Thumbs up to the Murphysboro Red Devils football team for placing second in the Class 4A playoffs. The season didn’t have the fairy-tale ending coach Gary Carter, his players and legions of Murphysboro fans wanted, the Red Devils fell to Richmond-Burton, 50-14, in the state championship game. But, the 2019 Red Devils will go down in history as the most decorated team in Murphysboro history. Although members of the 10-win teams from 1958, 1978 and 1981 may argue they could have played with this year’s team, the 2019 Red Devils were the first Murphysboro team to record 11 wins in a season. This was the first Murphysboro football team to advance to a state championship game. And, the adversity faced by this team is well-documented. Had a mid-season teacher’s strike lasted a couple more weeks, the Red Devils may have missed the playoffs. However, the issues were resolved and the football team never missed a beat. Congratulations to coach Carter, the Red Devils and all their fans. It was a season to remember.
Thumbs up to the Nashville Hornets football team for placing second in the Class 2A playoffs. The Hornets, a team made up primarily of juniors and sophomores, may be a year ahead of schedule. The Hornets breezed through the regular season at 8-1, losing only to SIRR Mississippi conference champion Du Quoin. The Hornets plowed through the postseason before bowing to Sterling Newman, 35-14, in the 2A championship game. Although the score appears lopsided, the Hornets acquitted themselves well, falling victim to their own turnovers. This marks the second time Nashville finished second in the state. The 1998 squad finished 13-1, its only loss coming to Maple Park Kaneland in the championship game. Certainly, this edition of the Hornets will be remembered as one of the school’s great teams.
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Thumbs down to the closing an iconic Carbondale business, Arnold’s Market. Owner Rodney Kroenlein, who plans to retire, put the market up for sale last February. However, there were no buyers for the grocery store, which has been in business for 47 years. The closure date is set at Dec. 18, but reduced inventory may dictate an earlier closing. In a Facebook message posted earlier this week, Kroenlein said, “Although we are closing our doors, we encourage you to continue to support local business efforts in the region. We would like to take this time to thank our wonderful employees and loyal customers. It has been a pleasure serving the community for the past 47 years.” It is the end of an era.
Thumbs up to the hundreds of volunteers who gave of their time, who sacrificed time with their own families to prepare Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate last week. It is in the true spirit of the holiday that people give of themselves to help others. It is particularly uplifting to see organizations throughout Southern Illinois step up during the holiday season. And, these meals not only benefit those who are struggling financially, but also those with no family. For most of us, it is inconceivable to observe Thanksgiving and not be surrounded by those we love the most.
Thumbs up to the resource fair being held today at Southeastern Illinois College near Harrisburg. State and local officials organized the event to help miners affected by the Dec. 14 closure of the Arclar Complex that will cost about 225 miners their jobs. “We just hope to ease some fears and let them know there are some opportunities out there for them,” said Lori Cox, associate dean of Workforce and Community education at SIC. “We want to help make them aware of what opportunities may be out there. When you have over 200 people losing their job right at Christmas, it makes it hard.” Recruiters from several companies hiring in manufacturing, corrections, law enforcement, trucking and various trades will be in attendance.