Around The Town

The History and Folklore of Santa Claus program is a free event at Jacksonville Public Library (JPL) on Zoom and in-person: From where did Santa come? Many folks know that our modern-day Santa Claus had his start as St. Nicholas, but what happened on the journey to make us think of a “jolly old elf,” rather than a pious Christian Bishop? From where, exactly, did Santa Claus come, and why does his popularity remain so high in modern American popular culture? This illustrated lecture by Laura F. Keyes is well-researched, with details on the journey that Bishop Nicholas made to become our current-day Santa Claus.

PLEASE NOTE: Because of secrets revealed, this program is not intended for children for whom Santa Claus is a very real figure!

The event takes place on Monday, December 6 at 7 p.m. on Zoom and in-person. The JPL is located at 201 W. College Ave. If you’re interested in attending at home, please email Sarah at for the Zoom link. This Zoom presentation will also be displayed in the meeting room at the library; no registration is required to attend in-person.

The presenter, Laura Keyes, graduated from UW-Madison with a master’s degree in library studies, and has been presenting on historic topics for over ten years. She enjoys researching literary symbolism and is contracted to write a book on that subject.

Find out more at

Accounting for Those We’ve Lost: POW/MIA in World War II” event on December 7:

Join the Jacksonville Public Library (JPL) on Pearl Harbor Day for an Educational Event! In honor of the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, Dr. Greg Kupsky, a historian with the Defense Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA), will talk about the mission to provide the fullest possible accounting of our missing personnel to their families and to the nation. He will share some of his research and field experiences related to the European and Pacific Theaters of World War II.

The event takes place on Tuesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom and in-person. The JPL is located at 201 W. College Ave. If you’re interested in attending at home, please email Sarah at for the Zoom link. This Zoom presentation will also be displayed in the meeting room at the library; no registration is required to attend in-person. For more, visit

Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary Club’s Troopon campaign reaches almost $300,000 in donations: Members of the Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary Club notified area Rotarians during a recent Rotary District Conference that the Troopon campaign of collecting and distributing manufacturers’ coupons for U.S. military families, reached the astounding total of nearly $300,000 in donations. Launched on Veterans Day last year, the club called on the local community to donate unused manufacturers’ coupons in drop boxes located in area retail establishments. The coupons are then sorted by categories including food, non-food and baby supplies, and shipped to Support Our Troops charity in Daytona Beach, Florida. The sorted coupons are then distributed to members of the United States armed forces on U.S. military bases around the world. Collected coupons become Troopons and are accepted in military base commissaries to aid families of serving members of the armed forces.

Club president and Troopon coordinator Jane Becker announced to the club that the total raised for the campaign, as of Veterans Day this year, amounted to $299,751.71 in collected coupons. The category totals are food coupons–$17,743.12; non-food coupons–$268,976.09; and baby supply coupons–$13,032.50. “We just missed our first-year goal of $300,000 by less than $250,” said Becker. “Our first-year goal is important, but it’s more important that the community know that this is an ongoing project. The families of our troops are still on duty around the world. On behalf of Jacksonville Sunrise Rotary, I’d like to thank our community for participating in this import service project.”

Troopon collection boxes are available at: The MBroidery Shop, Jacksonville AMVETS, Jacksonville County Market, Jacksonville Walmart (at the service desk), Jacksonville VFW, Gordon Jumper CPA, PermaBound, Hamilton’s, House of Ink and Production Xpress.

Pathway Executive Director Maryjane Million announces retirement: Maryjane Million, executive director of Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc., is retiring March 31, 2022, according to an announcement by Kevin Eckhoff, president of the Pathway Board of Directors.

Million became executive director of Pathway in March 2020. She had previously served on its board of directors from 2017 until her selection as executive director.

“On behalf of the board, we extend our thanks to Maryjane for her outstanding leadership of the organization,” said Eckhoff. “Maryjane started her tenure as executive director at the beginning of COVID-19. Despite the numerous challenges the pandemic presented, she always kept the needs of our individuals first, while also moving the agency forward.”

The selection process for a replacement is currently underway.

Since 1964, Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc., has provided quality opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities and other physical and mental challenges.

Local author event with Eli Goodman, MD, at Jacksonville Public Library (JPL): Eli Goodman, MD, the author of “The Adventures of Abe: The $5 Bill,” “The White Horse” and more, has lived in Springfield since 2009. He grew up in Philadelphia and still considers himself to be a “congenital” Philadelphian. He is an internal medicine physician who, during his long career, has worked as a clinician and medical director in many different settings, including large community health centers and correctional facilities. Dr. Goodman, a self-described “communitarian,” dedicates himself daily to the obligation to help repair our broken world through good deeds. Many of his writings deal with this theme.

Goodman will be discussing his books at this in-person public event on Saturday, December 11 at 1 p.m. No registration required. Find out more information at

“The Adventures of Abe: The $5 Bill” tells the story of a $5 bill who recalls his most memorable adventures over a 20-year career and the important wisdom he gained along the way. “The White Horse” proves to both children and adults that prejudice based on superficial characteristics such as skin color is folly.

BLH Computers is recycling Christmas light to help the Jacksonville Park Foundation: Thanks to BLH Computers, you can recycle your Christmas tree lights and help the Jacksonville Park Foundation! Now through January 15, drop off your old Christmas lights in the box at the entrance to Jacksonville County Market. Any funds raised from the recycling project will go toward supporting projects including Bark Park Initiative, Friends of the Trails, Protect the Melon!, and the Bloom/Grow Gardening Initiative. Any other electronics may be dropped off at BLH Computers at 832 S. Main St. in Jacksonville. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. More details at

Fire protection redistricting information toallresidentsofJacksonvilleandsurroundingcommunities: The City of Jacksonville Fire Department (JFD) is in the process of redistricting fire protection boundaries. If you have received your annual Notice of Fire Protection Due from the City of Jacksonville, please disregard. If you continue to fall within the City of Jacksonville’s fire protection boundaries, you will be issued a new notice with an adjusted balance due. If you no longer fall within the City of Jacksonville’s boundaries, you will need to contact JFD Fire Chief Doug Sills at 217-479-4656 or to determine your fire protection district.

Opening reception at David Strawn Art Gallery for new artists on display: The Art Association of Jacksonville is pleased to present April Sepich, reclaimed materials artist, and Leigh Roberts, metalsmith jewelry artist, to the David Strawn Art Gallery December 4-23. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, December 4from 6-8 p.m. with a “Gallery Talk” at 6:30 p.m. Both the opening reception and gallery hours are free and open to the public.

The David Strawn Art Gallery hours for December 5-23 are Sundays, 1-3 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday, 4-6 p.m. The gallery is located at 331 W. College Ave. Find more information at

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