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

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Friday, June 29, 2007

At the Risk of Violating the Fairness Doctrine

We cannot go all Toohill all the time, but Wapella is juiced with one Toohill that really puts out..the fires that is.

Profiles in Courage II: Wildcats in Action.One of the keys to success in Hog City is that each citizen steps up todo his or her own civic duty, without concern for their own well being.Case in point: Greg Toohill, of Hog City's Tate and Lyle, is seen here(under the tutelage of Callan Cain) learning how to put out a fire,should one happen to start. Although Toohill runs T&L like a modern day Al Swearingen, he is not above performing feats that may make ordinary citizens tremble with fear.Congratulations go out to Greg Toohill.
We're told that for his next act, Greg has asked to set Pete Toohill ablaze, to see how quickly he could put him out. Father and son could get a lot of mileage out of that parlor trick. asks, would a fire have been able to burn offPete's 70's sideburns, or would they be immune to any natural disaster one could think of? Thoughts? Comments?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Celebrity Look Alikes

Three time winner Dan Toohill is reaching 35 years as a profesisonal Clark Gable look-alike AND not coincidentally marriage to Metamora's own Rose Anne Shirer. This invitation graced Inbox

Dan & Rose Ann’s 35th anniversary!!
Fourth of July, 4pm at the farm
Visiting is what they like to do, so be ready to share a story or two!
Gifts not needed but if you choose, practical is what they could use!
We hope to see you & when we do, don't forget the red, white, & blue!
rsvp/concerns: 618-664-9483 or

I do have my concerns, but plan to hoist my way out to Irish Row in honor of Dan and Rose Anne Toohill. What is a practical gift for a man who looks so much like Clark Gable? Moustache wax?

Monday, June 25, 2007

I finally found the ultimate use for the internet. You can now find baseball cards of players that kind of looked like Keith Hernandez.

Here is Sid Bream (one time traded for Decatur Bill Madlock), who really looked a lot like Keith "Mex" Hernandez.

Note: Jose Cruz had 2251 hits in his 18 year career. Jose still owns the record for most walk-off homeruns in Astros history with 6. Not too shabby.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Battle Lines are Drawn

In an exclusive to, many members of WHS 1982 have expressed strong feelings in the 25 year controversy between AJ Weinheimer and Rose Toohill (Rosemarie, I cannot spell) Symkavic. From a man named Steve Wynn "Al is my greatest enemy and my best friend. I am required to stay with him to the bitter end" From a JR McFarland "I have played second coronet to Al's First for long enough, I am with Toohill. Besides, Rose was an excellent PomPon Girl". A DI Toohill from Bloomington chimes in, "I have never liked Weinheimer all that much, but it would look bad for two Toohill's to be working against the class president. I'll take AJ for starters and hedge my bets at the Green Ring".

Better duck your head for this one folks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Fury of 1982 Returns

Outisde of Wapella, you might think that 25 years would quell an old dispute. And you would be right, except for within the Village, 25 years is a drop in the bucket. Take for example the 1981 Student Council President Election, Rose Toohill vs. AJ Weinheimer. Al was an early leader in the campaign, but Rose took advantage of her good standing for 12 years at Wapella schools, and overcame AJ to take a slight victory at the last minute.

First Coronet Al took his rightful role as Class President, as a consolation, and served with great honor, alarcity, and acumen. Bass Clarinet Toohill was well known for her even handed leadership and team spirit in the contentious council (I was a member and am proud to report a 100% RT voting record). Now 25 years have passed, but the contest is still on. It seems the tempest's teapot has come out for a class reunion dusting.

It seems as though Rose got together with a few class mates the other night for a few cups of cider, and prompted a generally acceptable decision to hold the 25th Reunion of WHS Class of 1982 at the Irish Circle on August 4th at 6pm. All good and well, except for one major hiccup, President Weinheimer was neither consulted nor recognized by the mates in his rightful role as class leader.

So what does AJ do? Puts a stop to the coup at once, by declaring an Officially Recognized Class Reunion at the Wapella Tap and Annies for the same evening, and declaring anyone attending the Irish Circle Reunion to be Wildcat nongrata.

This is where is stands, the Fury of 1982 is back with three bars, two competing leaders, and one tornado waiting to blow through town. Can the two Wildcat legends work this one out? Will cooler heads rule the day? Or will 25 years of rage come to town for a collective case of shaken baby syndrome? Your help please.

Maroons land Gourd Festival

From the CDJ

"Another coup for the city is a proposed gathering in the fall of gourd enthusiasts. Gourd artist Betsy Davis Parker, of rural Clinton and the president of the Illinois Gourd Society, said the group is planning to hold its annual meeting a Clinton Junior High School September 15 and 16. She said last year’s conference was in Lisle, near Chicago, but many members living in Southern Illinois did not attend because of the distance. Clinton’s central location is ideal for the, and the annual gathering might come back to Clinton every year, if all goes as Parker hopes. “Yes. Yes. If we pull it off, well it will just get bigger and bigger,” she said. She said she expects there to be as many as 45 vendors at the event, which includes workshops. She also said she hoped a local group, like a school booster group, could be recruited to provide food and earn the money to stay in Clinton and benefit the group. The event would be open to the public, the only cost being for workshops"

I cannot think of a better place in the world for a gourd festival than Clinton. The pent up demand for odd looking vegetables and the art inspired by such tubers is overwhelming. This is the kind of thing that can change Goon City to Gourd City.

Welcome Gourd Fans! Be sure to stop off in Hog City when you tire of painting vegetables for a cold drink and tall tales.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hall of Fame

Here is a challenge, name the WHS greats shown here at the All Class Reunion.

HT Wapella Ace of Photographers Geo Spray

Saturday, June 16, 2007 Mourns Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard)

Don Herbert, Mr Wizard has died at age 89. Herbert, the long time star of the "kitchen" science program Mr Wizard, was a much admired and copied TV presenter, explaining complex scientific topics using everyday materials and experience. If I recall, Mr Wizard was shown on PBS Channel 12 in a sort of throwback syndication of his original 1950's NBC show (547 Episodes in all, per Wikipedia), and then revived his show for Nickelodian in the 1980's.

The accompanying picture pretty much defines the appeal Mr. Wizard had in matches, fire, explosions, and a kid with a goofy haircut put into great danger, while Herbert looks on cooly..prompting Wapella youth to experiment with vast quanties of vinegar and baking soda, high explosives, modified model rockets, gunpowder, and tobacco products, tossed in to accentuate the danger.

Born July 10, 1917, in Waconia, Minn., Herbert later moved to Minneapolis and then La Crosse, Wis. He graduated from LaCrosse State Teachers College in 1940 and could have taught English or general science — his majors — but he recalled later that he was more interested in the theater. He worked as an actor and stagehand in a Minnesota theater group before moving to New York City in 1941. A year later, he volunteered for the Army Air Forces. As a B-24 bomber pilot, he flew 56 missions over Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak-leaf clusters.

Flags half mast for Army Air Corp veteran Don Herbert.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wapella to Build Heyworth

Congrats to the Heyworth Hornets, the lucky recepient of Wapella craft and construction. SCI General Contractors of Wapella has been awarded a good sized contract to build a football field and all-weather track complex at Heyworth Junior-Senior High School. As more Wildcats venture north to Heyworth, perhaps we can take a bit of the Hog City good life to the Hornets.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reunite Wapella

Nothing does a Wildcat enjoy more than reuniting with other fellow Wildcats (or maybe not, I am around a few of them every day, and they are doozies). So the great Chuck Underwood put together seventy-eight former students of the Wapella Schools at a reunion last Saturday night at his home, east of Wapella on the Farmer City blacktop.

Students from Florida and Texas were in attendance as well as 91-year-old Ray Thompson who was ag teacher at Wapella High School in the 1940's.

I, for one, have yet to attend a WHS reunion where the DeWitt County Sheriff was not called. Thanks to Chuck and Marilyn for keeping this one under control!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 Salutes Clifford Ray

One of the great things about staying up all night with a fussy baby is watching ESPN Classic rehash stories that may have been missed 25 years ago. This was a great story about Clifford Ray.

I did not know that former Chicago Bull and Golden State Warrior was able to stick his arm down a dolphin's throat and recover a bolt that was dropped into a pool at an Redwood City Marine World type of place in 1978. I did recall that Clifford Ray had one set of long arms on him, and was a great defensive player.

Clifford's arms? 3 Feet 9 Inches. What a great use of the human wingspan.

The kicker? Years later, Clifford lost a mounted version of the actual bolt he pulled from the Dolphin's second stomach.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Gone, not Forgotten

Some of these bits of info are not so easy to find. Thelma Ellis Peterson WHS '37 has passed away at age 88 in Bloomington. She was preceeded in death by her brothers John and Delmar Ellis and sister Bette Crutchley. I did not know Mrs. Peterson, nor her immediate family, but I bet that there are some Wildcats out there that did. Loyal readers, any more information?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Congratulations to a Great American!

Congratulations to Catherine Bressen on her marriage to Matthew Patrick Toohill WHS '79, on June 1 at St. John the Baptist Church in Fairbury. Toohill, a Wapella Original, is retired from the US Air Force.

Full Salute to Matthew Toohill.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Hitching Posts

This from an alert reader...

On my drive home yesterday I head down the business district of Hog City
and there is it...... a horse tied up to the power pole and a cowboy in
at Annie's throwing back a few cold ones. I had to drive around the
block as I was shocked and stunned though not all that surprised. Has
Wapella turning into a horse trading community with all the new horse
farms? I might add this horse was at the local establishment for several
hours. Thought you would get a chuckle out of this. Though I assume you
have probably been contacted already about this.

Wapella has one foot firmly in the 19th century, with all modern conveniences.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Triumph! Wapella has never been finer

Spent a long weekend in Hog City, after a too-long hiatus. I can attest, the town has not looked better in my personal experience of 42 years, nor has it ever looked better in pictures. Evidence...? Drive to Wapella and check these things out

1) Schmid Brothers lift truck services is a thriving business. A dumpy flea market is gone at the old Rodden Johnson's, and a high performance-clean industry is doing well.

2) There are at least 4 newer light industrial businesses on the north side parkway, near Haycrafts Auction House. All are well kept, and looked to be quite busy.

3) Two new horse farms border the Village, each keeping a small number of handsome ponies. Fences are up, the yards are mown, and the horses look particularly happy to be in Hog City. A local hog farmer stopped by to welcome me to his hog lot for an inspection, but scared away my daughter with talk of a big bad wolf.

4) A few new houses are coming up, and look well built and appropriate for the Village. Everyone that I drove by replaced some obsolete housing with something every village would be proud to have.

The Churches were busy on Sunday, Casey's parking lot was packed, the Taverns served their lively mix of reasonable dining and fine spirited conversation, and it seems that a new Chapel has opened in Solomon to revive the spirit of Rural Wapella.

Score a big 6 months for Wapella. The place is great!

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