• MACON COUNTY Clerk Josh Tanner reported that, on the first day for early voting last Thursday, 11 voters came into his office to vote. I hope that’s not a reflection on voter interest for the candidates in the April 2 election.
Tanner also stated: “I want to make sure that voters understand two things about the touch screen voting machines:
“1. They are a ballot marking device and do not record the vote electronically. They create a small printed ballot that must be fed into the tabulator just as a regular full size paper ballot. The small ballot that is printed is not cast and counted until it is accepted by the tabulator. A few voters have mistaken the small printed ballot for a receipt and tried to leave the polling place with their ballot.
“2. The touch screen machines were purchased for voters with disabilities. While any voter can use them, voters with disabilities should be given priority.”
• WITH EARLY voting underway and the election a little over a month away, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any less interest in the city council races. I don’t believe that is a reflection on the candidates, but on a voting public that is “burned out” on campaigns and candidates on the national scene.
Present Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, David J. Horn and Jacob Jenkins are the candidates for mayor this time around. In the race for three city council seats that are up for election, Shavon R. Francis, Marty Watkins, Shelith Hansbro, Lisa Gregory, Bill Faber, John Phillips Jr. and Rodney Walker are the candidates. Gregory and Faber are the incumbents running for re-election to retain their seats. City Councilman David Horn has been one of the most active campaigners so far, running advertisements about his position on issues and holding several “Conversations with the Candidate” meetings so the public can get better acquainted with him. Whether he wins or loses in his bid to become mayor this time around, Horn will still be on the city council after the election since his council term doesn’t expire until 2021.
• MY FOCUS of attention is usually on the races for mayor and city council, but there are several other races where voters will be making decisions on April 2, or through early voting, such as the race for three positions on the Decatur School Board, where four candidates are running to be elected to full 4-year terms. The candidates are: Dan Oakes (incumbent), Andrew W. Taylor, Regan Lewis and Leara F Evans.
In the race for two positions on the Decatur Park District Board, there are two candidates: present Commissioner Christopher Harrison, who is running for re-election (obviously) and Kristin White. Two seats and two candidates. I believe I can accurately project the winners in this race.
A race that has challengers is the two six-year terms for Trustees Of The Richland Community College District. Incumbents Dale Colee and David Cooprider face challengers Juanita Morris and Hakeemah Leverson.
I’ve listed a few of the other races, in addition to the mayor and city council races, where voters will be making choices from now (through early voting) until the end of voting on April 2. There are several others. March will bring much more attention to the races in local media as candidates head into the final stretch — and hopefully, more interest from voters.
• SANTA’S HOUSE — Two months after Santa left his house in Central Park to make his annual Christmas delivery of toys to good little girls and boys (I didn’t get any toys this year and I don’t know why) the Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau moved the house out of the park last Friday morning to be stored until Santa needs it later this year. (The Christmas season will return before you know it.) Probably the terrible winter weather that we’ve had delayed the removal of the house. It seems to me that it stayed in place a little longer than usual. When I walked through Central Park late Friday morning, the west side of the park (where the house was located) seemed so bare. I think Santa’s House was moved into the park last year on about the same day the fountain was turned off for the winter. (Talk about the changing of the seasons.)
• POTHOLE PATROL — As the temperatures begin to rise and frozen roads begin to thaw, the season of potholes is upon us. The City of Decatur Public Works Department asks that reports, concerns, or complaints regarding potholes be reported to the Municipal Services Center at 875-4820 or you can also visit the City of Decatur’s website www.decaturil.gov and click on Contact Us at the top of the page. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems like the pothole problem is worse this year than in previous years. It is really hard to avoid them when driving on many of the roads in and around Decatur. Obviously, the State of Illinois is responsible for the state route roads through and around our city, but we have some tire-killing potholes in Decatur.