• Thanks to all the efforts of my Decatur Tribune staff, and others, under extremely cold conditions with wind chill temperatures lower than most of us have ever seen, the print edition of the Decatur Tribune hit the newsstands and were also mailed out at the Decatur Post Office at the usual time today (Wednesday). The battle to deliver newspapers at the appointed time affects all of the industry, and a lot of other businesses, during extreme winter conditions. Meeting those deadlines so our readers are able to get the Tribune on the regularly scheduled day they expect it is very important to us because we don’t want to let you down. As a newspaper editor and publisher, I’m ready for warmer weather — and I don’t think there’s much disagreement on that statement with anyone living in the Decatur area.
• Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly, representing more than 13,000 union members and their families in Macon County, has announced candidate endorsements for the offices of Decatur Mayor and Decatur City Council. Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe got the approving nod in the race for mayor as she seeks re-election to another term, and incumbent City Councilman Bill Faber also received the approval of labor in his bid to retain his council seat. In addition to Faber, the organization endorsed Shelith Hansbro, Rodney Walker and Marty Watkins for council. “Endorsements of four candidates for three open seats for City Council, are given with confidence that each will advocate for working people on issues important to organized labor,” indicated Amy Rueff, chair of the committee. “Our endorsement provides labor’s collective stamp of support. Working families are unifying to educate members and recommend candidates who understand and care about our issues.” Her statement also indicated that “with three seats open for the office of city council the central labor council chose to endorse four candidates – all who scored 100% on their questionnaires and all who would be excellent representatives for working families.” The endorsement committee met on January 24th and was comprised of one representative each from 17 affiliated unions of Decatur Trades and Labor Assembly.
• HOW important are the endorsements of business and labor groups? Such endorsements not only provide some degree of funds to the candidates endorsed, but, in the case of labor in particular, they can also mean extra help in getting out advertising materials and participation in public events, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which will be the last parade before the April 2nd election. I was fortunate to be endorsed by about all labor organizations in the Decatur area when I ran for mayor and many of the yard signs and posters that could be seen all over town, were put there by Laborers’ Local 159 long-time member Bobbie Mann. Bobbie passed away earlier this month. I will always be appreciative of the hard work he did in the middle of winter. My son, Kyle, and I also put up a lot of signs, as did other supporters — and. believe me, putting yard signs holders into frozen ground was not easy. In a touch of irony, as I think back, Bobbie always lined up three signs in every yard —one for me, one for Councilman Mike Carrigan and the third was for … Bill Faber who was running for city council. Carrigan, who had been on the council for several years, and I, were elected and Faber was not. Yet, Faber would try again and, nearly four years ago, he was elected to the city council and now is seeking to be re-elected with labor’s endorsement.
• WHILE I’M mentioning Councilman Bill Faber, he purchases column space in this newspaper twice a month to express his views on the issues facing the community. I found this week’s column (on page 7) especially interesting because it suggests government consolidation as a valid way to operate more efficiently. Faber wrote: “Consolidation would create a single unified body of government for Macon County. Decatur, Mt. Zion and Forsyth would merge into one government operation. Enabling legislation from Springfield would be needed.” Illinois has more government bodies than about any other state, but resistance to “consolidation”, usually from those who would have to give up their offices if it happened, has been extremely strong over the years. One of the biggest arguments against it is that “service” would suffer with less representation and employees. The column should generate quite-a-few comments for and against the idea.
• MAYORAL candidate David Horn will be holding two “Conversations With The Candidate” sessions soon. Dates and details are on page 7 on this week’s print edition of the Decatur Tribune..
•CITY COUNCIL candidate Marty Watkins will hold a Fish Fry Fundraiser on Feb. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the John C. Ellis Masonic Lodge, 234 Marietta St., Decatur. Donation is $10.00. Make checks payable to: Watkins for City Council, 749 Stevens Creek Blvd., Forsyth, IL 62535.
• FOR THOSE who have been asking “What happened to the Macon County Health Department’s Food Inspection Report that we have printed for several years — at least up until the past few weeks — the answer is: We have not been receiving the reports from the Macon County Health Department. The message I received from a representative of the health department at the end of the year was: “Starting in January (fingers crossed!) we will start a new process for reporting of inspections. Once it is finalized, I will send you a copy and see what you think.” I will make sure the reports are printed when they are received.
Listen to the “City Hall Insider” on WSOY’s Byers & Co. each Thursday morning from 7:00 to 8:00. Thursday morning. Brian and I discuss items in this column and other issues impacting our community.