I had to be at a location in Forsyth recently and, on the way back to Decatur, I decided to stop at the Arby’s that is located along Route 51 North. I opted to eat inside instead of going through the drive-through and, once I was seated in the south part of the facility with my meal and drink, I casually watched what was going on out in the parking lot.
The parking lot was almost empty, except for my car and two other vehicles. Suddenly a car pulled up in front of the building and parked in one of the handicapped spaces! Since I didn’t see any handicapped sticker or other identification on the car, my first reaction was mild irritation that a driver had parked in a handicapped space when there had to be 50 other non-handicapped empty parking spaces nearby.
A young woman got out of the car and headed for the other side of the vehicle and opened the back door. I assumed there had to be someone with a walker or wheelchair in that part of the car. I was wrong. The woman took a young girl by the hand and the two of them entered Arby’s. Both looked pretty healthy to me with no apparent handicap. Actually, they weren’t in Arby’s to eat lunch, but just to use the rest room. Five minutes after entering the rest room, they went out the front door, got into the car and left the parking lot.
• WHEN I LEFT Arby’s, I decided to look at the sign at the front of the handicapped parking spaces which the young apparently healthy woman had to see when she parked her car. I shot the above photo of the two handicapped parking spaces at Arby’s on Route 51 North. They are well-marked (in yellow and blue paint) with the appropriate symbols and signage, indicating there is a $250 fine for parking in one of the spaces if you are not handicapped-approved.
Maybe I just happened to be there when the only person who would ignore the handicapped-only parking signage parked her car there, and it is not that big of a problem. However, as an observer of human nature and activities in our community, I can tell you that signage, whether it is for speed limits, restricted parking or other “rules” for the driving community’s good and safety, are being ignored at a level I’ve never seen before in my lifetime.
Even the threat of a $250 fine for parking in a handicapped space, when the person is not handicapped, doesn’t deter some people who park in the space because it is 10 steps closer to the door than an empty regular parking space!
• THE Central Park Fountain has been turned off for the season. I understand there is a serious problem with a pipe in one of the bowls that was using a lot of more water than it should which will probably have to be repaired before the fountain springs to life again in the Spring. I guess that means the popular Central Park Fountain “Laundromat and Bathing Tub” facility is closed for the season.
• INTERESTING — One of the more interesting races that is shaping up in the Decatur area is the Republican primary in the 88th Illinois House District. Regan Deering, of Decatur, has been endorsed by State Rep. Dan Caulkins of Decatur, who announced earlier that he is not running for reelection in the 88th. Deering, who lost a bid for the U.S. Congress in 2022, won a seat on the Mt. Zion Community Unit School District 3 Board.
Her Republican opponent is Chuck Erickson from Bloomington, who is a member of the McLean County Board. Although the primary is set for March 19, 2024, both candidates have been doing a lot of campaigning for some time. Although Deering is showing up for about every event in the district and is working hard to secure the approval of voters, Erickson has also been out in our part of the district. Some of our readers have mentioned that he was in their neighborhood campaigning.
I’ll focus a lot more attention on this race as we move closer to the primary. I have talked to Deering a few times and she is strong campaigner.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider. I’ve always enjoyed our discussions.