New Downtown Decatur Staleys/Chicago Bears Mural Looks Fantastic
If you haven’t seen the Decatur Staleys/Chicago Bears mural that’s been created on the west side of the building in the 100 block of East Main Street, it’s worth a trip downtown to view. Decatur Tribune Sports Editor J. Thomas McNamara has the details about the recent creation of the mural on page 12 of today’s (Sept. 30) print edition of the Tribune, but the size of it is amazing! It’s a great addition to the downtown area and is already one of those “Treasures of Decatur” that I’ve promoted over the years -- especially during my years as mayor. We have so many great treasures in our city. • BEST WISHES to Paula Marley who is retiring from the City of Decatur today (Sept. 30) after 33 years of outstanding service to the Legal Department and the citizens of Decatur. Thank you so much, Paula, for your many years of service to our community.
• NICE DRIVE -- A huge improvement was made last week with the paving of North Franklin Street through the downtown area. It is so nice to drive on that new, smooth surface with well-defined painted lines to keep the traffic flowing “smoothly”. The street was getting to the point that I think there were potholes inside the pothole filler! It’s a big, big improvement.
• CONGRATULATIONS to former Macon County Sheriff Lee Holsapple who has been selected for the 2015 Penny Severns Integrity Award. I’ve known Lee for a long time and the photo of him on page 6 of today’s print edition is one that I shot when I was doing a story about his retirement in 1998. The award is well-deserved -- for a multitude of reasons and especially his long record of service to the people of Macon County.
• TRAGEDY -- The second annual Officer Robin Vogel Memorial 5K is going to be held on Oct. 3 -- exactly 10 years to the day when she died from injuries after being struck by a drunk driver on Oct. 1, 2005, and passing away two days later on Oct. 3 from those injuries. One of the very difficult duties I performed as mayor was representing the city at her funeral. Her death was so sad and senseless. I cancelled that week’s council meeting. No one was ready to focus on city business after experiencing that tragic loss. It seems like just yesterday -- not ten years ago.
• LOSS FELT -- I was walking through Central Park one morning last week and said hello to a city employee and noticed she was troubled. “It’s been a rough day,” she told me, choking back tears. “My supervisor (Jerry Nihiser) died yesterday.” I was stunned. Jerry was only 48 years old when he passed away. My condolences to the family and thank you to the city employee I see every day doing her job to make the park beautiful -- even on a day like the one last week, when it was really difficult to work.
• GOOD FOR HER -- Julie Moore Wolfe is enjoying her role as mayor of our great city. I talked with her at the CONO event in Central Park Saturday morning and it was evident that, during the short time since she was appointed to replace the late Mayor Mike McElroy, she is already a mayor that enjoys serving in the office and that enjoyment is apparent to those she meets. I love it when a mayor expresses joy at being able to serve in that office. That is so very important -- considering the mayor is the spokesperson for our city. My path has crossed Julie’s in many ways over the years and I’ve always had the highest respect for her and I’m very pleased she was selected to be our mayor. She is off to a great start -- and setting exactly the right tone for the community.
• CITY Councilman Jerry Dawson was also at the CONO event and told me that this term as a councilman will be his last. Jerry has been, and continues to be, an outstanding city councilman, but when he finishes his second term in 18 months, that’s 8 years of council service, plus his years as sheriff -- plus all of the years working in the sheriff’s office. He certainly has earned some time away from public office, but he will be missed when he steps down. • HE’S EVERYWHERE! I also talked briefly with City Councilman Pat McDaniel at the CONO event. I don’t think there’s ever been a city councilman, that I can remember, who attended as many events and meetings as Pat. Actually, it would be news if Pat WASN’T at some event! Keep up the good work of getting out and being with the people, Pat.
• BAD NEWS -- Caterpillar’s restructuring announcement last week means there’s a good chance of more layoffs at the Decatur plant.
• GREAT NEWS -- Friday’s marketing launch for the Midwest Inland Port points to a bright economic future for our community -- and beyond. Lots of great plans and the people to help make them happen were present -- including Gov. Bruce Rauner, ADM President and CEO Juan Luciano and other movers and shakers. The answer to bad news is a healthy dose of great news -- and we had both on Thursday and Friday last week.
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