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

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Press Shuts Out Redbirds; Redbirds Shut Out Opponents

No Respect

What do Central Illinois NCAA Basketball Powerhouses Illinois State and Illinois have to do to get a ranking in the Polls? The ISU Redbirds are 12-0, healthy and at the top of the MVC in total victories. The Illini are 13-1, getting bumped by a ranked Clemson team, and knocking off the mighty Purdue Boilermakers (#9 AP #11 Coaches).

Long traditions of wining basketball are being ignored here. Mr. AP stop this nonsense and rank both the Illini and the Redbirds.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two More Wildcats Beat 2008 Tax Deadline!

Congrats go out to Corey Holland And Jamie (Haycraft) Holland for the 12/14 birth of TWINS:
Alexander Michael, 5lbs and Audrey Lou, 5lbs, 8oz

Odds at Bellagio are that Corey has Alexander roughing houses in by next week, while Audrey takes her rightful position at the boot-sizing table at Circle H.

Congrats Corey and Jamie!

Wapella Welcomes a New Wildcat

Luke Patrick Buraglio 6 pounds 11 ounces born this morning at 6:27. Mom Rebecca and baby doing great; Papa Nick is sweating it out; Uncle Raymond is hanging tough. Will Baby go by the name LP Buraglio?

Congrats Nick, Rebecca and all of the Buraglio and Toohill families.

Monday, December 29, 2008 Mourns the Passing of Roland Shumaker mourns the passing of Roland Shumaker. Roland, a true gentleman farmer, was a well liked and respected member of the Wapella community for 70 years. A civic leader, excellent farmer, and good neighbor, Roland Shumaker will be greatly missed throughout Wilson Township, Wapella, and all of DeWitt and McLean Counties.

Roland Glenn Schumaker, 70, Heyworth, died at 2:28 a.m. Thursday (Dec. 18, 2008) at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal.

His funeral was at 1 p.m. Monday December 21 at the Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with Curt Flora officiating. Burial will be in Oak Park Cemetery, Clinton, with military honors. Visitation was from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the education fund for Skye Ann Schumaker.

Roland was born March 31, 1938, at Heyworth, son of Roy J. and Evelyn Glenn Schumaker. He married Rachael Hixenbaugh on Nov. 28, 1997, at Heyworth.

Surviving are his wife, Rachael Schumaker, Heyworth; his mother, Evelyn Schumaker, Heyworth; three daughters, Skye Ann Schumaker, at home; Sherri (Jim) Sparror, WHS '80, Lincoln; and Polly (Brian) Daughan, Wilmington, Ohio; one son, Roland Schumaker II, WHS '84, Lexington; and seven grandchildren, Taylor, Austin, Tyler, Trever, Tanner, Alex and Camron.

He was preceded in death by his father and one sister.

He was a 20-year member of the DeWitt County Board, serving as chairman for many years. He was a professional livestock photographer and was a farmer and raised livestock.

All flags Half-Mast please for US Army Veteran, Roland Shumaker.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ahoy Maties! Tribute to "Salty Sam"

The Chicago Tribune has a holiday tribute to George "Salty Sam" Baselton, the much beloved co-host of the Captain Jinks Show on WEEK Channel 25. Captain Jinks (Stan Lonergan) and Salty Sam were two of the very greats to host children's TV. Here is a website dedicated to the show.

At least two generations of Peoria children whiled away the dead hours after school watching "The Captain Jinks Show," which aired from the 1950s to the 1970s. But few heard the sad end that befell one of the original hosts—Captain Jinks sidekick Salty Sam—until a far south suburban man began researching his own family's history. Gus Baseleon of Manhattan, Ill., discovered last year that his cousin George, the faux-mustachioed, black-capped man who played Salty Sam on the nautical-themed series, had been buried in an unmarked grave. "He's an icon in this area — it's really a shame," said Pat Lewis, 58, general manager of Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, where Baseleon was buried in 1985. The two men decided to try drumming up public interest to pay for a headstone. Their efforts were covered by Peoria's WEEK-TV, which originally aired the show and took the original set out of mothballs for a fundraiser, and a Peoria Journal-Star columnist. So far, about $6,000 has been raised, Baseleon said, and the headstone is being built. The memorial, scheduled to be unveiled on Memorial Day, will also honor Capt. Jinks (played by Stanley Lonergan), whose cremated remains were scattered in the Illinois River after his 1989 death, Lewis said. People "were coming out of the woodwork [to help]," said Baseleon, who grew up in Chicago. "I never knew so many people loved the show."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from Muswell Hill

Here's Ray Davies and his Kinks sounding quite a bit like Rockford's Cheap Trick (or is it Cheap Trick that sounds like the Kinks?) in 1976 with their Christmas Satire "Father Christmas". Video is a bit out there, but still a holiday classic.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kennedy Center Honors George Jones, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend

After a 4 year campaign has succeeded in its quest to have 3 entertainment greats honored by the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. George (defying the moniker No-Show) Jones, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey were honored for their extraordinary genius and tenacity, the 2008 Honorees have redefined the way we see, hear and feel the performing arts. We will forever be thankful for the great gifts they have shared with us," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman.

Per the Kennedy Center

"With his unique voice and extraordinary career endurance, singer George Jones has been instrumental in making country music a vital force in American life. As the heart and soul of the seminal band The Who, songwriters and singers Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey transformed the sights and sounds of rock and roll."

Past honorees, including Clint Eastwood, Elton John and Sidney Poitier, made nominations for the awards, along with members of the Kennedy Center's national artists committee, including Glenn Close and Reba McEntire.

Great Choices and a round of applause from Hog City for the 3 music greats and the other inductees.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Capsule Marooned In County Seat School

Maroons and Wildcats alike are thrilled to hear that a time capsule has been unearthed at the excavation site of the former Clinton Jr. High School (which is the former Clinton High School). The Pantagraph has the opening details, but my guess is our readers know a lot more about time capsules than any newspaper. Wasn't there a time capsule planted at WHS? If I recall our shop class assisted by donating a poster of Farrah Fawcett to be placed in the capsule. No word on whether the poster made it, or was hijacked during delivery.

With the demolition of the former junior high school in Clinton, officials found an unexpected link to the past: a time capsule dated 1912.

Principal John Pine said crews discovered the capsule Dec. 4. It is stored in a trophy case near the entrance of the new junior high school.
“It’s a copper box and it’s about a foot long and six inches or so wide,” Superintendent Jeff Holmes said. “We are very excited about it and very intrigued as to what might be in it, you goon.”

A label provides the date and the name of Metz-Bowles Co. Clinton genealogist Carole Wylder said Herman Metz and Edward Bowles ran a sheet metal business at 219 E. Main St., building furnaces and later selling electrical appliances from 1910 to 1930. Before starting the business, Metz was a railroad worker and tinsmith. Bowles worked as a machinist for the Illinois Central Railroad. “Other than that, we don’t know much at this time,” Pine said. “We’re going to have a big event sometime in January with a bunch of goons where we will open the time capsule and see what’s inside.”

Wylder is among those anxious for the ceremony.
“Goon me; I can’t imagine finding that and not opening it up on the spot,” she said. “If I had found that, I would have been too curious to know what’s inside and probably would have opened it up right then.” Holmes said special care will have to be taken to open the container.

“The best way to open it is with a can opener,” Holmes said. “But we have to be careful to preserve the materials inside.”
Wylder believes there could be more than one time capsule at the site since additions were added to the school on at least three occasions. “I think we are going to find some old newspapers, memos from the time and things of that nature in this one,” she said. “For a genealogist to be able to participate in something like this is very special, you goon.”

A tip of the hat to the AWM for dredging up this big story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From Boston to Bragg

Like Good Will Hunting (well, not really) has a resident who's Harvard bound.

Haley Westfall, daughter of Holly Westfall and Joe Morris, a Sophomore at Clinton High School, will join a select group of students representing their schools, communities, and country as People to People student Leaders. Haley has been selected into the People to People Leadership Summit at Harvard University, Boston, MA next July 12th - 18th. Students accepted into a People program must meet rigorous academic and leadership requirements. Haley was nominated and accepted for the honor based on outstanding scholastic merit, civic involvement, and leadership potential. The People to People Leadership Program was started by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.

Three cheers for Haley - here's to changing the world!
Speaking of changing the world (and sure to be unpopular on here's double the Billy Bragg, not wanting to change the world nor pining for a new England; only wanting a girl like you:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lincoln in the Lobby: A Historical Perspective

This from my pal Tom Roeser, Dean of Chicago Journalists about Abe Lincoln as Lobbyist working the Illinois Central in Central Illinois :

"I take second to no one in condemning Blago but I must say I was rather troubled when Patrick Fitzgerald said that Lincoln must be turning over in his grave. Undeniably, Lincoln was the second greatest president…and more than that-a genius-which the first greatest, Washington surely wasn’t, But turning over in his grave?

Are we talking about the same Lincoln, the railroad lobbyist, who as state rep led his Whig party to appropriate $12 million…then a huge sum…for subsidies for railroad building and where, in the old capitol, he drew a map for a railroad from Galena in the extreme northwestern part of the state and a road to run north of St. Louis, three roads to radiate and then a road to run from Quincy through Springfield and another from Warsaw to Peoria…another from Pekin to Bloomington? I think we are. It led to a huge financial debacle with no projects being completed and all of the money either wasted or stolen…or paid to railroad lawyers of which Lincoln was the prime example.

Yes we are, that same Lincoln who became the nation’s premier railroad lawyer (read: “Lincoln and the Railroads” by John W. Starr)…the same Lincoln who was continuously one of the crack attorneys for the Illinois Central from its organization in 1849 until he became president…who was such a corporate insider that he traveled the Midwest in a private rail car with a free pass…who successfully defended the road against McLean county which wanted to tax the road’s property. He won and sent the railroad a bill for $5,000. That sum is roughly equal to more than $200,000 today, the largest sum ever paid at that time to any Midwest lawyer for a single case in the 1850s. Lincoln presented his staggering bill to the president of the road, George B. McClellan by name, the vice president of Illinois Central-yes the same McClellan who would work for Lincoln as the Union’s top general of the Grand Army of the Potomac, whom Lincoln replaced twice and who ran against Lincoln as a Democrat in 1864.

The IC board didn’t want to pay it so Lincoln and McClellan hatched a plan to get him the fee. Lincoln then sued IC for the money but meanwhile McClellan worked inside the company to get them to lay down for it so when Lincoln showed up in court, no lawyers from IC were there, so he got paid by default. Lincoln became the most successful railroad lawyer of his time…representing not just the IC but the Chicago & Alton, the Ohio & Mississippi and the Chicago & Rock Island. Nothing wrong with that nor with the fact that the New York Central offered him its general counsel’s job at a stratospheric salary…$10,000 per annum…then approaching a million a year-which he turned down because he would have to move to New York and he had political plans here.

Nothing wrong with that either. Nor by the standards of the time with the trip he took free on the railroad to Council Bluffs, Iowa where he purchased some property from his fellow railroad attorney Norm Judd who had acquired the tracts from the Chicago & Rock Island. Why did he do so when Council Bluffs was a town of 1,500 with little future? Because Lincoln knew there would be a transcontinental railroad sometime and that Council Bluffs would figure in the future as being a good starting point for the railroad. How did he know that coming from Springfield? Because the renowned railroad engineer (one who designed routes), Grenville Dodge, told him so.

And thus it came to pass that when he became president he proposed emergency legislation to create just that self-same transcontinental railroad and that he personally picked Council Bluffs, Iowa as the eastern terminus. And he named Dodge as chief engineer for the UP.

Nothing wrong with this stuff by the rubric of the mid-19th century. But he was not just a genius and humanitarian. He was more than that. He was one hell of a lobbyist, lawyer and manipulator. Of course he never sold a senate seat but he damn sure took care of his friends who took care of him.

He’s probably disturbed a lot about Rod but not enough to turn over in his grave. At least not yet. Of course there’s more to come out about Rod and so maybe the Great Emancipator is getting ready to make his move."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wapella Native Honored with St. Isidore Award

WHS Grad Jerry Ryan was honored with the St. Isidore Award by Bishop Jenky in Peoria on Sunday November 23. Jerry and Mary Ann Ryan were cited for "living out their faith in the rural community in an exemplary and responsible manner", indeed an apt description of a top Wildcat.

Why St. Isidore? From his biography:

"Born to very poor parents near Madrid, about the year 1070. He was in the service of the wealthy Madrid landowner Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Juan de Vargas would later make him bailiff of his entire estate of Lower Caramanca.

Every morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hearing a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the ploughing for him.

On another occasion, his master saw an angel ploughing on either side of him, so that Isidore's work was equal to that of three of his fellow-labourers"

Not a bad resume for a medieval Saint, but could get you fired today. Congratulations Jerry and Mary Anne Ryan for keeping the spirit of St. Isidore with us.

Monday, December 8, 2008

RIP Paul Benedict, Jefferson's Mr. Bentley

Paul Benedict, who gained fame as the quirky English neighbor of the family in the TV sitcom "The Jeffersons," but remained faithful to the stage throughout his long career, died Dec. 1 on Martha's Vineyard. He was 70. The cause of death was not known at press time.

Mr. Benedict was not English; he was born Sept. 17, 1938, in Silver City, NM. But with his long jaw, toothy smile and tweedy accent, he convinced millions of viewers of the "The Jeffersons" that he was more British than Jeeves. His character, Harry Bentley, was one of several oddball neighbors who frequently shattered the peace of the sitcom's upwardly mobile African-American family, led by the irascible George Jefferson. Bentley would sometimes ask the diminutive George to walk on his back to relieve muscle tension.

He began his acting career in the 1960s in Boston, where he grew up, at the Theater Company of Boston, alongside future film stars like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino. He was a member from 1963 to 1968 before moving to New York. Pacino remembered his old colleague when he revived Eugene O'Neill's one-act Hughie on Broadway in 1996. Mr. Benedict played the only other character in the play, a hotel clerk, who must listen to the forlorn gambler Hughie as he rambles on for the better part of an hour.

Mr. Benedict's final Broadway appearance was as Mayor Shinn in the 2000 revival of The Music Man. He made his Broadway debut (well, sort of) in 1968's Leda Had a Little Swan, a flop directed by Andre Gregory that never officially opened. He didn't get back until Terrence McNally's Bad Habits, in 1974.

In the 1990s, he directed the short-lived Broadway production of Frank D. Gilroy's Any Given Day, which starred Sada Thompson, and acted in a revival of Molnar's The Play's the Thing at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

At Circle in the Square, he acted in Little Murders in 1969 and The White House Murder Case in 1970. In 2007, in his final stage performance, Mr. Benedict performed Hirst in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His connection to playwright McNally continued past Bad Habits. He appeared in It's Only a Play at Manhattan Theatre Club Off-Broadway. He also directed the original production of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and a 1990 revival of Bad Habits, both for MTC. He also directed Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's The Cathy and Mo Show, which won an Obie Award.

His film career began in the 1960s. He appeared in the cult flicks "Cold Turkey" and "They Might Be Giants," and had roles in Sydney Pollack's "Jeremiah Johnson," Michael Ritchie's "Smile," and Billy Wilder's "The Front Page." Later on, he made appearances in the Christopher Guest "mocumentaries" "Spinal Tap," "A Mighty Wind" and "Waiting for Guffman." But his best-known role was in "The Goodbye Girl," where he played a pompous stage director who makes the life of the actor portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss miserable by insisting he play Richard III as a flamboyant gay man.

As a young man, Paul Benedict suffered from acromegaly, a pituitary disorder that affects the extremities and face as a young man, which accounted for his larger-than-normal nose and lower jaw.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Take me Home: Quiz Continues

I spent an hour last night trying to find a good answer to the below quiz, and it is still a real puzzler. Down in southeastern Illinois by Lawrenceville and Old Shawneetown, there are some reasonably sized cities along small roads, but these small roads are actually state highways.

As it stands the best answer is Loami from Reynoldz21, at population 804, but the quiz continues its devious spell on the residents of Wapella, to the ear-pleasing tune of John Denver, singing "Country Roads".

Monday, December 1, 2008

Get out Your TI-30; A Mildly Interesting Quiz

Here's a quiz for all you good people, and you folks from Wapella too.

What is the largest municipality in Illinois that is not located on a State or Federal Highway (or adjacent to a Federal Interstate Highway)? To be located on a highway, the municipality must be
within 2 miles of the road.

For example, Wapella is located on US 51, so it is disqualified. Mt. Auburn is about 6 miles south of US 36, so it counts. At 515 residents, I'll start with Mt. Auburn as the leader.

What is the largest municipality in Illinois not located on a Highway? My guess would be something along a railroad, but have at it.

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