A Jacksonville High School sports Hall of Fame member and one of the first black athletic directors in the Big Ten died yesterday in Michigan.
Merritt Norvell served as athletic director at Michigan State starting in 1995. He was believed to be one of the first black athletic directors at a major college in the US. He held that post until 1999.
Norvell was a running back at Wisconsin in the 1960s, and played on the Badger Rose Bowl team his senior year in 1963. This followed a half of fame career at Jacksonville High School. He graduated here in 1959.
His wife, Cynthia died at age 79 about a year ago.
Their son, Jay, coaches football at the University of Nevada.
One teen was killed and another injured in a single vehicle accident that followed a brief police chase early this morning east of Jacksonville.
Morgan County sheriff Mike Carmody is not releasing either of the names pending the notification of next of kin. He did say both were 19. One is from Jacksonville, and the other, pronounced dead at the scene, is from Missouri.
Carmody said the chase began about 3 AM when a Morgan County patrol car was westbound on Morton, and an eastbound vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed at the viaduct on East Morton. The squad car activated its lights.
Carmody said the other vehicle stopped, did a 180 degree turn, and fled westbound on Morton. The police car followed, but lost the vehicle when the driver shut off its lights.
Carmody said it was last seen travelling east on 36.
He said 9-1-1 dispatch then received a call about 15 minutes later, reporting an accident off Witty Road on the railroad tracks.
Carmody says the vehicle left the blacktop and turned onto the tracks. He believes the driver lost control, and the vehicle struck a pole.
The driver, who was found walking along the road, was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Carmody believes alcohol was involved in the accident. Tickets may be issued pending further investigation.
Route 36 was closed for a period of time this morning early while state police officers did an accident re-construction.
The 2020 Prairieland United Way Campaign is now officially underway.
Campaign officials began the COVID version with a breakfast this morning, and a noon gathering. Both featured boxed meals.
The goal this year is $465,000. The campaign co-chairmen are the husband and wife team of Reg and Cynthia Benton.
Reg Benton does not want to settle for a lower goal and use COVID as an excuse. He and his wife suggested to the board that the board increase the goal from what was proposed, and they settled at $465,000.
Cynthia Benton says the slogan she thought up says it all in these unusual times. United Together Now More Than Ever. She says the couple used a special services vehicle picture to emphasize the need for the campaign to raise the money to make the vehicle go.
The campaign also kicked off around town today with the $5 Jeans Day at various businesses. Employees could donate $5 to wear blue jeans to work. To view a full schedule of upcoming events, go to prairielandunitedway.org.
Prairieland United Way serves over 30 agencies, and more than 40 programs in Morgan, Scott, and northern Greene counties.
The Bentons hope to hit the goal before the end of February.
Mother Nature turned off the rainfall spigot for August.
Rainfall for the month hit just over an inch, specifically, 1 and 5 hundredths inches. That’s a full 2 and a quarter inches short of normal.
There was measurable precipitation on just 8 of the 31 days. The heaviest was 55-hundredths on the 11th.
But, let’s not shed too many tears. Rainfall and precipitation for the year is now at 30 and 3 quarter inches. That’s still 5 inches above normal.
The average temperature for last month was 72 degrees. That’s nearly 3 degrees cooler than normal.
The top reading last month hit above 90 six times, topping out at 94 on the 26th. The mercury dipped below 60 11 times. The coolest was 49 on the 30th, the only time the mercury fell below 50 in August.
The hottest stretch for the month was on 24th through the 29th, when temperatures reached 90 or better on 5 of the six days.
WLDS-WEAI is an official observer for the national weather service.
The Jacksonville area was left a big soggy from the July rainfall.
The total precipitation for July was 5 and 85 hundredths inches. That’s 2 and 2 tenths inches more than normal.
There was some precipitation on 17 of the 31 days last month. There was 1 or more inches of rain on two of the days, and the month opened with 2 and 11 tenths inches on the first four days.
The month was warm, too. The average temperature was just over 77 degrees. That’s about a degree hotter than normal.
There were no record highs or lows. The mercury never dipped below 60 in July, and hit 90 or better on 11 of the 31 days.
The heat was turned on on the 5th, when the mercury hit 90 or better on six straight days, and 7 of 8 days overall.
A typical high last month was 87, and a low was 67. The hottest day was 92 on five days. The coolest was 64 on the 24th.
Precipitation for the year continues to run above normal. Usually, Jacksonville has about 22 and a half inches of rain through July. This year, the total is about 7 and a quarter inches more. The total precipitation for 2020 now stands at 29 and two thirds inches.
WLDS-WEAI is a cooperative reporting weather station for the National Weather Service.