2011: Looking back at events in Union County
The year 2011 has come to an end and a new year is underway.
This week, The Gazette-Democrat takes a look back at some of the many events which unfolded during 2011 in the Union County area.
Following are highlights of some of the many events which happened last year in Union County:
The Cobden Community & Business Association hosted a town hall meeting Monday, Jan. 10.
Union County Hospital in Anna welcomed Dr. John Earnhart as a hospitalist.
Bitter cold and snow highlighted weather during January. The National Weather Service at Paducah reported that the first half of the winter was among the coldest and snowiest on record.
The Union County Board of Commissioners announced plans to seek proposals for the north addition to the county courthouse in Jonesboro. The work will be done in preparation for construction of a new courthouse.
A recommendation was made for the drafting of a Union County seal. The Union County Board of Commissioners agreed to move forward with the recommendation.
Cotton Hartline, a resident at the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna, celebrated his 100th birthday on Jan. 28.
Mike Stoner was employed as Anna's new fire chief.
New members of a Bald Knob Cross of Peace board began work at an annual meeting held early this month.
The Union County Board of Commissioners met for the last time in the first-floor courtroom at the courthouse in Jonesboro. The courtroom was in an addition to the courthouse that was to be demolished.
Numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census showed Union County with a population of 17,808 people, which was down from 18,294 recorded in 2000.
A regional levee summit was held at Shawnee High School in Wolf Lake.
The Union County Museum in downtown Cobden opened for 2011.
A job fair was held in Anna for those interested in becoming a part of construction of a new county courthouse.
A career in banking which spanned nearly six decades came to a close when Helen Head retired as vice president of Anna State Bank.
The annual Union County Business Expo was held at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.
Union County officials announced plans to house inmates at the Jackson County Jail in Murphysboro.
Senior citizens voiced concerns to county officials about several issues at the AnnaVista highrise in Anna.
An electronics recycling event was held late in the month at the county courthouse in Jonesboro.
Municipal and school board elections were held throughout Union County early this month.
The Anna City Council approved a budget of about $9.3 million for Fiscal Year 2011-2012.
Illinois State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch recognized 21 Southern Illinois schools for their achievements during a visit to Cobden High School.
Severe weather struck the Union County area during mid-April. More than 15 inches of rain caused major flooding in the area.
Flooding continued in the region following April's record rainfall.
Severe weather and storms were an ongoing concern for area residents during the month.
Jonesboro City Hall sustained damage during a storm which struck the area late in the month.
Memorial Day services were held throughout the area.
A steam-powered locomotive journeyed through Wolf Lake and Ware early in the month.
Union County was among the counties declared eligible for federal assistance in the aftermath of severe storms and flooding this spring.
The Union County Board of Commissioners approved layoffs and budgets as expenses were outpacing revenues.
A new sensory garden was unveiled at the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna.
An Independence Day fireworks display was presented on July 4 at the Anna City Park in Anna.
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees staged an informational picket at the Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna. The purpose of the picket was to raise awareness of work done by state workers.
Possible reorganization of the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts was the focus of a public meeting held in Anna.
Major improvement work was underway on the campus of Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.
The City of Anna announced plans to move forward with the clean up of five residential and commercial properties which had been declared as nuisances.
Members of Cobden High School's 1963-64 "Amazing Appleknockers" basketball team attended a book signing at the Union County Museum. The event was held in conjunction with the publication of a new book about the team.
The Union County Board of Commissioners signed a contract with River City Construction of Benton for construction of a new county courthouse.
The Union County Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in August.
A successful National Night Out program was held in Anna. The event focused on public safety for children.
Sweltering heat and humidity continued in Union County during August.
The annual Cobden Peach Festival was held early this month. Crystal Davis was crowned as Peach Festival queen.
A new academic year opened at Union County's public schools.
The Union County Board of Commissioners voiced continuing support for a program which serves senior citizens in the community.
The Union County Fair was held in Anna. Crystal Davis was crowned as Union County Fair queen.
Park operation costs were the focus of discussion at an Anna City Council meeting.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held to commemorate the start of construction of a new Union County courthouse building in Jonesboro.
Anna School District 37 hosted a carnival to mark the start of a new school year.
Support for proposed reorganization of the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts was voiced at a public meeting. The meeting was held at the high school.
Anna School District 37 students were honored for their support of an American Cancer Society Mini Relay For Life event.
Candidates began to circulate nominating petitions for the 2012 primary election.
Cobden hosted the annual Shawnee Hills Wine Trail Festival.
A ceremony was held in Anna to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
The 150th anniversary of the original Kornthal Church building near Jonesboro was celebrated.
The Union County Historical and Genealogy Society announced that it was creating a new resource room. The room will be located next to the Union County Museum in Cobden.
Jackie Mayer, the 1963 Miss America, was the guest at a reception hosted by the Union County Museum in Cobden.
The Sunshine Inn in Anna announced plans to move to a new location at the Anna Arts Center starting in early October.
Petitions in support of having a proposed local school reorganization on the March 2012 Union County primary election ballot were being circulated in the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts.
Union County was declared eligible for federal disaster assistance as the result of flooding this spring.
Anna-Jonesboro Community High School celebrated its 2011 homecoming.
Petitions in support of a proposed reorganization involving the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts were filed with the regional superintendent of education's office at Ullin.
Cobden hosted an annual car show and fall festival.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., announced that he would not seek reelection in 2012.
Dr. Larry Peterson, president of Shawnee Community College, announced that he planned to resign in November 2012.
Activities were held throughout Union County during the annual ColorFest celebration.
The Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro reopened after major renovation and improvement work was done at the site.
Union County Board of Commissioners member Randy Lambdin announced that he would not seek reelection.
Southern Pride Senior Programs hosted a grand opening at its new meal site in Anna.
The City of Anna is discussing plans to begin a community-wide recycling program in 2012.
LaDonna Bachman will coach the boys' basketball team at Shawnee High School at Wolf Lake.
The Anna-Jonesboro Community High School football team again advanced to the postseason playoffs.
Union County was recognized as a StormReady community.
The Friends of Stinson Library District Inc. celebrated its 10th anniversary.
An annual Veterans Day parade was held in Anna.
Several community Thanksgiving services were held in Union County.
The grand opening of the River to River Residential Corporation's new Anna community was celebrated.
The first Christmas in Downtown Anna celebration was held.
The proposed school reorganization involving the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts was the focus of a lengthy public hearing held at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
Candidates began filing nominating petitions for the 2012 March primary election.
November ended with light snow.
Maintenance fees (the monthly costs paid by residents) were the focus of a public meeting held at the Illinois Veterans Home in Anna.
Cobden hosted its annual Christmas in the Village celebration.
The Union County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual banquet.
The Anna City Council began a review of its existing liquor ordinances with a goal of streamlining the guidelines.
Habitat for Humanity dedicated its first home in Anna.
The Illinois state superintendent of education overruled a decision by the regional superintendent to place a school reorganization measure on the March 2012 primary election ballot in Union County.