Human Relations Commission Seeking Members
The City of Decatur is looking for residents to serve as members of the Decatur Human Relations Commission to fill what will be four vacancies on the nine-member board.
City of Decatur
One Gary K. Anderson Plaza
Decatur, L 62523
Residents can also call 217-424-2708 with questions.
The city and commission have been working in recent months to make changes to the process for handling discrimination complaints following the retirement of former Human Rights Officer Mark Barthelemy. Both the commission and the Decatur City Council agreed that reducing the size of the commission from 13 to 9 members would be helpful both in successfully obtaining a quorum for meetings and from an organizational standpoint. The Council also directed city staff to utilize $20,000 in budgeted funds to provide investigative services in support of the Human Relations Commission.
Funding will be used to pay for the services of a separate investigative party to determine whether a complaint warrants further action by the Commission. Protected classes covered by Decatur City Code include classes of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or unfavorable military discharge.
Senator Manar hears community concerns as Capitol on Your Corner program visits Decatur
DECATUR – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) continued his series of local discussions known as Capitol on Your Corner on Wednesday (July 9) at Mrs. K’s Community Center in Decatur. Approximately 75 residents attended the meeting, including local officials Melverta Wilkins and Gary Minich of the Macon County Board, Pat McDaniel of the Decatur City Council, Sherry Perkins of the Decatur School Board and former State Rep. John Dunn. Topics of discussion ranged from economic development and neighborhood violence to road repair and SB16 – Manar’s school funding reform proposal that passed the Senate in May.
Photo -- Senator Manar talking to Macon County Board member Melverta Wilkins (left) and Decatur resident Marguerite Walker (right) after the event was over.
City Reports Lake Decatur Dredge
Project Is Moving Ahead
DECATUR – Residents got a look at what they can expect to see as the city’s new dredge project continues to ramp up as part of a Decatur City Council study session Monday night.
The massive public improvement project continues to progress with workers now assembling piping, staging equipment and performing earthwork to rehabilitate the Oakley Sediment basin to store piped-in dredge material. The work is being done as part of a $90.4 million project with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock to remove silt from basins 1-4 of Lake Decatur, increasing water supply by 30 percent and adding between 3.5 and 6 feet of depth to various areas.
Jon Nieman, Vice President of the Great Lakes Rivers and Lakes division, said that he hopes to begin actual dredge operations during the first week in September in Basin 1, channeling from the current staging area near Lost Bridge Road towards the South Water Treatment Plant. Crews are now assembling what will eventually be 8 miles of piping to be submerged in the lake along with power cable and boaters are urged to exercise extreme caution when transiting the lake.
Pipeline and power cable will be marked with buoys and warning signs will also be placed throughout the lake near dredge equipment. Lake users should avoid all buoys and dredge equipment and observe all lake warning signs.
Nieman also announced that Great Lakes will hold a vendor fair July 22 in hopes of attracting local vendors to assist with the project. Eighteen of the 20 hourly employees now working on the Oakley Sediment Basin rehabilitation and 11 of the 15 hourly employees now assembling pipe and performing other project duties have been hired from the local area.
In other business, Council members voted to amend City Code Chapter 28 dealing with procedures for addressing unlawful discrimination. As had been agreed upon by the City Council and supported by the Decatur Human Relations Commission, substantial changes to the code are as follows:
• Reducing the size of the commission from 13 to 9 members
• Removal of the requirement to fill vacancies in 60 days
• Allowing the commission to use the services of a separate investigative party (other than the Human Relations Officer) to determine whether a complaint warrants further action by the commission
• Allowing the commission to include investigatory costs as part of public hearing fees charged to the respondent if they are found in violation of Chapter 28
Council directed city staff at a May 5th Study Session to utilize $20,000 in budgeted funds to provide investigative services in support of the Commission.
Two Arrested In Connection With Huffman
Lumber Company Burglary
On July 5th at approx. 3:20am, Macon County deputies were detailed to a burglary in progress at the Huffman Lumber Company, located at 110 N. Hickory in Maroa. Two area witnesses reported the burglary to the sheriff's department and were able to provide dispatchers with a description of the two individuals involved as well as the vehicle they were traveling in.
While responding to the scene, Dep. Bart Hickey was able to locate the vehicle, a white Chevy Trailblazer traveling southbound on Rt. 51 from Maroa. Upon stopping the Chevy in the 500blk of Loma Dr. in Forsyth the two occupants, Joshua Deavers, 36 years old of Clinton and Megan Shaffer, 35 years old from Clinton, were positively identified by the eye witnesses as the individuals responsible for the burglary.
The business owner confirmed the business and a trailer on the lot of the business were burglarized and an undisclosed amount of currency was taken. The owner reported the suspects forced entry to the business and trailer.
Deavers and Shaffer were taken into custody and transported to the Macon County Jail where they were booked on preliminary charges of Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools and Criminal Damage to Property. Deavers and Shaffer’s bond was set at $30,000.00.
Annual Water Quality Report Now Available
DECATUR — The City of Decatur is pleased to report that drinking water delivered to residential, commercial and industrial customers last year either met or exceeded all state and federal drinking water requirements.
The City has issued its 2014 Water Quality Report which details an exemplary record of compliance with United States Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards. The City met all testing requirements during the past year, providing high quality water while keeping rates amongst the lowest in the state. The City has not received a drinking water violation since 2002 even though water quality requirements have become significantly more stringent since that time.
The City pumps an average of 20 million gallons per day from Lake Decatur, providing water to approximately 31,400 service connections and 82,000 area residents.
“The city council continues to make the protection of our water supply one of our top priorities,” said Mayor Mike McElroy. “That includes not only making sure that we have adequate water supply but also making sure that the water we have is safe for our residents.”
“This report lets everyone know that we are doing a great job of providing high quality drinking water.”
The report is posted on the City’s website at:
Copies are also available at the South Water Treatment Plant, Decatur Civic Center, Decatur Public Library and the Municipal Service Center.
For further information contact Don Giger, Water Production Operations Supervisor at 424-2866 or Randy Miller, Water Services Manager at 875-5704.
Police Take Man Into Custody After Shots
Fired On North Water St.
According to Police Lieutenant Brad L. Sweeney at 7:44 June 18, the Decatur Police Department received a call from a female guest of the Decatur Inn stating that a male subject staying at the Decatur Inn had a gun and was possibly trying to kill himself. The caller informed the dispatcher that she had already heard a gunshot. Decatur Police Officers immediately responded to the Decatur Inn at 3035 N. Water Street.
Upon arrival Decatur Police Officers heard gun shots coming from room 113 of the Decatur Inn. Decatur Police Officers immediately evacuated all guests of the Decatur Inn, evacuated and closed nearby businesses (McDonald's, Wendy's, Bob Evans) and stopped all traffic flowing northbound on 3000 N. Water. The evacuations and street closures were done to protect the community from the suspect's gunfire.
While Decatur Police Officers were on scene, the suspect fired a Remington rifle ten times. The Decatur Police Department's Emergency Response Team was deployed to handle the incident. Upon arrival of Decatur's Emergency Response Team, negotiations by telephone began between a police negotiator and the suspect. The negotiations ended with the suspect agreeing to surrender to police. The suspect was taken into custody at 9:04 am.
The general public was not harmed in this incident. The suspect was not harmed. There were no police officers injured in the incident.
The suspect has been identified as Stephen Hathaway, 69. He has been a guest of the Decatur Inn for approximately two years. The suspect has been taken to the Decatur Police Headquarters where detectives are continuing their investigation.
The Decatur Police Department is very appreciative of the surrounding businesses that evacuated and closed their businesses. Their cooperation with the Decatur Police Department helped bring the matter to a safe ending.