Thursday, December 12, 2019

Nine Unity seniors receive Illinois State Scholar recognition

Nine Unity High School seniors were named to this year's State Scholar Program by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC).

ISAC recognizes students across the state that maintain an outstanding level of academic performance during high school. In order to be considered, they must be ranked in the top one-half of their class by the end of their third semester prior to graduation. Finally, the student's ACT or SAT score must reach be in the 95th percentile or higher. Only students attending approved Illinois public high schools are considered for this honorary recognition and it is awarded upon successful graduation the accredited school.

This year's recipients are: Kylie Decker, Connor Eastin, Karson Ewerks, Tyler Gadbury, Ella Godsell, Allyson Kennedy, Rachael King, Riley Millsap and Jakub Skupien.

Created by state lawmakers in 1957, the Deerfield, Illinois, based commission's main goal is to make post-secondary education accessible and affordable for resident high school students in Illinois through grants, scholarships and available loan programs.

We've found unique gifts for you or your home that we have to share

Below are six of more than of dozen one of a kind gift ideas from Miranda's Loom to put a smile on the face of that special someone this holiday season.

Located in Lincoln Square Mall, Miranda's Loom features the work of around 15 local fine art artists. From intricate fiber arts to eye-catching pottery, there dozens of gift ideas you won't find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana. Whether it is metal work, finely crafted turned wood or understated ikebana vases, there are dozens of art pieces waiting to become a sentimental addition to any home's decor.

Owner Leann Gehm is an award-winning artist who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and a Master of Science degree in Art Therapy. Preferring plant-based natural fibers for her work, Gehm crafts colorful pieces with delicate precision.

See something you like? You will want to visit Gehm's store as soon as you can to see if the pieces featured below are still available.

Miranda's Loom is located near the mall center across from the food court is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 6pm and on Saturday's from 10am - 2pm.

Handwoven, lightweight cowls full view

Handwoven, lightweight cowls
Handwoven cowls
Above: Created on the premises, choose from more than a dozen handwoven cowls by artist and owner Leann Gehm. This piece is perfect when you want a lighter accessory for a splash of color or to keep you a bit warmer on a chilly day in the office or when out on the town. Gehm's cowls are eco-friendly made from eucalyptus fiber and embellished with glass beads. They are lightweight, silky with a wonderful drape. $68.

Below: While bracelets are commonly used as an accessory item to finish off a look, for many people they are more than just a stylish accessory. In some cultures bracelets carry a meaning deeper than the threads that compose them and are intimate gifts for both men and women. Made by Sarah Bernzott her free-spirited style will make a splash this holiday season. Prices from $12 - $50.

Miranda's Loom gift cards
Gift Cards
Miranda's Loom Gift Cards are the perfect gift for the person who is difficult to buy for; let them choose from hundreds of art pieces in the store. There are handcrafted greeting cards, handmade basketry, gorgeous scarves for every occasion and more.

Available starting at $25 & up.

Created by Paul Borian from Blanket Creek Pottery, his stoneware features high-luster glazes and an elegant form. Buy a single piece or choose from several available sets in the store today. Prices range $26 - $56 per piece.

Featuring mixed metals and semi-precious gemstones, Sarah Bernzott necklaces are stylish and unique for a refined finish to any outfit. Prices range $12 - $50.

Find more gift ideas for this holiday season on the Miranda's Loom website at

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tips for celebrating the holidays with a loved one with dementia

Guest Commentary by Diane Rock

Holidays can be a wonderful time of year when families get together and catch up on each other’s busy lives. All too often is also the time that you may find that things aren’t quite the same with our aging family members.

Those twenty-minute calls once or twice a month made everything seem a okay with the parents or grandparents. But now, you have noticed the signs and symptoms of dementia are starting to show.

Beginning signs often overlooked by many families are now more noticeable. Their loved one may not be eating well - losing weight can often be one of the first signs - along with falls, forgetfulness and/or a noticeable change in their personal hygiene. That parent, grandparent or close friend feels like they are older, forgetting things here and there, but it doesn’t seem alarming.

In couples where the spouse is suffering from dementia, they may become more argumentative and suspicious. Due to their forgetfulness, they assume the other is being untruthful.

Spouses often try to hide the signs and symptoms of dementia from their partner. Truly needing help, but not wanting to feel vulnerable, they are afraid of not being in control of their life they have built together.

A few things to keep in mind when celebrating and wanting to include family or friends suffering from dementia during the holiday season:

Your loved on may not realize that it a holiday and may ask often "Where should I be?". By responding with a reassuring answer such: "We are right where we should be, Ted invited us for dinner." This can give comfort to someone with dementia.

When around friends and family that they no longer recognize, avoid asking, “don’t you remember So-and-So?” It can be very frustrating and make them feel very inadequate or add to their confusion. While they may respond with a yes, they may still not have any idea who the person is or their relationship to them.

Please remember that sometimes over stimulation, like continuous loud environments or sudden noises, can sometimes bring about agitation or confusion.

Everyone loves seeing the excitement of young children especially at the holidays. But a busy, fast-paced environment is sometimes too much for someone with this disease. They no longer can process these situations as they once did and an innocuous experience may cause a sudden negative mood swing.

Consumption of alcohol has a much different effect on someone with dementia, especially if they are taking prescription medication and should be avoided.

Overall, just be mindful that your loved one may not enjoy these experiences as they did prior to onset of dementia. In advanced stages, it is often better to just spend quiet moments together separate from large family groups.

Remember that people with dementia continue to need loving, safe relationships and a caring touch not only during the holiday season, but everyday.


Diane Rock is the Community Resource Director at Amber Glen Alzheimer's Special Care Center located at 1704 E Amber Lane in Urbana. Learn more about Amber Glen and the memory care services they provide by visiting their website at

This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the South County Dispatch. We welcome comments and viewpoints from readers who make up our diverse audience.


Tri-Town Dollar Saver Coupons

Click on the image for full size coupon to print
and submit to participating retailers

Visit the Stango Cuisine website

Visit the Miranda's Loom official website

Visit the World Harvest online

Visit the Urbana Acupuncture website for more info

Top Stories This Month