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  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Feb 28, 2024

    This has been quite the winter so far. We had lots of snow to start out, the ground beneath the snow never did freeze. While moving it along the edges of the lawn and the driveway I ended up accidentally making huge divots in the yard. When the snow melted, I put them back in place. The snow melt did not cause flooding, it all soaked into the ground. Somebody told me the other day that this February was almost exactly the same as February 2012. His point was: expect a drought. But I say,...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Feb 28, 2024

    The NCAA is getting close to announcing their tournament field, and the weather has been downright balmy to the point where my thoughts have already turned to the baseball season. And while I know my beloved Cubs fell into the toilet at the end of the season when they looked like a lock to make the post season, I have to admit … I’m looking forward to this year. I admit it, I’ve got baseball on the brain – Major League Baseball. I even joined an ESPN Fantasy Baseball league and am...

  • Valentines For Seniors

    Andrew Chesney|Feb 28, 2024

    My office recently completed its first annual Valentines for Seniors program, and the response from the community exceeded all expectations. Between February 14th and 15th, my staff and I delivered over 2,300 valentines to 30 different nursing homes and assisted living, rehabilitation, and memory care centers in the seven-county region that makes up the 45th Senate District. The smiles on the seniors' faces were priceless, and it was evident they felt appreciated and valued. Cards were made by...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Feb 21, 2024

    Both of my parents are from large families as are most of my aunts and uncles. I am also am from a large family. There was never a shortage of cousins in my childhood and we always had lots of fun – especially when they came to the farm for a few days. My brothers and I were normally fairly well-behaved, but when our cousins were around we always managed to get into a lot of trouble. Dad would have to “take us aside” and remind us that just because our cousins were there, that did not...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Feb 21, 2024

    I don't normally use my column as an advertising tool, so let me start by apologizing – but if you do read this, I think you'd agree there was a legitimate reason for it. (Unless you're a weird cat lady who hates dogs ... but I digress) Anyway, many people know our dog Bucky. He has played the role of Max the dog with the antler tied to his head as he walks with the Grinch in the last four Lena Christmas Parades, and the photo I am putting with this column was of him last summer walking in the...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Feb 14, 2024

    When my son was still in high school, he and I set out to restore a 70 year old tractor. This tractor was manufactured during the World War II years and had been neglected for about 40 when we got our hands on it. Well, we stripped the thing down to nothing more than a pile of parts with labels, organized an inventory of what we needed, took the engine to the machine shop to get it rebuilt, and that’s when we got a little distracted. What happened was, shortly after we started working on the...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Feb 14, 2024

    “And you wonder why I don’t worry about the butter.” Now, that phrase may not mean much to you, but in my house it has become a simple comment that sums up the marriage my wife and I enjoy. You see, on most things, I am really pretty easy-going. I just don’t get too riled up over the daily trials and tribulations we see on a regular basis. “My car won’t start!” “Go ahead and use mine.” “The dog is acting funny.” “I think he ate a slipper, he’ll be fine after he poops...

  • From The Senate Seat

    Andrew Chesney|Feb 14, 2024

    The same Chicago Democrat who brought us the SAFE-T Act (House Bill 3653) has filed new legislation that would further threaten public safety and impede law enforcement efforts to keep our communities safe. As you may recall, the so-called SAFE-T Act was pushed through in the middle of the night when fewer eyes were following the legislature’s action. As I have stated many times, this law does nothing to improve safety in our communities. It heaped a slew of new mandates on police officers...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Feb 7, 2024

    Several years ago, I read a book authored by a man named David Hansen, titled The Art of Pastoring. The story-line in the book is his day to day routine as he pastored two rural churches in Montana. The theme he threads through each chapter is how to be a parable of Jesus Christ every day. One particular pastime this pastor enjoyed was trout fishing when he had a day off. He would travel up into the mountains and walk a mile or so into the back country to his favorite fishing spot and throw his...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Feb 7, 2024

    Undoubtedly, the best comment about food that tastes bad came from George W. Bush when he said,” I don’t like broccoli, I’ve never liked broccoli, I’m President of the United States and I don’t have to eat broccoli ever again!” It was direct, to the point, and carried a ton of weight behind hit. Unfortunately, I’ve never held that kind of power - although I have uttered many comments about the food people have tried to force down my throat. My first one as a kid, or so I have been...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Feb 7, 2024

    San Francisco 49ers or Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City Chiefs and San Fransico 49ers. This is a question on many people’s minds as we move into the weekend of the “Big Game”. No matter which team you are rooting for it’s hard to deny the important role that farmers and agriculture play in this weekends’ festivities. Let us imagine a game without agriculture. That would include no tickets as tickets are printed on paper from trees and often use soy ink from soybeans. Some paper is even...

  • Your Voices

    Jan 31, 2024

    Dan, Your article in yesterday’s paper about the Freeport City Council was one of your finest works since I have been a subscriber. I totally agree with your analysis of the names mentioned. Being on the Freeport Park Board I like how our board is run. And yes, I read my packet when I get it and again review it before the meeting. Also, side note, I was asked to run for city council in my ward. George Yarzak, Park commissioner. Freeport...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jan 31, 2024

    Many years ago, my wife and I were driving through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It was at night and a winter blizzard had blown in. We were on the switchbacks, winding our way down the mountain. At times the road was clear and we could see well. At other times, the falling snow was so heavy and thick and blowing, it was a total black out behind the wheel – like someone had thrown a blanket over the windshield. During those times, we were just guessing at where the road was. Off to our...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jan 31, 2024

    Growing up in Indiana, it was almost a requirement that you loved basketball. Now, I’ve never gotten into the pros. Our artist Thomas is a huge Bulls fan and knows the NBA like I know the NFL, but that was never my cup of tea. For me, I always preferred the college hoops. You could play zone defense, the stall used to be a part of the game, and there was just a lot more strategy involved and players weren’t going through the motions for a paycheck. Anyway, back in 1976, when I was only 13,...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jan 31, 2024

    In less than ten weeks, the Stephenson County Farm Bureau Young Leader’s Committee will host the 7th Annual Bruce Johnson Memorial Farm to Farm 5K/10K Race on April 6, 2024. All proceeds from this event will go to supporting Agriculture in the Classroom efforts in Stephenson County. Entry fee includes race shirt, refreshments, prizes, finisher medals and a swag bag. Shirts and finisher medals cannot be guaranteed after March 22, 2024. The out-and-back course starts and ends at Kent Farms...

  • From The Senate Seat

    Andrew Chesney|Jan 31, 2024

    During the 2023 session, Republicans in the Senate and House fought hard to continue a tax credit scholarship program for low-income Illinois school children. Through private donations made to a special fund, children in schools that were failing them for whatever reason had an opportunity to improve their chances for academic success by moving to a learning environment that met their needs. Donors to the program received a 75% Illinois income tax credit in exchange for their donations. It was i...

  • Your Voices

    Jan 24, 2024

    Hi Dan, Thanks for your very detailed report on Freeport City Council deliberations in Village Voices. Did you tape record it? Sadly, our J-S newspaper, which is better known here as Our Daily Disappointment, contains extremely little local news. Actually, 99% of the papers' content merely consists of warmed-over Rockford news – which happened to be originally written to appear in the Rockford Star rag or Gannet's sister newspaper, USA Today. Thanks again, Dick Shouer Freeport Hey Dan, A couple names from Aquin to add to the 1000 point list...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jan 24, 2024

    You can’t make everybody happy. You’re not a taco. We have a friend, Ed, who served in combat in Vietnam. We first met about 8 years ago. When he found out I was a pastor, he said that he wrote God out of his life when he was on the battlefield in Vietnam. My wife and I invited him and his wife to church. She was happy to join us when she could, but Ed wasn’t much interested, although he was a bit curious. Then one day he came up with the idea that he would come to church and afterward,...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jan 24, 2024

    Ever have something pop up that immediately brings back memories? We got a press release in regarding the upcoming 4H Summer Camp, and while at first the headline “Change Your Child’s Life” hit me as a bit of an overstatement, the more memories of my childhood, and trips to summer camp each year, flooded my brain – the headline is spot on. When I was a kid, my parents would send my older brother, sister and I off for a week at Camp Tecumseh in Brookston, Indiana. They would separate...

  • Marketing The Region

    Andrea Winter, Executive Director of Greater Freeport Partnership|Jan 24, 2024

    Happy New Year! The Greater Freeport Partnership is the place where people come together to advocate and work toward great things for Freeport and Stephenson County. Our talented team and great volunteers work in the areas of economic development, business and entrepreneur support, tourism, and events. Looking ahead, we want to share a short digest of projects and initiatives that are upcoming in 2024 and ways you can get involved. In January, we will launch the Business Academy for Small Busine...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jan 24, 2024

    As I write this column it is Thursday, January 18 and it is 14 degrees out, which is much warmer than the beginning of the week. The beginning of the week brought canceled school, extracurriculars and office closures. The Farm Bureau continued our normal routine, but as I drove between Stephenson and Carroll Counties, I thought about our farmers who even though at times the temperature was negative 17 degrees, our dedicated farmers worked diligently to care for their livestock. Their commitment...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jan 17, 2024

    The following may or may not be a true story. There was a foursome at the golf course who walked on together for an afternoon of golf. None of them knew each other prior to this event. One was a senior Pastor and another was a somewhat cocky younger man. The other two men had retired from the work force and golf was part of their retirement regimen. At a short par 3, the Pastor asks the young man, “What club are you going to use on this hole? The young man replied, "An 8-iron, Pastor. How...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jan 17, 2024

    When I was a junior in High school, we always did the traditional Madrigal Dinner – complete with a full meal where the Concert Choir made up the serving staff, the Orchestra provided the musical accompaniment, and the Swing Choir dressed up in medieval garb and performed classic carols throughout the dinner and afterwards. It was a huge fundraiser for the music department, and we had packed houses every night of the six or seven nights before Christmas that were performed. Anyway, the whole...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jan 17, 2024

    On Friday, January 26 the Carroll County Farm Bureau Young Leaders will host their Annual Harvest For All Campaign. For those who may not be familiar with this program, Harvest for All is a program within the Young Leader Committees of Illinois Farm Bureau to combat food insecurity across the state. Each January the Carroll County Farm Bureau Young Leaders collect corn from local farmers, sell it and then donate the proceeds to Carroll County Food pantries. This year the event will take place...

  • From The Desk Down State

    Andrew Chesney|Jan 17, 2024

    For the last 18 months, Governor JB Pritzker has quietly issued consecutive 30-day disaster proclamations for the State of Illinois as it relates to the migrant crisis and the hordes of non-citizens making their way to Illinois from the U.S. southern border. These orders grant him massive power to bypass the Legislature, a co-equal branch of government, and move and spend budget dollars how he sees fit. Indeed, Governor Pritzker and I do not agree on much, but we agree that the flood of...

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