Christine A. Brennan, funeral director of Schildknecht Funeral Home in O’Fallon, has been installed as the 2018 president of the St. Clair County Funeral Directors’ Association.
“I am honored to hold the position as president, and I am excited to lead the St. Clair County and Metro East Funeral Directors’ Association. I look forward to better serve the families in our area alongside the St. Clair County Funeral Directors’ Association officers and members,” Brennan said.
Brennan is a licensed funeral director/embalmer through the state of Illinois. She is also a licensed life insurance producer throughout the state of Illinois.
She received her AAS degree from St. Louis Community College in mortuary science, was on the dean’s list, and was elected a class officer by fellow classmates. She completed her internship and apprenticeship through Schildknecht Funeral Home.
Brennan is a certified cremator through Cremation Association of North America, a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, the Illinois Funeral Directors Association, and the St.Clair County Funeral Directors Association, for which she is currently serving as President.
Prior to entering funeral service, she was a legal assistant for 20 years for highly respected prominent law firms, working for named partners of such firms. Some of her accomplishments during her career in law include being elected an officer of the St. Clair County Legal Professionals Association, and being nominated for Outstanding Young Woman of America.
She is a lifelong resident of Collinsville and lifelong member of St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Southern Illinois Builders Association elects board
Kent Kampwerth of River City Construction in Benton has been elected resident of the Southern Illinois Builders Association, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Other officers for 2018 are Hank Rohwedder of Hank’s Excavating & Landscaping in Belleville, first vice president; Jeff Limbaugh of Limbaugh Construction Co. in Granite City, second vice president; and Kent Richardson of Subsurface Constructors in St. Louis, secretary/treasurer.
The three-year directors elected were Scott Plocher of Plocher Construction Company Inc. in Highland and Harvey Wolf of L. Wolf Construction in Granite City.
Three-year associate directors elected were Matt Fricke of Warning Lites of Southern Illinois in East St. Louis, and Brian Hayden of Hayden Wrecking Corporation in Washington Park.
SIBA staff members Donna Richter, chief executive officer; Josh Schaufelberger, director of industry relations; Kristin McCaw, executive assistant; Shari Schutzenhofer, administrative assistant; John Holt, director of safety and education; Galen Parks, director of safety and education; Sarah Kaczmarowski, administrative assistant; Logan Ankeny, administrative assistant; and Cassidy Dowling, scan technician.
The Southern Illinois Builders Association is a trade association of contractors based in O’Fallon representing 500-plus commercial and industrial building, highway and utility construction contractors throughout Southern Illinois.
Unemployment in O’Fallon falls again
Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in November in all of Illinois’s metropolitan areas, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also show non-farm jobs increased in 10 of the metropolitan areas and decreased in four.
In St. Clair County, the unemployment rate fell .6 percent from 5.4 to 4.8 percent. In O’Fallon, the unemployment rate fell from 4.5 to 4.3 percent.
“It is encouraging that job growth was reported in ten of the fourteen metro areas,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “More than 30,000 of those jobs were created in the Chicago Metro area, so we need continued stronger growth statewide.”
Not seasonally adjusted data compares November 2017 with November 2016. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 4.7 percent in November 2017 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in November 2017 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.
Metro-east employers advertised for 5,600 openings in November, and approximately 78 percent sought full-time employment, according to Help Wanted OnLine data compiled by the Conference Board. It is a global, independent business membership and research association. Employers actually need more workers than the help wanted ad indicates because some industries, such as construction, typically do not advertise job openings.
The November 2017 unemployment rate for the Illinois Section of the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area was 4.5 percent, a decrease of (-0.6 percent) from the November 2016 rate of 5.1 percent. The data is not seasonally adjusted.
The number of employed individuals in the metro-east decreased by 1,559 to 327,062 in November 2017 from 328,621 in November 2016. The labor force decreased by 3,817 to 342,320 in November 2017 from 346,137 in November 2016. In November 2017, there were 15,258 unemployed people in the labor force. This is a decrease of 2,258 compared to the November 2016 total unemployed, 17,516.
Over the year, non-farm payrolls in the metro-east increased by 1,400.
Employment in the metro-east increased in transportation, warehousing and utilities (700), retail trade (500), manufacturing (300), mining and construction (200), and Professional and Business Services (100) in November 2017 compared to November 2016.
Decreases in employment in the metro-east over the year included financial activities (200), educational and health services (100), and Information (100).
Wholesale trade, leisure and hospitality, other services, and government remained stable, with no change in employment over the year.
First Command to open new O’Fallon location
The O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce joined First Command Financial Services in a groundbreaking for their future home at 639 N. Main Street, O’Fallon. The ceremony was held Dec. 5.
“We’re extremely excited about opening a new First Command office in O’Fallon,” said First Command district adviser Alan Orr. “Our goal is to provide new and existing First Command client families the best service possible in the communities where they work and live.”
First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First Command Financial Planning and First Command Bank, coach military families in their pursuit of financial security since 1958.
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital recognized by The Joint Commission
The Joint Commission has recognized HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital as a 2017 Pioneers in Quality Data Contributor for its contributions to electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) data for quality improvement in health care.
Until recently, most hospitals collected information to measure health care quality by manually abstracting data from patient records. Today, through eCQMs — which rely on structured, encoded data present in the electronic health record—hospitals can electronically collect and transmit data on the quality of care that patients receive. The electronic data can be analyzed to measure and improve care processes, performance and outcomes.
The Joint Commission, the United States’ leading accreditor of health care organizations, established the Pioneers in Quality program to assist and recognize hospitals that report eCQM data, as well as share best practices for all hospitals in gathering, analyzing and leveraging eCQM data for quality improvement.
Of more than 3,200 Joint Commission-accredited hospitals that reported 2016 data, only 480 have been named 2017 Pioneers in Quality hospitals by meeting criteria in one or more of the following categories:
▪ Data Contributor: A hospital that voluntarily submitted 2016 electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) data to The Joint Commission for measurement toward quality improvement.
▪ Expert Contributor: One of nine hospitals recognized by The Joint Commission for contributing eCQM knowledge and utilization practices for sharing with other accredited hospitals.
▪ Solution Contributor: One of 11 hospitals that submitted a practice selected for inclusion in The Joint Commission’s “Proven Practices Collection,” a peer-to-peer resource for other accredited hospitals on proven eCQM and health IT practices.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by The Joint Commission,” said Peg Sebastian, president and chief executive officer at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “It reflects on our staff’s commitment to continuous quality improvement, especially as it relates to the adoption of electronic clinical quality measures — the evolution and future of health care data reporting. Like The Joint Commission, we believe gathering and analyzing performance data is crucial to continuously improving quality of care and outcomes for all patients.”
“We commend St. Elizabeth’s as a 2017 Pioneers in Quality organization for its contributions and commitment to electronic clinical quality measure data and practice toward quality improvement,” said David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president, Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission.
“Out of 3,200 health care organizations, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is among only 480 that The Joint Commission has recognized this year for embracing new technology to submit data about the care it provides to patients. That work to voluntarily share information helps the entire industry move forward in utilizing electronic clinical quality measurement for health care improvement.”
Pioneers in Quality recognition is not an indicator or measure of data quality or quality of care, but an indicator of an organization’s commitment to adopting eCQMs toward quality improvement. It recognizes eCQM data reporting and other contributions that advance eCQM adoption in health care.
Realtors collect toys, food for needy
Every year for nearly a decade, the members of the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois, which is based in Shiloh, has carried on a special tradition of helping local charities around the holidays. This year is no different, as the members of the association collected toys, food, and money for two local charitable organizations. The toys were given to and graciously accepted by the Griffin Center in East St. Louis. The Community Interfaith Food Pantry in Belleville kindly accepted the food donations.
The Realtor Association held its annual holiday celebration on Dec. 14 at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Members of the association could be seen bringing in loads of toys including bikes, baby dolls, games, balls and more, as well as bags of canned goods. Many members also made monetary contributions totaling over $350.
“While the holiday season is a joyous time for most of us, for those who are struggling, this time of the year can be difficult,” said Angie Zahn, association president. “It’s always important for us to lift each other up and help when and where we can. These communities that we work in are our communities — we work and live here. Thank you to the numerous people that volunteer for and run these two extraordinary charities for our communities. We know that our donations will be making a difference.”
Throughout 2017, the association helped the following organizations: Realtor Relief Fund, BCMW Community Services, the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, the Weekend Wildcats, and now the Griffin Center and the Community Interfaith Food Pantry.
Wealth adviser hosts event to raise awareness for mental health
Mike Clark of Visionary Wealth Advisors in O’Fallon hosted a charity event Nov. 14 to raise awareness for mental health.
As an additional awareness effort, Clark donated $2,000 to the Karla Smith Foundation, an organization founded to drive awareness to mental illness and substance use disorders. It is Clark’s personal goal to donate a portion of his earned revenue, on a quarterly basis, to a local charity.
Clark said he believes by supporting organizations such as the Karla Smith Foundation, it will increase mental health awareness while lessening the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use disorders.
“The Karla Smith Foundation is an organization I am a very strong supporter of,” Clark said. “While mental illness may not be immediately recognizable on surface, it is real, it is happening every day, and those suffering deserve the treatment and support needed to overcome.”
The Karla Smith Foundation was founded to bring awareness to mental illness and substance use disorders. The foundation focuses on providing resources to those struggling with one of the diseases to better those affected lives and prevent the loss of loved ones. To donate, visit karlasmithfoundation.org.