Last week, Decatur Police Chief Shane Brandel released information on the Police Department’s Distracted Driving Enforcement which focused on illegal cell phone use.
“This issue has become a serious problem for traffic safety across the nation and is a major concern of the citizens in our community, as voiced in the surveys and interactions with our staff,” said Brandel. “As such, DPD conducted a directed enforcement effort from November 10th through December 10th. In that time, DPD made 80 stops and issued 76 citations for Improper Use of an Electronic Device (improper cell phone usage while driving). This campaign used different approaches for the enforcement to include (but not limited to) using undercover vehicles, stationary observers, and regular patrols.
“Our community is asking that we be more active in enforcing traffic safety laws. And I hear you. For the remainder of the year, we will continue our efforts and focus on disobeying traffic control devices (running stop lights/signs), speeding, and cell phone use.
“After the first of the year, I will release statistics showing our increased efforts for 2023. I believe you will be surprised with our efforts. I know, we have a lot of work to do in this area. And I promise, we will put in the work as we move forward.
“Our efforts are not about issuing citations. It is about traffic safety. Please help us in making our community safer. Slow down, pay attention, and put the cell phones down.”
I really appreciate the efforts of Decatur Police Chief Brandel and the dedicated officers in his department.
Considering all of the crazy driving I observe through the downtown area and beyond, hopefully, the renewed efforts by the DPD will make it safer to drive on our streets — and for pedestrians to walk across them at crosswalks.
The speed limit on Franklin Street through downtown is 25 mph, but many I see must be seeing those signs in reverse, because they seem to be going 52 mph!
SLOW DOWN and observe the Rules of the Road!
• PARTON follow-up. My recent Viewpoint column about interviewing Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton at Millikin’s Griswold Center a half century ago drew quite a few comments.
Greg Spain wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed your article in regards to your interview of Porter Wagoner back in the early 70’s.
“My mother, brother and I were also in attendance at that Griswold Center concert. After the concert my mother snapped a photo of me with Dolly Parton. Little did this 11-year-old kid realize what a legend it was whom I was posing with. Somewhere amongst mom’s many photo albums, that snapshot still exists.”
My longtime friend, former State Representative John Dunn, stopped by the office to let me know that he and wife Barbara, were also at that concert — and like me, he had never heard of Porter Wagoner’s “girl singer” Dolly Parton before that night.
Somewhere in my unsorted photos from decades ago is a photo I shot of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton when I finished interviewing them.
When I find it I will print it for you to see. I had forgotten that I shot that photo until Greg Spain mentioned the photo that his mom had taken of him with Dolly Parton when he was a kid.
• KITES — I’m still receiving comments on our recent “Scrapbook” article by Dennis Jewell on the Hi-Flier kite manufacturing company that was located in Decatur.
Dave Wilhour wrote: “I really enjoyed your story about Hi Flier! I knew Harvey, Jr. and Stuart (Sellers). I don’t know how many Hi Flier kites I have given away. I have a 5 foot delta wing and 3 foot box kite I used to fly all the time! Very relaxing and peaceful! 30 years ago I lived on North Moundford Ave. Evenings or Saturdays I would go to Federal Kemper (now Lutheran School) drive-way and put my kites up! It wouldn’t be very long before kids on bikes or just on foot came running! I always used leather gloves when I was flying the big kite. I can’t fly it in strong wind because its too much to handle!
“Back then you could buy Hi Flier kites 20-30 cents so always had several would give to the kids! Your story about string cost so true that was expensive part for those little kites! Good memories! Funny part in my work life if someone told me to go fly a kite ( I was happy to )!”
• MY ‘VIEWPOINT’ column (in the print and online editions) is one that I wrote a few years ago. My parents, my brother Sam, and all of my uncles and aunts have passed away and Christmastime always rekindles in my heart special memories of those wonderful Christmases of my childhood.
My wife and I were blessed to each have wonderful parents who made Christmas enjoyable for many years after we were married and, as we now have a family of our own we have assumed the role my parents once had for Christmas.
• FOR MORE ‘CITY BEAT’, “Viewpoint” and many other columns and stories about Decatur and Central Illinois, subscribe to the online or print edition of the Decatur Tribune newspaper. You can subscribe elsewhere on this site.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider.