Saturday, April 29, 2006

Joseph Spitale

From the Springfield Journal-Register today:

Joseph Spitale, 100, of Springfield died Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at Oak Terrace Healthcare Center. He was born July 27, 1905, in Calascibetta, Sicily, the son of Carlos and Caroline Chingotta Spitale. He married Elizabeth Nancarrow; she died in 1992.

Mr. Spitale graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1929, received a master's degree from the University of Michigan in 1933 and did his postgraduate studies at the University of Illinois, University of Colorado and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received the Allis-Chalmers Fellowship in Engineering in 1958. He was a science teacher and freshman football coach at Springfield High School for 43 years, retiring in 1972. He was the author of two zoology laboratory manuals.

He was a member of West Side Christian Church, where he was a Sunday school teacher and superintendent. He served as a supply lay minister for 15 years. He also was a member of the National Education Association, Illinois Education Association, American Federation of Teachers and the Springfield Nature League.

Survivors: daughter, Nancy Brantley of Springfield; sister, Etherena Yuroff of Springfield; a niece; and a nephew. Private family services: Oak Ridge Cemetery, the Rev. Vaughn Beeman officiating. Boardman-Smith Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gas Prices Again

Seems like every fall and spring, USA gas prices soar once more.

To see how prices in your county stack up with those near by, or across the country, visit Gas Buddy and its color-coded map.

A little bar in the upper left lets you zoom in or out on the map.

A chart on the CNN site reminds us that Americans pay far less for gas than many European and Asian countries.

(Thanks to Lee Lochbaum, in Germany, for the reminder.)

For a translation of the sign, visit this site on Political Humor.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spring Greetings

Happy Passover, Easter, and Spring! These Ukrainian eggs, pysanky, are a colorful tradition in parts of central Canada and the USA. Wherever you are, have a pleasant holiday weekend with good weather and gatherings of friends and family.

Harriett and Rom Sidoli sent a lively animated Easter greeting card for all '58s to enjoy, and Yvonne and Bob Beveridge forwarded memories of life in the 50s, when we survived so many hazards, such as blue cheese dressing, lead-based paint, no bike helmets or air bags, and playing outdoors! Happy Spring to all, and may we have many more.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lanphier Ball Park

In honor of Opening Day, let's recall Springfield's pro baseball field, known today as Robin Roberts Stadium at Lanphier Park. Built in 1928, the ball park is on North Grand near Lanphier HS.

From 1932 to 2001, it was home to the Springfield Browns, Senators, Cardinals, Redbirds, Giants, Sultans, and Capitals. Also the Sallies of the All-American Girls League, as depicted in a good film, A League of Their Own (1992).

Two web sites present the history and ambience of Lanphier Park. One of the smaller minor league parks, it offers a good view from almost any angle. Box seats are $7 and bench seats $6. Hot dogs and peanuts are still a bargain, and the trains rolling by are free.

Major pros who played here included Satchel Paige, Robin Roberts, and Dick Schofield. Local teams in the Pony and American Legion leagues often played here as well.

Our 1958 SHS baseball team won the district championship here. Senior stars included Ron Wilson, Dick Hoke, John Dunn, Doug Proctor, and Jack Matlack; also the late Mark Evans and Bob Brunsman. Click on the pics to enlarge, and play ball!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

More Twisters

On the evening of Sunday, April 3, up to 9 twisters struck 4 counties across central Illinois. The towns of Lincoln, Greenview, Niantic, and Taylorville were hard hit. Over 150,000 homes had no power overnight. Springfield had 2,100 outages, nearly all restored by Monday morning.

Suzanne Lee Boyd reports that the April 3 storms followed the path of those on March 12. Heavy damage occurred in Sherwood, Westchester, and Riverton. No lives were lost, thanks to early warnings. Suzi says, "Since we just lived through a blizzard also on a Sunday night, we're all becoming paranoid about Sunday nights."

Stories with full details are at the SJR and CNN web sites.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Visit to Leaf City

Mary Gallagher is a writer and international traveler who runs a web site called Gallagher's Travels that describes her visits and adventures in far flung parts of the world.

On her visit to Springfield she enjoyed all that she encountered: the infamous horseshoe sandwich (she ate the whole thing), the leafy, bungalow-lined streets (anyone recognize the shot above?), and the Lincoln attractions in town and at New Salem.

Informed by a stranger in Chicago that Springfield was a "rural" place, Ms. Gallagher happily found that "Lincoln and Springfield showed me a humble America, rooted with the confidence of the history from where we came."