EDITOR’S CITY BEAT: CAROL BRANDT WENT FROM HOMEMAKER TO MAKING CITY COUNCIL HISTORY
• TRAILBLAZER — So sorry to hear that Carol A. Brandt of Decatur passed away last week. (Obituary on page 18 of print edition.) It was only less than a month ago that Carol sent me a note with her subscription renewal and I responded to her comments with the following words on the back page of the May 20th edition: “Back in the 1970s Carol came to my office to talk about running for the Decatur City Council — which was a daunting task since no woman had ever been elected to the council. “She told me that I had been writing about people stepping forward to help their community and that’s what she was doing as a candidate for Decatur City Council.
“She won and became the first woman to be elected to the formerly all-male public body — and she served the public with distinction.
“I’ve always had a lot of admiration and respect for Carol.”
Part of her note last month read: “Recently I was looking at some of my old Tribunes. You were so kind to me when I was running for City Council.”
Carol went from homemaker to not only city council member and mayor pro tem, but became extremely active in so many great causes and organizations in our community.
Today, women continue to make impact on our city council. Julie Moore Wolfe is the first woman elected mayor and, before the last election, three of the seven members of council (including the mayor) were women.
It all began with Carol A. Brandt and I was fortunate to be there when it happened, talking with Carol and watching her make history in her own modest way — and our city take another step forward. It seems like ony yesterday.
We’re losing too many of our champions from our community’s past.
• MORE THAN a few of our readers have expressed frustration to me after returning from a store to buy some necessities and finding that many of the shoppers in the store were not wearing any face coverings. One person told me that she was in Walmart one day last week and counted 12 people without any face coverings, and another reader mentioned the same experience and said “half of the people in Walmart didn’t have any face coverings.” When another asked a store employee (the employees are wearing face masks) why some people were allowed to shop without masks when that clearly violated some of the rules in the reopening process, she was told that the employees had been instructed not to challenge them about no masks being worn.
By the way, some of the same readers who said they would not return to Walmart because of the loose mask policy added that the Kroger Store in South Shores enforces their mask rule and I’ve not received any reports of shoppers being allowed in the store without face coverings.
Obviously, from some of the comments I’ve made in past articles, whether to wear a mask, or other face covering, is a “hot topic” with some readers saying they would not wear a face covering anywhere they went and implied that those who do wear the masks and practice social distancing are either ignorant or have been brainwashed by the liberal news media.
• A READER living out-of-state wrote that she thought it was strange that people in Decatur were still wearing masks. She wrote that, where she lives, hardly anyone is wearing a face covering and even in restaurants, waitresses and others in businesses don’t wear face masks. She implied that only ignorant people are wearing face masks.
That was a few weeks ago. The lady lives in a state that, last week, was one of several states that were experiencing the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began and are present “hot spots” for number of infection cases. A report yesterday showed that some churches in West Virginia that reopened early are now experiencing dozens of confirmed COVID-19 cases among members and beyond despite taking precautions.
Also, yesterday (Tuesday) more southern states were added to a growing number of states experiencing the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
• FORTUNATELY, Illinois, once a “hot spot” for COVID-19 cases and deaths, has witnessed a decrease in both confirmed cases and deaths. Also, according to the daily Joint Crisis Communication Team (CCT) news releases for Macon County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases here has dropped to almost nothing. In fact, Monday’s report had ZERO confirmed cases! There’s been a total (as this column is being written) of 22 deaths in Macon County from the Coronavirus since this ordeal started back in March! I believe the greatly reduced number of cases in Macon County, and the State of Illinois, is because of the effort of most people to practice safe standards to combat the disease and halt its spread. However, the changes for safety purposes that we have made in our lives must be kept up, or we will be back to where we were when all of this started and lockdowns began.
That’s exactly what is happening in many other states right now. I can assure you, without any doubt, if there is another lockdown because of COVID-19 cases, it will absolutely destroy many of our businesses who have barely made it through the first wave and are still struggling to overcome the limited opening forced upon them to prevent cases spiking in Macon County and Illinois.
• I’VE NEVER been a big Governor J. B. Pritzker fan. I don’t dislike him but disagree with him on many issues, but I think the path he charted for Illinois to take to get through the pandemic has been the right one because we are seeing the results of it in greatly reduced number of cases.
I know our own state representative, Dan Caulkins of Decatur, wants the state to go to the next phase right now, but we are only a week away from moving into that level which will offer much more relief to our businesses and community. Let’s stay the course for a few more days and not become like several other states that opened things up too soon and are now paying the price.
• SOME of the actions of Governor J. B. Pritzker, and some other national leaders of both parties, remind me of the story I heard many years ago, that really stuck with me. A preacher constantly expounded on the evils of gambling and especially gambling “on the horses”. One day, a parishioner saw him at a race track betting on a horse. When the parishioner asked why he was gambling when he had preached constantly that it was “evil”, the preacher replied: “Son, don’t do as I do. Do as I say.”
Several weeks ago, when Governor Pritzker laid down the rules for everyone to abide by, including restricting travel, members of his family flew out of Illinois to his horse farm in a southern state. He recoiled when a reporter asked him about the inconsistency and said that was a private matter and he wasn’t going to answer the question. Maybe he is related to that preacher who told the parishioner to “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.”
Last week, the Republicans (of course) sent out several photos showing Pritzker not social distancing and abiding by the rules he is telling Illinoisans to abide by. Our leaders, at all levels, republicans and democrats, should be, first of all, including their own lifestyles in what they ask the people they lead to do.
• HAPPY Father’s Day to all of the fathers among our readers — and all the other fathers. A lot of what we are today is because of what we learned from our mom and dad. My late brother, Sam, and I were so blessed to have great parents.
With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, my “Viewpoint” on page 3 of this week’s print edition is about something in particular that I remember happening to my dad, his reaction to it and the lesson I learned from it that is an important part of who and what I am today.
Actually, I wrote the “Viewpoint” for a Father’s Day edition a few years ago, but, considering what is going on in our nation today, when I reread the column a few days ago it made me realize even more about what we learn from our parents — and how we never outlive their influence. I can only hope that my sons have been influenced in similar ways through what they have seen in me over the years. I am so blessed to have three amazing sons who have been, and are, setting positive examples for their chldren — and for me.
• I’M STILL discussing the issues with WSOY’s Brian Byers on “City Hall Insider” every Thursday morning at 7:00 on Byers & Co., via phone. It will be great to get back into the studio for the full show when it is safe to do so. Brian has been doing a great job of keeping our community informed each weekday morning during this crisis with special guests including updates from Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe.
Stay safe everybody. Every life matters when it comes to keeping our community safe.