Local News

Centralia Home Show

Centralia Chamber Executive Director pleased with Home Show

Some of those attending the Centralia Home Expo over the weekend at the Centralia Recreation Center.  Photo by Pat Hodges.

Centralia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcus Holland is pleased with the results of the Home Expo over the weekend.

He assessed the success of the show as it was closing Sunday afternoon.

“We had an excellent 16th annual Show.  The vendors are excited because they had great crowds Saturday and Sunday both.  The food trucks were a great addition I know Baldies BBQ sold out of pork yesterday and they were open today with extra people buying so we were happy with the turnout.”

As far as next year is concerned.

“Looking to do something different.  Adding different games to give out door prizes was fun addition we might do something different with that too.  And talking to exhibitors afterward we will see if there are any other tweaks we can do.”

Up next is the Salem Chamber of Commerce home show. It will be a one day show this year on Saturday, March 7th, from 8 am to 6 pm.

See a photo gallery from Centralia Home Show shot by Pat Hodges:


Sandoval High School’s 59th Homecoming

Sandoval High School and 20th Century Fox presents greatest movie remakes as their theme for the school’s 59th Homecoming.  The 59th queen and the 33rd king will be crowned Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6pm.

The theme was chosen by student council and the Homecoming coordinators.  The event has been in the planning since October.  We have kids of all ages set to entertain.  The festivities are celebrated at both the Pre-K/elementary School and the Jr/Sr High School.  It has become a town wide celebration.

The themed dress up days were selected by the Student Council at the high school, the junior high and the grade school coordinators.  Students are encouraged to dress up for each Homecoming Themed Day and follow handbook rules.

Senior High Theme Days

Tuesday – Pajama Day

Wednesday – Way Back Wednesday (Dress in your favorite decade)

Thursday – Tacky Tourist

Friday – Class Colors Day (Fr./Blue, Soph./Green, Jr./Pink, Sr./Yellow)


Jr High Theme Days

Tuesday – Hats and Shades Day

Wednesday – MEME Day

Thursday – Athletes v. Mathletes

Friday –  Spirit Day


Pre-K-6th Grade:

Tuesday – Pajama Day

Wednesday – Twin Day

Thursday – Tacky Tourist/Hats and Sunglasses Day

Friday – School Spirit Day


Saturday’s events will begin at 6pm sharp.  Doors will open at 5.  Due to limited parking, people are asked to carpool or take advantage of the shuttle bus that will run to and from the high school making stops at the elementary building, the Methodist Church, Pentecostal Church and the St. Lawrence Catholic Church.

There is handicapped seating available for the person and one guest.  Frank Fair will be the shuttle driver.  ESDA will be on hand during the event for parking control and the Sandoval Fire Department/EMS will also be on hand for any emergency, the Homecoming committee appreciates each for their assistance.

Advance tickets on sale now at the high school until Friday, Feb. 21st.  Adults $6, Students $5, Kids 4 and under are free.  Tickets at the door on the night of the event are Adults $7, Students $6.

The event will begin with an introduction by alumni Brenda Kunick.  After introduction of the court, there will be recognition of pasty royalty and special alumni by Missy Hoffmann Schlau.  A special presentation will be given to a dedicated Blackhawk Fan and community member.

After the entertainment portion, the King and Queen will be crowned.  Their photographer will be available for any person attending who would like pictures.  Following the event, tours of the high school renovations are available.  There will be a dance for any alumni and students grades 7-12 until 10pm.

Jr High will be in the cafeteria and High School including any alumni may visit and dance and reminisce in the Gym and the lobby.  SHS alunmi’s Jeff/Heather Day will DJ the dance.

The Homecoming coordinators once again thank everyone involved in this event. Its takes a team to make this happen.

The students work really hard and have alot of late nights juggling full schedules to perform at their absolute best on that night.  Special Thanks to Alumni Jeremy Johnston & Johnston Jewelers for donation of Crown/Scepter Kelly Knolhoff with Kelly’s for the Occasion for the décor and for the Tuxes, Nick Rockwell out of Collinsville for light and sound productions and all of the media and Alumni and community members who make this happen.


The Court:
2019 Retiring King Mack Weiss

2019 Retiring Queen Jalynn Day

Crown Bearers 1st grade students, Julian Sharkey and Hunter Timmons

Flower Girls 1st grade students Jacey Moore and Tyanna Tomes

Freshman attendant and escort Rheagan Rollinson and Brock Beckmann

Freshman usherette:  Destiny Schniers

Sophomore attendant and escort Nevaeh Andrews and Drew Hill

Sophomore usherette:  Lexie Cameron

Junior attendant and escort Morgan Weiss and Gage Rollinson

Junior usherette; Isabelle Moore

Senior Queen Candidates

Kenzi Gelsinger, Hope Beckmann, Jasmin Tarlton and Bailee Dykstra

Senior King Candidates

Seth Gelsinger, Briar Kelso, Jacob Pritchard and Daniel DeMaris

Senior Usherette:  Dasani Schaedler

Master and Mistress of Ceremonies Caden Gore and Megan Parson

For further information, please call 247-3450 (grade school)

wildcat logo

Salem Youth Wrestling Program ask for high school wrestling

Supporters of youth wrestling in Salem proposed the start of a high school wrestling program to the Salem Community High School Board Monday night. No decision was made.

Amber Metcalf, the mother of Junior Keaton Mitchell, would like to see the team begin next year. They moved from Carlyle where wrestling was offered.

“When we moved here we realized they didn’t have a wrestling team.  Which we were kind of bummed about but it is what it is.  I was trying to maybe start something for him, he’s a junior now and he’s a pretty gosh darn good wrestler.”

Supporters of the program said they would assist in funding the sport at the high school level. The group is also working on starting a youth wrestling program in Salem, with youth wrestlers currently participating in Mt. Vernon and Centralia.

Superintendent Dr. Brad Detering says there are a number of issues that will have to be addressed before a decision is made on adding wrestling as a winter sport.

“The last two sports started in this format was boys and girls soccer and boys and girls bowling.  What had happened in both of those instances was it was privately fundraised for the cost except the district did provide transportation.  Basically what you are looking at.  But in terms of uniform and equipment costs, coaches…well actually coaches didn’t take a stipend for the first 3 years, and then after that, the Board would take it up and see if it was something they would want to add on and at that point would pick up all the costs associated.”

Detering says the use of volunteers would also require approval from the Salem High Teachers Association.

In other action, the board approved a letter of resignation from Girls Volleyball Coach Christy Gillett.

Jessiycka Nix Coleman headshot

Salem Chamber of Commerce names new Executive Director

The Salem Chamber of Commerce has selected a Centralia woman involved in business promotion as their next Executive Director.

Jessiycka Coleman is really excited about starting the new position on Tuesday and helping Salem grow.

“I think it’s a perfect fit.  When you think about my background the past couple of years since 2017, I’ve done nothing but work with small businesses, entrepreneurs, home-based businesses, our downtown municipality, anyone to see how we can help Centralia grow.  Working on marketing pieces and events, that’s my life and that’s what this position is about.  It’s about how you can help grow the economy and stimulate social activity in your community.  It’s a perfect messing win-win opportunity for me and Salem I believe. ”

Coleman is a 1994 Salem Community High School grad, earned an Associate of Arts degree from Kaskaskia College, and attended Northern Illinois University at DeKalb before being recruited by a large corporation where she worked for 16 years before moving back to Centralia.

“I do want to start building partnerships and relationships with the community.  I obviously grew up here, but I’ve been gone for 20 years.  My first step is to build relationships with business owners, with the community members, with the municipality and see what I can do to support them, to see what they are looking for and missing, and create some amazing events.  Some of my ideas I’ve come up with for Centralia I’d like to create for Salem as well.”

Coleman is most proud of the Monster Crawl held in October the past two years as a promotion for the Rail Coffee House in downtown Centralia.   She notes it has grown to include visitors from two hours away and a tourist destination.

Coleman also pointed to her work on the Centralia Tourism Board and their first-ever multi-faceted Christmas event this year.   She was just in the process of starting a Downtown Centralia Co-Op to help downtown businesses she will now turn over to someone else.   She feels similar activities would work to promote Salem as well.

Coleman believes they can have a bigger impact if the Salem Chamber works with the Centralia and Mt. Vernon Chambers among others.

Chamber of Commerce President Chris Daniels says Coleman was one of nine applicants and one of five interviewed.

“We had interviewed several fantastic candidates. Jessica Coleman came to the interviews she seemed to have the passion and ideas we felt were consistent with improving and increasing the objective of the Chamber of Commerce so we voted she would be our new Executive Director”

Daniels says the chamber board also wants to thank outgoing Executive Director Tabitha Meador for continuing to work on the home show and other chamber projects until a replacement was found.  The chamber board also wishes her the best in her new position as the city’s Economic Development Director.

SIU School of Medicine

SIU Medical School to pilot state prison health care

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will provide health care for inmates at two prisons in a test which the school hopes can expand.

Dean and provost Jerry Kruse said Monday the $5 million pilot project with the Illinois Department of Corrections is in keeping with the school’s mission of universally adequate health care as well as a chance for economic expansion.

It’s unclear how the plan will affect inmate health services provided by Wexford Health Sources. The Pittsburgh-based Wexford has been criticized for staff shortages and inadequate care. Its 10-year, $1.4 billion contract expires next year.

Centralia Fire Generic

Electrical problem starts fire at Centralia home

Centralia city firemen say an electrical problem started a fire in the attic of a Centralia home early Monday morning.

Firemen were called to the Page Hopkins home at 101 Randolph Drive after the residents reported smelling smoke. The fire was found in the attic above the kitchen. Firemen had to remove the kitchen ceiling to put out the fire.

Damage was limited to the ceiling and wiring. No smoke damage was reported. Firemen were called at 1:45 Monday morning. They were on the scene for about an hour.

National News

Two women found dead in sunken car that plunged off ferry, police say

robyvannucci/iStock(MIAMI) — Two people are dead after their car fell off a ferry and plunged into the waters between Florida’s Miami Beach and Fisher Island.The Miami-Dade Police Department said the incident happened on Tuesday around 4 p.m. local time, as the Fisher Island Ferry was transporting vehicles from the island. A blue 2019 Mercedes Benz…read more »

Crime ring suspects stalked rich victims to steal millions in jewelry: Authorities

South Florida State Attorney(MIAMI) — Authorities in South Florida have uncovered an alleged organized crime ring in which nearly a dozen suspects stalked wealthy residents, including New York Yankees star pitcher Aroldis Chapman, to steal millions of dollars’ worth of jewelry.The discovery resulted from a long-term investigation into an alleged drug trafficking organization that handled…read more »

Missing 76-year-old hiker found alive, authorities say

Marin County Sheriff’s Office(MARIN COUNTY, Calif.) — An elderly man who had vanished while hiking in Northern California was found alive Tuesday night, authorities said.Robert Bennett, 76, was reported missing on Monday after he failed to return from a hike in a Marin County nature preserve. The Marin County Sheriff’s Office had said Bennett was…read more »

Four people found dead inside tent in Delaware, foul play not suspected

carlballou/iStock(STANTON, Del.) — Four people were found dead inside a tent in a wooded area of Delaware Tuesday, according to Delaware State Police.The investigation is in its early stages, police said, but at this time, authorities say foul play is not suspected. Information about how the victims died has not been released.Police responded to a…read more »