a historic vote, David Taylor was elected 8 to 1 as Vice Chair of the DeWitt County Board. Taylor notes he's glad to have the confidence of the other board members, and says he's looking forward to moving DeWitt County forward. Taylor, you may remember is only vaguely connected to Taylorville Illinois, his family being from Wapella and Waynesville.

Congrats to the Board on their decision of much wisdom and foresight. DeWitt Clinton would be proud to see such a responsible crew.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Still A Happy Day to remember Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. would be 85 years old today, if he were still with us. Happy Birthday SDJ, one of the great artists of the 20th century.

Here's Sammy doing his signature piece, Candyman.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Raw Feed: Stories in Development for

In response to the observation that is becoming increasingly irrelevant and untimely, we have reached new depths in lameness with the following stories, all with a tenuous connection to Wapella and to factualness in general.

* Zabriske Pointe by Michael Antonioni maybe the only film about a previous name of the Village of Wapella directed by an Oscar Winner. The movie looks like a period piece from 1970 and features a soundtrack from Pink Floyd, incidentally also the only soundtrack that Floyd did in homage to a previous name of the Village of Wapella.

* The Mattoon Mafia is one short after Brad Childress got the boot from the Vikings. Childress, EIU '78 was one of three Eastern Illinois University alums who are head coaches in the NFL, along with the Saints Sean Payton and Redskins Mike Shanahan.

* One of the few Sherlock Holmes stories set in Clinton, Illinois featured a mad medical group (pre-Myers and Veirs) terrorizing the Clinton Square titled the Surgeons of Spurgeons.

* Wapella is a whale of a place to get a Christmas tree. Here are two of the leading agri-merchants in Wapella marking their X in X-Mas, and one that is not doing so well.

Don's Tree Farm, Wapella, 935-6367, Don Filkin owner, U.S. 51 2 miles north of Wapella to Carl Springs Road, turn west and drive ¾ mile; open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 21; tours available weekdays; trees 3 to 8 feet; Scotch, Austrian and white pine and Fraser fir; $19.99 to $34.99; shaken and netted, no charge; $19.99 for stand system, drilling free; customer cuts, assistance available; wreaths, grave decorations, swags, crafts, gift shop. Free cider and animal crackers.
Christmas Trees at Hedrick Farms, Wapella, 935-3400; U.S. 51 north to Waynesville blacktop turn left, 4½ miles to Farmers Road, turn right, 1½ miles at T-road turn right; noon to dark Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to dark Saturday, noon to dark Sunday through Dec. 24; white and Scotch pine, balsam $30-$45, Douglas fir, up to 10 feet, $25; call ahead on wreaths.

Cut Your Own Cut Rate Christmas Tree Farm, Wilson Township, Wapella If you were here, you would already know where the place was at. Low prices, crummy trees, and questionable property rights are a big draw in the Holiday season for Cut-Your-Own. Many of the trees are not fit for indoor use and are generally regarded as brush. Unstaffed

* Ron Santo (1940-2010) was a likable guy. He had a restaurant in Libertyville that wasn't all that good. I don't think he paid much attention to it, just licensed his name out. Finger used to have a Ron Santo jersey that he claimed was owned by Santo. Oddly enou
gh Santo used to have a Jeff Finger jersey that he claimed was owned by Jeff. Hall of Fame or not, Santo was a fierce competitor and solid player, loved by fans and feared by the opposition. Jeff Finger is just feared by fans and tolerated, not particularly loved, by the opposition.


Ron Santo brings to mind a classic story from Wapella Great, Richard Cundiff. Richard was travelling with the Cubs in Montreal one time many years ago staying at the same hotel as the players. Many of the players went to a watering hole at the hotel for a private reception after a game one evening. Santo did not want to go, so offered his pass to the reception to our man Cundiff.

Cundiff sat up at the bar, with a badge on identifying him as Ron Santo. He was holding court with many players and reporters about the Cubs and baseball in general. One of the reporters said (something like) *So tell me Ronny, what do you think of Tim Foli?* Before Richard could reply, a player interrupted with "That's not Ron Santo, don't you recognize Jack Buck?"Richard's long term lookalike play-by-play man for the St. Louis Cardinals.

UPDATE 2 It's Pearl Harbor Day. Dr. Herman Meltzer, from Clinton survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor. You can buy Dr. Meltzer's book of poetry, Poems Written in Various Slap-Happy Moods here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rock and Roll Wrestling Returns to Wapella

Just when you thought Wapella was yawning a bit, the Pro-Wrestling Great Rock and Roll Buck ZumHofe is bringing his Rock and Roll Wrestling Circus back to town at The Irish, December 10, 2010 Tickets $8.00 in advance $12.00 at the door..

Here's Buck answering few questions:

Q: Greatest Wrestling Achievement

A: I guess being the Texas Tag-Team Champion, but even more being the AWA Light-Heavy Weight Champioin not once, not twice, but three times and then actually retiring with the belt.

Q: Favorite Opponent

A: The Weasel, I suppose.

Q: Favorite Tag-Team Partner

A: Teto Santana

Q: Best Wrestling Moment

A: Wrestling with Andre The Giant against Bobbie Heenan and Kent Patera in the St. Paul Civic Center; 35,000 people chanting Rock n Roll...BEBE!

Q: Worst Wrestling Moment

A: One time in the end of my match, I was going to do my handstand, went to fast and actually tippped out head over heals over the top rope and hurt myself.

Q: Advice to someone just getting started

A: If you want to really do this, it has to be in your heart or you will never ever make it.

Q: Wrestling Goals

A: Every night that we here at Rock n Roll Wrestling put on a will be the best possible show, every show, every night.


Big question, Buck brings on a Midget Wrestling Competition as well. Would any of Wapella's finest get in the ring as sort of an Andre the Giant vs. Buck's team?

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