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

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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dirt and Grime Can Take a Breather...Dick Williams To Retire from Career of Dust Busting

If you can breathe a little easier, you may want to than Richard "Dick" Williams, one of the Wapella Vacuuming Hall of Fame for his long tenured career at Eureka/Electorlux designing some high suction cleaners that are also easier on the eyes.

In a career that stretched from the assembly line to the corporate office, from the east side of Bloomington, to the Iberian Penininsula, Dick Williams was the machinist's machinest, designing molds, dies, tools, and all sorts of widgets to wheel around your gobbling up dirt.

Today marks the final day in Dick Williams storied career at Eureka-Williams (Did Dick design the Williams Automatic Oil Burning Furnace?), with a grand ceremony planned in his honor.

Williams, a life long Waylon Jennings fan, has stated an interest in picking up the six string guitar and taking his act on the road, but no details have been confirmed.

Way to go Dick!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

They Ought to Bar it

This sounds like an April Fools, but maybe Bobby Heenan was right about this guy...

From the AP

Minnesota wrestling legend Verne Gagne has been implicated in the death of a fellow nursing home resident, who died a few weeks after he was injured in an altercation with Gagne.

The incident was first reported by The Web site reported that both the 82-year-old Gagne and the man who died, 97-year-old Helmut Gutmann, were residents of the memory loss unit at Friendship Village in Bloomington and suffered from Alzheimer's-related dementia.

On Jan. 26, Gagne apparently threw Gutmann to the floor, breaking his hip. He was treated at a hospital and released, but was later re-hospitalized, KMSP-TV said. He died Saturday, the station said.

No charges have been filed. Bloomington Police Deputy Chief Perry Heles said they are investigating an incident at Friendship Village, but wouldn't confirm the identities of those involved. An official at the home did not immediately return a call for comment.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Original Hair Band

If you're like me, and who isn't these days, you tolerated the hairbands of the 1980's and 90's, occasionally enjoying the power love ballads and the vaudeville like antics of Poison, Ratt, Bon Jovi and others who filled the arenas in their day. But there was always something missing from hairdresser's specials that the original hairy ones did much better.

Perhaps it was the gift of not having an 8th grade English teacher who was enamored with the "poetry" of Simon and Garfunkel coupled with a winking sense of humor in the lyrics (I suppose Poison would qualify on that account), but it was mostly the do it yourself hair.

How about these lyrics that would get you kicked out of any respectable English Class in the 60's.

Cast your mind back ten years
To the girl who's next to me in school
If I put me hand upon her leg
She hit me with a rule

Though tomorrow won't be long
You're gonna have to play it cool
You get fascinated by her
She could set the place on fire

Run and get the fire brigade
Get the fire brigade
See the buildings start to really burn
Get the fire brigade
Get the fire brigade
If you jump you've got to wait your turn

Friends all seem to laugh
I fear I'm apt to make a compromise
Try to reassure myself
My head must need some exercise
Half past ten in the morning
She just took me by surprise
True she set the place on fire
You get fascinated by her

The lights across the street throw a rainbow
I'd love you all to meet her
I'll be there, I'll be there

Notice that my eyes have been
A misty place since Saturday
Brings a feeling we might lead
The fire engines anyway

Thats from Birmingham Englands, "The Move ", the precursor to the equally hairy Electric Light Orchestra. Here a shot from the hose with Roy Wood and The Move (pre Jeff Lyne) doing UK#3 Hit in 1968 "Fire Brigade"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sea of Orange Spills Over Evanston

That's Evanston's Welsh Ryan arena you are looking after the Illini pulled out a 60-59 squeaker over the Northwestern Wildcats. Terrific game, (Purple) Wildcats were pulling away, till the Illini got into the nip and tuck press to tuck and nip like they do in Champaign.

Speaking if CU, the Orange Crush was out in force, easily outnumbering the Purple Homers making one of the great Big Ten in-state rivalries all the more challenging. At least three from WHS were spotted in attendance, as well as many from WHS being spotted in general.

Go Illini! Fight on Wildcats!

Who Needs Abe, Wapella's Got Al

Happy Birthday AJ Weinheimer (WHS '82), chief disaster recovery man at American Cleaning and Restoration in Carol Stream Illinois. An expert with the jump shot, quick with the wit, slow to anger, but highly engaged with a shop vac, Al has been making merry for 45 years now.

Three Cheers for Wapella's own AJ Weinheimer!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bailout Ronnie Wood

A the risk of being topical, this bailout thing has gone international with one of Wapella's favorite Londoners landing in the soup recently

Ron Wood is allegedly going broke, and has already blown through the $3.5 million that he earned on the Rolling Stones' last world tour. Britain's The Sun reported that Wood's finances have been left in charge of his stepson Jaime whom he raised since he was a toddler. Most of the losses are due to, "... a series of bad investments combined with a complicated network of off-shore accounts and various companies set up in family members' names."

A source close to Wood said, "Ron feels like everyone in his family is benefiting from his name except him. He wants it sorted out so he can start again. Keith Richards sent a message of support and expensive jewelry over Christmas to cheer his mate up. He also told him to get things sorted out."

Last fall, Wood left his family and moved into his Irish mansion with 18-year-old Russian waitress Ekaterina (Eka) Ivanova after meeting her at the premiere of the Stones' latest concert film, Shine A Light.

Ronnie may be bankrupt, but at least he has some expensive jewelry and an 18 year old girlfriend going for him. Here's tipping a glass to the Faces (and Rolling Stones) Ronnie Wood. Anyone want to take up a collection for him?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It Was 50 Years Ago Today On the Way to Spring Valley, Illinois

That Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane wreck coming from a cold Clear Lake, Iowa. Then-Cricket Waylon Jennings did not get on the plane, and a pretty good Bobby Vee and the Crickets finished out the tour. In Springfield for the Feb 15th show, the original Winter Dance Party was replaced by

"Fabian, Bill Parsons and Jimmy Clanton replacing the headliners. Dion and the Belmonts, Frankie Sardo and Holly's backing band, the Crickets - all on the original bill - also performed."

The barber who used to cut my hair on Clinton St. in Bloomington claims to have had a ticket to the Spring Valley show on Feb 4th 1959. He was a bit shaky but knew a lot about sports gambling so I took him at his word. The Spring Valley show was rescheduled for Feb 7, and went off without much of hitch. Rock and Roll pretty much survived its trip to through Central Illinois, though Lubbock's Buddy Holly is still mourned as one of the all-time short career greats (Richie Valens was a great one as well).

For two points, name a Wildcat who lived in Lubbock Texas. Name a Quincy episode centered around Lubbock. A Richie Valens hit covered by Led Zepplin?

Here's John Denver and (Rock On's) David Essex doing a string of Buddy Holly Hits.

Sunday, February 1, 2009 Mourns the Passing of Betty Shoemaker

Betty L. Wickenhauser Shoemaker, 77, Clinton, died at 7:52 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 29, 2009) at Manor Court, Clinton.

Her funeral will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with J. Kent Hickerson and the Rev. Andy Maxwell officiating. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, Clinton. Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.

She was born Dec. 3, 1931, at Wapella, daughter of Leslie D. and Calla Greene Wickenhauser.

Survivors include one daughter, Cindy (Brien) White, Waynesville; three grandchildren, Zackary (Ashley) White and Joshua (Nicole) White, both of Normal; and Carrie (Brett) Welch, Round Rock, Texas; one brother, Jack the Barber (Rosie) Wickenhauser, Clinton; three sisters, Judy (Cord the Muscleman) Burris, Ruth (Don) Nelson and Mary Shaw, all of Clinton; sister-in-law, Linda Wickenhauser, Wapella; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, many of whom thought of her as Grandma.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, George, Bob, Charlie, Fred and Francis; and one sister, Emma Nichols.

She was a retired licensed practical nurse from Dr. John Warner Hospital after 30 some years of caring service, where she touched the lives of many people. Betty was a longtime Wapella resident, and a great member of the Wildcat community.

Our condolences to her family.

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