City Council Approves Vehicle Purchases

The Decatur City Council on Monday approved the purchase of five vehicles for the city’s Public Works department, purchases totaling more $136,423 made with Decatur’s Jackson Ford as the lowest responsible bidder.

The purchased vehicles include one 2017 Ford F-150 and four 2017 Ford F-250s to be allocated to the Public Works Department’s streets, sewers and water services division and the vehicles will replace existing cars that are past their normal life expectancy or are in poor condition. The city’s recently announced reorganization is expected to help extend the life of both the new and some of the existing vehicles because the original divisions of public works and the recently-added water services and water production divisions can now more closely coordinate vehicle usage. 

​Mary W. French Students Honor Civil War Soldiers Buried In Greenwood Cemetery


Following years of tradition to celebrate the lives given for our country, Mary W. French students walked from their school to Greenwood Cemetery, 606 South Church, on Monday.        
    Carrying American flags, they entered the cemetery and proceeded to the Civil War area and placed flags on the Civil War soldiers’ graves.   More than 500 Civil War soldiers are buried in Greenwood Cemetery. 
    The students' arrival marked the beginning of a short Memorial Day tribute to all soldiers buried in Greenwood, Spangler and Sharon cemeteries, some 2,000 military personnel in the Decatur Township cemeteries.
    Ada Owens, Decatur Township Clerk, organized the tribute. A special invitation was given to all who have served our country in the military.

 (Photos by Patrick McDaniel)

Bateman Named Executive Director of Midwest Inland Port   

Nicole Bateman

 What’s poised to be Decatur’s most significant economic driver in decades, the Midwest Inland Port has named Nicole Bateman the new Executive Director. Larry Altenbaumer, executive director since 2015, will work as a strategic advisor for the port. 

“The transition comes at a time when the port activities begin a strong strategic marketing focus,” says Ryan McCrady, President of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur – Macon County, which oversees the MIP. “Nicole has worked alongside Larry Altenbaumer and myself over the last two years and has helped shape the plan for this next phase of port activities.” 

Bateman will assume the duties of executive director while maintaining her position as Community Marketing Manager. “The community marketing and branding initiative – Limitless Decatur & Macon County – has accelerated since its launch two years ago, and now those efforts directly align with the marketing strategy of the MIP,” says Bateman. “Now is the right time for the complementing messages to be shared together on a national and global front. I’m honored to lead this effort and thankful for the leadership that has put both initiatives at the forefront of our community’s priority list.” 

The Midwest Inland Port is a multi-modal hub located in Decatur, Illinois that delivers both domestic and international flexibility for companies through a well-positioned transportation corridor, connecting the Midwest to the East, West and Gulf Coasts of North America. Strategically located in Decatur, the port consists of 3 Class I railroads, an intermodal ramp, quick access to 5 major roadways and an airport equipped with a U.S. Customs Office and runways capable of handling wide-body aircraft. With a market reach of 95 million people within a 1-day’s truck drive, it’s no surprise Decatur was ranked 3rd in the nation as an Emerging Logistics and Distribution Center by Facilities Magazine.

“With support from its Strategic Development Coalition, we’ve put in place the connecting pieces to develop the Midwest Inland Port as Illinois’ downstate freight transportation hub,” says Altenbaumer. “The port’s focus is on broad-based economic development throughout the central Illinois region and on relieving rail and highway congestion in Chicago. The growth Decatur-based assets like the ADM Intermodal Ramp have experienced since it’s opening has allowed for significant savings in transportation costs for those companies already located in the region. The broad-based economic development approach has also allowed for regional partnerships, such as that with the Champaign County EDC to form, which brings additional services to the Decatur market helping all sizes of businesses to grow.” 
Altenbaumer will serve as a strategic advisor for the MIP. He is the Chairman of the Board of Decatur Memorial Hospital and serves on the boards of the Community Foundation, the Decatur Public Schools Foundation and the Energy Assistance Foundation. Professionally, Mr. Altenbaumer is a board member for the Southwest Power Pool where he is Vice-chair, the MYR Group and Summit Utilities. Mr. Altenbaumer received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering/computer science from the University of Illinois in 1970. He was a 2003 recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from its Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. 

Bateman was named the Community Marketing Manager for Decatur & Macon County in April 2015, responsible for executing the marketing and branding campaign for the area, working with organizations, businesses, educational institutions and the community at large to help shift perceptions, enhance the quality of life, and recruit new residents and businesses to Decatur and Macon County. She serves on the Grow Decatur leadership team, Decatur Area Arts Council Public Art Committee, Education Coalition Community Advisory Committee, Decatur Parks Foundation Marketing Committee, and is a member of Rotary Club 180 and Holy Family Catholic Church. Prior to her role at the EDC and MIP, she served as the Executive Director of Children’s Museum of Illinois, Business Development Manager for Land of Lincoln Credit Union, and marketing manager for purchasing group WIT & Co. She is a graduate of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications and Education. 

The Midwest Inland Port is a multi-modal hub located in Decatur, Illinois that delivers both domestic and international flexibility for companies through a well-positioned transportation corridor, connecting the Midwest to the East, West and Gulf Coasts of North America. Strategically located, the port consists of 3 Class I railroads, an intermodal ramp, quick access to 5 major roadways and an airport equipped with a U.S. Customs Office and runways capable of handling wide-body aircraft.  With a market reach of 95 million people within a 1-day’s truck drive, it’s no surprise Decatur was ranked 3rd in the nation as an Emerging Logistics and Distribution Center by Facilities Magazine. Learn more at www.MidwestInlandPort.com. 

  Jim Root Is Running For Macon County Sheriff


     Jim Root announced he is running for Macon County Sheriff in the November, 2018 election, during a news conference at the Decatur Civic Center Friday.
    Root was born and raised in Decatur. He entered the United States Marine Corps after he graduated from Eisenhower High School in 1986. After graduating Field Artillery School he was stationed in Okinawa Japan assigned to Fox Battery 2nd Battalion 12 Marines, 3rd Marine Division. 
    He completed the Marine Corps rifle instructor course and became an instructor at the range. He was awarded a meritorious mast, Special Achievement award, and a good conduct medal prior to being honorably discharged.
    After his military service, he returned to Decatur and began working a construction job until he was hired as a security officer at the Clinton nuclear power plant. After working security for two years, he enrolled at Richland Community College and later received an associate degree in applied science in law enforcement.     Root worked at the Firestone Tire and Rubber plant in Decatur until he was hired by the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in 1996.
    He started his career in the patrol division working on 3rd shift where he was recognized, four years in a row, for his efforts in DUI enforcement from Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists.             Root was promoted to detective after four years and was assigned to the Illinois State Police Drug Task Force. While working narcotics investigations he received the MEG Director’s Award for Excellence, in recognition of work performed on a federal narcotics case. He was promoted to sergeant in 2006 where he supervised deputies in the patrol division and was given the responsibility of maintaining and writing policies for the department.
    In 2009 he became a sniper/entry team member of the Special Response Team. During his time on the team he has been the primary range instructor. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2009 and assigned to the Emergency Management Agency. Since being there, he has been instrumental in ensuring local school districts comply with state laws on emergency planning and provide a safe environment for students to learn. He implemented the current Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) program being taught to teachers in the Macon and Piatt County Regional School Districts. He is a rapid deployment instructor, which teaches first responders how to respond to active shooter situations. He is also a multiple assault counter terrorism action capable (urban tactics) instructor. He has coordinated the development of the Macon County hazard mitigation plan and the development of the Decatur/Macon County tactical inter-operable communication plan.
    During his tenure as the lieutenant in charge of overseeing the Macon County emergency management agency, he has overseen a $260,000 balanced budget.
    You can read more about Jim Root on his Facebook page 
https://www.facebook.com/JimRootforSheriff/ and web page www.jimrootforsheriff.com .
    Present Macon County Sheriff Tom Schneider has already announced that he is not running for re-election and will serve his term until a new sheriff takes office in December, 2018.

Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider
Will Not Seek Re-Election To Another Term


Macon County Sheriff Thomas Schneider announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election next spring for the Macon County Sheriff’s term that will begin December 1, 2018.
        “The Macon County Sheriff’s Office has been my life for 30 years. Although I will miss being an active part of the office, my wife, Amy, and I have raised a successful son and we are ready to start a new chapter," said Sheriff Schneider.   “I am proud of the depth of leadership at the Sheriff’s Office, and I have developed a great executive team. Three lieutenants have indicated to me a desire to run for Sheriff.   I believe each of them has the credentials and experience to do an excellent job.  I’m looking forward to mentoring all three through the election process.   The citizens of Macon County deserve the best possible leadership in law enforcement, and I am committed to making sure these candidates are prepared and ready to serve,” the Sheriff added.  
        Sheriff Schneider began his career in the Macon County Sheriff’s Office in November of 1988 as a correctional officer.   In 1990, he was hired as a Deputy Sheriff, and he steadily was promoted up the chain of command through 2008, when he was unanimously appointed Sheriff by the Macon County Board in September. He was re-elected Sheriff in both 2010 and 2014.
    Sheriff Schneider will finish out his term which ends when a new sheriff takes office Dec. 1, 2018.

Decatur, Champaign EDCs Announce Partnership   

DECATUR, IL, April 19, 2017 – Businesses in the Decatur area now have local access to the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States. Officials from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Decatur – Macon County and Champaign County EDC announced the expansion of the Illinois Small Business Development Center and International Trade Center. 

 “Strategic relationships with quality organizations like the Champaign County EDC will bring additional resources to benefit businesses in the Decatur community,” said Ryan McCrady, President of the EDC of Decatur – Macon County. “This will also help improve the economic development opportunities in all of Central Illinois. Combining the unique assets of Macon and Champaign counties will create a formidable presence with respect to business attraction and expansion in the region.”

 The Champaign County EDC hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the region, and with the new partnership these services will be offered on a regular basis through the Decatur EDC. Led by Don Elmore, the SBDC assists in job creation, supports entrepreneurship, business start-up, expansion, productivity, and works to sharpen small business management in the region. The EDCs and partners accomplish this through one-on-one counseling, technical assistance, training seminars, information provision, networking opportunities and business development and real estate expertise.

 The vast exporting capabilities of the Midwest Inland Port bring the need for additional services to be offered locally through the International Trade Center (ITC). ITC provides support in evaluating a company’s readiness to export, shipping and logistics, compliance regulations, international business planning, and more. Headed by certified International Trade Specialist, Kathie Cravens, ITC is uniquely qualified to provide a wide range of assistance in all aspects of international trade and export assistance. From in-depth advice on international trade techniques to export processes and international market opportunities, the ITC can play an advisory role at no cost.

“The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is thrilled to provide business development and international trade services through the EDC of Decatur & Macon County and the Midwest Inland Port,” said Craig Rost, Executive Director of Champaign County EDC. “Our counties comprise a regional workforce and business environment in Central Illinois - working together will develop new business and employment growth in our communities and enhance an already strong regional workforce, which in turn will attract new employers to our counties.”

Decatur based manufacturing company T/CCI has been utilizing the services of the International Trade Services for several years. “At first, I was driving to Wisconsin for exporting seminars,” said Shirley Leevy, Inventory/Logistics Manager for T/CCI. “The requirements and forms to export are constantly changing and a company needs expert guidance to stay up-to-date on what you need to know and what you need to meet to export your company’s goods. Having accesses to these resources in Decatur will be a huge benefit to local businesses and will save the expense in both money and time from traveling elsewhere for the training seminars.”

An Illinois SBDC “Starting Your Business in Illinois” workshop will be held at the Decatur EDC office on May 11th from 9-11 AM, and on May 25th from 2-4 PM. Attendees must RSVP by contacting carly@champaigncountyedc.org or 217-359-6261.   

Both the SBDC and the ITC will have regularly scheduled appointment sessions at the Decatur EDC office. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is funded through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce, and the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation; with additional support provided by EDC of Decatur and Macon County and the Midwest Inland Port.
Macon County Clerk Steve Bean Will Not
Seek Re-Election To Another Term

Macon County Clerk Steve Bean has announced that he will not seek re-election as Macon County Clerk, adding that he will serve out his current term, which ends Nov. 30, 2018.

Bean said: "I am making this announcement early to give interested individuals time to decide if they would like to seek this position. It is important for this position to be filled by an elected individual, particularly since one of the primary duties of the County Clerk is to act as the election authority of the county.

 "I want to thank the citizens of Macon County for giving me the opportunity to serve as County Clerk since December 1, 1990. It is hard for me to comprehend that I have actually served seven terms as Macon County Clerk. The office has changed substantially. One of my proudest accomplishments is getting the new voting system approved last September, which has made elections go smoother for election judges and voters, as well.
"I look forward to additional challenges that may confront us in the remaining two years of this term.    Again, my wife and I want to thank you for the opportunity I was given to serve you."
Decatur Police Department Offers Public The
Opportunity To Report Some Crimes Online

    The Decatur Police Department now offers the public the opportunity to report some crimes online. Deputy Chief Jason Walker stated the online reporting systems is meant to be a public convenience for the reporting of nonemergency offenses by those affected, in which there is no identifiable suspect and no physical evidence to collect.
    To file a report online, the affected party must have access to the internet, valid email address and is reporting a nonemergency offense that occurred in the City of Decatur.
    The public can find the online reporting option by going directly to www.dpdconnect.com, or by going to the City of Decatur web page www.decaturil.gov and select Departments/Police, where a quick link to "file a report" can be located.
    Offenses currently available for online reporting include: Civil Matter/Information Reports, Criminal Damage to Property Under $500, Theft Under $300, Theft of Lost or Mislaid Property, Retail Theft Under $300 ( Businesses Only), Illegal Dumping/Littering and Nuisances.
    Once an online report is received, a detective sergeant will review the report, determine if the report is accepted, denied, and if additional investigation is warranted. The reporting party will receive an email indicating if the report was accepted or denied. If denied, the email will provide a reason for the denial.
    Deputy Chief Walker hopes that online reporting will make the reporting of some crimes a more effective/efficient option for the public and the police department.


Decatur Tribune Online