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Archives for December 2010

Accidents Mar Holiday Weekend

EMERGENCY CREWS WERE busy during the Christmas holiday as weather related accidents dotted the landscape.

This head-on collision occurred about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 24, on U. S. Route 51 south of Assumption. Five people, including a child, were taken to Pana Community Hospital by Pana Ambulance. The child was transferred to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Two-year-old Waylon Thompson, Pana, is listed in fair condition in Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria as of presstime today, Monday, Dec. 27.

(Pana FD Photo)

Emergency responders were kept busy with accidents during the holiday weekend, mostly caused by slick and icy roadways in the area from the five inches of snow deposited on the Pana area.

The most serious accident occurred at 10:36 a.m., Friday, Dec. 24, on U. S. 51 north of Pana. Five people were reportedly taken to Pana Community Hospital following the head-on collision of two vehicles. One of the injured, 6-year-old Waylon M. Thompson, Pana, was transported to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield in serious condition following treatment at PCH. He was later transferred to Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, where he is listed in fair condition at presstime today, Monday, Dec. 27.

According to the report by the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, Thompson was a passenger in a 1997 Mercury Sable G, driven by Megan M. Klespitz, 25, 512 N. Walnut St., Pana. The car was northbound on Route 51, a quarter-mile north of 700N Rd., about 4 1/2 miles north of the Rt. 51 junction with Rt. 16. Klespitz told deputies her car started to slide into the southbound lane and into the path of a 2003 Pontiac Montana van, driven by Deeanna R. Stalets, 40, rural Pana. Klespitz said Stalets attempted to avoid the accident, but could not.

Pana and Assumption ambulances transported both drivers to Pana Community Hospital as well. Also transported was Hayden T. Klespitz, 14, a passenger in the Klespitz auto. Another passenger, two-year-old Jacelynn M. Klespitz, was released from the accident site to her grandmother as requested by Mrs. Klespitz, Pana Fire Chief and EMS Director, Rod Bland, reported.

Bland said the accident was first reported to Pana authorities. However, it was discovered the accident was in the territory covered by the Assumption Fire Department. Bland said Pana handled this accident because at about the same time, Assumption was called to an accident north of Assumption.

The highway was shut down for nearly an hour to protect emergency workers from on-coming traffic. The vehicles were removed from the scene by Morrell Auto Service of Pana.

Later on Christmas Eve, at 3:36 p.m., emergency crews were called to 2000E and 350N Rds. for a roll-over accident.

Bland said Charlene Lebon, Rosamond, had lost control of her car and it overturned after she lost control on the snow covered roads. She was able to crawl out of the vehicle by the time emergency personnel arrived. She was taken to Pana Community Hospital by Pana Ambulance for undisclosed injuries.

The Pana Fire Department and Pana EMS also responded to the wreck.

PN-P Office Closed Friday

In observance of the New Year’s holiday, the Pana News-Palladium office will be closed all day, Friday, Dec. 31.

The newspaper will be printed as usual on Thursday, Dec. 30, and again on Monday, Jan. 3.

Dreams of a ‘White Christmas’ in Pana Come True

“I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS” – The line from Irving Berlin’s memorable song, “White Christmas,” came true for residents of the area this Christmas. Between three and six inches of snow fell between Friday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, and Saturday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day.

While the winter weather made for a “picture perfect postcard,” – like the former Illinois Central railroad tower at Main and Oak Streets in Pana – it did make for hazardous driving conditions. Several accidents, some with injuries, were reported throughout the area. However, children seemed to enjoy the weather as the sleds came out and “Fifth St. Hill” seemed to be a popular destination for the youngsters.

While the snow might be pretty here, the East Coast of the United States is battling a blizzard today, Monday, Dec. 27, with between 15 and 25 inches of snow in major metropolitan areas and winds around 50 mph.

The snow here will last for a couple of more days, but long range forecasts call for a high in the upper 40’s and upper 50’s by the time Thursday and Friday rolls around. But, over the weekend, the mercury is expected to plunge once again, with highs in upper 20’s to low 30’s Saturday and Sunday.

(Gene Reed Photo)

Out in Left Field: December 27, 2010

Let’s see. . . .

The roof of your domed stadium collapses and you have to play a home game in Detroit. The next week, another home game has to be played at a college stadium in your home town in a snow storm. Then, your next game, on the road, is canceled until Tuesday because of a blizzard on the East Coast.

I’m not sure if the Minnesota Vikings are snake-bitten, or this is just an elaborate cover-up to make us forget about the horrible final season of Brett Farve’s career. . . .


Got an interesting “present” a week or so ago from a good friend down Altamont way and forgot to mention it.

Kurt Becker is a renowned horse racing announcer and if you look closely, from time to time you’ll see him on those Jackson-Barrett car auctions. You’ll also hear his voice on NASCAR radio broadcasts as well. And for the past couple of years, has been back at the Pana Tri-County Fair doing horse races.

A package came in the mail from Kurt containing a 1967 Pana Tri-County Fair harness racing program from Sunday, Sept. 3. The program is filled out, listing the order of finish of each horse from each heat and the winning times.

A couple of familiar names appear on the list of race officials, including James McArdle as the presiding judge and Tracy Tackett as the Clerk of the Course. Oh, and by the way, the name of Carl Becker – Kurt’s dad – appears on the program as the race announcer.

Probably doesn’t mean a lot to most folks, but I certainly appreciate Kurt’s time and efforts and remembering me.


Good luck to both Panthers basketball teams during their respective tournaments this week.

The boys opened with a 67-43 win at the Vandalia Holiday Tournament over St. Elmo, and the girls are underway as I write this at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington.


Promise to get to the football banquet photos soon. . . .


When someone figures out what’s going on with the U of I basketball team, let me know.

Forgot they were on TV Wednesday night, and tuned in with a minute or so left in the first half and Illinois holding a 27-20 lead. The game was tied at halftime, 27-27.

I turned on Comedy Central after that.

Come to think of it, the Illini would be a rather funny show – if it wasn’t so sad. . . .


Hope the football Illini won’t embarrass themselves (or all of us back here in Illinois) Wednesday night.


Sorry to close up on such a down note –here’s hoping the fortunes of the Illini and all of us improve as 2011 beckons.

Happy New Year to one and all!


See you next week!

Panther Girls Dominate Piasa In 56-35 Win Thursday

PANA’S ALLIE SCHOONOVER saves a ball headed out-of-bounds along the baseline in Pana’s 56-35 win over the Piasa Southwestern Birds on Thursday, Dec. 23, in the Pana High School gym.

Schoonover had 16 points, as did Allison Allen, to lead the Pana scoring attack.

(Gene Reed Photo)

Intense defensive pressure by the Pana Panthers girls basketball team helped propel them to a 56-35 win over the Piasa Southwestern Birds, in a South Central Conference game played Thursday, Dec. 23, in the Pana High School gym. The game had been originally scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13, but had to be postponed due to bad weather.

It was Piasa’s first loss of the season.

Three Panthers scored in double figures and the defense forced Piasa into numerous turnovers – 28 – as they were forced out of their ball control offense.

“The girls won this game with the work ethic they displayed in the two days of practice prior to this game,” said J. R. Boudouris, Pana Head Coach. “We knew this would be a battle of contrasting styles, and our up tempo style of play definitely won out over the more patient game Southwestern would have preferred. Our girls worked so hard taking away Southwestern’s set plays and knowing when and where we could apply defensive pressure.”

Allison Allen and Allie Schoonover led the Panthers as each scored 16 points. Allen had 6 rebounds and made 5 steals. Schoonover grabbed 5 rebounds with 2 steals and 2 assists. Charley Lett added 11 points. Both Jessica Etter and Nadine Vaughn collected 4 points each. Etter had 2 assists and 3 steals. Vaughn got 6 rebounds with 4 assists and 5 steals. Ashley Funneman made 3 points and had 3 steals and Alyssa Waddington finished the night with 2 points.

With a 12-1 overall record and a 4-0 conference mark, the Panthers travel to Bloomington for the State Farm Classic this week. At 1:00 p.m. today, Monday, Dec. 27, the Panthers took on Standford Olympia. There was no score available as of presstime today. The tournament continues through Thursday, Dec. 30.

Panthers Open Vandalia Tournament With Win

MAX SCHMITZ OF the Pana Panthers goes in for a lay-up during the Pana-St. Elmo basketball game at the Vandalia Holiday Tournament this morning, Monday, Dec. 27.

The Panthers were 67-43 winners over the Eagles in the first game for each team in the tournament.

An historical note – back in 1988, the Pana Panthers defeated the St. Elmo Eagles in the semi-finals of the Class A Boys State Tournament on the Assembly Hall floor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, enroute to the Panthers’ first state title.

(Gene Reed Photo)

The Pana Panthers boys basketball team opened the 39th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament with a 67-43 win over St. Elmo this morning, Monday, Dec. 27.

No other information on the game was available at presstime today.

The Panthers will face Stewardson-Strasburg at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 28, and then that evening, take on Shelbyville at 5:00 p.m.

Only one game Wednesday, Dec. 29, for the Panthers, and that is against Trenton Wesclin at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 30, is “Championship Day” with games starting at 2:00 p.m. and concluding with the championship game at 8:00 p.m. Teams in corresponding places in each of the “A” and “B” Pools will play each other on Thursday. Pana is in the “B” Pool along with Wesclin, Stew-Stras, St. Elmo and Shelbyville.

The “A” Pool is Flora, Vandalia (defending champs), Altamont, Greenville and South Central.

Following is the schedule (and results) for the Vandalia Holiday Tournament:

Monday, Dec. 27

Session I

Wesclin 71, Shelbyville 38

Pana 67, St. Elmo 43

12:30 – Flora 55, South Central 43

Session II

3:30 – St. Elmo vs. Shelbyville

5:00 – Wesclin vs. Stew-Stras

6:30 – Flora vs. Altamont

8:00 – Vandalia vs. Greenville

Tuesday, Dec. 28

Session III

9:30 – Stew-Stras vs. Pana

11:00 – Altamont vs. Greenville

12:30 – South Central vs. Vandalia

Session IV

3:30 – Greenville vs. Flora

5:00 – Pana vs. Shelbyville

6:30 – Vandalia vs. Altamont

8:00 – Wesclin vs. St. Elmo

Wednesday, Dec. 29

Session V

11:00 – St. Elmo vs. Stew-Stras

12:30 – South Central vs, Greenville

Session VI

3:30 – Stew-Stras vs. Shelbyville

5:00 – Altamont vs. South Central

6:30 – Wesclin vs. Pana

8:00 – Vandalia vs. Flora

Thursday, Dec. 30

Session VII

2:00 – 5th Pool A vs. 5th Pool B

3:30 – 4th Pool A vs. 4th Pool B

5:00 – 3rd Pool A vs. 3rd Pool B

6:30 – 2nd Pool A vs. 2nd Pool B

8:00 – 1st Pool A vs. 1st Pool B

Obituaries: December 27, 2010

Clarence ‘C. E.’ Welch, Jr.

Clarence “C. E.” Welch, Jr., 70, of Springfield, died at 2:04 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 in Memorial Medical Center, Springfield.  Kirlin-Egan & Butler Funeral Home, 900 S. 6th St., Springfield, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

Albert R. Bender

Albert Russell Bender, 90, of Pana died Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010 in Pana Community Hospital. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

John F. Pease III

John F. Pease III, 81, of Tower Hill died Friday, Dec. 24, 2010 in Heritage Manor, Pana. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

John Hampton

John “Gunner” Hampton, 55, of Springfield, formerly of Witt, died at 7:45 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, in Memorial Hospital, Springfield. Stiehl-Dawson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Fact, Fun & Fillips: December 27, 2010

At one time during the Christmas weekend when all were gathered at the Tom, Cindy and the “Jake” Latonis home in the 300 block of South Sherman street . . . . .

Tom, who knows “Santa Claus” about as good as anyone here in the Pana area, addressed us from the other side of the table and remarked to FFF:

“You know why it’s snowing, don’t you, it’s Melvin’s.” (Beard as in owner-proprietor of the service station on the Big Corner (NE) of Second and Poplar Street.)

It goes like this: Pulled into the Beard station on a Christmas Eve afternoon. Out comes Melvin.  We always engaged in some kind of happy holiday banter.

We were Melvin’s “Shanty Irishman” and when anybody called for us and used that terminology most of all of our people, except for the newest, knew who they wanted.

Christmas was always favorite. We always took the position that a white covering would be nice – jokingly insisting that for us its presence was almost manditory.

So, this particular Christmas Eve, FFF insisted, as always, it would come! But no signs present. And so Melvin took this as fodder to prime “Shanty” for a friendly wager as we left – Melvin “No”; FFF (yes).

Know what?

Christmas morning arrived and the phone rang early. It was Melvin!

We repeat again . . . . . Guess what . . . . . again!

And this is the way Melvin told and repeated the story over the years.

While out at the pumps seving a customer for gas a small gray cloud formation passed over and in it, dropping a few snowflakes!

And for this writer, hard to finish this column a precious, precious memory and friend and his family, without the presence of tears welling and a lump in the throat.

A side note to Melvin: Don’t quite know how to say this. Didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. And don’t really know what we could have said that could indicate the depth of our friendship and respect we had, have and keep for you, Melvin. – Love and Peace – The Shanty Irishman.


Thank you, surviving son Richard, from here, for the wonderful care you and your family showered on your “Pop.”


So Long.

FNB Pana Donates to Pana Community Hospital Foundation Year End Appeal

FIRST NATIONAL BANK of Pana recently donated $2,000 to the Pana Community Hospital Foundation year end appeal.  The Pana Community Hospital Foundation Board of Directors has designated funds raised through its year-end appeal to be directed to support the purchase of a new digital mammography machine for Pana Community Hospital.

From left are Cindy Miles, PCH Diagnostic Imaging Manager; Kennette Pryor, PCH Radiologic Technologist certified in Mammography; John Scott, PCH Foundation President; Deb Stalets, PCH Foundation Director; Al Stupek, FNB Executive Vice President; John Livesay, FNB President; and Raedena Ryan, FNB Marketing officer and PCH Foundation Board member.

PN-P Office Closed Friday

In observance of the Christmas holiday, the Pana News-Palladium office will be closed all day, Friday, Dec. 24.

The newspaper will be printed as usual on Thursday, Dec. 23, and again on Monday, Dec. 27.