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Paul Osborne

     • AGE IS becoming a factor in the public’s view, not only of the presidency, but regarding members of Congress.
More and more media writers, left and right, are focusing more and more on the “age” issue.
Today’s syndicated editorial cartoon on page 2 is about age, and Dr. Glenn Mollette writes about a possible age restriction for the presidency on page 8. Since we have a minimum age requirement to run for president, should there be a maximum age requirement?
     That’s probably a question that is going to be aired frequently in the coming months.
     Fortunately, there is no age restriction on being an editor and publisher of a newspaper — at least at this newspaper. If there was, I might have to lay off myself!

     • BOOM-BOOM! Longtime local media personality and longtime acquaintance Larry Limbach stopped by the Tribune recently to ask if I had ever done a story on Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck, a major league baseball player who was born in Decatur. He died in Champaign on May 7, 1987 at the age of 82 and is buried in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Decatur.
     Beck played Major League baseball as a pitcher for twelve seasons (1924, 1927 to 1928, 1933 to 1934, 1940 to 1945) for the St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck

     Larry mentioned that he found it interesting, and a little sad, that someone who played in the major leagues and was well-known, is seemingly forgotten even though he was born here and is buried in Decatur.
     Hopefully, we can put together a “Scrapbook” article sometime in the future about Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck.
     By the way, in case you are wondering how he got his “Boom-Boom” nickname, it was earned while pitching at the Baker Bowl against the Phillies in 1934. He allowed numerous line drives that struck the metal outfield wall, each time making a booming sound.
     Beck became a pitching coach after his playing career ended, serving in that role with the Washington Senators from 1957 to 1959. He also worked as a minor league pitching instructor for the Milwaukee Braves in 1960–61.
     Thanks to Larry Limbach for calling my attention to Decatur’s own Walter William “Boom-Boom” Beck.

Michael Burkham

    • CORONER CANDIDATE — It’s going to seem a little strange to see the ballot for next year’s Primary Election and not see Michael Day’s name as a candidate. Mike recently announced that he is retiring from the office after 3 decades of serving as Macon County Coroner.
     Mike still has over a year to serve in his final term and a candidate to replace him announced his candidacy last week. Michael Burkham, who is running as a Republican is seeking to be the next coroner.
     Burham’s announcement and more about his background can be found on page 7 of this week’s print and online editions and elsewhere on this website.

      FORMER Macon County Treasurer Steve Grimm sent me a news story regarding some action that has been taken in Rantoul to make roadways and streets safer.
     According to a news story by Bradley Zimmerman that was on WCIA news one day last week, the Rantoul Police Department has launched an online traffic complaint form to report any traffic violation at any time of day. People can attach videos or photos to add context, and all reporting is confidential.
“Instead of going to various social media websites to put this information out there, a place where we can collect that information more readily and get somebody there rather quickly into that area to mitigate these issues,” said Deputy Chief Justin Bouse.
     Apparently, according to the news report, the idea is already catching on with the first response coming within minutes of its launch a week ago. Only a few days later over ten complaints were received from citizens and they are expecting more.
Of course, the new citizen connection is just getting underway but the early results are showing some promise.

     • REMEMBER when big trucks had a sticker on the back so that we could inform the company how the truck driver was doing? There was a phone number on the sticker (sign) where a motorist could call the company to either praise the driver of the truck, or complain about his/her driving habits.
     Maybe those “How Am I Driving?” signs are still around, but I haven’t seen any for years.
     I do know there are pickup trucks on the roads I travel with company names in big letters on the doors, and the drivers blow by me on the road like I’m sitting still in my car — even though I’m traveling at the speed limit!
     That’s certainly not a confidence builder for hiring that company to work for me on a project.

          • CLOSE ONE! — I was at the stoplight on East Main at Lincoln Square, waiting to turn left on South Main one evening last week, when the driver heading towards me approaching the intersection suddenly made a left turn (turning north) on North Main!
The only problem with that turn was that North Main Street is one way traffic heading south!!! I honked my car horn to warn him of his mistake and I think he then saw all of the cars waiting at the traffic signal on North Main pointed in his direction — ready to run over him when the traffic signal changed to green!
     Alerted by my horn, the driver suddenly turned sharply and came very close to taking out the front end of my car!
That was a close call!
     It was so close that Christine, my infamous possessed car, put her fenders over her headlights to avoid seeing the near miss! (Okay, maybe fenders over headlights was a slight exaggeration.)

     • INTERESTING — Earlier in today’s City Beat, Larry Limbach called my attention to a major league baseball player, Walter “Boom-Boom” Beck, who was born in Decatur and is buried in a local cemetery.
     Tom Emery’s sports history article is about George Corbett (Page 11 of this week’s print and online editions), who graduated from Millikin University and was a backup to the legendary Red Grange on the Chicago Bears team.
     Corbett attended high school in Arthur, Illinois, and returned to Arthur after his sports and military career were over. He died in 1990 and is buried in the Arthur Cemetery.
     Decatur and Central Illinois have produced some star athletes over the decades who found fame in professional sports.

          • NAKED LADY in Central Park fountain?  Check out my “Viewpoint” in the print and online editions for some activity in Decatur’s Central Park which has raised more than a few eyebrows.

          • I WILL join Kevin Breheny who is hosting for WSOY’s Brian Byers this Thursday (Sept. 21) at 7:00 a.m. for my weekly “City Hall Insider” appearance. Brian is on vacation this week.

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