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Milledgeville's Holiday Happenings a Great Success

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“Shop Small Saturday,” the day after “Black Friday,” was a success at Country Floral Too during Milledgeville’s Holiday Happenings. Norma Trotter, proprietor, handles the purchases of two customers at the floral and gift shop in downtown Milledgeville. (PA photo/Tom Kocal)

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There were lots of great gift ideas on display at Milledgeville’s Holiday Happenings Craft Show, on display at The Other Bar and the Milledgeville Fire Station. Over 25 vendors displayed their goods.)

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Members of the Milledgeville American Legion offered pork chop sandwiches to guests as a lunchtime treat. Holiday Happenings was held Saturday, Nov. 24, also featured Breakfast with Santa, and Chili Cook-off at JJ’s Comeback Inn. (PA photos/Tom Kocal)

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After a visit with Santa Claus, Nikki and Reese Thomure receive a special treat from Santa’s Helpers Ciara Miller and Madalyn Hicks at Milledgeville’s Holiday Happenings held Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. (PA photo/Tom Kocal)

Savanna Christmas Walk Garners Great Support

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Brandt Hutchcraft and Melinda Merboth of Savanna Thomson State Bank gave out cookies during Savanna’s Christmas Walk on Friday, November 23rd. STSB hosted the Tastiest Cookie Contest, and Santa Claus visited with the kids in the bank lobby. (PA photo/Lynnette Forth)



Pam Brown, Executive Director of the Savanna Chamber of Commerce, reports wonderful support of their annual Christmas Walk.

“80 businesses contributed items for the Silent Auction Gift Baskets that were made by the Blackhawk Area Credit Union employees,” Brown said. “Winner of Savanna Bingo was Brenda Ertmer. Cookie baking contest winner was Nancy Lawfer for the 3-D Christmas Trees, and Melanie Macy for tastiest. The winner of the best decorated business window was the First Savanna Savings Bank.

“I would like to thank the Savanna Smiles 4H group of Dena Harridge, Glenn Hoffman, and Kyle Beaston for being the Christmas Characters; To Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus, who took time out of their busy schedules to have their photo taken with all of the children at the Savanna Thomson State Bank. And Swiss Colony for sponsoring Denver Traum and his horse drawn wagon. Everyone always enjoys riding.”



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Manny’s Pizza was packed during the Christmas Walk. Sharon and Chuck Johnson browse the sweatshirts. Customers could register to win a free pizza every month for a year. Several vendors also set up shop in the banquet room offering specials for holiday shoppers.

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Blackhawk Area Credit Union hosted a Cookie Walk, for $5.00 a pound customers could choose from a variety of holiday treats. BACU also hosted a Silent Auction consisting of unique gift baskets donated by Savanna Chamber of Commerce members.
(PA photos/Lynnette Forth)

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer made it feel like Christmas for everyone. Several Christmas characters were roaming the streets greeting guests during Savanna’s Christmas Walk, courtesy of Facemakers.


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The Milledgeville Elementary Week 9 Thumbs Up Winners, from left to right. Front row: Jersey Schmidt, Holley Frederick, Dalton Adamec, Owen Rayhorn. Back row: Lilianna Smith, Trent Miller, Matthew Lapp, Linsey Lapp, Alyssa Mertz. (Courtesy of Talisa Pauley)


The Clever Clovers 4-H Club went bowling at the Mt. Carroll Bowling Alley for their October meeting. The 4-Her’s bowled for an hour and then stopped for a meeting afterwards. During the meeting officers were elected. This year’s officers are Matt Keppen, President, Clayton Ruter, Vice President, Sam Woessner, Secretary, Skyler Barncord, Treasurer, Austin Miller, Reporter, and Bryson Sturtevant & Payton Erbsen, Recreation. (Submitted by Austin Miller, Clever Clovers 4-H Club Reporter)

Clever Clovers Hear Two Guest Speakers

On November 12, 2012 the Clever Clovers 4-H Club reconvened at the Lanark Heritage Center. The club had a short meeting to discuss normal business matters. There were two guest speakers - Heidi Weber from Jo-Carroll Energy and Justin Pasch a Freeport Speech Teacher.

Pasch explained how a competitive speaker would give a speech. He told the group to make sure we had an intro that stated our topic and name. Another highlighted topic was to make sure you make eye contact with your audience. If you are in the audience make eye contact with the presenter to ensure you’re interested so they will be interested in your speech when it is your turn. Justin’s tips will be very helpful for us 4-H members when giving a speech or demonstration on our projects.

Heidi Weber presented what the 4-H pledge should mean to 4-H members. The 4-H pledge is broken down into 4 categories: Heart, Hands, Head and Health. Heidi explained that those four categories could be broken down even further, which is what each of us should think about when we say the 4-H pledge.

Submitted By Austin Miller, Clever Clovers 4-H Club Reporter

Chadwick Achievers 4-H Club Holds Meeting


Chadwick Achievers 4-H Club members that collected non-perishable food items to donate to the Carroll Co. 4-H Federation’s Food Pantry Drive during the month of November.

By Rachel Scidmore, Club Reporter

4-H Chadwick Achievers had a meeting on Wednesday, November 7th ,2012. Attendance was 16 members and 9 adults.

Old Business: Our club received the prize money for the Window Display at the bank in Chadwick. Congratulations to award winners on project books.

New Business: Our Christmas Party will be December 5th at 6:30 at the Hope Methodist Church. We will have pizza, bring your own drinks and a dessert to share. There will be a $5 gift exchange- boys for boys, girls for girls, and clover buds for clover buds. All members brought donations to benefit the 4-H Federation’s Food Pantry Drive. Motion was made to donate $100 in food to the program, a committee was made to go and buy the food, with Courtney Swalve at the head of the committee. Christmas Wreaths will be delivered on November 20th at both of the schools. Leaders will call for the time.

Talks and Demonstrations: Dylan Alexander- Photography, Welding, and Visual arts; Rachel Scidmore- Dairy Calf, Cooking, and Sewing; Natalie Wilkinson- Collections; Briana Wilkinson- Sewing; Regan and Sydney Scidmore- Microwave Magic. Meeting was adjourned.


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At the Mount Carroll Rotary Club meeting of Nov. 19, a $250 donation was made to the Mt. Carroll Township Library support group and Friends of the Library by the club. Rotarion Dick Noble (C) presents the check to library board member Laurel Bergren (L) and Librarian and Rotarion Kim Smith (R). (Courtesy of Lou Schau)


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(L to R) Rotarian Ken Alexander, Guest Speaker Don Gillfillan from Lanark, and Rotarian Cory Harrison at the Mt. Carroll Rotary Meeting Nov. 6. Gillfillan spoke about his battle with polio as a small child growing up in Watseka, IL. He was treated in a Peoria hospital for a period of time with The March of Dimes paying for his treatment. His mother over a period of years repaid the entire amount. Recently after retiring from a long banking career, he honored his mother with a 100 mile bicycle trip from Peoria to Watseka in her memory. He and a friend who joined him on the bicycle trip, raised money for two different charities.

First Baptist Church Sunday Movie Night: God of Wonders

This week’s First Baptist Church of Mt. Carroll’s Sunday Movie Night will be an incredible documentary titled “God of Wonders.”

Embark on a breathtaking tour of God’s handiwork! In this fascinating documentary, you’ll explore what the Lord’s creation reveals about his power, wisdom, justice, and love. Combining exquisite nature footage and scientific insights with Scripture, it examines the size of the universe, the symmetry of snow crystals, the complexity of DNA, and more.

This highly acclaimed Christian documentary (approx. 85 minutes.) will be shown this Sunday December 2nd at 5:00 pm. The First Baptist of Mt Carroll is located at 201 S. Main Street. Popcorn and refreshments will be served. Program and refreshments are free to the public.

Pancakes with a Purpose Benefit

After trying several options, Mike and Tara have discovered God’s plan for their family is to adopt a baby. Considering many different solutions, they have decided that Bethany Christian Services would be able to make the dream of a baby come true.

The cost for an adoption is close to $20,000 and they have to make a hefty down payment just to start the process. During this special giving season, we would like to help this become a reality by helping them to raise some of the money that they will need.

Please come and support this cause on Dec. 8 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the Eastland High School.

There is not only the delicious pancake breakfast, but also a bake sale that will help you with get all those special goodies for Christmas.

In addition to this, you will also find some wonderful gifts to bid on which may even help you complete your holiday shopping. Take advantage of this opportunity to “pay it forward”.

If you would like to help, we would appreciate it. We can use people to help with the breakfast, lots of delicious baked good for the bake sale, and donations for the silent auction. Message Lou Ann Wilkens, Bill & Melissa McLain, or Mindy Lower via Facebook. You can also telephone Tom & Penny Ludwig at 815-493-2456.

CCSWCD Accepting Nominations for Director

To all persons of legal voting age who own or reside on land located within the boundaries of the Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District. Beginning on November 19, 2012 nominations will be accepted for the two year term of the office of Director of the Carroll County Soil and Water Conservation District at the District’s Office at 807C South Clay Street, Mount Carroll, Illinois 61053 during our normal business hours of 7:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.

To be considered for nomination as a candidate for the office of Director, nominees must provide proof of residency or ownership of land located within the boundaries of the District. Interested persons must respond by 4:30 p.m. on December 21, 2012.

December Story Hours

All children through third grade are invited to attend a story hour at one of the local libraries. Father Christmas will be visiting the Mt. Carroll Library on Saturday, December 1 at 10:30. He will read a story to the children and he will have treats to pass out.

The York Township Library in Thomson will host an open house from 4:00 – 7:00 on Wednesday, December 12. Piano students of Beth Bower’s will entertain with Christmas music and Mrs. Claus will share a story with the children there.

A great selection of books will be available at each location for the children attending to choose from. All events are sponsored by the Northwestern Illinois Reading Council. Contact one of the libraries for more information.

Ball Brothers to Perform Christmas Concert

Forreston Grove Church will host a special Christmas concert on Sunday evening, Dec. 9, beginning at 6 p.m. The free service will feature the 2011 Singing News “Horizon Group of the Year,” the Ball Brothers. Andrew and Daniel Ball, Andy Tharp, Chad McCloskey, and pianist Cody McVey comprise this gospel quartet whose music spans the generations with a mix of the old and the new. Following the program, refreshments will be served.

For more information on the Ball Brothers, visit For more on Forreston Grove, visit or call 815-938-3605.

TCOC’s President/Ceo To Retire In January

The Board of Directors of Tri-County Opportunities Council has announced that its President/CEO, Sandra Julifs, will be retiring in January, 2013. She has been employed by TCOC for 40 years, 29 of which she served as the CEO.

“Forty years ago, I began my journey with what was the new concept of Community Action,” said Julifs, ”We had next to no money, a staff of 14, no benefits other than paid leave and my job was supposed to be a “temporary” one! It was an exciting time and, after all these years, still is because we have made a difference in thousands of people’s lives, and our 400+ employees continue to do so every single day. But, it’s time for me to leave, to move on to other adventures. And, so, I’m planning to retire as of January 15, 2013.”

As her replacement, the Board selected TCOC’s Head Start Director, Terri Lawrence, who has been with the agency in various positions for 33 years. “I’m delighted that our Board promoted Terri; she has been a great asset to the agency and genuinely cares about the people we serve,” commented Julifs who will act as a consultant to the Board and CEO for a period of one year.

TCOC is the Community Action Agency serving the nine counties of Bureau, Carroll, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, Ogle, Putnam, Stark and Whiteside counties with such programs as LIHEAP, Weatherization, Community Services Block Grant (Outreach, Scholarships, Emergency Aid, Project Employment, Youth Enrichment, Family Development), Head Start, Early Head Start, Migrant Head Start, Housing, Homeless Services, Homemaker, Foster Grandparent and the Bureau County Food Pantry.

Elizabeth’s Very Own Angel Tree

There is something special in the air around Christmastime. Winter’s bitter chill is a cold reminder to bundle up and keep loved ones close. The first snowfall of the season brings back childhood memories of sledding, ice-skating and shoveling walkways. Enjoying warm nights inside, reminiscing past winters, and the occasional snowball fight are all part of Christmas season.

Would you like to bring a little Christmas joy to someone who would greatly appreciate it? There is something you can do to brighten the holidays for residents in the Elizabeth Nursing Home this year. Not everyone can enjoy the outdoor traditions of winter, but with a gift from you, Christmas can still be merry.

These residents may not have the opportunity to spend Christmas with family, friends or loved ones. They need someone to open up their heart and think of others who are not as fortunate. A chance to make a difference will begin on December 1st and run through December 24th.

There will be Christmas trees with paper angels hanging on its branches, each one with personal gift-giving suggestions for one of the residents. These trees will be placed in entryway of the Elizabeth Nursing Home located at 540 Pleasant St. Elizabeth, IL, and the Elizabeth Garage on Main Street.

These angel gifts should be no more than $10.00. Some suggestions for women are: gloves, slippers, Snuggies, lap blankets, calendars with large numbers, diabetic hard candy or perfume. For men: gloves, baseball caps, shoeshine kits, lap blankets, calendars with large print or aftershave lotion.

Your angel gifts can be dropped off during the day at the nursing home, either wrapped or non-wrapped. If you would like to know more information contact Karen Heidenriech at 815-858-2275 ext. 230 or check out their website at

Elizabeth Nursing Home provides long term nursing care and assisted living apartments for those living in the Elizabeth, IL area. If you would like to be a real angel for Christmas, please consider providing a heavenly gift.

Early Bird Discount for ENF’s 2013 Bald Eagle Bus Tours

The Eagle Nature Foundation (ENF) has just announced an Early Bird Discount of $5 per seat for anyone who registers for one of its 4-hour Bald Eagle Bus Tours before Dec. 31, 2012. ENF has been conducting these tours for over 35 years. These 4–hour tours will leave at 8:00 am sharp on the mornings of Jan. 12, Feb. 9 and 23, 2013 from the parking lot of the Stoney Creek Inn off Hwy. 20 on the west side of Galena, IL and will return to Stoney Creek Inn shortly after noon.

All of these tours will be guided by ENF Executive Director, Terrence Ingram. He has been researching bald eagles for over 50 years and has been leading these tours for over 47 years. During each tour Mr. Ingram shares his knowledge and love of the bald eagle, which he has gained from over 50 years of working with them. Participants will be treated to four hours of living with the bald eagle, not just looking at them. Each tour will visit five different historical wintering communities of the bald eagle, several eagle nests and bald eagle winter roosts. People will be able to see bald eagles flying, roosting, feeding and, if lucky, courting. Participants on some of these eagle tours have seen as many as 450 bald eagles migrating through the area during a four hour tour. Anyone going on a tour should bring binoculars, telescopes and cameras and be dressed for whatever winter weather there may be on that day. Be prepared for, if lucky, participants may see bald eagles flying right overhead or see a community of bald eagles which have stopped in the area for just a day or two .

So more people will be able to participate ENF is keeping the cost for the tour at the same rate as last year. The cost for a 4-hour tour is $65 per seat for adults and $45 per seat for children under 17. Any person registering for a tour before Jan. 1, 2013 will receive an early bird discount of $5 per person off the above prices. A copy of a tour brochure may be obtained by writing to the office: ENF, 300 East Hickory Street, Apple River, IL 61001 or calling 815-594-2306, or if there is still space available on a particular tour, a person may register on ENF’s website,

For more information contact: Terrence N. Ingram, Executive Director, Eagle Nature Foundation, 300 East Hickory St. , Apple River, IL 61001 Phone 815-594-2306.

Holiday Concerts at Emmanuel Reformed Church

As part of the 2012 Concert Series of the Emmanuel Reformed Church in Morrison, Emmanuel’s 85-voice “Voices of Praise” cordially invites the area to experience its sixth annual Christmas cantata, “Majesty of Christmas!” which will be presented in three performances, Thursday and Sunday evenings, December 13 & 16 at 7:00 p.m. and a Saturday afternoon, December 15 matinee at 3:00 p.m. in the beautifully decorated sanctuary of the Emmanuel Reformed Church, 202 E Morris, Morrison. Doors will open at 6:00 each evening and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

A free shuttle bus will be provided for one hour prior to and following all three performances. This shuttle bus will pick up from Ebenezer Reformed Church’s parking lot just two blocks south of Emmanuel’s campus dropping you off at the curb in front of Emmanuel. This convenient service will aid in your parking ease.

For more information, please visit the church’s web site at and click on the “Concert Series” button.

COUNTRY Returning $1.3 Million In Crop Hail Dividends

COUNTRY Financial will return $1.3 million in crop hail dividends in March to about 11,200 crop hail policyholders in Illinois.

Policyholders will receive a 9 percent return of the premium they paid in 2012. The amount of each dividend check will vary depending on the amount of crop hail coverage each policyholder had on crops during the 2012 season.

“This season’s devastating drought has proved difficult for many Illinois farmers. We have been with clients every step of the way to make sure that their crop claim is handled promptly and fairly, and that we provide them with outstanding claims service,” says Jeff Gendron, senior vice president of Property and Casualty Operations for COUNTRY. “Our continued financial strength makes the dividend payment possible. We are pleased to return a portion of our clients’ crop hail premium.”

COUNTRY has paid a crop hail dividend to Illinois farmers for seven of the last nine years. During this time, COUNTRY has returned $13.7 million in crop hail dividends.

COUNTRY is the largest crop hail insurer in Illinois. The company provides crop hail protection to 3 million acres of Illinois crops valued at about $2 billion.

Savanna Red Kettle

To volunteer to ring the bell for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign in Savanna, IL please go to our Facebook events page and sign up under the Friday/Saturday date of your choice and let us know the time you’d like to ring. We only ask you ring in one hour increments. (More if you’d like!) This is an easy and great way to spread Christmas cheer!

If you have any questions, you can call Joe Belander at 815-273-2345 or 815-564-7144.

Shuttle Service for Heritage Canyon’s Illuminated Walk

The City of Fulton and Unity Christian School will provide a free shuttle service for the illuminated walk at Heritage Canyon on Saturday, December 1, 2012. Christmas at Heritage Canyon is from 10 am to 4 pm with the illuminated walk from 6pm to 8pm. Christmas at Heritage Canyon is free.

The shuttle will run from 6 to 8 pm the night of the illuminated walk. The last pick up from Heritage Canyon will be at 8 pm. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes from the windmill parking lot to Heritage Canyon. The windmill is located at the corner of 1st Street and 10th Avenue and visitors may park along 1st Street or 10th Avenue.

For further information about Christmas at Heritage Canyon on December 1 or the downtown Christmas Walk on December 7, please visit or call the Fulton Chamber of Commerce office at 815-589-4545.

Savanna Area Christmas Concert

The Fifth Annual Savanna Area Christmas Concert will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, at the First United Methodist Church in Savanna. Everyone is welcome to attend this night full of Christmas music.

The program will feature the Savanna Area Christmas Choir, which is open to anybody that would like to sing with several other local musicians of all ages. Pam Watts and Gloria Miner have both offered their time and talents to direct and accompany the choir as they sing four songs. If you would like to sing with the choir, all you need to do is come to the rehearsals – no sign-up necessary. All rehearsals will take place at the Savanna First United Methodist Church, and the rehearsal schedule is as follows:

Monday, December 3, at 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 6, at 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 9, at 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 13, 7:30 p.m.

The concert will also feature several instrumental and vocal musicians, including a jazz combo under the direction of Mark and Emily Bressler, New Spirit Band, Men of Calvary, Hanover Handbell Choir, Kelly Kasbohm, Susie Rogers, Vivian Eaton, and an a cappella ensemble of 12 North Central College students.

A free-will offering will take place during the program to support the Great River Outreach and its mission to provide meals for local families. 2008 was the first year the Savanna Area Christmas Concert took place, and the program has gotten bigger and better every year. Last year’s concert had an attendance of 300 people and raised over $1,600 for the Great River Outreach.

Refreshments donated by Swiss Colony and members of the community choir will be served following the concert.

For more information on the upcoming Savanna Area Christmas Concert or the community choir, call Mark Miller at 815-541-8397.


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