2010: Looking back at events in Union County

With 2010 now history, The Gazette-Democrat takes a look back at some of the "page one" stories which were reported last year:

January

Union County experienced bitterly cold weather and snow during the month. The month closed with a winter storm that dropped nearly 7 inches of snow on the county.

The first "state of the village" town hall meeting was held in Cobden.

A town hall meeting was held at Lick Creek School to discuss a proposed property tax increase.

Community members were invited to tour the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro ahead of the Feb. 2 primary election. A proposed increase in the local sales tax was on the ballot to fund construction of a new courthouse.

The Anna City Council approved a resolution voicing support for construction of a new Anna-Jonesboro Water Commission water plant.

Shawnee Community College reported that its new fitness center in Anna was proving to be popular.

February

In the Feb. 2 primary election, Union County voters voiced their support for a sales tax increase that will fund construction of a new courthouse.

Anna voters said no to a proposed sales tax increase which was on the primary election ballot.

Union County has received a $399,000 state grant for development of a recreational area at the Pine Ridge Lake near Jonesboro.

A mid-February winter storm brought more snow to the Union County area. Through Feb. 18, the area had received more than a foot of snow during the winter.

Anna-Jonesboro Community High School principal Brett Detering announced that the National Merit Scholarshiop program had honored Elizabeth Bell as a National Merit Finalist. Bell is a senior at A-JCHS.

The Cobden High School girls' basketball team defeated Century to win a class 1A regional championship.

A ceremony was held to celebrate the dedication of the Tom Davis Clubhouse, which is located on Davis Farm property near Ware. Davis was an avid fisherman and hunter.

March

Union County State's Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds reported that his office filed nearly 300 felony cases during 2009.

A very successful "Dancing with the Faculty" event was held at Cobden High School.

Silkworm Inc. in Murphysboro announced a $10,000 donation to help with restoration and repair of the Cross of Peace on Bald Knob Mountain near Alto Pass.

The general fund budget situation continued to be a concern for the Union County Board of Commissioners. (The county board eventually voted to amend the budget in a money-saving move, and then took further action to cut spending.)

The 2010 Union County Business Expo was held at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.

April

Plans for major street projects in Anna were announced.

Hundreds of people attended an annual Easter sunrise service at Bald Knob Mountain near Alto Pass.

Union County officials continued to wrestle with budget concerns.

The Friends of the Cross organization hosted a dinner/auction event at Giant City Lodge near Makanda. The event raised more than $10,000 for restoration of the Cross of Peace.

Union County authorities reported that nearly 40 cannabis plants were recovered at a Jonesboro residence after firefighters responded to a call at the location.

Anna Junior High School 6th grade students worked to create reusable shopping bags as part of an Earth Day project.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Carroll P. Foster Post No. 3455 of Anna hosted its annual scholarship banquet which honored students from throughout the area.

May

Spring downpours were causing major problems for roads in Union County.

Jonesboro School student Hannah Fuller was a first-place winner in a statewide Arbor Day poster contest.

Union County early learning centers hosted a popular Big Truck Night event in Anna.

Many people attended a National Day of Prayer service held on May 6 in Anna.

Citations were being issued as a new county nuisance ordinance took effect. The ordinance focused on such concerns as junk, debris and inoperable motor vehicles.

Allocation of state funding gave a boost to the county's budget situation.

The Illinois High School Rodeo Association had a spring competition in Anna.

An atheist from the Chicago area requested that the Friends of the Cross organization give back grant funds which they had received from the state.

The Walter Burley Griffin Society met May 22 at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna.

Memorial Day services were held at several locations in the Union County area.

Alto Pass hosted its annual Springfest celebration.

June

The Cobden High School softball team won its third straight 1A state championship.

A proposal surfaced to move the Union County seat from Jonesboro to Anna. County officials said no such move was being planned.

A major highway construction project started in Anna and Jonesboro.

Jonesboro hosted its 13th annual JuneFest celebration early this month.

Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass received a U.S. Small Business Administration award. The award recognized Alto Vineyards as the small business of the year in Illinois.

The 2010 Cross Walk event raised more than $13,000 for the restoration of Bald Knob Cross near Alto Pass.

Plans for the future of the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro were the focus of a discussion at a June meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.

Union County resident Roger Menees received word from Guinness World Records in London, England, that he had achieved the lowest vocal note recorded by a male voice.

Emily Blakely of Anna received a national award for art work she had created. The honor was presented by Scholastic Awards.

A successful Relay For Life event was held in Anna. Relay For Life raises funds for the work done by the American Cancer Society.

County officials signed a contract with the HOK architectural firm in St. Louis to work on the construction of a new courthouse in Jonesboro.

As June came to a close, the Union County area experienced 12 straight days with high temperatures in the 90s.

Work was underway on a Market Street improvement project in Anna.

July

A fireworks display at the Anna City Park highlighted the celebration of Independence Day on July 4 in Union County.

A kickoff meeting was held in Jonesboro to discuss work which would need to be done as construction of a new Union County courthouse moved forward.

The Illinois Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association met in Cobden.

Anna Fire Chief Jim Cross retired. Cross had 32 years of service with the Anna Fire Department.

The Anna City Council named Shaun Pitts as the city's interim fire chief.

A Union County pastor, the Rev. Bill Vandergraph, faced a charge of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, authorities reported. Vandergraph was serving as pastor of a local church and as president of the Friends of the Cross organization at the time of his arrest.

Progress on the repair and renovation of the Cross of Peace at Bald Knob Mountain near Alto Pass highlighted a press conference held near the end of July.

The 100th anniversary of Davie School was celebrated. The school is now the home of a bed and breakfast which bears the name of the school.

August

Union County residents sweltered in dangerous heat early in the month as the high temperature topped 100 degrees.

Several hundred people attended a National Night Out event which was held at the Anna City Park.

Lindsey Pitts was named 2010 Cobden Peach Festival queen. The Peach Festival, sponsored by the Cobden Lions Club, was held in early August.

Union County State's Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds announced that Willis Edward Bates, 46, of Anna had pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in connection with a violent attack against two women in September 2009 at the First Baptist Church in Anna.

The Union County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to give voters a chance to decide in the November general election whether the number of members on the county's governing body should be increased from three to five.

The Union County Fair was held in Anna.

Jenna Harner was named 2010 Union County Fair queen.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Anna at the site of a new assisted living facility which will be built by River to River Residential Corporation.

The National Weather Service in Paducah reported that the summer of 2010 likely would be among the hottest on record.

September

The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail Fall Festival was held in downtown Cobden over the Labor Day weekend.

A Pepper Festival also was held over the Labor Day weekend near Cobden.

Speed limits were reduced in some parts of Alto Pass for safety purposes.

Work was wrapping up on the Market Street project in Anna.

Anna-Jo Garden Club sponsored a Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker rededication ceremony.

The Friends of Stinson Library hosted a memorial dedication ceremony at the Anna library.

Anna City Council member Cindy Swope announced that she would resign over a residency issue.

October

Union County officials reported the successful completion of the sale of $12.5 million in bonds for the construction of a new courthouse.

ColorFest activities took place throughout Union County during the second weekend of October.

Work has started on major improvements at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro.

Union County officials declared a ban on burning as the result of continued hot, dry weather in the region.

The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team made the postseason playoffs for the 11th straight season.

November

Republicans Dale Russell and Darren Bailey were winners in the Nov. 2 general election. Russell was elected as a county commissioner. Bailey was elected as county treasurer.

Also in the general election, Union County voters said yes to a plan to increase the number of county commissioners from three to five.

Southern  Illinois wine visionary Guy Renzaglia died on Nov. 4.

The annual Veterans Day parade was held on Nov. 11 in Anna.

Anna Mayor Steve Hartline announced that he would not seek reelection in 2011.

Anna city officials announced plans for more improvements at the Anna City Park. A new pool and a new concession stand were proposed.

Anna businessman Bill Cunningham announced his support for a feasibility study that would focus on reorganization involving four local school districts.

Community worship services were held at several locations in Union County in commemoration of the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Heavy rain fell on the area during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

December

Ricky Tweedy was named to fill a vacancy on the Anna City Council.

Cobden hosted its second annual "Christmas in the Village" celebration Saturday, Dec. 4.

Snow and bitter cold blanketed the Union County area early this month.

Union County experienced a white Christmas when an inch of snow fell on the area.

Local, state and federal officials gathered at Shawnee High School at Wolf Lake for a river levee summit. The event was held as the result of interest generated by Shawnee High School teacher Jamie Nash-Mayberry and her students.


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