Talk Of The Town

basementTop photo: The cast and crew. Back row: Laurie Diamond as Vivian Snustad, Jennifer Klostermann as Mavis Gilmerson, Steve Klostermann as the Rev. E.L. Gunderson, Alexis Strieker as Karin Engelson, and Courtney Diamond as Beverly Signe Engelson. Front row: crew members Anna Klostermann, Ian Diamond and Savannah Wesselmann. Bottom photo: Mavis, Vivian and Karin marvel at the decorating job they’ve done on Karin’s daughter Beverly. (Photos by Bryan Hunt)    In December 1959, preparations are underway for the annual church Christmas pageant.
    As usual, anything that can go wrong will certainly do so.
    The question is: can the Church Basement Ladies save the pageant from the brink of disaster?
    The Clinton County Showcase production of "Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas" takes over the historic Avon Theater stage at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and again Dec. 13 and 14, and at 2 p.m. this Sunday and on Dec. 15.
    The theater is at 535 N. Second St. in downtown Breese.
    Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 o'clock performances, and at 1:30 p.m. for the matinees.
    Steve and Jennifer Klostermann are doing double duty for this production. They are co-directors.
    The cast includes Steve Klostermann as pastor E.L Gunderson, Alexis Strieker as Mrs. Karin Engelson, Courtney Diamond as Beverly Signe Engelson, Jennifer Klostermann as Mrs. Mavis Gilmerson, and Laurie Diamond as Mrs. Vivian Snustad.
    The play's crew includes directors' assistant Anna Klostermann, musical director Evelyn Schrand, stage crewhands Anna Klostermann and Ian Diamond, lighting by Savannnah Wesselmann, and sound by Anna Klostermann.
    Jennifer Klostermann and the cast did the choreography, costumes, and set painting and decorating.
    The set design and construction was done by Steve, Jennifer and Anna Klostermann.
    This two-act play takes place on a Saturday in December 1959, the day of the annual Sunday School Christmas program.
    The play features some spirited exchanges between cast members and, in between, are some toe-tapping musical numbers that also help set the stage.
    For more information about this production or other shows, or the Clinton County Showcase, log on to

161Officials and business representatives from Centralia, Clinton and Marion counties, along with Illinois Department of Transportation officials, marked the reopening of Illinois Route 161 at Crooked Creek Tuesday morning with a ribbon cutting, hosted by the Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Bryan Hunt)    Illinois Route 161 west of Centralia and crossing Crooked Creek — closed for the majority of 2019 — reopened to traffic the morning of Nov. 29, to the delight of area residents and motorists.
    Dignitaries from Centralia, Marion and Clinton counties, as well as business owners, gathered at the Brookside Township yard Tuesday morning to mark the event — but without stopping traffic.
    The Illinois Department of Transportation’s improvement project, broken down into three phases, began on Jan. 2 with the closure of the two-lane stretch of roadway, a vital passageway for commuters leaving and coming into Centralia.
    The project involved the replacement of aged bridges spanning the creek, said to be around 80 years old, and the installation of new box culverts which will carry the flow of water from Crooked Creek.
    The project also involved the elevation of approaches from both ends — Shattuc and Noltings roads — with the goal of doing away with the overtopping of water from the creek when the area experiences floodwaters.
    A hydraulic analysis of the bridge was conducted and showed that the existing level of flood protection for overtopping did not meet IDOT’s drainage criteria.
    The project was included in IDOT’s FY 2018 to 2023 Proposed Highway Improvement Program at a cost of $21 million, which included land acquisitions and utility adjustments.

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Breese City Map


Carlyle Lake Levels

Lake levels

Fri., Nov. 27
Sun., Nov. 29 444.81
Tues., Dec. 3 447.56



November 27 .77"
November 28 .00"
November 29 .00"
November 30 1.67"
December 1 .28"
December 2 .03"
December 3  .02"