Of dodging cicadas, E-B XC alums & a life saver

Rambling through central Illinois, still itching after having cicadas crawling over me for a full day.

• • •

About a week ago, Ron Cluskey of Elmwood stopped by the office and noted that, by his estimation, maps showing the expected emergence of cicada breeds in Illinois did not include Peoria County. Lo and behold, Cluskey was correct.
Boy, did we dodge a bullet. Despite notable emergences in Jubilee College State Park and at Forest Park Nature Center, cicada sightings in Elmwood, Brimfield and other Peoria County urban areas have been limited.

The same is true west of us in Warren County, according to anecdotal reports. While the soil is warm enough, we’re just not in the epicenter of the two-brood emergence.

That’s not the case in Charleston, home to the IHSA state track meet. From the moment I got out of my car at Eastern Illinois University last Saturday, those little red-eyed rascals were everywhere, their song echoing through the air and their bodies colliding with everything.

The blue EIU track was littered with smooshed cicadas and competitors dodged them all day, particularly in the track’s northwest corner and anywhere there was dirt or bushes.
 After he won the 1,600-meter race, Elmwood-Brimfield’s Isaiah Hill even had a cicada perched on his back (photo, upper right). Did the bug tag along during his winning run? It’s possible.

Also uncomfortably possible was the chance a Kamikaze bug could wind up in the mouth of a runner. Can you imagine losing a state medal because you swallowed a cicada? I can, after seeing Saturday’s carnage.

 When cicadas landed on me every few minutes, I’d grab them gently by their wings – prompting a squeak – and let them fly off. Let some hungry critter eat them.

And while real-estate tax bills may say otherwise, in terms of cicadas, living in Peoria County is paying off.

• • •

One day after a memorable state meet for the Elmwood-Brimfield track and field program, E-B runners enjoyed another memorable event. On Sunday morning, Trojans cross country alumni gathered at Elmwood’s track for the first Trojan Alumni Mile reunion. A crowd of more than 60 showed up and 43 were timed. Recent grads Luke Hoffmann (4:29.2), Thomas Harmon (4:31.8) and Hill (4:37.4) led the way, though there were impressive finishes by veteran runners like 2011 graduate Ryan Bybee (4:45.6) and 1986 grad Michael Heffron (5:34.1). “Seeing all the alumni, all the guys you coached or ran with, I loved it,” E-B Coach Gregg Meyers said. “My plan is to do this every year. I hope they all enjoyed it and want to come back.” Unlike football alumni games that were popular a few years back, there were no major injuries reported at the alumni mile, just plenty of sore muscles on Monday.

• • •

Kudos are in order for several local residents and officials. Praise goes first to Deputy Jacque Dare of the Knox County Sheriff’s office. The coordinator of TRIAD, Dare saved a life in early March during an event at the Galesburg VFW. Yates City resident Tom Plack, former TRIAD president, became unresponsive at the event. “I did four (chest) compressions and he started to come around,” Dare said. Dare had only recently received CPR training with the Henderson Township Fire Protection District. … Kudos also goes to Jim Ralston of Yates City, who for years has done a great job making improvements at the Yates City Community Center and at Harvest Home Park. Ralston said he is dialing back his volunteer efforts to spend more time enjoying his seven grandchildren, all of whom are under the age of 12. … Gayla Taylor earns a Good Samaritan award for helping an elderly resident get home the other day. … Adding bicyclists to the Ruck 22 John Pettit III Memorial Walk held last Saturday in Elmwood helped boost participation to over 100 walkers and riders. While totals are not final, organizers will be able to make healthy contributions to Freedom Paws Service Dogs and the John & Kimi Pettit Memorial Scholarship. … Parting shot: Folks, we live in a state where the law now states that people in the Adult Redeploy Illinois program should be called “justice-impacted individuals” instead of “offenders.”

Contact Jeff Lampe at (309) 231-6040 or jeff@wklypost.com