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  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jul 10, 2024

    Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures in life that mean the most. If you’re a regular reader of this column you may have heard about my love for the Chicago Cubs as a child and how that carried over into adulthood and was passed down to our own children. But, during and after Covid, with the way our country’s politicians politicized everything, including baseball, the game became repugnant to me, and totally lost its appeal. So, I abandoned it. Not intentionally, it just left me disillusioned and...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jul 10, 2024

    This time of year at the newspaper is one of the most nerve wracking, as well as one of the most rewarding. Over the last few weeks, if you are a loyal subscriber who signed up when we first converted over to a paid subscription publication, then you already have received your subscription renewal notice in the mail. Being a subscription newspaper is the biggest thing that sets us apart from all of the freebies people get in the mail. For those who care – the subscription price basically only c...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jul 10, 2024

    I was recently asked what the first thing I thought about was when someone mentioned the fair…my answer was quick: “the food”. I am a sucker for corn dogs, porkchop sandwiches and funnel cakes or strawberry shortcakes. Fair food tastes extra good, not only because it is often prepared by local associations/businesses, but because of the memories that go with it. During my childhood, one of my favorite activities was walking through the livestock barns. I did not grow up on a farm, so I did not h...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jul 3, 2024

    When I first started thinking about July 4, I looked at the calendar and saw that it was on Thursday this year, so I assumed all the celebrating would be taking place this coming weekend. Boy was I wrong! The celebrating began last weekend and for the most part has been going on all week and is now already mostly over - except for the fireworks. Ever since Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the National Anthem in 1814, fireworks have been a major part of our country’s 4th of July c...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jul 3, 2024

    Do you have a secret vocabulary with your wife? You know, words that might mean one thing to someone listening, but you and your wife know they mean something totally different? Now, I’m not talking sexual – although I know a lot of couples have a secret vocabulary for that too. No, I mean things like quotes from a movie or something that you tend to throw back and forth at each other. “Wow, that really escalated quickly didn’t it?” (I mean, Anchorman, lends itself to a lot of them – but tha...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jul 3, 2024

    Did you know that July is National Ice Cream month, which I think is a pretty perfect idea since July is typically a hot month and ice cream is a great way to cool down. I love hearing what everyone’s favorite ice cream flavor is. I personally enjoy most coffee flavored ice cream. But recently I’ve really been enjoying apple crisp, banana cream pie and cotton candy. But I also enjoy the occasional root beer float, banana split or dipped cone, especially when dipped in cotton candy flavor. Acc...

  • From The Desk Down State

    Andrew Chesney|Jul 3, 2024

    Of the 500 or so bills that passed this year, several good ones are headed to the Governor for final action, and I will write about some of them in an upcoming column. This week, however, I want to highlight some really bad bills— those that make you scratch your head and wonder what in the world the bill sponsors and supporters were thinking. I have been vocal with my views about the Fiscal Year 2025 budget that dictates how public funds will be spent from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2025. The F...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jun 19, 2024

    There was a moment when Moses had the nerve to ask God what His name is. God was gracious enough to answer, and the name He gave is recorded in the original Hebrew as YHWH. In order to pronounce it we added the vowels A and an E to get YAHWEH, presumably because we have a preference for vowels but scholars and rabbis have noted that the letters YHWH represent breathing sounds or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without intervening vowels, it actually sounds like breathing. YH (inhale) WH...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jun 19, 2024

    People ask me why I love going to all of the High School sports contests all the time. When taken as a whole, it does seem rather exhausting. Driving to the four corners of our region to watch a battle between Scales Mound and Warren, then staying up late at night making sure the story is written on the internet, then getting up the next day knowing that I will repeat the process yet again once the sun begins to go down. Friday nights in the Fall are the most hectic - I try and get to at least...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|Jun 12, 2024

    I’ve been doing some marriage counseling via Zoom for a couple who live out of state who are getting married soon. It’s kind of a unique situation. I am not officiating at their wedding, but they still wanted me to give them premarital counseling (the groom is a member of Martintown Church, but they are getting married in the South). After they are married, they will be living in Pennsylvania where they both have jobs waiting. One of the questions they asked me during a session was what advice c...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|Jun 12, 2024

    Many years ago, after I first got married, I needed a new car and ended up buying a Buick LeSabre from Confer Chevrolet in Lena (So, you know we’re talking MANY years ago). I liked the car for one main reason – I fit into it. With big fabric bench seats in the front and back, I was never having my hips pinched, and it had plenty of head room. And the engine in it had a little “pick-up” too so … I thought I was set. Until I told my Dad. “Why’d you buy an ‘Old man’ car?” “A what?” “An old man ca...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|Jun 12, 2024

    A popular question around the office recently has been, ‘will there be peaches?’ I am so excited to say yes, we will have peaches. We are still finalizing details with the orchard we work with in southern Illinois. We hope to have details ready to share with you all by Father’s Day. Once details have been finalized, we will share the information on both county’s Facebook pages and websites as well as in this column. If you would like an email when we begin accepting orders, please email either...

  • Your Voices

    May 29, 2024

    Hello again, Dan. This note and donation is to encourage you to continue the All-Star Volleyball game well beyond the third year of existence. The ll-Star Volleyball game is a great way to showcase the fantastic talent this area has to offer. You have answered my wishes, and I greatly appreciate your efforts. Watching from the stands last year, I could tell the crowd was in agreement with me. Listening to Nicole (Brinker) provide the fun commentary was an exceptional surprise! She was great! It was a great showcase and a lot of fun to watch....

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|May 29, 2024

    Someone has aptly said, “There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who don’t know what’s happening.” I’d like you to meet some people in the Bible who made things happen. In Hebrews 11, we are introduced to a man named Moses where it says: “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.” As a prince, Moses had all kinds of wealth and prestige and everything else. But he had a choice to mak...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|May 29, 2024

    What is a dog? I mean, can you describe a dog? Some might say, “A four-legged carnivorous mammal with floppy ears and a tail.” But that doesn’t fit because not all dogs have floppy ears, and I swear my family once had a dog who loved grapefruit! You can try to look up “dog” in the dictionary, but even they can’t lock it down in spite of multiple paragraphs all trying to answer one simple question – What is a dog? If you think about it, the question is nearly impossible to define. And yet, I co...

  • Your Voices

    May 22, 2024

    Dear Editor; It seems to me that the word ‘community’ has been left out of HCC’s men’s athletic teams. The basketball and baseball teams only have players from out of district, out of state, and possibly out of country. Why are local high school athletes not recruited for these teams? We have many good players within the Highland District. I am sure that parents, grandparents and friends would love to see these young people have a chance to participate. I just got my property tax bill and that makes me think that someday HCC may want to put...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|May 22, 2024

    Disclaimer: Today’s column may emote strong emotions from friend and foe alike. Read at your own discretion. The other day I saw a news clip where our President was making fun of pro-lifers and mocking the Bible. According to Yahoo.com, “President Joe Biden on Tuesday tore into Donald Trump for his role in getting abortion rights overturned … referring to the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade. ‘Maybe it’s coming from that Bible he’s trying to sell,’ Biden said as the crowd laughed...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|May 22, 2024

    There was a wedding ceremony last Saturday. And while the days of being a participant are well and gone for me, I was still caught off guard when my loving wife began to present her list of things I needed to do leading up to it. “Get a haircut.” Now, being told on Saturday that I needed a haircut before the following Saturday seemed like a relatively easy task. But when I still hadn’t done it by Tuesday, I could tell she was getting a little flustered. She never said anything, but … trust m...

  • From The Desk Down State

    Andrew Chesney|May 22, 2024

    Those of us who grew up in stable homes with solid role models are very fortunate. While most of us probably did not know or appreciate it at the time, we were taught from an early age the difference between right and wrong, the proper way to treat people, respect toward others, and the importance of telling the truth and obeying the law. We were told that school was important, homework was to be done, and curfews were to be met. We had siblings that looked out for us. When we broke the rules, o...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|May 15, 2024

    One always meets some very interesting characters when traveling. My wife and I do our fair share of traveling at this stage of our lives. We have family that live in all parts of the United States. Besides Wisconsin, we have family in Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, Alabama, Louisiana, and Montana. We’ve been to most or all of those places to visit at one time or another. Sometimes we drive. And other times we fly. It just depends on the situation and t...

  • Point To Ponder

    Dan Stevens|May 15, 2024

    “Why do I have to learn this stuff? I’m never going to use it.” You hear that question in almost every Algebra and high level math class across the country, and students have been asking it for decades. I was no different. When I was a student, I never asked that question - but I thought about it - A LOT. I’m sure we all did at one time or another. In our teenage years, when we’re trying to assert your adulthood, rebellion is natural, and if we didn’t see the value in something ... why were we...

  • Farm Bureau Beat

    Victoria Hansen|May 15, 2024

    Some of the people closest to me are involved in the agriculture industry. When my husband and I got married, over half of our bridal party was involved in the agriculture industry. That might explain why we got married in December. It is simple to say that many of the people that are near and dear to me are involved in agriculture in one way or the other. This means I worry about them during planting and harvesting season, when they are putting in longer hours and are moving from field to...

  • Preacher's Piece

    Kevin Cernak|May 8, 2024

    Someone called the other day asking if I had time to come over and chat for a while. We worked out a time and before we hung up I asked him if there was anything in particular he wanted to talk about. He hesitated for a moment and then said, “Yes, my funeral.” I get those kinds of calls every once in a while. People want to get their affairs in order and they figure the best person to talk to is the preacher. When I talked to the gentleman mentioned above, we had a grand old time going back ove...

  • Point To Ponder

    Chuck Brinkley|May 8, 2024

    My brother's a (beep). For some reason, Dan made me the subject of his column – complaining about having to live with me for the past year, and talking about how happy he was that my wife and I now have our own home. Well, in the words of Paul Harvey ... "And now, the rest of the story." Living with Dan is no picnic. Yes, I have a habit of coming home after work and taking a nap on the couch. And while, he says I snore, there's no proof of that – but more on that later. The point is, I act...

  • From The Desk Down State

    Andrew Chesney|May 8, 2024

    As your Senator of the 45th District, I am privileged to be the legislative voice of about 220,000 citizens in Northwest Illinois. I gauge opinions and priorities by reaching out to the public through mailed surveys, town hall meetings, telephone town hall events, conversations at coffee shops and other places where people gather, or by simply stopping by your door for a quick chat. The results of these efforts are three-fold. First, they ensure my constituency is appropriately represented in...

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