The Howard G. Buffett Foundation continues to have a huge impact on the Decatur area with the announcement last week of a new $25 million commitment to build a combined Early Childhood, Senior and Community Center on the new Community Care Campus currently under construction in downtown Decatur. This action brings the Foundation’s current expenditures and commitments to the Community Care Campus to $55 million.
WOW! Double WOW!
According to the announcement, “an addition of an 80,000 square-foot facility located between Condit and King Streets will accommodate both Baby TALK and Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corporation (DMCOC) and expand the Community Care Campus to 27 acres.
“This new Center, combined with the Foundation’s prior funding of the Community Care Campus, will provide low-income families in Macon County with a “one-stop” solution to access job training, employment readiness, utility assistance, homeless services, senior services, weatherization assistance, healthcare, substance abuse treatment, parent training, GED classes, alternative education for teen mothers, fatherhood programming, and early childhood education. This holistic approach creates a system of support and care that will be a national best practice model for communities around the country to learn from and replicate,” stated the announcement.
Buffett’s commitment to Decatur and Macon County is amazing and I know it comes from a heart that only wants the best for our community. As I’ve often thought and written in this column, Howard G. Buffett could spend his energy and money in about any other community in the free world and the fact that he continues to make the Decatur and Macon County area a better place is a rare gift for us and we have been and certainly continue to be so blessed by what he is doing in our community. His work here, whether as the interim sheriff, donating financially to areas of our community that sure can use the help, or making others across the nation recognize that Decatur and Macon County comprise a special area, the extent of what he is doing for us is somewhat mind-boggling. Decatur has made great strides moving forward in recent years and certainly heading the list of those making things happen is Howard G. Buffett. He is not a talker — but a doer.
Thank you, Howard, and may God continue to bless your efforts for others — and our community.
• HONOR FLIGHT — Our own Macon County Treasurer Edward D. Yoder was on the 54th Honor Flight to the nation’s capitol April 2 Ed is a Vietnam era veteran, USMC 1970-1973, 4th Marine Div. Security Battalion. Always appreciate those who have served our community and nation in military service. Thanks, Ed, for your service.
• ENJOYED being a guest on Wayne Kent’s “Direct Line” on WSOY last Wednesday evening. Our former state senator Duane Noland was guest hosting and it was nice to see Duane again. Actually, Duane and Joel Fletcher co-host with Wayne the first Wednes-day evening of each month. Joel had undergone eye surgery so he couldn’t be there. How time flies. Duane left office in 2003 — the same year I started my first term as mayor. By the way, Joel was the station manager at WSOY in 2003.
• ENJOYED running into (not literally) former long-time city council member and present Macon County Board Member Bill Oliver in the parking lot of KFC. Bill was arriving when I was leaving so we chatted for a little while. Bill is concerned about the artwork that is on the building located on the northeast corner of Main and Main streets. The art, which shows windows painted on the brick wall (with a cat sitting in one of the windows and a reflection of the transfer house when it was in the center of Main & Main before 1962) in another window. As I remember, before the windows were painted, Dante’s had a huge sign painted on the brick wall. One of the unfortunate aspects of the art is that all of the traffic flowing one way on Main Street is heading south so the art is not as visible because it is behind cars instead of in front of them. Still, it can be easily seen from other vantage points in Lincoln Square. I hope, with all of the art that is increasing in the downtown area, that the art on the south end of the building on Merchant Street, remains and is possibly “freshened up”. It’s always good to see Bill Oliver who has been a leader in the city and county for many years.