THE PEOPLE SPEAK IN THIS WEEK’S ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’
Disgusted, Appalled By District 61 Board Of Education
I am a product of Decatur Public Schools and a former employee as well. My children and I as well as my oldest grandson are graduates of EHS. There have been few times in my life that I have not had a direct tie to DPS #61. I remember when this district was admired and respected for sound educational programs and innovative instructional approaches. We’re not there anymore.
It is difficult to put into words how frustrated and appalled I am in regard to District 61 Board of Education. We have seen difficult Board Members over the years, some even rising to a level of tyrannical behavior. Yet none of them have been as dismissive of the opinions, views, expectations and needs of students, staff and the general public as those now serving.
None of them have been so focused on a personal agenda that common sense and professionalism have been abandoned. This Board has demonstrated time and time again that their aim is to break the professional unions, starting with the most vulnerable, the Teaching Assistants, and to create boundaries that separate our students along economic, if not racial, lines.
Have we sunk so low that we will accept these actions without recourse? I don’t think so. This voter, at least, has absolutely no confidence in current Board Members to uphold their purpose of providing a quality public education for every student in District 61 and my ballot in future elections will reflect that. The entire city of Decatur desperately requires leadership if we are to move forward. A true leader acknowledges issues and problems, seeks the input of those most affected, encourages solutions that deal directly with the source of the difficulties and negotiates consensus with all interested parties.
This school district has major problems that have not been faced head-on. In truth, leaders throughout the entire community have failed to acknowledge that there are significant negative perceptions of our city ranging from those about local government to those about our schools. Ignoring those perceptions and glossing over concerns will not bring businesses or families to Decatur.
Demonstrating that workable solutions are being sought and then enacted will. If they want to be true leaders, let them do the right thing now. If they don’t, let them get out of the way of those who will.
Sue E. Smeltzer, Decatur
Support For Yborra For Macon County Circuit Clerk
I would highly recommend Jennifer Yborra for Circuit Clerk of Macon County . Jennifer worked with me at Macon County Eye Center for a number of years. She had many roles there and performed each one of them successfully. I have found Jennifer ‘s work ethic to be second to none with a can do spirit. She is tenacious in problem solving and highly organized in her day to day duties. She also exhibits integrity in everything she does and she would bring all these qualities to the County Clerk office.
It has been my privilege to know Jennifer and her family. I believe she is the right choice for Macon County Circuit Clerk.
Dr Timothy Busey , O.D. Decatur
Sherry Doty Is The Best Candidate For Circuit Clerk
Sherry Doty is the best candidate for Macon County Circuit Clerk. I have known Sherry for her entire 35 year career with the Circuit Clerk. I have personally observed Sherry as a lawyer, Judge and most recently as a citizen who occasionally does business in the Clerk’s office. She has the knowledge, experience, expertise and personality to lead the Circuit Clerk’s Office and its employees in its service to lawyers, judges and citizens of Macon County.
Please join me in voting for Sherry Doty for Macon County Circuit Clerk.
Ted Paine, Circuit Judge (retired), Decatur
Vote For Stefanie Smith For Congress
Hello, I wanted to reach out kindly on behalf of Stefanie Smith for Congress. I have long been torn in politics but these last few months I have learned my true political identity. I stand with Stefanie Smith. She has proven that no matter what a person goes through or where they come from, they can still rise and answer a call to serve the public, when the public are screaming out for help. It is not odd or strange for her to hear you speak of difficult issues, as she deals with her own issues. It isn’t alien to her to hear you speak of going hungry, being cold, not having medicine, or running water, she understands.
She is the only candidate for district 13 that makes you feel like you have someone representing you that is truly like you. Or could be you. She is in this race to win. Because if she wins, we all win. Not one side or the other, but we all win. I am more proud to support her than I could be for anyone else. She is a true, every day American, trying to make someone else’s life better.
Support for Stefanie Smith is support for everyone. And she is the only candidate for Congress in Illinois district 13 in which that stands true. Solidarity with Stefanie Smith. Thank you for the time,
Kenny Crowe, Pana
A Vote of No Confidence For The Decatur School Board
It is a special event when community members ban together in a unified effort to make themselves heard, and at the school board meeting on February 25, an unprecedented event occurred. Three distinguished community members presented petitions with nearly 700 signatures to the board of education expressing a vote of “no confidence”.
Multiple reasons were given for the vote not to mention the treatment of DFTA members and the perpetuation of “no contract ”. Board members were asked to resign. Special emphasis was placed on the board president who seems to do 95% of the talking and decision-making for this board. It appears the board might have ignored a written request for a change of venue to accommodate the over-flow crowd at the Feb. 25 board meeting. This might be a violation of the “Open Meetings” Act and could be investigated as such.
One wonders what working conditions must be like in District 61 and at the Keil Building with three central administrators resigning their positions within the past month. One suspects that the superintendent’s resignation will be next. Decatur Public Schools still has an excess of teacher and staff vacancies with more expected at the end of the year. Hope Academy has approximately 20 vacancies and one wonders how a quality education can be given to those children on a daily basis.
I recall a number of promises this board made when running for election. They professed they would be transparent, communicate openly, represent parents, seek and respect community input, and work for what was best for kids. We have seen none of these promises fulfilled. In fact, we have seen just the opposite. Poor leadership, faulty planning, inept decision-making and “deaf” ears seem to permeate all that this board does and has done.
One wonders if Decatur Public Schools have been plunged into the depths of failure that will never allow for recovery? The community has spoken, and it is time for this board to step aside and allow those who are dedicated to educational excellence, teaching and learning and student achievement to step forward. Our kids deserve better. The vote of “no confidence” has been earned.
B.A. Buttz, Decatur
Drive-Through Liquor Windows Are Plain Stupid
According to the Decatur Police and Macon County Sheriff’s Departments, customers at drive-through liquor windows are not required to produce a valid drivers license. This means that someone who’s driving on a revoked drivers license because of previous DUI’s can still legally buy alcohol as long as they produce an I.D. card, if asked.
I don’t know about you, but to me, this is just plain stupid and totally irresponsible! Additionally, bartenders and/or drive-through clerks aren’t required to pass a drug screen to get hired or random drug screens after they get hired like so many of you have to do. This means that people selling alcohol could be high on marijuana, strung out on who knows what kind of drugs, and/or intoxicated. Again, this is just plain stupid!
Considering all the money that Howard Buffet and the Decatur City Council are spending to reduce impaired and drunken driving there, why not just simply ban drive-through liquor window sales, which wouldn’t cost taxpayers a single penny? After all, isn’t an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?
David Daker, Bonney Lake,Washington
Jennifer Yborra For Macon County Circuit Clerk
As a former officeholder in county government, I would like to endorse Jennifer Yborra for Macon County Circuit Clerk. To successfully lead an office such as circuit clerk, the candidate must have the ability to run the office with integrity, honesty and compassion, not by negative traits such as intimidation. Officeholders must get along with other government offices so that the entire system runs smoothly. You must be accessible, consistent and transparent so you earn the trust of the community. Officeholders should give their time and talents by serving other not-for-profit and charitable organizations in our area.
As your former sheriff, I knew what it took to run the office and I can say that Jennifer Yborra would run the circuit clerk’s office with all of the positive traits previously stated in this letter. Jennifer has already demonstrated that she is a very intelligent person with outstanding work ethic and drive and gets along with everyone.
I’m confident that Jennifer Yborra is the best candidate for circuit clerk and I would appreciate everyone voting for her on March 17th.
Jerry Dawson, Macon County Sheriff, retired
Candidate Explains Why He Is Running For County Board
I am running for County Board District 7 because the “85th Street Bridge” is nearly $1,000,000 over budget and a year past schedule due to a County engineering oversight of buried natural gas pipelines. These pipelines have been there since 1930. Reas Bridge Road is scheduled for a $16,000,000 closure and rebuild in the very near future. This County is struggling to cross a creek, so the thought of crossing Lake Decatur under the current County Board administration is worrisome.
The County Board Chairman has passed the annual fiscal county budget with a deficit of over $2,800,000; yet there are no known fiscal plans or policies in place to reduce it.
I have a Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale that focused on both supply side economics and rural economic development. My Master’s Thesis is based upon ethanol production economics. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Industrial Drafting from Richland Community College. I have 10 years of engineering experience at Caterpillar, Inc.
For the past 6 years I have been an engineer at Ameren Illinois. I am the operations manager for Yoder Farm Operators, LLC, located in Long Creek Township. I grew up in Long Creek Township on the same farm where my parents still live today, and I have owned my home in nearby Decatur since 2006. I have lived in Long Creek Township nearly my entire life.
I am a member of St. James Church. If elected, I will bring my Christian ethics, farm background, corporate experience, and education to the table to bring leadership and fiscal responsibility back to our County Board. I will represent the residents of District 7.
Edward D. Yoder, Macon County
Immigrants Should Immediately Be Issued A Social Security Card
I agree with Judy Gandy’s February 19th Tribune Letter to the Editor on immigration. Ms. Gandy has obviously done her homework on H.R. 5383 that the Democratic House is backing. I once heard President Trump say that “we’re not getting the best people,” referring to immigrants and that they are “most likely to commit a crime.”
I somewhat agree with our President, although I don’t believe the majority of immigrants to be bad. Still, the penalties for breaking the law on this matter need to be more severe. My point is: Immigrants should immediately be issued a Social Security Card. Repercussions for non-compliance should be devastating for illegal immigrants and enormous fines for the company failing to issue cards. “Come on in to this great country. Here’s your Social Security Card.”
David Forsythe, Alabama
Supports Kevin Greenfield For Macon County Board
I am proud to support my good friend Kevin Greenfield for Macon County Board in the upcoming Republican primary on March 17. Over the past year as Chairman of the Board, Kevin has built strategic relationships with local and national leaders – including myself, brought over 60 million dollars of funding back into Macon County to invest in our local economy and has worked with local leaders to move Macon County forward and keep us safe.
Congressman Rodney Davis
Taxpayers Of Maroa-Forsyth School District Should Vote ‘No’ On School Bond Referendum
On March 17, the taxpayers of the Maroa-Forsyth School District will have an opportunity to cast a vote on a school bond referendum. The claim is that the existing junior high is an aging facility in need of extensive repairs and renovations and is not cost-effective to renovate the current building. The building to which is referred is not even fifty years old.
When it was built, no bids were taken, and it took three attempts for the referendum to pass, and then only by a handful of votes. Students (and maybe even more so the adults) need to understand education is not about new buildings. If it were, we need to discontinue teaching how Abraham Lincoln studied by candlelight to further his studies. We are still paying for the high school which was finished in 2004.
I believe if repairs need to be made on the current building, make them, but not all at the same time. Let community citizens contribute to expenses, if they choose, or donate their time and talents to the renovations. We do not need any additional taxes. And for those who believe the pocket of the taxpayers is a bottomless pit, maybe they should re-examine their concepts of finances. The greatest understanding is to know how to live with what we have.
Please vote NO for the proposed 33-million-dollar new building facility.
Lynette Montgomery White, Maroa
Vote For Edward D. Yoder For Macon County Board District 7 Seat
I am the wife of an active duty Marine, a senior at Millikin University, and I currently live in Long Creek Township. My Uncle is Edward D. Yoder, and he is running in the March 17th Republican Primary for the Macon County Board in District 7.
Uncle Ed is the perfect choice for this District. He has lived in this area for most of his life, and he has the right combination of experien ce, integrity, and honesty for this office. Uncle Ed says what he means and he will do what he says, period. Uncle Ed is farmer and an engineer, so he knows how to grow relationships and build the necessary bridges to provide a promising future for this District. When Uncle Ed worked as an engineer at Caterpillar, he learned how to work with people from all over the world.
This is a critical skill set for this District and Macon County if you take into consideration that a Chinese company now owns PPG and several other large businesses in Macon County are global businesses. Uncle Ed is a farmer and manages the operations for his family’s business, so he understands the difficult issues faced by property owners, farmers, and small businesses.
Uncle Ed works as an engineer at Ameren Illinois, so he understands serving people and the complexities of managing large infrastructure projects. Uncle Ed supports the Constitution and American Democracy, and he is proving that by providing us a choice in this District.
Please exercise your right of choice and join me to vote for my Uncle, Edward D. Yoder for Macon County Board District 7 on March 17th!
Jessica Hursh, Decatur
Vote For Kevin Greenfield For Macon County Board
I have been Chairman of the Macon County Republican Party since 2014, and involved as a Precinct Committeeman for 35 years. Generally, in contested primaries, I refrain from expressing a preference for one Republican candidate over another. However, this year, I am compelled to endorse, personally, “Kevin Greenfield for County Board” over his challenger, Ed “Duane” Yoder! Kevin has served on the Macon County Board for many terms.
Currently, he is the County Board Chairman. Kevin is leading the County in a positive direction. He has established excellent working relationships with other units of local government, and works diligently to represent our County. Kevin makes tough decisions that may not always be popular. However, the tough decisions are responsible, and place the concerns of the taxpayer first. Kevin has earned our support! I fear that the challenge against Kevin is motivated more by personal animosity, and less by a desire for public service.
As a Party Chair, I do not like to see campaigns where challengers seek to smear Republican incumbents that are serving with fidelity to the taxpayer and our Party. Duane Yoder (ballot name is Ed) is the son of Macon County Treasurer, Ed Yoder. Ed has issues with Kevin Greenfield, and mistakenly holds Kevin accountable for a pending lawsuit, brought by the County against Ed Yoder, alleging damages arising from Ed Yoder’s farming practices as a private citizen.
While I offer no comment related to the lawsuit, I encourage our voters to support candidates who are not motivated by “an axe to grind”, and to defend committed incumbents serving well. For this reason, in my opinion, Kevin Greenfield deserves your support! So, I close, simply, by asking you to vote for Kevin Greenfield for County Board.
Thank you for your consideration, and, support for our Party!
Bruce L Pillsbury, Decatur
President Trump Is Not Nearly As Bad As Obama
When the mainstream media’s candidate lost the 2016 election they devised plans to destroy Trump and make sure his presidency lasted 4 years or less. The mainstream media has whimpered every day for three years claiming the most dangerous president in history is Donald Trump. They have fooled half of the country. Trump is his own worst enemy but he is nowhere close to being as dangerous as Obama. Dictators test newly elected presidents and walked all over Obama. Cross a red line by using chemical weapons in Syria and Obama did nothing. Millions of refugees poured across Europe’s open borders as the result of Obama’s failed policies. Europeans then closed their borders blaming Obama for problems with immigrant. Trump was also tested and responded.
The Air Force base Syria used to launch chemical weapon attacks was destroyed by Trump and our allies, England and France. Message sent! Iran wanted the frozen assets they could not access after the 1979 revolution when they invaded the American Embassy and held American Diplomats hostage. Obama placated Iran but they didn’t use the money he released to improve the economy and help their citizens. Islamic terrorists who never intended to stop atomic bomb research outwitted Obama. They snatched $56 BILLION to export terrorism and kill Americans.
Thank goodness Obama’s reign is over and he can’t inflict more damage. Obama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 10 days after becoming president. Obama had not yet done anything but like many American voters the Nobel Committee was sucked-in by his words “hope and change”. The Nobel Secretary/Director said he now regrets their decision.
Obama forever divided our country by sneering “Elections have consequences, you lost, live with it”. Obama made dozens of serious policy mistakes that endangered the world and we still pay the price. We survived Obama and can easily survive Trump despite daily attacks from the media. Democrats lie, the most dangerous president history by far is Barack Hussein Obama. Elections have consequences, the mainstream media and Hillary lost, live with it.
Mike Sleeth, Oreana
Kenny Crowe, Her campaign supports sex work decriminalization. Its prostitution she wants decriminalized! A Democrat Socialist ! NO thank you!