Decatur Public Schools Announces 2015-16 Budget Recommendations

The DPS 61 School Board heard budget recommendations Tuesday night, calling for $2 million in budget reductions. The budget review was a collective effort across administration, the board, department heads, and the union who looked across the entire system and identified areas where the district could work smarter, redistribute resources and further partnerships, and increase operational efficiencies.
“We worked together to identify areas where we saw opportunities to reduce costs and increase efficiencies while minimizing impact,” said Lisa Taylor, Decatur Public Schools Superintendent. “There is no doubt that budget cuts we face are always difficult but it’s our job to be fiscally responsible to tax payers while still building upon and reinforcing existing academic strengths.”
Less funding from the State of Illinois and a decrease in many other funding sources contributed to a loss of $1.5 million in revenue to the district. And, with projected added expenses of nearly $750,000, a $2 million budget reduction was necessary.
The proposed budget cut is not the largest DPS 61 has seen in past years and in anticipation of these cuts and potential increases in costs, steps have been taken to position programs and needs in innovative ways that will allow the district to access additional grants.
“I know these are difficult decisions that affect staff, students, families and our faculty, but I am confident in our leadership and our district. We will all continue to inspire new possibilities and build on the positive momentum we have here,” said Taylor.

The Decatur Department needs your help in solving this week’s crime of the week 

On Jan. 1, 2015, at approximatley 3:00 A.M., a burglary occurred at Express Tobacco, 1101 N. Rt. 48.   Suspects forced entry to business and stole cigarettes.  The suspects were driving an 80’s, silver in color truck, possibly a Dodge pickup.  At this time, the suspects are unknown. 
The Decatur Police Department needs your help in solving this crime.  
If you have any information about this crime, call Crime Stoppers at 423-TIPS.  You do not have to give your name.  
Crime Stoppers will pay $500 or more for information that leads to an arrest on the crime of the week.  
Crime Stoppers will also pay cash for information that leads to an arrest of any person responsible for a felony crime in Macon County.

Macon Resident Killed in Traffic Accident

Macon – A 57 year old Macon, Illinois resident was killed on Sunday, February 22, 2015 in a motor vehicle accident at the intersection of East Andrews Street Road and North Wall Street in Macon.
Ronald Crist was pronounced deceased at Saint John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois after being airlifted there from Saint Mary’s Hospital in Decatur.
Crist was traveling eastbound on Andrews Street Road when he pulled in front of a vehicle driven by a 16 year old Decatur man traveling southbound on Wall Street.  The 16 year old was not injured in the crash.
Macon County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident.  

Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly Announces 
Endorsements in April 7 Election

The Legislative Committee of Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, representing more 
than 13,000 union members and retirees in Macon County, has announced 
their endorsements for the offices of Decatur Mayor, City Council, and Park Board.

In the race for Decatur Mayor, they have endorsed G. E. Livingston.

In the race for Decatur City Council, they have endorsed Bill Faber and David Horn.

In the race for Decatur Park Board, they have endorsed Bob Brilley and Stacey Young.

The committee also stated: "The mission of Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO, of 
Macon County is to improve the lives of working families-to bring economic justice to the 
workplace and social justice to our state and the nation.  The organization is a key part of the 
nation's largest and strongest labor federation-the  AFL-CIO, which unites 10 million working 
women and men of every race and ethnicity and from every walk of life."

Endorsements were based on the priorities of candidates in relation to the issues of working families.

Council Talks Neighborhood Improvements, Diversity

DECATUR – A reestablished grant program and citywide cleanups could soon join the list of ongoing City efforts to improve local neighborhoods following discussion by the Decatur City Council Monday night.

            Council members discussed potential uses for roughly $73,000 in funds currently held in the city’s Neighborhood Improvements Fund as part of a study session Tuesday night. The fund was created a number of years ago as part of what had been an inactive program in recent years and city staff was recently assigned to define an updated list of potential uses for the balance of funds that would best serve city neighborhoods.

            Council members did not vote on potential options as Tuesday’s discussion was held during study session. However, there seemed to be a consensus to utilize the money to pay for some form of grant program and community cleanup to support the council goal of building stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods.

            Staff will return to council with more specifics as to how such programs might be structured at a future meeting.

            In other business, council members heard an update on efforts to make sure that the city is inclusive in both publicly funded construction projects and in its procurement policies and practices. The Decatur City Council is now reviewing potential new ordinance language to help meet diversity goals with current plans to have such an ordinance considered on March 2.

Millikin Alumni Establish Henry H. Bolz Endowed Internship Program
Millikin University students can have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in a professional environment working as an intern with the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce.
Millikin alumni Chris Olsen '74, and his wife, Deborah Olsen '74, along with Beth Bolz Vincent and Jane Olsen Black have created the Henry H. Bolz Endowed Internship program. The endowment honors the memory of their grandfather, the late Henry H. Bolz, who, for more than 30 years, was the executive director of the Decatur Association of Commerce and Industry and its subsequent iteration, the Metro Decatur Chamber of Commerce. The endowed internship program is a first for Millikin University and the Tabor School of Business.
Chris Olsen is currently vice president of community and government affairs for Tate & Lyle in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Olsen is responsible for federal, state, and local government relations as well as community and media relations for all Tate & Lyle facilities in the United States.
"This internship supports two parts of Decatur that have been very important to the Bolz and Olsen families for a long time: Millikin University and the Chamber of Commerce," said Olsen. "Both of these organizations have made great contributions to Decatur's success, and we hope this internship provides the opportunity for students to support their own development as well as making a contribution to the future success of the community."
During the internship, students will obtain hands-on, meaningful work experience designed to meet academic and career goals. The internship offers Millikin Tabor School of Business, communication or political science students responsibilities such as research, writing, survey, database management, web page maintenance, communications and event preparation. Students will be able to network with colleagues and senior-level executives while participating in educational and professional activities designed to enhance the internship experience.
"The Bolz Endowed Internship will enable Millikin students to learn and practice first-hand advocacy for growth and development in Decatur and Macon County," said Millikin University President Dr. Patrick E. White. "We are grateful for this inspiring gift that empowers Millikin students to engage in service of our community while practicing Performance Learning, one more sign of Millikin's role as Decatur's university."
The Henry H. Bolz Internship will be held during the spring semester of the academic year, starting in January and ending in May. To qualify for the internship, students must be a junior or senior and have a minimum 3.5 overall grade point average. The first recipient of the Henry H. Bolz Internship is Molly Yablon, a junior business management major from Skokie, Ill.
The Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce was chartered on July 3, 1903, and is recognized as the second oldest Chamber of Commerce in the state of Illinois. The Chamber's mission is to be a pro-business network providing service, political advocacy and leadership to strengthen education, community image and local businesses.

Tabor School of Business

With the Millikin student in mind, the Tabor School of Business has reviewed, rethought and redesigned its business offerings. 
All students can now customize their educational experience by taking advantage of academic certificates or by enrolling in the new Fast-Track MBA program, which can be completed in 12 months. To learn more about the changes taking place at the Tabor School of business, visit 
"We at the Tabor School of Business are excited and grateful that the Henry H. Bolz Internship supports the newly designed Tabor undergraduate program," said Dr. Susan Kruml, dean of the Tabor School of Business. "The new program is focused directly on skills, competencies and attitudes new graduates need to compete and succeed. Performing for and with third-party stakeholders is a hallmark of the program."
For further information about the Henry H. Bolz Endowed Internship, contact Marianne Taylor, internship & MBA program coordinator at the Tabor School of Business, at 217.424.3503 or by email at

Telephone Computer Scam Alert Issued

Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott and Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider announced today (Feb. 12) the return of a common telephone scam heavily targeting Macon County residents.  The callers claim to be from reputable computer companies, advising that a problem has been detected on the victim’s home computer.  Oftentimes the callers will walk the victims through a series of steps on their computer which will make it appear as though a problem actually does exist.  The callers then offer to fix the non-existent problem for a fee, and request a credit card number to secure payment. 

“We’ve received numerous calls today on the Elder Fraud Hotline reporting this scam,” Scott said.  “The best thing to do if you get one of these calls is to hang up.” 

If you suspect a scam is about to be or has been committed, please call the Elder Fraud Hotline at 217-615-7582.  All calls are answered by State’s Attorney Jay Scott or Sheriff Thomas Schneider.  To learn more about scams visit the State’s Attorney’s website at

City Council Approves Watershed Management Agreement

The Decatur City Council on Tuesday continued efforts to improve city water quality and supply, approving an agreement with the Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District for watershed conservation services.

Established in the early 1940’s the MCSWCD has as its mission “to work with private landowners and other organizations to help prevent and control soil erosion, improve the water quality of local rivers, lakes, and streams, and to restore and enhance native wildlife habitat.” The City has partnered with the District annually since 1988, over the years funding watershed management research and technical assistance, public education, conservation projects and the employment of a Lake Decatur Watershed Specialist, among other items.

The approved agreement for $146,068 is partially reimbursed by Archer Daniels Midland Company as part of the Raw Water Supply Agreement between ADM and the City. The District agreement supports current efforts to dredge Lake Decatur and to rehabilitate the Oakley Sediment Basin to store silt as it is removed, the largest of several parts of a comprehensive plan to increase local water supply.

In other business, council members approved the purchase of 10 police vehicles from Jackson Ford in Decatur at a cost of $274,082. The normal life expectance for police vehicles is two years; the current police Chevrolet Impalas are from model years 2009-2011 and have an average of 109,500 miles.

            Council members also began discussion regarding study sessions and updates expected in coming weeks, sessions involving the use of motor fuel taxes and funding alternatives for road and bridge maintenance, a proposal to have the Decatur Fire Department provide some level of public emergency medical transport and on how to best use funding to improve city neighborhoods.

Sheriff, States Attorney Issue Government
Grant Telephone Scam Alert

Macon County State’s Attorney Jay Scott and Sheriff Thomas Schneider announced today that Macon County residents are being targeted by a new telephone scam.  The callers claim to be federal government employees, and notify the victims that they have been selected to receive several thousand dollars of federal grant money.  
Some of the calls, which are coming from outside the United States, have been disguised to show up on Caller ID as being placed from Washington, D.C., which lends credibility to the scam.  The victims are directed that they must, in order to receive their grant money, purchase a prepaid debit card, typically in the amount of a few hundred dollars, and to call the scammers back to provide them the debit card number and security code.  
Once the scammers have the card number and code the money is theirs, and the fraud is completed.  
“This is a variation of the many scams we see requesting money from the victims up front in order to receive a much larger sum,”  Scott said.  Residents are advised to hang up if one of these calls is received.  If you suspect a scam is about to be or has been committed, call the Elder Fraud Hotline at 217-615-7582.  All calls are answered by State’s Attorney Jay Scott or Sheriff Thomas Schneider.  
For more information on scams,  visit the State’s Attorney’s website at 

2015 Macon County Plat Book Now Available

 The new 2015 Macon County Land Atlas and Plat Book
 is now available and is being distributed by the Macon County Recorder. This is the 15th edition of the Macon County Plat Book produced by Rockford Map Publishers since the first edition in 1951. 

The new plat book accurately displays parcel boundaries, acreage data, roadways, waterways, railways, section lines, municipal boundaries, and includes an index to owners. An additional map feature included in the new plat book is aerial map images. An aerial map lies opposite each township parcel map, and is very useful in providing a quick gauge to the use of a particular parcel. Latitude/Longitude grids for GPS reference are also provided along with a rural addressing grid. 

Plat books are a great reference tool not only for landowners, but for business owners as well.  It is a necessary reference guide for industries such as agriculture, land development, hunting, real estate, utilities, municipal government, and much more.

The new plat books are available for purchase from the Macon County Recorder at 141 South Main Street, room 201, Decatur, IL 62523. The books are priced at $35 if picked up at the Recorder’s office and $40 if mailed.  For more information, call 217-424-1359. To purchase additional products visit for a variety of eBooks, wall maps, smartphone/tablet maps, GIS-compatible maps, and custom mapping. 

Submit your news
to the editor at: 
or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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The above photo shows part of the Farmers' Market on North Water Street across from Central Park.

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