Tuesday, April 1, 2014

OUR TOWN: A Series of Profiles on the Citizens of Monmouth

By Bryant Salyers

    Is basketball just a game or a life lesson? Monmouth-Roseville Head Basketball coach, Chuck Grant, says that basketball is more than just a game. Grant grew up on a farm in a small town in Warren County. His dad was a hard working individual who was a sort of no-nonsense guy. Grant’s mom was a diligent stay-at-home mother, and some might say she was on the verge of having OCD.  “Mom was a stay at home mom who kept the cleanest house in the world.  Seriously, if I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, my bed was made when I came back”, says Grant.

      Coach Grant might have one certain individual to thank him for getting into coaching, and that is Dick Mings. Mr. Mings was his basketball coach growing up.  Mings was a great role model for Grant, and he was the definition of a class act both on and off of the court. Grant did not think he was going to get into coaching at first, but eventually caved in and accepted an offer to coach junior high basketball. After a few years, Grant loved coaching and was eventually offered a job to help coach at the junior varsity level. Grant felt from the beginning that he had something to offer high school kids not only on the floor, but more importantly off of it, and that is exactly what Grant is achieving.

     Grant not only teaches his men the “Xs and Os” of high school basketball, but also very important life lessons. When asked about how he thinks he prepares athletes for life after high school, Grant stated, “I think that's what sports are all about.  I think a person can learn more about themselves when they play a sport than just about any other activity.  I've never bought into that whole dumb jock thing, ya know?  I think that when you play a sport, you challenge yourself.  That challenge comes with both its successes and failures, just like life.  Anybody can live their life when things are going well, but what will you do when things are not?  You digging your heals in and fighting, or making excuses why you're not. . . The thing that we try to do with our players is to tie the two together; Sports and life.” 

     The Monmouth-Roseville boys’ basketball team’s season came to a brutal ending at the hands of the number one ranked team in division 2A boys’ basketball. Monmouth-Roseville easily won its first regional game against its opponent, the Farmington Famers. Monmouth-Roseville won by the score of 92-58, improving to a record of 17-4, moving into the regional championship game against their regional rivals, Macomb Bombers. This most anticipated game of the year took place on the bombers home court. Some would say that this would be a disadvantage for the Titans and that is exactly what took place until two minutes were left in the fourth quarter. With time winding down and the hopes and dreams of the Titan players in the hands of the Bombers, the Titans fought back from being down by 10. In last seconds of the fourth quarter, Monmouth-Roseville guard, Martel Hunter passed the ball to his fellow big man Trayvon Smith. Smith turned around and put up a last second shot to tie and it went through the hoop. The game was to be decided in overtime.

      The excitement did not stop there, with the seasons’ ends in plain sight for the Titans once again, they fought back and thanks to a last second buzzer beater by senior guard, Martel Hunter, the Titans won the Regional Championship by a score of 62-61 and moved on to Sectionals. This was the game that the Monmouth-Roseville boys were “licking its chops for”, a chance to prove themselves against the number one team in the State for 2A, the 27-0 Rockridge Rockets. Their dreams of winning a State Championship came to an end at the hands of the undefeated Rockets by a score of 76-51. The Titans ended its season finishing with a record of 18-5. The Titans are losing 4 of the 5 starters next season due to graduation, but have a lot of young talented players wanting to prove themselves and to push Chuck Grant and Titans boys’ basketball season even farther next year. 



Saturday, February 8, 2014

OUR TOWN: A Series of Profiles on the Prople of Monmouth

Monmouth Fire Chief
By Paige Elizabeth Nord

     For Casey Rexroat, September 11, 2001 was more than a national tragedy.  It was a life changing moment.    Casey had always wanted to be a fire fighter, but it was the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that convinced him to make firefighting a career.  Rexroat was inspired by how firefighters from across the country came together to help the other fallen firefighters on 9/11.   “I guess you could say that the team aspect or brotherhood is what inspired me.  I believe that firefighting is one of the best jobs in the world.  I know that it will never pay as well as some other jobs, but the fulfillment you get from helping others in their time of need and being able to do something that you love is what makes the job great”.  Casey Rexroat along with the other firefighters at the fire station in Monmouth, IL think of themselves as just regular people doing what they love to do.  

Originally from the Macomb area, Casey Rexroat has been the fire chief at the Monmouth Fire Department for about a year and a half .  His daily responsibilities include communicating with other departments, shift scheduling, payroll, and most importantly responding to emergencies.  Casey started with the Monmouth Fire Department as a firefighter, then he became captain, and now he is the current fire chief.  

Rexroat immediately started pursuing his fire fighter career after 9/11.   “I always thought beforehand it was really hard and competitive to get on a fire department because there are so many people that want to be one and there are so few openings.  I was always a little discouraged by that, but after 9/11 happened I thought I would go ahead and give it a shot and I started testing a couple places and did fairly well on their tests.  I tested everywhere and took the first opportunity I could get”. Casey Rexroat was hired by the Monmouth Fire Department in 2005 and has worked his way up through the ranks until he was appointed to Fire Chief in the fall of 2012. 

 Before Rexroat joined the department he received his Emergency Management Technician (EMT) certification; however, the majority of his training and education was obtained after he was hired by the fire department.  He currently has an associate’s degree in fire science and a bachelor’s degree in fire administration.

 Rexroat finds helping people in their emergency situations the most rewarding part of his job.  He said, “I take a lot of pride in having a fire department.  Sometimes we don’t realize it because it is our job, but we go out and help these people that just had a fire and are displaced and don’t have anything.  Being able to help them is what is most fulfilling about my job”.  His most memorable fire was the large Wells Pet Food fire in 2006.  Casey was a firefighter at the time and it was a fire that lasted for about three days.  The fire department returned to Wells Pet Food over a two week period until the fire was completely extinguished. 
Although Casey has not received any awards in his firefighting career, it is evident Casey is a hard worker during the day.  He has put in numerous hours of work outside of his normal working hours to further his education in his career as a firefighter.  His advice to those seeking to become a firefighter is to achieve a college degree or medical background certification, since many departments are making this a requirement before one is allowed to apply due to the increasing standards of medical training.

In addition to Rexroat’s busy forty hour work week, he is a husband and a loving father of three small children including two girls and one boy all ranging from the ages of three to ten years old.  Some of his hobbies include hunting, fishing, and helping coach his daughters’ softball team with his wife. During the summer months he especially enjoys going on vacation with his family. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

OUR TOWN Profiles of Monmouth

Jane Hartley Pratt 

  By Mackenzie Mahler

“You tell Billy that we don’t fight; we sue.” Originally advice to their son, this is the philosophy that reigned in the Pratt household, and with two lawyers, it makes perfect sense. Local attorney Jane Hartley Pratt is a pillar of the Monmouth community through both her law practice and her service in the local Rotary Club. The Indianapolis native migrated to Monmouth with her late husband, Channing L. Pratt from Washington, D.C.

Pratt graduated from Indiana University’s Law School in 1955. When she entered the school, she was the only woman in the program. “[Dealing with the gender inequality] was a challenge until they realized I was there to graduate, not just to get a man,” said Pratt. “I think it’s best typified by when I walked in the building… we were in an old building and had to walk up a short flight of steps, and there were three fellas standing there. One of them looked down and in a snide comment said, ‘Well, she’s in the wrong building.’ And, I just said, ‘No she’s not!’” By the time she graduated, two other women had joined the program.

“Most of the fellas were great,” said Pratt. “We had – my husband and I – had such special friendships with two of them and their spouses.

Eventually, Pratt and her husband moved to back Monmouth – her husband had roots in Roseville – and took up residence at a local law practice. “I can’t imagine spending your career not sharing it with a spouse,” said Pratt of working with her husband at the firm Beal, Pratt, & Pratt. “It worked great for us. It wouldn’t work for a lot of people, but his personality was such with mine that it worked well.”

In addition to working together, the two got to know members in the community better through different gatherings in town. They didn’t stick to your average book club, however. Instead, Pratt described how the couple formed a gourmet club with several other couples in town and learned how to cook sophisticated dishes. “We were also original members of the wine club in town,” said Pratt. “The club started in 1975, and although I’m the only one left from the original group, we’re still finding out new things about wine.”

Pratt reminisced on raising her three children in Monmouth and how thankful she is that she had this small community to lean on. “It’s nice knowing that if you really need help, you can get it… or give it,” said Pratt. “Monmouth was a great place for raising children. You knew who their friends were and could kind of keep track of things… There were times our kids did things that they don’t know I know about and still don’t know I know about to this day, but we found out from the other parents. In that sense, it’s been a great place to raise children.”
She doesn’t just love the community she lives in, but Pratt actively gives back to Monmouth by serving as the local Rotary Club’s president. “Rotary is an extremely worthwhile organization, and I think we all have to step up and take our turn at leadership. I really consider it a privilege to work with that group,” said Pratt.

“Working with Jane has been an awesome experience,” said Rotaract president and Monmouth College junior, Jake McLean. “It’s apparent how much she cares about the Monmouth community and the people that she works with. Her care for the community is what inspires me and others to continue helping out wherever we can.”

In addition to serving as Rotary president, Jane still practices law full-time at Beal, Pratt, & Pratt with partner Andrew L. Youngquist.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


By Adam Ruble

            Large crowds of activists, including a contingent from Warren County,  marched at the state capital in Springfield in October in support of marriage equality.  Included in the Warren County group were 20 Monmouth college students who made the trip to the capitol on a cold and rainy day.   According to organizers, the march  at the capitol on October 22nd will go down in Illinois history as the largest event, in terms of attendees, to ever gather in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender  (LGBT community in Illinois.  An estimated 5,000 supporters of Senate Bill 10 took part in the March.

            Anne Begley, one of the Monmouth students who went to the event was overjoyed at the sight of all of the supporters. Later she commented, “It is wonderful to see all of this support and passion for this cause. I couldn't imagine not being able to marry a person that I love and I wouldn't want anyone to be deprived of that right.” She also said, “So many people are in support of same-sex marriage but it is amazing to see a group of students who are actually doing something about it.” In talking to Begley after the bill was passed, it was obvious how happy she was that she had been a part of the momentous day. She simply said, “One of the speakers started a chant as we began marching, 'Pass the damn bill!' and that is just what happened.” That speaker was Bishop Carlton Pearson and he was the keynote speaker for the March on Springfield.

            After all of the organizing for the event and with the huge number of people that were in attendance, not to mention the years of work prior to bring equality to the LGBT community, there was still doubt that the bill would pass or that it would even come to a vote during this three week session of legislation. Governor Pat Quinn expressed a feeling of urgency when he spoke at the march stating, “This is our hour. This is our moment.”

            The bill was easily passed in the senate more than five months before but, even though it was called to a vote during legislation in May in the Illinois General Assembly, it was never called to the floor. The vote was called up last minute on Tuesday and won with a vote of 61 to 54. It has long been known that Quinn supported this bill and would sign it when it passed. It is now confirmed that he will be signing the bill later this month at the University of Illinois.  In a statement, Quinn said, "Marriage equality is coming to Illinois. I look forward to signing this landmark legislation on November 20 and celebrating a big step forward with the people of Illinois."


Sunday, November 10, 2013


By Elisha French

           In a close vote, Galesburg’s controversial dog ordinance was altered through amendments last week.  The amendments focused on tethering dogs on private property and lengthened the leash required on public property.  The ordinance which had been in final reading has been tabled until the new amendments have been added to the ordinance. 

            Action on the ordinance was dominated by 3rd Ward Alderman Russell Fleming.  Fleming proposed three amendments to the ordinance.  The first was to remove the requirement that a dog be at all times on a leash or tethered when outside in a private yard.  The second amendment gave the council affirmation power over the animal control officer position.  Finally the third amendment moved the leash length from 6 feet to 8 feet.

            The first amendment would now state that an owner of sound body and mind has to be present with the dog when outside on private property.  2nd Ward Alderman Wayne Dennis brought up issues presented by the ordinance of being able to enjoy the dog even on public sites like Lake Story.  Even former proponent, 1st Ward Alderman Ken Goad spoke that the rules on private property restraint were excessive. 

            7th Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin spoke for ordinance as written stating that the issues of personal property and public safety have to be weighed and that in his estimation public safety should win.  Karlin chaired the committee responsible for the ordinance.  When asked later if the amendments would hurt the effectiveness, Karlin replied, “To some extent they weaken the ordinance but not fatally so.” 

            While this was going on Galesburg resident Dolly Sprinkle was sitting in the front row with a letter in her hand.  She was visibly upset at the proposed amendments.  When asked why she stated, “It started with a tragedy but so many things have come forward because of this… I saw that (forward progress) happening with these ordinances.  They weren’t perfect but they were better.  To take a step back and say no now.”  The tragedy referred to was the death of seven year old Ryan Maxwell in March due to a dog attack. 

            Sprinkle tried to speak right before the vote but Mayor John Pritchard told her that it was no longer time to have a public discussion.  When asked what she wanted to speak about, she said, “I had a letter from my ten year old son who was friends with Ryan and has been following this closely.  I just wanted to read his letter because that is what I told him I would do.”

            The vote took place and the first new amendment took an initial 4-3 affirmative vote before 4th Ward Alderman Corine Anderson changed her vote to yes.   The rest of the amendments flew through with relative easy.  The ordinance was then tabled until all changes could be put into writing.  When asked about possibility that the ordinance could now die, Fleming responded, “I don’t think that is going to happen.  I think there is too much support for some of the changes.”

Sprinkle is hopefully for other changes.  “Hopefully someone will come back, maybe Jeremy Karlin, and will try and make the in your yard thing more substantial,” stated Sprinkle.  The ordinance will be back on the table at the City Council meeting on November 18th at 6:30pm.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


At least one function of the Affordable Health Care website appears to be running smoothly.   The software designed to verify the identity of applicants passed several tests conducted by journalism students at Monmouth College.  Each student assumed a fictitious name and social security number to determine if the web site would allow the student to proceed with registration using the fictitious name.  The software in the web site succeeded in blocking the entry of students who could not be verified.   The attempts to test the system are described in the following reports..

·         In my first attempt at using a fictitious identity, I was able to create an account and proceed until the social security check kicked me out.  Apparently the Social Security numbers are being checked through Experian.  Experian is a credit checking bureau.  Then, I tried again with my personal information but was unable to create an account due an error in the system.  I was instructed by the site to try again .  Elisha French


·         The first time I tried creating a Marketplace Account, I used an alias name and a nonexistent email address to see how far I could get into the system. After clicking submit, I was told that my account could not be created at this time. I tried again using another false identity, but this time a real email address. I was able to get a little bit further this time and actually create a Marketplace Account. I was then asked to verify my identity. I gave a fictitious social security number, address, and telephone number. After clicking submit again, I was told that my account could not be created because my identity could not be verified. According to the website, I needed to review my information and try submitting my application again. Christiana Durante


·         To see how far I could get through the website, I created a fictitious person who would be applying for the health care insurance.  I also made an email account using that fictitious person’s name.  My attempt at applying for health care seemed positive at first.  The site asked to create an account with the health care site to have my own profile.  I filled out the boxes asking for the state I am from and the year I was born, and since I am posing as a nonexistent human being, I am a 33 year old from Kansas.  A link was sent to the email to verify the email account.  Upon clicking the link, a page came up that said the request was being processed and it may take a few moments.  It took more than a few moments.  Sitting patiently at the computer, I waited roughly 5 minutes before the email account was verified.  My profile page appeared once the system verified the email address.  This is when problems started to occur.  An error symbol popped up and the site told me that my identity was not verified.  I clicked on the link that said ‘please verify identity.’  Once I clicked that link, a page was brought indicating that the page did not exist.  The text read, “Sorry, we can’t find that page on HealthCare.gov.”  There were no other options to go through and it seemed I had hit the end of the applying process with my fictitious person.  Reality struck, and with that my fictitious person was no longer going to be able to apply for heal insurance.  Gavin Bogan


·         I made two attempts to create an account on the healthcare website; both met with failure. For my first attempt I created a fictitious account with fictitious information. I was able to create an account but once I tried to log in the website did not allow me. I click on the option to send my email my username but an email was never sent. On my second attempt when I put my real information I didn’t even get as far as my fictitious account. Once I finished with creating the account I was shown this message “Important: Your account couldn’t be created at the time. The system is un Darnell McKissack



·         On my first attempt I used a fictitious name and false social security number and the website blocked me. On the second attempt I used my real name, birth date, address, and social security number and the page said error, “You must be 18 years of age to continue.” I put my birthdate which I was born in the year of 1992, so it shouldn’t have been an error for me being under age. To take the error away I put the year ending in 1991 and it went to the next page. Then on the very next page it asks me four questions to verify my identity and one of them asked me what year I was born in with 1992 being an option. It was confusing because when I tried to proceed to the next page using 1992 it gave me the error, but on the next page it asked me what year I was born with 1992 being an option. available” and I was given the option to “try again.”   Jose Aranda


·         I attempted to sign up for health care under a fictitious name to access the health care website. The first time I attempted to sign up for an account, there were errors on the page that prevented me from being able to fill out the registration form. I had to re-open the web page a few additional times until the errors finally disappeared. I was then able to make an account, along with a fictitious e-mail for the account fairly simply. After I made an account for the website, I began to fill out the application itself. I entered additional fictitious information including an address, a social security number, and a phone number. Once I filled out these components of the application, I was unable to go any further with the registration. I was told that I could not fully register for health insurance until my identity was verified. There was an option to return back to my application, or to call the Experian help desk to confirm my identity. I chose to return back to my application. I was unable to submit my application because I did not verify my identity. Kalin McKean


·         Although still in its infancy, the Obamacare website has plenty of glitches to work out. I tried to sign up for a fictitious account but didn't get far, as I entered a fictitious social security identification number. The website recognized the fictitious number and wouldn't allow me to sign up for the actual thing. To my dismay, I noticed early on that none of the information I typed in was saved in the beginning, when I was putting down my first and last name, state, and email address whenever I advanced and then clicked the back button to go back and correct something. This means that I had to re-type all the information again each time I went back and then retype the information in on the page I just went back from. So it was a process of constant typing. I contacted the online Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat for help, and told them about my problem, asking if the fact that the website didn't save the form data was "normal" for the site. The response I received was that the website was "experiencing some glitches due to high traffic." This may not be the actual case, as the person I was speaking to then said that "may be" the problem. I was then advised to try again in later during an off-peak hour. Heidi Niemann


·         After creating a fictitious name and email, I was allowed to start applying for health care. Although my identity was not verified, I was still allowed to fill out the application. Even after giving a fictitious social security number, I was never blocked from the website.  After filling out the application and submitting, I was returned to the verify my identity page.  Since I was unable to confirm my fictitious identity, I was no longer able to continue the process. Anthony Occhipinti


·         My first attempt to apply for health insurance online was unsuccessful. I created a fictitious name, but I created a real e-mail address to use. Upon logging in, the system said my username and/or password was incorrect. I thought that this was an error on my part, so I started over from the beginning, using a different alias, and a different real e-mail address. This attempt proved to be successful, and I got a little bit farther in the application process. In order to apply, the site wanted to verify my identity but having me put in my date of birth, social security number, address, zip code, and phone number. My information did not check out in the system, and the website suggested that I recheck my information and try again. I changed my date of birth around, and plugged in a different social security number, however the site would still not verify my information. It gave me numbers that I could call to assess the situation, or an address I could e-mail for help. Miranda Olander


·         For my first attempt I used a fictitious name and email address I was then asked to set up an account. After I tried to submit my username and password I was directed to a page that said “Your account couldn’t be created at this time. I tried this three other times also using a fictitious identity and I always got blocked at the same place as before. The system is unavailable.” For my second attempt I used my real name and email address and was blocked once again from going any further than my attempts before. Kali Nordeen


·         Applying for healthcare online is easier said than done. After several attempts to enter and navigate through The Health Insurance Marketplace (healthcare.gov), I came to a dead end. My first attempt I tried creating an account under the name ‘Jessica Thompson’. I got as far as the site being able to send an email to my imaginary email account. That turned out to not be very beneficial because the email address wasn’t authentic. With my second attempt, I tried using the same name but under my actual email address and was blocked. The notice that appeared on the screen was indicating that the site was temporarily unavailable. I tried a third time and was hit with the same notice. After a fourth attempt with my actual name and email address I was able to log into the site. However, after being able to log into the site with my real information I decided not go any further in order to protect my identity and the health plan that I currently have.   Jaleesa Walker


·         In my attempt to create a fictitious account to access the healthcare website, I was blocked out after creating my account. I was told my login information was not valid. The healthcare company had emailed a confirmation of my account to the fictitious email I created. As I tried to access the fictitious Hotmail account I was blocked out, siting that the password had been entered incorrectly too many times. I then tried to login into my account on the healthcare website, which is when my login information was not valid. I then entered a live chat with an assistant named Charlotte. I told her I had just created a new account and asked her why I couldn’t log in. She said there are many people trying to access their website which causes glitches, and too be patient and keep trying. Knowing I wasn’t going to be allowed access anyway, I continued by asking her where else I could go to try and log into my account. She said I could call the toll free marketplace number, call in by phone to set up the insurance, or download the paper application. She then sent me the paper application and the toll free number. I thanked her for her time and signed out.  Cody Whiteside

Friday, October 11, 2013


By Cody Whiteside
With shooting tragedies happening at schools throughout the U.S., security cameras are becoming more essential in schools. This was the theme at this month’s Monmouth-Roseville school board meeting. The District 238 board proposed and approved motions to add security cameras to all six schools in the district. Those schools include the high school, junior high, Central, Harding, Lincoln, and Willits schools. District Superintendent, Ed Fletcher, explained that the schools currently have monitors to allow people to be let inside, but no camera to ensure the person entering the building comes into the office, rather than somewhere else in the building. The cameras will help ensure student safety.
When asked about the cameras being a pressing issue, Fletcher responded by saying, “We are always looking to improve the safety for our students and staff, the tragedies just sped up the process”. He was also asked if there would be any issues regarding student privacy with the new cameras. He ensured there has been no student privacy issues have been brought up “as the cameras will only be installed in main entryways”. He noted that it would be a different story had cameras been installed in classrooms, but that is not in the plan.

Other news throughout the rather quiet board meeting included small repairs to stair treads and safety procedures to secure the shaky basketball hoops at the highs school. It was also approved to replace the MRHS gymnasium roof in the near future.

A couple proposals including the re-wiring of the football field lights and connecting the fire alarm system to the new Ag building were tabled for further discussion. This was solely due to the fact that Superintendent Fletcher wanted to secure more accurate price numbers before suggesting it for discussion.