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Archives for October 2011

Council Approves Street Sweeper Amid Controversy, Monday Night

With a 4-3 vote, Pana City Council approved purchase of a new street sweeper for $149,648 at its Monday, Oct. 24 meeting at the city hall.

The action followed recent opposition by some aldermen, as well as Alderman “Butch” Bland objecting Monday, saying that since the city “only got one bid,” he found it “real hard to support something that expensive. How do we know it is the best deal we can get?” He recommended that the council seek more bids.

However, Alderman Debbie Dust of the Administration Committee related, “We learned the hard way before. If you wait too long, the price goes up.”

Alderman Glenn Schneider agreed, saying the price had “gone up $3,000 since the last time.”

Two other bids went out and were not returned, it was said.

Relating to the sweeper purchase, Pierce asked if a two-thirds vote might be required. He was informed that it is not required.

The Administrative Committee had met earlier that evening and voted 2-1 to make the recommendation for the street sweeper bid.

Aldermen who voted “yes” for the purchase were Steve Scott, Barb Stauder, Schneider and Dust. “No” votes were cast by Roger Lebon, Bill Pierce, and Bland.

Relating to the sweeper purchase, Pierce asked if a two-thirds vote might be required. He was informed that it is not required.

Mayor Steve Sipes presided at the session, at which Alderman Butch Hocq was absent.


Mayor Sipes announced that Jerry Blackwell, retired fire chief, had died that morning and requested a moment of silence in his memory. “He served this community many, many years,” he said.


Following a five-minute closed session regarding review of closed session minutes, Resolution Number 1108 was adopted, stating that the minutes would be available for public inspection. (Reporter’s note: The contents of the minutes, however, may be edited.)

Veterans’ Day

Calvin Scoles of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post requested use of the veterans’ triangle Nov. 11 for the annual Veterans’ Day ceremony at Kitchell Park. The request was granted.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Pana City Council next will meet at 7:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 14 at the city hall. This and other government meetings are open to the public.

Jerry Blackwell, Former Fire Chief, To Be Laid To Rest Friday

Jerry Blackwell, 63, of Pana, died Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 in his residence.

He was born Nov. 24, 1947 in Pana, the son of James “Norman” and Flossie Parr Blackwell. A graduate of Pana High School, Class of 1966, Jerry lived his entire life in Pana. Jerry and Phyllis Vandenbergh were united in marriage on Dec. 6, 1969 in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Pana. He served in the U.S. Army, where he spent a 14 month tour of duty in Vietnam. He and Gene Vandenbergh owned and operated the Texaco Service Station in Pana, where Jerry’s Wrecker Service originated. The station closed after ten years, but he continued to run his wrecker business from which he retired after 42 years. Jerry was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Pana; Oconee Fire Department; Elks Lodge #1261, Pana; Pana VFW.  He was a past member of the Pana Fire Department, where he began as a volunteer fireman in January 1970, and served in many capacities, member of the Board of Directors, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, and on Aug. 1, 1995, he became Fire Chief, a position he held until his retirement in 2007. Jerry was named the 2011 Pana Labor Day Parade Grand Marshal.

Jerry’s work was his life. He had a passion for being there when people needed him whether it be the fire department or the wrecker service. He enjoyed hanging out at his shop having coffee with friends. However, one thing was certain, Jerry loved his family more than anything. He loved having time with his family and his grandchildren were his pride and joy.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Blackwell, Pana; sons, Troy (Michelle) Blackwell, Chad (Amber) Blackwell and Wesley (Beth) Blackwell, all of Pana; 11 grandchildren, Jared, Michael, Emily, Jacelyn, Chayli, Brevin, Hayden, Ryan, Addison, Brenna and Amber Rose; mother, Flossie Blackwell, Pana; brother, Jim Blackwell, Los Angeles, Calif., sisters, Trudy (Don) Barry, Oconee, Kim (Peter) Fox, Champaign and Penny (Steve) Scott, Sarasota, Fla. He was preceded in death by his father on July 14, 1999 and sister, Cindy Blackwell Niehus on Mar. 8, 2009.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, Oct. 28, in First United Methodist Church, Pana, with Dr. David Hultberg officiating. Burial will be in Mound Cemetery, Pana with graveside military rites by Pana Veterans Honor Guard. Friends may call today, Thursday, Oct. 27, from 4:00-8:00 p.m., in McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana.  

Memorials may be made to the Oconee Fire Department or First United Methodist Church, Pana.

Condolences may be sent to

Christian County Circuit Clerk Employee Charged Today

Following a several months long investigation of money stolen from the Christian County Clerk’s office, Teresa Burdick, 47, of rural Assumption was charged today, Thursday, Oct. 27 with a three-count felony. She is a former employee of the Circuit Clerk’s office.

According to the court record, Burdick is charged with theft/unauthorized control of between $300 and $10,000 on Dec. 9, 2010  in the first count. The second count alleges that she obstructed justice/destroyed evidence, and the third, that she, a public official/employee, tampered with records, July 11, this year.

In a statement today, Julie J. Mayer, Christian County Circuit Clerk said, ”I requested an investigation immediately after discovering certain irregularities in the bookkeeping records. An audit found the total involved is less than $4,000. Since I will be a witness in the case, no further comment will be made until after the case is concluded.”

A special prosecutor filed the information in court. Judge Brad Paisley has asked to be rescued from the case.

A summons was issued today for a Nov. 28 court hearing.

PCH Children’s Health And Safety Fair Saturday

Pana Community Hospital is sponsoring its eighth annual Children’s Health and Safety Fair Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9:00 12:00 noon in Pana High School. Admission is free.

The grand prize to be given away to one lucky winner is a NOOK Color and a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble, compliments First National Bank of Pana. All children 18 and under who attend the health fair may register to win. The drawing will be held at the conclusion of the health fair at noon. The winner need not be present. 

The health fair will feature over 30 health and safety booths with information for kids of all ages and their parents.  All the booths are fun and involve children in a game to learn about the health or safety issue presented.

Some of the booths this year include a drive through car seat safety check, free child ID and fingerprinting, free hearing screens, and important information on drug awareness, bullying, poison safety, recycling, nutrition, fitness, fire safety and more.

For the first time, four groups from Pana Junior High School will sponsor booths. PJHS Student Council will have a booth on health and fitness featuring Wii games; the PJHS Den will sponsor a booth on bullying; the PJHS FFA will teach about the dangers of loud music and noise with a booth titled “Dangerous Decibels” and the PJHS Art Club will offer free face painting.

The Pana Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will also sponsor a booth to give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Drug Take Back booth located just inside the front doors of Pana High School.

Children won’t walk away from the health fair empty handed. They can expect lots of free giveaways and prizes at every booth. Other prizes include a chance to win one three bicycles compliments Heritage Health and Hickory Estates of Pana or a new car seat to be given away by the Pana Fire/EMS.

‘Healthier’ Pana Team Hopes For Better Outcome


JUNIOR DEXTER HOLLEY led Pana’s rushing attack in the Panthers’ 22-16 win over Hillsboro at Brummett Field on Friday, Oct. 21. Dilley had 50 yards rushing and caught a pass for 12 yards.

Pana, 6-3, will face the Vandalia Vandals in a rematch of South Central Conference schools at Vandalia, Friday, Oct. 29.

                                                                                (Gene Reed Photo)

The Pana Panthers football team is hoping for a better outcome for Friday’s, Oct. 28, IHSA Class 3A Football Play-Off game in Vandalia. Two weeks ago to the day, a battered Panthers team limped off the field after suffering a 20-14 loss at Vandalia on Friday, Oct. 14.

Kick-off for Friday’s game is 7:00 p.m. in Vandalia.

“We didn’t play very well the last time at Vandalia,” said Pana Head Coach Al Stupek. “I think we are capable of playing better.”

“We’re probably healthier today than we have been for some time,” the coach continued. “It seems the last four or five games we’ve  always been missing someone. We should be in at pretty well full strength.”

This includes running backs Garrett Claxon and Ryan Paden. Both practiced this week and will be able to play. Junior Avery Hrabak, who sat out last week’s game with a concussion, is also ready to go. Ian Kirk and Austin Standley are also expected to play.

While the play-off scenario is better as far as traveling goes for the teams, the top of the bracket is loaded with all four of the five South Central Conference teams in Class 3A. Carlinville, the fifth SCC team in the play-offs, is in Class 2A.

Which ever team wins Friday, there is a pretty good chance the next opponent will be the Greenville Comets, who are the only 9-0 team in 3A. They face 5-4 Robinson at home on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Playing it one step further, to the quarterfinals, the fourth SCC team, Alton Marquette, could be lurking. To make it that far, Marquette would have to beat North Mac this week, then beat the winner of the Nokomis-Staunton game in round two for things to work out.

Back to Friday’s contest, Stupek says the Vandals have improved over the course of the season.

“I saw them play Carlinville early in the season and wasn’t too impressed,” Stupek said. “But Coach (John) Stout has done a good job bringing those kids along. They have got better each and every week this season.”

The Vandals had to wrap up the season at Greenville and lost to the conference champs, 41-31. But the game was really closer than the 10-point deficit might indicate. Vandalia fell behind, 27-6 after one quarter, but scored 19 unanswered points during the second and third periods and going into the fourth quarter, the Vandals were in striking distance, 27-25.

The one question mark could be junior quarterback Tim Ritchey who was knocked out of the game after a late hit by the Comets’ defense early in the fourth quarter. His status will be determined by medical personnel for the game it was reported.

Eighth Grade Drop Two

Th e Pana Junior High School eighth grade girls basketball team dropped a pair of contests recently.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, Taylorville beat the Panthers, 44-33, in the PJHS gym. Also at home, on Monday evening, Oct. 24, Vandalia got the win, 28-25.

Facing Taylorville, the Panthers got into early foul trouble and put Taylorville at the line 26 times during the game. Reaghan Vaughn led Pana with 16 points and Breanne Hall added 5. Katie Beck chipped in with 4 points and  Anna Osborn scored 3. Kristen Lenover and Adrianna Suter each had 2 points and Chayli Blackwell, 1 point.

It was a 12-12 tie after one quarter, but Taylorville ran away in the second frame to post a 26-13 lead. After three quarters, it was a 37-22 Taylorville lead.

Pana’s record fell to 7-7 on Monday night with the loss to Vandalia.

Early foul trouble and a scoring drought again in the second quarter proved costly for the Panthers.

Reaghan Vaughn led Pana with 15 points. Katie Beck contributed 5 points with  Breanne Hall and Kristen Lenover scoring 2 apiece.  Adrianna Suter had 1 point.

Next action for the eighth grade is Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Litchfield. Their game follows the seventh grade girls game.


St. Pat’s Girls Basketball Round-Up

Pana St. Pat’s girls basketball teams have played four recent games. The eighth grade is 2-2 during those games while the seventh grade are 3-1.

8th Grade–

On Thursday, Oct. 13, St. Pat’s lost to Stewardson-Strasburg, 37-34.

Leading the way was Lexi Siegert and Renee Waddington with 12 points each. Laurel Funneman got 6 points and Myah Herbord and Abby Holthaus scored 2 apiece.

Facing Ramsey on Tuesday, Oct. 18, the girls were 49-10 winners.

Siegert, Waddington and Holthaus each scored 12 points with Funneman getting 6. Herbord added 3 points and Cassidy Smith and Sarah Schmitz each had 2 points.

The second loss came against Nokomis on Thursday, Oct. 20, 28-21.

Siegert had 9 points with Waddington getting 6. Herbord chipped in with 4 and Holthaus, 2.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the girls got back on the winning track with a 54-32 win over Sorento.

Top scorer was Siegert with 20 points. Herbord added a dozen while Waddington scored 8 points. Holthaus got 6 with Funneman chipping in 4. Mary Davis and Smith scored 2 points apiece.

7th Grade–

The seventh grade opened with a 34-10 win over Stew-Stras.

Leading the way was Emily Gatons with 16 points and Claire Holthaus had 10 points. Savannah Weishaar had 4 points with Brenna Dameris and Madyson Butkauskas chipping in 2 apiece.

It was a blow-out with Ramsey with St. Pat’s winning, 45-5.

Sydney Maton paced St. Pat’s with 14 points and Abby Kuhn got 8. Gatons pumped in 7 points, followed by Butkauskas and Weishaar with 6 each. Holthaus and Dameris got 2 apiece.

Nokomis was a 27-12 winner over St. Pat’s.

Butkauskas had 6 points with Gatons and Weishaar chipping in 4 each.

Another blow-out for St. Pat’s with Sorento, 34-5.

Top scorer was Butkauskas with a dozen, followed by Maton with 6. Emily Hackler, Brenna Epley and Weishaar all added 4 points each and Gatons and Holthaus had 2 points apiece.

The eighth grade record is 11-3 while the seventh grade is 10-4.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, the girls go to Beecher City with a 6:15 p.m. starting time for the seventh grade. The eighth grade game follows.

Next St. Pat’s home game at Tower Hill is Thursday, Nov. 3, when Riverton comes calling. Seventh grade tip-off is 6:00 p.m. with the eighth grade game afterwards.

Obituaries: October 27, 2011

Michael Jones

Michael Edward Jones, 61, of Pana, died at 1:27 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011 in Pana Community Hospital. Seitz Funeral Home, Assumption, was in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to


James A. Sands

James A. “Jimmy” Sands, 52, of Shelbyville, died at 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Prairie Rose Health Care Center, Pana. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at Howe and Yockey Funeral Home, Shelbyville.


James Rupinski

James F. “Rup” Rupinski, 64, of Richamond, California, formerly of Pana, died Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 in his residence. He graudated from Pana High School in 1965 and went into the service. Among his survivors are sisters Marsha (Butch) Kolesar and Patty (Danny) Jones, all of Pana.

Menus: October 27, 2011

Pana Public

Pana schools breakfast and lunch menus for the week Oct. 31-Nov. 4:

Monday: Breakfast-Ghostly stars, toast and jelly, witches juice. Lunch-Soft taco, lettuce and cheese, corn, pears, Halloween treat.

Tuesday: Breakfast-Two pancakes with syrup, applesauce. Lunch-Cheeseburger on bun, hash browns, applesauce.

Wednesday: Breakfast-Breakfast pizza, mixed fruit. Lunch-Chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, peaches.

Thursday: Breakfast-Frosted Flakes, two toast and jelly, orange juice. Lunch-Chili fries or chili mac, garden salad, mixed fruit.

Friday: Breakfast-Biscuits and gravy, orange juice. Lunch-Fiestada or cheese pizza, corn, scalloped apples.


Sacred Heart

Pana Sacred Heart School lunch menus for the week Oct. 31-Nov. 4:

Monday: Taco salad with cheese, corn, pears, Halloween treat.

November menu not available.


Golden Circle

Golden Circle Nutrition Program lunch menus for the week Oct. 31-Nov. 4, served at Pana Senior Center, Rt. 51 South:

Monday: Pepper steak with oriental vegetables, rice, butter beans, fruit for salad, whole wheat bread.

November menus not available.



Peace Meal

Peace Meal Senior Nutrition Program menu for the week Oct. 31-Nov. 4:

Monday: Ham and beans, carrots, buttered potatoes, cornbread, vanilla pudding.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meatballs and sauce, garden salad, green beans, garlic bread, fresh fruit.

Wednesday: Salisbury steak with mushrooms, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, whole grain roll, cherry fluff.

Thursday: Fried chicken, fried potatoes and onions, five-bean salad, cranberry salad, wheat bread, cake.

Friday: Walleye sandwich, peas, slaw, tropical fruit, bun.


Kid’s Korner: October 27, 2011

Hey, people of Pana. Jacob here.

I wanted to ask everybody what they are doing for Halloween. Or what costume you are wearing. E-mail me at

I am wearing a shirt that says “costume”  on the front of it.

I am really excited for Halloween. My dad and I usually put up decorations in our front yard and its really fun.

Well, that’s all I have for this week.


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.

I’m also looking for a new name for the column. Send your suggestions by e-mail to