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St. Francis Auxiliary volunteers share the joy of volunteering

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The Auxiliary Board and committee members who will serve in 2015 are (front row) Denise DeLaCruz, President; Lisa Heyen, Vice President; Lisa Montgomery, Recording Secretary; Connie Niehaus, Treasurer; and Rita Bryant, Corresponding Secretary. Back row, are Stephanie Hebenstreit, Hospitality/Publicity; Jane Martin, Program; Tonya Flannery, Newsletter; Jeanne Banovic, Gift Shop; Paulette Marten, Volunteers; Ronda Lawson, Ways and Means; Nancy Hyam and Linda Maulding, as At Large members. Not pictured are Wendy Wuttke, Membership; Shirley State, Gift Shop; Rose Marie Tebbe, Health Advocacy; Jen Baugher, Ways and Means; Patsy Allen, Scholarships; Lou Ellen Anderson, Health Careers; and Resa Stieren, At Large member.

The Auxiliary Board and committee members who will serve in 2015.

The HSHS St. Francis Hospital Auxiliary volunteers held their general meeting in December and enjoyed lunch served by the Hospital’s Food and Nutrition Department. The Back Porch Pickers, Jim and Della Niemann & Lowell and Kathleen Chandler, provided entertainment at the meeting.

Paula Endress, Director of Philanthropy/Auxiliary Liaison at the Hospital, opened with a prayer, welcomed the group, and introduced Patti Fischer the Hospital’s new CEO/President. She thanked all auxilians for their many contributions throughout the past year. The members who comprise the group are are (Front Row) Denise DeLaCruz, President; Lisa Heyen, Vice President; Lisa Montgomery, Recording Secretary; Connie Niehaus, Treasurer; Rita Bryant, Corresponding Secretary, (Back row) Stephanie Hebenstreit, Hospitality/Publicity; Jane Martin, Program; Tonya Flannery, Newsletter; Jeanne Banovic, Gift Shop; Paulette Marten, Volunteers; Ronda Lawson, Ways and Means; Nancy Hyam and Linda Maulding, as At Large members.

Not pictured in the photo, but additional members of the group are Wendy Wuttke, Membership; Shirley State, Gift Shop; Rose Marie Tebbe, Health Advocacy; Jen Baugher, Ways and Means; Patsy Allen, Scholarships; Lou Ellen Anderson, Health Careers; and Resa Stieren, At Large member.

Endress thanked all auxilians for their many contributions throughout the past year.

“Whether volunteering in the gift shop, at the blood drives, assisting with the junior volunteer program, helping with the home tour, or other tasks, the hospital is very blessed to have the wonderful assistance of our volunteers,” Endress said as she thanked everyone.

In lieu of a gift exchange, the group contributed personal care items for the St. Clare Center Food Pantry. Auxiliary President Tonya Flannery led the business meeting and reports were given by committee members.

During the meeting, a moment of silent remembrance was given in memory of auxilians who had passed away during the year. They were Linda Simmons, Robbie Johnson, Donna Adams, and Esther Watts.

Flannery was recognized for her two years of service as President. Endress presented her with a special gift on behalf of the Auxiliary. “Tonya has shown excellent leadership in guiding the auxiliary through its 50th anniversary celebration and restructuring of the gift shop,” said Endress.

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School board deals with personnel issues during special meeting

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Stephanie Bray

Meeting in special session Monday night, members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education accepted “with regrets” the resignation for purposes of retirement of Stephanie Bray, one of the district’s three technology integration specialists, effective June 4.

The board called a special session to deal with the apparently unexpected resignation before the board’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting later this month. However, board members tabled action on approving a revised job description for the Student Information System/Data Integration Specialist position, pending further discussion.

The board also tabled action on posting the newly created vacancy and tabled posting a district-level secretary’s position.

In February of 2022, the board accepted “with regrets” Bray’s announcement of her retirement “no later than the end of the 2025-26 school year.” There was no indication of why Bray moved her retirement date up by two years.

On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Amanda Ross, the board voted unanimously to accept Bray’s resignation. The action followed a 50-minute executive session to discuss personnel issues behind closed doors. The public portion of the meeting lasted less than 10 minutes.

In other action, the board voted to renew the district’s One Room contract to offer a remotely taught Spanish class to fulfill the district’s foreign language requirement for the 2024-25 school year. This will be the second year an off-site teacher will teach foreign language at GHS, using remote communication technology. Supt. Shane Owsley said the district had no applications for the vacant teaching position last year. This year, an applicant from Brazil explored the possibility of teaching in Gillespie but ultimately accepted a tutoring position at Greenville University. Owsley said hiring the applicant could have become cumbersome because she was not yet certificated to teach high school Spanish. He said he recently changed the job description from Spanish to foreign language to expand the pool of potential applicants.

In other personnel action, the board approved the maternity leave request of Amber Allan, BenGil Elementary physical education teacher, effective Aug. 28 through Jan. 20.

In separate actions, the board accepted Nathan Henrichs resignation as Gillespie High School freshman football coach, posted the position as vacant, and appointed Henrichs as a varsity assistant football coach. The board also voted unanimously to appoint Alex Jasper as an assistant freshman football coach. The board unanimously accepted Wayne Ireland’s resignation as a volunteer assistant football coach, and voted unanimously to appoint Jarrod Herron and hire Trenton Cleveland as volunteer assistant football coaches.

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The board voted unanimously to hire Michael Rodriguez as a high school volunteer assistant women’s basketball coach.

On a motion by Schmidt, seconded by Kelli Vesper, the board hired Alexis Ollis as a head cook and kitchen staff member, pending documentation of certification and a background check. The board also Brittany Hughes as a district kitchen staff worker, pending documentation of certification and background check.

On a motion by Vesper, the board voted unanimously to post a vacancy for a one-on-one paraprofessional aide.

Board members voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Jessica Kelly as a middle school assistant track and field coach and voted unanimously to hire Jay Weber as the high school head track and field coach.

The regular monthly meeting of the board is set for 6 p.m., Monday, June 24, at the district’s administrative office.

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Americana festival set for July 4 at Benld Park

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Jess Barker, The Lodge Brothers, and The New Prairie Drifters are set to take the stage at Benld City Park on Thursday, July 4 as part of the Americana Festival.

The music festival intends to celebrate the birthday and spirit of America with thriving local culture of music, food, and art. It is scheduled to begin at 12 noon and end at 6 pm.

Food will be available for purchase from The Barracks American Table, a new Gillespie restaurant, and skincare products will be available from Nature’s Bliss, a Benld gift shop.

The park is located at 305 North Main Street in Benld. Admission is free.

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Macoupin County Fair underway until Sunday

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Rides, tents, food trucks, music, animals, and plenty of other offerings fill the grounds at the Macoupin County Fair for the 172nd year. The fair is held June 4 through June 9 at the Macoupin County Fairground north of Carlinville.

The oldest county fair in Illinois, the Macoupin County Fair welcomes thousands of guests to the area and unites agriculture, family, and community. The fair continues through Sunday with highlights every evening.

The fair also meets the needs of families on a budget, for just $10 per person you get parking and all-access to the carnival rides. The cost-friendly fun draws in visitors and locals who get to embrace the county’s namesakes.

Tracy Lawrence and Walker Montgomery are set to take the stage Thursday evening, June 6, at 7:30pm. Friday evening features the tractor and truck pull, and Saturday evening is the crowd-favorite demolition derby.

The fair opens every morning at 8am and closes at 12 midnight. For a full list of schedule of events or to pre-pay for entry, visit the fair’s website here.

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