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2014: The Nashville News Year-In-Review

The Nashville News Year-In-Review

By Alex Haglund
and Travis Volz


The “Polar Vortex” dropped temperatures in Nashville to -10 degrees on January 5 and -13 degrees on January 6. The cold snap was accompanied by snow and ice. Schools and businesses closed and streets were slick with ice.

The Nashville Community High School basketball teams wrapped up holiday tournament play. The Hornettes took third at the Mascoutah Tournament, and the Hornets finished seventh at Mater Dei.

NCHS’s dance team, the Stingers, qualified for state in both pom dance and jazz.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce sent out a call that they were seeking new members.

“Eat Well, Cook Often,” the second volume of the Washington County Hospital cookbook was up for sale.

The Washington County board toured the nearly complete judicial center and approved an image featuring a wheel and wheat for use as the county’s flag to fly at the building.

In midwinter high school tournament action, the Hornettes finished in fifth place at the Highland Tournament, while the Hornets captured the consolation championship in the Nashville Invitational.

The Hoyleton/Grand Prairie Lady Thundercats finished third at the SIJHSAA Class S State Tournament.

The City of Nashville approved plans for the resurfacing of St. Rt. 127 by IDOT.

The Nashville Community High School board declared one of the school’s missed days an “Act of God” day after having used up the school year’s allotted snow days.

The Illinois State Arm Wrestling Championship was held at South Side Sports Bar.

Keegan Anderson agreed to join the Kaskaskia College baseball team.

The NCHS Band performed at the ILMEA Convention in Peoria.


The Washington County Farm Bureau held their 87th annual meeting.

Nashville golfers Jordan Harre and Madi May signed letters of intent to continue their golf careers. Harre joined the Rend Lake College team, while May agreed to tee it up for Kaskaskia College.

The Nashville Hornettes wrapped up their 14th straight regional title before falling to Breese Central in the sectional championship.

The WCH Board saw one the first remodeled rooms at the hospital and welcomed new Chief Nursing Executive Candice Hawley.

Trinity–St. John teacher Shaun Renth made a donation of peripheral blood stem cells and broadcasted the procedure over Skype so that his students could watch.

With wins over Pinckneyville and Carterville, the Hornets laid claim to the Southern Illinois River-to-River Conference championship.

For the first time in school history, the Nashville Stingers won the IDTA State Championship in dance.

Chase Hagene agreed to play football and participate in track at McKendree University.

The Nashville City Council heard from John Paulauskis of JPAcoustics, who presented his findings from a sound study done on Sisco Corporation.

The County Board heard from a group of concerned citizens who asked them not to allow a special use permit for the On Target Firearms Academy.

Hornette softball player Hannah Yung agreed to join the Kaskaskia College Blue Angels softball team.

Jessica Weihe joined teammate Madi May as part of the Kaskaskia College golf team.

The Nashville Hornets nabbed their second straight regional championship to start remarkable postseason run.

Dr. Gary Goforth was named the Nashville Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year.


The Hornets continued their postseason basketball success with a sectional championship before earning a spot at the IHSA State Tournament with a win in the super-sectional. After winning again to advance to the championship game, Nashville fell in a triple-overtime thriller to finish take second in state.

County offices were moved into the Judicial Center.

The Chamber welcomed Davanna Behr as its new executive director.

Kemp’s Korner reopened following repairs after the Nov. 17, 2013 tornado struck New Minden.

The Nashville Police Department purchased a new squad car.

The village of DuBois held their annual Polishfest, which was postponed by a week due to winter weather on the original date.

A tornado cleanup effort was undertaken in New Minden following the end of winter.

NCHS presented the play “Nicholas Nickleby,” based on the book by Charles Dickens.

NCHS received a maintenance grant for $50,000.


The Catholic Youth Ministry at St. Ann Church visited the KMOV–4 news station in St. Louis.

The annual rummage sale to benefit the State Theater was held.

Nearly 4-inches of rain from April 2 through April 4 caused flooding in the area.

The Nashville Hornets baseball team played a game at Busch Stadium, beating Roxana on the field as the St. Louis Cardinals.

For the second year in a row, the Nashville Hornettes softball team won the Nashville Invitational.

The Okawville Village Board changed their liquor ordinance.

Two Nashville residents, Dorothea and Wilbert Tielemann were killed in a crash on St. Rt. 177.

Hundreds of children swarmed an Okawville field searching for 10,000 Easter eggs in the annual Oakdale Eggstravaganza.

A graveside marker was placed in the Ashley Cemetery, at the final resting places of James R. Crews, the last Civil War veteran buried in Washington County.

The NCHS WYSE Team won the State Championship in Champaign.

A dedication ceremony was held for the Washington County Judicial Center.

On the track, the Hornets took second place at their own meet by taking the runner-up spot at the Nashville Invitational Track Meet.

The Washington County Farm Bureau held their annual Ag in the Classroom day for second grade classes from Nashville Primary School at Mike Chwasczinski’s dairy farm.


The Kelly Miller Circus had two shows at the Washington County Fairgrounds sponsored by the Nashville Moose.

Gunshot survivor Jon Brough spoke to the Catholic Youth Ministry at St. Ann church.

Citizens campaigned for Jill Biermann’s return to work at the cardiac rehab department at WCH at a hospital board meeting.

The NCHS board approved plans to begin the transition to 1:1, one computer per student.

Cowboy Tye Sturgeon, 20, of Batesville, Ark., stopped in Oakdale on his way through Washington County.

The Hornets completed River-to-River Conference baseball play with a perfect record and improved to 25-2 overall, while the Hornettes wrapped up their regular season with a record of 27-1.

Bryce Styninger agreed to join Hornet teammates Keegan Anderson and Hunter Beetley by signing with the Kaskaskia College baseball team.

Tim Dunnigan resigned from the Okawville Village Board.

Stone Soup Shakespeare performed “As You Like It” in Nashville on the courthouse lawn.

Allison Kirchner made the Illinois State University cheerleading squad, joining her sister Cindy as Redbird cheerleaders.

Both Nashville teams eclipsed 30 wins on the diamond, as the Hornets finished the regular season with 30th win and the Hornettes wrapped up their regular season at 32-2.

Ten Hornette tracksters and seven boys athletes earned spots in the IHSA State Track Meet.

For the fourth straight year, the Hornettes capture a regional championship.

The NCHS Olympiad Team brought home state level second and sixth place titles.

The city of Nashville approved building a new street shed at a cost of $908,069.

The county board approved a $50,000 expenditure for a 50/50 culvert project with local townships which would replace culverts at seven locations.

The NCHS English Honors IV class held a community event titled “Eliminate Hate.”

Abbi Liske agreed to continue her softball career by signing with the McKendree University team.

Chase Hagene had the best individual performance at the IHSA State Meet by finishing tenth in the state in the discus.

Okawville School Board member Bruce Heckert launched an exploratory committee to begin co-op football with NCHS.

The NCHS class of 2014 graduated.


Ronda Pryor was sworn in as a trustee of the Okawville Village Board.

Nashville’s Blaine Middleton was among the more than 500 entrants at the World Armwrestling League Tournament in Las Vegas, finishing fourth in the heavyweight division.

St. Paul United Church of Christ held a “Blessing of the Pets” at Nashville’s Memorial Park.

The Communities That Care Coalition held a town hall meeting at Washington County Hospital where emerging threats for youth substance abuse were discussed.

Gubernatorial candidate (and later, Illinois Governor-elect) Bruce Rauner visited Nashville, stopping at the Nascote plant.

The 9th annual “Walk With The Dogs” for pancreatic cancer had 420 walkers.

WCH Board President and long-time board member Dale Blohm tendered his resignation.

NCHS Athletic Director and Assistant Principal Neil Hamon resigned to take an athletic director’s position at Breese (Central) High School.

Georgia man Douglas K. Dueker died in a crash on I-64.

The Nashville Lions Club installed officers, including new president Victor Lopez.


The Washington County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to deny a special use permit for a medical marijuana cultivation and production facility.

Fourth of July fireworks went off with a “Boom!” at Nashville’s Memorial Park.

Nashville graduate Clint Johannes signed with the Rend Lake College basketball team.

The NCHS girls athletic program was honored by winning the USA Today High School Sports’ America’s Best contest.

Things got wild for the kids in the Nashville Public Library’s summer reading program. Alan Blumhorst brought animals for them to see and pet from Rainbow Ranch.

The Nashville City Council began to discuss issuing a letter of support for a medical marijuana facility in the city.

Two more Hornet baseball players continued their careers on the diamond when Kyle Jasper and Christian Spenner signed with the Lewis and Clark Community College baseball team.

Wayne Harre was hired as the new athletic director at Nashville Community High School.

Nashville Community High School and Nashville Middle School sent a combined 19 dancers to a four-day training camp at St. Louis University.

The Washington County Fair offered lots of fun, including rides and games, the 4-H Auction, and the Fair Olympics.

Tri-County electric held their annual meeting in Mt. Vernon, which over 900 people attended, including many from Washington County.

The Nashville Blue Racers swim team took second overall at the Shawnee Conference Meet.

Jessica Isaak’s track career was extended when she signed with the Ohio Northern University track team.

Washington County’s 911 Department implemented the Medical Priority Dispatch system.

Mitch Meyer’s of Nature’s Care, a medical marijuana company, spoke at a Nashville City Council meeting, asking them to approve a letter of support for the company to build a facility in town.

Larry E. Woodside and Cody Northington were killed in two separate auto wrecks.

Sommer Ringwall, a suspect held at Washington County Jail, died in custody there.

The installation of a greenhouse for ag classes was approved for Okawville high School/

Hoyleton native and SIU-C social work student Jodi Witthaus demonstrated a braille display which had been purchased with the aid of the Hoyleton, Nashville, and Okawville Lions Clubs.


The NCHS Board approved a bid of $43,416 for new seating in the auditorium.

Deanna Ball was hired as the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s new director.

An interactive map of the best and worst places to live by the New York Times listed Washington County in the top third of the best places to live in the U.S.

The Nashville Hornettes golf team teed off the fall golf season by winning the Nashville Invitational.

Washington County voted to sign a lease with the Nashville Community Center to rent offices there while the courthouse was renovated.

2009 NCHS grad Meagan Myers took a four-week trip volunteering in Bali, Indonesia.


A fire caused by a lightning strike ravaged the Zion Evangelical United Church of Christ in Hoyleton.

Nashville picked up a tournament championship on the volleyball court by finishing first overall at the Rangerette Tournament.

Members of the Concerned Supporters of Washington County Hospital (CSWCH) asked the WCH board to create three new board committees.

The Hornets defended their home course by winning the Nashville Invitational.

Nashville went unbeaten in September on the gridiron to start the season with five straight wins.

The Communities That Care Coalition met with Congressman John Shimkus.

Trinity Lutheran Church auctioned off quilts in honor of the 100th anniversary of the church’s Ladies Aid group.

The City of Nashville approved the letter of support for Nature’s Care to build a medical marijuana facility in Nashville, if their application was approved by the state of Illinois.

Okawville held their 66th annual Wheat Festival.

The Nashville District 49 PSO put on their second annual Jr. Hornet 5K run.

First responders from around Washington County attended a tabletop tornado simulation at the Nashville Fire Department.

The 34th annual Nashville Fall Festival was held.


The Washington County Board held a special meeting and appointed Jim Cange, Kim Kell and Kurt Elliott to the WCH Board.

Both of the Nashville golf teams captured River-to-River Conference titles.

The Hornet football team clinched a playoff berth by beating Pinckneyville for the team’s sixth win of the year.

The NCHS Board approved a tentative budget for FY 2015.

Hornet Homecoming hit NCHS. Unfortunately, NCHS lost the homecoming game against Carterville.

Hornet golfers captured the program’s fourth straight regional crown, while the girls team earned a spot in the sectional with a strong showing in the regional tournament.

All-State golfer Tyler Wall led the Hornets to a third place finish at the IHSA State Tournament.

The Nowakowski Auction building in Ashley burned down.

The Nashville Middle School Junior Hornets baseball team finish third at the SIJHSAA State Tournament.

Both of the NCHS cross country teams advanced in the postseason after strong showings in the regional meet in Chester.

City employee John Smith was honored by the City of Nashville at his retirement.

WCH introduced their hospital portal for patients, a point of electronic access to hospital records and appointments.

Amy Paulick trotted through Washington County atop her horse, attempting to bring attention to a ranchers’ land rights issue in Nevada.

WCH announced a “partial lockdown” to prevent possible ebola infections.


Washington County approved a budget and levy of $7,965,452, more than $1-million above the previous year’s levy.

Mark McCleary was appointed to the WCH board by the Washington County Board.

Hornet harriers advance to IHSA State Meet after second place finish at MELHS Sectional.

The Okawville Village Board approved the destruction of the former TJ’s Tavern building.

Nashville wins its first postseason football game with a home playoff win over Vandalia.

Four vehicles were stolen from Holzhauer;s Automall in Nashville, with suspects leading police authorities on a 50 mile chase. One suspect, Martez Sample, was captured trying to hide in the back of an SUV at another auto dealership in O’Fallon after the car he allegedly stole ran out of gas.

Jordi Harre signed letter of intent to play volleyball at Kaskaskia College.

Hornette basketball team finishes third at Nashville Thanksgiving Tournament.

CSWCH members distributed their own WCH survey.

Riley Redman, Aubrey Welmon and Lilly Redman took to the front yard to build a snow man as the first flakes of the season began to fall.

New chairs for the NCHS Auditorium, a lifelong dream of the late Ron “Big O” Ogrzewalla was finally realized, with Ogrzewalla’s widow Sharon, herself an NCHS Board member, cutting the ribbon before the opening performance of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Kaskaskia College broke ground for the new Nashville Education Center.


The Okawville Village Board voted to sell the Moehle Building.

Nashville boys basketball team finish second at Weslin/Lebanon Thanksgiving Tournament.

Santa arrived at his house in Nashville the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Longtime County Treasurer Ronda Groennert, Sheriff Charlie Parker and County Clerk Tom Ganz all retired after choosing not to seek reelection.

An employee group calling themselves The Proud Employees of Washington County Hospital spoke at the WCH Board meeting, telling the Concerned Supporters of Washington County Hospital to “please stop and move on.”

Tornado damage repair work on St. John’s Lutheran Church in New Minden was recessed to allow parishioners to attend Christmas services there.

The Hoyleton School Board voted to recommend dissolution of the school district and consolidation with Nashville Primary School District 49. Hoyleton citizens began to circulate a petition to stop the dissolution.

The County board approved bids for renovation of the county courthouse.

The NCHS Board voted to hire Ernie Fowler as the district’s new superintendent beginning July 1, 2015.

A wreck on St. Rt. 127 near Enterprise Ave. claimed the life of Mt. Vernon man and Republic of Tea employee George O. Phillips.

Nashville Lions Club “Best Lights in Town” winners included Harold and Doris Reuter, Mike and Angie Wells, Kelly and Joyce Sheridan , and Rich and Audrey Finke. The winner for the best religious home display were David and Donna Haertling.

The Nashville Police Department will be getting a new K-9 dog, Ava, to replace Diego, who is retiring.

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