Macon County Sheriff's Office Needs Public's Help

The Macon County Sheriff’s Department needs your help in solving this week’s crime of the week. 
Between 8:00pm on September 20th and 11:30am on September 21st, unknown person(s) damaged the concrete “Infinity Cross” statue located in Niantic Park at 187 E. Lewis.  
It appears unknown person(s) used bodily force to bend the top of the statue causing the concrete to break away from the rebar supports.  The statue is valued at $600.00.  At this time there are no suspect(s).
The Macon County Sheriff’s Department needs your help in solving this crime.  If you have any information about this crime, please call crime stoppers at 423-TIPS.  You do not have to give your name.  
Crime stoppers will pay $500 or more for information that leads to an arrest on the crime of the week.  Crime stoppers will also pay cash for information that leads to an arrest of any person responsible for a felony crime in Macon County.

Governor Quinn Announces Investments in Decatur’s Nelson Park

Funds Will Help Build New Amphitheatre and Combat Stormwater

Governor Pat Quinn  announced Monday (Sept. 22) investments in Decatur’s Nelson Park to support a new amphitheatre and a major stormwater treatment project. 
The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to increase recreational opportunities and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ water infrastructure.
“We need to make sure Nelson Park is here for generations to come,” Governor Quinn said. “Investments in this great space will ensure families in the area have opportunities to enjoy time outdoors and wonderful cultural events the area has to offer.”
The Decatur Park District will receive $2 million from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to construct the new state-of-the-art Nelson Park Amphitheatre overlooking Lake Decatur. The amphitheatre will be a main outdoor cultural venue in central Illinois, hosting nationally recognized as well as local musicians, plays, movies and cultural arts events.

Buffet Foundation Contributes $1.5 Million

Another $1.5 million is being given by the foundation of philanthropist Howard G. Buffet.
 Construction of the amphitheatre will follow the commitment to energy efficiency and green building techniques established in the Nelson Park Master Plan, including the use of permeable pavement and energy efficient lighting. The amphitheatre is part of Decatur’s Lakeshore Landing development project to promote lakefront tourism and create a multi-generational recreation center within Nelson Park. 

Bioretention Project To Receive $575,000 

The Nelson Park Bioretention Project will receive a $575,000 Green Infrastructure Grant to help construct two bioretention treatment trains to catch and treat stormwater runoff from Nelson Park and the surrounding neighborhood. The treatment is designed to increase stormwater infiltration and reduce the number of combined sewer overflows that release runoff into nearby Lake Decatur. 
The total estimated project cost is $6.8 million. When complete, the bioretention project will reduce sediment and chemical runoff into Lake Decatur totaling up to eight tons of sediment, 42 pounds of phosphorus and 337 pounds of nitrogen each year.
“Time and again, Governor Quinn has demonstrated his commitment to Decatur,” State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “This investment in Nelson Park will serve our residents for decades to come and is exactly what the community needs.” 
“Green infrastructure is a great tool to address stormwater management issues,” Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett said. “This project will greatly benefit the City of Decatur by addressing stormwater challenges and also reducing the impact on Lake Decatur.”
In May 2013, Nelson Park received a $400,000 investment through the state’s Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program to renovate parts of a large pavilion and a small pavilion, develop a fitness trail with exercise stations, a mountain biking trail and fishing pier, restore ten acres with native prairie plants along with habitat improvement and a bio-swale to reduce soil erosion.
The funding announced Monday comes from Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation.

EDC Comments on Decatur Park District Grants

The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County belives the announcement by Governor Pat Quinn and Howard Buffett for funding support for the Lakeshore Landing Amphitheater is a giant step towards enhancing Decatur as an attractive community for living and recreation for our citizens and a premier destination for others to visit.   
“This investment significantly advances the realization of the strategic vision for the comprehensive Lakeshore Landing development of Lake Decatur and Nelson Park unveiled two years ago by the Decatur Park District and supported by the City of Decatur,” stated the EDC news release.  
Larry Altenbaumer, interim President of the EDC noted, “Our community is blessed with tremendous assets.  Finding forward-thinking ways to better utilize these assets is critical to our community’s future economic success and overall quality of life.  The support of the State of Illinois and Governor Quinn and the support of Howard Buffett for the Lakeshore Landing Amphitheater in historic Nelson Park complements other strategic examples of our community building on its rich asset base, including  the City’s investment in dredging Lake Decatur to expand our community’s water supply, the investment by District 61 in the reinvention of our two public high schools and the comprehensive development of the Midwest Inland Port to build on the unique rail assets we have in Decatur.  
“And all of this is made possible by this community’s most important asset, its citizens.  Congratulations to the Decatur Park District; and a most sincere thank-you to Governor Pat Quinn and Howard Buffett.”  

Jeffrey Geisler Appointed Illinois Associate Judge
in the Sixth Judicial Circuit

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today (Sept. 11) that the Sixth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jeffrey S. Geisler as an associate judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
Geisler received his undergraduate degree in 1982 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale,Illinois, and his Juris Doctor in1986 from Memphis State in Memphis, Tennessee.
Geisler is currently affiliated with Geisler Law Offices in Decatur.

Manar secures funding to keep
local homeless shelter open

  For the second year in a row, Decatur’s Oasis Day Center, a homeless shelter providing mental health services to 2,200 local residents, will remain open and in full operation because of a $300,000 state grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services secured with help from State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill). 
“The Oasis Day Center is vital to the community of Decatur,” Manar said. “It helps people who are suffering from real problems find shelter and the help they need to rebuild their lives. This continued grant demonstrates that Illinois’ state government is investing in our downstate communities – not just Chicago.”
In the spring of 2013, the center learned that federal budget cuts meant the loss of its main source of funding. Unless the $300,000 per year could be replaced, the center would have had no choice but to close its doors. Concerned about the impact such a loss would have on the community, area leaders including Mayor Mike McElroy and staff and board members from the Oasis Day Center approached Manar for assistance in keeping the center open utilizing possible state support.
Manar quickly communicated the need for funding to state officials and to the governor and his staff to convince them that Decatur’s homeless center should be a top priority. This year, Manar followed up to make sure the center would continue to receive the funding it needs.
"I'm glad the senator has once again stepped forward to keep this vital community resource open and available for those who unfortunately find themselves in need of this service. I want to personally thank the senator,” said Mayor Mike McElroy. “This continues to be a quality of life issue and we are grateful for his continued assistance."
"It is important to me that we provide a basic safety net for those in need," said State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur. "The Oasis Day Center provides extensive services for both physical and mental needs, places a value on the lives of area homeless and provides a path to better health and future opportunities."
Open 365 days each year with seven full-time staff, the Oasis Day Center provides homeless people, including those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness, a safe place to meet their basic needs while linking them to services in the community. 
or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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Young people at the World War II Memorial in front of the Decatur Civic Center.

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