Enjoyed my recent lunch with Patrick Hoban, the City of Decatur’s economic development officer. Patrick is enthusiastic about Decatur and bringing more commercial development to our community -- plus keeping the ones that are already here. He also asked a question that, in the midst of all the economic development talk the past few years, no one has asked since I served as mayor. He asked what worked during those years I served, and what didn’t work (and why). Patrick has been gathering information from a lot of people in the community, not only in one-on-one discussions, but in special public meetings that he is holding. Best wishes to Patrick in his efforts for our community and for connecting with many citizens for their input.
Congratulations To 'Nice Guy'
CONGRATULATIONS to Assist-ant City Manager Billy Tyus on being honored at the Partners in Education Salute at RCC Monday for his outstanding educational efforts in the community. I’ve known Billy for a lot of years, and he was assistant city manager when I served as mayor. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever been around.
Election Getting Close
It’s hard to believe that the Primary Election is less than two weeks away. We have sample ballots printed in this week's print edition of the Decatur Tribune. The General Primary Election is March 18.
Supt. Gloria Davis
School Board Approved Agreement To Name Eisenhower Auditorium After Supt. Gloria Davis
As most of you probably know by now a controversy has broken out over the naming of the auditorium at the “new” Eisenhower High School. Last week, District #61 Supt. Gloria Davis announced that she will be retiring on March 22, instead of the end of June as previously announced, due to some loss in pension if she stays until the original date. The board accepted the early resignation (board member Sherri Perkins voted no) and also an-nounced that the Eisenhower auditorum would be named after Davis. I received a strong immediate response from several readers who want the auditorum named after Shirley Kistler, because of her long “legendary” connection to Eisenhower and the community. There is now a petition at change.org asking the Decatur School Board to change its mind and name the auditorium after Kistler. It had over 1,000 signatures in less than 48 hours and the number keeps going up. “If we truly want to honor a legacy within the Decatur Public Schools, strong consideration should be made to name Eisenhower High School Auditorium after a true legacy: Shirley Kistler,” stated the petition which was originated by Susan Rutherford York of Decatur. There is also a bio of Kistler on the site: “Shirley Schawitch Kistler was among the first graduates of Eisenhower High School. After college, she returned to her hometown and began teaching at her Alma Mater. After more than 30 years as a Decatur Public School District employee she has touched the lives of thousands of students. Mrs. ‘K’ as we so fondly called our mentor, touched many lives be it in the classroom, play production class, or a full blown production. “Shirley Kistler taught us the importance of development, dedication, and commitment to whatever we did and will do in life. After retirement, she chose to stay in Decatur and support the arts. Shirley continues to work to the betterment of education by serving on the Decatur Public Schools Foundation raising funds and awareness for education. “The old auditorium may be covered up, but our memories of what took place under the direction of Shirley Kistler can never be erased. We cannot think of a better way to honor her work in Decatur, than to name the Eisenhower Auditorium in her honor. Please consider Shirley Kistler for this honor.” The name of the auditorium is probably a moot point. Josh Rohrscheib filed a FOIA to get the agreement between Davis and the Decatur School Board and posted it onRe:Decatur.com Monday. Many people are already having a fit about what's in the agreement. The agreement includes naming the auditorium after Davis, and since it was approved by the board, I would assume the auditorium name is binding which is not good news for those who want Kistler’s name on it. ANOTHER NAME: One former public official sent an email to members of the Decatur Board of Education, stating: “Here is a thought for you folks to consider. “Why not put aside this current naming issue that is dividing this community and name the auditorium at Eisenhower High School for the taxpayers of the city of Decatur? “For, without their approval a few years ago, this renovation project would never have happened.”
The Chicago Tribune Endorses
Erika Harold for the Republican Nomination in the 13th
Erika Harold picked up a big endorsement over the weekend at the Chicago Tribune. Following is the news release about the endorsement: • After assessing and comparing the candidates in one of the only joint appearances of the campaign to date, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Erika Harold for the Republican nomination in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. According to the Tribune: “Davis, of Taylorville, is running a cautious race. It's not an inspiring act. Harold is more passionate and forthright … Harold is saying things that need to be said, and Davis — the incumbent — isn't. Harold is endorsed.” During the joint endorsement interview session, members of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board asked each candidate a series of questions and allowed the candidates to engage with each other on a variety of topics and discuss their respective differences. “The joint session provided members of the editorial board with an opportunity to compare and contrast our positions on the issues and our leadership qualities,” Harold said. “It is regrettable that Representative Davis has thus far denied voters in the District such an opportunity by not participating in any debates.” The entire editorial can be read at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-congress-endorsements-edit-0302-20140302,0,3553535.story
End Of Water Conservation Request Was A Little Surprising To Some
The City of Decatur’s announcement that it has ended its request for water customers to voluntarily conserve water as per terms of its Low Lake Level/Drought Action Plan came as a surprise to some residents -- at least that's what they told me. Let’s see a show of hands of all Tribune readers who knew the “conserve water request” was still in effect. According to the City’s news release, “The volume of Lake Decatur has steadily increased to its normal winter lake level due to significant snow and rain in the Lake Decatur watershed this year. The lake reached a low point of 610.31 feet above mean sea level (50% full) on Jan. 10 but has since increased by 2 feet to 612.39 feet (73%) full which is within the normal winter lake level range of 612-613 feet. It is anticipated that late winter and spring precipitation should be more than adequate to fill the lake to capacity in the coming months.” The formal request for voluntary conservation was made Oct. 29. The City indicated that customers reduced water demand by 10.9% from November through January as compared to the prior year. Good job, even if many people didn’t know the request was still in effect.
Lake Decatur Dredging Firm
Attempting To Hire
One of the major concerns by some citizens about the City of Decatur’s new dredging contract with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC is if the firm will hire local workers to do the work on the multi-year project. There was a push for the City to include that hiring policy in the agreement. Instead, the City of Decatur decided to take the firm’s word that it would hire a high percentage of local workers. Obviously, a lot of people are going to be watching to see if that verbal commitment turns out to be true. Great Lakes is off to a good start on that commitment with a “job fair” it is holding at the Decatur Public Library Feb. 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Feb. 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The library is located at 130 North Franklin Street. What the job fair generates remains to be seen, but I would expect a lot of people to show up to see if they can secure a job on the project for the next several years. If the firm keeps its word and a high percentage of the jobs go to local people, it will be extremely positive for our community.
Rep. Scherer Discusses Balancing
Her Votes With The People She Represents
Rep. Sue Scherer
I had a good conversation with Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) in my office today (Thursday). She represents the 96th District and is serving her first term -- and is running for a second term. Sue is about as hard-working as any state representative I’ve met over the years and still goes door to door (despite the horrible winter we’re having) to find out what her constituents are thinking on the issues. I’ll have more about what we discussed in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune, but one answer I found particularly interesting in her response to my question of how she balanced her own beliefs on issues with the beliefs of her constituents when she casts her votes. She said it’s not that tough. “I told the Democratic leaders when I ran for this office how I would vote on the major issues and I would not change my mind,” she told me. “I haven’t voted any differently than what I told them -- and fortunately, my votes have also been in line with the majority of people I represent.”
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” hour with Paul Osborne on Byers & Co. at 7:00 every Thursday morning over NEWS/TALK 1340 WSOY and check out the CITY BEAT column in the print edition of the Decatur Tribune each week.
‘Open Enrollment Week’
This week has been designated as "Open Enrollment Week" for GetCovered Illinois at Decatur-Macon County Opportunities Corporation, 1122 East Marietta Street. For those not yet signed up for insurance or have questions, call DMCOC at 428-0155. Walk-ins are encouraged. DMCOC is one of the organizations in Macon County helping people to get enrolled in GetCovered Illinois. The assistance is free. Mar. 31 is the deadline to obtain insurance without penalty. DMCOC has a licensed in-house counselor ready to help. DMCOC is not affiliated with any insurance provider and will not recommend one provider.
Preschool Registration At Central Christian March 10
Central Christian Pre-school will hold registration for the 2014-2015 school year on Mar. 10-13 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St., Decatur. Classes will be available for children ages two years to five years. In addition to classes for three and four year olds, parents and twos class and a prekindergarten class will be offered. For additional information, call Shelly Messmore, director, at 428-4336.
St. Mary’s Offering AARP-Sponsored Driver Safety Program March 11
Maximizing road safety is important at any age. A refresher course in driving is an excellent way for experienced drivers to obtain, maintain and develop new driving skills to navigate through the distractions of daily traffic. St. Mary’s will hold AARP-sponsored Driver Safety classes that are approved by the State of Illinois on March 11 from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm in Conference Room 561 of St. Mary’s Hospital, 1800 E. Lake Shore Dr., Decatur, IL 62521. This classroom refresher focuses on motorists 50+ and upon completion could result in an auto insurance discount. There are no tests and lunch is provided. The cost is $15.00 for AARP members and $20.00 for non-members. For more information about the driver safety program, please contact Margie Muehlebach at 464-2046.
Stephen Decatur Chapter Of DAR To Meet March 6
The Stephen Decatur Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution will hold their next meeting on March 6, 2014 at the Prairie Avenue Christian Church, 2201 E. Prairie Avenue. The meeting will feature a program by Dr. David Horn, Associate Professor of Biology at Millikin University about “Attracting Backyard Birds.” National Society Daughters of the American Revolution objectives are to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the women and men who achieved American independence and to foster patriotic citizenship. The public is invited to attend our program and meeting.
Decatur Park District Offers Spring Training Baseball
& T-Ball Clinic Baseball players can start spring training with the Decatur Park District’s Spring Training Baseball & T-Ball Clinic at the DISC. Youth aged 4 - 14 will focus on baseball fundamentals including fielding, hitting, throwing, catching, and running. The clinic meets on Sundays, March 9 – April 13 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. for 4 – 6 year olds and 2:45 – 4:45 p.m. for 7 – 14 year olds. Cost is $54 ($45 with resident discount) for ages 4 – 6 and $83 ($69 with resident discount) for ages 7 – 14. Early registration deadline is February 28 (add $7 after deadline). For more information, visit the DISC (1295 W. Wood) or call 429-3472.
Decatur Park District’s
Redbird Rookies Registration Dates Announced
Redbird Rookies, presented by the Decatur Park District and DMH, is a free baseball league for boys and girls aged 5 – 13 who have no prior experience playing ball. Registration begins on March 6 from 5 – 7 p.m. at the DISC (1295 W. Wood).The Redbird Rookies season begins Saturday, May 31. For more information, contact Dakota Getz at the DISC at 429-3472.
Applications For The Charity Quilt Are Being Accepted
The Charity Quilt is presented by the Decatur Quilters Guild each May to a not-for-profit organization. The quilts are normally used as a money-maker for the receiving organization. Applications for the quilt may be made by sending a cover letter and the application on the website to Charity Quilt Committee, Decatur Quilters Guild, P.O. Box 415, Decatur, IL 62525. Applications will be taken through March 31, 2014. The recipient is chosen by guild members and the quilt is presented in May. The quilt will be shown at the next Quilt Fest on March 28 and 29, 2014.
Decatur Quilters Guild Is
Calling For Quilts To Exhibit During Quilt Fest
The Decatur Quilters Guild is calling for quilts for exhibit during their 34th Quilt Fest, "Birds of a Feather Quilt Together" to be held at the Decatur Civic Center, March 28-29, 2014. There is no cost to register items. All items must be registered separately by March 20, 2014. Contact email@example.com to receive registration form or on line form at www.decaturquiltersguild.com.
Fifth Annual Kids Rock At Macon Resources March 8
The fifth annual "Kids Rock" will be held Saturday, Mar. 8 from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Macon Resources, 2121 Hubbard Avenue in Decatur. "Kids Rock" is a kid and family-centered event. At the 10:30 a.m. family concert, children can experience the unique live music of Mr. Singer and the Sharp Cookies. The event will also include face painting, interactive vendors and activities, and door prizes. Proceeds benefit Bright Start, a home visit program providing parents with the tools they need to build their child's future. Tickets cost $5 per person in advance for four years and older and $20 group ticket in advance for five people four years and older. Children three years and under are admitted free. Tickets at the door will cost $6 per person for four years and older. Tickets can be purchased at Macon Resources, Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. or call 875-1910.
‘Quilts In Action’ 2014
Show March 14, 15
The "Quilts In Action" 2014 Show will be held Friday March 14 (10:00 am-6:00pm) and Saturday March 15 (10:00 am-4:00pm) at the Orr building, Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission will be $7.00. View hundreds of quilts and quilted items (including 20 Hoffman challenge quilts), demonstrations, talks with an appraiser, shop quilts shops and related craft vendors and so much more. Featured quilter will be Virginia Hosking.
Latham Firefighters Chili, Soup Supper March 8
Latham Firefighters will be holding a chili and vegetable soup supper with desserts and drinks on Saturday, Mar. 8. The supper will be held from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at the fire station located at 271 N. Macon St., Latham. The cost will be a donation. There will be a 50/50 drawing. Proceeds will be used towards the purchase of new vehicle extrication equipment.
St. Mary’s Hospital To Host AARP Driver’s Safety Class March 11
St. Mary's Hospital, 1800 E. Lakeshore Drive, Decatur, will host a AARP Driver's Safety Class on Tuesday, Mar. 11 from 8:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. Class fee is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. For additional information or to register, call Marge at 464-2046.
Easter Seals Offers Parents Night Out Respite Program
Easter Seals Central Illinois offers a Parents Night Out Respite Program several times per month. Parents register and bring their children with developmental disabilities and their siblings from ages 1 through 13 years for an inclusive experience of social activities, field trips, and entertainmen For more information call Lori Brown at 429-1052, ext. 111 or visit www.ci.easterseals.com.
Rules of the Road Review Course March 7
Secretary of State Jesse White, in cooperation with Macon County Senior Center, is offering a Rules of the Road Review course for all citizens in the Decatur area. The course is free and will be held at the Senior Center, 1430 N. 22nd St., Decatur, on Friday, Mar. 7 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The purpose of the course is to help participants pass the Illinois driver's license renewal examination. The course prepares applicants for the general written and road examinations and also provides information on the vision screening.
Support Group for Adults Impacted by Sexual Violence Starts March 11
Growing Strong is offering a support group for adults who have been impacted by sexual violence. Groups will be held at Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center, 270 West Prairie, Decatur, starting Mar. 11. Growing Strong is a public charity serving Macon, Piatt, Moultrie, Shelby and DeWitt counties that seeks to end sexual violence in all of its forms including sexual assault, sexual abuse, and dating violence. Growing Strong helps adult and child victims, as well as their significant others, by providing counseling, assisting them through the criminal justice and medical processes, and offering prevention programs in the community and schools. For additional information call Sara at 428-0770.
Annual St. Patrick’s Day
Parade March 15
The annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade will be held in downtown Decatur at 11 AM on Saturday, March 15th.All community groups and organizations are encouraged to join the parade. For information contact Jim Wrigley at 428-7922 or 853-6361 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Raptor Focus Series Announced
For Spring 2014
The Decatur Audubon Society, Millikin University, and the Macon County Conservation District are sponsoring a Raptor Focus Series in spring 2014. The Raptor Focus Series is a fun and informative presentation series about Illinois birds of prey by Illinois Raptor Center’s wildlife rehabilitator Jacques Nuzzo. Programs will be held January 28, February 25, and March 25. This series is open to the public, and each session fulfills 1 Continuing Professional Development Unit for teachers. All sessions meet at the Leighty-Tabor Science Center at Millikin University from 7pm to 8pm. Fee is $10 per session. Space is limited. Register online at www.maconcountyconservation.org or call 217-423-7708. The Leighy-Tabor Science Center is located off of Fairview Avenue on Millikin University’s campus.
Easter Seals Parents Night Out Respite Program Available
Easter Seals Central Illinois offers a Parents Night Out Respite Program several times per month. Parents register and bring their children with developmental disabilities and their siblings from ages 1 through 13 years for an inclusive experience of fun, social activities, field trips, and entertainment. For more information call Lori Brown at 429-1052, ext. 111 or visit www.ci.easterseals.com.
SDHS Class Of 1964 To Hold 50th Reunion June 20, 2014
The Stephen Decatur High School Class of 1964 will hold its 50th reunion Friday June 20, 2014, at the Wharf and Saturday June 21, 2014 at the Beach House Those who want more details should contact Jeanette Curry Woolley email@example.com or Donna Ambroise Reinhardt (217) 422-9334 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lakeview High School Class Of 1964 50th Reunion Being Planned
Lakeview High School’s class of 1964 is planning its 50th reunion, and it will be held during the summer of 2014 in Decatur. The Green and White - Reunite committee needs to update its alumni list in order to inform all classmates about the plans. Send your name (including maiden name) address, city, state, zip, email, Facebook, and phone numbers to CLASS ROSTER, in care of Ken Kimberly, 210 Robinhood Rd., Covington, LA, 70433-4761; email: email@example.com or Facebook “Ken Kimberly”.
Pancake And Sausage
Breakfast At Long Creek United Methodist Church March 15
Long Creek United Methodist Church, 6960 East Firehouse Road, will have a pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday, Mar. 15. "All you can eat" pancake and sausage or sausage gravy and biscuits will be served from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. The breakfast will cost $6 for an adult, $3 for children 3-10, and free for children 2 and under.
Breakfast At Forsyth United Methodist Church March 15
The men of Maroa and Forsyth United Methodist churches will have an "all you can eat" pancake and sausage breakfast Saturday, Mar. 15. Breakfast will be served 6:30-11:30 a.m. at Forsyth United Methodist Church, 210 E Ruehl St., Forsyth. Biscuits and gravy, juice, milk and coffee will also be available. Cost will be $6 for an adult and $3 for children under 12.
New Day Church
To Hold Pancake
Day March 8
The "shed" men at New Day Church , 4191 Greenswitch Road in Decatur, will be serving pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy on Saturday, Mar. 8 from 6:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. The "all you can eat" breakfast will cost $7. The ladies of the church will have a bake sale. Come support the men as they share hope by delivering beds, mattresses and etc. to those less fortunate.
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