Each year, on or near the anniversary of D-Day, when allied forces began landing on the northern coast of France, I publish a Scrapbook article (pages 4, 5 in this week’s Tribune) about that event that had such far-reaching implications connected to it.
As I wrote in the article, some argue that it was THE most important day of the last century because the future of the U. S., and the free world hung in the balance.
It was on that day that residents in Decatur, as well as people around the free world, were praying for the success of the invasion of France and the return of their loved ones.
I was just a toddler when the invasion took place so I didn’t fully comprehend what the invasion meant, but I do remember my parents listening carefully to radio broadcasts involving what was happening in the war’s battles.
Two of my uncles (mom’s brothers) were involved in some of the well-known battles of the war, so the news coming from that part of the world was of special interest to us.
Whenever I look at photos of the D-Day invasion, I wonder how many of the young men in the photo would not be coming home to their families.
That’s why we should never forget them.
• THE 167TH annual Macon County Fair kicks off today (June 7) and runs through Sunday (June 11).
No, I haven’t been to all of them (I’m not that old!) but I have been to a lot of them over the years — starting back when I was in junior high school at Roosevelt.
I’m very pleased that the effort was put forth by many to save the fair which was almost a thing of the past not that long ago.
New life has been pumped into it and the county fair continues stronger than ever in Macon County.
Check out all of the events at this year’s fair at maconcountyfair.com
• RIDICULOUS — Earlier this year, during a lame duck session for the 102nd General Assembly, base pay for legislators was $72,906 a year. A supplemental appropriation approved before Jan. 10 started the 103rd General Assembly base pay at $85,000. The budfor the fiscal year that starts July 1 increases the base pay to nearly $90,000.
State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur), who was on the city council when I was mayor, issued a statement following the passage of the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY 24) state budget which spoke for a lot of people.
Dan stated: “I voted against the budget as it continues to spend more than ever. When I became a lawmaker five years ago the state budget was $36 billion, now it is $50 billion – that is outrageous! Illinois taxpayers are paying more for gas, groceries, and services and the Democrat majority has the nerve to give themselves a pay raise. Instead of providing tax relief to Illinois citizens, the budget approved will spend a billion more on health care benefits for illegal immigrants. It’s a shame the politicians running our state continue to force our taxpayers to do more with less all while filling their wallet with a pay raise.”
• GAMBLING in Decatur is seemingly out of control. The Decatur City Council is searching for a way to “put the genie back in the bottle” after giving the okay to gaming several years ago to augment local businesses that were experiencing some struggles to continue operating.
As reported in this newspaper the Council “would like to slow the growth of video gaming and wants to hear from Decatur residents and businesses before making any substantive changes.
“A short, six-question survey is available along with information about possible changes at www.decaturil.gov/your-input.
“Further regulation of video gaming would require amendments to the Alcoholic Liquor Code – City Code Chapter 52.”
“Gaming”, of course, is a softer word for “gambling” which is what has grown out of control.
Brian Byers and I discussed what the council is wanting to do during last Thursday’s edition of the “City Hall Insider” on WSOY’s “Byers & Co.”
The amount of revenue that is being generated by “gaming” is staggering with a high percentage of it being shipped to out-of-town owners of the gaming machines.
That is working against helping locally-owned businesses which the council’s initial actions were meant to help.
• I REMEMBER, when I was mayor (back then the mayor was also the liquor commission), when grocery stores that wanted to sell liquor, were regulated by having to prove through receipts that a high percentage of their sales was “groceries” and that they didn’t exist just to sell liquor.
It seems to me the same regulation could be added to reign in gaming places of business that consist of little more than a place selling a few sandwiches and making most of their money from gaming.
Of course, what seems reasonable to deal with an issue, and what is legal, are often two different things.
However, some control has to be exercised by the council for an out-of-control gaming problem.
• WORK continues on Route 51 South from Cleveland Avenue to Elwin to prepare it for resurfacing, or if the road gets any worse, for “surfacing”.
It seems to me this project has been underway for a long, long time. I’m seeing orange traffic cones in my sleep from driving around them for years on my trips to and from the newspaper office each day!
I still think they ought to rename Route 51 “Jerry E. Lewis Highway” because “There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On”!
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider — something we’ve been doing for the past 20 years.