DCFS investigator under review in AJ Freund case faced prior discipline, sits on McHenry County Board

The last child welfare investigator who made contact with Andrew “AJ” Freund before the young Crystal Lake boy was allegedly killed by his parents is a local elected official with a history of workplace complaints and a recent suspension, according to documents reviewed by the Tribune.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Illinois state employees approve 4-year deal with raises

A union representing thousands of Illinois state workers says its members have approved a four-year contract that offers lump-sum payments and a series of raises.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Baez homers, Cubs win; Alonso sets Mets mark for rookie HRs

CHICAGO — Javier Baez hit a milestone homer to win a game after Pete Alonso went deep once again to set a team record.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

The party’s over: Cards fall short as Angels win finale of Pujols-fest

In the last inning of what could be his last game in St. Louis, Albert Pujols was due up fourth and the three Angels ahead of him of course reached base so that his last at-bat in a ballpark he called home came with the bases loaded.

Here’s a link to the story at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Salukis use last basketball scholarship to sign Nebraska transfer guard

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With its last available scholarship for the 2019-20 season, Southern Illinois signed Nebraska transfer guard Karrington Davis on Thursday, the final addition to an eight-man Spring recruiting haul under new head coach Bryan Mullins.

A 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing from St. Louis, Mo., Karrington will be a redshirt freshman at SIU this Fall. He missed the 2018-19 season after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon during October workouts seven months ago.

“Karrington is another proven winner that we were able to add to this spring class that is full of players who won state championships or went to NCAA Tournaments,” Mullins said. “He is coming here extremely motivated and eager to show how he is capable of playing. He has tremendous versatility and will impact the game in many ways.”

During his senior year of high school, Davis played for the nation’s No. 1-ranked team — Montverde Academy (Fla.) and contributed to a 35-0 season. He battled a hip injury for a portion of his senior year, but was one of nine Division I signees on the Montverde roster, a group that included Duke’s RJ Barrett, the No. 1 player in the class of 2018.

“I was injured during my senior year at Montverde, and then again last season, so I haven’t really had a chance to show my full potential,” Davis said. “God has a plan for me and I know that I’ll be back better than ever. I’m really motivated and excited to prove what I can do, and show people how good I am as a person and a player.”

A 3-star recruit with offers from Kansas State and Saint Louis, Karrington played two seasons at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis where the school went a combined 51-12 and won the Class 5 state title in 2016. As a junior Davis averaged 19 points and six rebounds per game and was a First-Team All-State selection by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. His teammates included 2017 NBA first-round draft pick Jason Tatum and Iowa forward Tyler Cook.

“I love going against top competition, testing myself and getting better every day,” Davis said. “Finding your role on a talented team is really important, whether it’s defense or rebounding or scoring. A lot of people think scoring is the biggest role, but there are a lot of different roles on the court you can play to help a team win.

Davis is the fifth Division I transfer to join the Salukis this spring, along with Northwestern center Barrett Benson, Eastern Illinois guard Ben Harvey, Clemson forward Malik William and Missouri guard Ronnie Suggs. The new-look Salukis will also feature junior college transfer guard Harwin Francois (Daytona State) and three true freshmen — guard Lance Jones (Evanston HS), guard Trent Brown (Pinnacle HS) and forward Marcus Domask (Waupun HS).

SIU returns four players from last year’s squad that finished 17-15 — senior guards Aaron Cookand Eric McGill, junior forward Brendon Gooch and redshirt freshman forward Sekou Dembele.

Lance Rhodes announced as Saluki baseball head coach

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill announced that Missouri assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lance Rhodes has been named the eighth head coach in the history of the Saluki Baseball program.

“This is a big day for our baseball program,” SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill said. “We landed a proven guy and a great fit in Lance Rhodes. You talk to a lot of candidates who have specialized, but he has coached everything in baseball. He has done it all. In the hierarchy of young coaches, he was one of the most sought-after assistants in the country. He brings a lot of things to the table, but the No. 1 thing: He can flat-out recruit. That’s a big part of being successful, and he’s had great success at every place he’s been.”

“My family and I are beyond excited to join SIU and the Carbondale community, and I want to thank Coach Kill for entrusting me with this storied program,” Rhodes said. “Our staff will be dedicated to student-athlete success academically, socially and athletically. Our program will be committed to disciplined thoughts and actions in our pursuit of Missouri Valley Conference championships.”

Rhodes (age 34) has led turnarounds at Southeast Missouri and Missouri in the last seven years. After Rhodes arrived at SEMO in 2013 with head coach Steve Bieser, the Redhawks won three-straight Ohio Valley Conference championships from 2014-16, culminating in an OVC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016. In Rhodes’ final three years in Cape Girardeau, SEMO went 112-64 (.636) overall and 67-23 (.744) in the OVC. Three of SEMO’s five 35+ win seasons all-time came under Rhodes, including a school-record 39 wins in 2016.

In Rhodes first season at Mizzou in 2017, the Tigers won 36 games, the most for the program since 2008. In Rhodes’ three seasons at Mizzou, the Tigers won at least 34 games each year, the most for the program over a three-year span since 2006-08. Mizzou also won 39 total SEC games in that span, the most successful conference stretch since it joined the SEC prior to the 2013 season. Mizzou earned spots in the national top-25 polls every season, reaching as high as No. 18 nationally in 2018.

A proven recruiter, Rhodes has earned national recognition for his recruiting classes at Mizzou, pulling in top-35 ranked classes in each of his three seasons. His 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.

Rhodes has also developed that talent into highly successful players, coaching three OVC Pitchers of the Year, two conference players of the year, 28 MLB draft picks, two Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans — all in the last 10 years.

He has worked with both pitchers and hitters and seen dramatic improvements in both. While Rhodes served as pitching coach at SEMO, the Redhawks the OVC in opponent batting average twice (2015, 16), strikeouts (2015), walks allowed (2016), wins (2016), and double plays three times (2013, 14, 15). When Rhodes flipped to working with hitters at Mizzou, the Tigers saw dramatic jumps in batting average (by 13 points), home runs (by 21), doubles (by 22), slugging percentage (by 53 points), walks (by 42), on-base percentage (by 15 points), stolen bases (by 12) and fielding percentage.

Rhodes played at Saint Louis (2005-06) and Southeast Missouri (2007-08) and earned his bachelor’s degree from SEMO in 2008. He earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 2010.

Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, have three sons, Max, Cooper and Hank.

Rhodes agreed to a five-year contract worth $130,000 annually.

Op-Ed: Illinois lawmakers’ ‘accomplishments’ will weaken state

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and lawmakers are touting their many accomplishments from the recently completed legislative session.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Illinois News Network.

Editorial: 2020 Dems and ‘Medicare-for-All’ — here’s what ‘free’ health care really means

Americans hate to wait. We scout out the shortest grocery line. We choose the fastest delivery option. We chafe at slow-moving internet speeds. And we don’t like to wait for health care when we or our loved ones urgently need it.

Here’s a link to the editorial at Fox News.

Your Daily Prayer: A Prayer for the Sabbath

A Prayer for the Sabbath – Your Daily Prayer

A Prayer for the Sabbath
By Rick Warren
“You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” Exodus 20:9 GNT
Rest is so important to God that he put it in the Ten Commandments. He wants you to take a day off every week. That’s called the Sabbath, which literally means a day of rest, and God wants us to do it every seventh day. (The day isn’t important. It doesn’t have to be a certain day, just every seventh day.) It’s so important that even God rested on the seventh day when he created everything — not because he was tired but to give us an example of how we should rest.

What do you do on this Sabbath day to actually have it be a day of rest?
1. Rest your body.
God has made us so that we need rest. If your car engine heat light were showing red, you would stop because you would know it’s going to damage the engine. God says if you don’t take one day out of seven to rest, if you keep pumping the adrenaline all day, every day, seven days a week, your engine is going to explode somehow. So your best requires rest. You have to take the time to rest.

2. Recharge your emotions.
Just be quiet! Or maybe you need to reconnect in your relationships. Maybe there’s some kind of recreation that rejuvenates you. I’m not talking about competitive recreation. Some of you aren’t recharging your emotions out on the golf course. You’re just getting angry at the other guy!
3. Refocus your spirit.
During your Sabbath, you don’t take a day off from God. You worship! Worship puts life into perspective. If you’re too busy for God, you’re just too busy. To make this happen, you have to schedule it. Psalm 127:2 says, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?” (MSG)
God enjoys giving rest to those he loves. Be intentional about taking your Sabbath, and make it count!

Pastor Rick Warren: God’s Solution for Our Failures

God’s Solution for Our Failures
By Rick Warren

“[God] canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 NCV).

You and I both blow it from time to time. We don’t have to live with guilt, but we do have to live with our mistakes.

The Bible never hides this truth. It is painfully honest about the failures of its heroes. God saved the world from flood through a man named Noah—who then got drunk, naked, and blew it all. Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea and into freedom—yet his anger kept him out of the Promised Land. King David was a man after God’s heart but also had an affair and murdered the woman’s husband so he wouldn’t be discovered.
God realizes our frailty. If he only used perfect people, the Bible would be a pretty short book. But, God has a solution for our failures: grace.
The Bible says, “[God] canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 NCV).
In fact, if you look at all those failures in the Bible, you get a clear picture. Just like those heroes of the Bible, you and I are trophies of God’s grace. Your primary witness to the world around you isn’t all the great things you do for God. It’s how you handle mistakes you’ve made. Do you mope or do you revel in the grace of God?
People want to meet a God who turns failures into triumphs. People want to meet a God who can transform the lives of broken people.
The amazing part of God’s grace isn’t just his power to forgive. It’s also the strength he gives us when we start over.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick
Talk It Over

What does it mean for the Christian life to be guilt-free but not mistake-free?
How have you seen God use a failure of yours to show the world his strength and power?
Name some other stories of grace trophies within the Bible. What makes their stories so special to you?

Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.

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