My “Scrapbook’ and “City Beat” articles about Stephen Decatur High School winning the 1962 state basketball championship that were printed in last week’s print and online editions, drew quite-a-bit of attention. Terry Howley, my predecessor in the mayor’s office, sent me an interesting email: “Enjoyed re-reading about the 1962 SDHS state champs. I remember going to many of their games in Kintner Gym and re-watched their championship game film on YouTube for about the 4th time a few months ago.
“Jim Hallihan lived on my paper route in the 1200 block of North Church St., and one of my fondest memories of him was getting to play in a make-up game at Lincoln School with him and Jerry Hill on a Saturday morning in 1963.” Terry also commented on the day SDHS won the championship:
“We went downtown that night for the celebration around midnight when the team returned to Decatur. What a proud moment for our city only to be repeated 3 months later when Eisenhower won the state tournament in baseball! The 60’s and 70’s were great times for high school sports in Decatur …for ALL schools!”
Terry also indicated that a reunion in Decatur is being planned for both ’62 EHS baseball and ’62 SDHS basketball teams. I’ll keep you informed when more information becomes available.
• I WAS going through some phone messages that had been left for me on my private line one morning last week when I heard a voice that immediately got my attention! It was the voice of my late sports editor J. Thomas McNamara who said: “Hi Paul. I just wanted to let you know my column will be coming to you shortly.”
For a split second I was startled by that unmistakeable voice…and then I realized I had hit an “old messages” button on the phone, instead of new messages! Still,,, to hear Tom’s voice as I had heard it about every day over the past 46 years when he called me about his column or a sports story, was a little bit of a momentary shock! Tom never missed a deadline over the years he worked for me until he got too sick to write during the last month of his life.
The thought momentarily ran through my mind that even death couldn’t stop Tom from sending me his “Irish Stew”! I’m sure Tom would get a big laugh out of my momentary reaction from hearing his voice again.
• BIG THANKS to city and county personnel in opening up the roads after another snowstorm last week. Just like what happened during the snowstorm two weeks earlier, streets and roads were plowed and cleared in an extremely efficient and fast manner. Their efforts were (and are) much appreciated!
• THIS WINTER’s snow and ice have been beating up our roads. Route 51 South, the route I take going to and from my downtown office, was in bad shape before all of the ice and snow hit again, For the past few years, I’ve been seeing signs posted about work that’s going to be done to improve Route 51 but the condition of the road keeps getting worse.
If it gets any worse it is going to force some of the drivers who are going way above the speed limit as they enter Decatur to slow down a little — maybe to 75 miles per hour in the 45 mph speed zone! That road is getting so bad that migrating geese refuse to fly over it. (Just joking a little.)
• STATE REP. Dan Caulkins, who lives not far from me and presently represents the part of Decatur where I live, joined several other republicans last week in taking off their masks in the Illinois House because the mask mandate had gone on long enough. They were given the boot out of the House. Dan also was one of three who took off his mask during a session earlier this week and had to leave the House.
Here’s the news release issued last week: “With the indoor mask mandate set to expire at the end of the month State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) along with State Representatives Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville); Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur); Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City); and Chris Miller (R-Oakland) ditched their masks on the House floor and issued the following statement: “Today we entered the House chambers without a mask. So long as school districts continue to defy the courts and force the unwanted and unnecessary covering of the faces of children in schools, we will no longer comply with the mask theater that takes place here. It’s over. It’s gone on long enough.”
Whether you agree or disagree with that stand, it’s another example of a decision based on “political” instead of “medical” science. I like Dan in spite of disagreeing with some of his tactics. (Actually I don’t dislike anyone).
Dan was a councilman when I was mayor and he hasn’t changed one bit in his approach in dealing with issues that confront us.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 where we discuss the issues confronting our community — and nation.