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Archives for March 2015

Winter’s Last Gasp – Spring Less Than Two Weeks Away


SYMPATHY FOR THE SNOWMAN – With the advent of warmer weather this past weekend, it won’t be long until this diminishing snowman is but just a memory of the snow, ice and cold of late February and early March.

Mr. Snowman was living in the front yard of Rick and Amanda Lehn in the 400 block of South Sherman St. in Pana.

If he’s not completely melted away today, he should be by the end of the week with temperatures predicted to be in the 50’s closing in on the 60-degree mark by the weekend. There is also a chance for rain on Friday, Mar. 13, and continuing during the weekend.

Spring makes its official arrival on Saturday, Mar. 21.

(Jacob Latonis Photo)

Kenneth Dean, Former Pana Postmaster, Dies

Kenneth Theodore Dean, 95, of Pana, died Sunday, Mar. 8, 2015 in Heritage Health, Pana due to bladder and liver cancer.

He was born Apr. 15, 1919 in Pana, the son of Richard Clinton and Julia Florence Wickersham Dean. Kenneth graduated from Pana High School in 1936 at the age of 16, due to him skipping the second grade. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II in 1941, and he served through 1946. He was overseas in the Philippines and was in the battle of Okinawa in Japan. He had lived in Pana his entire life, except for his time in the military. Kenny and Viola Mae Ade were married on Aug. 25, 1942 in The Reception Center, Fort McPherson, Ga.  She preceded him in death in June, 1977. Kenneth retired at the end of 1976 from the U.S. Postal Service in Pana.  He was the Pana Postmaster during his last four years of employment there. He also worked a second part time position at National Greenhouse from 1953-1972.  After his retirement, he was the secretary of the Pana Chamber of Commerce.   

Kenneth was the first person to build a home in the 600 block of Maple Street in Pana. He and his wife, Vicky, lived in the basement of the house for three years, during which time he built the rest of the house. He was a member of the Pana Masonic Lodge, Pana VFW, Pana Rotary Club, where he served as secretary for years and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of United Presbyterian Church, now the United in Faith Church, Pana.  He acted as Sunday School Superintendent for several years at the Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by children, Richard Kenneth Dean, Denver, Colo., Diane Dean (Dennis) Pearse, Nokomis and Douglas Kevin Dean, Pana; grandchildren, Adriane Dean, Chicago, Lucy Mae Dean, who attends college at Western, Illinois University, Macomb and Caleb Nathan Dean, who lives and attends college at Lincoln Land College, Taylorville; sister: Martha (Robert) Strodtman, Sycamore and Millersville and brother, Harry Dean, Pana.

In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Mary Smith in 1977.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, Mar. 11, in McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, with Rev. Karen Fraser-Moore officiating. Burial will be in Rosemond Grove Cemetery, Rosamond with graveside military rites by Pana Veterans Honor Guard. Friends may call on Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. until service time in the funeral home.

Condolences may be sent to

Farm Bureau Meetings On GBE Line

Meetings for landowners along the proposed Clean Line Energy Grain Belt Express transmission line will be held on Thursday, Mar. 12. The Christian and Shelby County Farm Bureaus are sponsoring the meetings.

At 1:00 p.m. in the Oak Terrace Resort and Spa, Pana, Laura Harmon, senior Counsel for the Illinois Farm Bureau Office of General Counsel, will be the speaker.

There is a second meeting on Thursday, at 6:00 p.m. in the Stewardson Community Building. Harmon is again the presenter.

Call either Farm Bureau office for more information. The Christian County Farm Bureau in Taylorville can be reached at 217-824-2940, and in Shelby County, call the  Shelbyville office at 217-774-2151.

Volleyball Eighth Grade Night At PJHS; Final Match Played


THE MEMBERS OF the Pana Junior High School eighth grade volleyball team were honored Wednesday, Feb. 25, before their final home game of the regular season.

Team members are, kneeling, from left, Jeannine Swenny, Emma Dilley, Grace Sims, Kalee Holland and Brailey Coulter.

In back, Katelin Weideman, Ashlyn Finley, Sydney Horton, Breanna Rochkes, Abby Copley, Shania Schoonover, Lauren Stalets, Madison Ashcraft, Regan Hilbert and manager Camryn Burrus.

The eighth grade volleyball regional will start next week.

(Mary Cothern Photo)

The volleyball teams of Pana Junior High School played its final regular season match on Thursday, Feb. 26, in Carlinville. The eighth grade finished with a win, 25-22, 25-17, and the seventh grade lost. 11-25, 25-19, 15-25.

The seventh grade, 3-15 overall and 1-6 in the Junior Mid-State Conference, begin play in the IESA Class 7-3A Regional tonight, Monday, Mar. 2. The regional is at Hillsboro.

Pana, fifth seed, faces Litchfield, fourth seed, at 6:00 p.m. tonight. The winner moves on to face Hillsboro, one seed, at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 3. The championship match is at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 5.

Hillsboro is also the site of the Class 8-3A Regional next week for the Pana eighth grade team. They have drawn the number 1 seed.

In their first match, they will play the winner of the Girard North Mac/Greenville match at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 11. North Mac is the 4 seed while Greenville is the 5 seed. Hillsboro has the 2 seed and Vandalia and Litchfield, the other teams in the regional, are the third and sixth seeds, respectively.

Quarterback Club Meeting

The Pana Quarterback Club meeting will be held Wednesday, Mar. 4, at 7:15 p.m. in the high school library.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

Out in Left Field: March 9, 2015

OILF-294x300After watching (not that much) the Illini mens basketball team Saturday, they appear to me to be more like they are in the race between the tortoise and hare, but the ending is the opposite.

At the start, the Illini is the hare, taking off quickly (15-2 lead). Then they turn into the tortoise and slow down to less than a crawl. I’m not sure their type of play will impress the NCAA selection committee.

I got to give them credit, they have played a tough schedule and they have really looked good in their wins. But when they have lost, it hasn’t been pretty. And a few of those losses have come in games they should have won.

I just don’t think they will make it in – I hope I’m surprised and I hope they surprise some people if they get in the tournament.


Would have been nice to have seen at least one Illinois team in the NCAA tournament. . .

Illinois State looked like they would be the Missouri Valley Conference champion yesterday after the first half, but the magic left them in the second half, and Northern Iowa beat them to take the MVC crown and its automatic berth.


The hoopla is about to begin for the mens NCAA tournament. Like football’s Super Bowl, it has become a big-time money maker. So big in fact, if a retailer wants to “get in on the action” with advertising, unless they are “an official partner of the NCAA,” they cannot use the terms, “Final Four” or “March Madness” in their advertising.

We on the news side are allowed to use those terms in our reporting – otherwise, ‘No sir.”

I guess the NCAA drags you into court and you are sent to the dungeon if you violate their copyrights.


So, do we call them the “Milwaukee Cubs” this season.

A rather disturbing story about the Cubs having to play home games at Miller Park because of the construction at Wrigley Field.

Don’t know if the Cubs are making threats so they can work around the clock, but I’ll tell you, if you saw the story about the construction going on, if you lived around there, you wouldn’t want that noise going on while you’re trying to sleep! I think I put my TV on mute during the report because the noise was so obnoxious.


See you next week!

Obituaries: March 9, 2015

Ronald D. Austin

Ronald Dean Austin, 80, of Pana died Friday, Mar. 6, 2015 in Heritage Health, Pana. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to

Carl ‘Tom’ Adermann

Carl Thomas “Tom” Adermann, 87, of Assumption, died Saturday, Mar. 7, 2015 in Heritage Health, Pana.  Seitz Funeral Home, Assumption, in charge of arrangements.

Vera Klee

Vera June Klee, 75, of Pana died Saturday, Mar. 7, 2015 in St. Mary’s Hospital, Decatur. McCracken-Dean Funeral Home, Pana, is assisting the family. Condolences may be sent to may be sent to

Berniece Riley

Berniece G. Riley, 90, of Taylorville died at 11:46 a.m., Saturday, Mar. 7, 2015, in Taylorville Care Center. Sutton Memorial Home, Taylorville, is assisting the family.

Fact, Fun & Fillips: March 9, 2015


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Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

A young Benjamin Netanyahu, born in 1949 in Tel Aviv to Tzila Segal and Professor Benzion Netanyahu, is pictured in his military gear as a young combat trooper.

He was middle of three children. Initially raised and educated in Jerusalem, attended Henrietta Szold Elementary School.

Attended MIT between 1972 and 1977, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

He returned to Israel to enlist in IDF. Trained as combat soldier and became a team leader in on the Special Forces unit, and became team leader in an elite Special Forces unit, he was wounded in combat on multiple occasions, he also studied at Harvard.

It is seldom people gathered collectively in the great halls of government, especially our capitol of the USA and the world, are availed the opportunity to witness history in the making, as it happened.

We, FFF, thinks he did on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, last watching Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, crossing the floor of the great hall in Washington, D. C. and the capitol building to address a crowd of American patriots gathered for one reason, all who desired to attend.

Hopefully to listen to a man, who has already “paid his dues” in the shining light of the dignity of democracy, living every day under the lifesaving, “Iron Dome”  atmosphere in a country designated to protect his people,  surrounded by enemies.

To FFF, sort of like a scenario that gave meaning for another land, hungering to rid itself years ago, and a group of ragged, for the most part, patriots crossed a river, in the dead of winter, named the Potomac, to fight, die, but in the end, who saw hearts and the example of men with “fire in their bellies,” give birth to a nation that became the biggest and greatest in our universe today, by reason of the qualities of conscience of knowing right from wrong a proud way of life, this country the United States of America.

And here in America, where we believe, deeply believe, and in the spirit of déjà vu brings a man named Benjamin Netanyahu from the comforts of his beloved home in Israel and in a move, though in the face controversy has made in the face of world uncertainty, and love of his own nation.

But usually, such men of honor, are instilled with the qualities expected of leadership, another given, making them do what they do! We think the Prime Minister of Israel is such a man.

And in this world, the USA included, and its leaders are instilled with those qualities it is their right and claim, usually built by the choice of the people they live with, and by same example of others.

We all want “legacies”, such as they will be. Though not sought, to the detriment and expense of others, but hopefully earned by our service and the final test being how well really we served our fellow man.

Thank you Prime Minister Netanyahu. For your presentation for thought and consideration in this world, when it seems is becoming more fragile, daily.

FFF prays for you, all of us around you –– and the world.

Hope your trip “home” was a pleasant one, for you and all those who accompanied you!


So Long!

United Way of Christian County

All health and human care not-for-profit agencies serving Christian County and seeking funds from United Way of Christian County for the 2016 funding year, should contact the United Way office, 108 W. Market, Second Floor US Bank Building, Taylorville IL 62568, by phone 824-8404, or by email

Agencies must be a 501(C)3 organization. Allocation applications are being distributed and are due by Monday, Mar. 30.

Allocation Hearings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, Apr. 21 and 22 and are being scheduled now.

Blood Drive In Pana March 11

To help ensure an adequate blood supply, the Central Illinois Community Blood Center will hold a blood drive in Pana on Wednesday, Mar. 11. It will be held in the First United Methodist Church, 619 Kitchell Ave., from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m.

For donor convenience, call the blood center to sign up toll free at 1-866-GIVE-BLD or schedule an appointment online at Walk-ins are also welcome and appreciated.

Central Illinois Community Blood Center, a not-for-profit organization, is the provider of blood for 15 hospitals throughout central Illinois, including Pana Community Hospital, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, and Springfield’s Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital.