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Archives for June 2011

Decatur Park Singers Return To Pana

MAKING A RETURN ENGAGEMENT – Delta Theta Tau Sorority and the Pana Lions Club are sponsors of the Decatur Park Singers and the Young Decatur Park Singers concert on Saturday, July 2, in Kitchell Park.
The concert is free of charge. In case of rain, the program will be held in the PJHS auditorium.
The always popular Decatur Park Singers, accompanied by the Young Park Singers, return to Pana this Fourth of July weekend. They will appear in concert in Kitchell Park at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 2.
The free concert is sponsored by Delta Theta Tau Sorority and the Pana Lions Club.
In case of rain, the event will be moved to the Pana Junior High School auditorium.
Also Saturday afternoon, the Lions Club will serve their famous pork chop sandwiches in the park. Serving is from 4:00-7:00 p.m. and a sandwich, chips and drink will be available for $6. All proceeds will go to Pana Lions community activities.
Decatur Park Singers–
The award-winning Decatur Park Singers, presented by Ameren, have been delighting audiences with family-friendly entertainment since 1972.
Celebrating its 40th season this diverse group of college-age performers, the Decatur Park Singers celebrate the arts with uplifting music and lively choreographed shows.
The group appears nearly 60 times each summer at community events statewide, local park ice cream socials, and neighborhood celebrations. The Singers have also performed for President Ronald Reagan, appeared at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, and toured Japan and Europe.
The Decatur Park Singers are part of the award-winning arts programming of the Decatur Park District, which has twice won the Dottie Mullen Arts and Humanities Award from the National Recreation and Parks Association, a feat achieved by no other park district nationwide.
The arts programs have also received the Governor’s Award for the Arts.  Plan to see the talented Decatur Park Singers in your area this summer.

Car Show Successful Despite Threatening Weather

WHILE SOME CAR owners might have been nervous as thunder rolled across the sky, the weather didn’t deter spectators for the 56th annual Pana Open Car Show in Kitchell Park on Saturday, June 25.
The early afternoon rain did shorten the day, but organizers were satisfied with the overall results from the event.
The “Mayor’s Choice” Award went to a 1966 Mercury Comet, owned by Ed Rader of Shelbyville. The “Chamber of Commerce” Award was a  1932 Chevy Sedan Delivery belonging to Bill Canham of Springfield. Each received a plaque and $50.
Winner of the 50/50 drawing was Mike Pollard of Pana.
(Jennifer Swisher Photos)

WHAT’S UNDER THE HOOD? – A pair of spectators at the Pana Open Car Show take a close look at the car on display at the show.

All-Day Fireworks Benefit Saturday

An all-day benefit to help bolster the Pana Fireworks Fund is set for Saturday, July 2, at the Pana Firehouse. A variety of activities are planned.
Those with a sweet tooth are invited to pick up Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts starting at 7:00 a.m. They are $6 a dozen and people can drive through the firehouse to pick them up.
Later in the day, the public is invited to a cookout and car wash.
Ribeye and pork chop sandwiches will be featured along with brats and hot dogs. Serving is from 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
There will be picnic tables set up so everyone and their family can enjoy the meal.
While having lunch, it will be a great time to have your car washed. From 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., volunteers will be washing cars.
All proceeds from the day’s events will benefit the Pana Fireworks Fund. Organizers need to raise an additional $3,000 for this year’s show.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation to the fund is invited to drop them off at First National Bank of Pana, Peoples Bank and Trust, Hometown Food Center or the Pana News-Palladium.

Oconee To Mark Fourth With Festivities

The 16th annual Independence Day Celebration in Oconee is Saturday, July 2. Activities will take place in the Oconee Lions Park and the Oconee American Legion Hall.
A parade through the village will highlight the afternoon at 4:30 p.m. All entries are welcome.
Prizes will be awarded in a Patriotic Pet Contest where people are encouraged to dress up their pets. There is also a Bicycle Decorating Contest taking place.
From 5:00-7:30 p.m., a pork BBQ meal will be served in the Legion Hall. It is sponsored by the Sons of the American Legion.
At 5:00 p.m., there is a garden tractor pull and the Oconee Fire Department will have a waterball fight. Those participating are reminded to bring their own swimsuits.
There is a fireworks display at dark.
For more information, contact Brian Sims, 246-3619, or Lyle Craig, 539-4526.

Former Local Broadcaster, Ron English, Becomes OVC Hall of Fame Member

RON ENGLISH, FORMER local broadcaster, was recently inducted into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame. He recieved his honor from OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche, right, during the ceremony held in Nashville, Tenn.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Former Tennessee Tech golf coach Bobby Nichols, who passed away in March 2008, and former Ohio Valley Conference Chief Operating Officer Ron English have been elected into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame. The duo were inducted at the annual OVC honors Luncheon Friday, June 3, in the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Nashville.
The Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame was organized in 1977 with the intent of honoring the coaches, administrators, faculty and staff who have been associated with the OVC for at least five years and provided extensive and outstanding service to the Conference. With the induction of this year’s class, the membership will reach 69.
The longest-tenured full-time employee in Ohio Valley Conference history, English joined the staff in July 1992 as an Assistant Commissioner. In his 15 years of service to the League, he held virtually every job, including working with tournament operations, scheduling for men’s and women’s team sports, finances, marketing and media relations, in addition to becoming the league’s first-ever compliance officer, a brief tenure as the OVC’s supervisor of men’s basketball officials, and serving as interim commissioner from February to May 2003.
English also was the long-time tournament director for many League championships, most notably the OVC baseball and basketball tournaments, overseeing the evolution of both events from campus sites to neutral, pre-determined venues. He also served as the tournament manager for the 2000 and 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament First and Second Round events held in Nashville.
Before leaving the OVC in October 2007, English was promoted to Senior Associate Commissioner for Operations and Chief Operating Officer. He is currently the Director of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Indianapolis. At the NCAA, English directs game operations for all rounds of the NCAA Men’s Tournament, and serves as the main office contact and the coordinator of all training efforts for the tournament hosts throughout the country.
A native of Detroit, Mich., and 1977 communications graduate of Western Michigan University, English began his athletics career at SIU Edwardsville in 1983 and later spent seven years at the Missouri Valley Conference. He and his wife, the former Vonnie Voggetzer of Taylorville, have two daughters, Mary and Emily, and a son, Jacob.
English was news director at WKXK radio in Pana beginning in May of 1978. He also did sports play-by-play at the station. He worked for the station until early 1979 when he went to work at WTIM-WEEE radio in Taylorville where he met his future bride.

Brian McMillen Run/Walk Results

LLCC Veterans Club announces results of 5K Run/Walk in support of Brian McMillen Veterans Scholarship
The Lincoln Land Community College Veterans Club has announced that the Brian McMillen Memorial Run/Walk held May 28 at the college raised a total of $7,000. Proceeds from the event will support the LLCC Brian McMillen Veterans Scholarship and other charities in honor of Brian.  The scholarship will provide financial support to veterans attending LLCC.
There were more than 425 participants in the event. The overall top three male participants were: Daniel Plunkett, Springfield; Andy Arenz, Auburn; and David Plunkett, Springfield.  The overall top three female participants were:  Jessica Larson, Springfield; Jeanine McMillen, Geneva; and Claudia Magnussen, Oconee.
McMillen, an LLCC alum and Illinois State Trooper, served as a Technical Sergeant in the Air National Guard and spent two years of active duty with the Air Force in Saudi Arabia and Romania.  He worked in the LLCC Veterans Office while a student there. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois-Springfield and was pursuing a master’s degree when he lost his life at age 24 in the line of duty with the Illinois State Police.
Major sponsor for the 5K Run/Walk was ISPFCU-Your Law Enforcement Credit Union.  Other sponsors for the event were Illinois State Representative Wayne Rosenthal; McMillen Builders; Bank of Springfield; Boesdorfer Trucking, Inc.; Mid-America Advertising; Oak Terrace Resort & Spa; Sean and Vickie Simpson; Springfield Post 32, The American Legion; The Stables on Horse Farm Road; R.W. Troxell & Company; Advanced Center for Pain & Rehab/Dr. Paul Venturini; Beyers Chiropractic; Cameron, Smith & Company, P.C.; First National Bank of Pana; Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board Executive Institute (ILETSBEI) PEC 21C Session #M-209; Illinois State Police Troopers Lodge #41; McDonald’s – McGraw Enterprises, Inc.; Megan Mautino, Brette Simpson and Corey Simpson; Peoples Bank & Trust; and Pizza Man of Pana. In-kind supporters included Coca-Cola; County Market of Pana; Meijer; Mel-O-Cream Donuts; Primo Designs, Inc.; Sam’s Club; and Springfield Running Center.

Dog-O-Rama Show Saturday

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites individuals and their pets  for a dog-gone good time at this year’s 17th annual Lake Shelbyville Dog-O-Rama Dog Show, Saturday, July 2.
The show will be held at Coon Creek Recreation Area Amphitheater. Registration will start at 6:00 p.m. and the show will start at 6:30 p.m.  You can enter your dog in the following categories: Best Trick, Best Dressed, Smallest Dog, Biggest Dog, and Most Precious Puppy.
Prizes and plaques will be awarded to the winners of each category. Multiple dogs per owner are allowed, but only one dog per owner is permitted in each category.  Everyone is welcome to attend this event.
Please remember, all dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length while at this show and within any recreation area at Lake Shelbyville.  The leash regulation is meant for the safety of both the dogs and the people who enjoy Lake Shelbyville, so compliance with this regulation allows everyone to have a fun and safe time.
For more information concerning the Dog-O-Rama Dog Show contact the Lake Shelbyville Interpretive Services and Outreach Department at (217) 774-3951 ext. 2.

Out in Left Field: June 27, 2011

Does the story below bring back a lot of great memories. . . . .
I’m talking about the story on Ron English being inducted into the Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame.
Now, you’ll have to set your “way-back” machine to the summer/fall of 1978. Ron was one of the youngsters (and he still looks the same) who came to Pana to work at fledging radio station WKXK. Ron was our news director and yours truly was in charge of the “Nokomis operation.” Jim Keegan was our “sports guy” doing Pana Panthers play-by-play with John Grego our morning guy (along with Ron), Steve Leyngel was doing mid-days. I was doing afternoons and Keegan also was doing the night shift (we signed off at 10:00 p.m.).
Ron also was my partner doing Nokomis sports. Travelled a lot of miles together. Without a doubt, out of all of us, Ron did the best impression of Alan Embry, who was the general manager of the radio station.
Lots of fun – not a lot of money; but wouldn’t trade the experience for love or chocolate.
Trying to remember the last time I saw him. . . . Was either last year or the year before last, he stopped by on their way to see their son play in the College World Series. Prior to that, he and Vonnie were headed to Taylorville to see her family.
Ron met Vonnie while he was working at the Taylorville radio station after he “left” Pana. I think “Al-baby” gave him the boot after “missing” a story about a robbery at a Taylorville financial institution (It was a late afternoon robbery and Ron had the story the next morning).
But, I think things turned out pretty well for Ron.
By the way, Keegan – if you’re reading this, what ever happened to “Scoop?”
Speaking of memories, Gene Reed sent me a bunch of old pictures from the 1981 Pana Panthers homecoming football game.
A lot of familiar faces (but a lot older now), including the quarterback of the Panthers, number 15, Brian Gibson. Gibby worked for the Pana News-Palladium as a sports writer, not only for a profession, but when he was a high school student, too.
Think Gene has put them up on his website if your interested in seeing them. Go to
Had mentioned him a few weeks back. . . .
Over the weekend, former CNN sports anchor Nick Charles died. Many of us remember Charles fondly as the sports anchor for WICS in Springfield. Some months back, there was an article in Sports Illustrated on Nick and his battle with cancer. The disease finally claimed his life – all too young at age 64.
He and his partner, Fred Hickman, also a Channel 20 alum, pretty well pioneered the wall-to-wall sports coverage we see today on the networks of ESPN.
A great loss to journalism – and his family.
See you next week!

Obituaries: June 27, 2011

Clayven Meachum
Clayven Rayne Meachum, infant son of Ryan and Rachael Woods Meachum of Pana, died Thursday, June 16, 2011 in Barnes Children’s Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

Patricia Weitekamp
Patricia Ann Weitekamp, 67, Harvel, died at 6:58 p.m., Monday, June 20, 2011, in Harvel Township. Perfetti Funeral Home, Morrisonville, was in charge of arrangements.

Merle Kottwitz
Merle Best Kottwitz, 87, Nokomis, died in his home Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Sutton Funeral Home, Nokomis, was in charge of arrangements.

Roger Middleton
Inurnment rites for  Roger Lee “Blackie” Middleton, 78, of rural Pana, will be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, July 1, in Bethany Cemetery, near Assumption, with Rev. Don Pease officiating. Graveside military rites will be performed by Roy Ireland Post #317 American Legion, Oconee. Mr. Middleton died Thursday, June 16, 2011 in his residence. Condolences may be sent to

Letters to the Editor: June 27, 2011

Minister Will Be Missed

Dear Editor,

Pana is losing a good friend. Many people may be unaware that Pastor Allen Ebbler, of the First Church of the Nazarene, has resigned from his position due to health concerns and he and his wife, Vicki will be moving soon.

On behalf of the Pana Ministerial Association, I would like to express my gratitude for his presence among us all these years and my sorrow to lose such a good friend. Allen has been a wonderful friend to many, a wise counselor to many and an excellent colleague in ministry. He loves this town and he and Vicki do plan to return some time in the future. Allen has preached hundreds of meaningful sermons, has conducted hundreds of funerals and comforted many bereaved families. Allen has had a special love for children and young people and has been a guiding presence in the lives of many of our young people.

Please keep Allen and Vicki in your prayers, along with their children Jennifer and Stephen. May we carry forward with his strong Christian presence in our community.


Rev. Marilyn Rauch



Return to Old Water Formula Appreciated

Dear Editor,

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the Pana City Council for considering changing the water rates back to the 100 gallon method instead of the 1,000 gallon roll-up, even though it involves an increase in rates to accomplish the same dollar revenue as the 1,000 gallon roll-up. As it were the 1,000 gallon roll-up, the lower water users were subsidizing the bigger water users. The three examples below illustrate what I mean. Item one of each example shows what the cost was using the 100 gallon method. Item two shows the cost by rolling up to the 1,000 gallon method. Item three shows the actual usage with a 5% increase. I am using water usages of 2,500 gallon, 10,500 gallons and 20,500 gallons and a rate of $5.00 per 1,000 gallons.

A1. 2,500 x $5.00 = $12.50

A2. 3,000 x $5.00 = $15.00

A3. 2,500 x $5.00 = $13.13

1,000 roll-up actual price per gallon: $15.00 divided by 2.5 = $6.00 per gal.

B1. 10,500 x $5.00 = $52.50

B2. 11,000 x $5.00 =  $55.00

B3. 10,500 x $5.00 = $55.13

1,000 roll-up actual price per gallon: $55.00 divided by 10.5 = $5.24 per gal.

C1. 20,500 x $5.00 = $102.50

C2. 21,000 x $5.00 = $105.00

C3. 20,500 x $5.00 = $107.63

1,000 roll-up actual price per gallon: $105.00 divided by 20.5 = $5.12 per gal.

As you can see, the bigger water users are paying less per gallon than the smaller users.

A1 + B1 + C1 = $167.50 (100 gal. method)

A2 + A2 + C2 = $175.00 (1,000 gal. method)

A3 + B3 + C3 = $175.89 (100 gal. method with a 5% increase)

Using the above scenario, a 5 % increase will create slightly more revenue than the existing 1000 gallon roll-up and everyone will be paying their fair share for the amount of water they consume.

Again, thanks to the present administration for going back to the 100 gallon roll-up.


Don Havrilka