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

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Wildcat Off the Market!

Sorry gents, but as of 5/26/2007, there's another Lady Wildcat off the
market. Hog City's own Colleen Renee Riddle, daughter of Vic and Donna
Riddle, has announced her engagement to Oyster Bay, New York, native
James Gerard Byrne, son of Patrick and Charlene Byrne. Colleen and Jim
became engaged this past Saturday at the Park Hyatt in Chicago.
Colleen and Jim plan to marry in 2008. The bride, a U of I grad, is
employed by Morningstar Research Firm. The groom, a Cornell man, is
employed by Sandler O'Neill and partners. Both currently reside in
Chicago. Congrats to both families, and an especially warm welcome from
Wapella's Irish Community to The Byrne's.
One burning question from Jim, will you learn to fly the
Illinois flag on game day with father-in-law Vic (and most everyone else
in Hog City) or are you going to stick to those Ivy League roots? C'mon
Big know you want to join in the chant: ILL - INI!!!!
Three cheers for clans Riddle and Byrne!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Illinois at San Antonio vs. Utah

Watching SA Spurs vs. Utah Jazz, and Illinois Basketball showed up very well. Deron Williams was dominating much of the game, double teamed, and still came through strong. Checking out to tie his shoes, here came the Illini, with Dee Brown spelling Williams in the 4th quarter.
Even more Illinois connections, as Proviso East 1992 AA Champ leader Michael Finley, played well for the Spurs, and McLeansboro's Jerry "Spider" Sloan coached Utah. Just when you thought there was nothing from Wapella in the game, I noticed that 1983 WHS Wildcat Tony Parker was playing guard for the San Antonio Spurs.
Congrats Spurs on pulling this one out.

Comic Legend Charles Nelson Reilly Dies at age 76

Gameshow, sitcom guest roles, Tonight Show appearances, Charles Nelson Reilly was the master of the ridiculous in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and still appeared occasionally up to this day. Generally having a few slugs before he went on the air, CNR, could keep the same demeanor through hours of Match Game tapings, and still get a laugh. mourns the passing of the comedy great Charles Nelson Reilly (pictured here alongside Bloomington's own Maclean Stevenson).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Field Mass

St. Patrick's Cemetery will host a Field Mass at 10:30AM Memorial Day honoring Wapella's Veterans on Monday. Fr. Patrick Henehan will celebrate the Mass. A fine bar-b-que lunch and refreshments will be provided. All are welcome to the Mass, or just come out for lunch, courtesy of St. Patricks Parish and Cemetery.

Come out and salute Wapella's Veterans, and enjoy a great meal!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Salute to Wildcat Business: Don's World of Beef

The Pantagraph writes a weak story about Eastland Mall turning 40, but the comments bring back great memories of gone but not forgotten stores like Orange Julius, Rolands, Pines, and Dewenters and Woolworths Cafeteria. Yet, one unmentioned store always stood out for its Wildcat sensibility: Don's World of Beef. Some claim it was a knock-off of Lum's. Others, a classy hot dog stand. Whatever your prefernce, the Maitre D' was a WHS Original, and could charm the customers all the way from Merna if needed.

Don's World of Beef, perhaps the finest name for a restaurant outside of the Village Limits, and certainly one of the warmest welcomes in McLean County for a Wildcat to get a shaved Roast Beef sandwich.

Who can tell us the lineage of Don's World of Beef? The Wildcat Owners? The Wildcat Staff? The charm and class of DeWitt County brought into a McLean County Mall?

No one word answers..please expand on Don's World of Beef

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rover is Back: Hog City to Mad City: Visits Sgt. John Earl Wheat

Hog City has been quiet as of late (let's get back to Hog City, expats!
Make some news! It's the summer, and nothing screams old-timey fun like
a tour around a sweltering Hog City to chat with her sweaty citizens)
with only a trip to the Heyworth Legion to report, with Lee Holt
sightings, and Lee's daughter Lindsay at the top of her bartending game,
but the real update follows...
In this month's Profiles in Courage, visits Sgt. John Wheat
in his new home of Madison, WI.
We all know the Unites States Army churns out fine men and women, but
the Wild Rover and the band of Wildcats (and one Scotsmen) that headed
north to visit Sgt. Wheat were duly impressed with the operation he runs
in Mad City.

From taking the tour group on a fine tavern tour, to record shopping, to
seeing the city, to his razor sharp observations on Madison: "great
city, but too many hippies" Sgt Wheat continues to make Hog City proud.
This being the Rover's first trip to Madison, I was duly impressed: it
was graduation weekend, and from the Spotted Cow lager, to the brew pubs
and the German beer gardens, it was mainly an alcohol-fueled
"impressed", but still - impressive nevertheless. Nothing like a bunch
of 30 something Wildcats lurking around campus pubs to make the local
females feel uncomfortable. But from Lakeside views, abundant fishing,
and beautiful summers, Madison is truly a beautiful town.
One bit of trivia, Wheat makes his home on Pirate Island, and even
locals seem to be oblivious to it's existence. As the Scotsmen in tow
noted, "I hope we don't get lost, I don't want to have to ask how to get
to Pirate Island." So, if you're ever in Madison, make sure you get
directions, as the question "do you know how to get to Pirate Island?"
which was asked by our group at near 3am, was met with torment and
ridicule by 5 of the 6 people we asked. salutes you, John Wheat. Thank you for a great trip. No
Wildcats sightings in Madison, but believe me, Wapella is right at home
Moderator's note: I threw in a couple of shots of Swayze, as JE Wheat does look a bit like him.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More shots from Wapella Blaze

Here are some action shots of the warehouse fire last month.

This story mentions that the Illinois Fire Marshall was called.

This story mentions that the Fire Marshall may have stayed in town too long for the drive back to Springfield.

Hi Speed Wildcats

Per highly informed sources:

Haley Westfall, daughter of Joe Morris and Holly Westfall Morris, ran in the
state track meet on Saturday, May 19th in East Peoria. She ran in the
4X100 relay for the 8th grade Clinton Maroon team. The team placed
33rd overall. The best part of the experience for Haley? Buying the
overpriced state track meet clothing and apparel....and the Papa John's

Congrats Haley! The Maroon are lucky to have a hi-speed Morris-Westphalian Wildcat.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What are the odds of Norm Simmons wearing two pairs of socks?

This from the Wall Street Journal about hitting multiple Hole-In-Ones


Just How AmazingIs Jacqueline Gagne -- And Her 10 Golf Aces?May 18, 2007; Page B1
Jacqueline Gagne has had 10 once-in-a-lifetime experiences in less than four months.
Since Jan. 23, the 46-year-old from Rancho Mirage, Calif., has hit 10 holes in one, or just eight fewer than were hit on the entire Ladies Professional Golf Association tour last year.
Her local paper, the Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif., has corroborated Ms. Gagne's feat, running notes alongside articles from editors saying they're just as skeptical as readers, but everything has checked out.
The paper also asked a local statistician, Michael McJilton of the College of the Desert, to compute the odds against the feat. The result, which headlined the article: 113,527,276,681,000,000 to 1. And that was after just seven aces. I asked Mr. McJilton to repeat the computation after Ms. Gagne hit three more in the following couple of weeks, over a total of just 75 rounds. He returned the astronomical number of roughly 12 septillion (12 followed by 24 zeroes) to 1. Such an unlikely event should never happen. It's like winning the lottery four straight times. No wonder David Letterman came calling.

Is there an explanation for Ms. Gagne?
The numbers deserve scrutiny, and her feat isn't as improbable as it seems, though the odds against it are very steep. Probability may not explain it.
Mr. McJilton -- who says that as the only statistician at a local college, "I got the call" -- was using the Desert Sun's assumption that it takes the typical amateur golfer 5,000 rounds to hit a hole in one -- or 20,000 par-3 holes, since there are typically four shorter holes per round, and acing longer holes is so rare it can be ignored.
That estimate turns out to be pessimistic. There are data on millions of attempts at holes in one from events awarding prizes for aces. Two insurance companies that specialize in writing coverage for these basically agree on the odds for the typical amateur: Once every 12,750 shots on par 3s, says Mancil Davis, director of golf operations for National Hole in One Association; 1 in 12,500, according to US Hole In One.
The former, more-conservative estimates translates to roughly a hole in one every 3,200 rounds. That, in turn, leads to odds of 133 sextillion to 1 against, about a 99% reduction from Mr. McJilton's 12 septillion.
Mr. McJilton also assumed that no two holes in one could come in the same round, a safe assumption for most mortals but not for Ms. Gagne of late (though she hasn't yet doubled up). Allowing for magic striking twice in 18 holes, as David Boyum, co-author of the book "What the Numbers Say," suggests, reduces the odds against by a further 38%.
Still Ms. Gagne persists in defying the numbers. She has a seven handicap, better than the typical amateur. But the democratizing feature of a hole in one is that it isn't that much more common for Tiger Woods to ace than for an average duffer. The average winner of a hole-in-one prize is a 17 handicap, says Mr. Mancil. Pros hit holes in one about once every 3,750 par 3s, while the best amateurs ace one of every 7,500 -- half as often.
Let's say we apply the latter rate to Ms. Gagne (though Mr. Mancil says she's not quite yet in that group). We'd still get odds of 670 quintillion to 1 against.
How about the holes she has aced? Eight of the 10 are between 100 yards and 140 yards, but shorter holes aren't as easy as you might think. Both insurance companies say their rates rise by 10%, at most, for shorter holes.
There are three possible qualitative explanations for the feat. One, that the feat didn't happen, fits the principle of Occam's razor -- the simplest explanation tends to be best. But Ms. Gagne's story has checked out, with witnesses, in the Desert Sun's investigations.
Another is the notion of a hot hand, popular among basketball fans but not among researchers. They have found little evidence of streakiness as a factor in predicting whether the next shot will go in -- or how long any streak could last. Ms. Gagne's 10th ace caromed off a tree before sinking into the hole, which makes it neither illegitimate nor explainable by a hot streak.
Forty years ago, Mr. Davis had a hot streak: three aces in a week, five in a month and eight in a year. He has 51 career holes in one, considered by some the world record. He offers a third explanation: He aims for the hole. "Maybe because I made several early in my career, my brain focuses a lot better on the ultimate target," he says.
Mr. Davis says doctors measured his brain activity at the tee for par 3s and found it similar to that of golfers staring at long putts. He and some researchers also interviewed hundreds of Texas golfers, none of whom said they aim at the hole. Nor do most pros, who instead set up the best birdie putt.
Yet, Mr. Davis had an 11-year drought before hitting his 51st last month, at age 52. It made news before Ms. Gagne stole headlines. Ms. Gagne, meanwhile, says she just missed her 11th ace in four months by mere inches last week. "The only thing I thought about was the hole in one," she told me. "I didn't think of my surroundings. It was the perfect shot." Then, reconsidering, she adds, "If it was the perfect shot, it would have been a hole in one.

New Arrival: Luke Patrick Defenbaugh

LP Defenbaugh, weighing in at 7lbs 15oz was welcomed to the Wapella community yesterday May 19. Luke is the son of Jackie Toohill Defenbaugh WHS 1986 and Jamie Defenbaugh, a frequent guest in our fair Hog City.

Welcome to the good life, Luke.

WHS Reunion

Taking the liberty of posting this from Judy Schmid Mowery

Hello Wapella folks,

Tonight I received a phone call from Bernadine Lord, (the mother of Ronnie, Alan, Mary Alice, Rick, Linda, & Mark - gosh did I name them all?) anyway her "class" is celebrating their 60th class reunion at the home of Chuck & Marilyn Underwood and they want to invite everyone who graduated, worked, or taught at any of the Wapella schools.
It will be Saturday, June 9, 2007 @ 5:30 PM at Chuck & Marilyn Underwood's house.
About 3-4 miles East on the Farmer City Blacktop & a big white house on the North side of the road (I think where Cooper's used to live).
If you would like to come, PLEASE CALL & LET THEM KNOW (217) 935-3236 and BRING:
Hot dogs & buns
1 covered dish

They will furnish drinks & table service.

Please pass this on to all the Wapella folks you can to get the word out.

Sounds like a great way to get everyone together. Call your classmates & pass the word - but don't forget to RSVP. Can anyone get this on the Wapella Website ? and in the Church bulletins ?


Judy (Schmid) Mowery

Chuck and Marilyn, do you know what you are getting yourself into here? Given this great opportunity to visit with other WHS Grads, I am projecting 500+ Wildcats will attend this reunion.

Come one, come all! to Chuck Underwood's WHS Reunion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Score 1 big scoop for the CDJ

The Clinton Daily Journal, the much maligned local paper, just went up a blip on radar screen. Here is a pleasant story about a local Clinton woman, Summer Moore, who is proudly serving the country with the US Army in Iraq. No politics, no sermonizing, no classified information, just a solid story of local in the Service.

I read the Wall Street Journal , the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times cover to cover ever day; the New York Times, Bloomington Pantagraph, and Financial Times about 3 days a week (busy man, you know), but never have I seen a story with the kicker that the CDJ brought in to this turns out Moore's sister

"Stacy (is) married to Jimmy Morris of Wapella"

Despite years at trying to find the secret formular for newspaper success, never have I seen in any big city paper, the name Jimmy Morris (WHS 86) thrown around in a brazen attempt to gain new readers. salutes the Clinton Daily Journal for recognizing that the name Jimmy Morris is a big seller, and people will be lining up to renew their subscription when you place a big name celebrity endorsement in your editorial copy.

Three Cheers for the Clinton Daily Journal!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Best Looking Website in Wapella

Just stumbled upon this site. Don't know much about it. Very clean looking. Wishing all software business well in Wapella, because Hog City is where it all happens.
Willoware is a Enterprise Management Software company, which looks to be Headquartered at RR1 Wapella, IL 61777. Click on through, it is a very nice site.
Go Hi-Tech Wildcats!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Wapella Continues Building

Wapella continues to lead Central Illinois in it's provision of public services, architectural innovations, and all around good nature with the building of a new township shed. These fine photos from one of Wapella's finest Civic Leaders, David Taylor.

Like two chops from different sides of the grill, very rare and well done Hog City!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Big Scoop for Pantagraph

More Gunk from The Pantagraph

"Dozens of cats found at home
By Pantagraph staff

HEYWORTH -- Officials were at a rural Heyworth residence Wednesday where they found dozens of cats, some in cages and some running free.The McLean County Department of Health, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the Human Society of Central Illinois and McLean County sheriff’s olice were at the scene, which they left late Wednesday afternoon."

Check back later for more on this story

I sit on the edge of my seat wondering what more the Pantagraph could add to this thrilling story! Does this really require 3 government agencies to investigate? Is there no byline here because no one wants to be known as the hack that scooped the Heyworth kitty story?
Update! This just in from the Pantagraph "People were there most of the day Wednesday, leaving in late afternoon." Well that settles it. Now we have the key information as to why this is such big news.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Wiley Station Man injured in Crash

Gov. Jon S. Corzine (D-New Jersey) from Willey Station, a small town near Taylorville, Illinois in Christian County, was injured in a severe SUV crash in April. The 1965 Taylorville Tornado and 1969 Fighting Illini Graduate had previously been a New Jersey Senator, and the head of Goldman Sachs investment firm.

All of sends wishes for a speedy recovery to Taylorville Tornado, Jon Corzine.
The picture of Uwe Blab is in the mistaken assumption that Mitch Arnold and Uwe Blab went to Taylorville. They did not. They went to Effingham.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Wildcat Genealogy

The Web/Internet has a pretty good functionality for genealogy. Here is a nice shot of some old settlers, John and Mahala Wilson Scott who farmed in Wapella Township sections 31 and 32. They are related to about 1/3 of the Village today, one way or another.

Read through their biography, which is generally pleasant, then the typical Wildcat firecracker goes off about 1/2 way down:

"John or his cousin John W. Scott was indicted for assault with a knife in Dewitt county in October, 1851."

Notice that he was never convicted, just indicted. As this photo was taken in 1898 or so, it looks like JW Scott came out all right.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Shadowy Figure in the Peoria Journal Star

I think I recall Fr. Patrick in Dark Shadows, he played Barnabas' high spirited brother.

"Participants laugh as father Patrick Henehan of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Wapella concludes his sermon at the beginning of the fourth annual Call to Catholic Men of Faith Men's March and Mass at Liberty Park on Saturday morning in Peoria. Hundreds of area men, many with their sons, attended the march, which commenced at the park and ended at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception on NE Madison Ave. DAVID ZENTZ/JOURNAL STAR" Mourns the Passing of Irene Cain

Irene Doss Cain, a matriarch of Wapella, has died at age 92. For many years a great caregiver to the sick and aged, Mrs Orville Cain leaves a great legacy of support and neighborliness in the Village.

She is survived by her children, Wildcats Donny Cain, Jane Ann Thomas, and grandchildren Wildcats Brad Thomas, Sarah Holt, and Bruce Thomas, and Susan Thomas, Lt. Col Jeff Cain, Downey Gregory, Callan Cain, Ryan Beck and Rob Pollock and 14 Great Grandchildren.

Our condolences to the family of Irene Cain.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Comments Policy

New format is a good time to review our comment policy. These are strict, and rarely enforced, with fits of discretion regarding active felony investigations. comment policy.
1) Meandering thought are welcomed. They cannot be much worse than what the editors already post.
2) Works of historical fiction presented as fact are generally encouraged.
3) You use vile language? We reserve the right to edit your purple prose, and throw in more obscenities, if it fits well.
4) Personal attacks are generally goaded on. But no attacks will be tolerated on other Wildcats. Maroons, Hornets, Blue Devils are fair prey.
5) Goat attacks are generally personal. No attacks on Nanny, Billy or any other Goats.

Funny comment in Pantagraph

Lifting a comment from the Pantagraph

**Oh My wrote on April 24, 2007 8:41 PM:
"This is the craziest town, this is not the place to fight get some lives people, fight in ur town, not in the pantagraph!!!!!!!!!!"**

I like the admonishment about spatting (a 152 year tradition in Hog City, mind you), then the realization that Wapella is intractable, so go ahead and "fight in ur town"

Couple-Three thoughts come to mind

1) Wapella is a Village not a Town. Call Blago if you want to change it. Get his wife a real estate commisision and he can probably arrange it.
2) "Ur" was an ancient city in southern Mesopotamia, or present day Iraq. Could this Pantagraph comment be a coded message to insurgent in Iraq?
3) Could Adlai Stevenson's Pantagraph sink any lower than publshing harping such as "get some lives people"? Anyone know how to do Pulitzer Prize nominations? Mourns the Passing of Emory Price

Price 77, died on April 21, at his home in rural Wapella. The father of Wildcats Cara, Rick, and Kurt Price, Price was known for his hard work, great honesty, and clever machining techniques. Price is survived by his wife Judy, and his three Children.

Two Socks for Norm Simmons

Wapella's Norm Simmons has surely set some kind of record for Hole's-In-One at Clinton Country Club. If our numbers are right, Norm hit his 10th (not 9th) Hole-in-One at CCC yesterday. Congrats to (if our numbers are right) five time club tourney champion Norm Simmons on his outstanding accomplishments on the fabled Maroon Links. Big question...was Diz Finger caddying?


Norm Simmons of Wapella aced the 150-yard, No. 4 hole Tuesday using a 5-iron. Witnesses were Terry Robinson, Bob Laramee, Charles Davenport and Tom Daughtery. It was Simmons’10th career ace..

Glad to see Principal Davenport, one of the legendary athletes in Central Illinois Varsity Sports, recognized as a reliable witness to Athletic Feats.

Tony Dow in Hollywood with a Big Star

Here is a shot of ace photographer and frequent contributor George Spray with TV Legend Tony Dow, from a recent trip George made to Hollywood. Great shot George, and Tony, when are you coming around to Hog City again? Kent Harris can still fire up the firetruck.

New Format for

Hi Wildcats. The old pages were getting messed up. has updated to a more flexible format. Do not expect improvement in editorial content, or in our lame attempts at humor.

Here is the old page.

Here is the archive.

Blog Archive