Agencies Cooperate In Investigation Of Body
Found In Rural Area

On Aug. 26th, at approximately 5:20pm, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office (MSO) was notified of a possible deceased person located along Pit Road in the rural area of Niantic.   Deputies arrived at the location and confirmed that the person was deceased.   The crime scene was secured until investigators from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police (ISP) began the death investigation.   The initial investigation established that the death involved suspicious circumstances and that it appeared to be an unnatural death.   

While the death investigation was being conducted by MSO and ISP, the Decatur City Police Department (DPD) were investigating a report of a missing person.   DPD had received a report on 8/25/14 of a missing person from inside the City of Decatur and were actively investigating the case.  Information shared between both DPD and MSO led to the possible identity of the deceased person.  It is believed that the victim was a 53 year old resident of Decatur.

A person of interest had already been identified by DPD and they were in the process of interviewing the person, while other leads were being investigated.   DPD, ISP and MSO Detectives combined their efforts and successfully established probable cause that led to the arrest of a 64 year old Decatur Illinois resident for First Degree Murder.  

It is believed that the suspect and the victim were both in a domestic relationship previously and that the death occurred in the rural area of Macon County.     

“The interagency cooperation involving DPD, ISP and MSO led to a quick and successful conclusion to this investigation, said Sheriff Thomas Schneider”.   “Other support agencies involved in the investigation included the Macon County States Attorney Office, Macon County Coroner’s Office, ISP Crime Scene Services, MABAS 46 and the Macon County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Agency”.

Condolences to the family of the victim are extended from all agencies involved in the investigation.

Decatur Park Board of Commissioners Appoints
Stacey Young to Fill Unexpired 
Park Commissioner Term

  Following interviews of two finalists on August 25, the Decatur Park Board of Commissioners appointed Stacey Young to fill the unexpired term of Commissioner Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer.  The board’s goal was to find an individual who is committed to serving the Park District, involved in the community, and representative of the diverse population it serves.  

Young, a Community Relations Coordinator at Ameren Illinois, is a native of Decatur, graduate of DLI, member of the Grow Decatur initiative, and board member for the Rotary Club and United Way of Decatur and Mid Illinois. In her letter of interest, Young said, “As a concerned citizen of Decatur, I am passionate about the growth and sustainability of this community. By keeping our community beautiful, safe, and economically stable, we can grow and attract commerce to this area. The Decatur Park District has a vital role in the growth of our community.”

President Jack Kenny said the board received several excellent letters of interest but pointed to Stacey Young’s support of the Park District’s mission, ideas for future growth, and sound business background as key to her selection as appointee. 

Motorists Should Expect Delays Along
Lake Shore And 22nd St.

Motorists driving along Lake Shore Drive and 22nd Street between Eldorado Street and the U.S. 51 Bridge should plan for travel delays beginning Friday (Aug. 22) as a major roadway improvement project is set to begin.
Friday morning the Illinois Department of Transportation will start work to resurface almost four miles of this heavily traveled roadway and to improve traffic signals in various locations. The city, in partnership with IDOT, will also be funding work to improve approaches to the roadway leading into neighborhoods as part of the project.
The resurfacing work represents a continuation of important  infrastructure improvements now being made along Lake Shore Drive. The city now is approaching completion of work to rehabilitate a sewer line underneath Lake Shore Drive that is upwards of 96 inches in diameter and serves a significant portion of the City of Decatur.  The sewer is located 50 feet below the roadway surface at some points and is being repaired utilizing a new, high tech lining process where a “cured in place” liner is installed within portions of the deteriorated sewer without the need for sewer excavation, thus saving in repair costs.

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.

New Drainage System
Approved, Radio System
Purchase Rescinded

A new drainage system for the U.S. 51 Bridge over Lake Decatur was approved by the Decatur City Council Monday while members rescinded an agreement to purchase a new radio system following the recent failure of an identical system used by other city departments.
Council members voted 7-0 in favor of several resolutions allowing for the installation of a closed drainage system on the U.S. 51 Bridge during an upcoming State of Illinois project to replace decks on the bridges and perform other maintenance. A closed drainage system will act to protect the City’s nearby main water intake to the South Water Treatment plant from runoff, spills or other discharges from the bridges.
The closed drainage system will capture all runoff from the two bridges and discharge it downstream of the dam.
Council members on Monday also voted 7-0 to rescind approval of a contract to purchase a Motorola StarCom 21 system to replace the city’s trunked, analog radio system. StarCom 21 is a statewide radio system originally established by the State of Illinois and is owned, operated maintained and managed by Motorola Solutions Inc. under contract with the State.
The City of Decatur Police and Fire Departments and the Macon County Sheriff began utilizing the system for primary communications in 2009 and an agreement to purchase the system for other city departments had been approved in early August. However, in the early morning hours on the day following the vote and again four days later, the StarCom transmission tower was disabled after being struck by lighting.
In both instances the StarCom backup system failed to work and the city had to revert to its old system as a backup.  Staff is considering alternative options to provide a radio communication system for the Public Works Department, Water Management Department and the Decatur Public Transit system. A back-up radio system for public safety agencies will be considered during alternative analysis
A number of residents in attendance at Monday’s meeting spoke to request a review of the City’s noise ordinance during the appearance of citizens’ section of the meeting. As part of the ordinance, no driver of any motor vehicle within the City shall operate or permit operation of any sound amplification system which can be heard outside the vehicle from 75 or more feet when the vehicle is being operated upon a street, highway or roadway unless such system is being operated to request assistance or warn of a hazardous situation.

Sixteen Attorneys Have Submitted Applications For Associate Judge Position

The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts has released a list of sixteen attorneys who have submitted applications for appointment as an Associate Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
The vacancy is a result of the appointment of Judge Timothy J. Steadman as resident Macon County Circuit Judge. Steadman was formerly serving as Associate Judge in Macon County.
The attorneys are Phoebe Bowers, Jeffrey Geisler, Monica Hawkins, Bridget Hogan, Erick Hubbard, Steven Perbix, David Spence, 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.
Rhonda Coleman is an assistant United States Attorney in Urbana. 
Richard Goff is with the Public Defender’s Office in Clinton, and Scott Rueter is 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 early September.
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.

Rev. Elaine Gehrmann

Rev. Elaine Gehrmann Restarts
Her Ministry With Decatur Unitarians

The Rev. Elaine Gehrmann starts her ministerial duties at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Decatur on Sunday, August 24 at 10:15 a.m. with a sermon about “Who Are You?”  Rev. Gehrmann succeeds the recently retired Rev. Larry Hutchison.
  Rev. Gehrmann is a life-long Unitarian Universalist.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Divinity from the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. 
  She served as co-minister with her husband in both Watertown, NY and Urbana, IL, but left the ministry in 2001 to pursue joint degrees - a Master of Arts in Educational Policy Studies and a Juris Doctor degree.  After passing the Illinois bar exam Rev. Gehrmann worked as an attorney, and then as an Assistant Public Defender.  From 2010 until November 2013 she was the Executive and CEO of Generations of Hope, an intergenerational community and licensed child welfare agency in Rantoul, IL, that provides a supportive neighborhood for adoptive families of foster children, and for seniors seeking meaningful engagement with these families.
  She is currently a member of the Urbana School Board and is married to the Rev. Axel Gehrmann, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign.  They have two children in college.  To contact Rev. Gehrmann go to
The original Universalist Church of Decatur, still standing on East Prairie Street, was most likely the first church in the city to have a woman minister.  The Rev. Sophia Sheffield Gibb served the Decatur and other Midwest congregations in the 1880s and 1890s while her minister husband did the same.

Second Installment Of Real Estate Tax Bills Due Sept. 5

Macon County Treasurer Edward D. Yoder has announced the Second Installment of Real Estate Tax Bills will be due on Sep. 5, 2014.
Taxpayers have several options in paying their tax bills.  Taxpayers can mail their payment postmarked by the due date.  Payments are accepted in person in the Treasurer’s office in the Macon County Office Building, 141 S. Main Street, Room 302, Decatur during the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  
On September 4th and 5th the Macon County Treasurer’s office will remain open until 5:30 p.m. 
In addition, there is a secure drop box located outside on the north side of the County Office Building available 24 hours.   Most Macon County banks and credit unions accept real estate tax payments for their customers.  Finally, payments can be made through the Illinois E-Pay system at
Taxpayers who normally receive their tax bill at their home and have not received a tax bill should call the Macon County Treasurer’s office at 424-1426.  
If your tax bill is paid by escrow, your bank or mortgage company is required by Illinois state law to send a copy of your tax bill to the homeowner within 15 days.

Decatur Airport To Begin Parking Lot Resurfacing Project

 Beginning August 11, the Decatur Airport will begin a parking lot resurfacing project, which will be completed in phases over the next 48 days, weather permitting. Please make note of the following changes:

  • Long-term parking (more than a week) will move to the lot adjacent to the Air Traffic Control tower.
  • Directly in front of the airport terminal, the direction of travel will convert to 2-way traffic. For driver/pedestrian safety, parking will not be permitted along this roadway.
  • Please follow directional signs for the location of parking for the terminal and Main Hangar Restaurant. During this multi-phase project, parking adjacent to the terminal building will always be available (just shifted north or south).

For more information, please contact Airport Director Tim Wright at 428-2423.

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.

Applications Requested for Unexpired
Park Commissioner Term

The Decatur Park Board of Commissioners welcomes the submission of applications for the unexpired term of Commissioner Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer, who will retire from the board on August 27 due to a move out of district. 
The board’s goal will be to find an individual who is committed to serving the Park District, involved in the community, and representative of the diverse population it serves. Applications may be obtained at the administrative office (620 E. Riverside Ave.) or online at on the Public Information link. 
Forms must be returned to the administrative office, attention Amanda Childress, Secretary to the Board, by 5 p.m. on Monday, August 18. For more information, call Ms. Childress at 422-5911. 

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.

Decatur City Council Petitions Available August 26

 Petitions for persons interested in running for Mayor of the City of Decatur or one of the three seats on Decatur City Council will be available beginning Tuesday, August 26.

            The petitions will be available beginning at 8 a.m. in the office of the City Clerk, located on the 2nd floor of the Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza.  They will also be available online on the city’s web site at

            The positions of Mayor and three four-year council terms will be up for election April 7, 2015.  Petitions must contain the signatures of 71 registered voters.   Candidates must also file a Statement of Economic Interest with the Macon County Clerk and must submit the receipt from that filing to the City Clerk when petitions are filed.  Candidate’s names will be placed on the ballot in order of time of filing.

            Council candidates must be a citizen of the United States, registered voter, age 18 or older and must reside within the city limits for one year preceding the election.  Nominating petitions may be filed in the office of the City Clerk beginning at 8:00 a.m. Monday, November 17 through 5:00 p.m. November 24, 2014.

A primary election will be held if 13 (thirteen) petitions are filed for the council seats and/or 5 (five) petitions are filed for the Mayoral seat.   Contact Linda M. Swartz at 424-2708 for more information.

City Council Approves New Radio System Purchase

The Decatur City Council on Monday approved the purchase of a new radio system critical to communications between city departments and with other agencies statewide.
The StarCom21 radio system will replace what is a quarter-century old system currently being used by the city's Public Works, Water Management and The Decatur Public Transit System. It will allow the departments to join the Decatur Police, Decatur Fire and the Macon County Sheriff's department in using the statewide system, allowing communications between all of the aforementioned departments and with other county and state agencies.
     Council members voted 6-0 in favor of an agreement with Motorola Solutions Inc. to replace the old system for a cost not to exceed $1,398,388. 
While the system has served the City well, it’s useful life has been exceeded with replacement parts no longer available from the manufacturer and used parts difficult to obtain. StarCom21 user fees are estimated to be no greater than $90,408 per year. The exact annual fee amount will be determined after the detailed design analysis and will need to be approved at a later date.
In other business the Council approved an agreement with ADS LLC for city water system leak detection survey work and got an update on the city’s single stream recycling program. ADS has provided survey work since 2008 and the city has realized an estimated $733,539 in savings based on the current costs to purify 309,155,000 gallons of water per year that is no longer leaking.
The survey and leak repairs enabled the City to reduce the amount of water purified annually at the South Water Treatment Plant by 4%.
More than 15,000 bins have been delivered to residents as part of the single stream recycling program implemented in 2011, a participation rate of roughly 57% of eligible households. The program allows residents to comingle recyclables in a single bin instead of segregating the materials as was required with an older program, making recycling easier.
Decatur residents recycled 3,906 tons of material between May 2013 and April 2014.

Decatur Police Department Investigates Car/Pedestrian Crash

Officers of the Decatur Police Department responded to a traffic crash at the intersection of Wood and Edward on Aug. 3 at approximately 8:57 p.m. Upon arrival, officers found that a car had struck and critically injured a pedestrian in the intersection.
Initial investigation indicates that a 67 year old resident of Decatur was walking home from the Decatur Celebration with family members. The victim was attempting to walk south across Wood St. at the intersection of Edward when she was struck by a 31 year old resident of Neoga, IL who was traveling eastbound on Wood St.
The victim suffered life threatening injuries and was transported to Decatur Memorial Hospital and subsequently transported by LIfe Flight to Carle Hospital in Urbana.
The Decatur Police Department Fatal Accident Investigation Team was called to the scene to investigate the incident. Driver impairment is not a factor in the incident. The intersection of Wood and Edward was closed to vehicular traffic from 9:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. while FAIT investigators were on scene.

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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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