NEWS TO KNOW
Celebrate Thanksgiving Tradition of Buckling Up, Driving Sober
IDOT, ISP Join Forces to Urge Safe Travel, Drive Down Fatalities
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is joining Illinois State Police (ISP) and local law enforcement agencies to remind motorists to buckle up and drive sober during one of the heaviest travel periods of the year. With one of the biggest party nights of the year on Wednesday and more people on the roads through Sunday, police throughout the state are stepping up their enforcement of seat belt law violators and impaired drivers during the long holiday weekend.
The effort marks the beginning of an end-of-the-year push to keep traffic fatalities at record-low levels. Fatalities in Illinois are five percent higher today than at this point last year; 881 so far in 2015, compared to 833 on this day a year ago.
“Thanksgiving should be a time to appreciate family and togetherness, yet far too many preventable injuries and fatalities continue to occur,” said IDOT’s Division of Traffic Safety Director, Jared Thornley. “Please do your part as we enter into the holiday season by wearing your seat belt and making accommodations to get home safely if you do plan to be out celebrating.”
During last year’s Thanksgiving holiday travel period (6 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until 11:59 pm the following Sunday), 15 people died in traffic crashes on Illinois roads and 840 were injured. Of the 15 individuals killed, five died in crashes where at least one driver had been drinking.
The goal for this Thanksgiving is simple: Reducing those numbers by encouraging every motorist to buckle up and drive sober. Hundreds of seat belt enforcement zones and thousands of additional police hours looking for seat belt law violators will take place alongside roadside safety checks and saturation patrols looking for alcohol and drug-impaired drivers.
In addition to the ongoing “Click It or Ticket” campaign, alcohol and drug-impaired drivers are also a primary focus during the Thanksgiving holiday, with IDOT and law enforcement reminding people to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”
“Public safety is our number one goal during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend," said Illinois State Police Colonel Tad Williams. “ISP troopers will be patrolling Illinois roadways watching for Fatal-4 violations: DUI, Speeding, Seat Belts and Distracted Driving. Drive sober, or get pulled over. Reduce speed, buckle up and remember a text can wait.”
Follow @IDOTSafety for IDOT safe driving updates on Twitter. For more information about Illinois traffic safety programs, visit www.idot.illinois.gov.
City Council Talks Revenues To Fund Priorities
Decatur City Council members in Monday voted against increasing liquor license fees as part of a series of revenue enhancements to fund recently announced community priorities while tabling votes on two other items for further discussion at a later date.
Officials tabled a vote on the creation of a city video gaming license and an associated $750 per machine fee and on implementing a local motor fuel tax of 5 cents per gallon for non- diesel fuel and 1 cent per gallon for diesel fuel. Members are looking to discuss, among other items, how much of a tax should be levied if any or fees implemented and specifics as to how any funds collected might specifically be expended.
A recommended increase in liquor license fees from $2,000 to $5,000 for most license classifications, from $1,400 to $3,500 for Class N licenses and from what is now $6,000 to $10,000 for Class P licenses was defeated. All 3 revenue streams were introduced to help pay for community priorities recently reintroduced publicly but which have long been issues in Decatur including community cleanup and redevelopment, declining property values and roadway improvements.
Any of the revenue sources – if approved – are to be tied to specific line items for the purposes identified and not get redirected into the city’s general fund for other expenses.
Mayor Has Gavel And Authority To Enforce Rules On Appearance Of Talkative Citizens
It is not true that Sherry Procarione is a member of the Decatur City Council.
It just seems that way because, at every city council meeting, she talks to those gathered more than most of the city council members do.
I don’t know Procarione that well. She seems like a nice person and does a good job articulating her thoughts, but rising to address the city council multiple times each meeting, on issues related and unrelated to council business, seems a little extreme and is hurting her credibility.
During the last meeting (which was three hours long) Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe finally had enough when Procarione came forward to address the council for the fourth or fifth time. The mayor essentially told Procarione that she (Procarione) had talked more during the meeting than the mayor and refused to let her start up again. Procarione then stormed out of the meeting.
I think Mayor Moore Wolfe, and the late Mayor Mike McElroy before her, have been very patient in allowing citizens to speak at the council meeting even, at times, when it has little to do with council business being discussed.
I don’t think any of us wants to prohibit someone from expressing their feelings on the issues and agenda items at council meetings -- or anywhere else.
However, all of us should remember that a city council meeting is not the same as a town hall meeting.
It is called for a specific purpose -- to do the public’s business, discuss and authorize expenditures.
It is also important to remember that someone is in charge of the city council meeting. It is not city council members or the city manager or anyone other than the mayor.
That is one of the responsibilities of the mayor’s job. There’s only one gavel in the meeting and it is in front of the mayor.
The mayor decides if what is being presented by a citizen is appropriate and fits into the agenda of that evening’s meeting and discussion.
One gentleman comes forward at every council meeting to deliver a history lesson to the council.
Using that criteria, I guess it would be okay for Aunt Martha to show up at every council meeting and talk to the council about her favorite recipe each week, or Uncle Gus to talk about the history of Blue Suede shoes, or Aunt Matilda to read a poem or two that she feels is important for the council and audience to enjoy.
After all, if it is about freedom of speech, surely people can show up and talk about anything they want to talk about. Right? Wrong!
• THERE is always a period of time towards the end of the meeting that is set aside for the “Appearance of Citizens” where each one approaching the council has three minutes to express their feelings to the council.
Some public bodies either have, or are considering, putting more restrictions on “Appearance of Citizens” due to the abuse of the time by citizens who show up and decide they want to speak.
Certainly, those who want to address council on specific agenda items such as the recent proposed rezoning for Aldi or the proposed gas tax and fee increases at last week’s meeting, should be heard and the time taken to give everyone the opportunity to speak on such subjects -- pros and cons.
Does the city council need to enact tighter restrictions on citizen input?
I don’t think so as long as the mayor is in control of that part of the meeting.
Whether anyone agrees with the mayor’s chairing of the meeting, or not, she is the one who has the legal authority to decide what is appropriate for those addressing council, and how many times and for how long they can address the council.
• THE HOLIDAY season is now officially here.
It’s not because of Christmas decorations downtown or Thanksgiving Day gatherings, or Santa’s House standing in Central Park.
It’s because I received my first holiday card of the season from Tom Nolan, Remy & Riley.
Tom’s card is always the first to arrive at the Decatur Tribune office and it’s always well received.
Now, I can officially start putting off my Christmas shopping until the last minute. (There has to be a date when “putting off” starts.)
• NOW CLOSED -- Red Tail Run Golf Club by Raymond Floyd and Hickory Point Golf Course are now closed for the season (as of Nov. 23). Scovill Golf Course will remain open through the winter, weather permitting. Scovill’s winter rates are $8 walking or $21 riding (just $2 for winter cart cover). Call 429-6243 or visit www.golfdecatur.org to schedule your tee time.
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY, visit our website at decaturtribune.net and also find us at our Decatur Tribune Facebook page.
Central Park Fountain in Downtown Decatur
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Coats For Kids Drive Is Collecting Coats For Families In Need
The Coats for Kids drive is collecting coats, gently used and new, to get into the hands of families in need – warm winter coats for their children. This is the 24th annual drive, cosponsored by Dove, Inc., and WAND-TV. They want to make it as easy as possible for people to make a donation of a coat. Coats of all sizes may be dropped off at the following locations, through Nov. 30:
Participating Cleaners will make sure the coats are clean and fresh and ready for the clothing rooms to distribute.
• Classic Cleaners, 2474 N. Main
• Corner Cleaning Connections, 1154 E. Prairie Ave.
• Peerless Cleaners, 519 N. Monroe
• Pride Cleaners and Launderers, 2553 N. Main, 1804 E. Eldorado, 912 W. Eldorado and 2056 Mt. Zion Road
• Waite's Dry Cleaners, 1004 S. Main, 664 W. Eldorado, 115 Magnolia, Forsyth
and coats can be donated at any of the sites below:
• CVS, 2990 N. Monroe, 570 N. Fairview and 1595 E. Cantrell Rd.
• Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin
• Decatur Township, 1620 Taylorville Road
• GT Church, 500 S. 27th
• Jerger Pediatric Dentistry, 2101 N. Main
• Kroger, Brettwood Plaza, Fairview Plaza, Airport Plaza ,South Shores Plaza
• Land of Lincoln Credit Union, 2890 N. Oakland. 3130 E. Mound and
• Longcreek Township, 2610 Salem School Road
• Regions, 350 N. Water, 1355 W. King, 333 E. Pershing Rd and 2340 Mt. Zion Rd.
• Richland Community College
• Soy Capital Bank and Trust, 560 E. Pershing, 455 N. Main, 4825 US Route 36 and 1685 S. Franklin
• St. Teresa High School, 2710 N. Water Street
• Texas Roadhouse, US 51 North, Forsyth
Check your closets and consider the good you can do by donating any coats you no longer need. Participating cleaners make sure the coats are ready to be distributed by the participating clothing room.
For more information, contact Dove at 428-6616 or at www.doveinc.org
GOD BLESS AMERICA