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Paul Osborne

     • IT’S hard to believe that we are nearing the middle of July already!!!
We’ve already passed the half-way mark for 2023 at the end of June.
The old saying is that “time flies when you’re having fun”.
I guess I’m having fun because this year is passing like a rocket!

     • EVERY once-in-a-while I like to feature Grove’s Restaurant in our Scrapbook spread because, like many of you, I have such fond memories of eating there when I was young.
That’s why it is the focus of this week’s “Scrapbook” on pages 4 and 5 of the print and online editions.
     Situated on the northwest corner of North Water and Pershing Road it was a familiar gathering place for after-church, after-game or about any occasion where friends and family met.
It’s been decades since Grove’s Restaurant stood on that corner (a McDonald’s now occupies that location) but, despite the passing of the years, the memories remain strong in those of us who still savor that time and place in our lives.
     As pointed out in the “Scrapbook” feature, even former first couple, Harry and Bess Truman, enjoyed their meal there — with the Secret Service.
     • SO many of you have written to me in recent months about your experiences with “crazy” drivers on area roads and streets that I have become super cautious in my travels to and from the downtown area and around Decatur.
I have been driving since I was a teenager and I can state without reservation that there is more irresponsible driving today than in our history!
Seemingly, for many, traffic signs and lights mean nothing.
Such reckless, impatient driving is not limited to cars and trucks.

     • I WAS driving to the newspaper office early one recent morning on Route 51 South when a motorcyclist blew by me like I was sitting still!
     Route 51 South is finally being paved and, just ahead of where the motorcyclist passed me, the one-lane traffic was stopped, forcing “Evel Casneezal” to stop — and wait — and wait some more. He appeared to be having a nervous breakdown as he tried to figure out what the delay was about, and desperately lookied for a way to take off again.  Then, he started gunning the cycle’s engine, as if to inform everyone how bothered he was by the delay, or hoping to shrink the delay time by his motorized impatience.
     After about five minutes, the one lane traffic started moving again and the rider appeared to be looking for a way to get around the line of cars in front of him, but he was trapped and had to “go with the flow” on the single lane. When we reached the second traffic signal just before the Lake Decatur bridge, the rider started to turn left to head west on Southside Drive. The traffic signal turned red and he had to stop again and wait in order to turn — while all of the rest of the one-lane vehicles passed by.

     • I HAVE to admit that Route 51 South in the morning usually resembles something from the NASCAR circuit with “Wannabe Drivers Night” — filled with impatient drivers speeding, passing, weaving and breaking every rule of the road!
     However, on this particular morning it was nice to see all traffic stop as highway construction workers waved the “black flag” to stop the race.
     As I drove on towards downtown, passing the rider who was stopped at the traffic signal, I have to admit that I had a slight smile (maybe even a little bigger than slight) knowing that I had just witnessed a prime example of the result of a race between the tortoise and the hare.

     • I KNOW a lot of people who love to ride motorcycles and they ride them responsibly and safely. My late brother, Sam, owned motorcycles for years and, at one point in his life, had a motorcycle sales and service business at the intersection of Pershing Road and North Oakland. Motorcyclists, like the one I witnessed the other morning, cast a bad reflection on all the safety-minded ones and the good citizenship they practice.
     We have motorcycle organizations in our area that do a lot of good for others and they are the ones I think of when I hear a motorcycle — along with remembering my brother Sam and his love of motorcycles.

     • GOOD DEED — One of our readers called the Tribune last week to tell us about an experience she had at a recent Monday night Decatur Municipal Band concert in Central Park.
     She told us she sat in her car and asked a young man she saw if there were any programs available.
Later, during the intermission, the young man, she guessed to be 18 or 20 years old, returned to her car with a program.
She praised the young man’s actions of taking an extra step to bring her a program. She wanted us to know — and now you know, too!

     • DUI ARRESTS — DUI arrests and other law enforcement efforts are the most significant deterrents to impaired driving. The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) recently released the results of its Annual Illinois DUI Arrest Survey for 2022.
The Aurora Police Department is first in the state in DUI arrests among municipal departments with 339 arrests for 2022. (Because of its size, Chicago is in its own category.)
     In 2022, Decatur was second with 289 arrests, Lombard (287), Rockford (283), Franklin Park (250), Elgin (234), Elmhurst (224), Naperville (224), Normal (217) and Bloomington (215). “The high number of DUI arrests reduced the likelihood of multiple crashes, the likelihood of injuries or deaths that leave families devastated,” said Rita Kreslin, AAIM Executive Director. “Focused efforts and cooperation of law enforcement agencies, traffic safety advocates, and communities have helped to prevent crashes and save thousands of lives.”
     The biggest increase in arrests among the top departments was in Rockford (48.2%) where DUI arrests jumped significantly in 2022 compared to 2021. Other municipalities with increases from 2022 to 2021 are Normal (17.9%) and Aurora (4.3%).

     • MADDOX MOVE — Ted Maddox of the Maddox Sweet Corn Farm announced on its Facebook site that Maddox would not longer be selling their produce at the WoodMound Plaza on the north side of Decatur. He wrote: “Unfortunately the new owner has terminated our agreement due to one particular tenant who thought we were imposing parking difficulties. We were invited to that location 15 years ago by a kind man named Bud Wilson who just loved our sweet corn and knew we would bring business to his shopping center; and that we did! It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this area.”
     I know many of our readers loved buying their sweet corn from Maddox at that northside location and that’s too bad they couldn’t continue there.
     Maddox also wrote that “When one door closes God opens another or two.” and announced opening up at two new locations:
1. Mt. Zion at Kings Plaza by Notorious Meats at the corner of 121 and Lost Bridge Road. Hours are 8:30-4:00 Monday through Saturday.
2. Rt. 48 South across from the Dollar General by the Discount Tobacco. Hours: Monday -Friday 10:00-5:00 , Saturday 9:00- 5:00.
Actually, Maddox will be much closer to my home with the new Decatur location on Rt. 48 South, so it will be more convenient to pick up sweet corn at that location.
     However, I think they certainly will be missed at that WoodMound Plaza location by all of the residents of that area.

     • THE FARMER’S Market in Central Park continues to draw crowds on Saturday mornings. I always enjoy visiting with, and buying from, vendor Pete Vercellino each week.

     • MEMORIES — Thanks to Patti Evans of Monticello and many other readers for expressing appreciate for my recent column that pointed out so many places and events in our city decades ago.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider, a weekly conversation we’ve had for the past 20 years.

     • THOUGHT for Today: “In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” — Anne Frank

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