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

Facebook Activity for Wapella

Monday, May 31, 2010

Kickapoo Joy Juice: Heyworth Rocks!

This from an astute Maroon reader

Mr. Powers, I can't help but notice that, has been silent on
the just past 40th anniversary of Heyworth Rock Festival at Kickappo
Creek. There is a documentary showing Tuesday night in Normal.
T-Shirts are being sold by one of Heyworth's finest Kerry Kidwell &
family. Was Wapella simply uneffected by hippees in rural McLean
County? Those of us Clintucky need to know!
Well, lets break the silence. The Heyworth Happening rocked hard and was even caught on film. I stopped at the Normal Theater today, they didn't know much about it, but the crowd at the Circle the night before remembered it well and did their best to recreate the Incident on the Northside of Wapella via Karaoke.

The Festival lineup was full of future hall of famers with locals Michael McDonald, (later of Doobie Brothers fame), Dan Fogelberg and REO Speedwagon. The headliner band list included blues legend BB King, Canned Heat, Country Joe and the Fish, Butterfield Blues Band, Rick Nielsen and Fuse, New Colony 6 and the Amboy Dukes featuring a young Motor City Madman, among thirty odd bands that played during the three day festival. The Karoake leaned towards Johnny Cash and George Jones, with some fine blues harmonica played one of the Whites from Waynesville.

The New York Times has it that the movie about the festival "offers a fascinating glimpse of the clash of a midwestern community still trying to shake off the mores and conformity of the fifties, and the emerging counterculture" which was directly contradicted by pretty much everyone who was in Central Illinois at that time. A commenter here with a Wapella name..
Ella Rousey
i was there, but not at the concert. My grandmother lived on a farm that the "creek" ran through. I remember them thinking that drug crazed hippies were going to overrun the place. I was 10.... I remember it being no big deal in the end as far as trouble. My grandmothers farm was safe and that event was talked about for quite awhile.

which sounds much more likely.

My assumption is that the New York Times reviewer had been watching Footloose over and over and had decided that the establishment in Heyworth was sort of like the squares in Footloose trying to keep the kids from dancing. Or perhaps Billy Jack, with the kids from the Freedom School taking a field trip to Heyworth for the Kickapoo Festival, and the writer at the Times imagining himself as the noble half-breed Billy Jack battling against "conventional mores" in Heyworth. In either case, the reiviewer's juvenile narrative takes away from what is generally remembered as a good time with great rock and roll by, gasp, the residents of the very same midwestern community that the Billy Jack obsessed review was sneering at.

Most people of that age remember a story or two from the festival. One of my best friends, the late great Jim Merida set up camp at the festival and brought along his Super 8 camera. A relative of mine got a well earned beating for causing a ruckus during one of the acts, and was able to shrug it off, perhaps he was beaten to shake off his conventional mores, unlike the many other beatings he earned over the years for a chronic ruckus causing condition.

Many locals made the trek north just to enjoy some good rock and roll and have some fun, then come home that night back to Wapella, which was pretty much the consensus of the people I talked to about the show. Nothing wrong with that, in fact, isn't it about time for another Kickapoo Festival? Anyone with a 640 they want to put to good use for a few days around Memorial Day next year?

Thursday, May 27, 2010 Mourns The Passing of Bill Stamp

William “Bill” R. Stamp, 57, Wapella, died Wednesday (May 19, 2010) at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal.

Service: 2 p.m. June 6 memorial service at VFW Post 4168, Clinton.

Burial: At a later date in Camp Butler Cemetery, Springfield, with military rites.

Memorials: William “Bill” Stamp Memorial Fund.

Survivors: father, Louis Stamp, Oysterville, Wash.; stepfather, Mark W. Lane, Wapella; three sons, Gary Wellman, Rusty (Sherri Holt) Stamp and Billy (Katie) Stamp, all of Bloomington; two grandchildren; two brothers, Bob Stamp, Vancouver, Wash., and Lon Lane, Wapella; and two sisters, Joni Karr, Bloomington, and Tracy Minerich, Auburn, Wash.

Bill was a hard worker and a great and cheerful friend to many in Wapella. Bill was a talented construction worker and it was often said that "Bill Stamp built America".

All flags half mast please for Vietnam Veteran, Bill Stamp, USMC.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jamie, Jamie Moyer the Gopher Ball King

There is something to be said for negative records, like Wilbur Wood being a 2 time 20 game have to get a lot of decisions and complete games to even get to that level. Besides, Wood won 24 games in both 1972 and 1973 for the White Sox, making him a leader on a rather dismal White Sox team.

Jamie Moyer, the old Cub (so old that Harry Caray used to sing about him), is on the brink of setting a negative record, but still pitching at age 47 in the Majors is something of a record itself. Moyer may soon be the pitcher who has given up the most homers in baseball history. Take a look at the below article and remember that hall of famer Robin Roberts is the current record holder

From the WSJ

Jamie Moyer once gave up a home run to a guy named A.J. And someone named B.J. And a J.J., an R.J. and a J.T.

Two Guillens have taken him deep. So have three Johnsons, four Joneses and five Gonzalezes: Juan, Adrian, Alex, the other Alex and Wiki.

In the more than century-long history of Major League Baseball, no pitcher has allowed more homers than the late Robin Roberts, a 1950s star who surrendered 505. But that's about to change.

"I'm not proud of this," says Mr. Moyer, the 47-year-old Philadelphia Phillies lefthander, who's at 501.

For pitchers, there is no more painful moment than when their handiwork is walloped over the fence. Given that the average home-run trot takes 21.89 seconds, according to a Marquette University data coordinator, Mr. Moyer has spent a full three hours—the equivalent of one game—doing what pitchers dread the most.

In a sense, though, this record that he'll soon set is a mark of greatness. The pitcher at the top of the list, Mr. Roberts, who died this month, is in the Hall of Fame. So are Nos. 3 (Ferguson Jenkins), 4 (Phil Niekro) and 5 (Don Sutton). Giving up that many home runs is a testament to longevity, a sign Mr. Moyer must have been doing something right to hang around this long. Indeed, he has the most wins, 263, of any active pitcher.

"I'm not sour about it; I'm not bitter about it," he says. "I've had enough repetitions to create this."

His 24-year career has been a study in quiet steadiness. After winning 34 games during his 20s, he became a reliable double-digit-game winner through most of his 30s. His best years were 1998-03, when he had five sub-4.00 ERA seasons for the Seattle Mariners. Still, he has only made the All-Star Game once, when he went 21-7 in 2003, at age 40.

Mr. Moyer is also famous for his velocity. That is, the lack of it. In an era when many major leaguers throw 90 miles per hour, and one reliever, the Detroit Tigers' Joel Zumaya, regularly hits 100, Mr. Moyer's fastball averages 81.4 mph. And it's not like he had it and lost it: He threw in the mid-80s when he was a prospect.

He has succeeded because of his precise control and his ability to keep hitters off-balance, which he does by using both sides of the plate. "I don't know that there's ever been a major-league baseball player who's done more with less," says George Bennett, who coached Mr. Moyer at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

The scouts had started to notice him at St. Joe's, but one day, with several of them in attendance, Mr. Moyer served up a grand slam in the first inning. "By the third inning, I looked to my left and to my right, and nobody was there," says Chicago Cubs scout Billy Blitzer, who stuck around. The Cubs wound up taking Mr. Moyer and a waify righthander named Greg Maddux in the 1984 draft, two outstanding choices that defied baseball's devotion to measurables like velocity and size.

Mr. Moyer throws so softly, even laymen are convinced they can hit him. Howard Eskin, a sports-talk-radio host on WIP in Philadelphia, has said on-air that he wishes he could face Mr. Moyer. "I just can't believe he gets people out," Mr. Eskin says. "Is that disrespectful? I don't think so. I can't even figure out whether I'm criticizing him or if I'm just amazed. I'm just amazed that he gets as many people out as he does."

Indeed, Mr. Moyer is off to a decent start this season, with a 5-3 record and a 4.30 ERA, including a complete-game shutout of the Atlanta Braves this month.

But then there are the homers. Mr. Moyer has allowed 10 this season, tied for the second most in the majors through sunday. Lifetime, Manny Ramirez has taken him deep 10 times, the most of any hitter, according to, a statistical website. Once at Safeco Field in 2006, Mr. Ramirez and the Boston Red Sox tagged Mr. Moyer for five homers in a single game.

The first big-league homer Mr. Moyer allowed, to Phillies second baseman Juan Samuel, occurred June 23, 1986, in Mr. Moyer's second major-league game. The final score: Phillies 19, Cubs 1. Mr. Moyer remembers vividly. "I was back in my hometown [Philadelphia], a couple of busloads of people came down, my parents were there—and I get knocked out of the game in the third inning," he says. "If I could've crawled from the mound underneath the Astroturf to the dugout, I would've."

Mr. Moyer's willingness to challenge hitters inside also has led to home runs, as such pitches are easier to launch than outside ones. He also has pitched in some hitter-friendly ballparks like Chicago's Wrigley Field, Boston's Fenway Park (briefly) and Seattle's Kingdome. His current home, Citizens Bank Park, is one of the most notorious home-run parks in the majors.

But he says he likes pitching there, even though he knows he's going to get hit. "There probably aren't a lot of pitchers who like to come here to pitch," he says. "The mind set for me is a little different. I'm not concerned about my ERA; I'm concerned about giving us a chance to win."

Although his contract expires after this season, Mr. Moyer says he doesn't know when he'll retire. (Pat Gillick, who once was Mr. Moyer's general manager in Seattle and who acquired the pitcher when Mr. Gillick was the Phillies' GM, thinks he'll try to pitch at least until he's 50.)

One plus for Mr. Moyer is that his arm hasn't changed much over the years. Because he never could blow hitters away, he never had to adjust to not being able to, as so many other pitchers do.

"You're right in saying that," Mr. Moyer says, "but try pitching with the stuff I have."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Separation of Sport and State

Craig Virgin, the Illini Cross Country champion from Lebanon, Illinois has a fairly well thought out interview about the Olympics, Politics, and the Highland Park Girls Basketball team. Craig's appeals to Civil War history are a bit of a stretch (Abe Lincoln was from Kentucky, not Illinois etc), but you can stretch a little when you held a world record or two.

Craig Virgin has a 30-year itch.

And, right now, Highland Park High School is irritating it.
“I’m uncomfortable because this is way too close to the 1980 Olympic boycott,” the Illinois distance running legend said when asked about Highland Park High’s recent decision to cancel a girls’ basketball trip to Arizona because of the state’s crackdown on illegal immigrants – a controversy that has sparked a firestorm of debate throughout Chicagoland and beyond this month.

Sports, like most things in life, are political. And, for many, politics is sport. But it’s when the two become one in the same that big problems can be created.

Politics, of course, have a time and a place, but is it on an athletic field or a basketball court? This week, in an attempt to answer that question and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of politics on athletes, I sought out Virgin for his expert take on the Highland Park dispute.

“It smells like that [1980],” explained the 54-year-old Lebanon, Ill., native, a three-time Olympic qualifier – but only a two-time Olympic competitor – who knows perhaps better than anyone the scent that can be created when politics and sports are mixed.

Here’s a hint: It stinks.

“And I learned that the painful way,” Virgin said.

Earlier this month, Highland Park Superintendent George Fornero and his fellow administrators rejected the request of the school’s girls’ basketball team – coming off its best season in 26 years – to compete in a tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., in late December. An assistant superintendent initially explained the reason for the cancellation was because the trip “would not be aligned with our beliefs and values.”

However, after several parents questioned if the school was using students to make a political statement opposing the Arizona law, Fornero & Co. attempted damage control and issued a letter to parents that instead emphasized concerns about safety. It stated: “We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students’ safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of a state immigration law.”

The North Shore spat then became national news when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking last week in Rosemont, accused the school district of using the students as political pawns and urged the team members to “go rogue, girls.”

From his home in downstate Lebanon, Virgin followed the drama and found it to be a disturbing reminder of the 1980 Olympics boycott that altered the course of his career, robbed him of potential glory and countless memories and still chafes him even today.

As a schoolboy star in Lebanon during the early 1970s, Virgin set the national outdoor high school two-mile record of 8:40.9 (breaking the legendary Steve Prefontaine’s record) before enrolling at the University of Illinois, for which won the 1975 NCAA Cross Country championship and then became an Olympic qualifier for the 1976 Montreal Games.

Four years later, in March 1980, the 24-year-old Virgin was at the peak of his career when he became the first (and still only) American man to win the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Later that month, though, President Jimmy Carter announced that the U.S. would boycott the 1980 Moscow Games because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Just 10 days before the Olympics began, Virgin ran the second-fastest 10,000-meter race in history, but was unable to compete in the Summer Games.

“I still hope to some day have lunch with Carter and find out exactly what he was thinking,” Virgin said, still fiery. “We could have some sweet tea with lemon and talk about it.”

As for the Highland Park controversy, Virgin said: “This isn’t even a boycott of another country, it’s one of our sister states. I don’t agree with all of what (the legislators) did [in Arizona], but it came through a democratic process. And one hundred some years ago, a lot of our Illinois brothers battled to preserve the Union. Our greatest president from Illinois was Abraham Lincoln and he fought to preserve the Union. I think we need to remember that …

“I think boycotts send the wrong message. It’s not mature. It’s a rash decision, and [in Highland Park] the athletes are paying the price. That’s what makes me uncomfortable. I feel that there’s a time and a place for things and as a leader you have to make tough decisions, but the administration has overstepped their bounds. And, with all due respect, they need to reconsider their decision.

“I believe in taking a stand, and I believe in principles. But we also have a Constitution, and soldiers have died to protect that Constitution and our Union.”

In my book, that’s an opinion you can run with.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Last Orders, Please!

Junior Monkman is placing a FINAL order for Wildcat Wear - deadline JUNE 14. Some people have seen the shirts and have been asking for them as well. Please refer anyone to him via an email at or call his cell 217-620-4100.

And that means final, so get those orders in, because if there is too much demand, this will not be final, so there will be more orders, and more Wildcat Wear, and good cheer throughout the county.

Order form is here

Friday, May 7, 2010

Puff the Magic Colon

The staff at is attached to Wapella as much as the next guy, more than others and not as much as it should be, but there is one area where really shines the tiny flashlight you stick in your colon to take a quick snap shot, and that is Colon health.

We are on various colon health mailing lists, some originating from Wapella, some outside of the village, but all with as much detail on the ins and outs of a good colon blow as you can stomach without a local anesthetic.

So by all means, go get your colon screened in, sit outside in your screened in colon porch and keep the bugs away while you play colon canasta, sip on a cold colona beer with a lime and enjoy the cold colon days of spring. Dr. Goldfinger is waiting for you.

Here's a tip from Peter Yarrow, from Peter Paul and Mary, singing about, what else, Colon Health...not much of a song, but the lyrics are meaningful..and a heck of a lot more appealing than the Tombstone Blues. Hat tip to my sister WHS '80 HLP-B who has been known to irrigate the colon of various willing strangers in Rocky Mountain water.

Blog Archive