‘Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me’ Is No Longer True
Remember the old expression we used as kids to respond to being insulted by another kid?
It went: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
Well, as we witnessed last Wednesday, that old saying is obsolete, after Rep. Steve Scalise and several others, including a member of the Capitol police force were shot during a Republican early morning baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Federal law enforcement officials identified the alleged shooter as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died following a shootout with authorities.
At least six people including Scalise, the third ranking member of House Republican leadership as the majority whip, were hospitalized.
Our own Congressman, Rodney Davis, was up to bat in the practice game when the shots rang out.
Fortunately, he wasn’t hit by any of the bullets.
As bad as it was, had it not been for the presence of the Capitol Police, Davis and many of the others would probably have been shot because they were sitting ducks at the baseball practice field.
Hateful Words Create
Since the election of Donald Trump, the hateful rhetoric and shocking actions by those who hate Trump, have been appalling and frightening.
To say that Kathy Griffin’s action in holding up a bloody decapitated Trump-like head, or the production of "Julius Caesar" at "Shakespeare in the Park" in New York’s Central Park, including the assassination of a Trump-like leader, (right down to the long red tie), do not send an extremely toxic message is to ignore the obvious.
Such actions do not fall under “freedom of speech” but “promotion of hate” of the current president and those who serve in office.
Obviously, the hateful words and actions that have become a constant stream of political and personal sewage spoken and acted upon, are repulsive to most of us -- but words of inspiration to people like Hodgkinson who believe all hope is lost for our nation if they don’t kill somebody to send an important message.
We now know that hateful words can stir the demented mind and cause some people to believe they can save our nation, if they kill President Trump, or anyone connected to him, personally or politically. I worry about his family members.
Do you still wonder why many members of Congress, including Davis, can no longer effectively hold town meetings? It’s because much of the political and social rhetoric in this nation has become so toxic there is real concern for the lives of elected officials.
Donald Trump was not my first choice to be president and, frankly, his constant tweeting and loose rhetoric don’t help him. In fact, it’s counterproductive to what he wants to accomplish.
However, he is the President of the United States, duly elected to the office under our system,
I wasn’t real thrilled with the leadership of President Barack Obama, but never had thoughts of hatred for him.
I always wished the Obamas well and prayed for President Obama, his family and the nation every day he was in office.
Our national political process has turned into a cauldron of hatred and, unless brought under control, it will destroy us.
Fix What’s Wrong In D.C.
The last time Congressman Rodney Davis came to my office, which was not that long ago, we talked about what was happening in Congress, and the divisive atmosphere where he worked.
However, Rodney seemed optimistic and indicated things were getting done that don’t make major headlines.
He told me, as he was leaving, that he had pledged, when he ran for office, that he was going to “fix” Washington and he would not be deterred from that commitment.
May God protect Rodney and his family, and those who strive to serve in public office.
It seems to get tougher all the time.
Oh, by the way, for those who doubt that “words can hurt”, last week a woman accused of convincing her boyfriend to commit suicide was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter by a Massachusetts judge.
Michelle Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 suicide of 18-year-old Conrad Roy.
She was 30 miles away when he committed suicide, but she repeatedly use her IPhone to encourage him to kill himself.
Obviously, the judge felt her words played a critical role in the man’s suicide.
Great Report On Quality
Of City’s Drinking Water
The City of Decatur has reported that drinking water delivered to residential, commercial and industrial customers last year either met or exceeded all state and federal drinking water requirements.
The 2017 Annual Water Quality Report details an exemplary record of compliance with United States Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards. The City met all testing requirements for over 80 substances during the past year, providing high quality water while keeping rates consistent with other Central Illinois water utilities. The City has not received a drinking water violation since 2002 even though water quality requirements have become significantly more stringent since that time.
“I am excited to let our residents know that, once again, our drinking water meets or exceeds the stringent standards required by the EPA at a cost equal to or lower than other area communities,” said Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe. “We are also very proud of the dedicated men and women of the Public Works Department that work tirelessly to make this happen each and every day.
The City pumps an average of 19 million gallons per day from Lake Decatur, providing water to approximately 31,400 service connections and 82,000 area residents.
The report is posted on the City’s website at: www.decaturil.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-Water-Quality-Report.pdf. Copies are also available at the South Water Treatment Plant, Decatur Civic Center and the Municipal Service Center.
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Some Personal Memories Of The Building At South Park & Franklin Streets
I shot this photo of the renovated building on the southwest corner of South Park and Franklin streets over the weekend.
The building looks great and firstech put its logo on the front of the building. Busey now owns the entire city block and has been in the process of enhancing the area with its many improvements.
I mention the building in this column, not only because it looks great, but because WDZ was located on the entire second floor for many years, starting in 1949 and later, in the mid-1980s until 1995 this newspaper also occupied the entire second floor. We also produced the “Newsline” television program there.
The second floor windows across the front of the building are where my private office was located and, boy, did it ever have a great view of Central Park!
This week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print edition, takes a look at this building which, unlike any other building in Decatur (at least to my knowledge), was home, at different times, to a radio station, a newspaper and a television studio.
I have many memories of building owner Lyle DeWitt, and his friendship, and being in that building when I first was on the air at WDZ decades ago, and years later, when it was home to this newspaper.
I am so pleased it has been given new life.
Other Cities Have More
Violent Crime Than Decatur
Following up on last week’s column about comments from a few local citizens about how dangerous Decatur is because of all the violent crime, Law Street’s list of most dangerous cities in Illinois, based on crime statistics, shows Decatur ranks #12.
Guess which cities are ranked higher, meaning more violent crime than Decatur?
Well, Danville is #3 most violent. Springfield is #5, Champaign is #7 and Peoria is #8 -- all having a higher violent crime rate than Decatur.
By the way, East St. Louis is the most violent in Illinois. Chicago is ranked #6, which means it is less violent than Springfield and just one notch above Champaign.
I realize that violent crime statistics aren’t pleasant to look at in any city and I don’t think anyone wants to constantly read them -- that includes me.
I just get tired of some people, living in and outside of Decatur, always putting our city down and pointing an accusatory finger at our community when it comes to crime.
Any crime is too much crime for any community and I’m not contending that we are “crime-free”.
However, it is obvious, not only from the report I referenced on the front page, but similar studies in recent years, that we have less violent crime than several other cities in Central Illinois -- despite what some people would have you believe.
Stating that fact is not seeing our city through rose-colored glasses. It’s looking at statistical information that supports the “less crime” statement.
I realize that various reports may shift some of the results depending on what type of crime is being analyzed, but “violent crime” statistics are particularly important in looking at what is happening in Decatur.
The next time someone tries to tell you about all of the crime and violence we have in Decatur, ask them where her or she got that information.
If the answer is “a Facebook post”, or “a friend of a friend that lives in another state but knows all about Decatur” -- consider the source.
Decatur is my home and when someone runs down my home, when statistical information proves he doesn’t know what he’s talking about -- it’s a more than a little irritating to me.
Effective Means Of Slowing Down Fast Drivers
There’s been a few speed traps sprung by the Decatur Police Department on South Franklin Street early in the morning recently and the result has been a significant number of speeding tickets.
That’s the road I use to drive to the office from the south side of Decatur each morning and I know that a lot of vehicles pass me going a lot faster than the speed limit.
That’s why I’ve seen a lot of flashing lights from patrol car ahead of me during my morning drive coming in to the newspaper office on Franklin.
The other morning, it looked like the start of the Decatur Celebration parade!
Here’s a somewhat humorous aspect about that stretch of road.
For the past week or two, maybe longer, someone has parked a black-colored vehicle on the southwest corner of Franklin & Decatur streets with a “for sale” sign on it.
The vehicle is parked on private business property and I’m sure the person who parked it there felt it was a good way to advertise the vehicle.
What I have seen happening a lot since the police started writing speeding tickets, is that drivers coming over the hill and heading down towards Decatur street, think the dark vehicle that is for sale, is a police car with radar!!!!
I know, because as soon as the drivers’ eyes see the dark vehicle, I see their stoplights come on -- as in “I’m slowing down. There’s a police car there!”
Maybe the City of Decatur should buy the car that is for sale and rent the space where it is parked to keep drivers’ on their toes -- or on their brakes!
Okay, I’m just joking -- kind of.
• A FEW DAYS ago, as I was driving the speed limit on North Water Street from Eldorado to Pershing Road, I decided to count the number of vehicles that passed me going over the speed limit. The total was 28 with a few of them going so fast that they startled “Christine”, my possessed car, and she turned my radio and air conditioning off! (Okay. A slight exaggeration.)
It kind of made me wonder how many drivers actually obey the speed limits in our city. Just wondering.
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY or visit our website at decaturtribune.net and find us on Facebook.
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GOD BLESS AMERICA
NEWS TO KNOW
Mac on Sports
Willard Succeeds Doehring
Cerro Gordo/Bement has its new boys basketball head coach, who comes from Bloomington with his residence in Mahomet.
Brett Robinson, Cerro Gordo/Bement superintendent, advises Brandon Willard is the Broncos new coach, who will succeed Blake Doehring, who resigned to take a teaching and assistant coaching position at Effingham in the Apollo Conference.
Willard has been a guidance counselor at Bloomington high school and eighth grade boys basketball coach at Bloomington junior high for the past two years. The CGB approved his hiring at its May 31st meeting.
In addition to coaching boys basketball, he also will be a guidance counselor there, according to Robinson's note.
Argenta-Oreana is the only Decatur and Macon County school now without a boys basketball head coach as this is written.
I will have on more this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Sheriff's Deputy Arrests Lewis Jackson for Drugs
By J. Thomas McNamara
He's an Eisenhower basketball legend for his achievements on the Panthers hardwood and at Purdue where he continued his stellar career.
He's the all-time leading scorer in Eisenhower's basketball history with 1630 points which puts him 21st on the all-time Decatur and Macon County 1,000 point scoring list.
But that isn't important now that a Macon County sheriff's office detective assigned with the Durg Interdiction unit conducted a traffic stop on a silver Chevrolet Monte Carlo with the lone occupant being Lewis Jackson IV with a birth date of Sept. 20, 1989.
In a news release, the sheriff's office informed, "Macon County K-9 unit (Chance) was deployed to conduct a free air sniff and alerted to the presence of an illegal drug odor of the vehicle which was being driven by Mr. Jackson.
"A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted which resulted in the discovery of over 70 grams of heroin, 2 Xanax pills, and 8.4 grams of cannabis.
"Mr. Jackson was arrested and transported to the Macon County Jail. His bond was set in the amount of $50,000 10% applies. He bonded out of the Macon County Jail on Monday (6-19-17).
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Foster Benefit Consulting joins J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds
On July 1st , Larry Foster, CLU and Vickie Baker, FLMI will join the insurance professionals at J. L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds. They will be located in their office at 1090 South Route 51, Forsyth, IL.
A Press Conference is scheduled for 10:00 A.M. on 6-27-17 at the offices of J. L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds, 1090 South Route 51, Forsyth, IL.
Foster is a 50 year insurance professional and a former city councilman who served the City of Decatur for 15 years. He graduated from Millikin University and received his Master’s degree from the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA. Foster has been active in the community serving on many boards and charitable organizations.
Mac on Sports
Micah Sheppard New Meridian Hawks Coach
By J. Thomas McNamara
"He checked all the boxes that we were looking for to succeed Scott (Davis)," said Meridian principal Eric Hurelbrink of Micah Sheppard, who was named by the Hawks board Tuesday night to succeed Davis as head coach.
"One of the things we liked was his experience, even though he's never been a head coach," said Hurelbrink in our conversation this afternoon (Wednesday). "For a number of years he ran the offense for Derek (Spates) at MacArthur.
"The second thing is he is coming in here to open up our offense, he's going to run the spread offense which I think will excite kids to see players flying around the field," said Hurelbrink about his and Superintendent Dan Brue's thoughts on why Sheppard was the "best fit" for the program.
And the transition should go smoothly since he was with Scott last year, continued the Hawks principal about the Hawks new head coach. After Davis resigned to take the MacArthur position, Hurelbrink said Sheppard has been running the summer program.
"Not only are we getting a quality coach, but we are also a great teacher and as administrator that is our firwst priority, "we're getting a quality character guy."
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune, including comments from Sheppard himself, who we have reached out.
Josh Tanner Announces Candidacy for Macon
Macon County Supervisor of Assessments Josh Tanner, 42, announced today that he will be a
Republican candidate for Macon County Clerk.
“The County Clerk’s Office is a vital part of local
government and will require an elected official to be ready to work on the first day,” said Tanner.
Tanner has worked extensively with the Clerk’s office on property tax extension and for the last seven years has assisted before, during, and after every election. He also worked with the reapportionment of county board districts in 2011 utilizing the county’s geographic information system.
As a long-time resident of Macon County and a 1993 graduate of Mt. Zion High School, Tanner
has deep roots in the community. He currently lives in Mt. Zion with his wife and children and
attends First Baptist Church. Tanner holds a bachelor's degree from Florida International
University and prior to attending college he was enlisted in the United States Air Force.
Tanner has served as Supervisor of Assessments for more than four years and has been with
Macon County nine years. He is an active member of the County Assessment Officers
Association and currently heads the statewide organization as President. Prior to his work at
the county he was employed four years at the Illinois Department of Revenue in the Property
You can find out more information at the candidate's official website www.electjoshtanner.com
Samantha Murray is the other declared candidate for the Macon County Clerk's position. Long-time Clerk Steve Bean will retire at the end of his term.
Mac on Sports
Reynolds New Trojans Basketball Coach
Blake Reynolds is the new Maroa-Forsyth boys basketball head coach.
The Maroa-Forsyth school board at its meeting tonight (Monday) approved the former Decatur Christian head coach and former Decatur LSA assistant to succeed Robert (Robo) Kreps.
Coincidentally, both Reynolds and Kreps resigned from their respective Warrior and Trojans positions at the end of his season in Reynolds case and Kreps more recently.
Reynolds inherits a team that was young last year as Kreps played a lot of underclassmen. Senior-to-be Daanish Mahmood is expected to be the leader of next year's Trojans.
At Decatur Christian, Reynolds also played underclassmen where his team did not win a game, but that was not from lack of effort or coaching. They were inexperienced.
In announcing Reynolds' hiring, Principal Brice Stewart and Athletic Director Phil Applebee said, " Blake is a high quality individual who brings immense energy, commitment and
experience to our program. He has coached at multiple levels and helped oversee dramatic changes in the culture at each of his stops. He has a passion for basketball that is unmatched and will hold our student-athletes to high expectations on the court, in the
classroom and in the community.
"We are excited for Coach Reynolds to get started with his summer program, and building
on the tradition that is Maroa-Forsyth high school basketball," concluded their statement.
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Mac on Sports
Reputation Of Team Soy Decatur Thanksgiving Tournament Is Well-Known
The reputation of the Team Soy Decatur Thanksgiving Tournament as being an outstanding event has reached Kansas City.
That's one of the points new Decatur District 61 superintendent Dr. Paul Fregeau made in brief remarks at today's Mac's Pigskin Diner cookout at Stephen Decatur Middle School for tournament advertisers and sponsors.
He said when he returned to Kansas City from his interview and visit to the community here last winter he mentioned Decatur and they commented about that being the home of outstanding Thanksgiving basketball tournament.
But that was not the only surprise as Bruce Firchau, chairman of the Basketball Museum of Illinois, also attended and brought those present up to date with the status of it and wants District 61 to loan the museum for display from Memorial Day to Labor Day Decatur/Stephen Decatur state championship trophies. A previous school board has denied the museum's request.
Jason Thompson, Champaign Central assistant coach, also was on hand to represent the Maroons, who is the eighth team in this year's tournament. The Maroons are a one-year deal as they begin their own tournament the following 2018-19 season.
I will have more on the cookout in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Mac On Sports
Underwood Illini Club
Guest June 26
The Decatur Illini Club will host its Annual Illini Celebration dinner on Monday, June 26, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Decatur.
This year’s featured guest speaker will be Fighting Illini Men’s basketball head coach Brad Underwood. The club will also award its annual scholarship to a local incoming freshman at the University of Illinois. There will be a 40-20/20/20 style raffle with all proceeds from the event going to the club’s scholarship fund.
Tickets for the event are $25 and include Pinky’s pulled pork BBQ and side dishes, as well as soft beverages. Tickets can be obtained via PayPal (use firstname.lastname@example.org and enter your contact information in the “notes” field) or visiting the club website www.decaturilliniclub.com to find the event invitation.
Seating will be limited, so advance ticket purchase is encouraged. All tickets through the door will be entered into the door prize drawing (four tickets to a Fighting Illini football game in the Colonnades Club, four Stadium Club passes and an on-field photo prior to the game).
The Decatur Illini Club is a sanctioned club through the University of Illinois Alumni Association, accepting alumni and fans alike. Over the course of its 30-plus years the Decatur Illini Club has awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships to local students attending the University of Illinois, and this event is the primary fundraiser.
For further information, contact Jen Wood at 217-413-1103 or email@example.com.