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Archives for April 2011

Pana School Board: Retiring Members Honored; Vow To ‘Defend Position’ in Lawsuit

WITH A COMBINED 32 years of service to the Pana School Board, members Karen Mizeur and Don Allen, in front holding plaques, were honored prior to the start of the April School Board meeting held in Pana High School on Monday, Apr. 18.

Allen has served as president of the board and Mizeur, secretary.

From left are Dr. David Lett, Pana School Superintendent; board members David Koontz, Clint Foor, Karen Mizeur, Aaron Schafer, Don Allen, Dr. Bill Beyers, John Metzger and Assistant School Superintendent, David Dively.

(Tom Latonis Photo)

Two Pana School Board members finished 16-year careers on the Pana School Board at the regular monthly meeting held in the Pana High School library on Monday night, Apr. 18. Board President Don Allen and Board Secretary Karen Mizeur, attending their final meeting, were honored in a brief ceremony before the session.

In the ceremony, Dr. David Lett, Pana School Superintendent, characterized the careers of each board member in one word. For Mrs. Mizeur, his word was “perspective.”

“She always brought to the board a well-grounded perspective,” Lett said. “Working at Kemmerer Village, serving as a teacher’s aide, being a parent and a rural resident, her background made her well-suited for the job.”

Board member and vice-president, David Koontz, quipped she also “brought the female perspective to the board.”

“Passion” was the word Lett selected for Mr. Allen.

“No one has the passion of Don when it comes to not giving up and doing what is right for our students,” Lett said.

The Superintendent also highlighted the accomplishments of the District during their twin 16-year terms on the board, including the building of the new high school, making the annexation of the Tower Hill School District “smooth and seamless,” their professionalism and setting a high standard for administrators, teachers and staff. He also praised them for their work in maintaining healthy fund balances so the district would be “able to weather the storm.”

From their views, Mrs. Mizeur said it had been her “honor to serve on the board.”

“It doesn’t seem like it has been 16 years,” she said. “It has been a great learning experience.”

For his part, Mr. Allen said he, alone, was not responsible for the work which has been accomplished.

“It takes the whole board to accomplish great things,” he said. “All I have done on the board is what I have done during my life – lead by example and show others what can be done. I am very proud of our staff, old and new.”

TIF Statement–

Once the meeting started, the board went into executive session to discuss employment and probable litigation. Newly elected board member John McLeod was invited to sit in on the closed session. They emerged from behind closed doors after 90 minutes.

During the report of Superintendent Lett, Secretary Mizeur read a statement concerning the Board’s stand on a lawsuit filed by the City of Pana against the school district, Lake Land College, Christian County and Pana Township over the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

In the statement, the board says they “Will vigorously defend its legal position that the City of Pana’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District  and its adjoining Redevelopment Plan did not meet all statutory requirements when adopted by the Pana City Council.”

Continuing, the statement concludes, “The Pana C. U. S. D. #8 Board of Education regrets that such action is deemed necessary, but believes it has a duty to its constituents to defend the future financial interests of the District as well as the integrity of its educational programming on behalf of its students.”

No other comments were made following the reading of the statement.

Since the City of Pana filed their request for Declaratory Judgement in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court on Apr. 8, the Pana Township Board and the Christian County Board have each voted unanimously to “opt-out” of the case, meaning they will abide by the ruling of the court. This leaves just the school district and the Lake Land College District as the defendants in the case.

The board also made a correction to last month’s meeting minutes concerning the vote to pursue legal action if the city approved the TIF District and the redevelopment plan. It was noted that member Bill Beyers’ motion included continuing negotiations with the city over their differences.


A chiller on the roof of Pana High School, which was struck by lightning and damaged last summer will be replaced. The board approved the replacement at a cost of $89,950. Knearem’s Commercial Services of Shelbyville submitted the low proposal for replacement.

With insurance money, the district has around $66,000 for the chiller unit. The remaining $24,000 will come from funds already available to the district in their “QZAB Fund.”

While the district is dealing with aftermath of this lightning strike, it was reported the high school was hit again during a storm on Sunday, Apr. 10. Affected were two air handling units on the roof, the bell system, sound system and computer network. Repairs are either on-going or have been completed. Once the bills are totalled, it will be decided if an insurance claim will be made.

There will be a special meeting on Wednesday, Apr. 27, at 6:00 p.m. in the Unit Office on East Main St. to seat re-elected members Dave Koontz and John Metzger and elected members Rosemary Carlson and John McLeod. Election of officers and selection of the date and time of meetings will also be established.


Storm Delays Meeting; Board ‘Opts-Out’ Of Pana TIF Lawsuit

WAITING OUT THE STORM – Inside one of the vaults in the Christian County Courthouse Tuesday night, Apr. 19, prior to the start of the April County Board meeting are, from left,  Chief Probation Officer Laura Cooper, Christian County Senior Citizens Executive Director John Heldman, County Board Members Charles DeClerck (seated) and Paul Schmitz of Pana. At far right with back to camera is County Highway Engineer Cliff Frye.

(Tom Latonis Photo)

The start of the Christian County Board meeting in the Courthouse in Taylorville Tuesday night, Apr. 19, was delayed by about 20 minutes, due to the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes which passed through Christian County.

Christian County Board Chairman John Curtin of Taylorville entered the board’s meeting room on the second floor of the Courthouse about 6:25 p.m. Tuesday, and told those assembled it had been recommended by Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp everyone go to the first floor due to the impending weather. Two safes on the first floor served as shelters while the storm passed. Some people milled around in the foyer of the Courthouse during the time. While damage was inflicted on the outskirts of Taylorville, the only damage around the Courthouse was a few broken tree limbs.

After about a 20-minute delay, the meeting got underway at 6:50 p.m. with all 16 members present.

TIF Lawsuit–

A unanimous vote by the board approved action to “opt-out” of a declaratory judgement lawsuit brought against the county by the City of Pana involving Pana’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

The Executive, Personnel and Liquor Committee recommended the action at its Thursday, Apr. 14, meeting after receiving communications from Christian County State’s Attorney Tom Finks.

By this action, the county agrees to abide by the decision of the court, even though the county will not be a party to the litigation. In return, the City of Pana will drop the county as a plaintiff in the case.

Earlier this month, Pana Township, another defendant in the case, also opted out of the suit. The remaining defendants are the Pana School District and Lake Land Community College District.

Advisory Committee–

Curtin appointed four county board members to a special advisory sub-committee who will work with several office holders and a representative from the county employee’s AFSCME union who will search for ways to reduce the county’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Those board members are Dick Breckenridge, chairman; Laura Wilkinson, Joe Marley and Greg Hager. Curtin also appointed Treasurer Colleen Hadley and County Clerk Linda Curtin, along with Mike Giansi, Chief Deputy in the Supervisor of Assessments office and Bruce Engeling, Chief Deputy in the Christian County Sheriff’s office.

The committee has its initial meeting scheduled for this afternoon, Wednesday, Apr. 20, at 4:30 p.m. in the Courthouse.

Other Business–

A request from the Taylorville Arts Council to use the Courthouse on Saturday, June 4, at a reduced rate was approved on a 9-6 vote. McClure asked if an action like this would set a precedence and Curtin responded, “Probably.”

The usual rate is $250 to have the Courthouse open on a weekend day. The Council requested a $100 discount, $150.

Curtin pointed out earlier the Arts Council had a lot to do with a Lincoln exhibit in the Courthouse which they spent $1,200 of their own money. He felt the reduction was appropriate.

The measure was put to a voice vote in which several “no’s” were heard. When it came to the roll call, McClure, Jack Pearce, Jr., Tony Woods, Tim Butcher, Tim Carlson and Greg Hager all voted “no.”

Preparations of bid specifications for plumbing and roof work at the county jail was authorized. Sewer pipes in the basement of the jail were reportedly leaking and the roof was said to be in need of repair. Bill Kennedy will come up with the specs.

Repairs on windows in the courthouse needing the most work was approved. It will be paid for out of the courthouse maintenance budget.

The meeting adjourned at 8:18 p.m.


PCH Annual Meeting, Digital Mammography Ribbon Cutting

THE PUBLIC IS invited to a ribbon cutting for the new Digital Mammography machine on Tuesday, Apr. 26, immediately following the Pana Community Hospital’s Annual Meeting.

From left are Kennette Pryor, Radiologic Technologist certified in Mammography and Cindy Miles, Diagnostic Imaging Manager.

The public is invited to the Pana Community Hospital Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 26, at 7:00 p.m. in the hospital’s Medical Mall.  This will be the annual meeting for both the hospital and foundation boards.

The ribbon cutting for the hospital’s new Digital Mammography machine will take place immediately following the meeting. Overwhelming support from the community made the purchase of this machine possible and Pana Community Hospital would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone and show off the new machine.

The public will also have a chance to tour the newly renovated Community Medical Clinic. The clinic has expanded its office suite located in the medical mall. The new space allows the medical clinic to occupy one large patient waiting area and suites that accommodate all of the CMC staff with three distinct areas for three physicians to simultaneously see and treat patients.

The second floor at Pana Community Hospital has also been beautifully remodeled including new flooring, lighting, remodeling of rooms 221 and 223 and a completely new nurses station and outpatient recovery area. Attendees to the annual meeting will be able to view these changes on a pictorial display as well as learn about more updates to come in the coming year.

Refreshments will be served by the PCH Dietary department.


Pana Splits Games

The Pana Panthers baseball team played between the puddles this week and split their games with Ramsey and Litchfield.

Pana was a 10-3 winner over Ramsey on Monday, Apr. 18, but lost to Litchfield, 11-1, on Wednesday, Apr. 20.

Raustin Zahradka did it all Monday, going 5-for-5 at the plate with 3 triples and 3 runs batted in. He was also the winning pitcher, raising his record to 3-2. He allowed 3 hits, struck out 5 and walked 2 in 4-and-a-third innings worked.

Pana was up, 1-0 after 2, but Ramsey chalked up 3 runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead.

Pana got the bats going in the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring 5 runs for a 6-3 lead.

Dexter Holley led off the inning with a solo home run. Dakota Davis then reached after being hit by a pitch and an error by the third baseman on a ball hit by Alex Metzger put men at first and second. They advanced a base on a steal to put Panthers at second and third. The next two batters were retired before Ian Kirk delivered a double which scored the base runners and he scored on an RBI single by Zahradka. He went to second on an error by the pitcher and scored on Tyler Cothern’s single.

Pana struck for 2 runs in the fifth when Davis and Metzger singled back-to-back. With 2 outs, Zahradka doubled home two of the runners to make it an 8-3 game.

The last two runs were scored in the seventh with a single by Kyle Matthews and a stolen base got him to second. A walk to Derrick Lesser put runners at first and second. Kirk doubled to drive in a run and Zahradka’s third double sent Kirk home for a 10-3 score.

Kirk, Tyson Spencer, Holley, Davis, Metzger and Matthews all had base hits.

Vs. Litchfield–

The Panthers could only muster 1 run on 6 hits in the contest at Litchfield Wednesday.

Zahradka’s sacrifice fly in the third accounted for Pana’s only run in the game.

Litchfield came alive in the second inning when they banged out 7 hits, sending 13 batters to the plate as they scored 9 runs for a commanding lead. Two more Litchfield runs in the fifth ended the game, 11-1.

Lesser, Kirk, Spencer, Holley, Matthews and Metzger each had Pana base hits. Lesser and Matthews each had stolen bases. Spencer was tagged with the loss.

The schedule has the Panthers, 6-7, playing Friday, Apr. 22, at Panthers Field, hosting the Greenville Comets at 1:00 p.m. On Saturday, Apr. 23, they will be at Rochester for a 10:00 a.m. game and on Monday, Apr. 25, they have a 1:00 p.m. game at Piasa Southwestern.



Edinburg Rally Drops Pana

The Edinburg Wildcats scored 2 runs in the top of the seventh inning and knocked off the Pana Panthers, 6-4, in softball action at Tanner Field on Monday, Apr. 18. Pana falls to 6-10 on the season.

Pana jumped out to a 2-0 lead after an inning and Edinburg cut it in half, 2-1, in the second. In the third, Pana got its run back to go ahead by 2, 3-1.

Edinburg pushed 3 runs across the plate in the fifth and Pana countered with a run of their own to tie the game, 4-4, after five innings. Both teams were scoreless in the sixth before Edinburg got the winning runs in the seventh.

Pana had 10 hits in the game. Mackenzie Miles had 2 hits including a home run, double and single. Chrissy DeClerck doubled twice and singled. Bre Kay also doubled.

Emily McLeod started the game and was relieved by Raven Horsthemke in the seventh. McLeod gave up 5 hits, walked 4 and struck out 2. Horsthemke gave up 1 hit in the seventh.

There was no report on the Litchfield game which was supposed to be played at Tanner Field on Wednesday, Apr. 20.

The softball schedule has Pana at Morrisonville for a 4:30 p.m. contest today, Thursday, Apr. 21. On Friday, Apr. 22, Pana travels to Greenville for a 1:00 p.m. game and on Saturday, Apr. 23, they go to Rochester for a 10:00 a.m. contest. Monday, Apr. 25, Pana is home to face Piasa Southwestern at 1:00 p.m.


Obituaries: April 21, 2011

Frederick Hrabak

Frederick R. “Fred” Hrabak, 74, Pana, died at 11:02 a.m. today, Monday, Apr. 18, 2011, in the Emergency Room of Pana Community Hospital. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to


Gary Laughlin

Gary E. Laughlin, 77, of Herrick, died Sunday, Apr. 17, 2011 in Taylorville Memorial Hospital. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to



Menus: April 25-29, 2011

Pana Public

Pana Community Unit 8 Schools breakfast and lunch menus for the week Apr. 25-29:

Monday: No school.

Tuesday: Breakfast-Choice of cereal, mini muffins, orange juice. Lunch-Cheeseburger on bun, tater tots, fruit salad.

Wednesday: Breakfast-Waffle sticks, syrup, mixed fruit. Lunch-Chili cheese nachos, tortilla chips, corn, pears.

Thursday: Breakfast-Oatmeal or cocoa cereal, bagel and jelly, orange juice. Lunch-Chicken noodle or tomato soup, grilled cheese, pineapple chunks.

Friday: Breakfast-Egg and cheese omelet, toast and jelly, orange juice. Lunch-Fiestada or cheese pizza, garden salad, apple dessert.


Golden Circle

Golden Circle Nutrition Program lunch menus for the week Apr. 25-29, served at Pana Senior Center, Rt. 51 South:

Monday: Creamy baked chicken, parsley potatoes, mixed vegetables, fruit for salad, biscuit.

Tuesday: taco salad with tortilla chips and taco sauce, meat and beans, lettuce, tomato, onions, shredded cheese, strawberries and bananas, graham crackers.

Wednesday: Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, lima beans, mandarin oranges, whole grain roll.

Thursday: Beef pepper steak, rice, broccoli, pineapple, whole grain roll.

Friday: White bean chili, rueben sandwich, fresh tomatoes, peach crisp, crackers.


Peace Meal

Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program menu for the week Apr. 25-29:

Monday: Ham and beans, spinach, buttered potatoes, cornbread, cherry fluff.

Tuesday: Spaghetti, green beans, garden salad, garlic bread, peaches.

Wednesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, carrots, fruit salad, whole grain wheat bread.

Thursday: Chicken and noodles, corn, five-bean salad, whole grain wheat bread, pears.

Friday: Walleye, baked potato, slaw, roll, pineapple.


Kids Korner: April 21, 2011

Hey folks, Jacob here.

I wanted to tell you about Easter. First off, I want to wish you all a Happy Easter and I hope you enjoy it.

I will be spending my Easter with my Aunt Trish and “Bop” and grandma. I can’t spend it with my mom and dad because my mom has to go to Mayo Clinic. And I want to tell them “Happy Anniversary.”

So, I am going to have a great Easter and I hope you all do, too.


Be sure all you kids out there between seven and 15 send me in your short stories to be printed in the Pana News-Palladium. Any kind of short story is welcome. When you bring it in the office, bring a picture, your name and address, phone number, parents and grandparents names, too. The office is at 205 S. Locust St. in Pana, right across the street from Peoples Bank.

If your story appears here, you and your family get a certificate for dinner at Pana’s McDonald’s.

Fact, Fun & Fillips: April 21, 2011

Guess everybody, both in the Morrisonville and Pana areas has had their fill of rain and wind.

Know we’re moving toward that mark. Was visiting at Heritage Manor Nursing Home with Doris Tuesday, and as it moved toward supper time, etc., the storm presented itself.

‘Twas such that out there, in precautionary measure, we were all moved from the rooms to the hallways, beds, patients, visitors and all.

We had been at the home once before in that manner, but it didn’t include beds as we recall, but wheelchairs for those able to be moved.

So, we always try to pick some positive aspect to most any situation – and in this, it was the togetherness.

Lots of talking and some visiting between our “neighbors” and the Phillipses from adjoining rooms!

In this case it was the togetherness! Our particular area was smaller on patients from only 3 rooms, however, and between 2 closed fire doors accompanied by a nice, young aide supervising us for what must have been 2 hours, we’d imagine.

We grabbed Doris’ land phone and the long extension cord we had on it for moving it outside and into the hall.

And the time passed pretty fast, so we think now!

But we have to admit, didn’t seem like that while we waited, Doris and I, for the “all clear.”

Hope there were no persons sustaining serious injuries.

Know there was wind damage, but as of this morning, Wednesday, nothing has filtered back soon enough for this press run.


So – Just keep on coloring those eggs, and all the while keeping in mind the reason for the day!


Happy Easter, from the Phillipses, from Doris and Tom Phillips to all of you out there in the Times “readerland!”


So Long.


Engagements: April 21, 2011

Audrie Merrifield and Chad Leach of Oconee, announce their engagement and approaching marriage.

The ceremony will be held at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, May 21, at the First Church of the Nazarene, Pana. A reception will follow at Oak Terrace Resort.

Audrie is the daughter of Bill and Penny Merrifield of Pana. She is a 2008 graduate of Pana High School and is employed at McDonald’s in Pana.

Chad is the son of Leroy and Ronda Leach of Pana. He is a 1997 graduate of Pana High School and is employed at GSI as a CNC operator.