Cheers

... to the more than 350 people who participated in the 2017 edition of the Jingle Bell Run on a cold and rainy day at the Central Catholic High School track.

The conditions may not have been too favorable but the result sure was — the Run raised more than $50,000 — and a lot of awareness — for Arthritis Foundation-funded research.

While the number of runners was down a bit, likely due to that nasty weather, Ashley Craig, Arthritis Foundation executive director for Central Illinois and Indiana, said the organization is ahead in fundraising and donations.

And that's what counts most of all.

Cheers

.... to Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School’s football team that will play for its first state title Friday afternoon at Huskie Stadium at Northern Illinois University.

The undefeated and 13-0 Falcons earned the Class 2A trip on the strength of a standout defensive performance last weekend when it beat Sterling Newman, 14-8.

“I’m so proud, we’re so proud of the work and dedication these guys have put in this season — and the last 17 years,”  said GCMS coach Mike Allen.

Well put, coach.

Cheers

... to Evergreen Racquet Club that is celebrating 45 years of offering a home to Twin City area tennis enthusiasts.

In the process, the club, at 3201 E. Washington St., Bloomington, has become a community fixture, and has stayed in tune with the needs of its members by, among other things, completing a recent upgrade valued at more than $260,000.

"We've done our best to keep it up to modern standards," said Ben Snyder, part of the original group of investors, who has been a member since the club opened in 1972 and was president of the board of directors for the first 42 years.

With more than 1,000 members, ages 3 to 82, the club is definitely doing something right.

Cheers

... to Grace Ariola and Melissa Pish, both Twin City high school seniors, who capped off their swim careers with championship performanacs at the state meet last weekend at New Trier High School. 

Normal Community's Ariola and Normal West's Pish, both members of the Bloomington-Normal WAVES swim program, won two individual events.  

Ariola won the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke, setting Pantagraph area records in both. Pish shared the 200 freestyle title and captured the 500 freestyle, breaking a school record.  

Ariola will keep swimming at the University of Texas while Pish will continue her career at Duke University. 

Cheers

... Betsy Westergreen, who was named  Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Business Education Association at a recent conference in Springfield.

Betsy is a business and computer teacher at Flanagan-Cornell High School and has been in the classroom for nine years. 

Westergreen also is an adjunct professor at Heartland Community College and is an Illinois State University graduate who lives in Pontiac.

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