By Steve Robinson | March 15, 2018 - 12:00 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – Members of Normal-based Unit 5 School District unanimously approved the forthcoming school year calendar at the governing body’s scheduled meeting March 11, held at Chiddix Junior High School. But just because the calendar got an official blessing with that vote doesn’t mean at least one holiday marked on the calendar won’t get its named changed if Board members themselves grant the change.

During the public comment section of the meeting, four students asked the district board to consider changing the name of the holiday held every second Monday in October from Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.” That triggered a request from Board Member David W. Fortner to ask the district to have a resolution making the change in the name ready for a vote at the Board’s next meeting April 11.

During a discussion on the matter, Curt Richardson, the district’s attorney, told Fortner State school code allows different options on certain holidays like Columbus Day ad Veterans’ Day. Board Member Barry Hitchins said some calendar adjustments have been made even after the school calendar for the upcoming school year has been approved.

The Board did approve the calendar as part of its omnibus agenda, while the district researches making the change. Board President Jim Hayek, Jr. recommended, as part of that research, bringing the subject before the district’s Citizens Advisory Council. District Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel added the Board will, as part of that research check with the Illinois State Board of Education to see if such a proposed change is possible.

Daniel Comments On National Student Walkout At NCHS: On the same day as this meeting, a month to the day of the shooting deaths of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students at Normal Community High School and Normal Community West High School and 300 students at Kingsley Junior High School participated in National School Walkout Day which began at 10a.m. and lasted 17 minutes – one minute for each of the 17 lives lost at the Florida school on Valentine’s Day. Daniel spoke to reporters after the meeting about what he witnessed observing the rally that took place at Normal Community High School.

When speakers spoke to their fellow students at the event he attended, Daniel said, there was “silence.” He added the rally was “very peaceful but very poignant, very meaningful.” Another similar event, “Rally For Our Lives,” is slated to take place Saturday, March 24 at the Courthouse square in Downtown Bloomington starting at 11a.m.

Multiple Life Safety Projects Approved: Board members unanimously approved work to begin on 10 Life Safety projects at a number of district schools. Springfield-based Henson-Robinson Co. submitted a base bid of $147,117 for a reroofing project at Glenn Elementary School. The section of the school that will be worked on was originally constructed in 1967. At Grove Elementary, workers from Peoria-based O’Brien Brothers will be working to replace a chiller and related equipment after submitting a winning base bid of $113,870.

At Hudson Elementary, after their bid of $96,700 was approved by Board members, Mt. Zion, Ill.-based Top Quality Roofing Co. will be handling a reroofing project on that school’s 1954 building addition. At Towanda Elementary, a contract has been awarded to low bidder

At Pepper Ridge Elementary, Peoria-based Bishop Brothers, Inc. submitted a winning bid of $143,000 for the contract with the district to replace exterior doors. The district also accepted a bid of $464,700 from Chenoa-based Union Roofing Co., Inc. to do a reroofing project. The district also accepted a bid from Union Roofing of $306,970 for a reroofing assignment at Towanda Elementary.

Board members also approved a pair of work assignment bids each at two separate schools. Board members approved a reroofing project on the 1967 building addition at Oakdale Elementary, awarding it to Henson-Robinson which submitted a low base bid of $153,980. In addition, Board members approved two alternate bids to the company, as well: The first for $20,470 for additional drainage control at the north end of the building, and for $5,350 for additional work to provide safer access to the roof for maintenance on the roof above the school kitchen.

Two projects at Normal Community West High School were approved to round out the work approved. First, Board members approved a contract to McLean County Asphalt Co. for the base bid amount of $338,233.04 for resurfacing of the school’s tennis court. Board members also approved three alternate bids work bids to the company. The first was for $5,713 for additional work to repair and repave the west edge of loop drive along the tennis courts; the second was alternative work bid was for $19,154 for additional work to provide new posts and fence fabric; and the third bid, in the amount of $8,274.72 for additional work to replace fence fabric using existing postings at the north, west, and south sides of the courts.

Evans Jr. High And Chiddix Jr. High School’s “Good News” From State Chess: Two of Unit 5’s junior high schools appear to have some real pros when it comes to the game of chess – at least that appears to be the message the principals of George L. Evans Junior High School and Chiddix Junior High School is trying to get across in the their “good news” reports to Board members.

February 23 and 24, the team traveled to Peoria to compete in the IESA State Chess Tournament. EJHS’ 6th grade team came in first place and had the state record for points and the individual overall state champion. Competitors play seven games where, at the end of the day, if they win all their games, a player earns seven points. EJHS’ 8th grade team earned a 3rd place trophy for their efforts. Along with our team winnings, there were several personal accomplishments as well.

EJHS’ 6th Grade Team members are: Rahul Bammidi, Shlok Kinikar, Anish Deshpande, Likith Kancharlapalli, Nathan Lee, Rishith Vanguru, and James Douglas. Eighth Grade Team members are: Sujay Prakash, Marcus Lee, Lalit Kudikala, Umika Kuricheti, Yatin Gupta, Yashu Singhai, and Rishi Badhari. The team’s coach is Jill Burroughs

Jim Allen, principal of Chiddix Junior High School, introduced the Board to members of the school’s Chess team who made a good showing at the Illinois Elementary School Association State Chess Tournament. CJHS’ team placed among top ten finishers, placing 3rd with 25 points, wedged between top team George L. Evans Junior High School which tallied 31 points and 3rd place finisher Parkside Junior High School which registered a 24.5 point finish.

Having played on seven boards during the tourney, a number of CJHS students did well enough to be recognized for their efforts. Team members John Burras, Adtiya Chalasani, Moksha Dave, Andrew Spies, and Syed Zain Zaidi all registered scores of 5.0 out of 7 points possible. The school’s 7th grade team took first place overall defending their title from last year, while CJHS’ 6th grade team placed 2nd overall, earning a medal.

Kingsley Jr. High School’s “Good News” From State Volleyball: Kingsley Junior High School also earned State honors for Volleyball, as principal Shelley Erickson told Board members. KJHS ‘7th grade 4A Lady Cavaliers ended their regular season with a fantastic 26-2 record and a State Championship. They got to the top first by beating Macomb Junior High School 25-19 and 29-27 in the opening round to advance to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the Lady Cavs bested Homer Glen Homer in three games, 26-24, 21-25 and 25-23. After battling to get to the championship match, CJHS disposed of Manteno in two quick games, 25-6 and 25-8, to bring home a State title.

The 7th grade volleyball team is coached by Maxine Quakenbush, along with Liz Heideman and Kerry Myers. Team members are: Sophia Feeney, Delaney Hammons, Jocelyn Gale, Alyssa Brown, Ella Lloyd, Jaycee Adams, Morgan Bunn, Ashley Wilcox, Jeeya Patel, Anna Dunne, Kate Poehlman, Morgan Sutter, Lizzy Horton and Katelyn Wilson.

Normal Community High School’s “Good News”: Trevor Chapman, principal of Normal Community High School, introduced Board members to four students who participated in a competition call the MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge which took place on March 2.

The four students — Sudesh Sahu, Krithik Rao, Yuktesh Kalidindi, and Annika Hiredesai — competed in this annual Internet-based applied math competition which awards $100,000 in scholarship prizes ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to teams of high school juniors and seniors.

The Challenge helps to spotlight applied math as a powerful problem-solving tool and helps students see its value and importance. During the competition, students work in teams of 3-5 to solve an open-ended, realistic, math-modeling problem with a 14 hour deadline.

This year’s assignment for the students was to create a mathematical model that a state could use to determine if it could feed its food-insecure population using the wasted food generated in the state. Their goal was to create a mathematical model to address the opportunities associated with repurposing potentially wasted food. They had to apply their model given some parameters from the State of Texas. Additionally, the teams had to come up with a plan to repurpose wasted food both in their community and in their school.

The end product was a 25 page proposal, complete with their solution, which was due at the conclusion of the 14 hour time allotment.

New Administrator, New NCHS Head Football Coach Introduced: A new administrator for the district and the new football coach at Normal Community High School were introduced to the audience by Daniel during the meeting. Maureen Backe was introduced as the new director of elementary education, succeeding Carmen Bergmann. The audience of about 40 people were also introduced to Jason Drengwitz, the new football coach at Normal Community High School. Drengwitz succeeds Wes Temples who resigned in December.

Next Meeting Set For April 11: Unit 5 Schools will be on spring break the week of March 26-30, so there will be no Board meeting March 28. The next scheduled Board meeting will be Wednesday, April 11 at district headquarters beginning at 7p.m.

By Steve Robinson | March 10, 2018 - 10:02 pm
Posted in Category: Central Catholic, The Normalite

PEORIA – The way Bloomington Central Catholic head coach Jason Welch saw his team’s Illinois High School Association Class 2A Championship game against Pinckneyville, the Saints wanted to issue a challenge to the Panthers.

But when BCC (25-7) went from leading 7-6 after a free throw by senior forward Patrick Rahuba at 5:14 in the first quarter to owning a 12-6 lead courtesy of another Rahuba charity stripe shot over three minutes later, it looked as though the challenge might have been too great for the Panthers, as the Saints registered a 69-61 victory to come in 3rd place in the Class.

“I’m just extremely proud of these guys,” BCC head coach Jason Welch said during the postgame news conference. “They’ve worked extremely hard and the guys off the bench did a great job. Our kids came out today and we gave Pinckneyville a challenge.” Going into the second quarter, BCC owned a 14-8 lead.

Only a three by senior guard Grant Jausel cutting BCC’s lead, 21-15, at 4:59 in the second quarter, followed by a Jausel jumper that made BCC’s lead, 23-17 seemed the closest the Panthers would come in the first half before BCC would go on a 5-0 run which helped stretch the Saints lead, 28-17, at the 2:52 mark. Fouls by Pinckneyville (31-4) sent senior guard Elijah Davis to the line making the Saints lead, 30-18, on the way to a 35-20 halftime lead.

A layup by senior guard Austyn Ellison, free throws by fouled junior guard Luke Yoder, and a trey from senior forward Jack Gilmore had BCC owning a 42-25 lead at the 4:58 mark in the third quarter. But threes by Jausel and sophomore guard Dawson Yates, plus a deuce from Jausel allowed the Panthers to come within nine, 49-40, with 1:29 left in the quarter. An Ellison trey with 35 seconds left restored BCC’s double-digit lead as the fourth quarter began, 52-40.

But the fourth quarter began with BCC’s lead reduced to seven on an unanswered trey and deuce by senior forward Kyle Luke, giving the Saints a 52-45 lead with 7:28 left. The Panthers came within four, 56-52, thanks free throws and a trey by senior guard J. C. Moll and a jumper by Kyle. The Panthers came within three – their closest margin, 64-61 – on a Jausel layup at the 1:23 mark. But after that, beginning with a pair of free throws by senior guard James Morris, BCC finished the game on a 5-0 run.

Ellison and Gilmore scored 10 points each for BCC. Pinckneyville had four players in double figures led by Moll’s 16 points, followed by 15 from Yates, 14 from Jausel, and 10 from senior forward Tyler Rice.

Welch credited senior leadership from Rahuba, Ellison, Morris, Gilmore, Davis, forward Owen Talbott, and center Garrison Kear for the success his team had throughout the season which led the team getting to State.

“Everybody stepped up defensively,” Ellison said during the postgame news conference.

“It feels amazing to be finishing with a win, but knowing that it’s my last time to play with my brothers, these guys aren’t just my teammates, they’re my best friends,” said Eli Davis. “It feels good that we got to leave a legacy and that we got to finish on top.”

Pinckneyville head coach Bob Waggoner admitted the news conference would be “hard for me” because he would be losing the seniors on the team to graduation. As for the contest, Waggoner said the team’s biggest fear wasn’t losing but rather letting down the small community of just over 5,400 in Perry County in southern Illinois. Because the team is close-knit, off-and-on during the interviews, boys wiped away tears.

Waggoner said BCC “was a lot quicker, their pressure on the ball hurt us early.” He admitted it was tough to prepare for Winnebago in the semifinal Friday, and then turn around to face BCC Saturday because the two teams had decidedly different playing systems.

BCC Loses Semifinal, 60-49, To Chicago Orr: BCC had hoped to stay in front of their semifinal opponent and Class 2A reigning champion, Chicago Orr, when the two met on Friday on Peoria’s big stage. And for nearly two full quarters, the Saints pulled that off. In the first quarter, thanks to a jumper from junior forward Tommy Nelson and a trey from junior guard Luke Yoder, the Saints owned a 9-4 lead at the 5:24 mark in the period. Two free throws by Orr’s Tyronn Mosley followed by a rebound shot by senior guard James Morris kept BCC out front, 11-11-6 with 4:34 left. A trey each from senior forward Jack Gilmore and senior guard Austyn Ellison extended BCC’s lead, 17-11, with 2:55 left in the quarter en route to starting the second quarter with a 19-15 lead.

BCC (25-7 following this game) stayed in front, 26-20, on a trey by Gilmore, and 26-22, but that was followed shortly by a BCC basket by junior forward Tommy Nelson put BCC up, 28-23. That lead prompted a timeout from Orr head coach Louis Adams with 4:38 until halftime. Following the timeout, a trey and two free throws by Orr senior guard Chase Adams helped pull the Spartans within three of BCC, 32-29, giving the Saints reason to call time with 1:24 until the half. But after that, a deuce by Orr senior forward Dannie Smith and a jumper by BCC senior guard Elijah Davis a deuce by senior guard Brian Hernandez put Orr in front for the first time, 34-31 with 38 seconds in the half. But the teams would enter the half tied following a trey by Orr senior guard Brian Hernandez with 8 seconds in the quarter. The teams would enter the third quarter tied at 34-all as a result.

The beginning of the third quarter started out with Smith hitting a jumper to put Orr (29-4 after this game) up, 36-34 and from there, BCC found themselves in chase mode for the remainder of the contest despite a three in that quarter by Ellison, and deuces by senior forward Patrick Rahuba and Morris. As a result, Orr owned a 51-45 lead going into the fourth quarter.

A free throw by Orr senior forward Raekwon Drake nudged Orr’s lead to 52-45 at 6:56 in the last quarter. Free throws by Yoder sliced that lead to five, 52-47 with 4:45 left but a basket and a free throw by Drake pushed the lead to 55-47. Nelson added a deuce to cut the lead to 55-49 before free throws by Smith and Adams, and a dunk by senior guard Emanuel Oneal closed out the contest, advancing the Spartans to the title game.

Orr head coach Adams blamed falling behind BCC in the opening period to his team “not having any sense of direction. We rely on defense pretty heavily. BCC shoots the ball pretty good. For us to come out tied that we were in the second half, we couldn’t get no worse. We could only get better. In the second half, our boys came out and played like they normally do.”

“We played a really great Chicago Orr team. They’re battle-tested,” said BCC head coach Jason Welch. “They did a great job. Our kids did a nice job of resisting for as long as we could. They did a nice job. I was proud of them. We fought our brains out. Ultimately, they’re a really good basketball team and we tip our hat to them and say, ‘congratulations.’”

Despite that loss, Welch said he had a team that showed they were tough. The Saints only were outpaced on rebounds by a 14-11 count. Welch said that stat showed, “we’ve got a bunch of fighters in here. That’s what we’ve got…a bunch of fighters. The guys played their guts out, ultimately gave themselves a chance to win “ He said Orr may have made more shots than BCC, but in Welch’s words, “They didn’t out-tough us.”

They say practice makes perfect, but hitting 15 consecutive free throws – a perfect score when competing to get to the COUNTRY Financial 3-Point Shootout – has never been accomplished, to my understanding. But Heyworth High School junior Colin McCubbins tried, not for perfection, but to try for as many threes in 45 seconds as possible when he competed in this event for Illinois High School Association Class 2A players when the opening round of the event was held at Carver Arena in Peoria Civic Center on Thursday, March 8.

Shooting for 45 minutes a day at Heyworth Grade School has been what effort Colin has put in to get a step closer to competing for the “King of the Hill” title in Class 2A. He’s also put in time shooting after practices, explained his father, Scott, a former HHS player from the late 1980s himself. Scott said his son has been getting individual instruction from Heyworth Junior High School head basketball coach Lyndon Jason. It has been rigorous from the way Scott McCubbins describes how his son has been working on it. Scott’s younger brother, Ryan, also wore a Hornets jersey in the mid-90s.

“He’s a much better shooter than either I or my brother was,” Scott McCubbins confessed. “He’s self-driven – he spends hours in the summer working on his shot, so he’s done a good job working hard for this.”

Colin’s mother, Scott’s wife, Lori McCubbins, admitted to being less nervous at this event than she was watching her son go through Sectionals and then Regionals to get to this point. At Regionals, Colin sank 10-of-15 and at Sectionals, he sank 9-of-15. At Sectionals, it took a shootout to determine a winner. At Sectionals, Scott hit six baskets from the wings to get him here.

The McCubbins clan was well represented as they waited for Colin’s turn to sink as many of 15 shots as possible. In addition to his folks, also on hand in the stands were his sister, Karlie, an HHS freshman; Paternal grandparents Danny and Carole McCubbins; and young cousins Chase McCubbins and Brody Allen. Brody is the son of Danny and Carole’s daughter.

Karlie is a member of HHS’ Volleyball team, and said she and her brother “like to support each other. It’s what we do for each other.”

As Colin completed each of the three stations shooting five basketballs during the prelim, his family was, from my thinking, very quiet. No cheering. Not a sound. Grandmother Carole McCubbins had a simple explanation for her silence. “I couldn’t breathe,” she explained, for those 45 seconds her oldest grandson raced from station to station firing away.

Her husband, Danny, stayed quiet too, as a means of remaining calm. “He didn’t make any mistakes,” Danny said of his grandson’s effort.

The family watched, with Scott taking video while Colin made the first five on the rack from right wing go in when he began and from there, sank others in each of the remaining racks to achieve the final total. Colin said was nice to have family turn out for his opening round at the shootout. There are only a handful of folks who turn out for these events which start around 5p.m. on Thursdays before the semifinals begin on Friday, so Colin said he was happy to have friends coming then, so it should be a bit bigger.”

Colin got to the second round of the Shootout held Friday following the first Class 1A semifinal game of the day between Sterling Newman Central Catholic and Annawan. The other three finalists were: Mitch McNutt from Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley; Marcus Williams from Chicago’s Collins High School; and Billy Samano from Niles High School. When Friday’s competition was over, Colin had emerged on top hitting an astounding 11-of-15, qualifying him for Saturday’s “King Of The Hill” Contest from Class 2A. Samano came in second with 7, followed by Williams’ 6, and 4 from McNutt.

Colin and Class 1A “King Of The Hill” competitor Clinton Richardson representing Norris City-Omaha-Enfield now await their Class 3A and 4A opponents.

At a news conference held Friday for 2A shooters afterward, Colin told reporters, “I can’t put into words what it means to be here.” During this past week leading up the “King Of The Hill” competition, Colin spent it in preparation for the big day, which will take place Saturday at approximately 12:45p.m. following the 3rd place game for Class 3A teams.

Danny McCubbins said his grandson had improving his shooting from the right wing position and the top of the key. Danny’s wife, Carole, said she was shaking and cried “as soon as he made the last basket.” Nancy Lynch, Colin’s maternal grandmother, said her nervousness about the event doesn’t kick in until Colin starts shooting. “I’m just happy for him,” she said.

“All his hard work had paid off,” Lori McCubbins said of her son’s effort. “I knew he could do it.”

Danny McCubbins also observed Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, intimating not just skill but a little luck, too, might help his grandson this weekend. We will all have to see if he’s right about that.

How Others Finished: Class 2A preliminary scores for these boys on Thursday included: McNutt, GCMS, 11; Williams, Chicago Collins, 10, Samano, Niles, 10; and McCubbins, 10. Dylan Smith, a senior from El Paso Gridley was the only other McLean County participated in Class 2A, who sank 9 shots.

Class 1A participants, their school, and how many shot they made included: Matthew Nunamaker, Ridgeview, 5, and Tyler Grimsley, Lexington, 6.

By Steve Robinson | March 6, 2018 - 10:09 pm
Posted in Category: Ridgeview, The Normalite

NORMAL – A third quarter comeback by Annawan turned out to be too much for Ridgeview as the Mustangs’ attempt to win the Illinois High School Super-Sectional at Redbird Arena on Illinois State University’s campus fell short, with the Braves emerging victorious, 39-32 before roughly 800 fans, the sides evenly divided.

The fans appeared to get the matchup they were expecting, as the first quarter was a seesaw affair, Ridgeview senior Jacob Donaldson and Annawan senior Owen Landwehr exchanging buckets to tie the game at 2-all soon after the opening tip. Donaldson and Annawan senior Dante Weathersby went basket for basket to tie the game, 4-all by the first quarter’s 4:53 mark. Landwehr hit a deuce to put the Braves up, 6-4, which Donaldson immediately countered with one of his own, tying the game, 6-all, at the 3:31 mark. Landwehr and Ridgeview sophomore Levi Zimmerman traded scores to tie the contest at 8-all with 2:42 in the quarter. Within the quarter’s last minute, a layup by Ridgeview senior Alex Tongate, followed by a trey from Annawan senior Jacob Wolf, followed by a deuce with 6.1 seconds left by Zimmerman gave Ridgeview a 12-11 lead to take into the second quarter.

Senior Justin Myers and Zimmerman added to that total to give Ridgeview (28-5) a 6-0 run to work with as the second quarter opened, prompting Annawan to call a timeout with 5:25 left in the quarter. After that, a foul by the Braves’ Landwehr sent Donaldson to the free throw line where he sank two shots, increasing the Mustangs’ lead, 18-11 with 4:45 left in the quarter. But a trey by Wolf pulled the Braves within four, 18-14, with 3:48 in the quarter.

One minute and 28 seconds later, Myers’ deuce pushed the Mustangs up, 20-14. But fans on both sides reacted when sophomore Julian Samuels hit a trey for Annawan with 1:24 until halftime to pull the Braves within three, 20-17. It was the lead the Mustangs would begin the third quarter on.

But when the third quarter began, a 6-0 run by Annawan (30-3) featuring back-to-back deuces by senior Ben Buresh followed by an unanswered deuce by Landwehr pushed the Braves ahead, 23-20 until a trey from senior Matthew Nunamaker tied the game, 23-all, with 3:33 in the quarter. Senior Brendon Shaw and Weathersby followed with unanswered deuces for Annawan, to give the Braves a 27-23 lead with 1:13 left in the quarter. Donaldson closed out the quarter with a deuce with three seconds left to keep Ridgeview within two, 27-25, going into the fourth quarter.

Ridgeview confounded Annawan early in the fourth quarter defensively prompting Braves head coach Alex Coppejeans to call a 30-second timeout a minute into the final quarter. Annawan was further perplexed by back-to-back Ridgeview baskets by senior Tyler Ridgeway, tying the game at 27, and then putting Ridgeview up by two, 29-27, at the 6:05 mark. A deuce by Shaw tied the game at 29, and a free throw by Weathersby put Annawan up by one, 30-29, and was followed by a trey by Wolf completing a 6-0 run which prompted Ridgeview to regroup during a timeout with 2:06 remaining.

But Annawan resumed from that point, increasing its lead with two free throws by Buresh, answering being fouled by Ridgeview. His free throws increased Annawan’s streak to 8 unanswered points and a 35-29 lead. Another Ridgeview foul sent Landwehr to the line with 44 seconds left, giving him the opportunity to add two more points, upping the Braves’ lead, 37-29.

Ridgeview got to the free throw line twice more due to Annawan fouls, sending Donaldson both times, where he went a combined 3-for-4, cutting the Braves’ advantage to five, 37-32. But it was one more Ridgeview infraction that sent Annawan’s Buresh to the line a final time with 23.5 seconds left, where he sank both ends of his turn resulting in the final score.

Landwehr was Annawan’s only player in double-figures with 10 points, with Buresh and Shaw coming close with 8 points, and 7 respectfully.

Donaldson was Ridgeview’s only player in double figures, with 13 points. Zimmerman tallied 6, followed by 4 each from Myers and Ridgeway. Nunamaker sank 3, followed by Tongate who had 2.

“I’m just so proud of our guys and I’m really happy for them,” Annawan’s Coppejeans told reporters afterward. “We were more concerned with guarding the paint and, honestly, Ridgeview has some guys who can really attack the rim really well. So, I thought we did a really nice job of closing out and rotating. Our team defense tonight was really spectacular.”

“We knew we had to be concerned about Myers and Donaldson because they’re really, really good players,” Coppejeans added. “And Coach Kellar has that ‘It’ factor as well with his program.”

Characterizing the fourth quarter as a struggle, Ridgeview head coach Rodney Kellar told reporters, “It’s hard to get shots if you don’t make shots. I thought we did our best to give ourselves a chance, but when you don’t get shots at the other end, it’s hard to keep up with them.” Kellar said he speculated it would probably be the first team scoring 40 points who would come away victorious.

“I thought we executed well to start the game,” Kellar added. “We came out and got good shots. In the third quarter, they made a good run at us and I’m really proud of our kids because they came back and got us even, and even had a two-point lead at one point.”

Kellar said he pointed out to his players at the outset they needed to keep Landwehr “out of the paint” and Buresh “off the boards.” Ridgeview did succeed from keeping Buresh from scoring until the second half.

By Steve Robinson | March 5, 2018 - 10:04 pm
Posted in Category: Normal Town Council, The Normalite

NORMAL – Normal Town Council members unanimously approved a 2018-19 budget of $105,324,432. However, the Town, when it is done making expenditures and taking in revenue will find it will be short on incoming money by over $1.5 million.

The Town anticipates taking in $125,647,117 in revenue. But after expenses are paid and transfers to accounts are made, the Town will find it has total expenses of $127,175,713, establishing the deficit. That $1.5 million deficit is related “to spending funds accumulated from previous fiscal years for major capital projects, including vehicle and equipment replacements, final construction cost of the new fire station, water fund restructure, and various storm water fund projects,” according to a report for the Council prepared by Town director of finance, Andrew Huhn.

The Town also finds itself with an additional loss of income from the deficit caused by a loss of $1.5 million the Town received as its part of the Metro Zone agreement which it had with the City of Bloomington for years until Bloomington City Council members unilaterally pulled out of the agreement with a Council vote over a year ago.

In addition to that, other causes for decreasing revenue for the Town include: Flat or decreasing revenue sources; Implementation of a new 2 percent surcharge for collecting the Town’s Home Rule Sales Tax; A 10 percent decrease in the Town’s share of income tax as a result of modifications the State made to the formula; and decreasing work force within the community leading to limited job and wage growth.

Council Member Chemberly Cummings likened the Town’s actions to when personal income drops, people cut back on frills and tighten their budgets. “That’s all we’re doing,” she said regarding the measures the Council approved.

Council Member Kevin McCarthy added, “Revenue streams are declining – that’s principally why we’re cutting.”

Mayor Chris Koos told the gathering of about 30 people sitting in Council Chambers on the fourth floor of Uptown Station, “I will congratulate staff for the work they did in a tough budget year. This was a hard one. They did a good job of getting the budget straightened out.”

A public hearing, required by State law, was held prior to the start of the Council session and only one citizen spoke to the budget. Former Town Council Candidate Ron Ulmer to Council members, “No reflection on Town employees, but taxes and fees can’t be raised fast enough. Increase taxes, decrease services, cut staff.” He said the Town must make a change in how it operates and part of that could include collaborating with other entities within the community. He added Normal could have “one of the biggest migrations of residents leaving in the State of Illinois.”

Water Bills To Begin Arriving Monthly Starting April 1: After coming every couple months for many years as residents have grown used to, Normal residents will begin receiving their water bills from the Town on a monthly basis starting April 1, the result of Council members unanimously approving the measure. But when this subject was discussed, Council Member Kathleen Lorenz recommended taking the subjects of increasing water rates and the billing cycle separately because the two items were joined in an amendment to an ordinance concerning those subjects. In the first vote, whether to keep the two items together for discussion and balloting on them, Council voted 4-3 to vote on separating rates from billing. Koos, and Council Members Jeff Fritzen, Scott Preston, and Lorenz favoring separating the two issues, while McCarthy, R. C. McBride, and Cummings opposed doing that.

Council members voted 6-1 to increase water rates effective April 1 by 2 percent, with Lorenz voting against it. The increase would boost the fee for per 1,000 gallons from $6.31 to $6.44, with the monthly maintenance charge going from $5.75 to $5.87. The Town’s Municipal Code would need to be modified for billing to be changed to a monthly basis. Currently, residents get their bill every two months.

Lorenz said she wanted to keep water rates flat for one year. But Fritzen countered that by saying were the Town to not increase rates as planned after that year, more than another year risked going by before the subject returned, risking presenting residents with an even larger unwanted increase. He called it a “strategic” move to go ahead at this time with the proposed increase.

As to changing the billing to monthly, Koos said Normal residents have been asking for the change. The current billing cycle, as City Manager Mark Peterson explained, “Sixty days, we’ve been told, makes it tough for budgeting.” He said the change would be more convenient for the residents desiring it. Saying the customer service angle put forth for this change wasn’t enough for him to support it, Preston joined Lorenz in the minority in the 5-2 vote which approved monthly billing.

Refuse Collection Fee Increase Approved: Council members voted unanimously to approve an ordinance establishing monthly user fees for refuse collection in the Town. Services such as garbage and recycling pickup, bulky waste and brush collection, leaf collection, and landscape waste collection will see fees for those services go up to $20 monthly, a $2 increase. The former $18 rate was passed by a Council ordinance vote three years ago.

City Manager Employment Agreement Approved For Reece: Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an agreement for Pamela Reece’s term as City Manager which will begin at the end of the business day March 30. The contract runs through March 31, 2020. Reece, currently Deputy City Manager under City Manager Mark Peterson, was promoted to succeed Peterson, who will retire on March 30 after 30 years with the Town, 20 of them as City Manager. The first 10 years working for the Town, Peterson was Assistant City Manager under then-City Manager David Anderson .

The Town conducted a national search for candidates in seeking a successor to Peterson.

Under the terms of the contract, Reece will be paid an annual salary of $185,000 and receive an annual car allowance.

Omnibus Agenda Items Approved: Omnibus agenda items approved by the Council included:

• Approval of the minutes of the regular meeting of Feb. 19, 2018.

• Approval of Town of Normal expenditures for payment as of Feb. 28, 2018

• A resolution authorizing a contract extension with Bloomington-based Henson Disposal for processing of recyclable residential construction, demolition, and bulky waste collected by the Town of Normal at a rate of $55.51 per ton.

• A resolution authorizing execution of an agreement with Mr. Craig Onsrud for the operation of the Ironwood Golf Course pro shop and private golf lessons.

• A resolution authorizing an amendment to the supply and processing agreement with Midwest Fiber Inc. for the operation of a drop box recycling program in exchange for the use of Town equipment.

• A resolution authorizing intervention in a pending property tax assessment appeal before the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.

• A resolution conditionally and partially approving the final plat for the seventh addition to Constitution Trail Centre Subdivision.