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2016: A Look Back At The Year That Was


The NCHS Board considered their options for a student trip to Europe, following terror attacks in Paris.

Okawville won the Annual Mater Dei Holiday Tournament for the first time since 2002 with a 48-40 victory over the Central Cougars in the championship game. It was the Rockets fifth championship title.

Steven Kuklinski and Rachel Pisarski were arrested in connection with burglaries.

The Oakdale Country Kitchen reopened after extensive renovations following a fire.

The Washington County Board approved a study looking into raising fees for certain services the county provided.

The NCHS Stingers dance team took home the first place trophy at the IDTA Edwardsville Regional in A Class Jazz Category on January 9, 2016.

Washington County Coroner Mark Styninger named heroin overdoses, texting-while-driving as emerging killers in Washington County.

David Ronen and Bob Konkel were eager to show off new solar panels they were installing, and were eager to tell homeowners about the dividends that their plans would pay back to those who installed them.

After a comeback victory over Teutopolis, the Hornets went 1-2 in their final two games of the NIT to finish out the tournament. Breese Central took home their sixth tournament championship since 2009 with a 4-0 record.


The Nashville Fire Protection District’s Report for 2015 showed they had handled more calls, and estimated less total damage than previous years.

After defeating Aviston and losing to Goreville, the Jr. Hornettes defeated Christopher 49-37 to win third place in the Class M State Tournament.

Keith Addison, of Nashville, was acquitted on charges of arson related to a fire which destroyed Traveler’s Restaurant in DuBois, but was convicted on two counts of burglary and one count of theft.

Following a 43-30 loss to Pinckneyville in the Class M State Finals on February 12, the Nashville Middle School Jr. Hornets hoop squad took second place in State Tournament play

Gary Farris, who spearheaded the Washington County Historical Society’s renovation of Nashville’s L&N Depot, was named the Chamber of Commerce’s Volunteer of the Year.

The Hornettes finished up the regular season with a big conference wins over Pinckneyville and DuQuoin to lock up their 16th consecutive Southern Illinois River To River: Mississippi Division Conference Championship.

In a report to the Washington County Board, Sheriff Danny Bradac stated that his department was shifting their priorities to combat the heroin epidemic.

This year, Hornets senior Bryce Paszkiewicz was hon­ored as a 2015 winner of the Burlsworth Award. Pasz­kiewicz finished this year with 107 total tackles, 44 solo, 63 assists. Paszkiewicz finished with 1.5 sacks on the year.

A new steeple was placed on the Zion United Church of Christ in Hoyleton– the church had been damaged by a fire resulting from lightning in 2015.


The NCHS Board approved a bond sale to help finance new lighting for the football field.

There was a new arrival at Rainbow Ranch – Cotton was the first camel ever born at the Plum Hill petting zoo.

For the third time in four years, the Nashville Hornets have won a Regional Champi­onship. The Hornets defeated the Hillsboro Hilltoppers, and the Greenville Comets on their way to the regional crown.

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association has named Tierney Moore, Nashville Middle School girls’ basketball head coach, as Coach of the Year for District #20.

Josh Evans was named the new superintendent of the Nashville Municipal Golf Course.

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Week, Nashville Primary School Principal Chuck Fairbanks and Superintendent Mike Brink donned Cat-In-The-Hat outfits to entertain the young readers.

The Hornets season came to an end in the Pinckneyville IHSA Class 2A Sectional, as Nashville fell to the Central Cougars in the sectional final.

NCHS Grad Elizabeth Engele founded MakerGirl, a project which aimed to engage young girls interested in the STEM fields.

Royce Newman and Noah Frederking were both named to the IBCA Class 1A/2A All-State Team.

Seniors Royce Newman and Brady Bultman were honored as part of the Southern Illinois River to River All-Conference (Mis­sissippi Division) team.

The March 15 Primary Election saw incumbent Washington County State’s Attorney Heath Hooks defeated by challenger Dan Bronke.

NCHS Sophomore Paige Kasten has been named to the IHSA Student Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of 21 students from the 21 different IHSA districts.

Nashville’s Head Football Coach Tim Kuhn was named the 2015-16 SICA Coach of the Year for Class 2A. The Hornets’ season came to an end in the Class 2A Semi-finals against Auburn.


The new Kaskaskia College Nashville Education Center was officially opened with a ribbon cutting and dedication.

The Okawville Jr. Lady Rockets took home second place in the SIJHSAA State Tournament, which was held at Assembly Hall.

Okawville Police Officers were issued Individual First Aid Kits (IFAKs).

An unofficial open house was held at the Washington County Courthouse, closed for more than a year for extensive renovations. Officeholders would begin returning to the building the next week.

The Hornettes softball team received the second place plaque after defeating Murphysboro, and Marion in their first two games of the NIT. The Hornettes fell to Herrin in the championship game.

The Nashville Hornets are on a roll. The Hornets wrapped up their 17th con­secutive win as they defeated Breese Central and Teuto­polis in a double header on Saturday and DuQuoin on Monday. The Hornets have not lost, since losing to Rockford Lutheran in their first two games of the season.

The NCHS Choir was competing against other school choirs for a chance to sing for Foreigner at Herrinfesta Italiana. Despite leading or nearly leading in the polls, the NCHS Musicians were disqualified because their audition song was not by Foreigner.

The NCHS Board gave their final approval for summer renovation projects including new football field lighting and new flooring.

Nashville Hornets boys basketball coach Brad Weathers was named as one of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association High School Boys Coaches of the Year.

The theme of the NCHS Prom was “Midnight Masquerade.”


Wilbur Franklin, the official representative of Tilden, demanded an apology from Okawville Mayor David Jasper, after Jasper made what Franklin said were disparaging remarks about unkempt residences in Tilden.

The Nashville Hornettes track team is on a roll as the team came away with victories in the Tri-County Invitational, as well as the Girls NIT. It was the first outright win of the girls NIT since 1999.

More than 150 children turned out on a beautiful May day for the Kids Fishing Day at Memorial Park.

NCHS Freshman Grace Maschhoff broke the school record in the 1600m run during the Nashville Invitational track meet. Maschhoff ran the mile in 5:35.27, breaking the old record by three hundredths of a second.

The city of Nashville approved a new employee benefit package.

In a race to the finish, the Hornettes were able to over­come rival Carterville to win the SIRR Conference Missis­sippi Division Title. This year, the conference meet was held at Herrin High School.

The team of Jackson Pierce, Caleb Zgonina, Ryan Kell, and Brandon Schnitker broke the NCHS school record for the 4X800M relay during the SIRR Conference Meet, held at DuQuoin High School. The team ran the race in 8:15.49, beating the old record.

The Nashville Hornettes track team sent nine athletes to Charleston to compete in the Class 1A State Track Meet.


Lighthouse Community Church of Nashville opened their new church building on IL 127 with an open house service and picnic.

An up and down season for Nashville came to an end this past week with a 10-2 loss to the Carmi-White County Lady Bulldogs. The loss ended a streak of three straight Sec­tional Championship appear­ances for the Hornettes, all of which were against Carterville.

NCHS Musicians performed at Carnegie Hall and in front of the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The Nashville Hornets track team headed back from the Class 1A State Track Meet with some hard­ware, as the 4X800 relay team earned sixth place in the finals of the IHSA Class 1A State Track Meet which began on Thursday May 26 at Eastern Illinois University.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was the keynote speaker at the rededication ceremony held at the renovated Washington County Courthouse.

After an unbelievable sea­son, that saw the Hornets win a school-record 21 games in a row, the Nashville Hornets baseball team, is racking up the awards. The Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi Divi­sion All-Conference team was announced this past week, with eight Nashville players making the cut. Making the team for Nash­ville were seniors Brady Bultman, and Jaris Dalman, along with juniors Cody Bauza, Hayden Heggemeier, Ryan Brink, An­drew Kash, Brogan Kemp, and Austin Anderson.

The ICA Class 2A All-State Softball Team was also announced with two Hornettes players making the team. McFeron was selected to the second-team ICA All-State, and Holzhauer was selected to the thirdteam ICA All-State. McFeron and Holzhauer were two of the six SIRR players selected to the ICA Class 2A All-State team.

The Nashville Eager Beavers 4-H Club held their second annual Color Run at the Washington County State Recreation Area.


The draft of the new Washington County Comprehensive Plan was released to the public.

Concussions among student athletes and dealing with them was discussed at the meeting of the NCHS School Board on Monday, June 27. New IHSA rules require the school to form a concussion oversight committee. The board also approved making IMPACT testing mandatory for all student athletes in all sports.

Nashville Dairy Queen celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Washington County Raiders 13U baseball team finished 47- 13 this season. June 24-26 the Raiders won the Illinois USSSA AA State Championship with a perfect 7-0 record, finishing atop the 24 team event. They then earned a berth July 8-12 to the Midwest USSSA AA World Series in Kansas City to compete as one of 32 teams from several states. The Raiders went 7-0 to become World Series Cham­pions!

A bucket truck accident on IL 127 injured Tri-County Electric contractors.

Jordi Harre, Keegan Anderson, Jessica Weihe, and Abby Wroblewski were all honored as part of the 2016-17 NJCAA All-Academic Team.

The new gazebo at Hoyleton Park was constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Cole Herrmann, and was officially dedicated at the annual Hoyleton Hofbraufest.

Following an audit, Gary Malawy of Krehbiel and Associates stated that Washington County had an out-of-balance ledger due to errors by the County Treasurer.

Nashville residents spoke to the city council about a problem residence located at 376 N. Kaskaskia Street.


The landscaping and entryway to the Nashville Community Center were overhauled thanks to a project by Eagle Scout candidate Caleb Hallock.

Chuck Melton of Richview, and Eric Newby, formerly of Nash­ville, were selected to participate as part of the 12 man Wheelchair Rugby Roster for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Both earned Silver Medals as a part of the Unit­ed States Wheelchair Rugby team that lost a thrilling gold medal match 59-58 to Australia in double overtime at the Rio Paralympic Finals.

Youth groups from Grace United Methodist and St. Ann Churches of Nashville joined together for a joint mission trip in Memphis.

Nashville High School Junior Rachael Kell fin­ished up the Southern Illi­nois Golf Association with a win, at the 6th Annual Junior Golf Tournament, which was held on July 31 in West Frankfort.

As the species ranges further and further north, a (dead) armadillo was spotted in Nashville.

The improvements to the lights are up at Hornet Field, along with a new sign, which has been updated to feature the Hornets run to the Final Four last season.

The Nashville Friends of the Library held their 20th anniversary.

Both the Jr. Hornets and Jr. Hornettes baseball and softball teams took home the Regional Titles in Okwaville.

Nashville Police switched from eight to 12 hour shifts on a trial basis.

As the season came to a close, the Nashville Hornettes golf team has continued their great play. The Hornettes picked up the Southern Illi­nois River to River Conference Mississippi Division title, as well as a victory in their final home meet of the season.

Larry Scott, the uncle of Rachel Scott, killed in the Columbine shootings, spoke at Nashville Primary School as part of Rachel’s Challenge, an anti-bullying program.

Amy Kurtz started as the new Principal at Trinity–St. John School.


A lightning strike wreaked havoc with electronics in and around the Washington County Courthouse.

New signs and trail markers were installed at Washington County State Lake thanks to Nashville Eagle Scout candidate Brent Harris.

The Illinois Supreme Court elected Justice Lloyd Karmeier of Nashville to be the court’s chief justice for a three year term.

Girolamo’s Italian Restaurant celebrated their 30th year in Nashville.

A mock crash, complete with injuries, first responders and a fatality, was staged at NCHS to show the consequences of texting while driving.


Janie Holle was the NCHS Homecoming Queen.

The Nashville Hornet boys golf team brought home the Southern Illinois River To River Mississippi Division Conference Championship for the eighth consecutive year.

A set of “Pivotal Trainers” for discretionary shooting was purchased for Washington County law enforcement agencies, thanks to Triumph Systems and a “Back the Blue” fundraiser by Farmers and Merchants Bank.

After winning the conference championship, the regional title, and the sectional title, the Nashville Hornettes golf team brought home some more hardware as they capped off an amazing season with a runner-up finish in the Class 1A State Tournament.

Neighbors of T-SJ School asked the Nashville City Council and Police for assistance in getting traffic in the area to slow down.

Halloween Parades were held at Nashville Primary School and T-SJ, while the Nashville Community Center hosted festivities over Halloween weekend.

Lloyd Karmeier was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.


Competition in the Nashville American Legion’s Queen of Hearts raffle heated up, with the jackpot headed north of $100,000.

For the first time since 2010, the Nashville Hor­nettes cross country team headed to State. After wining their Regional, Nashville came away with a third place finish at Sectionals. The third place finish was the best finish in school history. The Hor­nettes will be joined at state by two members of the boys cross country team from Nashville High School – Bran­don Schnitker and Caleb Zgonina each finished in the top ten overall to advance to state as individuals.

Locally, Coroner Mark Styninger and State’s Attorney Dan Bronke won their respective races in the November 8 election.

The fall sports season for Nashville High School came to an end this past weekend at the IHSA Class 1A State Finals, which were held at Detweiller Park in Peoria. In the girls race, Nashville came away with 21st place as a team. The 21st place finish is the highest finish for Nashville since 2008-09, when they finished in 20th place. In the boys race, the Hornets only had two runners in the race, and were led by Schnitker, who finished in 14th place overall. Schnit­ker crossed the line in 15:24. Zgonina finished the race with a time of 16:55, which was good for 135th place.

The NCHS Drama Club presented performances of “Rikki Tikki Tavi” and “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

Cole Malawy and Gavin Baldwin were selected to play in the SIJHSAA Baseball All-Star Game. The game was played Saturday October 15th, in Johnston City. Players from Class M and L were chosen.

After finishing 5-4 on the season, the Nashville Hor­nets were well represented in the Southern Illinois River to River Mississippi Division All-Conference team. Five Hornets made the first team all-conference, while five Hor­nets made the second team all-conference.

Scores lined the sides of IL 127 to pay their respects as the funeral procession of slain soldier PFC Tyler Iubelt passed through Nashville.

The NCHS Student Council-sponsored scavenger hunt brought in 2,282 donated food items.

The NCHS FFA Chapter got a nod from the school board to work towards putting in a new greenhouse for use by NCHS Agriculture students.

The Nashville Hornettes girls basketball team, came away with first place in the 10th Annual Nashville Girls Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament with a thrilling 36-34 win over the Okawville Lady Rockets.


Newly elected and reelected County Officeholders were sworn in.

The Nashville Hornettes bounced back from their two game losing streak with three straight wins as they picked up their first SIRR Mississippi Division confer­ence win over Sparta, before defeating SIRR Ohio Division foes Herrin and Benton. The Hornettes record stands at 7-2 on the season.

The Nashville Eager Beavers 4-H Club, along with Nashville Mayor Ray Kolweier and City Councilor Josh Fark, dedicated new benches that they had helped to acquire and which were placed in front of the Washington County Courthouse.

The Nashville Hornettes girls basketball team, after winning their first four games of the season, dropped two heartbreakers on the road this week, as they lost to Anna-Jonesboro in double overtime, and suffered a one point loss to Okawville.

County Treasurer Kelly Cameron resigned from her position, following a diagnosis of early-onset dementia.

The Washington County Farm Bureau was honored by the Illinois Farm Bureau at their annual meeting.

Gregory A. Pocrnich, Jr., 26, of Richview. Was arrested and charged with numerous crimes following an auto collision with a Sheriff’s Deputy and then a pursuit by car and on foot.

After 49 weeks, The Queen of Hearts raffle finally had a winner Ron Beckmann, of Bartelso, who said that he would be splitting the $377,469 jackpot with seven other couples who purchased the tickets with his wife, Ellen, and him.