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St. John United Church, the Simonson family, Lesleigh Bennett, the FFA food drive, Washington-Monroe honor roll and LC blood drive all in Close Up

By Mike Fak

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[April 21, 2009]  St. John United Church of Christ will celebrate spring with a Benefit Concert for Mike and Kathy Simonson and their family. The concert will be held on Sunday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the church's sanctuary at 204 Seventh St. (corner of Seventh and Maple streets). The Simonsons lost their home and business in a December 2008 fire. The concert will also benefit Donna Kessinger, who is battling eye problems, and another family with medical debts.

The public is invited to enjoy the program, as many in the community will be offering their talents to provide a variety of music for this event. Music will include a piano-organ duet with Kay Dobson and Laura Lee, a handbell duet by Verdeen Ingram and Laura Laughery, and Matthew Goetsch will offer a trumpet piece. The choir from Lincoln First Presbyterian Church and other community choirs will be among the choirs participating, and a soloist from Lincoln Christian Church will share her talent. The Chancel Choir, Adult Chime Choir and Handbell choir of St. John UCC will be sharing selections for the program. A love offering will be accepted during the program, which is sponsored by the music committee of St. John UCC. Refreshments and a social time in St. John Fellowship Hall will follow the program.

More information is available by calling the church, 217-732-6957, or Laura Lee, chair, at 217-792-5980.

Lesleigh Bennett, a Lincoln native, has been hand-selected by a team of professional judges to compete in winning the hearts and votes of the audience in WCIC's Opening Act Contest on April 25 at Five Points Washington in Washington, Ill.

This event will take the 12 semifinalists down to four. Those four musicians will record a demo that will posted online at for listeners to vote for their favorite artist. After the online voting, the winner will get to be the opening act for the 33 Miles Concert on June 5, sing the national anthem for a Peoria Chiefs game and receive a talent review from INO Records, home of Mercy Me.

Tickets are available now for the semifinal event in Washington by visiting or by contacting Five Points Washington at 309-444-8228. Tickets are $5 each.

Gather your family and friends and come listen to the wonderful sound of worship and cheer Lesleigh on to the finals.

You can contact her for further information at 732-2638.

Congratulations to the Hartsburg-Emden FFA, the Lincoln FFA and the Senior Beta Club for getting the job done last week and helping out our local food pantry. The organizations collected food at the IGA, Kroger and the Wal-Mart Supercenter, and as you can see, they accomplished their goal of filling the trailer with food items. In picture, from left to right, are Kane Hoerbert, Hartsburg-Emden chapter sentinel; Betsy Pech, Hartsburg-Emden FFA adviser; and food pantry volunteers Norm Newhouse and Bill Overton. (Click on picture for larger image.)

Washington-Monroe School Honor Roll Third Nine Weeks 2008-2009


Third grade Tabitha Cooley, Justin Hatfield, Taylor Carter, Mackenzie Fuchs, Ethan Goodey, Isaiah Lane

Fourth grade Emily Bergman, Nolan Hullinger, Bryson Kirby, Macie Rankin, Danielle D'Andrea, Christian DeVore, Erika Dzekunskas, Laura Hurley

Fifth grade Ryan Crawley, Holly Davis, Abigail Everson, Lanae Laubenstein, Allison Baker, Madison Frederick, Victoria Parrott, Maddie Phillis, Kimberly Rhoades, Jordan Wood, Breanna Waller

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Third grade Grace Bossingham, Titus Cannon, Adriana Doolin, Kelsey Lee, Keisha Selph, Tate Sloan, Ariana Spencer, Jaiden Aeilts, Allena Benninger

Fourth grade Connor Aeilts, Kaelin Butterfield, Honna Doolin, Shelbi Fisher, Kyle Freese, Martin Glick, Jenna King, Cole Kindred, Alex Linares, Ashlyn Scruggs, Chenille Hubner, Samantha Johnson, Noah Morgan, Stephanie Parrott, Selena Queszada, Trent Whitham

Fifth grade Christian Anderson, Bailey Camp, Aron Hopp, Kyle Ramlow, Carrissa Richmond, Breanna Shutt, Desiree Theobald, Garrett Aeilts, Rebecca Brooks, K.J. Fry, Cooper Hake, Hannah Koeppen, Ethan Kubat, Kalliegh Rogers, Ty Whitetree


Third grade Ryan Boyd, Alana Cosby, Brayden Hunter, Joshua Linares, Shannon Rahn, Kevin Rhoades, Lilly Alsup, Luke Bennett, Jason Beverman, Hunter Cooper, Ashtin Grigg, Michael Quarrell, Bradley Rahn

Fourth grade - Taylor Albertson, Lindsey Myers, Isabelle Robbins, Brock Laubenstein, Bree Maricle, Tyler Albertson, Austin Gray

Fifth grade Jordan Hobbs, Jakota Phillips, Nate Richardson, Hayden Slater, Hayley Barton, Trevor Beavers, Jayden Miljkovich, Bailey Tieman

B.U.G. (Bringing Up Grades) Jatrell Belt, Briona Brown, Stephanie Smith, Alex Hess

Lincoln College Plans Red Cross Blood Drive. Lincoln College is hosting an American Red Cross blood drive on Monday, April 27, at the Meyer-Evans Student Center on the campus of Lincoln College.

The blood drive will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the last appointment taken will be at 3:45 p.m.

Diane Stephenson, blood drive chair and campus nurse, hopes to see as many people there as possible. "There is always a need for blood and I hope to see our students, faculty and community members participate in this drive. I am thankful for those who continually give and encourage those who haven't to perhaps consider giving it a try," said Stephenson.

To set up an appointment or for more information, call Stephenson at 735-5050, ext. 340.

Got a good piece of news, information or something that we can all brag about? If you do, e-mail Mike and let us tell everyone about it. Plus you can win cash. Every submission, whether we use it or not, will get your name in the "Close Up" grab bag. At the end of the month we will draw a name and someone will get $25 just for dropping us an e-mail. If you wish, we will be happy to donate your winnings to the organization of your choice.

You can contact Mike at


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