Thursday, January 28, 2016

Luminary Walk a Success

Ingredients for a great night on the General Dacey Trail:  2.5 miles of paths aligned with the glow of luminaries, 3 Inches of Snow, 1 Full Moon, and much more. . .
There is something special about the warm glow of a candle.  Many of us have been to a candlelight Christmas Eve service, where the beautiful light created by just one match, lights the entire room.  Others of us have attended a candle lighting vigil in a cemetery to honor loved ones, lighting candles set up in front of tombstones to brighten the night.  From a distance, it appears that stars have settled on the ground.
On January 23rd, I had the privilege of walking by the light of the moon on the General Dacey Trail.  And while I have been on trails at night with the moon providing enough of its own light to guide the way, I had not been on such a path where luminaires were hung from trees and aligned on the edges of the trail, making me feel as if I was a child in an enchanted forest.  The reflection of the moon on the lake, and the trail even more aglow due to the snow, made this night a great choice to hold this event.
To make the evening even more special, ice ball luminaries lit up the path leading to the bonfire where more artistic frozen designs were magnified by L.E.D. lights.  Hot drinks awaited those wanting to warm themselves by the fire, and there were bales of hay for those desiring to rest their legs and socialize with the many participants.  For those wanting to leave their mark, there was also a 6 foot luminaire in which one could sign their name.
Each of these ingredients made for yet another great experience on the General Dacey Trail. 
A huge thank you to the Shelbyville Area Community Foundation and Mr. Jerry Yockey for organizing this event.  Thanks also to Mr. Bob Newstradt for the artistic luminaries, and to each person that helped out with this successful community event that allowed the trail to be used for such a great activity!

Jenny Biggs

Friday, January 15, 2016

Canned Food Drive

Shelby County Partners Preparing for canned food drive in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Representatives from the group, Shelby County Partners, along with WIU Peace Corps Fellow/AmeriCorps Member, Jenny Biggs, will be collecting canned food items for local food banks as part of a National Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  On January 18, 2016, Ms. Biggs will be at the County Market in Shelbyville from 12pm to 3pm to collect canned food items to kick off the event.  The Shelby County Partners will have collection boxes available for canned food donations from January 19, 2016 through January 31, 2016 at various locations.  Collection boxes can be found at Findlay’s Village Hall, the Shelby County Tourism Office in Shelbyville, the First National Bank in Stewardson, Strasburg’s Shortstop, and Windsor’s E K Petro Mart.  During regular business hours, residents are welcome to drop off canned food items in the collection boxes. 

The Shelby County Partners canned food drive is one way of honoring Dr. King’s legacy.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” During difficult times, Dr. King and many of his fellow citizens of all races came together to promote a united country.  Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an opportunity for Americans to renew their own personal vows of citizenship through service to others.  There are many organizations that strive to make their communities a better place to live, and the group, Shelby County Partners, is one such organization.

The main goal of the Shelby County Partners is to make positive impacts by increasing county wide cohesiveness through various projects that will aid in future successes of Shelby County.  The group, Shelby County Partners, includes the communities of Findlay, Shelbyville, Stewardson, Strasburg, and Windsor.  Each community has been through the MAPPING program (Management and Planning Programs Involving Nonmetropolitan Groups) with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.  The Shelby County Partners meet monthly to discuss ways in which they can work together to promote efforts of community and economic development throughout the county.  For more information, feel free to contact Jenny Biggs at the Shelby County Tourism Office by calling 217-774-2244, or via email at  

The MLK Day of Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit