STATE & NATIONAL NEWS

Governor Quinn Announces Investment in Macon County South East Beltway  

New Highway Will Connect Interstate 72 and U.S. Route 51, Create Hundreds of Jobs

            DECATUR – Governor Pat Quinn has announced a $10 million investment to begin work on the Macon County South East Beltway, a new highway that will connect Interstate 72 and U.S. Route 51 around the south and east sides of Decatur. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and built a 21st century infrastructure that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“This work is the first major development in the long-awaited project to improve transportation efficiency and safety in and around Decatur,” Governor Quinn said. “New work on the beltway is good news for the region, but it is also good news for the hardworking men and women of Illinois. The project will also help create hundreds of jobs that will grow and drive the local economy.”

The Macon County Beltway is an estimated $150 million project that will move traffic that often passes through Decatur and Lake Shore Drive around the east side of Decatur. The 22-mile highway will connect Interstate 72 east of Decatur with the recently expanded four-lane U.S. Route 51 south of Decatur at Elwin.

The $10 million investment from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program will be used for the final planning, utility relocations, and right of way acquisition for both the Route 36 Interchange and the Elwin Interchange portions of the Macon County South East Beltway. The state investment will allow Macon County to do all of the work necessary before construction takes place on these two segments.

The Elwin Interchange involves adding ramps to the existing County Highway 30 bridge over U.S. Route 51 and other related work to provide direct access to U.S. 51 for Beltway traffic. The U.S. Route 36 Interchange will provide direct access to the Beltway and includes a bridge over the CSX Railroad.

This bypass will improve access to Decatur Airport from Interstate 72 and to east side industries such as Archer Daniels Midland Company and Caterpillar Inc. as well as Mt. Zion’s Fuyao Glass GroupThe new highway will improve safety by reducing heavy truck traffic on Decatur city streets

            “I think it’s fantastic that we are getting help to move forward on the Macon County South East Beltway project,” Macon County Board Chair Jay Dunn said. “The project has already received federal approval, and this investment will allow us to begin the final planning, engineering and construction design for the Beltway.”

The Macon County Beltway project is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which is supporting 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.




Land Of Lincoln Honor Flight Takes To The Air Oct. 28


Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) of Springfield, will again take to the air on Tuesday, Oct. 28th, for their sixth and final flight of the 2014 flying season. 
Serving central and southern Illinois, this Flight #30 charter will have 9 World War II, 66 Korean War era and 6 Vietnam War era Veterans aboard from the US Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy military branches, as well as one from the World War II Merchant Marines, for a total of 2,267 served since the founding of LLHF. 
On this no-cost, day long trip to Washington, DC, to visit and reflect at their national memorials, all Veterans will be accompanied by a volunteer Guardian escort, who pay their own way and are responsible for the comfort, logistics, mobility and safety of their Veteran(s) for the day.
  Departing Spring-field shortly after 6 AM, they will land at Ronald Reagan National Airport in DC, then will be transported for the day on three tour buses named Red, White and Blue.
The itinerary in-cludes stops at the national World War II, Korean and Vietnam Memorials as well as the National Air & Space Museum (Chantilly, Virginia), Air Force and Marine Corps Memorials, Pentagon drive-by and concludes at Arlington National Cemetery, along with viewing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and Changing of the Guard. During the day they will also have the opportunity to visit the Lincoln Memorial, as well as see the Washington Monu-ment, Jefferson Memor-ial, DC World War I Memorial, and much more. 
  The 9 World War II, 66 Korean War era and 6 Vietnam War era Veterans on this flight come from the Illinois towns of Alhambra, Alvin, Belleville, Carterville, Charleston, Chatham, Clinton, Col-linsville, Decatur, Dieterich, East Alton, Effingham, Findlay, Forsyth, Gibson City, Gillespie, Golconda, Greenville, Herrin, Ingraham, Lewistown, Lincoln, Mahomet, Mans-field, Maroa, Maryville, Mc-Leansboro, Modesto, Murphysboro, Newton, Nokomis, Normal, Orient, Owaneco, Paris, Pekin, Peoria, Philo, Ramsey, Rankin, Rochelle, Shelbyville, Springfield, St. Elmo, St. Peter, Stonington, Strasburg, Taylorville, Toledo, Tolono, Urbana, Villa Grove, Virden, Waverly, White Heath and Windsor.
  The general public is invited and encouraged to show their appreciation for these Veterans by welcoming them home when they return to Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport that evening, arriving at approximately 9:30 PM. It is suggested to be to the airport by 8:30-8:45 and feel free to wear red, white and blue to show your patriotic spirit or bring small American flags, balloons, posters, etc.
  Although Land of Lincoln Honor Flight will have completed their final flight for the year with this trip, veteran applications may be obtained from the LLHF web site and will continue to be accepted for the 2015 flight season.
Veterans are flown in the order their application is received by LLHF, with priority given in the following order:  World War II (person enlisted by 12/31/1946), then Korean War Era (01/01/1947 to 12/31/1957), followed by the Vietnam War Era (01/01/1958 to 05/07/1975).
  Land of Lincoln Honor Flight is a 501(c)3 non-profit, receiving no federal, state or county funding. It is only able to fly veterans on their Honor Flight through the generous donations, sponsorships, fund raising and efforts of many individuals, businesses and organizations. For more information on the Honor Flight mission, to obtain a Veteran or Guardian application, arrange a speaker to your organization, or make a donation to LLHF, visit the official web site at LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org or contact John Dust, marketing/media director, at Honor-FlightGuy@aol.com or cell 309-339-0227.



Governor Quinn Announces $2.5 Million Investment for Wastewater Improvements in Decatur

Governor’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative Will Help Decatur Rehabilitate Aging Wastewater Infrastructure

DECATUR – Governor Pat Quinn has announced a $2.5 million investment for the City of Decatur to rehabilitate the city’s wastewater infrastructure. The project is funded by a low-interest loan through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative, and will create several jobs in the area. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to drive the economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ water infrastructure.
“Parts of Decatur’s wastewater system date to the early 20th century, and this loan will help them make needed upgrades to the system,” Governor Quinn said. “Our Clean Water Initiative is helping make communities like Decatur even better places to live and work now and into the future.”
The City of Decatur will use the proceeds of the Clean Water Initiative loan to rehabilitate an early 20th century combined sewer, overflow sewer and associated structures. These structures are critical elements in the Decatur watershed Combined Sewer Overflow management system, and help maintain sanitary service to local residents, businesses and industry.
Decatur receives an additional benefit from the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative as these subsidized loans result in additional savings over the life of the loans. The wastewater project is expected to be completed by spring of 2015.
“We appreciate the confidence that the State of Illinois has in the City of Decatur and its willingness to help fund critical local infrastructure improvements,” Decatur Mayor Mike McElroy said. “Projects like this are important to the continued growth and development of our community. This work will not only help protect the health and safety of our residents but will bring about jobs and help support local business and industry for decades to come.”
“Improving and upgrading these systems is essential for communities facing aging infrastructure that cannot continue to meet residents’ needs,” Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett said. “The Illinois EPA is proud to partner with communities on these projects that are necessary for protecting residents and the environment.”
“Investing in Decatur’s infrastructure is critical to residents and businesses alike,” State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “Increased economic development will follow when a city’s infrastructure is sound. I’m glad the city will be able to make these needed upgrades.”
Governor Quinn first launched the Illinois Clean Water Initiative in his 2012 State of the State Address to help local governments rebuild or repair clean water infrastructure, including aging wastewater and drinking water treatment systems and plants throughout the state. These projects ensure that facilities are being upgraded to protect our streams and rivers, our drinking water supplies and the environment as a whole. In July, Governor Quinn signed legislation that doubles Clean Water Initiative funding to $2 billion and expands the program to include stormwater management and treatment projects.
According to the U.S. EPA, it is estimated the water infrastructure needs in Illinois over the next 20 years will total $32 billion, including $17 billion in wastewater projects (which is the 6th highest among the states) and $15 billion in drinking water projects (4th highest need in the nation). To date, more than $850 million in wastewater and drinking water loans have been awarded under the Illinois Clean Water Initiative.
To learn more about Governor Quinn’s Illinois Clean Water Initiative, visit CleanWater.Illinois.gov.


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.





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

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