The Weather Channel​

Decatur Police Department Investigates Vehicle Crash On Lakeshore Dr/Route 51 Ramp

At approximately 7:24 PM on January 18th, 2018, Officers of the Decatur Police Department responded to a traffic accident which occurred on the Lakeshore Dr. east bound ramp under the bridge for Route 51 South.    
    Upon arrival, Officers discovered that a 53 year old Mt. Zion man who had been operating a 4 door passenger car collided with the concrete bridge support. The driver was found to be deceased at the scene. There was also a 45 year old Decatur female passenger in the vehicle. She was transported to a local hospital and treated for non life threatening injuries 
    Preliminary investigation indicates that the man was operating the passenger car south and east around the curve of the Lakeshore Dr. ramp. The driver ultimately lost control of the passenger car and subsequently struck the concrete bridge support along the driver side of the vehicle. 
    The crash is currently being investigated by the Fatal Accident Investigation Team. Traffic was diverted north on Martin Luther King from west bound Lakeshore Dr. and the ramp to Lakeshore Dr. from S. Main was closed for approximately 4 hours.

Eisenhower's Pitman, Sassano Chat 

Larger photo, caption in Sports

Cape Air’s Decatur Service Set To Begin 
On Feb. 14

    Cape Air will start serving Decatur beginning Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. From Decatur, Cape Air will operate daily, year-round flights to both Chicago O’Hare and St. Louis Lambert-International Airports. 
    •    Decatur (DEC) – Chicago (ORD): 4 daily, round-trip flights Monday-Friday
    •    Decatur (DEC) – Chicago (ORD): 2 daily, round-trip flights Saturday-Sunday
    •    Decatur (DEC) – St. Louis (STL): 2 daily, round-trip flights Monday-Friday
    •    Decatur (DEC) – St. Louis (STL): 1 daily, round-trip flight Saturday-Sunday    
    Cape Air's President, Linda Markham, shares, "We are excited to announce our Feb. 14 start date and begin service in Decatur. 
    “As Decatur’s new carrier, we look forward to providing both reliable and affordable air service as well as building strong and lasting relationships with our passengers and community leaders."
    Fares to St. Louis will start from $29 each way, and fares to Chicago will start from $59 each way and will include all taxes and fees. Cape Air has baggage agreements with most major carriers, making connections in both St. Louis and Chicago seamless and hassle-free. Passengers with checked luggage making connections in either St. Louis or Chicago, will now be able to check their baggage all the way through to their final destination without security rescreening at either hub.         

    The only airline which does not participate in baggage agreements is Southwest Airlines. 
    Reservations can be made now by visiting or by calling 800-CAPE-AIR. 
    Now in its 28th year, Cape Air is one of the largest independent regional airlines in the United States, serving 38 cities in the US, Caribbean, and Micronesia. The employee-owned company, based in Hyannis, Massachusetts, has grown from three flights a day between Provincetown and Boston in 1989 to a fleet of 91 aircraft, 525 flights a day.

James E. Peckert To Rejoin Kehart, Wise, Toth & Lewis

James E. Peckert

    Hickory Point Bank and Kehart, Wise, Toth & Lewis have jointly announced that James E. Peckert will rejoin his former law firm in February 2018.  Peckert will continue in his current capacity at Hickory Point Bank until Jan. 31, 2018. 
    In his new role, Peckert will serve as outside counsel to the Bank and as a consultant to its Trust Division.
    “Jim has provided Hickory Point Bank with sound legal advice as in-house counsel,” said Anthony G. Nestler, President and Chief Exe-cutive Officer. “Go-ing forward, we will continue to work with Jim as our outside counsel.”
    “We are pleased Jim is returning to us,” says Michael J. Kehart, Senior Partner at the law firm. “Following his first year of law school, he clerked for the firm and continued with us as an attorney after receiving his law license. While at the firm, Jim enjoyed a robust practice representing corporate and organizational clients, as well as private individuals.”
    Peckert joined the Bank in 2012 as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He was responsible for the overall strategic direction and daily management of the Trust and Wealth Management Division as well as providing counsel to the Bank. 
    Prior to joining Hickory Point Bank, he was a practicing attorney for thirty years in the Decatur area. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Millikin University in Accounting and Juris Doctor degree from Southern Illinois University.

Winter Photography Workshop at Rock Springs Jan. 28

    Explore outdoor winter photography with members of the Decatur Camera Club at Rock Springs Nature Center on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 2-4pm.  
     With snow, frost, and views uninterrupted by foliage, winter is a fun season to explore nature photography.      During Winter Photography for Beginners, members of the Decatur Camera Club will help you improve your photography skills no matter what type of camera you use.  Following a brief indoor presentation, we will go outside to take pictures of the winter landscape.  Free.  For all ages.  Register online by Noon on Jan. 26 at
     Rock Springs Conservation Area is located on the southwestern edge of Decatur.  To get to Rock Springs from Decatur, go south on Route 48 and turn west onto Rock Springs Road or go south on Wyckles Road and turn east onto Rock Springs Road.  Watch for signs.  Plenty of parking is available.

Free Real Estate Entrepreneurship 
Classes Offered 

    Decatur Township Supervisor, Lisa M. Stanley, announces a series of free classes on Real Estate Entrepreneurship to be held at the township hall offices on Route 48 beginning January 25, 2018.  
    For registration or information, Lisa M. Stanley can be reached at the Decatur Township offices, 217-429-5284 ext 31 or email or Tony Caccomo at 217-454-8541 or tonycaccomo@
    The classes will be held for 6 weeks, every Thursday night until March 1st, and will feature several local speakers in the business of real estate acquisition, construction, renovation, financing, leasing, selling and ownership.
    All classes begin at 6:30pm and will end at 8 pm.  The classes are FREE and open to all residents of Macon County.  Tony Caccomo, a local Decatur resident and real estate development and finance mentor serves as the coordinator of the program.
    The purpose of the program is to empower the minority, young and female population to open opportunities in real estate ownership, development and entrepreneurship.
    The outline for the classes a/k/a “Real Estate Is Power” is as follows:
    1)    Real Estate Values – Thursday, January 25, 2018
    a)    Understanding of real estate values—power and pitfalls
    b)    Give out list of terms, worksheets and course outline
    c)    Management and Planning—scheduling and Timelines
    2)    Real Estate Finance - Thursday, February 1, 2018   
    a)    Broad outline of various forms of finance
    b)    Details on mortgages—Guest Speaker from Bank on mortgages and commercial loans
    c)    Guest speaker about Grants
    3)    Building Codes / Construction - Thursday, February 8, 2018 
    a)    Guest Speaker from City Building Dept
    b)    Guest speaker from Menards—about Materials 
    4)    Legal Options and Ownership -  Thursday February 15, 2018 
    a)    Title Issues—Guest speaker from Title Company
    b)    Ownership Options –Guest speaker –Attorney about Ownership Options
    5)    Sales and Marketing -  Thursday February 22, 2018 
    a)    Researching the Market—Real Estate Broker speaker
    b)    Researching the Product
    c)    Pricing and Placement – Builder/Developer speaker
    6)    Summary – Optimism vs Realism - Thursday March 1, 2018 
    a) Do a sample deal for a house/commercial property 
    b) schedule a Field Trip to properties –Saturday in February

Land Of Lincoln Honor Flight To Hold Annual Meeting Jan. 20 

    Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) of Springfield Illinois announces the upcoming Annual Meeting to be held Saturday, January 20th, at Lakeside Christian Church hall, located at 226 Toronto Road (I-55, Exit 100 west) in Springfield.       

    Beginning at 1:00 pm, this meeting is open to the public, including veterans, guardian escorts, volunteers and supporters of LLHF. A complete recap of the 2017 flying season, which consisted of five flights, will be included, along with financials and statistics.     There will also be announcements of upcoming plans and 2018 flight dates, guardian training dates, events and more. After the summaries, saluting of LLHF’s partners, etc., the meeting will conclude with a raffle, door prizes and light refreshments.
    Veteran applications continue to be accepted, with priority given in the following order:  World War II (person enlisted by 12/31/1946), then Korean War Era (01/01/1947 to 12/31/1957), followed by the Vietnam War Era (01/01/1958 to 05/07/1975). 
    Any certified terminally ill Veteran should contact LLHF directly. Also, because every Veteran flies with a guardian escort - a volunteer who pays their own way - applications for future guardians are also currently being accepted. This may be any able-bodied person, 18-70 years old, except for Veterans who have already been honored with a flight or a spouse/significant other of a Veteran on a flight.  For the guardian fee, included is LLHF training, cap & t-shirt, round-trip flight, bus tour during the day, meals & snacks, refreshments and the rare privilege of spending the day honoring our true heroes – the Veterans.
    Veteran or Guardian Applications may be obtained at
www.Landof or by contacting  Joan Bortolon at JMB4604@ or phone 217 585 1219. LLHF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that receives no government funding or grants. 
    It is only able to honor the Veterans on these flights to DC due to the generous donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, merchandise sales and supporting efforts of the many local businesses, individuals and organizations within their service area.         

   Visit the web site to make a donation, to hold a fundraiser, to book a board member speaker or to obtain more information on the Honor Flight mission. Also consider following LLHF on their Facebook page to stay current on upcoming 2018 events and flights.

Macon Resources, Inc. 
Is Celebrating 30th Anniversary This Month

    MRI (Macon Resources, Inc.) is celebrating 30 years this month (January 2018). 
    MRI as it is known today, was created when Progress Resource Center and Macon County Rehabilitation Facilities consolidated services 30 years ago in January of 1988. 
    Between 1988 and 2018, MRI has expanded to serve over 800 children and adults with disabilities in our community each year. 
    “MRI is proud of the role we play in building the growth, independence and self worth of individuals with disabilities in Macon County,” says Executive Director Amy Bliefnick. “And we look forward to the continual growth of services in this community.”
    Progress Resource Center (formerly known as Progress School) began in a garage in 1957. At the time, the only option for children with disabilities was institutionalization. Two mothers refused to place their children in an institution and instead began teaching their children about reading, math and other basic skills. Other parents who had children with disabilities took notice and Progress Resource Center began to grow.
    Macon County Rehabilitation Facilities was founded in 1968 and began as a vocational training facility. It soon expanded to include residential living. 
    While MRI acquired its first group home in 1988, Macon County Rehabilitation services was teaching independent living skills to individuals living at home. 
    Since the merge, MRI has grown to accommodate over 800 children and adults by providing services including day training, community employment, Autism services, mental health programming, inclusive child care, home visiting and more. MRI also owns and operates nine group homes in the community.
    For more information, visit or call 217.875.8850.


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​​Central Park Fountain in Downtown Decatur

Campaigns Starting To Show Some Signs Of Life

    The campaigns for offices in this year’s election are showing some signs of life as we head towards the March 20 General Primary Election. 
    I don’t know if it’s been the cold weather, or all the hateful and divisive political rhetoric at the state and national level, but something has reduced the enthusiasm of the voting public -- at least those who read the Decatur Tribune. 
    It’s not for a lack of races for important Macon County and area offices, or a lack of candidates to fill those offices -- but, so far, I’m not picking up a lot of activity on the interest radar.
    It’s actually been awhile since we’ve gone into a primary election that means something -- which makes this year is different.
    We have candidates who will have to win their party’s primary or they will not be on the ballot in November.
    That’s especially true in the race to fill the 101st District seat that has been held by Rep. Bill Mitchell for nearly 20 years.
    Three Republican candidates, Dan Caulkins, Randy Keith and Todd Hendricks are vying to see which one moves on to the General Election in November.
    There are three major county offices that have more than one candidate from the same party for the primary.  In the race for Macon County Clerk Republican candidates Samantha Murray and Josh Tanner will appear on the ballot with the winner moving on to the General Election.
    Democrat Amy Rueff is unopposed in trying to win the Macon County Clerk’s position -- which is  open due to the retirement of long-time clerk Steve Bean at the end of his term.
    For Macon County Sheriff, Democrats Jon L. Butts and Tony “Chubby” Brown face each other in the primary. Republican Jim Root is unopposed, in the race that doesn’t have an incumbent running for re-election.
    Macon County Treasurer Ed Yoder, a Republican, is seeking re-election to another term as Democrats April Kostenski and Shavon Francis are battling to see who will move on after the primary election.
 • COZIAHR HARLEY-DAVIDSON, located at 150 W. Marion Ave. in Forsyth, will host a Town Hall Meeting for the three Macon County Sheriff candidates on Saturday, Jan. 27. The meeting will be held in CHD’s newly expanded storage warehouse, near the service entrance of the dealership.
     Antonio Brown, Jon Butts, and Jim Root will be at the dealership from 1:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. answering questions from community members. 
Scott Busboom of Talk 101 will act as moderator.    
    Citizens wishing to ask questions of the candidates should arrive early to pick a number, as this process will be how the order of questions will be chosen.

 • WITH THE extreme cold weather we had at the end of December, it’s a little hard to believe that 2017 was the sixth warmest year on record in Illinois with a statewide average temperature of 54.3 degrees, or 2 degrees above normal.
    That’s according to Jim Angel with the Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute.
    As reported, December temperatures in Illinois were exceptionally mild until Christmas Eve -- and we all know about the big temperature drop at that time.

 • A FUNDRAISER is going to be held Feb. 10 by Friends of Jen McMillin in support of her candidacy for the 101st District seat presently held by Rep. Bill Mitchell, who is retiring at the end of his present term.
    The fundraiser is being called “101 Laughs” and will be held at Sliderz Bar in Long Creek at 8:30 p.m.
    The event will feature two local comedians, Jeremy Hughes and Larry Smith, of the podcast, “Comedians with Day Jobs.”
    McMillin, who resides in Macon County, is the only Democratic candidate for the General Assembly seat in the 101st district, meaning she doesn’t have an opponent in the Primary Election in March.
    Tickets are currently available at or can be reserved by email at .             Sponsorships are also available for interested organizations.

 • WHILE McMillin doesn’t have an opponent in the Primary, as I mentioned on the front page, three Republican candidates, Dan Caulkins, Randy Keith and Todd Hendricks are vying to see which one moves on to face McMillin in the General Election in November.
    Caulkins is hitting hard with an advertising campaign that apparently started after the first of the year.
    I live in the 101st District so I’ve received a Caulkins mailing piece plus it seems like he has a commercial running everywhere I watch a tv program.
    A lot of money is being spent on his campaign with the Primary Election still two months away.
    Some political observers believe the winner on the Republican ballot in the Primary Election will be the winner of the 101st District seat before the General Election is held in November.
    The 101st has been held by a Republican for the last 20 years and a Republican candidate will benefit from its voter composition.
    Democrat Jen McMillin will have her work cut out for her in trying to wrestle that seat away from the Republicans by defeating the winning Republican candidate who emerges out of the March Primary.

   • THE CITY Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to allow the Decatur Celebration to install a fence around a designated area downtown during the festival.

Councilman Pat McDaniel was the lone no vote.
    The greater question to be answered by the council before long, is how much, if any, the City of Decatur will contribute to the Celebration this year -- when there are several cuts to be made due to a deficit budget.

Previous Postings

• AS DETAILED in a letter to the editor on the "Letters" postings., Glenn Portwood, President, of the Macon County Chapter of Vietnow, the local chapter desolved at the end of 2017.
    Portwood wrote: “Macon County decided, because of declining membership and participation, just to cease operations and apply our efforts elsewhere.
    “All our members belong to other veterans groups. We thank the public for their support over the years.  God bless you all. God bless the USA and God bless our veterans.”
    Thanks to Glenn and all others who worked hard to keep the organization going for the past 28 years.
    Thanks to all of our veterans for your service to our nation.  

 • THANKS to City of Decatur workers who have done a lot of snow plowing and salting  since the snow and cold weather hit several days ago.
    They were hard at work before I even got to the office -- and you know how early I get to the office, especially on press day!

 • THE YEAR?  Last week, on the back page of the print edition of the Decatur Tribune, I printed a photo of the “All About Town” game and asked if anyone knew when it was published.
    Thanks to Glenn Portwood, (mentioned previously in Vietnow item) for the following information: “My ‘All About Town’ Decatur Game from the Metro Chamber of Commerce has a copyright of 1982 on it and on the instruction sheet.”
    I also posted the photo on our Facebook page and Kelly Costello wrote: “I remember playing that with my nephews when they were little.”
    Sally Neely wrote:  “Since I moved from home (Decatur) when I married in 1957, I'd love to have and play this game. Any for sale and how much?

 • CONGRATULATIONS to ten new City of Decatur police officers who took the oath in the city council chambers last week.  Their names and a little about their backgrounds can be found on the LOCAL NEWS of this page.
    During the years I served as mayor I always enjoyed attending those ceremonies and delivering a congratulatory message to the officers and shaking their hands.
    I’ve always been very supportive of the Decatur Police Department over the years that I’ve been editor of this newspaper -- and before.
    I’m very proud of the men and women who serve our community and lay their lives on the line every day for us.
    May God bless and protect them.

 • CITY COUNCIL APPROVES -- The Decatur City Council gave its approval to rezoning 1.6 acres on the southwest corner of U. S. Business 51 and Ash Avenue for commercial development at its regular meeting Jan. 2.  The vote was 5-2 as a majority of the council members expressed the need to develop the site to create jobs, expand commercial development and generate tax revenue for the city.
​   Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe and council members Lisa Gregory, David Horn, Chuck Kuhle and Dana Ray voted for the rezoning with Councilmen Pat McDaniel and Bill Faber voting against.
​      Neighbors of the project, which will include Chipotle, claimed that rezoning of the corner will lead to increased traffic, noise and a reduction in the value of their homes -- to name a few reasons they were against it.
    Neighbors and supporters of the neighbors' position wrote numerous letters to the editor explaining why they were against the rezoning and attended council meetings.  They were also there stating their concerns during last week’s meeting when the vote was taken.
     However, the five on council who voted for the rezoning, although sympathetic to the position of those opposed, indicated the city must move ahead in developing new businesses and the tax revenue they generate -- especially at a time when the city has a deficit budget.     
    Councilman Bill Faber attempted to send the matter back to the Plan Commission, that had earlier approved the rezoning, on a technicality, but a motion to do so and delay the vote, did not receive a second from another council member.
     In the end, the majority of council members decided the needs of the city had to take priority over the needs of a neighborhood when it came to commercial development in a much-sought after part of the community.
    Councilman Faber explains why he voted against rezoning in his paid column on page 6 of last week's print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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