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Star Farmer Interview: Jonathan Griffel

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Jonathan Griffel, a recent 2011 graduate at Gillespie High School and current resident in the Gillespie community, has been awarded Star Farmer of Illinois. The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients.  Finalists for the award have mastered skills in production, finance, management and/or research. There are 4 different award areas: American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement, and American Star in Agriscience. Griffel’s Star Farmer journey started back in high school, during his senior year. Each state FFA association recommends four American Star Award candidates—one for each of the four award areas. Then, the National FFA Organization selects four finalists per award area (16 in all) and finally,  a Star Award finalist is chosen.

Jonathan Griffel is a apart of Griffel Family Farms (established in 1856), in which they are proudly sixth generation farmers. Griffel has been a part of this farm his entire life, from the moment he was born to where he is standing now – it is a family heritage. Never once did Griffel have to question his father about the farming technique because his father was standing right along side him the entire time when he was a youngster. “I learned mostly everything from my father, Dave, and then my grandfather, Danny.” Coming into high school with a 15 year farming background, Jonathan said he was still able to learn new material from his FFA director and agriculture teacher Mr. Rick Spencer.

Jonathan has always been a part of the family operation, Griffel Family Farms. But unlike many other FFA students and young area farmers, Jonathan started his very own Supervised Agricultural Experience which consisted of him starting his own scaled down farming operation. Under this cognitive process, Griffel was responsible for everything – from planting and fertilizing to weeding and harvesting.

As a farmer on his family farm, Griffel puts in about 10 hours a week on average. Many summer weeks are very long and tenacious, as the winter weeks are slower and do not require as much work. Griffel raises many different crops and works on their 60 head cow calf operation. Throughout the past four years, Griffel has raised corn, soybeans, wheat, grasshay, and alfalfa. On the family farm, Griffel uses both fertilizers and pesticides. Therefore, the Griffel Family Farm is not an organic farm because of the use of pesticides. An organic farm cannot use pesticides, but it is very difficult to be an organic farmer mainly because the cost to produce crops organically – many farmers say it is hard to show a profit.

Griffel has many honorable awards to add to the family farm. He has been selected the Section 15 Star Greenhand, the Section 15 Star Farmer, the District 3 Star Farmer, and the State Star Farmer. He also has won the State Profeciency Award in both Fiber and Oil Crop Production. Griffel would never dream about living anywhere else or doing anything else, “I enjoy this farm life because it allows me the opportunity to succeed through hard work and dedication.” Griffel told us, he sees farming to be a major component in his future whether it be returning to the farm to step in and take over or just returning to help out his father during the planting and harvest seasons.

Griffel will be attending University of Illinois in Springfield in the fall of 2011.

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Court News

Macoupin County Courthouse News

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Cases filed during June 30 through July 6. Visit the “Court News” category under the “Community News” tab for other editions.

FELONIES

Lawrence E. Ealey, 50 of Springfield, is charged with loitering as a registered child sex offender in a park in connection with a June 30 incident.

Larry E. Conlee, 40 of Mount Claire, is charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer and attempting to disarm a peace officer or corrections employee in connection with a July 1 incident.

Jessica Mccaw, 35 of Saint Louis, MO, is charged with aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and causing damage in excess of $300 to property in connection with a July 3 incident.

Austin T. Fank, 18 of Mount Olive, is charged with causing a motor vehicle crash involving death or personal injuries, failing to give information and render aid, driving while never issued a license, driving failing to give notice of crash, failure to obey a stop sign, and failure to reduce speed in connection with a July 4 incident.

TRAFFIC

Josh S. Tucker, 29 of Mount Olive, is charged with driving on a suspended license and cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a June 20 incident.

Charles V. Bond III, 32 of Mount Olive, is charged with driving on a suspended license and having a cancelled/revoked/suspended registration in connection with a June 19 incident.

Justin C. Grider, 42 of Carlinville, is charged with driving on a suspended license in connection with a June 26 incident.

Bobby L. Walker, 34 of Sorento, is charged with driving on a revoked license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to display a registration plate, and expired registration in connection with a June 27 incident.

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Patrick I. Rogan, 37 of South Abington Towns, PA, is charged with speeding 26-34 mph over the limit in connection with a June 27 incident.

Samantha M. Meza, 31 of Carlinville, is charged with cancelled/revoked/suspended registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with a June 29 incident.

Jessica R M Green, 36 of Carlinville, is charged with driving on a suspended license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle in connection with a June 30 incident.

Bryant J. Tilley, 18 of Wilsonville, is charged with driving while never issued a license and driving 11-15 mph above the limit in connection with a June 30 incident.

Johnelle B. Crawford, 52 of Gillespie, is charged with driving on a suspended license in connection with a July 3 incident.

David L. Clark, 31 of Gillespie, is driving on a suspended license in connection with a June 26 incident.

DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE FILED

  • Kimberlee A. Gillespie versus Jonathan E. Gillespie
  • Charley Jones versus Troy Jones
  • John F. Zoller versus Stephanie Zoller

MARRIAGE LICENSES

  • Jacob Haley and Teylar Berola, both of Chatham

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Community News

Bike MS set for September 7, 8

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Participants in the Bike MS travel (archived photo)

Each year we hold the Bike MS: Gateway Getaway in Godfrey, Illinois to raise critical funds and create awareness around our movement. This year, on Saturday and Sunday September 7 and 8, over 1,100 riders plus more than a hundred volunteers and staff will converge on Lewis and Clark Community College’s Godfrey with a goal to raise $1.3 million to change the world for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Riders will take off over a 2-hour window beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and 7:15 to 8:30
a.m. on Sunday. All participating cyclists, who must be at least 12 years of age and raise a minimum of $300 will have access to bike mechanics, support vehicles, rest stops, a finish line celebration and much more.

You may see our riders who will tackle their choice of 25-, 50-, 75- and 100-mile routes both days, traveling along the limestone bluffs on the Great River Road and winding through Lewis and Clark district communities, including Godfrey, Alton, Fosterburg, Bethalto, Elsah, Otterville, Jerseyville, Brighton, Dorsey, Worden, Holiday Shores, Moro, Woodburn, Bunker Hill, Shipman, Staunton, Benld, Wilsonville and more.

Community members should drive cautiously through 6 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday
when the routes close.

MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society provides global leadership and funds research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Our vision is a world free of MS. Our mission is to cure MS while empowering people affected by MS to live their best lives.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a collective of passionate individuals who want to do something about multiple sclerosis (MS) now – to move together toward a world free of MS. Our local chapter serves nearly 9,000 individuals in this area who battle this often-devastating disease.

You can learn more about this event at www.bikems.org.

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Community News

Macoupin County zip codes included in high-risk lead testing

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Move puts state closer to goal of universal lead testing by 2026

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced an expanded list of high-risk ZIP codes, increasing mandatory testing for lead exposure of children who live within those areas. 148 new zip codes, representing parts of 60 Illinois counties, have been added to the list this year, bringing the total of high-risk ZIP codes to almost 1,200.

“There is no safe level of lead in the blood,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “To better serve our children and build brighter futures for all of our residents, IDPH is acting to ensure that more children have access to the testing and interventions necessary to decrease the potential serious physical and developmental health concerns linked to lead exposure.”

Under Illinois law, any child residing in a high-risk ZIP code is to be tested automatically at 12, 24, and 36 months. All children six years of age and younger are required to be assessed for lead exposure through the use of a questionnaire administered by a pediatrician. In addition, children who fall into other risk categories spelled out in the questionnaire are also tested.

High-risk ZIP codes are determined through an algorithm that assesses a number of different risk factors. The department has been expanding that list of ZIP codes gradually and expects to implement universal testing for lead exposure across all Illinois ZIP codes by 2026. The new expanded list, which took effect July 1, 2024, can be found at: Pediatric Lead Poisoning High-Risk ZIP Code Areas (illinois.gov).

Under current Illinois law, blood tests which come back with lead levels in excess of five micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) require a public health intervention. This includes a home inspection to determine the source of the lead contamination. If lead is found, the inspector will work with the homeowner to remove the sources of lead. In addition, there will also be a visit from a public health nurse who will educate the family on ways to protect children from the harmful effects of lead. 

The newly-added ZIP codes come from the following Illinois counties:

  • Adams
  • Alexander
  • Bond
  • Boone
  • Calhoun
  • Carroll
  • Champaign
  • Clinton
  • Coles
  • Cook
  • Crawford
  • Cumberland
  • Dekalb
  • Douglas
  • DuPage
  • Edwards
  • Effingham
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Hardin
  • Henry
  • Jackson
  • Jefferson
  • Jo Daviess
  • Johnson
  • Kane
  • La Salle
  • Lake
  • Lee
  • Macon
  • Macoupin
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Marshall
  • Massac
  • McLean
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Morgan
  • Ogle
  • Peoria
  • Piatt
  • Pope
  • Pulaski
  • Putnam
  • Randolph
  • Richland
  • Rock Island
  • St. Clair
  • Saline
  • Sangamon
  • Shelby
  • Tazewell
  • Union
  • Vermilion
  • Washington
  • White
  • Whiteside
  • Will
  • Winnebago

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