August Archived Articles 2022


With the Help of Local Volunteers and Donations, Twigs Impacts our Community in Several Ways

Twigs Was Founded in 2011 To Feed Hungry Children and currently provides free summer lunches in 30 communities and free bags of weekend meals in 12 school districts. In addition, Twigs distributes nearly 12,000 pounds of free food each month from a “pop-up”market the first Tuesday of every month. All who come receive food. No questions asked.

In addition to their pop-up markets and sack lunches and weekend meals, Twigs reaches further into the community by teaching gardening and encouraging families to be a part of growing their own food by inviting residents to their Tumbleweed Community Garden.

In many school districts, every student currently enrolled relies on meals they receive from the National School Lunch Program. At schools where Twigs provides weekend food, attendance is up and disciplinary problems are down.

Donations of time, money and talent are always needed. Volunteers interested in the summer lunch program must be 17 years or older, pay for and pass a background check and purchase a Twigs t-shirt to wear when distributing food. Younger lunch volunteers must be accompanied by an adult who has met these criteria. To learn more, to volunteer or to donate, go to: twigsforkids.com or email twigsforkids@gmail.com. Contact Twigs and F.I.G.S. Founder and Chief Dreamer, Lisa Guilliams, at 618.973.1627


Mayor Parkinson and the Public Works Department Take Steps in Helping with the Clean Up Effort in Our Community



The Dixon’s Reinvesting in Their Community

Business owners Charlotte and Michael Dixon are the owners of Dixon Heating and Cooling. Now, they are the proud owners of a beautiful old home at 2055 Cleveland, giving Granite City a Bed & Breakfast. But not before they literally breathed new life into this forgotten old house. The plaque on the front of the building reads “Cleveland Place B&B 2055 Est. 1915” It is quite a story. This amazing couple have owned and remolded this building twice. That’s right twice!

The first time they bought the house, in 2012 it had been divided into numerous apartments. Mike and Charlotte took it back to its original purpose of being a gracious family home. Charlotte’s daughter JoAnn and her family enjoyed the home for years but when it became more space than they needed, it was sold. A local organization purchased the building but then left the building after only four months and it was then sold for the taxes.

When the Dixons found this out, they tried again to buy it but were not successful. It sat empty and unattended for long time and within that time the building was stripped of anything that could be sold and if it couldn’t be sold it was destroyed. Then in 2020 the Dixons tried once more to buy the home and this time they were successful. But they needed to start all over, again. And that is what they have done again. I toured this two story, four bedroom, stately old home with it’s stained glass widow in the dining room, full modern kitchen and what I liked best of all was the huge glassed front porch.

Mrs. Dixon has hosted numerous meetings in this gracious home, including a local Rotary meeting. And with the blessing of Mayor Parkinson they have set-up an organization, they call Restore & Renew, giving people interested in these beautiful old homes a sounding board and a support group.

The Dixons have put not only their money into this building (and a lot of it) but they are reinvesting in our community. It is the passion that people like Charlotte and Mike feel for their community, that makes them give of their time and love as they breathe new life back into something that would have been forgotten by most of us. Thank goodness there are people like the Dixons who care enough to take on this type of a huge undertaking, I watch a show on HGTV called “Hometown” where this couple will fix-up one home at a time in their hometown of Laurel Mississippi. Just for the love of bringing back their hometown. We just need a few more people like Charlotte and Mike Dixon. Thank you.


GCSD9 Selects First Student As New Transportation Partner

More families in Illinois will be relying on First Student to provide the best start and finish to the school day. Granite City Community Unit School District (USD) #9 has selected First Student to manage and operate all school transportation services beginning with the 2022-2023 school year.

“The school bus is an extension of the classroom, and we want to provide our students with the best possible experience as they travel to and from school,” said Granite City Community USD #9 Superintendent Stephanie M. Cann. “First Student is known for providing high-quality transportation services with its top safety standards and innovative technology. We believe the company will be able to deliver solutions that really make a difference for our families.”

New state-of-the-art school buses with air conditioning will provide thousands of students with a more comfortable and secure ride to and from school. First Student is replacing all 68 buses in the district’s fleet. The buses will be equipped with the latest technology, including DriverHub. The onboard tablet technology provides bus drivers with advanced views of bus routes, turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates. Read more…
From the Riverbender



Granite City Alumnae Jessica Mefford-Miller New CEO Of Valley Metro Public Transportation Authority in Phoenix

Colin Feeney, Riverbender

Jessica Mefford-Miller, a 1998 graduate of Granite City High School, has always been an innovative and connected leader, working four years as Executive Director of the Metro Development Agency, the provider for public transportation in St. Louis.

Recently, Mefford-Miller was named the Chief Executive Officer of the Valley Metro Public Transportation Authority in Phoenix, Ariz., where she oversees the entire public transportation system in the city and suburbs of the Valley of the Sun.

It’s a big job overseeing the entire public transport system, especially in a fast-developing metro area such as Phoenix and it’s a job she’s tackling head on.

“I am loving my new role and it is, I think, a really natural progression for my career for me,” Mefford-Miller said in a recent video interview on the Granite City Community Unit District 9’s YouTube channel. “I have been working in transportation the last 20 years, since I finished my undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University, where I went after graduating from GCHS in 1998. And I love working in transportation. I worked for the National Park Service early on in my career in Texas, I later moved to Ohio, where I pursued my Ph.D. at The Ohio State University (in Columbus), and I worked for the Department of Transportation there. But I really love working on complicated problems that involve the interaction between people and places, really. And the natural path my career took was working in public transit. Public transit is such a great connector; it’s an opportunity for people across the world and it’s so important for creating really thriving socially, environmentally and economic sustainable regions. Read on.


July Archives 2022