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

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wapella Man Paints the Town Vermilion

Jeff Toohill, WHS '88, approached perfection at the Vermilion Bowl (now puzzlingly named Clinton Lanes) Saturday evening. "I could feel 300, but I could also feel the beat of the disco music playing in the background at the alley. I couldn't help but shake my leg a time or two, which was a distraction, to say the least" exclaimed Toohill. Toohill held his own at the Van Buren Street Lanes hammering the pins till they begged for mercy, scoring a personal best of 107, placing him third in his family competition for the night.

At the end of the evening no perfection on the lanes but as close to it as you can get: The Toohill family then celebrated at El Rey's afterwards with some delicious authentic Mexican food washed down with beers and/or a magarita! Yumm!

Here's a mustache kit, beloved by many of the old pro bowlers, if you think that might help Jeff. Cut..paste..and strike! Mourns the Passing of Raymond North

Raymond S. North, 79, Clinton, died at 4 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 24, 2010) at the Farmer City Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, Farmer City.

His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Monday at Calvert Funeral Home, Clinton, with J. Kent Hickerson officiating. Burial will be in Mausoleum Park Cemetery, Clinton. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Raymond was born Aug. 27, 1929, in Clinton, the son of Ray and Clara Joy North. He married Marilyn Jean Zirkle on May 24, 1948, in Clinton.

Surviving are his wife, Marilyn North, Clinton; one daughter, Lynda (Ray) Klinger, Stroudsburg, Pa.; one son, Kirby (Shellie) North, Clinton; brothers and sisters, Herbert (Donna) North, Paul North, Rose (Charlie) Wilson and Bernard (Pat) North, all of Clinton; and Bernadine (Lawrence) Toohill, Heyworth; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

He was the Uncle of his namesake Raymond Toohill, a Wapella community leader.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Raymond owned and operated North Fertilizer in Clinton for 57 years. He was a member of First Christian Church in Clinton, the National Fertilizer Association, Illinois Fertilizer Association and DeWitt County Pheasants Forever. He was a charter member of Mid State Coin and Antique Club and Ducks Unlimited.

All flags 1/2 mast please for U.S. Navy veteran Raymond North.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

67 Years of Harrison

Happy Birthday George! It would have been 67 years today for George Harrison, the quiet one. Here he is blowing it all away.

Friday, February 19, 2010

RIP Doug Fieger: You Had The Knack

Doug Fieger, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the band the Knack, whose enduring 1979 hit “My Sharona” has become an emblem of the new wave era in rock and a prime example of the brevity of pop fame, died on Sunday at his home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 57.

The cause was lung cancer, his family announced.

With a six-week run at No. 1, “My Sharona” was the inescapable hit of the summer of 1979, and it became a staple of high school dance parties for years to come. Built on a simple riff that was as perky as it was sexy, the song, by Mr. Fieger and the band’s lead guitarist, Berton Averre, celebrated teenage lust in unabashed terms. “When you gonna give it to me?” Mr. Fieger sang in the impatient whine that was his hallmark.

The song, written about a 17-year-old high school student who had caught the eye of the 26-year-old Mr. Fieger, displaced Chic’s disco anthem “Good Times” on Billboard’s singles chart and came to symbolize the commercial arrival of new wave, the poppier, snazzier-dressed cousin of punk rock. (That girl, Sharona Alperin, is now a high-end real estate agent in Los Angeles.) With a carefully executed marketing plan, the members of the Knack seemed to position themselves as a new Beatles, adopting a uniform of white shirts and skinny black ties, even recreating a group pose from the film “A Hard Day’s Night” for the back cover of their debut album, “Get the Knack” (Capitol).

I have to step in here...that is about the most obvious statement I have ever copied. The band name "The Knack" came from the Richard Lester movie, The Knack and How to Get It. Richard Lester directed Hard Day's Night. The movie is mildly naughty and good natured, like the band.

“Get the Knack” seemed to signal the arrival of a major new talent. But the band never had another hit on the scale of “My Sharona.” “Good Girls Don’t,” the album’s second single, went to No. 11, and “Baby Talks Dirty” stalled at No. 38 in 1980.

The band’s cocky behavior was interpreted as hubris by the rock press, and many critics called its lyrics misogynistic or worse. “Compared to Doug Fieger, Rod Stewart is a paragon of sexual humility,” Dave Marsh wrote in a Rolling Stone review of the band’s second album, “... But the Little Girls Understand.”

The Knack released another album, “Round Trip,” in 1981, and disbanded shortly thereafter, though since the early 1990s the band, mostly reunited, has toured and recorded frequently. In 1994 “My Sharona” was featured prominently in a scene in the Ben Stiller film “Reality Bites” and briefly re-entered the Billboard chart.

Bruce Gary, the Knack’s original drummer, died in 2006.

Douglas Lars Fieger was born in Detroit on Aug. 20, 1952, and grew up in nearby Oak Park, Mich. His mother was a teacher and his father a civil rights lawyer. Mr. Fieger’s brother, Geoffrey, is a prominent lawyer whose clients have included Jack Kevorkian; Geoffrey survives him, as does a sister, Beth Falkenstein, and a former wife, Mia.

Mr. Fieger had his first taste of fame while still in high school. His band, Sky, was signed to RCA and recorded two albums with Jimmy Miller, then the Rolling Stones’ preferred producer. Sky disbanded in 1973, and by 1978 Mr. Fieger had formed the Knack with Mr. Averre, Mr. Gary and the bassist Prescott Niles.

Things moved quickly. Reportedly wooed by more than a dozen record labels, the band signed with Capitol, which had also been the Beatles’ label. “Get the Knack,” released in June 1979, became an instant smash, going gold in two weeks and platinum in a month.

“My Sharona,” Mr. Fieger once said, had been written in 15 minutes. Billboard listed it as the No. 1 song of 1979.


It may have been, but Good Girls Don't was the #1 Hit in Wapella. It's mildly naughty, but completely rocking. RIP Doug Fieger. If anyone had the Knack, it was you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010 Mourns the Passing of Justus White

Justus L. White, 91, Waynesville, passed away at 10:50 a.m. Monday (Feb. 15, 2010) at Manor Court of Clinton.

The funeral for Mr. White will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Quiram-Peasley Funeral Home, Atlanta, with the Rev. Andrew Maxwell officiating. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Waynesville, with full military rites accorded.

Mr. White was born on April 23, 1918, in McLean, the son of Charles W. and Delia Smith White. He married Frances J. Price on Feb. 16, 1946, in Atlanta. She preceded him in death on Jan. 23, 1993.

Surviving are his two sons, Allan B. White, Clinton, and Brien (Butch) L. (Cindy WHS '77) White, Waynesville; one brother, Dayton White, Greenville, Ky.; one sister, Glenna Williams, Farmer City; five grandchildren, Carrie Welch, Zack (Ashley) White, Josh (Nicole) White, Miranda (Craig) Phillips and Rob Rybolt; and two great-grandchildren, Bailey Rybolt and Payton Phillips.

He was preceded in death by one grandson and one sister.

Mr. White served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a member of American Legion Post 1189.

He opened White’s Repair Shop in 1947 in Waynesville, later becoming White’s Farm Equipment. He was at the business every day until he was 90 years old, and provided service to the greater DeWitt County area.

Memorials may be made to American Legion Post 1189 or the Waynesville United Methodist Church.

All flags half mast please for WW2 Army veteran Justus White Mourns the Passing of Larry Swanzy

Larry Lee Swanzy, 66, of Heyworth died at 5:02 p.m. Friday (Feb. 12, 2010) at his residence.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Calvert-Belangee-Bruce Funeral Home, Heyworth.
The Rev. Kurt Flora will officiate. Burial will be at the Randolph Memorial Cemetery.
Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the family.

He was born Nov. 3, 1943, at John Warner Hospital in Clinton, a son of Harold and Ruby Swanzy. He married Paula Mae Dawson on May 10, 1977. She survives.

He is survived by three children, Stacy (Brent) Shoemaker, Brian (Krista) Swanzy and Kerry (Chad) Spencer, all of Heyworth. He also is survived by six grandchildren, Jessica (David) Givens, Erica Sieg, Seth Shoemaker, Jacob Shoemaker, Blaine Spencer and Morgan Spencer, all of Heyworth.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Harold (Sonny) Swanzy.
He enjoyed all of his coffee buddies who met him at the coffee shop every day. He was an avid Dale Earnhardt fan, and for everyone who knew him, an avid storyteller.

Larry Swanzy was a 1960 graduate of Wapella High School. He was loved very much and will be missed greatly by his family and friends.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Largest Collection of Tropics Related Merchandise on the Internet

Bar none, this is the largest collection of Tropics Related information on the internet.

I always thought the Tropics was a well designed place, never really recall the food there. It was one of those cocktail lounges only accessible from a highway, which added to the intrigue. It wouldn't really be a roadhouse, because it was upscale, in a Lincoln Illinois sort of way.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How about Moving the Rams to Hog City?

The St. Louis Rams franchise has been sold to an Urbana businessman. This can only be good news for many of us who want a professional sports franchise in DeWitt County, preferably in Wapella, but Laesch Acres in Farmer City will do for now.

Norm Van Brocklin, John Hadl, Roman Gabriel, Mark Herrman, Vince Ferragamo, Jim Everett, Kurt Warner are just to name a few quarterbacks for the Cleveland-Los Angeles-St. Louis franchise, would certainly light up Central Illinois with their fireworks.

Now with the Illini on top of the BigTen, what could be better for Illinois sports than another winner on the 40th Parallel?

What better birthday present for a Raiders fan like AJW than to bring the Rams to Wapella? Happy Birthday AJ!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where were you in 1978?

Seems like yesterday, '78 that is, so when we looked in the archives 32 years ago in search of some old-timey material related to the Clinton Nuclear Plant, this old dusty still shines, a top list of conversation starters at Wapella establishments from the olden times.

7) That Bea Arthur has to wear a lot of makeup *not* to be a beautiful women. She really hides her candle under a bushel basket.

6) You ever think about robbing a bank? I know some of the security guards in Chestnut and they are not all they are cracked up to be

5) There is no way the Little River Band could top their hit Reminiscing, never. (Only to be eclipsed by the 1981 Ballad "Take it easy on me")

4) That Loni Anderson is a fox. But the girl that plays Bailey is better looking

3) If the Cubs could have re-signed George Mitterwald, I would like their chances a little better.

2) M*A*S*H could survive without Wayne Rogers, but they could never replace the great McLean Stevenson.

1) I could sure go for one of those hot dogs on the rotisserie. I wonder how long those things have been in there (Also #1 in 1979)

Let's have a little something for Pernell Roberts, May 18, 1928 – January 24, 2010, one of the most affable actors in Hollywood. Thanks for the good times Adam Cartwright, or Trapper John MD, for making it look easy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wapella Welcomes A New Toohill with a Trifecta

Layne Ranae Toohill born 09/09/09 to Joe Toohill and Ashlee Leake. Layne was born 8 lb 4 oz. She is the 11th grandchild of Pat (and the late) Sue Toohill.

More Toohills are always a welcome sight in Wapella!

image Mt. Carantuohill, the highest peak in Ireland.

Monday, February 1, 2010 Mourns the Passing of Richard Cundiff

Richard “Dick” Cundiff, 83, of Heyworth died Saturday (Jan. 30, 2010) at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal.

His funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Wapella. Burial will be in Longpoint Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Calvert-Belangee-Bruce Funeral Home, Heyworth. Memorial gifts may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation; St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Wapella; or Advocate BroMenn Hospice.

Richard was born April 30, 1926, in New Haven, Ky., to Austin and Selma Whalen Cundiff. He married Wanda Slayback Cundiff on May 7, 1949, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wapella. She survives.

Also surviving are a son, Rick (Nancy) Cundiff, Bloomington; three brothers, Thomas Cundiff, Springfield; Emmett (Doris) Cundiff, Clinton; and Frank Cundiff, California; four grandchildren, Carrie (Mike) Lee, Normal; Maggie Cundiff, Orlando, Fla.; Kellie Cundiff, Chicago; and Randy Tomera, Bloomington; two great-granddaughters, Abbie and Katie Lee; and two nephews, David Slayback and David Rousey, Heyworth, whom he was instrumental in raising.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and one sister.

Richard attended Wapella High School and Illinois State Normal University.

He was employed by the U.S. Postal Service for 38 years.

He loved sports, fishing, the Fighting Illini, stamp collecting and his family.

Richard Cundiff had a terrific knowledge of sports both as a participant and a spectator, and is regarded as one of the greatest athletes in Wildcat History. A gentleman, Richard Cundiff could cheer for one team without begrudging an opponent. Richard traveled with both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs and was well known among each team's organization including personal friendships with Cardinal Great Lou Brock and Cub and White Sox great Ron Santo.

Richard carried on the long Wildcat tradition of assigning multiple near non-sequitur nicknames to his friends and collected many of them for himself, enjoying a colorful description as well as being able to deliver and take a good joke. He never met a stranger and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

All flags half mast please for WWII Army AIr Corp Veteran, Richard Cundiff

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