COMMUNITY NEWS


Gregg Zientara To Be Considered For
Interim City Manager Post


DECATUR - The Decatur City Council will consider the appointment of Mr. Gregg Zientara to the position of Interim City Manager during its regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.

            A 30+ year veteran of the finance industry, Mr. Zientara has served for the last two years as the city’s Director of Financial Management. During that time he has played a key role in guiding the city through one of the worst recessionary periods in recent history, identifying means to fund city services and critical community improvements without tax increases even as local government revenues declined significantly.

            Under the direction of City Manager Ryan McCrady, Mr. Zientara has served as one of the principal architects for the last two budgets for the City of Decatur, with spending plans created based on goals set by the Decatur City Council. He also led the creation of financing plans to fund the city’s $90 million Lake Decatur dredging project, ongoing water system infrastructure improvements, the new Police Department Facility and ongoing sewer work among other items.

Mr. Zientara was instrumental in leading the city’ transition to a calendar year budget and his financial background could be critical to helping the city to navigate a number of continuing financial pressures as the city begins its search for a permanent city manager. Even as the local financial picture improves, remaining challenges include identifying funding sources for property demolitions and neighborhood restoration, road and street repair and capital equipment replacement.

“The last few years have been tough economically for cities across the country but we’ve been able to maintain and have started to turn the corner,” said Mayor Mike McElroy. “During this time Gregg has worked hard to find innovative ways to address some of the financial and organizational issues we’ve faced and I am excited about his coming on board as Interim City Manager to continue the city on its current path of positive growth and development.”

If his appointment is approved Mr. Zientara would fill the post on an interim basis being vacated by Mr. McCrady, who announced earlier this month that he would be leaving to become President of the Economic Development Corporation for Decatur & Macon County.

Mr. Zientara joined the City of Decatur in 2012 after having previously served as Controller and Chief Financial Officer for the City of South Bend, Indiana where he managed a $275 million city government financial operation and an investment portfolio of more than $150 million. He has worked as a Chief Financial Officer in both the public and private sector with organizations specializing in governmental services, healthcare, manufacturing and various other service industries in the United States, Europe, and the Far East.



'Meals On Wheels' Expansion To Reach
Homebound Seniors Every Weekday


Beginning Dec. 1, Meals on Wheels, a program of Catholic Charities, will deliver meals to homebound seniors anywhere in Macon County, every single weekday.  The program now needs recommendations from the local community to reach new clients. 
Their current program has allowed them to deliver hot and healthy meals during the week, within the Decatur city limits only. Participants outside of Decatur have received a combination of fresh and fresh-frozen meals twice a week.  
The new expansion will allow the program volunteers to, not only deliver hot meals to shut-in seniors in all of Macon County, but also makes it possible for weekday check-ins with each, which is especially important during the coming winter months. 
Rollanda Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator for the program shares that, “Even though I’ve posted our flyer in places like banks, libraries, and public-bulletin-boards in many of the smaller communities, our clientele is homebound and can be difficult to reach.  It is often the friends, family and neighbors of the seniors in Macon County who call us for help.” 
As their flyer states, for many of the meal recipients, the Meals on Wheels volunteer is the only person they will see on delivery days.
All homebound senior citizens of Macon County can qualify for this service, regardless of income. To make a referral for a potential new client in need, or to support this crucial program, call Meals on Wheels of Macon County at (217) 422-6611.

Narcotics Search Warrant Results in Arrest

Jason Walker, Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigations Division with the Decatur Police Department, reports that on 11/21/14, approximately 0630 hours, The Decatur Police Street Crimes Unit, along with assistance from the Decatur Police Emergency Response Team and Macon County Sheriff’s Office, executed a narcotics search warrant at a residence located in the 2400 block of East Prairie Avenue, Decatur.

As a result of the search warrant, Detectives seized 70 grams of crack cocaine, having an approximate street value of $7,000.00, 25 grams of cannabis, and U.S. currency.

Arrested was Wallace N. Pugh (07/01/77) for Felony Possession of Controlled Substance 15-100 grams, Possession of Controlled Substance 15-100 grams with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Cannabis 10-30 grams and Possession of Cannabis 10-30 grams with Intent to deliver.

Walker stated the Decatur Police Department and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office continue to be proactive in the removal of drugs within the Decatur, Macon County area.





Bill Faber Announces Candidacy For Decatur City Council

         On Wednesday, November 19th at 11 a.m. at the front entrance of the Civic Center, Bill Faber, accompanied by his faithful horse Senorita, announced that he is a candidate for Decatur City Councilman. Faber is an attorney with the law firm of Wm. Faber Ltd.
         Faber said "the Scripture teaches, 'To whom much is given, much is expected.'
"The Decatur community has been kind and generous to my family and to me. So I am a candidate for city council in an effort to re-pay my community, in a small way, for all they have given me.
            "The policies of Washington D.C. and Springfield have abandoned small cities like Decatur. We cannot rely on the politicians so we must rely on ourselves.
"We must create new small businesses and nurture existing businesses. Our unwavering goal must be: every able body man and woman who wants a job should have a job - jobs that pay a living wage so families can live with respect and dignity.
"We must create opportunity for the best and brightest of our young people so that they have reason and purpose to stay home in Decatur, and not take their talent and energy to the big cities."          Faber holds a Juris Doctor degree from Northern Illinois University School of Law and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Faber is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and the Decatur Bar Association.
Faber is also a member of the National Safety Council (Construction Safety Division and Power Press Safety Division) and the American Association of Safety Engineers.
 In addition to his law firm work, Faber serves as the volunteer director with Pastor Elgin Hawthorne Jr., at the Community Church of God Legal Aid Clinic located on Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Faber and his wife Frances live in Decatur's West End and are members of the West End Neighborhood Association.
Faber is running for one of the three city council seats that are up for election.  So far, four other candidates filed their petitions to run for the seats.
Nominating petitions for all mayor and city council candidates must be filed by 5:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 24. 

COUNCIL AMENDS NOISE ORDINANCE, APPROVES

LAND SALE FOR NEW MEDICAL FACILITY

The city's noise ordinance was amended Monday to provide warning to drivers and vehicle owners alleged to be in violation prior to city penalties being assessed. 

The ordinance prohibits the operation of a sound amplification system that can be heard outside of a vehicle from 75 or more feet and council members on Monday voted 6-1 to give both the owner and operator of a vehicle alleged to be in violation a written warning for a first offense.

The driver will be fined $250 for any subsequent violation if the driver first was given a written warning as driver or owner of any vehicle in violation of the noise ordinance. The vehicle will be towed for subsequent violations if the owner first was given a written warning as driver or owner of any vehicle in violation of the noise ordinance.

Prior to Monday’s amendment, both driver and owner of a vehicle found to be in violation of the ordinance faced fines of $250 each and the vehicle was towed upon citation without written warning.

In other business council members paved the way for a new, expanded Community Health Improvement Center facility in Wabash Crossing. Members voted 6-0 with one abstention to sell vacant city owned land in the area to CHIC to construct a 29,000 square foot medical office and health center providing primary outpatient health care primarily to low to moderate-income patients.

CHIC has been looking to expand and add more healthcare providers and this new facility in the heart of the city will provide better access for and be in close proximity to many patients that could utilize CHIC services. 

Council members on Monday also discussed the city’s proposed tax levy and budget, a $157.6 million fiscal plan for city operations in 2015. A budget possibility of having the Decatur Fire Department provide some level of public emergency medical transport drew some concerned members of the local ambulance community to the meeting. However, both City Manager Ryan McCrady and Mayor Mike McElroy stressed that discussions on the topic were still in the early stages and that future talks had already been planned.



Thirteen Attorneys Submit Applications For Appointment As Associate Judge In The Sixth Judicial District

The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts has released a list of 13 attorneys who have submitted applications for appointment as an Associate Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
The vacancy is a result of the election of Associate Judge R. C. Bollinger as resident Macon County Circuit Judge in anticipation of the retirement of Circuit Judge Kitty McCarthy.
The attorneys are Phoebe Bowers, Monica Hawkins, Bridget Hogan, Erick Hubbard, Steven Perbix, Philip Tibbs, Timothy Tighe, and William Trimble, all in private practice in Decatur.
Mary Bolton and Tammara Wagoner are both assistant state's attorneys in Macon County.
Brian Finney and Scott Rueter are with the Public Defender's Office in Decatur. Amy Waks is an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Decatur.
The new associate judge will be selected by a majority vote of the Circuit Judges in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. The selection is expected to take place in mid-December.
Public comments on the applicants are encouraged, and should be sent to Chief Judge Dan L. Flannell, Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 South Main Street, Sullivan, IL 61917.
The Sixth Judicial Circuit is comprised of Macon, DeWitt, Piatt, Moultrie, Douglas, and Champaign Counties.




62nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon
At Decatur Civic Center Nov. 25

The 62nd Annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon, presented by the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce, will take place at the Decatur Civic Center on Tuesday, November 25, 2014, featuring keynote speaker, Kevin Breheny, President of J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds, who will deliver the themed message, For This We Give Thanks. The event is sponsored by Ameren Illinois and Decatur Memorial Hospital.
The Annual Community Thanksgiving Luncheon is a tradition that began in 1953 as a way for the community to come together and offer thanks and blessings for the year. The event also highlights community leaders, business leaders, and notable citizens who have made an impact in the area throughout the year. The luncheon has drawn a capacity crowd over the years and more than 33,000 people have attended since its inception.
  “The Chamber is honored to host this traditional event that brings together leaders and residents in our community to give thanks for the things that make Decatur and Macon County a great place to live and do business,” says Mirinda Rothrock, President of the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce.
Tickets must be purchased in advanced and can be reserved by registering online or contacting the Chamber office at (217) 422-2200.

• Just the Facts:
 
When: Tuesday, November 25th | Doors open at 11:30 a.m. | Program begins at Noon
Where: Decatur Civic Center | #1 Gary K Anderson Plaza | Decatur, Illinois
Price: $20 per person or $160 per table of 8 | Register
Ticket Deadline: Friday, November 21st by 4:00 p.m.



Salvation Army Kicks Off Tree of Lights Campaign

   (Decatur)….The Salvation Army kicked-off their Tree of Lights Campaign on Thursday, November 6th – 12:00 Noon in The Salvation Army’s Community Hall. 
“This is our 126th year of serving Decatur and Macon County and for the 116th time, we will start the very familiar sound of our bells ringing around Decatur,” said Captain Wes Dalberg, Corps Officer for The Salvation Army.  The money raised from the Tree of Lights campaign supports every program that The Salvation Army offers the residents of Decatur and Macon County.  “We wish we could tell you that the need in this community has dropped, but that is not the case.  In fact, we expect to see a 10% + increase in need this coming fiscal year,” added Dalberg.
The Salvation Army’s Tree of Lights Campaign starts today and will run until December 24th.  The Salvation Army kettles will be out and bell ringers will be ringing starting on Friday, November 7th at 10 am.  “Our bell ringers will be ringing from 10 am – 8 pm Monday – Saturday.  We have several individuals and groups signed up to volunteer to ring for us, but we could use many more,” said Dave MacDonna, Director of Development and Communications.  “It is easy to volunteer, go to our website www.sadecatur.org or www.ringbells.org.  There you can choose the day, time and location of where you would like to ring for us,” added MacDonna.
December 5th will be Realtor Ring Day.  John Sellers, agent with Lyle Campbell & Sons Realtors is organizing an effort again with Decatur Association of Realtors to fill many spots The Salvation Army rings on that day.  “This is our small way to give back to the community,” said John Sellers.  “We hope the community at large will volunteer 2 hours to ring a bell for The Salvation Army,” added Sellers.
December 18th – 19th the Annual Guns and Hoses competition will be in action between various police agencies and fire departments.   The two agencies will be ringing bells at all the Wal-Mart’s and Sam’s Club in Decatur.
Part of the Tree of Lights Campaign is The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree.  The Angel Tree has ‘paper angels’ on the tree.  Each paper angel represents a child in our community.  Anyone can choose a paper angel, purchase a gift for that child and return it to the Angel Tree booth at Hickory Point Mall or to The Salvation Army, 229 W. Main Street in Decatur.  The Angel Tree booth is located near the Center Court of Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth.  There is also a Senior Angel Tree, located at the Walmart on North Water Street.  This tree has a paper tag representing a senior in our community, some who have no family, with a suggested clothing gift for them.  The Salvation Army will collect all donated gifts and deliver to the seniors.  Many of these seniors are in our area nursing homes.
Last year, The Salvation Army offered Christmas assistance to 7698 people, 998 more people than in 2013.  The money raised during the Tree of Lights campaign is used for operating expenses for every program The Salvation Army offers for Decatur and Macon County.
The 2014 goal for the Tree of Lights Campaign this year is $400,000.  Donations of checks and cash may be placed in any of the kettles; mailed to The Salvation Army at P.O. Box 836, Decatur, Illinois  62525-0836 or a credit or debit card donation through their website – www.sadecatur.org 

 

City Council Informally Agrees to Noise Ordinance Changes

The Decatur City Council on Monday informally agreed to support amending the city’s noise ordinance, providing a written warning for a first offense with fines and towing for subsequent violations of the ordinance.

The Council continued its public discussion regarding the issue during a study session as part of Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting. The ordinance prohibits the operation of a sound amplification system that can be heard outside of a vehicle from 75 or more feet.  Both the driver and owner of a vehicle found to be in violation of the ordinance currently face fines of $250 each and have their vehicle impounded upon citation for the offense.

Over the last several months, a number of residents have attended meetings and contacted both city staff and council members to request a review of the ordinance. While most agreed that an ordinance governing loud music was warranted and that it has been effective in reducing noise in the community, a number of individuals had requested that the towing requirement be eliminated, suggesting that the hardship created by towing did not fit the crime

Council members advised staff to investigates ways that the ordinance might be amended s related to punishment for violators at the October 20 meeting. Ultimately, the goal of the ordinance has been and remains to help quiet what had been a proliferation of loud car stereo systems on the streets of Decatur. City staff will return with proposed ordinance language at a future meeting.

“It’s courtesy – I want you to hear the music but not at the expense of others,” said Mayor Mike McElroy. “Let’s just show a little respect for our neighbors.”


Decatur Police Investigate Shooting Death

At approximately 1:56 a.m., on 11/01/2014, Decatur Police Patrol Officers were in the area of the 1800 Block North Water Street when several gunshots were heard coming from the parking lot area of Jabronis, located 1816 North Water Street. Many vehicles, as well as people on foot, began to quickly vacate the area. Patrol Officers quickly located a handgun and bullet casings on the parking lot of Jabronis. Within minutes, an individual arrived at Decatur Memorial Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound. That person was later pronounced deceased. Information concerning the deceased must be retrieved from the Coroner’s Office, pending family notification.

Decatur Police Detectives were called in to investigate this shooting incident. Detectives are interviewing persons who were in the immediate area of the shooting. Vehicles have been impounded pursuant to the execution of search warrants. Crime Scene Investigation is being conducted.

Detectives are currently seeking additional persons of interest and processing evidence related to the shooting. David Dickerson, Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations, is encouraging those persons who were present when this incident occurred to come forward and cooperate with police. Those with information should go to the Decatur Police Department at 707 South Side Drive, call Decatur Police at 424-2711 / 424-2734 or relay anonymous information via Crime Stoppers at 423-TIPS.

No additional information will be released at this time.  

Decatur Sister Cities Partners with DPS61 and Invite Decatur Students to Informational Meeting at Eisenhower High School for Summer 2015 Student Exchange Trip to Seevetal, Germany

 Decatur Sister Cities and Decatur Public School District 61 announced their partnership in presenting an upcoming informational meeting  which will be held for high school students who wish to become Decatur Ambassadors to Seevetal, Germany for approximately 3 weeks next June.  Parents and students who are interested in this student exchange opportunity are encouraged to attend a meeting to be held on November 6, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Eisenhower High School in Decatur, IL.  The application period for this trip ends on December 15, 2014, so students are strongly encouraged to become fully informed by attending the informational meeting and submitting their applications early. 

“Decatur Sister Cities is part of an international program and the local non-profit branch boasts a 40-year history of continued friendship and collaboration with Seevetal, Germany,” said Linda Hasenmyer, Decatur Sister Cities Committee Chairperson.  “Both cities are eager to provide more Decatur high school students with a travel abroad experience next summer that promotes cultural understanding and enhances international relationships.”  The Decatur committee organizes regular short-term exchanges and periodic adult exchanges with Germany and Japan.

An online application for this short-term exchange program, along with a “best student qualifications” rubric can be found at both www.decatursistercities.com and www.dps61.org.

You may also contact Linda Hasenmyer at Decatursistercities@gmail.com.

About Sister Cities International

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for over 500 individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States with relationships in 2,000 communities in 140 countries.  This sister city network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers who work tirelessly to promote peace and understanding through programs and projects focusing on arts and culture, youth and education, economic and sustainable development, and humanitarian assistance.

Millikin University's 'Transform MU' Capital Campaign eclipses $85 million goal

Positive momentum for Millikin University's "Transform MU" capital campaign has resulted in the announcement that the original monetary goal of $85 million has already been exceeded, more than 14 months prior to the scheduled end of the campaign in December 2015.
"As of Oct. 16, more than $85.7 million has been committed to the campaign," said Vice President of Alumni and Development Dave Brandon. "However, efforts will continue throughout the next year to fully fund three remaining building initiatives."
The "Transform MU" campaign was officially launched in May 2010 to help revitalize Millikin's campus through significant advances in creating new student scholarships, increasing endowment and faculty development funds, and improving infrastructure. Completion of three major building projects was also an announced priority. Since February 2012, donors have generously given an average of more than $1 million each month to the "Transform MU" campaign.
"Reaching this wonderful milestone in dollars donated so early is a strong outward sign that our alumni, faculty, staff, parents, current students and non-alumni friends believe Millikin is a sound investment for their charitable dollars," said Millikin President Dr. Patrick E. White. "It is especially worth noting that, within the campaign, our individual goal of raising $10 million in new endowed student scholarships has been nearly doubled to date. Generations of students will benefit from the financial aid provided by these new student scholarships."
White also noted that donors to the Millikin Fund, a segment of the campaign that supports annual student scholarships and the university's operating budget, set a new record in giving during the last fiscal year.
"Commitments to the Millikin Fund exceeded $2.7 million, eclipsing the previous record set in fiscal year 2009 by nearly $250,000," White said. "It was heartening to me as the new campus leader to see that faculty and staff giving to the Millikin Fund increased by more than 70 percent over the time that I have been President."
During the campaign, each of the three planned building projects has undergone a reimagining, Dr. White said, noting that the university's alumni and development team, in collaboration with the president's office and the cabinet are very much engaged in continuing to raise funds to complete the three building projects yet to be fully funded: a new university center, a new center for theatre and dance, and an exercise science and sport pavilion.
"As we celebrate this landmark moment in reaching the campaign monetary goal, we re-commit ourselves to fully fund each of the three major building projects," White said. "As I have said many times in recent months, our entire community is charged with energy, and we are working to invest in our beautiful university so that today's students and future generations will continue to benefit from Millikin's Performance Learning experience. These building projects are integral to ensuring that our students, now and in the future, will have the supportive learning and living environments they need to thrive while on campus and after graduation in their careers."
For more information on Millikin's Transform MU Capital Campaign, visit millikin.edu/transform or call Millikin's Alumni and Development Office at 217.424.6383.

BUILDING PROJECTS

Frank M. Lindsay Field Renovations – Completed

Millikin held a Rededication Ceremony at the Big Blue's Frank M. Lindsay Field on Saturday, Sept. 27, to recognize the significant renovations and additions to the field, including a new artificial playing surface, field lighting, resurfaced track and video scoreboard. The ceremony was held prior to kickoff of the Big Blue's first home football game of the 2014 season, a victory over Aurora University.
Millikin officially broke ground on the new field turf project during a groundbreaking ceremony held May 16. Total cost for the field turf project was $1.75 million.


New Combined University Center and Staley Library – fundraising continues

As Millikin announced last week, plans are to form a new $27 million University Center by renovating and expanding Staley Library. A groundbreaking is planned for 2015, with the new facility expected to be open by fall semester, 2017. To date, $17.5 million has been committed to this project by donors. The new University Center at Staley Library will be a collaborative and forward-thinking campus learning, leadership, and gathering space in the center of campus. "It will be an exciting new 'front door' for the campus," White said.


Exercise Science & Sport Pavilion Renovation – fundraising continues

The building formerly known as West Towne Square, located on the corner of West Wood Street and Oakland Avenue, has been home to all Exercise Science & Sport (ESS) faculty and most ESS courses shortly after it was purchased for $3 million in 2011. Original plans had called for the Pavilion to be constructed on the north side of Griswold Physical Education Center, but plans shifted 2011 when the university had the opportunity to purchase West Towne Square in the form of a bargain sale gift from Decatur's Demirjian and Romano families. Fundraising continues to raise the estimated $2 million plus needed for renovations and equipment for this facility.


New Center for Theatre & Dance – fundraising continues

To date, more than $8.4 million has been committed by donors toward creating a new $15.5 million Center for Theatre & Dance, one of the university's most high-profile national programs. Original plans for the $15 million project included renovation and expansion of the Old Gym, one of the university's oldest and most historic structures. The addition was planned for the west side of the Old Gym. Currently however, university officials are exploring the option of renovating and expanding Richards Treat University Center to serve as home to theatre and dance once the University Center at Staley Library is complete.


Operation Enduring Support Needs Addresses, Donations For Christmas Packages For Troops

Operation Enduring Support, a military family faith-based support group, will be sending Christmas packages to troops deployed oversees on December 2nd.  
Your donations and addresses are needed by no later than Saturday, November 22.  
Submit APO/FPO addresses to Ann Irwin at a.irwin@att.net or by calling (217) 428-5936 or to Diana Olson at dolson@decaturgrace.org or calling (217) 429-5374.  They also may be mailed to OES c/o Grace United Methodist Church, 901 N Main St., Decatur, IL 62521
Donations for postage and items to fill the boxes would also be appreciated.  They may be mailed or brought to the church from 8 a.m. to noon Monday thru Thursday.
Suggested donations include protein bars, energy bars, granola bars, cheese and cracker packs, beef jerky and cheese sticks, canned meat and sandwich spread, individual powdered drink packages, hot chocolate packages,  beanie babies, men’s magazines, puzzle/game books, hand and foot warmers, personal care items,
Also needed are letters from school and Sunday school children, dark lightweight socks, jersey gloves,
hanging car deodorizers, cotton swabs, and baby wipes.
Our country still has many men and women who will be deployed this holiday season, your donations will help brighten their holiday away from home.


Mayor Mike McElroy

Mayor Mike McElroy Announces Re-Election Effort


Mayor Mike McElroy announced at a civic center news conference Tuesday that he is a candidate for re-election to another four year term.
“While much has been accomplished the last four years, there’s more to do,” said McElroy.
McElroy then listed some of the accomplishments.
“Under my administration we have revitalized downtown. We have instituted a long term dredging project that will help industries remain competitive and grow and guarantee a safe plentiful water source for our citizens.” 
“We have a new state of the art police building. While not glamorous or visible, we are repairing our infrastructure such as sewers which are vital to the health and growth of Decatur,” he said. 
“We are working with our neighborhoods to ensure that we are doing everything possible to provide a safe and healthy community. Our residential recycling project has been a great success with the majority of our residents now participating in recycling.” 
McElroy continued: “Our lakefront is undergoing a major renovation in our goal to  create, with the Decatur Park District, a destination for both local residents and visitors to Decatur to live, work and play. 
“While we are making major developments to the lakefront, we have also managed to make critical investments to our lake and shoreline. We have begun the work necessary to eliminate bottlenecks and other traffic problems on Brush College Road which will help many of our citizens in their daily commute.
“We have worked with one of our major industries and employers, ADM, to build a world class Intermodal. I am especially excited to see what that project will mean for the future of Decatur. Our businesses are expanding.”
McElroy said the last six years have flown by.
“Much has been done; many of those ideas the culmination of what was begun under the Osborne administration,” he said. “I believe that this council sees the big picture. While I'm sure we've made some mistakes, we've also gotten a lot right.”
McElroy said that he has worked hard to bring members of the city council together to build consensus and to reach solutions that are best and benefit Decatur.
“I am a hands-on mayor,” said McElroy. “I am direct and approachable and have devoted a great deal of my time to Decatur, both on and off the city council. I have worked hard to be a mayor that brings members of the community together to address problems and work to achieve solutions that are best for and benefit Decatur.”
“I have worked hard to be a mayor that works with other communities throughout the state to address problems and achieve solutions that are best for and benefit Decatur.”
McElroy said that Decatur is becoming a global competitor, building a highly-skilled workforce in healthcare, equipment production and agribusiness. 
“My focus is on making Decatur a better place to live-for everyone,” said McElroy.
“I look forward to four more years to finish some projects, start some new projects and move Decatur into the future.”
McElroy was elected councilman in 2003 and re-elected in 2007.
He was elected to a two-year term as mayor in 2009 and re-elected to a four-year term in 2011. 
Last week, City Councilman Patrick Mc-Daniel announced that he is a candidate for mayor.
Earlier this week, Dustin C. Chapman announced he is also running for mayor.
In addition to the mayor’s position, three city council seats are open in the April 7, 2015 election. So far, those running for the three city council seats are Lisa Gregory, David Horn, Derrick Thaxton and Mark Wicklund.  Councilwoman Dana Ray has indicated she will run for re-election.
Present city council members Larry Foster and Pat Laegeler have indicated they will not be running for another term. 


Dustin C. Chapman

Dustin Chapman Announces Plans To Run
For Mayor Of Decatur


Dustin C. Chapman, 23, has announced that he will be seeking the office of mayor in the next election April 7.
Chapman told the Tribune that he is running for mayor because of “vision”.
“I see a town that is seeking an avenue for growth and success, which holds a tremendous amount of passion, yet is being held back,” Chapman told the Tribune. “What I plan to do is remove these roadblocks, by being a voice of the people and activating this community to its full potential. The city must adapt, achieve and succeed.”
Chapman said he supports the Lakeshore Landing Project, “however we need to speak with the current lake users about the concerns of dock fees rising.”
He said that he is against the local motor fuel tax.
“The city cannot keep taxing the residents. It’s getting to the point where they are taking more from the residents than the city is getting back.”
Chapman also said the high violence rate in Decatur is a major concern that must be addressed.
“I’d like to have the city’s construction jobs manned by mostly Decatur residents when possible,” he said. “The city needs to ‘remove the red tape’ on small business, making it easier to open new businesses. Help promote nonprofits, and decrease fees.”
Chapman also wants to initiate support services to revitalize the Tax Increment Redevelopment plan, as well as to establish achievable deadlines.” 
  Chapman attended high school at Cerro Gordo and Decatur Christian. He is a sales manager for HPL Construction. 
“I will meet with as many people as possible to find out what the biggest concerns are with the city,” said Chapman. “I hope everyone in Decatur that has any questions, concerns, or ideas would contact me personally at dcc_decatur@yahoo.com.”
Chapman said that he has already started getting signatures for his petitions. 
He plans on holding a press conference for a formal announcement but has not yet set a day.
 Besides Chapman, Councilman Pat McDaniel has announced and present mayor Mike McElroy will announce plans to be on the ballot at a news conference tomorrow (Sept. 9)




Patrick L. McDaniel

Councilman Pat McDaniels Announces Plans

For Mayoral Campaign

City Councilman Patrick L. McDaniel is making his official announcement that he is running for mayor during a news conference at the civic center this week.
McDaniel, who has served on the city council since May, 2011, said his campaign slogan will be “Taking a Common Sense Approach to Building the Future”.
McDaniel said he is a candidate for mayor “because I believe the citizens of the community need choices in an election and I believe I can serve the community as an effective and innovative mayor in working with other city council members, local residents, local organizations and the business community in moving the community forward, not only for those presently living and doing business in Decatur, but also for those who want to call Decatur their new home.”
McDaniel, a veteran, is the retired executive director for the Macon County History Museum Complex, serving eight years in the position. He also worked as reporter/ photographer for the Decatur Tribune from 2003 to 2011.
“I will offer the voters an opportunity to evaluate my efforts on their behalf as a city councilman to represent all segments of the community and to see whether they agreed or disagreed on my voting record on the proposed city legislation that has been placed before me for consideration, and decide whether I would serve their best interests as mayor.”
McDaniel said that he has been and will continue to be “keenly aware that the city government’s financial resources are not unlimited to accomplish everything that needs to be done.  It can’t be done overnight, but it can with good planning.
“I believe strongly the city’s limited financial resources should be used wisely because I will not continually support the constant quest for higher creeping taxes and fees that can become a burden for many.”
Among some of the other platform planks laid out by McDaniel are: 
• Strong support of the Lake Decatur Dredging Project and the search for additional auxiliary water resources. 
• Strong support for the Midwest Inland Port Facility. 
• Encourage, where possible, the City of Decatur’s Construction Projects that are put out for bid, that at least fifty percent or more of the labor force working on the project be Decatur residents. 
• Strong support for the acceleration of the pace in finding additional solutions to the demolition of the community’s dilapidated housing stock that scars the inner-city neighborhoods. 
• Strongly urge the council and city staff to investigate the possibility of establishing a New Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) in the portion of the city bordered by Eldorado Street, North Water Street to Grand Street, and then Edward Street to Eldorado Street to assist in the economic development and revitalization of that area that contains residential, small businesses and light industrial properties.
McDaniel said that, as mayor, he will continue to explore and study all sides of the issues that come before the council, and will continue to ask the questions that need to be asked on behalf of the citizens. 
McDaniel is the first “official” candidate for mayor but Mayor Mike McElroy will announce his re-election bid at a news conference later this month.
In addition to the mayor’s position, three city council seats are open in the April 7, 2015 election.
So far, those running for the three city council seats are Lisa Gregory, David Horn, Derrick Thaxton and Mark Wicklund.  Council woman Dana Ray has indicated she will run for re-election.
Present city council members Larry Foster and Pat Laegeler have indicated they will not be running for another term.   


Derrick Thaxton
Derrick Thaxton Is Running For City Council Seat


Derrick L. Thaxton Sr. is announcing his candidacy for Decatur City Council August 21 at the Decatur Civic Center.
  Thaxton currently serves as a chairman on the Human Relations Committee (2012-2014) and the African-American Cultural & Genealogical Society (2014).  He also currently serves as a member of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Steering Committee.  Thaxton formerly served as the Vice President of the Decatur Black Chamber of Commerce.
Thaxton, 45, was born and raised in Decatur.  He graduated from Stephen Decatur High School.  He began working at a local grocery store, Eagle Foods at the age of 16.  
His hard work and dedication helped him move through the ranks and at a young age he was promoted into management.  Due to the knowledge and experience he gained he soon began working at one of the nation’s largest fortune 500 company.  
Thaxton said that, from a very young age he has been civic minded and has had a heart for his community.  
“I’ve always had a heart to serve by being involved in the teacher reward program, organizing food drives and assisting coaching in the Decatur Junior Football League.”  
As a candidate for the city council, his desire is to serve the people of the city of Decatur.  
Thaxton said he is slow to speak and quick to listen.  He also said that he does not have a political agenda, and is not entering this race for personal gain.  
Thaxton said he wants residents to know that he is the candidate they can call and talk to, and believes in making decisions based upon the consensus of the people.
Thaxton pledges to represent all sectors of the community, and not just an elite few.   He believes that every voice counts and all voices need to be heard.  
Thaxton said that, as a city councilman he will work to improve Decatur and will work with neighborhood groups in the fight to end violence in the city.  
“I will strive to build bridges with Decatur businesses to strengthen economic development, and will work to enhance and support our police and fire departments,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to serving as a Decatur City Councilman.



Dr. David J. Horn

David Horn Announces Candidacy For Decatur City Council


Dr. David J. Horn announced his candidacy for the Decatur City Council on Thursday (Aug. 7).   Horn currently serves as an Associate Professor of Biology at Millikin University, where he has been a professor since 2005, and is one of the founders of the university’s Institute for Science Entrepre-neurship.  
Horn has served on the Macon County Re-gional Planning Com-mission (2007-2013) and the Macon County Conservation District (2009-2014).  In addition, he currently serves
as the President of the Illinois State Academy of Science.
Horn moved to Decatur in 2005, and resides in the West End neighborhood.  Horn, 42, grew up in Bethesda, MD.  He did his undergraduate work at Hiram College in northeast Ohio, before going to the University of Missis-sippi and Iowa State University for his graduate studies.  He spent five years living in Aurora,  before moving to his new hometown, Decatur.  
Horn said his combination of skills and well-rounded experiences within the areas of education, science, government, and private industry make him well qualified to serve Decatur effectively.
His first priority is to meet with as many of the citizens of Decatur and the surrounding communities as possible to learn about what they love about our city and what can be enhanced.  
He is ready to workcollaboratively with citizens and organizations to make the city a better place. 
One of Horn’s key areas of focus will be on increasing jobs within the city by supporting companies and organizations, large and small, that are already here and attracting new businesses, particularly small ones to grow the city.
Horn is the second candidate to announce for city council.
Earlier this week, Richland Community College executive Lisa Gregory announced she was running for city council.
Three city council seats are up for election next spring, along with the mayor’s position.


Lisa Gregory

Lisa Gregory Announces Candidacy For City Council


Lisa Gregory announced her candidacy for the Decatur City Council at a news conference at the civic center Tuesday morning.
Three of the city council seats will expired next year and Councilman Larry Foster has already announced that he will not seek re-election.
Gregory is a Decatur na-tive, and an accomplished business wo-man with 29 years of career experience.  
She indicated that her background and life experiences provide her the solid foundation necessary to support sound policy decisions accompanied by a vision for the future of Decatur.
“I love this City,” said Gregory.  “Decatur is where many of my fondest memories have been made, and I’m proud to call it my home.  I will count it a privilege to serve on the Decatur City Council for only one reason – to continue to move the City of Decatur forward towards a brighter future for its residents.”
Gregory said her decision to seek election to the City Council was made after discussions with family, colleagues, friends, and local business owners.  
Gregory said she looks forward to “participating in an environment that continues to conduct the affairs of Decatur responsively and openly.”
Gregory was born in Decatur.  Her parents are graduates of Stephen Decatur High School, and recently retired in Decatur.  Her grandfather and grandmother retired from Wabash Railroad and General Electric Company, respectively.  
She said her family was instrumental in teaching her “the work ethic and common sense necessary to serve the citizens of Decatur.”
Gregory received a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies in 1994 from the University of Illinois at Springfield (formerly Sangamon State University) after graduating in 1992 from Richland Community College.  As a non-traditional student returning to college full-time while raising three children and being employed part-time at Decatur Memorial Hospital, Gregory said she knows what it means to work hard and prioritize her responsibilities to achieve success.
Although the election for city council is not until April of next year, Gregory said she looks forward to meeting and listening to as many people as possible.  
“I want to hear what residents have to say about the city and listen to their suggestions regarding ways in which the Decatur City Council can support a robust business climate and an enjoyable quality of life,” she said.
Gregory is Executive Director of Public Information, Chief of Staff at   Richland Community College.
On a personal level, Gregory enjoys spending time with her family, including her two young grandchildren.  When not with the family or volunteering with her church, you can usually find Gregory gardening in the backyard, implementing a design drawn by her personal landscaper, her daughter.
In addition to Councilman Foster, the terms of Council members Patrick Laegeler and Dr. Dana Ray will also expire next year, along with the term of Mayor Mike McElroy.

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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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