Illinois Winter Fourth Coldest on Record

The average statewide temperature for the three core winter months of December, January, and February was 20.8 degrees.

It was 8.2 degrees below average and the fourth coldest December through February period on record, according to Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel at the Illinois State Water Survey at University of Illinois in Champaign.

This winter was in a three-way tie with 1917-1918 and 1976-1977.

The coldest winter was 1977-1978, with a statewide average temperature of 19.6 degrees. The winter of 1978-1979 was in second place at 19.9 degrees.

The Illinois statewide temperature for February was 18.7 degrees, or 12.1 degrees below the long-term average.  It was the seventh coldest February on record.

The snowfall for February was above average across the state.

The total snowfall ranged from 4 inches in far Southern Illinois to 15 to 20 inches in north-central Illinois.

Snowfall departures from the average ranged from 1 to 5 inches south of Interstate 70 and between 10 and 18 inches between Interstates 70 and 80.

The statewide precipitation for February was 2.28 inches, which is 0.17 inches above average.

Precipitation includes both rain events along with the water content of any snowfall.

The result in February was that the above-average snowfall did not translate to above-average precipitation because several of those snowfall events occurred in colder conditions when the snow density was lower, since the snow was fluffier.

Snowfall this winter so far has been above average across the state.

Snowfall totals ranged from 10 inches in the southernmost counties of the state to over 60 inches in the northeast.

Some of the largest snowfall totals this entire winter were in the Chicago area and included Lincolnwood with 79.8 inches and Oak Park with 78.6 inches.

“This winter was comparable to the winters in the late 1970s in terms of the cold weather and snow,” Angel said.

Area Districts Cope With Missed School Days

Harsh winter conditions have forced schools in Alexander and Pulaski Counties to close for multiple days this year.  While snow days are generally allotted to each school, persistent extreme weather has caused many districts to surpass their original rations.

Currently, the Cairo School District has missed 11 days of school due to severe weather. The District quickly surpassed the five allotted days however, have been granted forgiveness by the State of Illinois for four of the days so far.

Superintendant Angie Evers explained that because Illinois as a whole has experience a rough winter, Act of God days, which are applied for by the district as a means of forgiveness, are being approved more liberally than usual.

“I’m quite certain that we’ll be granted the other days which are pending at this time,” said Evers. “We were scheduled to have Monday off for Casmir Pulaski so that didn’t effect us.”

The biggest concern for the school is the effects on I-SAT testing that is scheduled to begin this week.  With the week before the tests shortened, preparation and scheduled curriculum are being squeezed into fewer hours.

“It’s a delicate balancing act,” said Evers.  “I desperately want children in the classrooms but you have to consider keeping people safe when they’re trying to get to school. Mother Nature has really been working against us.”

At this time the last day of school for the district is planned for June 4.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” said Evers.

Pulaski County schools are in much of the same situation.  Weather caused closures throughout the week for Meridian schools.

Elementary principal Brent Boren stated that at time of printing the district has been out of school 18 days due to winter weather.

“We’ve lost almost a full month of school,” said Boren.  “It’s been detrimental in respect to the time we’ve had to prepare for state testing.”

Boren also spoke of the toll missed school days take on student’s retention and comprehension.

“When children miss school it takes them out of the rhythm of education and can often break any momentum they have going for them,” said Boren.

A major factor in determining whether schools remain in service are the road conditions.  Administration agreed that  student’s safety is the number one priority when it comes to deciding whether school will close.

“It’s most important to keep the children safe,” said Boren

Temperatures have began to rise across the region, giving many hope that the end of the brutal winter Illinois has experienced is in sight.

“We’re just going to keep plugging along and sooner or later it’s going to improve,” said Boren.

Alicia Rames and Erica McDowell enjoy playing in the snow in Cairo on Thursday. Severe weather in the area has prompted districts to apply for pardons from the state of Illinois. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Alicia Rames and Erica McDowell enjoy playing in the snow in Cairo on Thursday. Severe weather in the area has prompted districts to apply for pardons from the state of Illinois. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

County Clerk Kicks Off Alexander Co. Primary

On February 27th County Clerk Frances Lee held the public testing of automatic tabulating equipment in her office at Alexander County Courthouse.

The testing of equipment was run by Deb Oldham of Election Management Associates and saw that the precincts of Cairo #1, Thebes, and Tamms were in accurate working order.

Spread about the back room of the County Clerk office were several Automark Systems,  ready to be placed at each precinct in the county.  The systems are computerized and required by the Attorney General to assist handicapped voters.

The primary election in Alexander County began early voting on Monday, March 3.  Registered voters are able to vote for their choices after signing an affidavit with the County Clerk’s office and having their eligibility verified.

The County Clerk’s office will be open on Saturday, March 15 to service early voters.

“I’m not usually open on Saturdays but we need to give people a chance to get their voting taken care of if they’ll be absent on election day,” said Lee.

The primary election gives area voters the opportunity to influence the county and state through their choices of candidates. This influence can often mean the difference in state and federal policies that have long-standing effects on the economy and population.

Alexander County residents are encouraged to cast their vote in the general primary election on March 18 at one of the 11 polling locations in the county.

Deb Oldham, with Election Management Associates, conducts accuracy testing on Alexander County ballot tabulating systems. The public test was held at Alexander County  Clerk’s office on Thursday afternoon. -- George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen
Deb Oldham, with Election Management Associates, conducts accuracy testing on Alexander County ballot tabulating systems. The public test was held at Alexander County Clerk’s office on Thursday afternoon. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen

Finley Caldwell

Finley “Doc” Caldwell, age 90 of Murphysboro formerly of Thebes, passed away Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 8:30 am at his residence.

He was born December 30, 1923 to William and Ida (Dyer) Caldwell in Thebes.

Doc married Edna Bennett on December 3, 1949.  She preceded him in death on August 27, 2009.

He proudly served his country in the Navy.  He was a ship’s cook 3rd Class with the Pacific 7th Fleet during World War II.

Doc owned and operated Caldwell Barber Shop in Murphysboro for over 20 years.  He was also a farmer and worked on the river boat for 10 years.  He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Murphysboro.  He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge in Murpysboro.

He is survived by his daughter, Lisa Butler of Murphysboro; 2 granddaughters, Margo Laminack and Catey Butler of Murphysboro; a great-granddaughter, Becca Laminack of Murphysboro; 2 sisters in law, Candace Bennett of Marion and Wanda (Tom) McDaniel of Ava; a brother in law, Floyd Bennett of McClure; nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, 7 brothers and 2 sisters.

Visitation will be Sunday, March 2, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home.

Funeral Services for Finley “Doc” Caldwell will be Monday, March 3, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home with the Rev. Shaker Samuel officiating.   Interment will follow at the Pleasant Grove Memorial Park.  Military Rites will be accorded.

Crain Pleasant Grove-Murdale Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Finley Caldwell
Finley Caldwell

Donald Graham

Donald Graham of Cairo, IL was born October 18, 1955 in Wyatt, Missouri to the late M.L and Willie Bell Graham. He was called from labor to rest on February 21, 2014 at the St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

He was baptized at an early age, and he also confessed a hope in Christ in August of last year.

Donald received his education through Douglas and Meridian school systems. His occupation was that of a laborer.

He enjoyed traveling which allowed him to travel from coast to to coast, until his health started to fail which led him to come back home.

He leaves to cherish his memories; a son Alfonzo Frazier, grandson Alijah Frazier, granddaughter Airyn Frazier all of Cairo, Illinois. One brother; Lester Jones of Detroit, MI., seven sisters; Dorothy Foster, and Mary(Lamont) Brown of Mounds, IL, Omie Graham of Ullin, IL, Ethel(George) Boyd and Linda Eason of Olmsted, IL, Francis Graham and Sylvia Graham of Cape Girardeau, MO, and a special cousin Mary Miller of Mounds, IL. He also is survived by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, many friends, and his adopted family the Bridges family. Donald shared a special bond with his nephews, Quincy and Kamauri.

He was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings Eldress Willie Bell Brimmage, Flora Davis and Fred Jones.

Services for Donald Graham were held on Friday February 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm at the St. John Free Will Baptist Church in Olmsted, IL with Pastor Percy Flowers, and Rev. Tronzo Graham, officiating, Interment was in the Green Lawn Memorial Garden in Villa Ridge, IL. Friends called on Friday February 28, 2014 at the Church from 11:00 am until the Funeral hour at 1:00 pm Massie Funeral Home in Mounds, IL was in charge of the arrangements.

Jack Eddleman

Jack Eddleman, 77, of Dongola, died at on Thursday, February 27, 2014 at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

He was born April 15, 1936 in Dongola, son of Harry and Nellie Staten Eddleman. Jack married Jacquie Kimber on June 15, 1957, she preceded him in death on Aug. 2, 2013.

Jack was member of First Lutheran Church in Dongola. He was an Army veteran.  Jack earned his Bachlor’s degree in agriculture and Master’s in Agriculture Economics from SIU. From 1962-1997 he worked at the USDA Anna office.  He was executive director at the time of his retirement.  In 2000 he was elected to a 6 year term on the Union County Board of Commissioners. He served on the Southern Five Regional Planning Committee, Shawnee Development Council, Union County Economic Development Board and a council member for the St. John’s Lutheran Church.  Jack also served as a volunteer for animal welfare activities. He was proud to have continued his family farm following his father’s death in 1960. He loved traveling with his wife, Jacquie. They enjoyed many adventures and endeavors together. They both loved life to fullest and helping others.

Survivors include his sister, Carolyn (Joe) Frick of Jonesboro; brother-in-law, Robert Kimber of Dongola; nephew, Brian Joe Frick; Suzzie (Mike) Thieke, Ted (Nancy) Beanland, whom he loved as his own; other relatives and many friends.

Visitation will be from 4PM to 7PM, Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Crain Funeral Home in Dongola and after 2PM Sunday at First Lutheran Church in Dongola.

Funeral services will be held at 3PM Sunday, March 2, 2014 at First Lutheran Church in Dongola with Pastor Tim Heinecke officiating. Inurnment will be at a later date at St. John’s Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to PAWS and will be accepted at the funeral home.

To leave online condolences visit

Jack Eddleman
Jack Eddleman

Henry Johnson Sr.

Henry G. Johnson, SR. age 48 of Cairo, Illinois was born March 4, 1965 to the union of the late Fred Johnson and Catherine Patton Johnson in Cairo, Illinois. He was called to rest by God on Friday February 21, 2014 at 5:18 am at the St. Francis Medical center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Henry accepted Christ early in his life and was baptized by his brother Pastor Fred Johnson, Jr.  He joined in holy matrimony to the love of his life Barbara Blackwell Johnson in 1986 and to their union four children was born. Henry was employed for the City of Cairo for number of years. He enjoyed fishing, Barbecuing, working and spending time with his family.

He was preceded in death by parents; Fred and Catherine Johnson, ten brothers and sisters; Fred Johnson, Jr.,  Haywood Johnson, Sylvester Johnson, Alysha Johnson, Estella Johnson, Melvin Johnson, Samuel Johnson, James Whitney, Narvis Whitney and Larry Coleman.

Henry leaves to cherish his memory; his wife Barbara Johnson, four children; Henry Johnson, Jr., Jasmine Johnson, Raven Johnson and Symone Johnson all of Cairo, Illinois. He also leaves siblings; Celestine Holman, Mary Tolbert, Lowell (Felicia) Johnson, Marvin(Linda) Johnson, Maevella(Lamont) Van, Lorraine Johnson, Matilda(Ralph) Phelan, Catherine(Jimmy) Thacker, Rochelle Jackson, Frederick Jackson, Carletus Jackson, Darryl Jackson, Barbara Jackson, Gina Jackson, Ruby Whitney, Melissa Whitney, Michael Whitney, Freddie Lee Whitney, two aunts; Luella Barber and Mary B. Johnson. Special friends; Richard McElrath, James Graves, Roy Simelton, and Dale Garrett and a host of nieces, nephews other relatives and friends.

Services for Henry G. Johnson, Sr. was held Saturday March 1, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Massie Funeral Home in Mounds, IL with Pastor Enloe Clemons officiating. Interment was in the Spencer Heights Memorial Park in Mounds, IL. Friends called on Saturday March 1, 2014 from 10:30 am until the funeral hour at 11:00 am. Massie Funeral Home in Mounds, IL was in charge of the arrangements.


Cairo High School Homecoming 2014

Alexis Murray and Jarvis Woodson were crowned Cairo High School's 2014 Homecoming king and queen.
Alexis Murray and Jarvis Woodson were crowned Cairo High School’s 2014 Homecoming king and queen. — Photo Provided | The Cairo Citizen

Cairo High School crowned their homecoming royalty on Saturday.  Jarvis Woodson and Alexis Murray were selected by the student body as the 2014 homecoming king and queen.  The school held a dance after the Homecoming basketball game against Lovejoy. — George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen 


Alexander County Board Meeting: February 25, 2014

The Alexander County Board of commisioners met at the Alexander County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon fo a regularly scheduled meeting.

The Board approved the minutes from the February 11 meeting.

County Clerk Frances Lee reminded those present of the upcoming primary election ans stated that her office would be open to service early voters on Monday, March 3. Regular voting will take place throughout Alexander County on Tuesday, March 18.

Alexander County Highway Engineer Jeff Denny informed members of the Board that his department had began accepting bids from contractors on the demolition of the old Burkhart building in Cairo.  Denny also gave an update about the ongoing status of flood buyouts throughout county. Denny stated that the process is moving forward, with approximately 70 assessments completed at this time.

Payroll , recurring, and Highway Department bills were approved to be paid for .

Chairman Harold McNelly chose to appoint Lorrie Hesselrode and Danny Brown to the Southern 7 Health Department.

Chalen Tatem made the Board aware of a $1,032.00 credit that he is in the process of acquiring from the county’s telephone service provider.

George Lamboley | The Cairo Citizen