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UPDATED: Police arrest BBCHS student who brought gun to school

BRADLEY — Bradley police arrested a Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School student Monday morning after a firearm was found in the student’s book bag.

Superintendent Matt Vosberg told the Daily Journal the student is a freshman male and that the gun was not loaded.

The incident occurred at approximately 7:30 a.m. A parent was notified from their student that another student was in possession of a gun while on a school bus. This parent notified local law enforcement immediately, Vosberg said.

Bradley police notified school officials who located the student and found a gun in his book bag. The student was immediately taken into custody for questioning, Vosberg said.

“It was very good that a student notified someone. Students care about safety at schools,” Vosberg said.

He said a student bringing a gun onto school grounds is a violation of law.

“Criminal charges will be brought in addition to school-imposed disciplinary measures,” Vosberg said in a letter to parents.

The student could be expelled for two years, Vosberg told the Journal.

“As you know, safety is always our top priority, and this situation was handled quickly and effectively,” Vosberg said, adding that this was an isolated incident and all students were safe and secure following the incident.

“We ask that you discuss this incident with your children and emphasize the importance of telling you or a staff member if any type of weapon is at school,” he said in his letter to parents. “In this way, we are all working together to keep our school safe.”

Police remained on campus for the remainder of the day to ensure increased security.

It is the first time in 10 years in which the district has had an incident of a student bringing a firearm to school, Vosberg said.

Christmas trees designed to benefit local children, animals

The season of giving is in full swing and local organizations have gotten festive with raising awareness. Christmas trees have popped up around town to benefit children and animals in need.

At Blain’s Farm & Fleet on Route 50 in Bourbonnais, a tree sits at the store’s front entrance to collect donations for the Kankakee County Humane Foundation. Photos of adoptable dogs, cats, rabbits and more serve as the tree’s ornaments, and the back side of the photo lists three needs of each animal.

A donation bin and a table sit behind the tree with a list of KCHF’s requested items to help the organization continue to serve area’s shelter animals. The list includes Friskies or Fancy Feast cat food, paper towels, bleach, clumping litter and litter deodorizer, cat and dog treats and toys, bones (no rawhide), and Farm & Fleet brand dry dog/puppy food and dry cat/kitten food.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the donation bin was filled with requested items. KCHF director Jordan Chapman said that this annual collection makes a “massive difference” in the amount that the organization spends on supplies.

After last year’s collection, the training area at the front of the shelter was full for about a month with items that the organization uses on a regular basis.

“Last year, one of the managers of Farm & Fleet said that about $3,400 worth of supplies were donated,” Chapman said. “So it’s not a small amount by any means.”

Salvation Army Angel Tree

Also on Route 50 at Northfield Square Mall hosts The Salvation Army of Kankakee County’s Angel Tree. The tree, located at the south entrance of the mall, is adorned with tags each listing information on a local child in need of items around the holidays. A number of tags have been claimed with about 15 remaining on the tree as of Thanksgiving weekend.

“This year the need for toys is huge as we have about 60 more children signed up than last year,” said Lt. Makayla Parnell, Corps Officer, pastor and executive director of The Salvation Army of Kankakee County. “As of right now, we still need about 200 children adopted and shopped for by Dec. 9.”

The tags include the child’s name, age, clothing sizes and their interests. Additionally, the tags include a “need” and a “wish.” The needs are items such as winter outwear and the wish is a fun item or toy.

According to The Salvation Army of Kankakee County’s website, the Angel Tree comes to fruition by social service agencies and schools referring families to The Salvation Army for help with Christmas. Participants are interviewed to verify that the family is truly in need.

Next, the organization obtains the name of each child or special needs adults in the family and a list of desired Christmas gifts. Verification is made to ensure that the family is not receiving duplicate services from another agency.

Angel tags are printed for each individual and placed on Salvation Army Angel Trees at area malls and in local companies and organizations.

Donors select Angels, purchase gifts and return them to the Angel Tree by the given deadline on each tag.

Upon their return, the gifts are taken to a Salvation Army Christmas Distribution Center for pickup by the Angel families.

During the seven days prior to Christmas Eve, families pick up their gifts. There also is a tree available at the Bourbonnais Public Library located at 250 W. John Casey Road, Bourbonnais.

Local gifts are to be brought to The Salvation Army’s office 148 N. Harrison Ave., Kankakee. An Angel Tree with additional tags is available inside the office.

Angels can also be adopted through For more information, call Lt. Makayla Parnell at 815-933-8421, ext. 1102.

Area golf courses change hands

Two local golf courses, Aspen Ridge Golf Course in Bourbonnais and Shamrock Golf Course in St. Anne, recently changed ownership.

The owners of Alexander Equipment in Bourbonnais, Jerry and Matt Alexander, sold Aspen Ridge to Brian Rogers in May. The par-70 course totaling 6,191 yards is at 1663 E. 4000N Road (Larry Power Road), just north of Northfield Square mall. It first opened to the public in 1998.

“I play there a lot regularly, and I’d been looking for something to do,” Rogers said of the purchase. “The opportunity arose, and I took it.”

Rogers, 59, sold his eight TD Pete’s gas stations five years ago and had some free time on his hands.

“I sold my business in 2016, so I had been looking for something new,” he said. “I was doing part-time gigs on the side until this.”

Aspen Ridge has 12 mostly full-time employees and is managed by Mark Frechette.

The Alexanders bought the course in 2016 and made some much-needed improvements. The course has a driving range and a clubhouse with snacks and beverages, including beer.

“We just thought it was the perfect time to sell,” Matt Alexander said. “[Rogers] spent a lot of time there, and there’s not a better guy than him.”

Rogers said he’s taking this first year of ownership to observe before making any changes, if necessary. The course is still open daily.

“Any day the weather permits,” he said of the course’s hours of operation. “No carts if there’s any frost.”

The course opens 45 minutes after sunrise and closes 30 minutes prior to sunset, according to its website. The course also offers league play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There are currently five leagues.

“We’re potentially adding more,” said Rogers, who plays in the seniors league that tees off at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays. “It’s kind of why I bought the place. It’s very popular and very fun. It’s just a great group of guys.”

Despite another golf course in the region — South Shore Golf Course in Momence — closing a few years ago and the Manteno Golf Course up for sale, Rogers wasn’t deterred by investing in Aspen Ridge.

“I’m not sure what happened at Manteno,” Rogers said of the course recently being put on the market. “I hope someone steps up and buys it. I think it’s a good time for the golf industry. I do.”

For Shamrock Golf Course in St. Anne, it was purchased on Nov. 19, according to a posting on the course’s Facebook page. Matthew Surprenant was listed as the owner, according to, and Matt and Tricia Surprenant referred to themselves as owners on the post. The post, in part, stated: “After meeting with several potential buyers throughout the year, we are so excited to announce that the Kaufman family is purchasing Shamrock. Kamden Kaufman will be the primary operator and brings intelligence, energy, and excitement. He will no doubt do an outstanding job caring for the grounds and improving conditions. His father, Kent Kaufman, and Uncle, Billy Kaufman will also be involved and bring considerable business experience. Together they bring renewed enthusiasm that will bring positive changes to the course and our community. Kamden, Kent, and Billy are the exact buyers we were hoping would purchase Shamrock.”

The course closed for the season on Nov. 15 and will reopen sometime in the spring of 2022.

Hospitals see not-unusual decrease in ICU availability

KANKAKEE — The 7-day rolling average of ICU bed availability in Illinois’ Region 7, which includes Kankakee and Will counties, dropped to 13 percent on Nov. 28, roughly the lowest it’s been since last November.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports this number and tracks whether it is above or below a threshold of 20 percent.

For most of the year, the region has stayed above the recommended threshold. Now, seven of the state’s 11 regions are under it.

“It is not unusual for the region to report below 20 percent of ICU bed availability during the winter season,” said Kathy O’Grady, vice president of clinical services at Riverside Healthcare.

Dr. Kalisha Hill, regional chief medical officer at AMITA Health St. Mary’s Hospital Kankakee and AMITA Health St. Joseph Medical Center Joliet, noted bed availability is multifactorial.

For instance, some people schedule procedures before their deductible expires at year’s end, she said.

“An increase in census is normal, due to procedures, flu and other winter illnesses,” Hill said. “However, because of COVID-19, the staffing and the severity of illness is much worse.”

COVID-19 positive patients, 99 percent of whom are unvaccinated, have increased in number recently, according to Hill.

AMITA in Kankakee was treating 22 COVID-19 positive patients on Monday and 35 at AMITA in Joliet, with a minority in the ICU at both locations, according to AMITA Health spokesman Timothy Nelson.

“There are 27 COVID positive patients in the hospital,” O’Grady said about Riverside Medical Center. “The ICU census is 11 out of 18 beds, and there are 5 COVID positive patients in the ICU.”

Coronavirus transmission has increased from a month ago but is much less widespread than a year ago, according to IDPH. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Region 7 on Nov. 28 was 129, less than half of the 360 patients hospitalized in the region on the date last year.

“I highly encourage anyone who is unvaccinated, including children 5 years and older, to be vaccinated as soon as possible and anyone who is eligible to receive a third dose or booster shot,” Hill said.