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The Journal’s headlines and highlights of 2020

File Photo: Tracy Hornaday
Cole Cunningham, Brynn Tabeling, Jake Kibler, and Jalen Quinn were chosen for the All-State Tournament team during their Holiday Hoopla tournament.

File Photos: Stephanie Wierman
Pictured from Villa Grove High School is SAR recipient Samuel Reno, with his parents Chad and Cindy Reno, and DAR recipient, Grace Hutchison, with her parents Stuart and Bridget Hutchinson.
Pictured from Tuscola High School is DAR recipient Kelsey Slaughter, with her parents Bob and Julie Slaughter. The SAR recipient, Emma Zimmer, daughter of Rodney and Lora Zimmer was unable to attend.

Submitted File Photo
Easter celebrations looked a little different this year in Tuscola and Villa Grove with the shelter-in-place order in effect in Illinois. Thankfully, the Easter Bunny got a ride with Villa Grove Fire and Rescue around Villa Grove.


Submitted File Photo
Amy Griffith and her shift of nurses wearing their donations made by Mask Makers for Douglas County.


File Photo: Rachel Ray
2020 Junior Miss Tuscola Kate Foltz, Miss Tuscola Kali Pierce, and Little Miss Avery Cleland.


Submitted File Photo
Newly crowned Miss Villa Grove queens include Junior Miss Addisyn Wilson, Little Miss VIlla Grove Paisley Miller, and Miss Villa Grove Ava Vollmer.

By Kendra Hennis
2020 was a year unlike any we have ever experienced. Before we close the book on the year and move to 2021, take a moment to reflect on our headlines and highlights of 2020. 

Tuscola Firefighters Jim Heath, Joe Carter, Jason Mills, Tim Bloomer, AJ Coady, Ian Harp, Brent Wilson, Corey Roberts and Fire Chief Brian Moody were thanked for their service during a city council meeting. 

The Douglas County Board passed a three percent cannabis tax on all sales in Douglas County. 

Tuscola girls basketball’s Marissa Russo and Brynn Tabeling put the bow on top for the girls win at the Central Illinois Conference. 

Tuscola Warriors make history Holiday Hoopla style with the boy’s first championship at the tournament. Cole Cunningham, Brynn Tabeling, Jake Kibler, and Jalen Quinn were chosen for the All-Tournament team during the tournament. 

The Villa Grove Devilettes and Junior Devilettes scored first place in the Villa Grove home competition. 

Villa Grove students Taylor Wilson, Haley Sappenfield, Madison Burwell, Kyleigh Block, Taylor Orwick, Heather Rentfro, Kristen Foreman, Chase Burwell, Beau Beesley, Samantha Stevens, Connor Block, Luke Zimmerman and Ierik Sorenson prepared to take the 2020 Polar Plunge as part of the Special Olympics. 

Ta’Carbon Steak House prepared for their opening… coming soon on Route 36. 

Villa Grove junior Kyleigh Block scored her 1000th basket.

The Tuscola City Council celebrated Alderman Danny Cleland for his 20 years of service to the council following his resignation for February 1. 

The Villa Grove Fire Department celebrated the season with a holiday dinner and awards banquet where they honored Captain Pat Lake with the Firefighter of the Year Award, Ryan Williams with the Ironman Award, and Keith Shields with the Firefighter of the Year Award. 

Tuscola IGA talks big changes to come in the future with their purchase of the former Shopko building. 

Villa Grove’s Dan Sappenfield celebrates 200th coaching victory. 

Tuscola City Council appoints Mike Morris to the board to fill the vacancy left by Danny Cleland. 

Kaitlin Rund, Amariah Hays, Terra Carter-Smith and Nathan Burton announced their candidacies for the office of Douglas County Circuit Clerk. 

Tuscola girls’ basketball seniors go out on top in senior night game. Seniors Grace Voyles and Abbey Jacob were honored before the game. 

SAR/DAR Good Citizens’ Luncheon hosted February 8. Villa Grove seniors Sam Reno and Grace Hutchison and Tuscola seniors Kelsey Slaughter and Emma Zimmer were honored at the event. 

Villa Grove High School takes first place in the World Youth in Science and Engineering Regional (WYSE) Competition. 

Braxton Moody, a sixth grader at East Prairie Middle School, won the district spelling bee. 

Tuscola Warriors celebrated seniors at a home game on February 14. Seniors Jacob Kibler, Ben Dixon, Silas Hortin, Cameron Homann Nick Williams, Max Wyninger as well as cheerleaders Bryona Lee and Julia Kerkhoff, and band members Elena Birchenough, Eric Brewer, River Kanitz, Jeff Reed, and Julia Kerkhoff were honored before the game. 

Nellie Gilpin retires after 50 plus years as court reporter. 

Villa Grove Scholastic bowl sweeps at Lincoln Prairie Conference Tournament; basketball season ends in a loss against the St. Joseph Ogden Spartans. 

Tuscola Warriors exit March Madness at 2A Regional Championship following a loss against Paxton-Buckley-Loda. The Warriors finished the season with a 26-4 season. 

Bob Faust prepares for a reduced role at Joines Funeral Home as Jake Reifsteck joins staff. 

The Rural Life Antique Show was held in Tuscola on March 6 and 7. 

The Tuscola Community High School Drama department presented their 2020 spring musical, The Addams Family. 

Tuscola City Council grants Mayor Kleiss emergency powers following the state of emergency declared in Tuscola on March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jake Eversole and Logan Nohren on the Villa Grove Heritage basketball team make All-Conference teams.

Douglas County Board declares a state of emergency in Douglas County on March 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Threats of COVID-17 virus bring a low voter turnout in primary election. 

Villa Grove City Council meets to enact emergency measures on March 20, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Villa Grove schools planning for unprecedented times with a large construction project underway and the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TCHS sophomore Jalen Quinn gardners attention during his 2019-2020 basketball season. 

Four Villa Grove Blue Devils named to the Lincoln Prairie Conference girls All-Conference teams. These included Kyleigh Block, Aliya Holloman, Sammy Campbell and Jordyn Ray. 

Easter celebrations throughout Douglas County looked a little different this year with the state’s shelter-in-place order in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Easter Bunny made his way around the towns with the help of the Tuscola Fire Department and Villa Grove Fire and Rescue. 

Family Service of Champaign County extends senior services to Douglas County residents. 

Lenny Sementi showcased twenty-five years of Tuscola Warrior football pride and pork chops. 

Villa Grove Board of Education hires Carol Munson, former East Prairie Principal, as their new superintendent. 

Tuscola’s Hornaday Family shows what it means to bleed black and gold. 

Mask Makers for Douglas County helped those in need by supplying a large number of handmade masks to Douglas County residents. 

Douglas County honors Joe Victor’s life of service to Douglas County following his passing on May 5. 

2020 Warrior softball seniors Abbey Jacob, Sophia James, and Carisa Denny discuss the season that never ended. 

Tuscola’s Mrs. Craddock retires after thirty-three years as choral director at East Prarie and Tuscola High School. 

Tony Hooker featured various Villa Grove Heritage seniors in the spring sports senior spotlight. 

Tuscola High School celebrates 2020 graduates with a virtual graduation and a graduation march down Main Street in Tuscola. 

Villa Grove’s Grace Hutchison named to the Illinois Journalism Education Association All-State team. 

Villa Grove Board of Education votes to end co-op with Heritage. 

2020 Miss Tuscola Royalty was crowned at an outdoor pageant. Newly crowned queens include Little Miss Avery Cleland, Junior Miss Kate Foltz, and Miss Tuscola Kali Pierce.

Tuscola celebrates Mary Williams for her 25 years with Tuscola schools. 

Tuscola students crowned Cameron Homann and Emma Zimmer as this year’s prom king and queen. 

Jared Vanausdoll, former assistant principal and athletic director for Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond, was hired as the new East Prairie Middle School Principal. 

Newly crowned Villa Grove pageant queens included Little Miss Villa Grove Paisley Miller, Junior Miss Addisyn Wilson, and Miss Villa Grove Ava Vollmer. 

Douglas County Board appoints Heather Skinner to Douglas County coroner vacancy. 

Bob Rea was named the new Villa Grove Chief of Police at a special city council meeting on June 15. 

Superintendent Norm Tracy was honored with a plaque celebrating his retirement from Villa Grove schools during the June 18 board of education meeting.

Check out next week’s edition for the second half of our headlines and highlights.

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