CITY BEAT: EVERYONE IN DECATUR AND MACON COUNTY IS LOOKING FORWARD TO MAY 29TH
• MAGIC DATE? A COVID-19 update stated last week that “the City of Decatur and Macon County leaders are preparing to move us from phase 2 to phase 3 on May 29th.”
I know local businesses are making plans to re-open on that date and, believe me, there is going to be more than a huge disappointment if that doesn’t happen.
There may be some intense rebellion against all state and local governing bodies if this continues to keep so many businesses closed!
Phone conversations I’ve had with some business owners and managers during the past several days have been filled with statements of financial desperation as they’ve indicated they can’t hold on much longer unless their businesses re-open. Balancing reopening with health concerns is not an easy task, but the pressure on business owners and laid-off employees is building with each passing day.
• RECENTLY, I saw a business professional preparing to close down his business permanently because of all the lost clients due to the impact of COVID-19 on his profession. He told me that he will try to salvage his business through working out of his home — “what’s left of it”. The business was started many years ago. That’s sad, but, regretably, is not that unusual in these tough economic times that are destroying longtime local businesses.
• NO GUARANTEE: Columnist Scott Reeder, in his comments in this week’s print edition of the Decatur Tribune, stated something that many people have not considered — apparently including the government: “There is no guarantee of a vaccine. More than 30 years ago, when I was a medical reporter, I wrote about massive government funding and Herculean scientific efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine. That vaccine doesn’t exist yet.
“And a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t exist either. Like the AIDS vaccine, it may not come to fruition.”
Reeder makes a good point. It would seem to me the best plan would be to hope for an effective vaccine, but plan on that vaccine not happening — at least anytime soon — and go to plan B, emphasizing safety steps to get businesses open and people back to work plus schools and universities open in the fall.
Starting this week, the City of Decatur is providing free face coverings for those who do not otherwise have access to face coverings — so there is no excuse for not wearing one. Call 424-2700 for more info.
• RESOURCE: The Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce has developed a Re-Opening guide for businesses in central Illinois. This comprehensive guide outlines best practices for industry specific businesses. The guide includes personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance, social distancing suggestions, and general sanitization procedures. There’s lots of good information in the guide. Go to email@example.com •
CHANGE: There’s been a change of plans for the 5th Annual McElroy Memorial Golf Outing which is held in remembrance of Mayor Mike “Tuna’ McElroy, who passed away while serving in office five years ago. Because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the event has been moved to September 25th at South Side Country Club. Proceeds from the event will go to the Decatur Family YMCA’s “Y For A Better Us” campaign, which provides financial assistance for Y programs to youth, adults, seniors and families in Macon County. For more information contact Abby Helm, Development & Membership Director at 217/872-9622, ext. 147 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org It doesn’t seem possible that its been five years since Tuna passed away.
RIGHT AFTER LAST week’s print edition of this newspaper went to press I received the news that long-time community leader, radio broadcaster and insurance professional Orv Graham had passed away at St. Mary’s Hospital at the age of 82. Orv was a friend of mine for over 50 years — starting when he was a young broadcaster with WSOY and I was the young editor and publisher of this newspaper. During the past week a lot of people have shared their memories of Orv, his community activism and style of broadcasting.
My “Viewpoint” on page 3 of the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune is about Orv’s friendship and long involvement in our community and his many years contributing to area broadcasting history. Also, on page 13 of the print edition, I have some photos of Orv from our archives and others. (See what you miss if you don’t subscribe to the Decatur Tribune.)
• ANOTHER longtime friend, community leader, insurance and financial professional and former multiple times Decatur City Councilman Larry Foster sent me a message about Orv following his passing: “It’s a sad day in our lives. Orv was one of the most committed and involved citizens in Decatur. I know he was a good friend of yours as well. He loved all the people that live here as we both remember he was the voice of Decatur during the ice storm 40 or 50 years ago. “It was my pleasure being associated with him in the insurance and investment business for the last 25 years. Decatur is a better community because of all his involvement in civic affairs.”
• AN ABBREVIATED City Hall Insider is still on WSOY’s Byers & Co. Thursday mornings at 7:00 via phone as long as social distancing is in effect. I always enjoy talking with Brian about our community and the issues facing us.
Stay safe and thanks so much for your continued support for the Decatur Tribune. I appreciate it so much as we work our way through a difficult time.