City Beat: Remembering A Special Name And Place In Downtown Decatur
This week’s “Scrapbook” feature in the print and online editions of the Decatur Tribune is a focus on the downtown Decatur High School and the fact that its name was changed 65 years ago. The photo of the front of the majestic high school brings back memories of a different era in this city’s history — when downtown was full of an excitement generated by hundreds of high school students moving up and down the sidewalks.
The Decatur High School Class of 1957 was the last class to graduate before the name was changed to Stephen Decatur High School. Back in 2007, the class members gathered for their 50th reunion in front of the civic center which is located on the site of the old high school building. They shared memories and dedicated a bench as a reminder of that class which took great pride in being former students of Decatur High School.
I was invited, as mayor, to speak to the class and it was a special honor to participate, not only as a public official but as a writer of Decatur history. I had written a lot of “Scrapbook” articles in this newspaper that focused on various aspects of Decatur High School and its later demise. Anyone who was alive and in the Decatur area 65 years ago — and beyond — will always feel a special tug at the heartstrings when that photo on today’s front page of the Tribune graces their vision. Decatur High School downtown memories are great ones for so many people.
• CONTEST? My predecessor in the Decatur mayor’s office, Terry Howley, responded to my item last week about IDOT moving back the dates for resurfacing Route 51 South, with an interesting question to me: “Why not an-nounce a contest for whoever can guess the correct start and end date for the Rt. 51 south road improvement project? Winner gets a free lunch at, where else, Paul’s Confectionary. My guess is there will be no winner as IDOT keeps moving the dates weekly due to unannounced reasons.”
I hope they get started on the road work before Nov. 8. I’m not worried about winter weather stopping the work. I’m more worried about all the political promises made that won’t be kept after the Nov. 8th election!
• I HAVE TO express a pet peeve that I have about what some political campaigns do: they send a press release to a newspaper to announce they are airing a new commercial on television! That’s an insult to the newspaper industry. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story run on a television station that a candidate has started running ads in newspapers. Television and radio stations and newspapers compete for advertising dollars. Campaigns should not insult newspaper editors like myself, by boasting about spending money on television commercials and then want me to give them free advertising to “advertise the tv advertisiing!” Come on! You have to be smarter than that! Buying a television commercial to promote a candidate is not newsworthy. Duh! If you want to advertise your tv commercials, then buy a newspaper ad or radio spot to advertise them!
• THE MIDTERMS are coming up on November 8, 2022 — the latest possible date the General Election can be held. The earliest it can be held is November 2. Regardless of an early or late date (late date this year), Election Day 2022 will be here before you know it — and early voting is already here, starting this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 28th and Sept. 29th.
I’ve been early voting (usually just a week early in case something happens to change my mind about a candidate) at the Macon County Office Building which is about a block away from my office. (It’s a short walk.)
• ANOTHER HOLIDAY — Mark election day Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, as another state holiday on the calendar for schools to be closed. If we keep creating more holidays, maybe calendars can simply mark the days that aren’t holidays.
• DAYLIGHT Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m., Nov. 6th. That’s when the clock in my car will show the correct time again. I never advance the clock one hour when Daylight Saving Time begins. (I don’t know why.)
• 3 QUESTIONS: I’ve emailed questionnaires to several candidates whose races impact Decatur and Macon County and will be sharing their answers with you after they are received. (It’s impossible to share their answers before I receive them.)
• WOW! An elderly gentleman started walking across the street at Main and Wood even though the traffic signal had turned green for oncoming traffic! I stopped my car and fortunately cars in the other lanes didn’t come speeding through the intersection because the result would have been tragic. The senior walked across the street seemingly unconcerned about the danger that was so near. I always practice defensive driving, not only because of the crazy way some people drive, but because pedestrians don’t always walk when and where they should for whatever reason.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 AM.