Brockhouse Named JHS Softball Coach

Jacksonville High School has a new head softball coach.

     JHS athletic director Ryan Van Aken announced last night that Kelly Brockhouse has been hired to head the softball team.

     Brockhouse replaces Jessica Padilla. Padilla has resigned the post to spend more time with her family.

     Brockhouse is a PE teacher at Jacksonville Middle School.

     Brockhouse is a 199 graduate of IC, where he played baseball. He led the Midwest Conference in hitting in 1999, and was named team MVP in 2000.

     Brockhouse has been an assistant coach at Illinois college for two years, and stepped in as assistant softball coach at Triopia in 2004.

     He stepped back from the post to start a family the following year. This is his first job as a coach since then.

Merritt Norvell Dies

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.

     Funeral services are pending.

September 2020 Weather

A cooler and wetter September was the lead in to the harvest kick off for October.

     Rainfall of the month was a 3 and 71 hundredths inches. That’s about a quarter inch more than normal.

     There was precipitation on 13 of the 30 days. The heaviest was the inch and a half over a two day period starting September 12th. There was no frost in September.

     Rainfall for the year is now 9 and quarter inches above normal. This station has received 34 and 44 hundredths inches through September. Just two months have been below normal rain, June and August.

     Temperatures for the month were slightly below normal. The reporting station here at WLDS-WEAI averaged 65 and a half degrees. That’s a full degree cooler than normal.

     Readings ranged from 89 on the 4th, to 39 on the 19th and 20th.

     A typical day in September this year saw a high of 78 and 53.

     There were 8 nights under 50, and 14 days at 80 or better.

     WLDS-WEAI is an official reporting station for the National Weather Service.

One Killed After a Brief Police Chase this morning

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.

Correction to Passavant Layoff Story

WLDS-WEAI would like to issue a correction to a news story that ran on our stations last Friday.

     It’s with regards to the number of layoffs in the Memorial Health Systems.

     WLDS-WEAI news noted in the story that there were 143 layoffs throughout the system, which includes Passavant Hospital and four other hospitals.

     WLDS news further reported that 29 workers from Passavant Hospital were part of the layoffs, and named Passavant CEO Dr. Scott Boston as the source of the quote.

     But, Dr. Boston did not release the information to WLDS news.

     WLDS-WEAI and our news department apologizes for the error.

Bentons Kick Off the PUW Campaign

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 & Cynthia Benton address the goals of the current year’s campaign.

     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

     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.

Dry August

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.

Tournaments May be Few and Far Between This Basketball Season

Tournament basketball for the 2020-21 school year is disappearing fast.

     The Triopia, and Winchester tournaments, and the Crimsons Classic have been dropped for the upcoming boys’ season

     Schools will be limited, by state health rules, to just two games per week due to the pandemic.

     No final decision has been made about the Waverly Tournament. Regardless, it will not be held as it traditionally has been.

     The tournament limitations will be applied across the books for the boys and girls.

July Weather Story

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.

MW Conference Cancels Athletics Through 2020 Calendar Year

The coronavirus pandemic means Illinois College may not have sports this fall.

     The Midwest Conference has announced that the presidents’ council has voted to suspend all league competition through December 31st this year.

     The council said the schools are working with athletic directors to make sure the health and safety of student athletes are protected.

     All new and returning students at Illinois college are being notified today by school president Dr Barbara Ann Farley.

     The decision also delays the start of the season for basketball, swimming and indoor track and field.

     The golf season is not impacted yet, because IC competes in the St Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.