Bee Colonies are Preparing for the Nectar Flow

•March 22, 2017•

By Jerry Ginther
NP Columnist

In the next few weeks farmers and gardeners will begin preparing the soil for planting, and with the vernal equinox behind us beekeepers will begin preparing their bee colonies for the anticipated nectar flow.

Noticeably, the hours of daylight have begun to lengthen even if warmer weather and other signs of spring are not evident. Those may be delayed for a few weeks. Vernal equinox actually means that on March 20 we experienced equal hours of daylight and darkness, 12 hours each. The day is designated as the first day of the spring, but as you’ve probably noticed, spring-like weather doesn’t always arrive on that day.

Preparing the bees and the hives for the spring and summer nectar flows is a labor-intensive project for the beekeeper. In regions of our country known for severe winters, many beekeepers wrap their hives with insulating material to protect them from harsh winds and help prevent heat loss from within.

In the spring this wrapping must be removed and each hive inspected internally to determine how well each endured the winter and if the queen survived. In rare cases an entire colony may perish, while others may lose a substantial number of worker bees. In the latter case where the colony may have become too weak to survive they may be exterminated.

Honeybees are usually wintered in two-story hives. The Langstroth hive has always been my choice. They contain 10 movable frames, which makes working with the bees very easy.

When the temperature falls below 57 degrees Fahrenheit, the bees begin to cluster on the combs to conserve heat. The bees at the center, next to the honeycomb, consume honey and “exercise” to create heat. While the bees on the outside work their way into the cluster to get warm and to reach the honey, the warmer bees are forced to the surface. In this manner the cluster is in constant motion. This action must continue as long as the temperature is below the magic number of 57 degrees.

The lower the temperature the more vigorous the activity and the more honey consumed. In colder regions a single story hive will not provide adequate honey storage to sustain the colony.

By springtime the colony will usually have worked its way into the upper story of the hive, having depleted the supply of honey in the lower section. This necessitates reversing the upper and lower stories. The lower hive body, which will now contain only the empty frames of comb, will be placed on the top. The bees will refill these during the summer. The bees and remaining honey stores will be placed on the bottom next to the hive entrance. This will now become the “brood chamber.”

The worker bees returning from the field laden with pollen for beebread won’t have to carry their cargo all the way to the top story. That is where brood rearing would have occurred had the hive bodies not been reversed. Beebread is fed to the larva stage of the developing honeybee, which goes through a complete metamorphosis.

When brood rearing is at its peak, the queen will lay more than one thousand eggs in 24 hours. This is necessary to rebuild the numbers of the workforce lost during the winter and to replenish the losses that will be sustained due to the heavy workload of summer. During those months, the life expectancy of the worker bee is about six weeks. Her short life is due to the fact that her wings fray and will no longer sustain flight. When she can no longer fly, she will simply crawl out into the grass and die. She will do that rather than die in the hive if she can. Some workers never make it back to the hive with their last load of nectar and pollen.

While the hive is open during the reversal of the hive bodies, most beekeepers will look for the queen bee to be sure she is present and healthy. If the queen has started laying eggs, her presence will be confirmed by sighting her eggs in the bottoms of the cells. The eggs are often easier to find than she is.

As the nectar flow gets more abundant, the beekeeper will add extra boxes called supers at the top of the hive for the surplus honey storage. When full, these supers will be removed and the honey used by the beekeeper. The bottom two hive bodies will be left for the bees for the next winter.

Bio: Jerry Ginther grew up in Sullivan, IL with a few brief departures over the years. He served two years in the U.S. Army, 1966-68, and later attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Jerry has a degree in Christian Ministry and is the author of Acquiring the Benefits of Biblical Wisdom, available in e-book format on Amazon.Com. He and his wife reside in Texas. Contact Jerry at

Understanding Illinois: Is Restoring the American Spirit A Dream?

•March 22, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

In his first address to Congress, President Trump exhorted us to renew the American spirit. I worry Americans are not up to the challenge. Or am I being much too dour, maybe because I live in Illinois, where entrenched dysfunction colors my view of the world?

Americans showed strong “can do” spirit from our 18th Century Revolution throughout history to the end of World War II and carried forward a sunny optimism up to the Vietnam Conflict of the 1960-70s.

Since then, our spirit has wavered.

In 1979, Jimmy Carter gave a speech about a “crisis of confidence.”

“We can see this crisis,” said the humorless, preachy Georgian, “in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of unity of purpose for our nation.”

The so-called “malaise speech” (he never used that word) went over like a lead balloon, in part because many Americans felt he was criticizing them, which he was. Read More

Letters to the Editor 3-22-2017

To the anonymous pizza buyer,

Brad and I go to Monical’s in Sullivan to eat once in a while, and March 13 was our night and the place was packed.

We were in no hurry so we sat down and waited to order. After a while it cleared, we ate and Brad asked for the bill.

The waitress said, “Oh your meal has been paid for.” Brad asked who paid because we knew some people there, but she told us it wasn’t them. The payer wanted to remain anonymous and for us to have a good night. Read More

Understanding Illinois: Things are sure different now. Why?

•March 15, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

There have been dramatic, unsettling changes in my tiny county of Stark in central Illinois since I was a youngster here in the 1950s.

What the Hell has been going on, I think to myself. And why?

When I was a boy, Stark County’s gendarmerie comprised a sheriff and his deputy (in a county of 8,500; 5,900 today). The sheriff’s wife was the matron of the jail, in which the family also lived, and she cooked the meals for the prisoners.

Today, the sheriff has nine deputies, some part-time, plus two full-time dispatchers 24/7, and the court has a probation officer.

In my hometown of Toulon (pop. 1,400 then and now), there was a one-armed night watchman who checked main street businesses for unlocked doors. Today, the town has several well-trained, part-time young officers.

At Toulon High School, the principal also served as superintendent of the 12-grade district. Other than teachers, that was it. Read More

Letters to the Editor 3-15-2017

Positive Results for Schools if Facility Tax is Approved

Dear Editor,

As a grandparent and retired teacher, I hope Moultrie County residents keep in mind the positive results for our county schools which would occur with the approval of the Moultrie County 1% School Facility Tax. Since all the counties adjacent to Moultrie (Douglas, Piatt, Macon, Shelby, and Coles) have already passed this tax, Moultrie County residents pay the tax to benefit schools in surrounding counties whenever they purchase items in these counties. Read More

Understanding Illinois: A Simple Pill To Say Goodbye

•March 8, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

The topic for the week is only a little less depressing than the Illinois budget impasse—the end of life.

My hometown friend Archie, 90, has been a widower for decades. One of his two daughters lives a million miles away; the other passed away some years ago.

I sometimes bump into Archie at the nearby McDonald’s at lunch, alone, chewing absent-mindedly on a hamburger, looking forlornly out the window.

To add injury to insult, at present Archie is suffering a bedeviling case of eczema over much of his body.

“I’m ready to go,” Archie tells me. The bleakness in his voice pitiful, as Archie had for many decades a good, successful life as a small-town merchant, active in his community.

But even if he really wants to go, as it appears he does, how does he do so? The available options are gruesome, it seems. Read More

Letters to the Editor 3-8-2015

Concerned About Equality Among Extracurricular Activities

Dear Editor,

I completely agree that we should be proud of the rich history of our show choirs, our girls’ basketball teams, our state champion swimmer, and our track champions, amongst others.

I am bothered, however, that people still believe that show choir should be treated differently and get special attention.

In this school year alone we had a golfer advance to state, our cross country team advance to sectionals, and our scholastic bowl team went undefeated in regular season and conference tournament play.

I seriously doubt that we had any school administrators on hand for those events, and I don’t think anybody raised an issue with it. I think the show choir is a great activity for many of our students, but it is not the only activity that matters.  Read More

Letters to the editor: 3-1-2017

Dear Sullivan Board of Education:

As I am sure you are aware, on Friday, February 10 at about 3:20 p.m. a bus carrying our boys’ basketball team, cheerleaders, and coaches was involved in an accident at the Bruce-Findlay Road. This was a traumatic afternoon and evening for all on the bus and our school district. I was notified of the accident at 3:28 p.m. and immediately left for the accident scene. Shortly after my departure, I received a call from your superintendent, Mr. Brad Tuttle. Mr. Tuttle informed me that he was en route to the accident scene and that Sullivan School District was taking a bus there.

Upon my arrival, Mr. Tuttle greeted me and told me he would be around for awhile if there was anything I needed him to do. Having a fellow superintendent on scene so quickly was certainly reassuring to me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Mr. Tuttle being there to assist our kids and coaches. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate Mt. Tuttle’s response and for providing a bus where our students could go to stay warm.

While the accident was extremely unfortunate, it gives us chance to see the best that people have to offer. The first responders were incredible and took fantastic care of our kids. The City of Sullivan certainly put its best foot forward and was represented exceptionally well by the first responders and Mr. Tuttle. Please accept our sincere thanks.

Bill Fritcher,
Supt. Teutopolis Community Unit District #50


Do Legalities Disguise Real Reasons for Opposition

Dear Editor,

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6   Could it be that ignorance kills its host?

Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe), died Saturday 2/18 at the age of 69.  When she was 22, unemployed and pregnant in 1969, she sought to have an abortion in Texas where it was illegal. She claimed she was raped. Her case went to the Supreme Court, and the famous 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade determined that throughout the land, abortion would be legal.

Since that time, a number of discoveries have enlightened the world concerning the truth about this case. First, Norma lied. She was not raped. Second, because of medical advances and fetal studies, it has been determined that fetuses feel pain from 20 weeks on and experience a number of functions which scientists consider uniquely human. Third, courts around the country consider violence against a pregnant woman, which results in the loss of a fetus, murder. Fourth, McCorvey herself became a very strong proponent of fetal rights and has spoken around the U.S. against abortion. But the Supreme Court has spoken.

But has the Supreme court ever erred? In 1857 the Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote, on the famous Dred Scott decision, determined that slaves are property and could not be considered citizens. That decision was overturned with legislation in 1868 by the passage of the 14th amendment. Perhaps the Supreme Court can make mistakes.

Legalities often disguise the real reasons we oppose a practice. The real reason for slavery was keeping power over another’s life for personal pleasure. The real reason for abortion is the same.

Al Rennert
Lovington, IL


Concerns Over Proposed Property Tax Abatement

Dear Editor,

It was with much bemusement and concern that I read your February 22, 2017 front page article “Sullivan School Board Proposes Property Tax Abatement”

This is a non-binding resolution that carries no weight and means nothing. Well meaning, but not worth the taxpayer funded paper it was written on. There will always be an “emergency” or “crisis” for a taxing body to keep floating bonds so that this one percent will never go away. Please note that you will see the word “CRISIS” used by the administration and school district throughout the campaign. In 2017 everything is “CRISIS”.

Also the Sullivan Superintendent states, and I quote: “A one percent county school facility tax COULD generate up to one million dollars revenue a year for the district.”

I would like to also quote the same superintendent from a three page letter he sent home to Sullivan parents just 18 months ago, dated September 2014. “We expect the penny increase (or 1%) in the county sales tax will annually generate approximately $425,000 for our district”

Now my bachelors’ degree from EIU is in Political Science but my math skills tell me that $425,000 is a long way from $1,000,000; I’d say bout $575,000 off. I’m not sure if the school administration is using Al Gore’s “fuzzy math” or “new math” or perhaps this is our best example of “common core math”?

Ask yourself: In the past 18 months has a Super WalMart been built here? In the past 18 months has a new outlet mall been built here? In the last 18 months has a new interstate with exit ramps been built here that will generate an additional $575,000?


In another article from the front page of your January 11, 2017 the paper printed “Supt. Brad Tuttle emphasized the board could cut property taxes..” Please note the reoccurring use of the buzz work “COULD”. Let me put it this way: I plan on winning the $400 million-dollar power ball and I “COULD” share it with all of you.

Let’s be clear about this tax question. A sales tax is a REGRESSIVE tax. It impacts poor and the senior citizen of our county the most.

A new tax or revenue stream for a taxing body is like a new source of drugs to an addict. Once hooked, you can’t ever get them off the stuff.

We can support our great school system and its amazing faculty and still oppose this sales tax.

These are not mutually exclusive.

Vote NO …. again on April 4.

Brad Graven
Sullivan High School Alumni

Understanding Illinois: Fiscal Follies Continue as Illinois Suffers

•March 1, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

Gov. Rauner recently released his third budget, and it’s just as phony as his previous two efforts as well as those of his Democratic predecessors Blagojevich and Quinn.

To summarize, Illinois continues to spend about $7 billion a year more than it takes in, on a general funds budget of $32 billion in revenue. Everyone from New York bond ratings agencies to scribblers out here like me say this cannot continue, but it does.

The damage is mostly beneath the surface, yet devastating.

Our high school graduates flee the state in droves for college across our borders, because of uncertainty over financial aid and the future of our colleges.

Neighboring states gleefully offer our students “scholarships” that make going to Iowa City or Madison less expensive than in Illinois. Their universities, hurting for students, can do this because the marginal cost to them of an additional student is less than what they charge.

Once our students leave, they are less likely to return. Read More

Understanding Illinois: We Need A New Major Political Party

•February 22, 2017•

By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist

Talking politics over coffee with a former student this past week, the two of us came up with the same thought: We need a new major political party.

Dauntingly difficult, but not impossible.

The Democratic Party is adrift, at best. Its base of African-Americans, government unions and a thin sliver of intellectual liberals doesn’t add up to enough to win national elections.

On the other side, there hasn’t been a place in the GOP for old Eisenhower Republicans like me, who believe in public works, public education and public universities, for many years.

The free-trading, budget-balancing Establishment GOPers have been thrown over by small government Tea Partiers, and all is now confounded by the big spending, big debt populism of President Trump. Who knows where lies the heart of the party, or if it has a heart? Read More