• SAD NEWS — The announcement Tuesday evening that a Macon County resident had died from COVID-19 was sad to hear and read.
The following statement was released: “The Joint Crisis Communication Team is saddened to announce the death of a Macon County resident with COVID-19. We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends as they mourn the loss of their loved one. The resident was a male in his 80s who lived at Fair Havens Senior Living long-term care facility before he was hospitalized.
“It is imperative that we all consider ourselves at risk for exposure to and contraction of COVID-19. This means that we must take social distancing seriously, stay home as often as possible, and self- monitor for symptoms. Everyone has a role to play in staying healthy and keeping others healthy.”
Prayers for this man’s family, friends and all with a connection to his life.
• EARLIER in the day, as we were going to press on this week’s print edition, the Joint Crisis Communication Team (CCT) announced 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Macon County. Obviously, the local, state and national numbers of those testing positive for the coronavirus continue to rise but are projected to hit the top sometime within this week. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel!
So, far the number of cases in Macon County (even though one is too many) has remained low which is due, in part, to a lot of our residents staying home and social distancing — plus a lot of hand washing.
Keep up the good work. You are not only helping yourself stay safe but keeping others in the community stay safe. We’ll get through this and be stronger as a result.
• ON A LIGHTER side (and we need a lighter side in this crisis) residents may start resembling the “hippies” of the 1960s, if we can’t go to the barber or beauty shops to get our hair cut or styled. I’m about two weeks past my regular haircut and a few other people I know are “haircutless” for a longer period. If I start using words like “groovy” and “far out man” in my columns you know my hair is getting really long!
• IT’S SAD to see the downtown area so deserted these days because of businesses closed up and employees and shoppers staying home — and there certainly is a valid reason for that emptiness. These days, it is not about “shopping” as we once did, but “staying safe”, but there is no denying the economic impact of COVID-19 on our local, state and national economies is mind-boggling. Even more important, the number of people who have lost their jobs and the income to pay their bills is heartbreaking. When all of this is over, all of us will have a new appreciation (or should) for the simple, routine aspects of our lives and the freedom to live and breathe and move about in our community. Hopefully, respect for others will be at a higher level than we’ve seen demonstrated in the last several years.
• THE NEWS last week that the Decatur Celebration has been cancelled for this year because of COVID-19 was not unexpected. My office has been downtown for all the years the event has been held — and many years before it started so I’ve always been a part of what’s happening that weekend. I also had the honor, as mayor, to officially declare the start of the Decatur Celebration on the main stage next to the civic center for several years. It was always a lot of fun to face the huge crowd and say “Let the Celebration begin!” (I’ve reprinted the letter from the Celebration board announcing the cancellation elsewhere on this site and on page 2 of the print edition.)
It’s going to seem odd to not have the Decatur Celebration going on that weekend during the summer for the first time in over 30 years — but it was the right call. As the letter from the board indicated, Decatur Celebration 2021 is on the schedule and we will hear the “Let the Celebration begin” from current mayor Julie Moore Wolfe.
• BY THE WAY, Monday evening’s Decatur City Council meeting had to be the strangest that ever was held in our city. It was telecast live (once they got the technical bugs worked out of doing it differently than ever before).
Those actually present in the council chamber were Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe, City Manager Scot Wrighton and City Clerk Kim Althoff. Through technology, the six city council members were there, but not in person. I saw only two people in the audience sitting in the back of the chamber (up to ten would have been allowed) and city staff was also there if needed — but through the remote hookup.
Kudos to those making it possible for the city council to meet and transact some important council business in a strange (but subdued) council meeting. Not only did the council approve items related to the city’s approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic but approved a $1.2 million agreement with The Howard G. Buffett Foundation to revitalize the Johns Hill neighborhood. More and more, because of what we are experiencing, we are adapting and finding different ways to conduct necessary meetings. They may seem “strange” or “different” from the norm, but tough times call for a lot of ingenuity on the part of our community leaders and citizens.
It’s not the same as usual but it still works for all of us. The only reaction I can think of is that’s “groovy” and “far out, man!”