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Articles written by Todd Mckenna


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  • Blackhawk's Pirate Nightmare Continues

    Todd McKenna|Oct 25, 2023

    The Stockton Blackhawks traveled to Galena Friday with dreams of making the playoffs for the first time in four years, but instead the trip turned into a nightmare as the Pirates scored 15 points in the 4th quarter and earned the victory 27-24. The Blackhawks led at halftime 16-12 and increased that lead early in the 3rd quarter to 24-12, but the Galena defense stiffened in the final period and they found success with an aerial attack led by quarterback Roman Romer. When the dust had settled, Galena had scored two touchdowns in the final 5 minu...

  • Pink Panthers Bury EPC

    Todd McKenna|Oct 11, 2023

    As the Lena-Winslow Panthers kicked off to open their homecoming game against the EPC Wildcatz, several things were immediately clear as being different than most Friday nights, but the outcome was very familiar as Le-Win remained undefeated with a 46-6 win. The most obvious thing was the Panthers jerseys for the game as they sported their pink alternative option per annual tradition of supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. While the jerseys certainly were a change, the athletes wearing those pink uniforms were not and the names...

  • Blackhawks Turn One Over

    Todd McKenna|Oct 4, 2023

    The effort certainly was there and the game never got out of hand, but the five turnovers by the Stockton Blackhawks eventually doomed their chances Friday night as they fell short 22-8 against the Forreston Cardinals. The loss dampened homecoming night for the Blackhawks but they certainly could have been celebrating too if they had managed to hang on to the football in key situations. Moving the ball wasn't a problem as Tanner Gile and Karl Hubb both had good rushing nights, but every time in the first half the Blackhawks approached the...

  • Stephenson County Board Update

    Todd McKenna|Sep 27, 2023

    The future of the Walnut Acres nursing home facility on Walnut Road in Freeport still is cloudy and it looks like it will be in a holding pattern for the foreseeable future. At Thursday's Stephenson County Board meeting, Chairman Scott Helms announced that a vote to hire a legal firm to review the contract proposal by potential buyer Upward Care would be put on hold until Upward Care decides on a date to hold a Town Hall meeting to gather public information on the issue. With the anticipated highlight of the meeting removed, the Board moved on...

  • EPC No Pushover

    Todd McKenna|Sep 20, 2023

    The EPC Wildcatz fought hard and put forth their best effort of the season, but still came up short on the scoreboard 34-20 in Forreston Friday night. Facing the #2 ranked Cardinals on the road is always a difficult assignment, but EPC was up to the task and showed they are growing and improving as a team. Every time Forreston looked to break the game open and run away and hide, the Wildcatz dug deeper and refused to go away as they fought back to keep the game within reach. On any other night playing a team not ranked second in the State,...

  • Blackhawks Maul Heyworth

    Todd McKenna|Sep 6, 2023

    It truly was a team effort in every sense of the word Friday night as the Stockton Blackhawks rolled to an impressive 47-13 win versus their opponent from long distance the Heyworth Hornets. No less than five Blackhawks on offense found the end zone on the night all contributing to their first win and improving to 1-1 on the season. Perhaps it was the 3-hour bus ride from their home-base near Bloomington that had the Hornets tired when the game began, but Stockton jumped out quickly to a lead they would never give up scoring on only their...

  • End Is 'Nye' For Wildcats

    Todd McKenna|Aug 30, 2023

    It was quite a "Nye-ght" for the Milledgeville Missiles Friday in their home opener as they kicked off the 2023 football season in convincing fashion. Unfortunately, it was the River Ridge Wildcats who had to take the brunt of the attack as the Missiles built an early lead and completely controlled the game from start to finish as they rolled to a 48-6 win at the expense of the visiting Wildcats. The Nye family certainly had a lot to cheer for as the Missiles opened the season in familiar surroundings and also familiar results as the Missiles h...

  • One Small Hurdle Cleared, But

    Todd McKenna|Jun 28, 2023

    While a sale is nowhere near a certainty in the future, the Stephenson County Board did take a step towards that by approving the pursuit of a letter intent for the Walnut Acres Nursing Home. At its June meeting, the Board approved the letter of intent by a vote of 9-6 and it took a while to get there. District C Representative Casey Anthony twice tried to halt a vote on the letter of intent. Anthony first tried to get the action item removed from the agenda for the meeting. After much discussion, that attempt failed by a 10-5 vote. Anthony...

  • All Our Kids Network

    Todd McKenna|Jun 14, 2023

    For the first time, kids and their parents in Mount Carroll got introduced to the All Our Kids (AOK) Network that has been operating in Stephenson County for many years. The AOK Network is a community collaboration currently consisting of 33 service providers committed to ensuring more mothers access postpartum depression services offered through the Network. In this way, moms can create a healthy bond with their babies that hopefully will pay off in the future with fewer cases of child abuse...

  • Cooking With Kids

    Todd McKenna|May 31, 2023

    About 15 parents and their kids gathered for dinner on May 18 at Highland Community College, but it was no ordinary meal. The cool thing about this event was the kids helped prepare the food and, hopefully along the way, learned a few lessons as well. Barb Curry with the University of Illinois Extension Office and Janet Vrtol from RAMP, supervised the first-ever Cooking With Kids class which was intended to teach kids about nutrition and how what they eat makes a huge difference in how they...

  • National Salvation Army Week

    Todd McKenna|May 17, 2023

    For more than a century, the red shield bearing the name of The Salvation Army has represented help for anyone in the toughest of times. Questions are never asked and judgments are never given. The philosophy has remained simple and the same - people need help, and the Salvation Army will serve without discrimination. Hopefully, the assistance needed is only temporary, but if return visits are necessary that's fine too and the Salvation Army will continue to offer that help in a variety of ways...

  • A Zeal For Victory

    Todd McKenna|Nov 16, 2022

    Facing its toughest opponent yet in the playoffs, the Lena-Winslow Panthers figured they would be in for an all-day battle in their quarterfinal matchup with NUIC conference foe Fulton welcoming them to town Saturday. Instead, it was business as usual for the Panthers who quickly took all of the steam out of the Steamers with a 52-14 bashing and honestly it wasn't even that close. The Panthers scored early and often as they raced out to a 37-point lead in the first half and earn yet another...

  • Better Years Ahead

    Todd McKenna|Oct 26, 2022

    Friday night's game - and the season for that matter - didn't end the way the Aquin Bulldogs wanted but they walked off Conley Field following their 66-22 loss to Polo knowing there were some positives to build on as the season progressed. It was Senior Night Friday as Aquin hosted the Polo Marcos and six members of the team put on the blue and gold for the last time on the football field. Hunter Buss, Aiden Wolf, Harrison Kleckner, Abbott Thruman, Mason McIntyre and Zach Van Horn all will...

  • Bulldogs Get 'Clipped'

    Todd McKenna|Oct 19, 2022

    On the first chilly night of the football season, the Aquin Bulldogs were hoping to give a cold reception to the Amboy Clippers as they made the trip to Freeport Friday night. Unfortunately, the Clippers got off the bus hot and it showed as the game began with Amboy getting the first chance on offense. The Clippers wasted little time in getting a lead as they needed only seven plays to reach the end zone to start the game. Picking up chunks of yardage, the Amboy offense marched down the field covering 70 yards with the last 18 on a touchdown pa...

  • Broncos Claim The Win

    Todd McKenna|Oct 5, 2022

    The Orangeville Broncos made sure they got homecoming week off to a good start with a convincing 76-38 thumping of Rockford Christian Life and in the process earned their first win of the season. The Broncos offensive line opened massive holes for Blake Folgate and Maisen Pfeiffer and their hard running with a few juke moves added in helped rack up an eye-popping 527 yards rushing on the afternoon in Orangeville. The Orangeville fans knew they were in for something special to cheer for early as Folgate took the opening kick back 83 yards for...

  • A Not So Pleasant Reunion

    Todd McKenna|Sep 28, 2022

    It's been 17 years since the last time the Aquin Bulldogs faced off against a team from Cambridge and that game resulted in a state championship trophy coming home to Freeport for the Bulldogs. Those two schools clashed again Friday night although much has changed since then with Cambridge now part of a co-op program in the Ridgewood Spartans and only eight players per side many of which weren't even born back then. The outcome also was different as the visiting Spartans outlasted the Bulldogs 38-32 in Freeport. As the Bulldogs were driving...

  • Wildcat 'Winter' Holds Off Aquin

    Todd McKenna|Sep 21, 2022

    The calendar and weather may indicate it's still summer, but at River Ridge High School fans were glad it was Winter time. Despite entering the game winless so far this season, the Wildcats found out all they needed was some home cooking as they played on home turf for the first time in four weeks and fought off the Aquin Bulldogs 46-42 to get their first win. The Wildcats found the friendly surroundings much to their liking as they scored on their first two possessions of the game and both...

  • Bulldogs Claim First Win

    Todd McKenna|Sep 14, 2022

    Two teams searching for their first win on the season collided in Freeport Friday night with both thinking they had a good shot of leaving with the victory. Both Aquin and Orangeville knew they were more evenly matched than the teams they've played so far but the Bulldogs were the ones who asserted themselves in a big way as they defeated the Broncos 60-26 to earn their first win. In the early minutes of the game, however, Orangeville made a statement as they marched down the field quickly after kickoff relying on the legs of junior running bac...

  • Aquin Can't Handle Speeding Missiles

    Todd McKenna|Sep 7, 2022

    Any team on Milledgeville's schedule this season better get fitted for some track shoes and load up on the cardio in practice. The Missiles field a deep arsenal of speedsters this season and so far have turned their first two games into track meets blazing their way to huge first half leads thanks to one explosive play after another. Such was the case Friday night as they defeated the visiting Aquin Bulldogs 66-18. For the second straight week, the Missiles put up 40 points in the first half...

  • Bulldogs, Oh, So Close

    Todd McKenna|Aug 31, 2022

    If the rest of the season is going to be like this, Aquin Bulldogs fans better buckle their seatbelts because it could be a wild ride. In only the first game, there was a season's worth of dramatic twists and turns at Conley Field in Freeport as the Bulldogs lost a heartbreaker to the visiting West Prairie Cyclones 39-38. In fact, the game had to be decided in overtime and on the leg of the Cyclones' kicker. After the Cyclones had tied the game at 32-32 with only 25 seconds remaining, the Aquin rush forced a missed extra point and sent the...

  • Colby Smith Memorial Run Returns

    Todd McKenna|Aug 10, 2022

    After 14 years, an August tradition for runners in Freeport looked like it was on its last legs and would run off into the sunset. But some of the participants in past years said not so fast and volunteered to help keep the Colby Smith Memorial race literally running and keep it going. So, bright and early on Saturday, Aug. 27, the 4-mile race will begin as usual at 8 a.m. at St. Thomas Church and hundreds of people will get some exercise as they run across town to Aquin High School. The race...

  • Officers In Short Supply

    Todd McKenna|Aug 3, 2022

    Doing more - or at least maintaining the same level - with less, is the everyday challenge for the leaders at the Freeport Police Department and other smaller area departments as well. The staff of sworn officers always seems to be at a bare minimum level leaving the command staff constantly searching for new faces to hire in order to help boost the ranks. Never before have police departments had to resort to crafting TV commercials and flood social media with "we're hiring" promotional ads,...

  • The Votes Are In

    Todd McKenna|Jul 6, 2022

    Voters in Lena and the Orangeville School Districts resoundingly approved referendums in the June 28 primary election while candidates in other races were victorious and advance to the General Election in November. Lena voters approved a referendum 587-438 to change the way School Board members are voted in from now on in the district. Previously, board members had to represent certain districts in Lena but that will change after Tuesday as the referendum passed to now elect Board of Education...

  • Primary Field Trimmed

    Todd McKenna|Apr 6, 2022

    After starting out stuffed with drama in the initial filing period, the Primary Election on June 28 in Stephenson County lost a little bit of its anticipation this past week. That's because some candidates had a change of heart and decided against seeking public office while another was removed from the ballot after their petition was protested on the basis of errors and the protest was found to be valid. Local election officials held hearings on March 28 to hear more than 10 protests filed...

  • Legitimate Primary Election In June

    Todd McKenna|Mar 23, 2022

    Primary election season in Stephenson County usually is just a formality and more often than not lacking in any excitement or drama as candidates go through the motions to get to the main event in November. That all changed this year as there are no less than five contested races awaiting voters when they head to the polling places on June 28. In fact, one race in particular will see five people square off trying to win seats on the County Board to represent District G. Since it's the primary...

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