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 and

You may also contact Linda Hasenmyer at

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.

MEGA Recycling Event Set For Saturday, Oct. 25

Residents will have an opportunity to get rid of electronics, tires, batteries, confidential documents and other items as part of the Mega Recycling event from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, October 25 at the Progress City USA site on the campus of Richland Community College.

Now in its 3rd year, the event represents a drive through, drop off collection opportunity for a number of difficult-to-dispose-of household items. For example, electronics are now banned from landfills, which means that residents can no longer place electronics items in their regular garbage for pickup. Additionally, tires and electronics represent two of the categories of materials often found to have been illegally dumped in the community.

Items accepted as part of the Mega Recycling event include:

  • Electronics- including TVs, computers, laptops, printers, game consoles, media players, satellite receivers and more (limit of 2 TVs/CRT monitors per car; no projections TVs)
  • Fluorescent bulbs – either compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or tubes of no more than 4 feet in length
  • Tires  - limit of 4 passenger vehicle tires
  • Batteries – rechargeable and single-use
  • Scrap metal and Eyeglasses
  • American flags
  • Clothing & accessories, Household textiles (towels, bedding, curtains), Mercury-containing thermostats, Small toys & stuffed animals
  • Sports equipment
  • Baby food pouches
  • Confidential papers – will be shredded on site

For more information on the Mega Recycling event or to find options for proper disposal of electronics, tires or other items visit the Macon County Environmental Management web site at or call (217) 425-4505.

The Mega Recycling event is being sponsored by Midwest Fiber Recycling, Macon County Environ-mental Management Department, Progress City/Richland Community College, Waste Management, Mer-vis Industries, Boy Scouts of America, USAgain and Confidential On-Site Paper Shredding.

City to Investigate Possibility of
Ordinance Amendment

The Decatur City Council on Monday called on city staff to look into ways that the city’s noise ordinance might be amended as related to punishment for violators as part of a study session on the issue Monday night.

For the last several months council members have engaged in a public discussion with community members about the ordinance, which prohibits the operation of a sound amplification system that can be heard outside the 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 on Monday directed city staff to investigate a number of options for graduated fines or punishment for violators up to and including the possibility that vehicles would not be towed for a first offense or second offense. Staff will also investigate whether it would be possible for officers to check the number of offenses from squad cars.

Millikin University appoints Sarah Shupenus as new Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing

Millikin University has announced the appointment of Sarah Shupenus, Interim Vice President of Enrollment, as Millikin University’s new Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing. This appointment is effective immediately.   
Shupenus will lead Millikin’s redefined Enrollment and Marketing division. This division is comprised of the Offices of Admission, Student Financial Services, Marketing and Media Relations, Institutional Research, International Recruitment, and Student Development.
Shupenus began her Millikin career in 1997 as a staff writer for the Millikin Marketing Department. She was named associate marketing director in 2000 and was promoted to marketing director in 2005. Under her direction, Millikin University embarked on its first-ever brand development project identifying Performance Learning as a distinctive element of a Millikin education.
Shupenus was named Interim Vice President of Enrollment in February 2013. Since that time, she has led the Enrollment Division to exceed its enrollment goals and yield the highest freshmen-to-sophomore retention rate at Millikin in the last 10 years. Sarah has been an active member of the Enrollment Management Team throughout her tenure at Millikin, during which time the number of prospective student inquiries regarding enrollment at Millikin has more than tripled.  
Shupenusearned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Xavier University and a Master of Arts in English – Rhetoric and Composition from Ball State University, where she served as an English instructor for four years prior to joining Millikin.
More information about Millikin University is available at 

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 or call Millikin's Alumni and Development Office at 217.424.6383.


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.

City Seeks Input On 5-Year Consolidated Plan

The City of Decatur would like to invite interested persons, organizations, agencies and the media to participate in the development of its 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.
The five-year Consolidated Plan guides the City in its use of funding received annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist in providing decent housing, a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate income persons.  The plan also serves as a tool for other community organizations seeking federal funding for programs, which support these goals.
Interested parties can now share their ideas through a survey available online at The City will hold public meetings to gather input at 5:30 p.m. Monday, October 27th in the City Council Chambers of the Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza and at 4 p.m. Thursday, October 30, 2014 at Central Christian Church, 650 W. William Street.
Comments received from the public meetings and surveys will be used in preparing a draft Consolidated Plan, which will list proposed goals and activities, designed to meet the identified needs. A public hearing on the draft Consolidated Plan will be held in January and the final document will be submitted to HUD in March 2015. 
Comments and questions concerning the Consolidated Plan or public meetings may be submitted to, or contact Mary Garrison at (217) 450-2383.

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 or by calling (217) 428-5936 or to Diana Olson at 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.

Supt. Lisa Taylor

Decatur School District Supt. Lisa Taylor
Communicates New Direction, Goals 

By Paul Osborne

You don’t have to talk with Decatur School District Superintendent Lisa Taylor very long, before becomes apparent that she likes her job and loves to point out all of the positives in the district.
She also easily communicates specific goals that have been created in concert with School Board Pres-ident Brian Hodges.
Taylor came to the Decatur Tribune for a one-on-one interview regarding the four specific goals that have been formulated and how the district is rebuilding pride in the community.
“My big goal is to change the perception of the district, and I think you do that through communication,” said Taylor.  “I think that’s been a struggle both internally and externally.  I tell my leadership team that it shouldn’t take 48 hours to communicate with everybody.   I read all of my emails, I respond to all of my phone calls and stay in contact.  Without communication you lose all support within an organization, especially one that is the size of our school system.”
Taylor, who was appointed superintendent earlier this year, succeeding Gloria Davis, said that, taking too long to get back to someone who has an idea or a question, can damage the communication process and cause a loss in momentum.
“That why communication is something that I have made a high priority,” said Taylor.  “It stretches you, but it is something that can be done.”


Taylor listed the four goals that have been established for the district:
Goal #1: Foster academic achievement among all learners in a student-centered learning environment.
Goal #2: Establish a collaborative culture district-wide in order to create ownership in decision-making and improvement efforts.
Goal #3: Improve partnerships with families, businesses, organizations, and the community.
Goal #4: Align organizational structures and resources to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and the financial health of the school district.
Of course, there are many “action items” under each goal that represent practical ways to achieve the goals.
Taylor believes that all avenues need to be traveled to make sure that accurate information is presented to the public about the schools.
She believes the culture inside of the district is starting to change, shifting from a “gotcha” culture and catching people doing things wrong, to encouraging people to take responsible risks and make mistakes “because that’s how you learn”.
“I see that in my office, in the leadership and throughout the district,” said Taylor.  “It has kind of permeated the district.  I believe the change is refreshing but everybody is not there yet.  They want to see it work -- that you can make a mistake and bombs don’t go off and nobody is going to lose their job.”
Unless people can work and lead without being fearful of the consequences of anything they do, Taylor said it creates an atmosphere of mediocrity.
“I think that culture in the past has kept us from moving forward as rapidly as we should,” she said.
Taylor, who taught in the district for years before moving on to the administrative side, indicated that people who have known her over the years knew there would be changes coming because they knew what kind of a leader she was in her other capacities.
But still, she indicated, some people felt that moving into the superintendent’s position would change her.
“That surprised me,” she said.  “I felt I was selected because of my experiences and strengths among other qualifications and, when I was hired for those reasons, why would I change to be somebody else?”
Taylor said she sees the need for the school district and Richland Community College to be stronger partners and believes that is already underway.  She also talked of collaboration with other organizations in the area.
The high school remodeling projects at Eisenhower and MacArthur have made a big difference in faculty and student pride.
She also believes that students should be given the opportunity to help be problem solvers and she said a lot of the rumors about the district that are often circulated have no foundation in the truth -- and that should be made clear through better communication.
Changing the bad perception that many have of the Decatur School District needs to change because a lot of positive things are happening and will continue to happen.
It will not happen overnight, but with the new superintendent, the district seems to be headed in a positive direction.  

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”
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.   

City Reminds Residents Of Sign Regulations

The City of Decatur would like to remind residents that signs, regardless of content, are not allowed on public rights-of-way and that prosecution and significant fines could result for persons or organizations found to be responsible for the illegal placement.
City staff will continue efforts to collect signs in the right of way and may be issuing citations, with fines ranging from $150 to $500 plus court costs for entities found to be responsible for the signs.  Signs collected from the right of way will not be returned.
Generally, no sign shall be located on any street, alley, parkway or other public space. The parkway on a street is defined as being the space between the private property boundary line and the edge of the street or road. Placing signs on utility poles or street light poles located on the public street or alley right-of-way is also prohibited. 
In addition to signs in the right of way, there are also limits as to the number of most kinds of signs that can be displayed on private properties in the city. Recent changes to state law prohibit cities from limiting the number of political signs that can be displayed and the length of time that they may remain on residential property.
A maximum of five non-campaign temporary freestanding signs may be displayed for up to 90 days in single and two family residential districts while properties in multiple family districts may display up to three temporary freestanding signs for up to 90 days.
Properties in office, commercial and industrial areas may display one temporary sign for a maximum of 90 days, however, the signs may be larger than those located in residential districts. Temporary signs generally are constructed of non-rigid or semi-rigid materials and are designed so as not to be permanently mounted to the ground or to a structure. 
Extended freestanding signs often displayed for more than 90 days, by comparison, are constructed of a rigid steel frame to be placed in the ground and to resist rot, decay or deterioration by the elements and have different time and size allowances.
Persons looking to display signs must have the permission of the property owner to do so. Visit and click the “public information” tab for more information on temporary signs. A copy of the temporary sign regulations is attached.
Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.

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.

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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