NEWS TO KNOW
Macon County Mental Health
Board Hires Timothy Macken
As Executive Director
The Macon County Mental Health Board is pleased to announce that Timothy Macken has been named Executive Director. With a 33-year career in behavioral health and experience pertaining to mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, Macken is a valuable addition to the Macon County Mental Health Board. His first day will be August 7, 2017.
“I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to be the Executive Director of the Macon County Mental Health Board,” remarks Macken. “I have enjoyed working with the Board over the past 21 years as a provider of services. I am drawn to the mission of the Board which focuses on helping to ensure that there is a continuum of high quality behavioral health services available to the residents of Macon County.”
Macken comes to the Macon County Mental Health Board with 33 years of experience in behavioral health. Of those 33 years, the past 21 years have been with Heritage Behavioral Health Center, where he currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He has a Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Grand Valley State University.
The Macon County Mental Health Board of Directors and staff extend their gratitude to LeAnne Shoemaker for her service as Interim Executive Director. Shoemaker will resume her previous role with the organization as Director of Financial Operations.
The Macon County Mental Health Board looks forward to working with Macken to continue the mission of the organization while exploring new options to assure that a comprehensive and coordinated system of effective and efficient public mental health services is available and accessible to all of the citizens of Macon County in need of such services.
“It is my intent to continue the great work the Board has been doing for so many years under the direction of the former Executive Director, Dennis Crowley,” says Macken, “and to seek ways to further strengthen, improve, and grow services in Macon County over the years to come.”
For more information about the Macon County Mental Health Board, visit www.mcmhb.com or call 217-423-6199.
Brent Wielt To Present ‘Mail In
The 1800s At Macon County History Museum July 22
Brent Wielt, of the Macon County Conservation District, will present "Mail in the 1800s" on Saturday, July 22, at 1:30 p.m. at the Macon County History Museum, 5580 North Fork Road, Decatur.
Attendees will learn how mail changed in the 1800s and how it affected society. From postcards to letters, flyers, stamps, and more. Also, attendees will see what was sent and received and how it became the basis of what they now receive.
Admission fee will be $2.00.
For additional information, contact the museum at 422-4919.
Decatur Police Department Announces Results From Illinois Click It or Ticket Mobilization
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the Illinois State Police and hundreds of local law enforcement agencies joined forces during the recent Click it or Ticket mobilization. The intensive campaign ran 24/7 from June 26-July 9, cracking down on seat belt law violators and impaired drivers in an effort to make Illinois roadways safer.
During this timeframe, the Decatur Police Department issued:
• 35 seat belt citations
• 2 DUI arrests
• 1 felony arrest
• 1 fugitive aprehended
• 4 suspended/revoked licenses
•14 uninsured motorists
• 6 speeding citations
• 1 drug arrest
"These numbers are more than statistics," said Sgt. Steve Hagemeyer. "They offer hard evidence that some people still choose to practice unsafe driving behaviors and that seat belt and impaired driving laws save lives."
IDOT data shows that between 2010 and 2014, 3,075 people riding in vehicles died in crashes. Of those, 1,492 (about 48 percent) were property buckled. That means more than 50 percent of those who died in crashes during this timeframe were not properly buckled.
Even though the Click It or Ticket mobilization had ended, officers enforce seat belt laws year round. Be sure to buckle up in both front and back seats, day and night, every trip, every time.
Illinois law also requires children to be properly restrained at all times while driving. Child passengers must ride in a car seat or booster seat until age 8, and passengers under 13 years old should ride in the back seat.
City Council Approves
Fence Around Decatur Celebration
The Decatur City Council by a 6-1 margin on Monday approved a Decatur Celebration request to fence this year's festival both to increase revenue and as a public safety tool.
This year event organizers will be charging admission both in advance and at gates for the street festival, set for August 4-6 in Downtown Decatur. Organizers for several years now have expressed concern about the event’s increasing expenses and declining revenues to the point of publicly speculating as to whether the event would be able to survive. In fencing the event, the festival will now be able to charge at 7 gates spread throughout the event’s outer footprint.
Festival organizer Lori Sturgill said that the fence will also serve as a tool to better monitor and control the potential for violent acts which, unfortunately, have occurred more regularly at large events across the globe.
In other business, council members voted 7-0 in support of an economic impact study to help optimize strategic investments in the region’s developing intermodal and multimodal transportation system. Most of the study’s $288,530 cost will be paid through a grant totaling just more than $230,000 from the State of Illinois.
City To Host Economic Development Forum July 27
The City of Decatur in conjunction with other community partners will hold its first Economic Development Forum from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, July 27 in the City Council Chamber of the Decatur Civic Center.
The forum is being held to discuss current economic development activities and opportunities within the Decatur community, to provide information related to job training possibilities and employer needs and to address community questions about local economic development. The goal is to provide a broad overview of the local development process and the state of our local economy and to give residents information about resources that are available to help persons seeking employment.
The Decatur Civic Center is located at 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza. Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.
Mac on Sports
Riley In, Klein Out as Warrensburg-Latham Cardinals Girls Cage Coach
By J. Thomas McNamara
Alyssa Riley is the new Warrensburg-Latham girls basketball head coach after Marc Klein resigned.
Klein served 12 years as the lady Cardinals girls basketball head coach, beginning in 2005-06 and ending with the recently concluded 2016-17 season. His won-loss is incomplete on the Illinois High School Association website as it does not include his won-loss records for the seasons of 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Decatur Tribune Offices Are Located At:
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P. O. Box 1490
Decatur, Illinois 62523
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or to: Decatur Tribune,
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Decatur, IL 62525-1490.
GOD BLESS AMERICA
State Tax Increase Swallows 28 More Hours Of Average Worker’s Paycheck!
It’s been a long time since I was a kid in grade school but one story the teacher read to us left a definite impression on my young mind.
It was about a poor woman who had a small hole in her dress and since she didn’t have any money to buy a new dress, or to buy thread to mend the dress with the hole in it, she took scissors and “cut out the hole”.
Of course, she then had a bigger hole in the dress, but the first hole was gone.
Recent action by the Illinois General Assembly, in passing a 32% state tax increase reminds me of the woman who cut out a hole in her dress by making a bigger hole so the original hole would not be seen!
That’s essentially what a majority of the members of the Illinois Senate and House did a couple of weeks ago -- they made one financial hole disappear by cutting an even bigger hole around it -- and they demanded more of our money to make the hole bigger and tried to convince us that we can now “move ahead” with the old hole gone!
How much does the state income tax increase on individuals cost us in terms we can understand?
The Belleville News-Democrat measured the impact on taxpayers, by noting that “the average Illinois household will need to work about 28 hours to make the $1,100 extra just taken from them by state lawmakers.”
The people we elect to represent us can’t work together to solve the state’s problems and we are asked to “give” more of our money so we can watch the dog and pony show in Springfield.
During the past two weeks, about everywhere I’ve gone, people have been ticked off about the increase -- especially when there isn’t anything on the horizon that points to reform and much desired fiscal responsibility.
Most people I have talked with have a “this is the last straw” attitude and have given up hope that anything meaningful is going to come out of Springfield -- except more tax increases down the road!
This citizen and business outrage is not going away anytime soon!
The gigantic permanent tax increase is already in effect and, if you work in Illinois, you have already noticed the extra deduction from your paycheck. It’s taxation without representation!
God help us!
• I THINK public bodies at all levels often get in financial distress because of a lack of financial experience by some of their members.
Several years ago, we printed a small advertisement for a local office- holder who had a “side business”. The cost of the ad was $28.00, but this person, even after months of billing, refused to pay, claiming the check would get to us eventually but it never arrived. (Probably lost in the mail.)
I won’t mention the former officeholder’s name (our office staff was aware of the negligence), but I’ve always wondered how someone, who voted on allocations of money while in office that amounted to millions of dollars, could be financially astute with our tax money, while being irresponsible over a $28.00 bill.
Of course, the answer is that the millions spent by this governing body, came from us and the $28.00 was the former officeholder’s money.
For me, it wasn’t that this officeholder owed only $28.00. That was not a huge bill -- but it sent a message to me about the character and sense of responsibility of this person.
• SOMEONE asked me the other day about how qualified a person had to be to run for Decatur City Council.
Actually, the qualifications to serve on the city council (besides being elected) are pretty simple:
1) Resident of city for at least one year prior to election and of voting age;
2) Must not be in arrears or in debt to local government;
3) Never convicted in a court of law of malfeasance of office, bribery or other corrupt crime.
Now you know why Duke, a nine-year-old Great Pyrenees, recently won his third term as mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, in a landslide election thanks to the “highest approval rating in the country”.
I’ve also checked on stories from a few other states where, in local elections, dogs were elected mayor or city councilman...I mean council dog.
Of course, in Decatur, a council member must be of voting age, so it would have to be an old dog to serve. I don’t know if election authorities would measure the council member in dog years or human years for him or her to qualify. (I’ll have to check with Macon County Clerk Steve Bean on that technicality.)
Anyhoooo, for anyone who wants to be a candidate for a city council seat the next time around, the qualification threshhold is so very low that, even if you are brain dead you can qualify if you have lived here for at least a year, don’t owe local government any money, and have not been convicted of some crime.
Over the nearly 50 years that I’ve written about the mayor and city council and other members of elected bodies, I’ll have to admit that I’ve scratched my head a few times while I wondered if a few of the people serving ever considered a brain scan!
They really weren’t bad people but when it came to understanding their roles in the office where they served, and reacting to the issues that faced them, they really didn’t have a clue -- and I felt sorry for them -- and, even more, for our community.
• “THE FENCE”: President Trump wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and, this year, a tall fence will be erected around the Decatur Celebration and admission charged for those attending -- whether you are from Decatur or Mexico...or anywhere else.
Personally, I enjoyed the event more when I could come and go as I pleased for free, but the Celebration needs to raise money to keep it going each year and pay for quality entertainment.
That’s the reality of it.
So, Monday night the city council approved fencing in the downtown area for the Celebration.
One thing is for sure: the Decatur Celebration can never be a FREE event again and its future rests on those who attend paying to get inside the fence.
My advice on “The Fence” is to see how it works out this year before having a stroke over it and deciding if it’s going to be permanent (or asking Mexico to pay for it)!
The biggest attraction for me at the Decatur Celebration is the food -- like chicken on a stick with rice. (The rice is not on the stick.) I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
I’ve been downtown for every Decatur Celebration since it started (that’s where this newspaper office is located) -- and that’s a lot of chicken, sticks and rice.
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.
Central Park Fountain in Downtown Decatur