Author: Chad Williamson

We are living through an interesting time here in Union County and it has nothing to do with a virus. In my 30 years of covering local news, this is the first time the two most prominent governmental boards in the area have thrown out their rubber stamps and are having real debate. The Union County Commissioners and Marysville City Council are each experiencing uncommon dissension and I can’t get enough of it. Not because I am some Jerry Springer fan, drawn to conflict like a hog to mud, but rather because we are getting a refreshing peek behind the…

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While all the details aren’t in place yet, Marysville’s plans for getting students extra help during the summer are starting to come into focus. In a video presentation at Marysville’s Board of Education meeting Thursday, District Personalized Learning Director Ashley Thompson outlined how schools are preparing to push learning opportunities to students in need during the spring and summer months. Thompson said a variety of programs are in place for the remainder of the year, such as before and after school tutoring, additional remediation time during the school day, tutoring availability at the Hope Center and Bunsold After School Enrichment…

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As Marysville students are now starting to return to class on a more regular basis, district officials are working to make sure the senior year celebrations also return. Marysville’s two high school principals announced to the board of education at a meeting Thursday night that seniors will have a prom on May 1 and an in-person graduation, with limited attendance, at the football stadium on May 22. “It’s exciting to be able to give some positive news,” Marysville High School Principal Tom Cochran said. The COVID-19 pandemic stomped on the Marysville graduating class of 2020 at the end of last…

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Regina Morris, RN, Employee Health nurse at Memorial Health, delivers the COVID-19 vaccination to David Gleeson, Director of Respiratory Therapy, during the first-round administration in December. (Photo submitted) Memorial Health, Marysville schools detail process so far Local entities near the front of the line for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution have had positive experiences, but not everything about the rollouts has been perfect. The Marysville School District is reporting strong participation in the program, while Memorial Health’s experience was a bit more layered. Memorial employs about 1,000 individuals system wide. About, 120 of those are at Memorial Gables and those staffers…

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The North East Champaign County Fire Department will be getting a new pumper truck. North Lewisburg Mayor Cheryl Hollingsworth updated village council on the department’s search for a new vehicle at Tuesday night’s meeting. The department, which operates out of the village municipal building, also covers the surrounding areas, including Woodstock. Hollingsworth said the department’s 21-year-old pumper truck recently lost its ability to move water. Replacing the pump would have cost about $80,000 so the department decided to replace the entire vehicle. The mayor said department officials have reached an agreement to lease a new pumper truck from the Sutphen…

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When I saw his stifled grin, I knew there would be no need for coffee on Tuesday morning. My blood was going to be pumping plenty fast on its own. Mac Cordell knows me well, so his amusement could only mean that I was about to hear something in which I would find no humor. As is common, I asked about the happenings of the previous night’s meetings while taking my seat behind my desk. He’s worked with me long enough that I knew his first word was a warning – “Welllllllll.” That was enough to get me to look…

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Officials in the Marysville School District are pleasantly surprised with the resiliency of local students despite nearly a full year of virus-impacted learning. A presentation at Thursday night’s Marysville School Board meeting presented data that showed students are on par academically with previous years, despite months of remote learning to close out last school year and operating this year in a hybrid classroom schedule. K-4 students in the district return to school four days per week starting today, with older students to follow in the coming weeks. The goal is to have all students back in class, with safety precautions,…

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Bear with me on a small rewind of the last 12 months in the United States. A virus hit – Stoked by misinformation, the Coronavirus created a rift in the U.S. as the populations drew battle lines over masks, vaccines and freedom. Those who chose to believe in science were called sheep. Those who argued for personal liberties were called uneducated. Candidates seized on the divisive nature of the situation to lure voters, ensuring that the journey out of the virus’ shadow would be politically fueled. George Floyd was killed – Most agreed that the act itself was law enforcement…

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A North Lewisburg resident seeking to raise chickens in the village returned to plead her case to council Tuesday night, armed with facts and figures. Angela Myers first approached council in January seeking to change a village code enacted in 1993 which prohibited livestock, including chickens, from being raised in North Lewisburg. Council was not receptive to the idea but told her to her she could submit additional information to village officials. Tuesday night, Myers returned and provided members of council and the village administration with a packet of information including statistics and recommendations from the United States Department of…

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Marysville will be funding more than a $1 million in improvements to the Marysville High School gymnasium, thanks in part to rising revenue from special taxing districts. District treasurer Todd Johnson told the Marysville Board of Education at a Thursday meeting that the improvements will include a new gym floor and bleachers, as well as replacing a troublesome HVAC unit with one that includes air conditioning. He said work is planned to begin in the spring. Johnson said the floor and bleachers will be obtained through a state collective purchasing group which allows districts to secure low prices on equipment…

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Plan is for K-4 to be in school four days a week starting Feb. 18 Elementary school students in Marysville will inch back toward normalcy when the district returns to in-class learning four days per week next month. The Marysville Board of Education voted 5-0 Thursday night to approve a plan brought by Superintendent Diane Allen that would see students in grades K-4 return to class every school day except Wednesday, beginning Feb. 18. Wednesdays will remain virtual learning days to allow the district to deep clean classrooms and due to contractual obligations with teachers. The entire district has been…

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I don’t know how you could defend it. Protesting is an honored way for Americans to express outrage, but when it crosses a line those involved must be dealt with as criminals. When you stop following the rule of law, your protest is no longer about righting a wrong, but rather about vengeance. When police are attacked, federal buildings invaded, pieces of history destroyed and lives are lost, the goal is gathering a pound of flesh rather than cultivating awareness. To be sure, it was largely peaceful. In fact, there are claims that oppositional operatives in disguise made their way…

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A resident’s request to change an ordinance prohibiting chickens in the village limits met stiff resistance at Tuesday night’s North Lewisburg Village Council meeting. Resident Angela Myers asked council what village ordinances barring residents from raising chickens and inquired about having those regulations changed. Mayor Cheryl Hollingsworth said that an ordinance prohibiting livestock from being raised in the village has been on the books since 1993 and added that she has no interest in seeing it altered. “I’m just not willing to make the change,” Hollingsworth said. The mayor said she did not want to open the door to the…

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I don’t normally swear in my columns, but for 2020 I will make an exception. This has been a hell of a year. I’m not really wowing anyone with that hot take. I think at this point everyone probably shares that sentiment. This difference is I have proof, in black and white. I just finished doing research for the Journal-Tribune’s annual Top 10 stories of the year feature and can confirm that it has been a dangerous and dizzying year. And the funny thing is, I don’t think people realize everything that happened in the last 50 weeks. In the…

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In general, science and medicine are the best weapons to battle a pandemic, but in education the most powerful tool is technology. The Marysville Board of Education was updated on Thursday night about improvements made within the technology department which have allowed the district to stay nimble in adjusting to virus-related changes. Director of Technology Tom Powers said that when he took his position in 2017 the department made a commitment to be prepared for changes rather than simply responding to challenges. In short, the district needed to be proactive rather than reactive in regard to technology hurdles. After completing…

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