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  • Kari Kamrath

Looking Back: 2-22-23

130 Years Ago

February 18, 1893

Owing to necessary repairs on the boiler at the electric light plant the lights failed to shine for several nights this week.

Proposals for the letting of the contract and furnishing of material for the extension of the waterworks system were sent out this week by the village trustees and it is the intention that as soon as the contract shall have been let and the weather permits, work will be commenced. The proposals as issued provide that the work shall be completed by the 15th day of next June. The system above proposed will give adequate fire protection to every residence dwelling within the corporate limits.

Forrest — N. Hurt has let the contract for a new brick building to be built on the lot between the Krack & Wright and J. M. Carter's stores, to be completed by May 1. F. Ehrman has the contract for the mason work and W. B. Clow the carpenter work.

Rumor hath it that another billiard and pool room will be opened shortly in the vacant building just west of Walton Bros. Furniture Store.

120 Years Ago

February 20, 1903

The farmers' elevator company at Weston organized Thursday with a capital of $8,000. W. W. Shedd was elected president and G. W. Eckhart secretary. it will go under the name of the Weston Grain Company.

One of the most severe cold waves of the winter struck Illinois Monday. Monday night the thermometer went down to 15 below zero and has remained around zero since that time.

T. F. Payne sold the R. P. Smith property, corner of Walnut and First Streets, to John Unsicker this week for $2,400.

The nuptials of Miss Nora Sullivan and Mr. William Ripley, both of Weston, were celebrated in an elaborate manner Wednesday morning, February 18, at the new Catholic Church in this city. The bride was attended by Miss Lizzie Sullivan, a cousin, and the groom was attended by Jas. Sullivan. Rev. Fr. Francis performed the ceremony.

110 Years Ago

February 21, 1913

Walter Bingham has built an addition to his blacksmith shop.

Miss Velda Raridon, of Pontiac, was here the latter part of last week visiting with her cousin, Miss Audrey Haner.

Cropsey — Joe Wilson, who has been employed at the J. L. Cook Machine Shop as blacksmith the past three years, has resigned.

Weston — Edgar Johnson is building a new house. Joseph Cooper will occupy it.

Will Bechtold loaded his household effects and farming implements Monday and left for Grand Meadows, Minn., where he has purchased a farm.

At a meeting of the Fairbury Chapter Tuesday evening three candidates received the Royal Arch degree. They were John Arthur, of Forrest, and Prof. E. W. Powers and Swift Dawson, of this city.

100 Years Ago

February 16, 1923

St. Valentine furnished the setting for one of the jolliest of Standard Bearer parties on Tuesday evening at the home of Miss Louise Westervelt. Original verses were written for Valentines which would undoubtedly find a ready market with the makers of those intricate creations. Quantities of Valentine hearts were arranged about the rooms in decorative festoons. The other members of the entertainment committee were Miss Hazel Morton, Miss Norma Kilgus and Francis Gordon.

One hundred and twenty men and boys attended the annual Father and Son banquet of the M. E. Church on Monday evening in observance of Lincoln's birthday. The decorations were of a patriotic nature and the favors were tiny silk flags. Howard N. Yates, secretary of the Business Men's Association, was toastmaster. The Sunday school orchestra gave a delightful program for the social hour.

90 Years Ago

February 24, 1933

Delbert Green, who conducts the Phillips 66 Service Station at Pontiac, spent several days at his home here this week recuperating from an injury to his back which he received in an accident while changing tires on a large truck.

Conrad Munz got busy following the sub-zero weather of last week and harvested 800 tons of ice. It had frozen to a thickness of ten inches and the quality is quite satisfactory. The work of cutting and storing the ice was begun last Saturday morning and finished Tuesday.

Neighbors and friends with filled baskets surprised Mr. and Mrs. George Vance and family Saturday evening. The evening was spent at pinochle, telling fortunes, instrumental music and singing. At a late hour the guests departed for their homes wishing Mr. and Mrs. Vance and family joy and happiness in their new home.

80 Years Ago

February 19, 1943

The Legion scrap drive – no wire or tin wanted – will get under way next Monday morning at nine o'clock and will last until every pound is in. The National scrap drive starts in March, but the local Legion members who are always up and coming, are just one jump ahead of them. All scrap iron donated to the Legion will serve a double purpose. Like all other scrap, it will go towards giving our boys the proper equipment to give the Japs and Germans their proper portion. But what the Legion gets from the scrap that is donated they hope will be enough to assure the purchase of a resuscitator for the Fairbury Hospital.

The Koehl Dairy is expanding. In addition to delivering milk in Fairbury, they have just recently started delivering milk in Saybrook, Cropsey, Sibley, Strawn and Forrest. The milk and cream they sell is all pasteurized in the Glenn Harris Pasteurizing Plant at Colfax. This plant is operated under federal supervision.

Years ago an apple orchard at the George Milne home attracted the bluebirds and they nested there year after year. The orchard is gone with the exception of a tree here and there but the tradition has been handed down in the bluebird family and yesterday George Milne reported a flock of seven bluebirds had arrived at his home. A south side bird fan heard a bluebird's call but was not fortunate enough to see that earliest of spring arrivals.

70 Years Ago

February 19, 1953

A tenant house on the farm six miles north of Chenoa, owned by a Mrs. Kane, of Wenona, and operated by Erwin Wahls, burned last Thursday morning together with the household goods of Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Jones, who occupied the house. Mrs. Jones and baby were in the house when the stove exploded about seven o'clock. Taking the baby, Mrs. Jones walked to where her husband was working and told him of the fire. The Chenoa Fire Department responded, but by the time they arrived nothing but the shell of the house was left. The house was insured, but its contents were not.

A number of Apostolic Christian women met at the home of Mrs. Chris Kaeb, where men's discarded dress shirts were transformed into hospital gowns. Sixty shirts were donated by town friends, hospital staff and the Apostolic women. The necessary tape was furnished by the hospital.

The Fairbury-Cropsey Unit Parent/Teachers Association will hold its monthly meeting Monday evening at the Fairbury High School. Reports on the number of new students that will be entering the unit schools via the first grade over the next six years, and the effects expected on the school system will be made. A census of children from 1 to 5 years of age was made by PTA members recently in conjunction with the door-to-door "March of Dimes" campaign conducted by the organization.

60 Years Ago

February 21, 1963

The Fairbury-Forrest area prominently figure in a $17 million construction and replacement plan recently announced by the Central Illinois Public Service Company. Plans call for the conversion of the Gilman-Fairbury-Gibson City 34,500-volt transmission line to 69,000-volt operation to provide additional capacity and to improve voltage regulation in the Gilman, Fairbury, Forrest, Gibson City, Chatsworth and Sibley areas. The project also includes conversion of the existing substations at these locations from 34,500-volt to 69,000 volt operation, and construction of nine mile of 69,000-volt line.

Harvey Traub was elected Rotary president at the regular meeting Tuesday night at McDonald's Cafe. He will take office this summer, when the term of Rick Kendall expires. Other officers elected were the Rev. Kenneth Heaney, vice president; and C. C. Thompson, secretary, since 1940. Directors are Bob Yates, John Goold, Rick Kendall, Harvey Traub, Rev. Heaney and John Gerber.

Phi Kappa Phi, national honor society which elects from all academic areas, has named 119 new members at the University of Illinois. Gary W. Stevens, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stevens of Fairbury, was one of the university students named to the list. New members are seniors with 4.5 academic averages (based on 5 equaling A) junior with 4.75 averages and graduate students who have no more than two units of B and no grades under that. Stevens is a liberal arts and science senior.

50 Years Ago

February 22, 1973

"I'd like permission to drive at night." The statement, bluntly thrown at the Fairbury-Cropsey School Board by bus driver Dorothy Tomlison, seemed to catch the assembly off guard. Board president Bill Kelleher asked her exactly what she meant. Mrs. Tomlison explained that neither she nor any of the other women drivers were permitted to make night trips for extra-curricular activities. Supt. Lester Miller, who makes the driver assignments, admitted that he gave preference to the men drivers, reasoning that if trouble were encountered on the road, a male might be better equipped to handle the situation. He added that he realized that position was completely indefensible, legally.

Most women knit with standard size metal or plastic needles. But a Piper City homemaker and business woman, Mrs. Audrie (Pat) Haskins, had her husband make a knitting needle out of her old broom handle. Pat is at the half-way mark crocheting a broomstick lace afghan. Pioneer women, who originated this recently re-discovered stitch, used the handle of a broom to hold the stitches. She is using white, lime green, purple, orange and aqua wool, for her multi-colored striped afghan, which will be 45" x 60", without the fringe. Cost for making the lacy afghan is $10.

For years, ever since the post-war construction of Lincoln Jr. High and then the giant spectator gym, they have been neighbors and have shared some facilities with the Fairbury-Cropsey High School. As class size grew, that sharing sometimes included a frigid 40-yard sprint in gym clothes across the open area between the big gym's locker rooms, and the high school where part of the physical education classes met in the pre-World War I gym. Now those sprints are gone forever because the open area between the two buildings is no more as the gap has been bridged by part of a $500,000 addition that joins all three buildings.

40 Years Ago

February 17, 1983

Lots of people grow centennial beards for a community celebration. But few people grow beards for their own personal centennial. In anticipation of his 100th birthday anniversary next month, Debold Householder, a resident of Fairview Haven in Fairbury, is sporting a trim goatee.

Fairbury Civil Defense officials announced this week they will begin weekly soundings of the community siren system next Tuesday as mandated by the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency. Dale Stoller, co-director of the community Civil Defense unit, said the Fairbury group was informed it must conform to the statewide program of testing the disaster signal. Beginning next Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Fairbury siren will sound for three uninterrupted minutes each Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Fairbury-Cropsey High School graduate Mike Maffett will lead his collegiate ROTC drill team in a performance this Sunday at the College Hills Mall in Bloomington. Maffett is commander of the Schoolmasters Regimental Rifles at Illinois State University.

30 Years Ago

February 18, 1993

Three major tertiary care (3rd level) hospitals have responded favorably to Fairbury Hospital's "Request For Proposals" (RFP) regarding affiliation. At Friday's deadline, three prospective suitors, BroMenn in Bloomington-Normal, Carle Foundation in Champaign and the Order of St. Francis with St. Francis in Peoria, St. Joseph in Bloomington and St. James in Pontiac, had responded, all of them asking for a brief time-extension to complete their proposals.

Fairbury Police continue to investigate the cause of injuries sustained early Monday morning by Steve Kupfer, 20, of Eureka, who was allegedly struck by a pickup truck that tried to break the picket line. He was among an estimated 75 to 100 men picketing the construction site of the future McDonald's fast food restaurant on U.S. Route 24 on the west edge of Fairbury. Kupfer was taken to Fairbury Hospital where he was treated and released.

In another incident, Schwabe Construction reported criminal damage to property, including their on-site trailer, where a window was broken, tires slashed, electric and phone connections torn off and part of the siding peeled back. Police also reported that an end-loader and high-hoe owned by Jeff Kilgus had windows broken. A pickup left on the property also sustained a busted windshield and slashed tires.

20 Years Ago

February 19, 2003

The deployment of military troops to foreign lands "hit home" last month when Company C Marine Reserve Unit out of Peoria was deployed to Kuwait last month. Among those Marine reservists was 25 year-old Jeremy Shipley of Forrest, who is a combat engineer. Shipley, who is a 1996 graduate of Prairie Central High School, enlisted in the U.S. Marines during his junior year in high school, and during his senior year, he spent every other weekend training in the reserves. Following graduation Shipley completed boot camp at San Diego, Calif. and then spent the next four years in active duty.

Monday night's meeting of the Prairie Central Board of Education dealt with reductions in several areas of the district. The board's goal is to save 3.30 percent of the total budget of 15,085.454 for the school year of 2003-04. There will be reductions in staff and employees, also reductions of contact service, supplies and capital outlay (equipment). The decision made last month to lease buses will save $87,415. The district will also create satellite cafeterias at Meadowbrook and Chatsworth Elementary Schools. Meals will be prepared at the Upper Elementary and trucked to each school.

Mark and Kim Haab of Forrest are parents of a baby daughter born at 4:02 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003, at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria. McKenna Renee weighed 7 pounds, 10½ ounces and was 19 inches long at birth. She was welcomed home by a brother, Connor, 22 months. Maternal grandparents are Randy and Mary Zimmerman and paternal grandparents are Bob and Carol Sue Haab, all of Forrest.

10 Years Ago

February 20, 2013

Prairie Central will be well represented at the Assembly Hall Thursday after five Hawks advanced out of the Class 1A Olympia Sectional wrestling tournament Saturday. There were some surprises in the Prairie Central quintet that advanced. Probably the one who wasn't a surprise was Evan Bahler, who placed fourth at state last year. Ben Traub may not have been a surprise and John Kupferschmid has had a good season but hadn't reached this level in his career. The other two state qualifiers – Paul Garcia and Alex Rhoda – were surprises.

Phyllis Corban of Chatsworth will celebrate her 80th birthday on Sunday, Feb. 24. She was born Feb. 24, 1933. She has two sons, Larry (Joy) Corban of Pontiac, and Jim (Deb) Corban, of Greeley, Colo. She also has four grandchildren, Jeremy Corban, Katie Corban, Kim (Jared) Weeks and Craig (Erika Carranza) Corban, and one great-granddaughter, Kayla Corban. Mrs. Corban was employed at Motorola in Pontiac and Citizens Bank of Chatsworth in Chatsworth.

(Looking Back from Kari Kamrath is sponsored each week on Fairbury News by Duffy-Pils Memorial Homes)

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