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CITY BEAT: SOME THIS AND THAT FROM HERE AND THERE FROM DOWNTOWN DECATUR

  

 

 

Paul Osborne
Editor/Publisher

   • THE ICE MAN — I was one of the crazy people who drove to the office early Monday morning when a layer of ice covered the roads because of the freezing rain.
     After telling staff members to stay home because it wasn’t safe to be outside I decided to head for the office. (The Tribune always has to go to press regardless of the weather.)
     Anyhoo, after getting a block from home and seeing other cars sliding around with wheels spinning, I realized I probably should have worked from home Monday but it was too late —I couldn’t stop or turn around because of the ice.
     Thankfully, I made it safely to the office and was able to finish this edition of the Trib on time. You might say “I iced it!”

     • THANKS to City Manager Scot Wrighton for sitting down with me at the Tribune to talk about his retirement and views on the city’s manager’s position.
     It had been awhile since we sat at the conference table and chatted informally. As I’ve mentioned before in this column Wrighton has always been willing to answer any questions I’ve had about his views, and the job he is doing, and has always been a good interview.
When Wrighton was in my office last week, he had 14 weeks left before his retirement as city manager.
     He told me that he plans on staying in Decatur after his retirement and will stay involved in the community.

     • AS YOU might imagine, any interview I do with a city manager is always with two hats on (not literally because I don’t wear hats).
     As someone who served as Decatur’s mayor for several years, and worked with two city managers while in office, my journalistic perspective is a little different because of the insight gained through serving inside city government as mayor, and covering city government as a newspaper editor.
     Actually, we talked for sometime from the city manager/former mayor perspective and didn’t get into the deeper aspects of his perspective on the future of our community and moving forward before we had to stop due to an extremely busy day for both of us.
Hopefully, we can get together again and discuss more indepth his perspective on moving Decatur forward.

     • GOOD NEIGHBORS — Diane and Dan Sullivan of the Diane S. Sullivan Insurance Agency, Inc., in Decatur have retired and I wish them the very best and thank them for the tremendous personal service I received over the years with our automobile and home insurance policies.
     They are great examples of what my “Viewpoint” column (page 3 in print and online editions) is about this week —people who provide “personal service” to customers and clients.
State Farm’s slogan “Like A Good Neighbor” certainly applies to them and to the staff members in that office.
     Diane sent me a personal note with an early Decatur postcard with this message: “I had this post card framed and in my office. I would like you to have it.”
     Thanks again, for Diane and Dan, and their great staff, for being “such good neighbors”.
I’m sure their successors will continue that “good neighbor” policy.

     • BRRRR — It got a “little” on the cold side last week, didn’t it?
     Of course, when I talked to one of my newspaper contacts in Florida on one of our coldest days, she told me it was in the 80s outside of their office on the same day it was way below zero here. She apologized for sharing that “warm” news.
     Doesn’t it seem colder to you now since the weather forecasters started using “wind chill” temperatures?
     I didn’t think it had been that long since they started using “wind chill” and “heat index” in weather forecasts, but I checked and, here’s what Chicago’s Tom Skilling said in answering a viewer’s question: “The wind chill index, which quantifies the combined effect of wind and temperature on human flesh, was introduced into public forecasts in the late 1960s and the practice gained prominence and acceptance during the severe winters of the 1970s and ’80s. However, studies showed the reported wind chills were unrealistically low and the formula was revised in 2001. Wind chills that previously computed to the minus 80s and minus 90s now were in the minus 55 to minus 60 range.”
     So, now we know. I’ve just given you the “cold facts”. (Sorry about that.)

        THIS WEEK’S “Scrapbook” feature (pages 4 and 5 of print and online editions) is about some of the places in downtown Decatur from the city’s past that conjure up fond memories in this editor’s mind — and heart.
     My mother always loved downtown Decatur and enjoyed shopping at the department stores and small businesses that lined Water and Main streets.
     Sixty years ago, downtown Decatur was filled with many places where a person could shop, eat lunch, go to a dentist or doctor’s appointment, enjoy a movie and do a host of other activities that would take up an entire day — and evening.
     I recall the “all-day” parking lots that were present in the downtown area back then where people would park their cars in the morning and “do all of their business” in downtown and stay until evening.
     When I started my business in the 1960s, I never thought about beginning anywhere else but in downtown Decatur. It was the “big city” to me back then.
     However, downtown has changed a lot since the 1960s, and those of us who experienced the downtown of decades ago, sometimes pause, and remember, all of the stores that were once located there and the people we knew back then.
     That’s the reason, every once-in-a-while, I like to take a trip back to downtown on pages 4 and 5.

     • THERE’S MORE columns and City Beat on the pages of this week’s Decatur Tribune.  If you don’t subscribe, you can do so elsewhere on this website.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 to talk about the people and issues involving Decatur and Central Illinois — something we’ve been doing each week for the past 20 years.
     I always enjoy our discussions.

 

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