CITY BEAT: PEOPLE, PLACES AND POLITICAL TRACES
• IT IS so nice to hear and read about the football season getting underway after the cancellations of games last fall. Special thanks to my longtime Sports Editor J. Thomas McNamara for his efforts in preparing the area high schools’ football preview that starts on page 10 of the print and online editions of this week’s Decatur Tribune. Tom has continued to write his “Irish Stew” while besieged by serious kidney problems, including surgery and several days of hospitalization as a result, but he has continued using his home office to compile his sports information and send it to me for inclusion in the Trib — as he has done for over 45 years.
Tom’s health has vastly improved and he is about “out of the woods” and ready to again work the sidelines and give our readers his particular insight into local sports. I am blessed to have a staff that is dedicated to doing their part in helping me publish this newspaper each week and it is very much appreciated. This has not been the healthiest year for a lot of people including a few of us at the Tribune, but we haven’t let that stop us. Thanks for your support…and especially your prayers.
• FOUR LEFT? According to City Councilman Bill Faber’s column on page 7 of this week’s print and online edition, the city council will be interviewing four of the 11 applicants for the open council seat on Aug. 30th. I assume the person the council selects from the four will be the new member of the city council, or, the council could move on to some of the other candidates if none of the four receive enough support.
• THE FARM PROGRESS show is coming to Decatur August 31 through September 2, beginning at 8:00 a.m. each day. The outdoor farm show will be held in Progress City, 4275 E. Mound Rd, which is immediately north of Richland Com-munity College.
The show is especially near to my heart because the community leaders and others came together to secure the show for Decatur every other year for 20 years as indicated in the original contract. It was one of the proudest moments of my years as mayor because we came together as one to submit the winning proposal. It also served notice that Decatur would no longer be satisfied with being an “also ran” but would settle for nothing less than finishing number one in the selection process. I’ve never seen a city so unified to attract a major project and it continues to pay off today.
One of my favorite momentoes of my mayoral years that’s in my office is a gold colored model Farmall tractor mounted on a board with an inscription thanking me (as mayor) for my efforts in getting the inaugural Farm Progress Show to happen in 2005. However, I was only one of many community leaders who made it happen.
I remember, after we had submitted the winning proposal to hold the show in Decatur, a lot of us met for a celebration at the Decatur Club and you would have thought we had won the Super Bowl! I guess, when it came to winning the Farm Progress Show, we had won the Super Bowl in agriculture.
All of the Farm Progress shows have been great — but, for me, the first one was really special for a lot of reasons.
• SADLY, COVID-19 infections are on the rise and the numbers in Macon County, where only 40% of the residents have chosen to be vaccinated, continue to alarm health officials and most community leaders. The number of COVID-19 patients in our two Decatur hospitals went from almost 0 to over 30 last week! The number of COVID-19 infections has also gone up sharply the past few weeks. It’s not surprising.
Although nearly 60% of the county’s residents have not been vaccinated, during recent months very few people have been wearing masks in social gatherings. Our dismal statistics have to improve or there will be more sickness and death in our future, which will also translate into more businesses closing down. We have the tools to beat COVID-19 but will we use them? So far, the answer has been “no” for the majority.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. Thursday mornings at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.