April 27, 2016

U of I offers free class to high school students

The Global Reach Area Studies Program is offering a free 4 week class for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors this summer on the Urbana campus at the University of Illinois.  Feeding Africa: Systems Perspectives on Sub-Saharan Food Security will meet  two hours a day, three days a week giving students with an interest in agriculture, African studies and/or nutrition the opportunity to learn about the agricultural history and accomplishments in Ghana and South Africa. The class will also appeal to students who are considering a career in health care, international studies, science, engineering and media relations.

With the exception of a $42 in materials fee and transportation fees for a field trip, the class is offered at no charge to students who apply before the final deadline on May 2, 2016. Students who wish to receive college credit for the class can opt to do so by paying the course credit fee.

The class will meet from July 5 to July 28 and will conclude with students producing podcast, blogs social media campaigns that will be distributed as a final product.

Interested students and parents can find more information on the official website for the Center for African Studies as well as fill out the application online here.

April 20, 2016

They have a name, the Illini Prairie Conference

Beginning the fall of the 2017-2018 school year, almost 16 months from this week, the remaining teams from the Corn Belt Conference and five-team Okaw Valley Conference will merge and become the ten team Illini Prairie Conference.

The result of Bloomington Central Catholic, Olympia, Pontiac, Prairie Central and Illinois Valley Central from the Corn Belt, along with Champaign St. Thomas More, Monticello, Rantoul, St. Joseph-Ogden and Unity from the Okaw Valley will create what many have discussed as the formation of downstate Illinois' premier 3A-4A high school athletic conference.

Merger talks began after Normal University High announced it was leaving the Corn Belt in January to join the Central State Eight starting the 2017 season. Meanwhile, Eureka had already make plans to move to the Heart of Illinois and Mahomet-Seymour jumped the Corn Belt ship to join the Apollo. Maroa-Forsyth, the smallest school in the Okaw, decided shortly after St. Joseph-Ogden, Unity, Rantoul and St. Thomas More joined the conference to migrate to the Sangamo.

The initial concern voiced when the merger talks were announced was the issue of travel between SJO to IVC, which would be a little over two hours by bus between schools. However, athletic directors and coaches, who are enthusiastic about the new conference, plan to use Saturdays and neutral game sites as often as possible to minimize time on the road for student-athletes and fans.

April 16, 2016

Spartan baseball drops early season contest

Spartans' Austin Cain makes a catch playing in St. Joseph-Ogden's road game at Duffy Bass Field in Normal against Normal University High. SJO fell victim to the Pioneers 13-3 in their non-conference game on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

April 15, 2016

Illini's best baller moving to greener pastures

The University of Illinois women's basketball program suffered another body blow. Just after fellow Nebraskan Brooke Kissinger announced her transfer to Creighton, thechampaignroom.com is now reporting that Matt Bollant's best player Chatrice White announced her intent to transfer earlier today. White earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this past season.

Illinois will return only five players from their 2015-16 roster that finished 9-21 overall and 2-16 in the Big Ten. With five new incoming recruits the understaffed Illini still has five scholarships available to offer for the upcoming season.

Kissinger is now the fifth athlete from Bollant's 2015-16 squad to transfer out in the past year. Alexis Smith, Jacqui Grant, Amarah Coleman and Taylor Gleason all transferred in the previous offseason and then filed a $10 million dollar lawsuit which the University settled earlier this week.

Mass transfers seem to be en vogue in college basketball these days.

At the end of March, Illinois State University announcement that six players from last season’s women's squad planned to transfer out of the Redbird program. With one year of NCAA eligibility left on the books, Sue Crump, Lindsay Smith, Stekara Hall and Kelli Tolar all decided to move on to other programs. ISU is also losing forward Zenobia Bess and guard Mackenzie Freeman who plan to finish their collegiate careers at other schools. Both Bess and Freeman have two years of eligibility that they can dedicate to their new institution.

April 11, 2016

Another gun tragedy, is mental illness to blame?

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

The shooting death of New Orleans football great Will Smith allegedly by Cardell Hayes is tragic. At this point we have not heard all that happened with a car accident that turned into Hayes shooting Smith six times and also Smith's wife.

You probably know by now that Hayes sued the city of New Orleans in 2005 after police killed his dad Anthony Hayes. His dad was shot nine times by officers from the New Orleans Police Department after he reportedly lunged at one of the officers with a knife. Hayes and his sister later sued the city of New Orleans and settled for an undisclosed sum.

Ironically Smith was having dinner with one of the NOPD officers earlier on this same evening, Billy Ceravolo, who was involved in shooting Hayes' father in 2005.

Initial reports believe the most recent shooting had nothing to do with the 2005 shooting and that this was an accident that turned into road rage.

Was Hayes bitter, resentful with caustic feelings toward the NOPD? Why would we think otherwise? Of course he was. Regardless if his father lunged at one of the police with a knife they still killed his daddy. Hayes believed that the officers could have better handled his dad on that day with a stun gun but that the altercation did not have to end up lethal, according to the lawsuit that was filed and settled.

While a dollar figure is unknown to the settlement it is reportedly believed that Hayes and his sister received a significant amount. This doesn't take the place of a daddy nor does it resolve mental issues.

Was Cardell Hayes a loose canon driving the streets of New Orleans with a gun? This could have been anybody who had ruffled his feathers, got in his way or had a disagreement with him. On this day, very sadly, it was football great Will Smith.

Too many people are behind the wheels of cars with mental illness.

Too many of them are carrying guns.

They have had life altering events. They carry bitterness, a lot of anger and a finger on the trigger. The right or wrong scenario ends up lethal. This is not an excuse for mentally unbalanced people but reality. A lot of people need counseling today. After such an event that Hayes went through with his dad he had severe problems. None of us know when we step out of a car to talk to someone after a car accident what we will encounter. We don't expect to be shot and neither did Smith.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness states the following information: Over 61 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year. About one in 17 live with a serious illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. Serious metal illness costs Americans over 193 billion dollars in lost wages every year. More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide had one or more mental disorders. Approximately 26 percent of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46 percent lives with severe mental illness and or substance use disorders. The statistics are startling. Check out NAMI on the web for more information.

A lot of people are battling mental issues in our country. People aren't shot in movie theaters, schools, churches, and at traffic accidents because we are such a mentally well nation. We have a lot of problems in this country. Mental illness cannot be put on the back burner.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.
DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.